Prayer Targets: R.I.'s Role; Pastor Brunson; Religious Liberty Ministerial; Philly Adoption Ruling
July 18, 2018
The king's heart is in the hand of the Lord, Like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes. (Proverbs 21:1 NKJV)
Dear Praying Friends,
Dr. Kenyn Cureton (bio) leads FRC’s nationwide ministry to pastors and churches. A pastor for 20 years and a New Testament scholar, Dr. Cureton’s love is to study, preach, and teach American history from the perspective of Divine Providence. From his Lost Episodes in American History:
England’s King Charles II granted a new Charter to the Rhode Island and Providence Plantations on July 8, 1663. This Royal Charter was unique in its grant of religious freedom to the colony, a hallmark of its founder, Rev. Roger Williams. The Royal Charter of 1663 reads in part:
“Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, King of England... To... Rhode Island... that they, pursuing, with peaceable and loyal minds, their sober, serious, and religious intentions, of godly edifying themselves, and one another, in the holy Christian faith and worship, as they were persuaded; together with the gaining over and conversion of the poor ignorant Indian natives, in those parts of America, to the sincere profession and obedience of the same faith and worship...
“Now, know ye, that we, being willing to encourage the...free exercise and enjoyment of all their civil and religious rights... and to preserve unto them that liberty, in the true Christian faith and worship of God, which they have sought with so much travail... that our royal will and pleasure is, that no person within the said colony, at any time hereafter shall be any wise molested, punished, disquieted, or called in question, for any differences in opinion in matters of religion, and do not actually disturb the civil peace of our said colony; but that all and every person and persons may, from time to time, and at all times hereafter, freely and fully have and enjoy his and their own judgments and consciences, in matters of religious concernments, throughout the tract of land hereafter mentioned, they behaving themselves peaceably and quietly, and not using this liberty to licentiousness and profaneness, nor to the civil injury or outward disturbance of others...
“In witness whereof, we have caused these our letters to be made patent. Witness ourself at Westminster, the eighth day of July, in the fifteenth year of our reign. “By the King...”
These principles of religious liberty were subsequently written into the United States Bill of Rights and are a lost episode in American history.
Read and Reflect: Read Galatians 5:13-16 and reflect on Paul’s contrast between liberty and fleshly lusts. Compare it with the Rhode Island Charter.
Prayer: Father, we praise you that in your Providence that King Charles II was willing to compromise with this colony and recognize their divine right to religious freedom, which is enshrined in our First Amendment. May we cherish and defend this right in Jesus’ Name, Amen. *Source Citation: http://sos.ri.gov/library/history/charter/
King Charles’ immoral lifestyle did not comport with his profession of faith. God, throughout history, has used flawed rulers to advance His purposes and bless His people. Roger Williams (1603-1683) was a Puritan minister, a Reformed theologian and a Baptist. An advocate for religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and separation of church and state, Williams was expelled by the Puritan leaders of the Massachusetts Bay Colony for spreading “new and dangerous ideas.” He was the founder of both the First Baptist Church in America (Providence, 1638) and the colony of Rhode Island, which became one of the thirteen original American states. The Puritans fled persecution in England to plant a colony in which both church and state would be governed by a Christian covenant. They wanted a pure church and state, but limited religious liberty. However, Rhode Island received other denominations and dissenters, even Quakers and Jews.
After Independence and even the establishment of the constitutional federal government, some of the states retained their state church status, while the Constitution’s First Amendment allowed for no “establishment” or state church. Further, Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution explicitly declares that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” The primary reason for the text ban was federalism. In other words, it was not in the purview of the federal government to regulate beliefs as a qualification for public office. That power was left to the states. Indeed, nearly all the states initially required candidates for public office to profess faith in Jesus Christ or adherence to the Protestant religion to hold public office. With time, many state requirements were dropped. However, the Supreme Court in Torcaso v. Watkins367 U.S. 488 (1961) unanimously ruled that such language in state constitutions was in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments, thus applying the Article VI test ban to the states as well.
Turkish Court Sends Pastor Andrew Brunson Back to Prison – At a court hearing today, Brunson’s case was again delayed until October 12. The U.S. citizen and Christian missionary, who has spent the last 23 years with his wife and family in Turkey serving as pastor of a local church, has been imprisoned in Turkey since October 2016 on false charges that he was involved in an Islamic terrorist organization and was a spy. In September 2017, Turkish President Erdogan admitted publicly that Brunson is a political hostage. In late March this year, Turkish prosecutors filed official charges and called for a 35-year sentence for the 50-year-old pastor. After visits from U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Liberty Sam Brownback and other American officials, and after appeals from the U.S. government and numerous private Christian organizations (including FRC), there were high hopes that Brunson would be released today.
