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Church

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Texas California
I distinctly remember being told, "This won't be pushed on you, or your family. It's just about consenting adults in private."

Pastors in Houston were quick to express their discontent with Houston Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Richard Carranza wanted to add LGBTQ studies to school coursework.

In a meeting hosted by the Houston Defender, Carranza said, “The LGBTQ movement in the U.S. has a history, and in many cases, many people would call it a civil rights history in terms of acceptance and in terms of who have been leaders of the movement.” He added, “I think its part of the American history. To include that as part of what kids study is just a bigger picture of who we are as America.”

To this, Rev. Dave Welch expressed his discontent with the proposal and stated that Carranza and all those supporting his idea are in fact trying to use classrooms “as a social experiment of a radical political agenda.”

“Carranza is an import from San Francisco, where this kind of propaganda that attempts to equate sexual lifestyles, gender confusion, and hostility toward the traditional family has become the norm,” Welch said in a statement. “The HISD Board of Trustees needs to remind Dr. Carranza that this is Texas, where the people of all ethnicities still believe that our children are to be protected, nurtured, and educated, not used as a social experiment of a radical political agenda.”

“Dr. Carranza, not in our city and not our children,” he continued. “The former mayor of Houston attempted to turn Houston into San Francisco with this same philosophy. Again, this is Houston, Texas, not San Francisco, California.”

Carranza, on the other hand, made it quite evident during his meeting that incorporating LGBTQ studies is only the beginning of the many changes that you would like to implement in the near future.

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Police

The Alabama Senate voted in favor of allowing a Birmingham megachurch launch its own security force. The proposed legislation will now move to the State House for a vote this week.

Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham has claimed that it needs its own law enforcement agency to guarantee its congregation’s safety. The state Senate Judiciary Committee gave the proposal a go-ahead last week and the request was then forwarded to the full Senate where it overwhelmingly passed with a 24-4 vote on Tuesday.

“The sole purpose of this proposed legislation is to provide a safe environment for the church, its members, students and guests,” church administrator Matt Moore said.

In addition to the 2,000 students and teachers who attend the k-12 school and theological seminary at Briarwood Presbyterian, over 4,000 worshippers congregate at the church regularly, according to a report by NBC News.

“After the shooting at Sandy Hook and in the wake of similar assaults at churches and schools, Briarwood recognized the need to provide qualified first responders to coordinate with local law enforcement,” Mr. Moore told NBC News last month, referring to the massacre at the elementary school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012.

Alabama law “provides for the employment of one or more persons to act as police officers at colleges and other private educational institutions,” he said.

Briarwood Presbyterian will be the first church in the US to have its own police force if the Senate bill approved on Tuesday, obtains approval from the state House and governor. This will open the doors to planned hiring of one or more persons to “protect the safety and integrity of the church and its ministries.”

“Persons employed as police officers pursuant to this section shall be charged with all of the duties and invested with all of the powers of law enforcement officers in this state,” a clause of the bill, SB 193 reads.

However, the bill has already garnered criticism from people who claim the effort challenges the US constitution clause that separates state from church.

“It’s our view this would plainly be unconstitutional,” the acting executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union, Randall Marshall, said in a statement to NBC News.

“Vesting state police powers in a church police force violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment,” Mr. Marshall wrote in a letter to the Senate.

“These bills unnecessarily carve out special programs for religious organizations and inextricably intertwine state authority and power with church operations.”

The Alabama House is scheduled to consider the bill Tuesday.

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devil-at-church

A controversial marquee in Chesapeake, Virginia, is shocking passers-by.

“Remember, Satan was the first to demand equal rights,” said the marquee outside Taylor Road Baptist Church.

It’s certainly an eye-catching message for a church to put out in front. Especially on a busy road, that runs right through the center of Chesapeake.

No one’s entirely sure what the marquee means: is it about gay rights? Women’s rights? Minority rights? Something completely different?

Pastor Mel Kunkle did not go into specifics when interviewed by local TV station, WTVR-TV.
But he did say the message means exactly what it says: it’s a reference to Satan’s attempt to be equal to God. It’s not targeted to any specific group.

Regardless, it’s been turning heads–and causing tremendous controversy in Chesapeake.

The response, for the most part, has been overwhelmingly negative. WTVR-TV reports that locals are “fuming.”

Terri Young, a local woman, was outraged over the sign. “When I drove by it. I wasn’t sure I read it right. So I did a U-turn.”

She read it right the first time.

“I was frustrated and angry at the time,” Young admitted, over what the sign said. “I mean, what is that teaching children then? It’s not okay to ask for equal rights?” she asked. “If you do, and someone else thinkings you should have them–that you equal Satan? I don’t get it.”

While the recent fights for equal rights–brought on by the gay community on the marriage issue, and by minority communities in places like Ferguson, Missouri, and by women in the so-called “War on Women”–it’s a strange message for a church to present.

While many of the equal rights fights are controversial in their own way–and deservedly so–the argument is not whether people deserve to be equal or not. In most cases, it’s the action that’s controversial–like abortion or gay marriage. But people having equal rights under the law is, literally, what our nation was founded on as a free republic.

Perhaps it comes down to personal interpretation: is asking for equal rights a good thing? Or does it make you Satan-like? Or somewhere in the middle?

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