Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Assault On Religious Freedom Expands To Pizzas

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Steve Rose is a Christian and believes it is a "good thing" to go to church.

Steve also owns Bailey's Pizza.

He, like many small business owners, is very creative.

Recently he began offering a 10% discount to people who brought in a church bulletin---indicating they had gone to church.

The assault on our freedom of religion is expanding and accelerating. Almost daily we hear of people in the wedding services business being sued, fined and put out of business because of their deeply held beliefs in biblical marriage.

Abortion advocates, including our own government, continuously try to force businesses to provide abortion pills to employees, even though the business owner believes in the sanctity of life and opposes abortion because of their religious convictions.

Now the assault on religious freedom---particularly Christianity, has expanded to food services---specifically pizza places.

An atheist organization, run by a former evangelical minister, is threatening to sue Steve Rose if he doesn't stop giving people a 10% discount because they went to church.

The charge?


The Freedom From Religion Foundation has sent a threatening letter to Rose claiming "The law requires places of public accommodation to offer their services to customers without regard to race, color, religion or national origin."

It gets worse for the atheists.

Rose is allowing Christians to write their favorite Scripture verse on one of the walls in his restaurant.

The atheists say he is violating the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Rose told CBS-CH 11 in Little Rock, "It has nothing to do with excluding anybody. It's not specific to any church. It's another way to bring people in and make them feel welcome."

He told CH 11, "God is the center of our lives, so our Scripture wall is the center of Bailey's Pizza."

Ironically, the head of the atheist organization Freedom From Religion Foundation that is threatening to sue Rose once told the public God was the center of his life as well.

More on that in a moment.

Rose has repeatedly pointed out that he also offers a 10% discount to "college students, teachers, military, police and senior citizens."

Once again, this is not so much about accommodation---it is about affirmation. The atheists seem unconcerned about the students, teachers, military or senior citizens. It's all about the Christians.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation lawyers claim "it is illegal for restaurants, grocery stores or other businesses to discriminate, or show favoritism on the basis of religion."

A similar situation happened in Pennsylvania in 2012. Prudhomme's Last Cajun Kitchen also offered a 10% discount to every one who brought in church bulletin on Sunday. They were challenged for the same reasons.

The Pennsylvania Human Rights Commission ruled that they could continue the practice, but had to accept "pamphlets regarding all subjects of religious faith, including atheists."

The discount offer was then abused by atheists and it's my understanding the practice was eventually discontinued.

From Christian owned pharmacies to employers under Obamacare, regulations the pro-abortion industry and government agencies have attempted to undermine the conscience and religious freedom of those who believe in the sanctity of life.

The homosexual activists are now able to use newly written laws to either force Christians to celebrate their sexual behavior or be fined and eventually be put out of business.

Each Christmas we see the atheists declaring war on everything Christmas, from Nativity Scenes to Christmas trees, to snow flakes---even the colors green and red were challenged last Christmas.

Now this.

Ironically, the very freedoms the Freedom From Religion Foundation is invoking in their assault on Christianity exists because of the personal Christian beliefs of America's Founders and the influence those beliefs had in framing our founding documents and creating our legal system.

Why are atheists so angry? Why do they battle so relentlessly against a God whom they say does not exist?

The Freedom From Religion Foundation is the largest, most influential atheist organization in America.

Dan Barker and his wife are its co-presidents.

Let's take a brief look at Dan Barker's past.

According to his own bio, Dan became a teenage Christian evangelist at age 15. At 16 he was choir librarian for Kathryn Kuhlman's ministry in Los Angeles. He received a degree in religion from Azusa Pacific University and was ordained to the ministry by Standard Christian Center, an independent church in Standard ,California in 1975.

He served as an associate pastor at Arcadia Friends Church (Quaker), Glengrove Assembly of God in Hacienda Heights and in Standard Christian Center (Christian Church/ Disciples of Christ tradition).

He also served as a Christian missionary in Mexico for 2 years.

His father was a Christian minister.

Dan was a Christian minister for 19 years and spoke in churches across the nation. He is also an accomplished musician, record producer and arranger. He played piano for various Christian singers and performers such as Pat Boone, a number of Christian singers on the old Lawrence Welk Show, gospel song writer Audrey Meier and was a regular on TBN's Praise The Lord program.

Robert Schuller's Hour of Power choir used his songs, as did a number of other Christian ministries.

For years Dan wrote, arranged and produced the "Mini Musical" for Gospel Light Publications Vacation Bible School curriculum.

He also wrote, arranged and produced the popular children's musicals "Mary Had a Little Lamb" and "His Fleece Was White as Snow". He still receives royalties from these productions.

However, things changed for Dan. He began to question his faith, the Bible and God Himself. He apparently did not follow biblical instruction and "resist the devil". After about 5 years of studying the writings of prominent atheists like Richard Dawkins and others, he says, "I outgrew my religious beliefs."

He became PR director of the atheist Freedom From Religion Foundation in 1987. In 2004, he married Annie Laurie Gaylor who was president of the organization. Dan and Annie then became the co-presidents and continue in that role at present.

Dan has written a number of books. His first was titled, "Losing Faith in Faith: From Preacher to Atheist."

The listing on Amazon tells prospective readers the book, "Tells Dan Barker's dramatic story of deconversion from fundamental minister to atheist, after 19 years of preaching the Gospel. Presents arguments for atheism and godless morality."

This story is very poignant to me. I never knew Dan personally, but heard his name among many of those with whom he worked who were active in Los Angeles during the time I served in the church in North Hollywood. Later, many of the regulars from the Welk show; Pat Boone, Audrey Meier and others were regulars on our television program and I continued to hear his name. Those who had worked so closely with Dan in ministry were stunned when he declared himself to be an atheist.

Each time I read or report on Dan's latest attack on Christianity, it cuts deeply. I cannot imagine how this breaks the heart of God.

A couple of things to remember.

  • Our faith is not in "faith". It is in the risen Jesus Christ and the power of His Word.
  • Satan is identified in Scripture as one who disguises himself as an angel of light. II Corth. 11:14
  • Peter (I Peter 5:8) tells us to "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil walks around like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." In verse 9 Peter says, "Resist him..."
  • Satan's only power is deception. Don't be deceived, God is not mocked.

Be Vigilant. Be Discerning. Be Prayerful. Be Informed. Be Strong. Be Triumphant.