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Calendar

CARSON, CA
Carson City SDA
415 W Torrance Blvd.
Date:  August 22
Time:  11:00am
Speaker: C. Norm Farley

LYNWOOD, CA
Lynwood Spanish SDA
3801 Courtland St.
Date:  August 28-29
Time:  4:00pm, 11:00am & 7:00pm
Speakers:  Fabian Carballo &
Alan J. Reinach. Esq.

SAN MARCOS, CA
San Marcos SDA
363 Woodland Pkwy
Date:  Sept. 5
Time:  11:00am & 2:00pm
Speaker: 
Alan J. Reinach, Esq.

GLENDALE, CA
Vallejo Drive SDA
300 Vallejo Dr.
Date:  Sept. 12
Time: 2:00pm
Speakers:  Marvin Moore, Editor, Signs of the Times and Alan J. Reinach, Esq.

SPARKS, NV
Sparks SDA
2990 Rock Blvd
Date: Sept. 26
Time:  9:30am, 11:00am &
2:00pm
Speaker: 
Alan J. Reinach, Esq.


Freedom’s Ring
Radio Broadcast
Schedule


The Separation of Church and Sate
Host, Alan J. Reinach, Esq., explains what the Historic Protestant view of separation is and contrasts it with the secularist and fundamentalist approaches.
Broadcast date:
August 1, 2009

Proposition 8 Revisited:  A Post Supreme Court Analysis
Nicholas Miller, Esq., Director of the Andrews University International Religious Liberty Institute, on the California Supreme Court’s decision upholding traditional marriage.
Broadcast date:
August 8, 2009


Report from Geneva: Human Rights Commission
Barry Bussey, Legislative Affairs Director for the Seventh-day Adventist Church, discusses the current state of Resolutions on Religious Defamation.
Broadcast date:
August 15, 2009

Censorship
Host, Alan J. Reinach, Esq., discusses the liberal intolerance that would silence the church on moral issues, despite insisting on their own right to advocate for public immorality.
Broadcast date:
August 22, 2009

Marriage as Illegal Bigotry?
Host, Alan Reinach discusses the current status of traditional religious beliefs regarding marriage in California, in the wake of a series of state cases regarding religious liberty and gay rights.
Broadcast date:
August 29, 2009 

Hate Crimes and Hate Speech in Congress
Lincoln Steed, Editor of Liberty magazine, discussing current legislation in Congress regarding hate crimes.
Broadcast date:
September 5, 2009 
In This Issue...                      Volume 2, No. 5, July August 2009


ACTION NEEDED! 
Attention all Wal-Mart Employees


Wal-Mart Policy Change Affecting Adventist Employees

A recent policy change by the corporate offices of Wal-Mart in Bentonville, Arkansas has resulted in religious accommodation problems for Seventh-day Adventists and others. The new policy requires its employees to show “open availability” regarding scheduling.

So far, approximately a dozen Adventist employees have experienced a number of discriminatory actions, such as non-consideration for management positions, managers being demoted, or hours being cut back, reports Todd McFarland, Associate General Counsel for the Office of General Counsel, General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.

Notwithstanding the prevalence of the new company-wide policy, apparently certain categories of employees are exempted. A church member in Nevada who worked as a greeter for many years discovered her position was exempted and that she would continue to have Sabbaths off after discussing the matter with the new manager who had announced the new policy.

The Office of General Counsel is seeking to engage Wal-Mart in a constructive solution to this problem. In the meantime, we need to continue gathering information on how this new policy has impacted our own church members. If you or anyone you know is an Adventist working at Wal-Mart, please inform our office in Westlake Village at : 805-413-7398 or in Sacramento at:  916-446-2552.


Religious Liberty Teams Now Being Formed

The old saying still holds true: united we stand, divided we fall. Religious liberty leaders and interested church members throughout the five states of the Pacific Union are urged to begin forming teams to advance the cause of religious freedom in their area. Summer travel and speaking activities have spurred the formation of teams in various areas throughout the Pacific Union, including Phoenix, Arizona, San Diego county, Riverside, Bakersfield, Fresno, Central Coast and Sacramento. E.mail to mrliberty@churchstate.org, if you are interested in joining or forming a team in your area.


Andrews University to Host Conference on Marriage, Homosexuality and the Church, October 15-17

A conference will be held at Andrews University that deals with issues of marriage and sexual orientation in relation to Seventh-day Adventist church teaching and public policy positions. The Church State Council, a religious liberty ministry of the Pacific Union Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, is proud to join with our colleagues throughout the church in sponsoring this critically important conference.  

