Monday, October 15, 2018

Planned ‘Murderhood’ Launches New Campaign to Ensure Abortion Given a Now Hostile SCOTUS

Planned Parenthood (PP), the nation’s largest abortion provider, announced last week that they are launching a “multi-million dollar nationwide effort to ensure abortion is still accessible in the United States no matter what happens at the Supreme Court.”  They claimed that Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) was “solidifying an anti-abortion majority on the highest court in the land, and making it likely that the nationwide right to safe and legal abortion will be further eroded, if not eliminated, in the near future.”

PP explained that the campaign will be a 3-pronged approach:
  1. The organization will focus on expanding “services in states where abortion is likely to remain legal and accessible, and invest in technology and other resources to help people living in hostile states access abortion.”
  2. They will also partner “with state advocates and coalition partners to use state policies to ensure there’s an ironclad network of states across the country where abortion will still be legal, no matter what happens at the Supreme Court.”  Their coalition will seek to push laws that strengthen abortion access.
  3. The group’s third angle is to work on cultural change on abortion, attempting to normalize it and diminish “stigma,” particularly in “the media, in everyday conversations, and across popular culture — including working with the music, fashion, movie, and television industries, and with additional public awareness campaigns to be announced in the coming months.”

Kevin Griffis, PP’s Vice President of Communications, said that they’ve re-arranged their communications teams to work with the TV industry and that in the past they’ve worked with shows such as Jane the Virgin and Glee.  The coordination with Hollywood is hardly surprising given strong support the abortion provider receives from the industry.

Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of PP Federation of America and PP Action Fund, said in a statement about the new initiative that the abortion giant will “never back down” no matter “what those in power may say.”  “We demand a world where who you are or how much money you make doesn’t determine your access to health care or access to safe, legal abortion,” Laguens wrote.  “We demand a world where your personal health care decisions aren’t affected by stigma, shame, or silence.  We demand a world where providers can give patients the care they need without harassment or government interference.  We demand a world where our elected officials represent the vast majority of Americans who support access to safe, legal abortion.”

Laguens does not cite polling backing up her claim that the “vast majority” of Americans support abortion access.

Fact is: Gallup polling in June showed that a majority, 53% of Americans believe in restrictions on the legality of abortion.  The poll also found that 48% of Americans believe abortion is “morally wrong.”

“No matter what those in power may say, each of us deserves the right to control our own bodies,” Laguens concluded.  “That includes the right to decide if and when to become a parent.”

Here’s another fact: PP performed 321,384 abortions over this past year, according to their latest annual report.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, October 12, 2018

You Double the Trouble When You Ignore Context

Recently, I had an outside, unwelcomed clergy instructing my church leaders that the final step in ‘church discipline’ is to take the wayward person … who refuses to repent … and “tell it to the church” before expelling them from the fellowship.  This clergy was quoting Matthew 18:17 … translated (today) into English from the original Greek New Testament: “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.” (NASB)  The problem was his lack of proper exegetical analysis of the original Greek text.  Contextually, “tell it to the church” [τῇἐκκλησίᾳ] was understood to mean “to the rulers of the church” – not to some assembly of persons (in general).  In antiquity, the early Church Father and Archbishop of Constantinople – John Chrysostom (347-407 AD) – makes this clear in his 4th century commentary: But if he shall neglect to hear them also, tell it to the church, that is, to the rulers of it; but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be to thee as an heathen man and a publican.” (source: Homily LX on the Gospel According to St. Matthew)

Exegeses of Matthew 18 frequently overlook the contextual fact that Jesus is not speaking (general) to the multitude, but (specifically) to the disciples (18:1) … whose successors were the hierarchs and presbyters of the church.  All of Matthew 18:15-20 pertains to the Apostles and their successors – not anyone whosoever claims to be a Christian or the whole assembly of believers.  The church leaders [elders] had the responsibility to administer church discipline by excluding the wayward person(s) from the fellowship of the church … with the purpose of causing him/her to repent.

