Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Tenn. Schools Encouraged to Celebrate Christmas amid “Ridiculous” Threats

On Monday, 137 Tennessee school districts received letters from the Alliance Defense Fund encouraging them to continue to recognize Christmas despite threats from the American Civil Liberties Union.

The ADF letters informed the superintendents that teachers and students have the constitutional right to recognize Christmas and offered free legal assistance against possible lawsuits.

“Urban legends about the offensiveness of Christmas are clearly out of sync with the American people, common sense, and the Constitution. The ACLU’s conclusions are without merit and are part of a tired, worn-out, and disproven campaign of fear, intimidation, and disinformation,” ADF Senior Counsel David Cortman affirmed in a statement.

Last week, the ACLU of Tennessee sent letters to the school superintendents concluding that school Christmas celebrations are a violation of the separation of church and state.

The ACLU-Tenn. letter cited several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, explaining that “while public schools can teach about religion and religious holidays, public schools may not engage in indoctrination. Thus, comparative religion courses can be taught but endorsing religious doctrine or sponsoring religious activities is unconstitutional.”

The ACLU's letter went on to state that celebrating one holiday, such as Christmas, without celebrating other holidays such as Hanukkah, Bodhi Day, Kwanza, Eid al Adha, and Winter Solstice amounted to indoctrination and would alienate those who did not celebrate Christmas.

Cortman denounced the argument as “ridiculous.” Instead, he asserted, “An overwhelming majority of Americans celebrate Christmas and are opposed to any kind of censorship of it.”

His assertion is supported by a Rasmussen Reports survey that was released in November. The national survey of 1,000 respondents revealed that 69 percent of respondents preferred to see holiday retail signs with the greeting “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays.”

Other polls have shown similar results. A 2008 Gallup poll found that 93 percent of Americans celebrate Christmas. And a 2009 Rasmussen poll found that 83 percent of American adults believe public schools should celebrate religious holidays.

For those who do celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, Cortman and other ADF attorneys all insist that the Constitution recognizes and protects their right to express their beliefs in the public square and in school.

“No court has ever ruled that the Constitution demands school officials to censor Christmas carols, eliminate all references to Christmas, or silence those who celebrate Christmas,” the ADF letter concluded.

The letter was signed by nearly 1,900 ADF alliance attorneys in agreement with its contents.

ADF, launched in 1994, is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith.

[By Stephanie Samuel|Christian Post Reporter]

Don Brock in Brazil

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Don Brock in the Dominican Republic

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Don Brock at Hackleburg, Alabama

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Monday, December 13, 2010

21 Days of Prayer and Fasting - January 1-21, 2011

I’m sure there are many reasons, but the following three hindrances are ones that I have found to be common among many Christians and have had to fight in my own life:

Pride—Like a little child who wants to care for his own needs without help, we sometimes have too high of an opinion of our ability to solve problems. We don’t recognize God’s superior power, and we think we can handle our lives on our own.

Unbelief—Sometimes, we simply don’t believe that God will answer if we did pray. Instead of bringing our requests before the Lord, we worry over them, disregarding the hundreds of promises in God’s Word that He will hear us and help us when we pray.

Busyness—It’s all too easy to fill our lives with important activities and ministry while neglecting the most important activity of seeking God’s face and power.

[by Pastor Paul Chappell -]

What Pastor Rick Warren tells his church members.

“I often tell you that I love you because I do. But let me explain how that impacts how I lead our church family.

1. Leading you is a RELATIONSHIP. It is not a position or title. If I did not trust and love you, I could not lead you. If you do not trust and love me, you won’t follow my leading. Real leadership is based on love and trust, which is earned through a track record of serving and sacrificing that gives credibility.

Thank you for placing your trust in me as I’ve tried to do what I believe is God’s will and in your best interest.

2. Leading you is a STEWARDSHIP. True leaders know they own nothing - it all belongs to God - but they will be held responsible and accountable to Him for how well they managed it. Some leaders give the impression that they own everything - facilities... finances... and followers. But godly leadership has the exact opposite attitude! The greatest leader - Jesus - literally owned nothing. Saddleback is GOD’S church, not mine, and I’m simply a steward of whatever God wants to do through HIS church.

3. The only way TO LEAD anyone is TO SERVE them. Jesus was crystal clear that leadership is about service, not “serve-us.” It’s not about me. It is about fulfilling God’s purposes in your life. My job is to see what God sees in you, then help you become that person - even when you can’t imagine it yourself.

4. Leadership is FUTURE-FOCUSED. Most people are too busy with the present to think ahead about the future - but that’s OK - as long as someone you trust is thinking ahead for you. It is a leader’s responsibility to think ahead when others can’t, so I’m always thinking and looking at your life from the long-term perspective to help you maximize your future.

5. Leadership is ALWAYS BY EXAMPLE. Leaders lead by doing it first. I am to show you with my own life, not simply tell you. If I don't lead by example I don't lead at all. For 30 years I’ve lived by the principle of Jesus: I will never ask you to do anything that I’m not already doing. I will never ask you to serve or sacrifice more than Kay and I do.