To register online, please visit: www.plusline.org/eventdetail.php


Prayer and Praise List

Each month, we urge you to continue praying for those who have lost their jobs due to faithfulness in observing the Sabbath, and for others seeking to keep jobs, for those with active claims and cases in court, and for others with religious liberty problems. Prayer changes things! Please join us in making prayer an increasingly active and effective part of this ministry.
  • Sandra – to find work after being fired for refusing to work on Sabbath.
  • Teresa – to find witnesses to support her case, and another job.
  • Bruce – strength to endure ongoing harassment
  • Anthony – for blessing in his work selling used cars
  • Judy – success with her appeal
  • Scott, David and other postal service workers – for help in obtaining or retaining Sabbath accommodations during a time of upheaval and transition
  • Esteban – guidance for the administrative judge deciding his case
  • Saul – for help in finding work
  • Ricardo – for blessing in starting his own business
  • Dennis – for blessing on his case in Federal court
  • Willie – for wisdom to guide the lawyers handling his case
  • James – to find new work while his complaint is processed by the EEOC
  • Richard – for his job to be restored and religious discrimination to be remedied in management
  • Terrice – for physical healing of work-related injury and restoring of her work hours
  • Rajina - that she would be accommodated for the Sabbath
Please feel free to send in your own prayer needs to be added to the list!

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TOP NEWS STORIES

Oregon and Tennessee Enact Religious Freedom Acts

Oregon Governor, Ted Kulongoski, quietly signed Senate Bill 786, the Oregon Religious Freedom Act on Thursday, July 16, 2009. The bill establishes protections for employees needing “holy day” and “religious apparel” accommodations in the workplace. By bringing greater clarity to what constitutes an “undue hardship” for businesses, it reduces the threat of litigation for employers and accommodates the religious beliefs and practices of people of all faiths.

The Oregon bill was the culmination of a long term cooperative effort between Speaker of the House of Representatives, David Hunt, and the Northwest Religious Liberty Association (NRLA), under the leadership of its president, Greg Hamilton. The Church State Council and the North American Religious Liberty Association-West give thanks to God and congratulate Greg Hamilton, Rhonda Bolton (Administrative Assistant), and many others from NRLA for their vision and determined efforts in working to help bring this bill to fruition. (For more information on the specifics of the bill and its history go to http://www.nrla.com/.)

Two weeks prior to Oregon, Tennessee’s governor enacted House Bill 1598, The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, on July 1, 2009. The bill addresses the right to freely exercise one’s religious faith under the state constitution, and restores for the State of Tennessee the “compelling governmental interest” and the “least restrictive means” standards that were diminished by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Smith ruling that a generally applicable law did not substantially burden a person’s free exercise of religion when no compelling state interest was essential to the law.

The Tennessee bill establishes a broader basis for protecting a wide array of religious beliefs and practices in contrast to the more narrow focus of the Oregon bill. This difference is due to the political climate of each state and the possible outcomes that can be achieved in each. The federal Workplace Freedom of Religion Act (WFRA) has stalled in Congress for a handful of years due to the strength and influence of particular lobby interests and the reluctance of legislators to go contrary to their concerns.

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NORTH AMERICAN RELIGIOUS LIBERTY ASSOCIATION BLOG


In Troubled Times, the Pope Calls for a New World Order

In the encyclical Caritas in veritate (Charity in Truth) Pope Benedict argues the time has come for a world political authority to correct the evils of our time - everything from the excess of capitalism to the challenges in the environment. Such a call for a world political body is not new.  Read Barry Bussey's entire Blog at  www.religiousliberty.info/blog/

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And Now the Rest of the Story

In our last newsletter, we brought to your attention a news article titled, “San Diego County Issues Citation Ordering Home Bible Study to Cease,” which hit the national news very quickly. It made great news, but the aftermath of the story was overlooked by those same news venues, even though the outcome was positive. So here is “The Rest of the Story.”