Here’s the point: Never try to determine the meaning of a Biblical text without reading its context.  Always read a paragraph before and after.  Better yet, read the whole chapter or entire Biblical book.  If you don’t, this can create two related problems:

First, when you ignore the context, you don’t know what the author is talking about.  That’s a serious liability to figuring out what the verse in question means.  That’s because context - more than anything - determines the meaning of the text you’re reading.  When you ignore the context, then, you are ignoring the information the author is giving you to tell you what he’s talking about.  If you don’t know what he’s talking about, then it’s possible to misunderstand what he means.  If you misunderstand the author’s intended meaning, then you’re misunderstanding what God is trying to tell you.

Second, when you ignore the context, you are more likely to create new context from your life situation.  When you don’t read the text before and after a verse, you create a context vacuum that you are tempted to fill with your own life circumstances. Since context determines the meaning of the smaller unit of text, your own life situation becomes the new context that changes the meaning of the verse.

For example, many people read or cite Matthew 18:20 out of context.  They wrongly interpret that verse to mean that if two or more believers are together, then God is present with them. That’s not what Jesus meant, though.  Instead, He’s explaining how to handle a brother who sins.  You can tell because the verses before and after verse 20 (also known as the context!) are about church discipline.  Therefore, verse 20 should be understood in that light.  Jesus is telling us we need two or more people to properly judge a believer who refuses to repent.

Listen: The Holy Spirit not only inspired the Bible verse you’re reading, but He also inspired the context — the words before and after.  So, when you don’t read the context, you are simultaneously ignoring the Holy Spirit’s inspired context and overwriting it with your own life situation.  

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Don’t Support Komen Foundation

The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation is among the world’s largest breast cancer research organizations.  It’s the reason so many Americans know October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The Foundation also has the dirty little non-secret of sending hundreds of thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood each year.  In reviewing their financials (accessed 4/10/17) – Susan G. Komen is listed as a company that matches gifts to Planned Parenthood, and donated $465,000 to 11 Planned Parenthood chapters.

So what can you do to fund breast cancer research?  Skip around the abortion funding and send your money straight to cancer research unassociated with the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. 

Additionally, tell Susan G. Komen that if it wants your support, it can stop funding Planned Parenthood.  The breast cancer group claims that it doesn’t fund abortion; but every dollar that goes to Planned Parenthood for cancer research or any other reason helps Planned Parenthood end unborn lives.

Since 2012, Susan G. Komen has lost over $100 million in annual revenues from the public each year.  []  The reason is simple: It angered both leftist abortion backers and pro-life advocates when it first stopped, then restarted, its Planned Parenthood partnership, respectively.

I urge you to not support Susan G. Komen until it decides it wants to be a life-saving, not a life-ending, organization.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Monday, October 8, 2018

This Transgender Movement is Child Abuse

Children are reportedly being sold out to the transgender movement in many ways – including through the use of social media.  Young people are being bombarded with messages saying that it is perfectly fine to live as the opposite of their created gender; and too many parents are buying the idea. 

In fact, there are reports of doctors surgically removing breasts of 13-year-old girls who contend that they were born into the wrong body.  Dr. Michelle Cretella of the American College of Pediatricians told OneNewsNow that such medical practices constitute outright child abuse.  The medical expert argues that no one is born trapped in the wrong body.  “These children who feel like they don’t belong in their sex – this is a sign of an underlying mental disorder,” Cretella asserted.  “Could be trauma, depression, anxiety – something else in the child’s life, either in the past or the present, is triggering this.”

A considerable number of youths are encouraged through social contagion – in other words, peers encouraging it, what they are being taught in school and also social media sites that they frequent.  “Many of these sites have pages that are maintained by adult transgender activists who convince these kids that what they need to be happy are hormones and surgeries so that they can impersonate the opposite sex,” Cretella asserted.  The pediatrician contends that in actuality, a young person with a transgender state of mind needs psychological counseling to align with their born gender – not surgery and hormone treatment.  Cretella went on to add that parents need to become better educated, have conversations with their children and not allow themselves to be fooled, as well as come to the understanding that most kids grow out of the condition as they advance into upper teens.

God created them - “… male and female …” (Genesis 1:27)

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, October 5, 2018

Satan – The Father of Lies

Lucifer promised more than he could deliver in heaven.  He offered his fellow angels the opportunity to dethrone God and rule the universe as sovereigns.  However, he had not the clout to make this happen.  Lucifer and the demons were found out, excommunicated, and destined for an appointment with the Lake of Fire.  Satan lied!

