Bible distribution program in FL

The Christian Post reports that a conservative Christian group has begun a probably-illegal Bible distribution program in local high schools in the area.

Volunteers from a Florida-based group have distributed Bibles to the lunchrooms of several high schools in the Sunshine State.

World Changers of Florida, a conservative organization, distributed the Bibles on Wednesday, with a focus on high schools in Orange County.

There are apparently some restrictions on the program, but definitely not enough to comply with the First Amendment.

“Passive distribution means the Bibles may be placed on one unmanned table for distribution in a location where students normally congregate during non-instructional time,” reads the memo. “The representatives may only be allowed to replenish Bibles if they run out and must remove any undistributed literature at the end of the distribution day.”

Has the ACLU heard about this? Anybody got any copies of The God Delusion they’d like to make available for distribution in the same cafeterias?

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Christians go 1 for 4 in ECHR

To follow up on the earlier story of 4 Christians who claimed human rights violations, the Richmond and Twickenham Times reports that only one succeeded.

The four Christians claimed their employers’ actions went against articles nine and 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which protected their rights to “freedom of thought, conscience and religion” and prohibited religious discrimination. All but Miss Eweida’s case were unsuccessful.

So, not being allowed to wear a cross on a necklace at work, that’s a human rights violation (if you’re a Christian), but not being allowed to marry isn’t a violation (if you’re gay)? I can’t argue the merits of Ms. Eweida’s case because I don’t know all the details, but at least two of the other three plaintiffs were specifically seeking a court judgment in favor of their desire to discriminate against gays and to refuse to allow them to receive equal treatment. If denying someone the right to wear a necklace is officially a human rights violation, those two should not merely have lost their lawsuit, they should have been found guilty.

“Don’t treat us like we treat gays!”

Usually I leave the World Net Daily beat to Ed, but this came up in my Google alerts, and I couldn’t resist.

The European Court of Human Rights is set to deliver a key verdict early next week in a major case against the United Kingdom surrounding anti-Christian discrimination.

I’m not sure exactly how the UK managed to “surround” this alleged anti-Christian discrimination, but the four cases concern two women who were wearing crosses in violation of company policies prohibiting jewelry, plus a counselor who refused to provide sex therapy to gays, plus a borough clerk who refused to officiate at gay marriages. I’m not sure what the specific legal merits are in each case, though the reason this lawsuit is coming up in the ECHR is because the Christians have failed to win their lawsuits anywhere else. Then again, look who’s representing them.

“These cases are of a primary importance because they raise the matter of the toleration of Christians by the Western postmodern society,” explained director Grégor Puppinck with the European Center for Law and Justice, which filed a brief in the case supporting the plaintiffs.

The European Center for Law Injustice (excuse me, “and Justice”)? That would be the expatriate branch of the American Center for Law Injustice (darn, did it again), would it not?

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Question of the week: Will Jesus protect me?

It’s fascinating sometimes to dip into the real conversations that people are having, just to see what kind of world they live in. Ok, there’s an element of tabloidish voyeurism here, I admit it, but I can’t help taking a peek now and then. Here’s my pick for Question of the Week, from Yahoo! Answers.

Will Jesus protect me from the demons that desire me to sin?

The correct answer to that question should be pretty obvious, if boring. But how do Christians deal with Jesus’ consistent and universal failure to provide believers with protection from temptation?

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“Forcing” Christians to violate their religious beliefs?

Holy Antichrist, Batman! Hold onto your utility belts, because, as CNS News breathlessly reports, the Obama administration has found a way to legally force Christians to violate their religious beliefs, despite the First Amendment.

In a legal argument formally presented in federal court in the case of Hobby Lobby v. Kathleen Sebelius, the Obama administration is claiming that the First Amendment—which expressly denies the government the authority to prohibit the “free exercise” of religion—nonetheless allows it to force Christians to directly violate their religious beliefs even on a matter that involves the life and death of innocent human beings.

It’s a long screed that’s only missing one thing: any mention of any Christian being forced to violate their religious beliefs. What they’re complaining about is the fact that health plans have to cover contraception, which includes medications that rabble-rousers like to call “abortion-inducing drugs.” But this ignores the plain and simple fact that nothing in the Obama health-care program ever requires Christians to have an abortion. Christians like the evangelical founders of Hobby Lobby might not like abortion, and they might like to use their financial position to try and impose their religious views on their employees, but in fact it’s none of their business what kind of health care their employees choose to pursue.
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Trust vs trust

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post, I think it’s also worth mentioning that their are two kinds of trust. Our friend murk seems to think that only believers acknowledge that their beliefs are based on trust, and that skeptics are mistakenly assuming they don’t need to trust. He seems to think that this is because only God is trustworthy, and skeptics don’t want to trust God.

What he’s overlooking is the fact that there are two kinds of trust: there’s reality-based trust, which skeptics have, and then there’s the kind of trust where you believe what someone tells you, even though it isn’t really consistent with what we find in material reality. That latter form of trust has acquired a bad name: gullibility. But why is gullibility a bad thing? Because we’ve learned through experience that gullibility deceives you and makes you more likely to be wrong. Yet among believers, believing what you’re told, despite the evidence, is considered a spiritual virtue. It’s called “faith,” and it’s seen as a sign of closeness to God and as a source of spiritual insights. Small wonder, then, that this kind of “faith” leads to so many different kinds of belief.

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It’s all about who you trust

For a while now I’ve been having a rather hit-or miss conversation with a Christian commenter who goes by “murk” and who wants me to put my trust in “the only one who can uphold these things.” Unfortunately, no such person shows up in the real world, so murk’s invitation is actually urging me, in practice, to put my trust in murk. And that highlights an unfortunate flaw in the Christian faith, if not in all theistic religions. When it comes right down to it, you can either put your trust in material reality, and be a skeptic, or you can put your trust in the words and superstitions of men, and be a believer. Faith in any actual god is simply not an option.

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A quick note about the contest

Just a couple quick clarifications about the billboard contest. First, I’ve updated the rules to specifically mention model releases—it’s up to the entrant to obtain any necessary licenses, permissions or releases for any material or recognizable person appearing in their billboard.

Second, most of the entries I’ve received so far have not been billboards, they’ve been slogans. Some of them are good slogans, but you’ll need to grab a good graphics program and produce an actual image to enter the billboard contest.

Thanks.