Bills have been introduced in both Houses of Congress to prevent the sale of U.S. F-35 fighter jet aircraft to Turkey so long as Brunson remains imprisoned. Brunson, who has lost 50 pounds as his health has deteriorated, maintains that the only reason for his arrest and imprisonment is that he is a Christian pastor. Brunson said, “I desperately miss my wife and children. Yet... it is an honor to suffer for Jesus Christ as many have before me. My deepest thanks to all those around the world who are standing with me and praying for me” (see Back to Prison; Prior details: LifeSiteNews, CBN News; Hear Brunson’s daughter tell her father’s story).
- May God intervene, deal with the Turkish president and government, and may the U.S. use whatever means it has at its disposal to see that Brunson is released speedily! (1 Kg 3:9; 2 Chr 20:6; Ps 34:7; Ps 37:40; Ps 135:6; Is 43:13; Mt 19:26; Acts 12:5-11; Eph 3:20)
Pompeo to host first-ever State Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom – Next week, from July 24-26, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will host the first-ever three-day-long “Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom” at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. 2018 is the 20th anniversary of the International Religious Freedom Act. In 1998, Congress overwhelmingly passed the International Religious Freedom (IRF) Act – a groundbreaking, bipartisan law affirming the importance of promoting international religious freedom as a key aspect of America’s foreign policy. President Clinton signed it on October 27, 1998, creating an IRF Ambassador at Large reporting directly to the Secretary of State.
For many years, FRC President Tony Perkins has been challenging Americans to engage in the generational fight to revive and restore religious liberty in America and American leadership in the defense and advancement of religious liberty abroad. He has warned repeatedly of the symbiotic relationship between domestic and international religious liberty and the repercussions of the Obama administration’s anti-Christian domestic policies and failure to confront religious persecution around the world.
President Trump has made religious liberty a core value in his administration and commitment to advance it a high priority. He has issued two major executive orders to set the tone, one each year on the National Day of Prayer. Each has overturned Obama-era policies that restricted religious liberty and set new policies that have both removed shackles and injected religious freedom into the federal bureaucracy itself, as well as ended the anti-religious tone and practices imposed upon institutions, businesses, and people that the federal bureaucracy was created to serve.
Please Pray throughout the Ministerial Symposium–Tuesday: “On July 24, U.S. government representatives, philanthropies, private sector organizations, and civil society organizations working to promote religious freedom will discuss best practices for accessing donor resources and for enhancing civic initiatives through collaboration with the private sector. Senior U.S. government officials will share U.S. policy priorities and solicit civil society representatives’ views on the religious freedom situation around the world.” Wednesday: “On July 25, members of civil society groups, including religious leaders and survivors of religious persecution, will convene to tell their stories, share their expertise, and build partnerships to enhance religious freedom.” Thursday: “On July 26, government and international organization representatives will discuss global challenges to religious freedom, develop collaborative solutions to these challenges, and make new commitments regarding the promotion of religious freedom.” (See Announcement of the 2017 International Religious Freedom Report; Principles of the 2017 DOJ Guidance; Guidance text; Tony on DOJ Guidance; Perkins appointed to USCIRF; USCIRF Annual Report (Countries of Concern).
- May God make his presence known throughout this three-day event. May the Spirit of God guide the diverse group to contribute truly useful facts and ideas. And may those who are leading be given remarkable skill in bringing the massive amount of information and diverse thought into united agreement on solutions. May this unprecedented gathering be used of the Lord to prepare the earth for worldwide Awakening, while simultaneously succeeding in subduing religious persecution in the U.S. and around the world. May those in authority be given grace to contain any hostile religious group bent on disrupting the Ministerial or progress among the diverse nations and organizations. May God bless this American-led effort! (2 Chr 36:23; Jer 29:7; Mt 28:18-20; Lk 9:48-50; 10:25-37; Jn 3:15-17; Acts 13:1-2; Ecc 4:9)
Finally: 1) The U.S. Supreme Court – As the Left persists in its hostile propaganda against Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, experts say they were prepared to do likewise to any Trump nominee. Hillary Clinton made the thinly veiled claim that Kavanaugh will bring back slavery. And the radical Left can be counted on to progressively ratchet up the vitriol, especially as we draw closer to the midterm elections. While abortion has become front and center, some are saying that the Trump administration is backing away from its pro-life position, but Mike Pence has made it clear where he stands. Meanwhile, studies show that most women are firmly pro-life in America. 2) Adoption – A federal district Judge in Philadelphia ruled that Catholic Charities was not discriminated against when the City Department of Human Services cancelled its contract because it would not place children in same-sex households. Christian adoption agencies across America will face similar actions. Reps. Robert Aderholt (R-Ala.) and Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) have introduced and the House Appropriations Committee has approved the Child Welfare Provider Inclusion Act (HR 1881), as an amendment to the Labor, Health and Human Services appropriations bill. The amendment would ensure that federal and state governments receiving federal funding for certain child welfare programs do not discriminate against faith-based adoption and foster care providers in licensing, funding, or contracting.
As always, thank you for praying!