In the garden of Eden, in front of Adam and Eve, he twisted God’s truth and replaced it with his own.  He offered them the opportunity to distrust God and follow his lead.  He promised them they would be “just like God.”  But again he oversold.  Again he promised more than he could deliver.  In the beginning, Satan lied!

And on, and on, and on, it goes. 

Even Jesus was personally targeted by the devil.  [read Matthew 4:1-11] The Master then warned Peter about Satan’s ploys: “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat …. (Luke 22:31)

Peter would warn his readers about the Antichrist: Be sober-minded; be watchful.  Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)

Satan is relentless in his desire to diminish God’s glory.  However, since Satan cannot touch God, he sets his sights on those bearing God’s image.  But he has no power over God’s beloved children.  They are united with Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit, and they have nothing to fear in regards to the power of the evil one.  The Holy Spirit is their shield and strength.  Greater is the Spirit in them than the devil who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Christians are more than conquerors through Christ Jesus who loves them. (Romans 8:37)  Martin Luther presented the believer’s position well in his famous hymn: And though this world with devils filled should threaten to undo us.  We will not fear for God has willed His truth to triumph through us.  The Prince of Darkness grim.  We tremble not for him. His rage we can endure, for lo, his doom is sure.  One little word shall fell him.

But while Satan has no power, but he can still lie – and lie he does.  In the Apocalypse, the Apostle John presents Satan’s persistent job description: Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.” (Revelation 12:9-10)

He is relentless; night and day Satan never stops accusing the brothers; he never stops telling lies about those identified with Christ.  And what are the lies of Satan which we Christians are most inclined to believe?  The following is a good sampling of Satan’s non-truths:
  • God is not sovereignly active in His lordship over absolutely everything.
  • God provides full pardon for sins, but He does not provide full righteousness.
  • God graciously does His part and expects man to perform and earn his own righteous credit.
  • God responds to His children with justice; He shows more favor to those more obedient.
  • God is angry at His perfectly justified saints who are imperfectly sinful.
  • God has some measure of condemnation ahead for sinful believers.
  • God requires some proof of repentance before fully reconciling with prodigals.
  • God would have His preachers discount the Law.
  • God would have His preachers be cautious in the presentation of grace; people could abuse this concept.
  • God would have His children hide their sin … less they mess up their Christian testimony and hinder His Church’s growth.

Listen, Christians: The Holy Spirit does not time-share with your soul.  Since God has taken title and residence in your heart, Satan is persona non grata.  However, he can and still does lie; and if you heed his propaganda, you will be temporarily dispossessed of your freedom and joy.  Children of God, listen to your gracious Father; read the Good News (again); tell it to yourself, and then tell it to your sinfully troubled brothers and sisters.  It is by grace (alone) that we are saved and perfectly clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.  It is finished — our sin debt has been paid; our righteous requirements have been met.  All of Christ’s inheritance is ours.  All of Christ’s holiness is ours.  Do not give away your birthright to the devil.  When God looks at us, He sees (only) the beauty of His Holy Son … and it makes Him smile.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

TX AG Warns About Not Banning Churches From Rental of School Facilities

The Texas Attorney General’s office is warning the Austin Independent School District not to ban churches from renting facilities because their views might conflict with LGBT groups.

“The District should not make any changes to its facilities use policy that would prevent churches from renting those facilities on the same terms as other community organizations, lest it violate state and federal law,” First Assistant Attorney General Jeff Mateer wrote in a letter obtained by The Todd Starnes Radio Show.

Last August, Celebration Church began holding services at a performing arts facility owned by the school district.  The so-called mega-church is a well-respected and long-established congregation in the Austin area.  The church also holds to traditional and biblical views on issues regarding marriage and homosexuality.  “We believe that marriage is a lifelong covenant between a man and a woman, God-designed — and do not endorse or condone it in any other context,” Pastor Joe Champion told Starnes.  In other words, the church holds to a belief shared by thousands of other churches across the nation.  “Our focus is and has always been as what we do as a church – serving the community – spreading the Word of God based on the Bible.  And we continue to do that,” the pastor said.