San Diego County reviewed the situation and disavowed the actions of the code enforcement officer who had issued the citation to the pastor conducting the home bible studies. The county determined that the studies could continue as they were before. The positive outcome was largely due to the efforts of the Western Center for Law and Justice, and attorney Dean Broyles, representing the pastor, whose letter to the county documenting the various legal issues was superb. For a local news source discussing the county’s and pastor’s positions and the views of constitutional scholars regarding the situation, follow this link:
http://www3.signonsandiego.com/stories/2009/may/30/1n30bible00100-county-wont-force-permit-bible-stud/

In an earlier newsletter, we had an article on anti-Christian violence committed by Hindu extremists in Orissa, India that killed hundreds and forced tens of thousands to flee the region. A Seventh-day Adventist pastor and several elderly Adventists were among those killed. The July issue of Christianity Today (pg. 13) reported that Orissa held national and state assembly elections in May. The outcome of those elections resulted in a local centrist party, the Biju Janata Dal, taking control of the government by soundly defeating the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party by 109 to 7 assembly seats. Secularists Hindus accounted for the overwhelming defeat of the extremism of the Hindu nationalist party. The change in control of the government will lead to greater protection of the very small minority of Christians in Orissa.

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News from the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division

The Department of Justice issues a monthly newsletter titled “Religious News in Focus”. Their June newsletter highlights two cases dealing with Muslims wearing headscarves either in court or as correctional employees, another case addressing a land-use ordinance controversy over the location of a conservative Jewish ministry “Shabbos House” in a residential area, and a fourth case concerning a Roman Catholic inmate denied a vegan diet by the New York Department of Corrections on the basis that the Roman Catholic Church teaching does not require such a diet. (To read more about these cases see:
http://www.usdoj.gov/crt/religdisc/newsletter/focus_39.htm)

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NARLA-WEST NEWS

Spanish Website Launched

NARLA-West Board Member, Daniel Rodela, who started a local Team with now sixteen members under the title “NARLA-West Los Angeles,” announced the launching of a website in Spanish highlighting religious liberty news from a Hispanic perspective, as well as their local Team and efforts on behalf of religious liberty. NARLA-West congratulates the motivation and efforts of NARLA-West Los Angeles! (See www.libertadreligiosa.webs.com)

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FROM OUR INBOX

We continue to receive occasional e-mail inquiries about e-mails purporting some form of federal threat to our religious freedom.

Have you received a forwarded e-mail about the new coins issued by the United States Mint claiming the phrase “In God We Trust” was removed from the coins and to refuse accepting or using them? Well, according to Snopes.com, the phrase was not removed, but moved from the face to the sides of the coin.

Another e-mail continuing to make the rounds for many years is the one declaring the Federal Communications Commission has granted a hearing to consider petition #2493, which intends to remove pastors and religious programming from the airwaves. Snopes.com will reveal this is another urban legend, now over a decade old. The following link will provide information demonstrating the fallacy of this false claim:
http://urbanlegends.about.com/library/bl_petition_2493.htm

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EDITORIAL

Religious Liberty:  Majoritarian vs. Individual
Matt McMearty
Associate Director, Church State Council


Have you noticed that when some people speak of religious liberty, they mean something different from individual religious liberty? They use the same term but mean something else. In fact, there are two distinct approaches to religious freedom: majoritarian and individual.

Protestants and Enlightenment philosophers, from the founding era of our nation, tended to view the church and voluntary religious societies as the outworking of individuals in agreement with each other in matters of belief and practice. A church only exercises authority delegated to it by its members while subject to their ultimate control, and the state has no part in its internal matters. By comparison, the new states and the new federal government were civil organizations also formed on the basis of the voluntary choices of the people and subject to the control of the people via constitutions and bills of rights. In this way, church and state on the federal level were to remain separate and among the states they were in various degrees of separation. Thus, our nation was established on principles of individual religious freedom, a freedom which also encompassed the voluntary associations in churches.

The view of churches as the product of personal choices developed in contrast to the historic reality of “Christendom,” a unique blending of religion, culture and society. For centuries, government and religion were two parts of one society. Both in Roman Catholic Europe, and in the Protestant countries post-Reformation, society was seen as before and above the individual, but not as the product of the people’s choices. The Church and the State were ordained by God, established to reveal the complete will of God for society. The church and the state were the essence of society, while individuals’ lives were molded by both. The church, whether Catholic or Protestant, shaped the individual according to its teachings, while the state controlled the people by its laws formed in harmony with the teachings of an established church. Thus, the individual’s mind and body was not his own, per se, but the domain of the church and the state or the society.

This basic historical difference leads to either an individualist or a communitarian approach to defining religious liberty. In the former perspective, religious freedom was defined by beginning with the individual conscience and ending with the people determining the role of the church and the state in relation to the individual’s rights. In the latter perspective, religious freedom is defined on a communitarian basis in that the individual's rights are shaped and determined by the needs of the community as directed by the church and, ultimately, the state. The two approaches are diametrically opposed. Islam in various Muslim countries is communitarian.

