It seems that there is never an end to the attacks on Christianity.
About a decade ago, I wrote in one of my columns that I believed that churches in America would eventually be confined within its own four walls, and that any outward sign of Christianity in our architecture, such as a cross, would be banned.
But now there is a new twist on the sequester of the church.
Today comes a story of a church in Metairie, Louisiana, that has come under the fire of their local city and police department for exceeding noise limits. The church is conducting services in a temporary tent while their facilities are being renovated, and the city is demanding that the sound level of the services not exceed 60 db, which is the sound level of normal conversation. Fortunately, they are receiving some badly needed legal assistance.
According to a post on the Liberty Institute website, it states that “Liberty Institute filed a lawsuit and requested a temporary restraining order Thursday on behalf of Vintage Church in Metairie, La. The lawsuit comes after officials in Jefferson Parish repeatedly intimidated church members and issued criminal sanctions against the church for exceeding the sound level of a conversation. While the church is being held to such limits, noises from power tools, lawn mowers, and demolition is permitted.”
Senior Counsel for Liberty Institute Justin Butterfield stated that “Jefferson Parish is imposing unwarranted and unreasonable demands on the members of Vintage Church. Louisiana and federal law both protect Vintage Church from this sort of targeted enforcement.”
The pastor for the church stated in a Fox News interview that he and the associate pastor had been issued a summons during services and had been fingerprinted in front of the congregation.
There are numerous cases of discrimination and intolerance against churches and Christians, and there are those who are specifically targeting RFRA and RLUIPA laws in order to limit, and I believe eventually to eliminate, the church in America.
All churches need to be diligent to stand up for their constitutional rights and not allow anyone to intimidate or silence them, but that, admittedly, is an oversimplification. Churches need help, but the organizations that help them also need help.
I’ll begin by citing the non-profit law firm that is assisting Vintage Church, Liberty Institute. They have fought numerous cases against the ACLU, the American Humanist Association (AHA) and the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF). They have nine full-time constitutional attorneys on staff. They state on their website: “We remain committed to protecting and defending religious liberty in America in four main areas where it is under serious attack – in our schools, for our churches, in the military, and throughout the public arena. Our victories have established legal precedents that have protected religious rights of millions of Americans.”
Liberty Counsel is another organization that is worthy of support. They are another nonprofit attorney group that has provided legal services to churches and individuals whose religious rights have been violated. One of their more recent cases is the defense of Kim Davis, the Kentucky County clerk who would not violate her conscience or beliefs by issuing marriage licenses to gays.
Another group that has done great work is the Thomas More Law Center, whose stated purpose is to “Preserve America’s Judeo-Christian Heritage; Defend the religious freedom of Christians; Restore time-honored moral and family values; Protect the sanctity of human life; Promote a strong national defense and a free and sovereign United States of America.”
There are more organizations than these, which I would urge my readers to investigate as well, but I would also urge them to give to these organizations to help them provide the services that Christians need now, and will likely need even more in the near future. These groups need our financial support.
These are not the only ones who need our support. Christians who are running for election or re-election also need our support. I will mention one in particular, Amanda Teegarden, who is running for Oklahoma State Senate.
I would also urge my readers to give over and above what they should give to their own church, and to give throughout the year, not just at Christmas. If the millions of Christians in this country each gave even small amounts to these organizations and individuals, the impact on the defense of our freedoms would be enormous.