Stonewall Militant Front – ATX – a self-described militant LGBT group – declared war on the church and demanded that the school district sever its contract.  And they made no secret that their number one goal was to run the church out of town.  “They think they can use their money to spread their hate in our city and our halls – we are going to run them out,” the organization wrote on its Facebook page.

The group has already protested and picketed the church during Sunday worship services – calling congregants “anti-LGBT bigots.”  “If bigoted churches come to town opposing the existence of LGBTQ people, the masses must organize and take the fight to the church doors and oppose their existence in Austin,” they wrote.

As a result of the LGBT group’s campaign, the school district has decided to reconsider its rental policies.  “I’m not in favor of renting to any entity that doesn’t support our values … and that’s full inclusion of our LGBTQ community,” school board trustee Ann Teich told the Statesman-American.  And trustee Jayme Mathias offered up a similar assessment, saying the church had “values that did not align with those of the district.”

Mateer said Celebration Church and other congregations have every right to rent school facilities.  “Excluding churches from a government forum or program due to their religious nature is odious to our Constitution,” Mateer wrote in his letter to the school district.

Pastor Champion read a letter Sunday to the congregation alerting them that the school district may be preparing to evict them based on the church’s religious beliefs.  “If AISD does, in fact, change its policies, the new policies may impact our ability to meet at the Performing Arts Center after the end of September.  Our Leadership Team is fully aware of the situation and actively working towards a solution following the guidance provided by the Texas Attorney General … in a letter to the AISD,” the letter read.  The attorney general’s office said the school district is “targeting Celebration Church for discriminatory treatment.”  “The District’s proposal to exclude churches with traditional beliefs about marriage, while allowing churches that agree with same-sex marriage to continue renting its facility smacks of denominational preference, and is unconstitutional,” he wrote.

Pastor Champion said the focus of their church is to share the love of Jesus Christ with their community.  And he rejected any accusations that the mega-church is homophobic.  “God called us to love everyone and we welcome everyone in the community to attend our church,” he told Starnes.

And yet a militant, anti-Christian mob wants to run this church out of town.  Starnes said, “The war on religious liberty wages on, friends.  They say everything is bigger in Texas – and I reckon that includes hate and bigotry, too.”

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Monday, October 1, 2018

HI Court Strikes Down Pro-Life Promo of Abortion

A federal district court struck down a Hawaii law last week that required pro-life pregnancy centers to post information about a state agency that provides abortion referrals and funding.

Pregnancy centers would have been required to post signs informing their clients that the state of Hawaii “has public programs that provide immediate free or low-cost access to comprehensive family planning services” … including abortion.

In Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor v. Suzuki, attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) challenged the law on behalf of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor’s pregnancy center, “A Place for Women in Waipio,” and five pregnancy center affiliates with the National Institute of Family and Life Advocates (NIFLA).

In June the U.S. Supreme Court (SCOTUS) sided in a 5-4 ruling with pro-life pregnancy centers in the case NIFLA v. Becerra … arguing that the similar California law violated the groups’ right to free speech.  “By requiring petitioners to inform women how they can obtain state-subsidized abortions — at the same time petitioners try to dissuade women from choosing that option — the licensed notice plainly ‘alters the content’ of petitioners’ speech,” SCOTUS Justice Clarence Thomas noted in the majority opinion.  “It does appear that viewpoint discrimination is inherent in the design and structure of this Act,” then-Justice Kennedy commented in his concurring opinion.  “This law is a paradigmatic example of the serious threat presented when government seeks to impose its own message in the place of individual speech, thought, and expression.”

In light of the SCOTUS’s ruling in NIFLA, District Court Judge Derrick K. Watson declared the compelled speech portion of the law unconstitutional and permanently enjoined Hawaii from enforcing it.

“Hawaii’s law was particularly egregious,” NIFLA President Thomas Glessner said.  “Not only did it force pro-life pregnancy centers to promote abortion, it also compelled a church to promote abortion inside its building.  The state of Hawaii has acknowledged that its attempt to force pro-life centers and churches to advertise its abortion agenda was unconstitutional.  This case constitutes a major victory for free speech and freedom of religion.”