Thus, in our day, many Christian leaders express an essentially communitarian ideal when they speak of America as a Christian nation. They think of religious liberty in these terms, that the nation must first and foremost uphold its social and legal commitments to being Christian, while still respecting the rights of others to their own beliefs and observances. Many enduring church-state battles begin to make sense when this is understood. Thus, for example, arguments over prayer and Bible reading in the public schools reflect the conflict between communitarian values – “of course a Christian nation must conduct devotional services in our public institutions!” – and the individual value – “no student should be made to feel excluded by the religious practices of the majority.”

When communitarian values prevail, individual rights are subordinate. Yet, when individual rights prevail, communitarians argue that the state subordinates religion to a purely private matter, thereby diminishing the rights and respect for religious institutions and the Christian society itself. Thus, communitarians see the emphasis on individual rights as sowing the seeds for the destruction of the society. By contrast, the individual rights perspective views communitarian arguments with suspicion convinced that the communitarian approach tramples on the rights of individual conscience, especially of those belonging to minority religions.

Christian Nation advocates both Protestant and Catholic, seek a common agreement among all Christians, and reinterpret our nation’s history by applying the basic assumptions of Christendom thinking. The First Amendment cannot mean what the Supreme Court says it means, because that would have meant our founding fathers intended to dismantle “Christendom.” Precisely! Instead, such Christian nation advocates insist that our constitution was intended to uphold and preserve the Christian society and culture, and to shape our nation based squarely on legislating the Ten Commandments as the basis of all civil laws. Today’s secular government profoundly undermines the influence of Christian religion, thus leading to the disintegration of the moral fabric of society. Ultimate collapse is the expected outcome. This is why the Supreme Court remains the scapegoat of many communitarians as a central cause for many of the ills of society.

Of course, the Catholic community has its own unique commitment to communitarian ideals. It regards the teaching authority of Church centered in papal encyclicals as essential for understanding what is good for society. In turn, these teachings are applied by the bishops according to national circumstances. When non-Catholics embrace this communitarian approach, Catholic ideals of social good obtain greater acceptance in the broader social and political realities. Undoubtedly, the Catholic Church has obtained considerable wisdom through its centuries of experience in dealing with society, and its policy positions often make a very positive contribution.

Although there remain important differences between Protestant and Catholic conservatives in the U.S., the socially conservative movement in the U.S. popularly known as “the Religious Right” is essentially a proxy war for the reinstatement of the historic Catholic communitarian ideal once described as “Christendom.” Only now, it will not be a Roman Catholic Christendom, but a “Catholic” Christendom or a “pan-Christian” social order supported by all forms of Christianity and religions.

Communitarians approach religious liberty, first and foremost from what is best for the community, because what is at stake is the role of their institutional influence and the preservation or reintegration of a defined “Christian” morality for a sound Christian social order. They want religious freedom for the individual subsumed under the freedom of religious institutions influencing and guiding society from a generally Christian perspective. It is similar to the federal government thinking that in order to prevent collapse in our economy, it is necessary to “bail out” and uphold the financial institutions that are integral to the economy. In the past, a similar rationale justified the “divine right” of kings to preserve society, and in early colonial America, supported religious establishments as essential for social and political order. James Madison galvanized opposition to such religious establishments in Virginia by publishing his famous Memorial and Remonstrance.

Adventists, other Protestants, many Jews, and secularists, and even among some ranks of Roman Catholics, view religious freedom as a matter of individual right that precedes and is independent of the formation and existence of any religious institution and any political or civil society. It is a right that cannot undermine the need for appropriate civil and social order, but neither can any civil and social order undermine the individual rights of the people who formed the social order. The goal is to find the balance between individual and social rights so that both are upheld. Communitarians will tend to choose communal rights over the individual's religious rights when the two conflict, while individualists will tend to favor individual rights as superior to the imposition of communitarian views toward life and society by law.

If the individualists have their heads on straight, and many today do not, they will seek to preserve the religious rights of religious institutions without endorsing communitarian viewpoints within the content of laws made for our society.

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QUOTABLE QUOTES

"The founders of this nation would regard the mixing of religion and politics in the ways now being engineered by the religious right as part of the problem of failing public morality, rather than as an answer."
Isaac Kramnick
 The Godless Constitution
(New York, W. & W. Norton Company, 1995) p.153
  
 
"A religious party seems distinctly out of place in a country that made the elimination of an established church one of the first orders of national business." 
Ibid.
 p.160
 


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