“Hawaii’s pro-life, nonprofit pregnancy centers offer free practical resources, information, and emotional support to women — no matter what choices those women make,” Derald Skinner, Pastor of Calvary Chapel Pearl Harbor and President of A Place for Women in Waipio, commented.  “We’re grateful that the state has backed off its unconstitutional attack on our ministry.  Our doors remain open and we continue to offer love, care, and compassion for all women and their precious little babies in our community.”

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, September 28, 2018

Warning to Those Who Pretend to be Godly

There is in each of us a dangerous temptation toward hypocrisy – to be one thing but to pretend to be another.  And Lord knows, there are many within the church – people who claim to be Christians but who are, in fact, unbelievers attempting to convince others (and perhaps themselves) that they are followers of Jesus Christ.  They are people who do not practice true virtue but who instead offer counterfeit versions of it.  Jude (verse 12) compares them to clouds without rain and trees without fruit … devoid of true goodness.

Here are five solemn warnings put forth by Tim Challies, to those who only pretend to be godly:
1. Hypocrisy Angers God.  God hates hypocrisy and hypocrites because hypocrisy misuses religion … taking advantage of its laws and decrees for self-advancement.  The hypocrite wants religion — even the Christian faith — only for the advantages he gains from it.  He fails to truly turn his heart to God and do good to God’s people; he carries Christ in his Bible, but not in his heart; he serves the devil while wearing the uniform of Christ; he will be condemned by God.

2. Hypocrisy is Self-Delusion.  Many hypocrites deceive themselves, thinking that their hypocritical deeds are evidence of true godliness or, even worse, that they have the ability to merit God’s favor.  The person who collects counterfeit money harms no one more than himself.  The person who piles up counterfeit godliness does the greatest damage to his own soul.  “If anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.” (Galatians 6:3)

3. Hypocrisy is Offensive to God and Man.  Unbelievers hate the hypocrite because he makes himself appear godly; God hates him because he merely looks godly.  Unbelievers are deceived by his veneer of godliness and hate him for it; God sees through that veneer and hates him for having no more than that.  The hypocrite loses on all accounts because he becomes the enemy of unbelievers and of God.  

4. Hypocrisy is Pointless.  The hypocrite may labor hard in this life, but as soon as he dies he will lose absolutely everything.  The only reward he will be able to enjoy will be in this life since he will certainly be condemned in death.  He may earn praise today, but he will receive only retribution at the judgment.

5. Hypocrisy Brings No Comfort in Death.  People who have only painted over their depravity with a thin veneer of counterfeit holiness will find themselves without hope and without comfort upon their deathbed.  Little holiness leads to little happiness.

Listen: Hypocrisy is an ugly sin and one that God despises.  Yet, I hasten to add, there is hope for the hypocrite and the words of Paul should ring in the ears of the hypocrite: “Do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” (Romans 2:4).  Those who turn to Christ in repentance and faith will be cleansed of every sin, including this one – hypocrisy.  And the Holy Spirit will indwell them so they can clean off that thin veneer of holiness and, instead, become truly holy.

As for those who truly believe, but still grapple with the temptation toward hypocrisy, let’s pray with Thomas Watson: “Lord, let me be anything rather than a hypocrite,” for two hearts will exclude one from heaven.  

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Recite Islamic Statement of Faith or Be Executed

Al-Shabaab militants executed two Christians in Kenya after they attacked a bus and forced the passengers to recite the Islamic statement of faith.

International Christian Concern (ICC) said that the attack happened when seven Islamic militants from the terror group stopped a bus that was heading to Garissa.  As they have done in numerous previous attacks, the al-Shabaab radicals forced the passengers to present their identification cards, and separated them by Muslim and Christian names.  They forced the non-Muslims to recite the Shahada – the Islamic statement of faith.  The two people, apparently Christians, who failed to recite it were executed on the spot.

“ICC is following up with the families of these two martyrs.  This group’s intense hatred and violence has caused massive pain for many families and friends of Christians like these two,” the watchdog group said.  “The Kenyan and Somali governments must continue to work to end the horrible atrocities that this evil organization commits and protect the lives of Christians in Kenya,” it added.

Kenya’s The Star also reported on the attack, and noted that, according to a witness, three people were initially tested by reciting the Shahada.  The one who was able to recite the verses was spared and set free.  One of the murdered men was identified by the name Joshua … believed to be a casual laborer based in Masalani.

Northeastern regional coordinator Mohamed Birik said that Kenyan forces are searching for the militants in a nearby forest.  “It is unfortunate that we have lost two innocent lives of Kenyans.  I want to assure that going forward, such an incident will not happen again,” Birik said.

Al-Shabaab – which is based in Somalia but continues to carry out attacks in neighboring Kenya – remains one of Africa’s deadliest terror groups.

In April 2015 the terrorists killed close to 150 students during an ambush attack at Garissa University College, where the militants separated Muslims from Christians before executing the latter.

In August 2017, the terrorists killed another four Christian men in Kenya’s Lamu County, beheading three and burning alive another.

The Ethiopian Air Force announced last week that it has carried out an airstrike against al-Shabaab in Somalia.  It reported that close to 70 al-Shabaab militants were killed, while two vehicles packed with weapons were destroyed.  Brigadier General Yilma Merdassa, Chief of Ethiopian Air Force, said that with the strike, “we achieved 100 percent of our plans” and prevented a possible militant attack on the Ethiopian contingent of the African Union Mission in Somalia.

Radio Shabelle noted that other counties that have sent troops as part of the African Union Mission include Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya and Uganda.  The U.S. has also been carrying out airstrikes to weaken and defeat the terror group at its Somali bases.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Monday, September 24, 2018

Christian Volunteers Are Walking the Talk in NC

Chaplains with the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (RRT) are ministering to people in North Carolina (NC) who have been impacted by Hurricane Florence – and more Christian volunteers are on the way.

Speaking last week on American Family Radio, Al New with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s (BGEA) RRT of chaplains said it doesn’t matter where one looks, there’s destruction.  “Homes are flooded and homes are off their foundation,” he added.  “Presently, the number of homes that have been destroyed in New Bern alone is over 4,300 homes and over 300 businesses.  It’s widespread here and everybody in the area of New Bern is affected by this event – whether they received damage to their physical properties or not.”

New said many people are still emotionally upset and looking for answers as to why things like this happen.  “A lot of them are saying: This has never happened before [or] I’ve never seen it like this before – and our chaplains come alongside them, love on them, and give them hope that things are going to get better through Jesus Christ our Lord,” he shared.  When asked how the chaplains are holding up?, New says, “At the end of the day, we make sure we are there for each other and that’s how we refresh and recharge for the next day.”  “We debrief each other at the end of every day and share experiences.  My role is to watch and observe our chaplains during that time to make sure everybody is doing well, physically and spiritually – but if not, I’ll intervene and we’ll go another direction.”

The BGEA’s RRT is also working alongside volunteers from Samaritan’s Purse who are helping with home repairs.  “The chaplains are there to stand alongside the home owner and just administer emotional and spiritual care,” New added.

If you wish to give tax-deductible donations to either or both of these Christian organizations, here are the links on which you can make donations:
Billy Graham Evangelistic Association
Samaritan’s Purse -

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Friday, September 21, 2018

Chinese Crackdown on Christianity

The Chinese government is cracking down on Christianity, destroying crosses, closing down churches, burning Bibles, and forcing believers to sign a paper renouncing their faith, the Associated Press (AP) reports based on accounts from pastors and a religious freedom monitoring group.

The move comes as the Chinese government attempts to demand loyalty to the state’s atheist Community Party.  “The international community should be alarmed and outraged for this blatant violation of freedom of religion and belief,” Bob Fu of the U.S.-based group China Aid told the AP.

Under President Xi Jinping, China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong, religious believers are seeing their freedoms shrink dramatically even as the country undergoes a religious revival.  Experts and activists say that as he consolidates his power, Xi is waging the most severe systematic suppression of Christianity in the country since religious freedom was written into the Chinese constitution in 1982.

Fu also provided video footage of what appeared to be piles of burning Bibles and forms stating that the signatories had renounced their Christian faith.  He said that marked the first time since Mao’s radical 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution that Christians had been compelled to make such declarations, under pain of expulsion from school and the loss of welfare benefits.

A Christian pastor in the Henan city of Nanyang said crosses, Bibles and furniture were burned during a raid on his church on September 5th.  One pastor, Ezra Jin Mingri, of the Zion church in Beijing said even his personal assets had been frozen by the government as a means of forcing him to comply before officials shut the church down.  Still, Jin said that will not deter followers.  “Churches will continue to develop.  Blocking the sites will only intensify conflicts,” he told the AP.

Jay Sekulow, President Trump’s attorney and Chief Counsel at the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), said the ACLJ is addressing the persecution.  “The situation for Chinese #Christians becomes more dire by the day.  We are working tirelessly to put maximum pressure on China stop the persecution,” he tweeted.

The country has roughly 38-million Protestants – a number experts believe will grow in the coming decades, making it home to the world’s largest Christian population.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

University Changes Discriminatory Policy

Ball State University (BSU) has changed a policy that led to discrimination against “religious, political, or ideological” expression and resulted in a pro-life student group being denied funding awarded to left-leaning political groups on campus.

The Indiana public school has agreed as part of a legal settlement to pay the university’s chapter of Students for Life the $300 that it was initially denied from the Student Activity Fee Committee (SAFC) earlier this year and has also changed its previous policy on student activity funding allocation.  While the SAFC grants funding to other political student groups – Feminists for Action, Secular Student Alliance and the LGBT group Spectrum – BSU Students for Life was denied funding in February that would have been used to share educational resources with pregnant and parenting students.  The funding was denied on the basis of the organization’s pro-life viewpoints.

A lawsuit filed in June points out that BSU previously gave the SAFC authority to decide which groups may receive the funding from the mandatory student activity fees.  Students affiliated with Students for Life had paid a total of more than $1,000 per year in student activity fees at BSU but were still denied access.  Students for Life accused the BSU student government of “playing favorites” and “stifling free speech.”

But now, BSU has altered its student fund allocation policy so that student activity funds will be made available on a “viewpoint-neutral manner.”  The new policy has now gone into effect.  “Viewpoint-neutral funding means that funding decisions are not based on a group’s point of view or message and funding will not be denied because the recipient of the funds advocates a particular opinion,” the new policy states.  “Viewpoint-neutral criteria for evaluating funding proposals may consider only factors that are not tied to viewpoints.”

Additionally, BSU has agreed to pay $12,000 in legal fees to the group’s lawyers at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).  “Public universities are supposed to provide a marketplace of ideas, but that market can’t function properly if university officials promote some views over others,” ADF Legal Counsel Caleb Dalton said in a statement.  “Ball State has taken some important first steps in eliminating the most blatantly unconstitutional aspects of their policies and honoring its intent to ‘respect and learn from differences in people, ideas, and opinions.’  We sincerely hope this serves as a catalyst to review all policies to maximize the free exchange of ideas at BSU.”

Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins praised the settlement.  “We’re encouraged that Ball State is reversing its discrimination against pro-life students,” Hawkins stated.  “Tolerance is a two-way street, and BSU Students for Life deserves equal access to funding and the continued opportunity to share their message of hope with pregnant and parenting students.”

Students for Life of America is the nation’s largest pro-life youth organization with more than 1,200 groups nationwide.  The BSU case is not the first time that the organization has had to press legal action against university and college administrations.  Last August, Colorado State University settled a lawsuit brought on by Students for Life after the school refused to give the campus chapter $600 to fund a pro-life speaker.  Students for Life was also represented by ADF in that case.  ADF has also come to the aid for Students for Life at California State University - San Marcos after the group’s funding request for $500 to host a pro-life speaker was denied.  ADF pointed out that the California State University - San Marcos provided nearly $300,000 to its Gender Equity Center and the LGBQTA Pride Center for expressive activities in the 2016-2017 academic year.  The Students for Life group was looking to provide some balance to the pro-abortion speakers the school had hosted in the past.  Last January, Students for Life at Queens College in New York City sued the school because a student panel refused to grant the group registered status. After filing a lawsuit, the school approved the pro-life group’s registered status.

Rev. Dr. Kenneth L. Beale, Jr.
Chaplain (Colonel-Ret), U.S. Army
Pastor, Ft. Snelling Memorial Chapel