The Denver City Council is stalling consideration of allowing Chick-fil-A, an openly Christian based company, to open a location at Denver International Airport due to comments made by company CEO-Dan Cathy about his opposition to the LGBT community and his beliefs as a Christian, as well as the companies donations made to charitable groups opposing LGBT causes.
This is an absolute violation of the First Amendment as it pertains not only to freedom of religion and belief, but freedom of speech; it is a direct prejudicial and discriminatory attack on a business because of their religious (Christian) stance.
The First Amendment does not expressly speak in terms of liberty to hold such beliefs as one chooses, but in both the religion and the expression clauses, it is clear, liberty of belief is the foundation of the liberty to practice what religion one chooses and to express oneself as one chooses. 169”If there is any fixed star in our constitutional constellation, it is that no official, high or petty, can prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion or force citizens to confess by word or act their faith therein.” 170 Speaking in the context of religious freedom, the Court at one point said that while the freedom to act on one’s beliefs could be limited, the freedom to believe what one will ”is absolute.”
Despite ardent assurances from the concessionaires — who have operated other DIA restaurants — that strict nondiscrimination policies will include protections based on sexual orientation and gender identity, Councilman Paul Lopez called opposition to the chain at DIA “really, truly a moral issue on the city.” Robin Kniech, the council’s first openly gay member, said she was most worried about a local franchise generating “corporate profits used to fund and fuel discrimination.” She was first to raise issue with Chick-fil-A leaders’ politics.
While the Denver City Council delays its decision over whether to allow Chick-Fil-A to operate a business in its airport because of its “Christian values”, the city has become a hotbed of debate across America due to the recent undercover footage shot at a Denver Planned Parenthood clinic. At the center of the debate are questions about Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices and the harvesting of human organs for profit. Congress is currently scheduled to vote as early as next week on whether to pull federal funding from the nonprofit, while several states have already taken it upon themselves to pull their state dollars from the corporate health giant. Colorado Democrats recently voted down a bill that would’ve defunded Planned Parenthood in their state.
Are the same concerns over corporate profits being used to fund or fuel racial hate groups, radical terrorist groups, or other such organizations, being raised by governmental officials when considering other such businesses? What about those companies and corporations that openly contribute to groups like Planned Parenthood, which has recently come under Congressional investigation after videos of PP corporate CEO’s and others were released showing a blatant disregard for not only the law as it pertains to abortion practices, but a vile apathy for the babies as well? Perhaps Colorado views the rights of the LGBT community to be more important than those of an unborn child?
Colorado isn’t alone when it comes to what appears to be an unwritten “anti-Christian” stance. City leaders in Chicago attempted to block a new Chick-fil-A location for similar reasons three years ago, ultimately backing down after reaching an agreement with the chain. Mayors in both Boston and San Francisco vowed to fend off any foray by Chick-fil-A into those cities as well. It appears that if a Christian business owner wants to setup shop in any of these locations, it is best to keep your Christian beliefs to yourself.
Christian Pastor Behnam Irani was sentenced to six years imprisonment in 2011 for his Christian activities. He led a 300-member evangelical congregation in Karaj. He is now suffering from serious health problems, including internal bleeding, according to the advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.
Pastor Irani now faces the death penalty after having been charged with “spreading corruption on earth”.
Iranian President Hasan Rouhani has led a brutal crackdown on Iran’s Christian community, he and the religious mullahs are concerned about the spread of Christianity and the numbers of its Muslim community that have been converting to the Christian faith. The oppressed people of Iran seek hope, and the message of hope offered by the Christian faith is something that the Iranian government fears.
The treatment of Pastor Irani is nothing new by the Iranian government. Pastor Saeed Abedini, who is actually a U. S. citizen, and whose wife and two young children remain here in the states, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012 – sentenced to eight years in prison, reportedly on charges of undermining national security through his Christian evangelistic activities in Iran. He too has suffered at the hands of his captors, most recently having been beaten unconscious by Iranian guards when they came to a hospital where Pastor Abedini was being treated to return him to prison.
Hundreds of thousands of Christians around the world continue to pray for those being held in Iran’s prisons because of their faith. Pastor Abedini’s wife has spoken openly about her husband’s imprisonment, and has asked the federal government for help in attaining his release, even going so far as to meet with State Department officials personally. So far, Iran has indicated that they have no intention of releasing either Irani or Abedini from custody.
I hope that the Christian community here in the United States, as well as around the world, will continue in their prayers for these brave men and all of those who face persecution and death while standing firmly on their faith in Jesus Christ. Please, remember there families as well.
In Iran, a part of the world where Islam is recognized as the main religious belief, apostasy – or turning from Islam and converting to Christianity is considered a crime punishable by death.
As millions of viewers tune in to watch this years Super Bowl match between the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos, there will undoubtedly be those on both sides of the field who will not only cheer on their favorite, but who will pray for a victory over the opposing team. The Super Bowl, one of the most anticipated and widely watched sporting events in our nation, has always revolved around competition among players and fans, but in recent years it has become a competitive backdrop for another type of battle, the battle over religious belief. This year, directly across from Met Life Stadium, where the two teams will face off, a large billboard has been erected encouraging game patrons not to waste their time with prayer.
Advertisements bordering on the mundane, hilarious, intriguing and even ridiculous are nothing new to the Super Bowl, but this particular posting (paid for by The American Atheists) goes a bit farther than most by seemingly mocking the Christian faith and its values in order to promote the Atheist belief. Though this is not the first time that a religious message has been promoted during a Super Bowl, it does appear to be a first for ridicule or mockery of another groups belief on such a grand scale.
The question many are asking is whether or not the message goes too far. After all, in a society that seemingly promotes acceptance of anyone and everyone’s ideals, beliefs, lifestyles, and choices, why is it that Christians seem to be the target of so much ridicule and hatred?
By and large, most people watching this years Super Bowl will probably not see the billboard or its message, and those attending in person will undoubtedly have their thoughts on the game and not even notice it, but that does little to change the fact that what it is attempting to do is dissuade people from their personal beliefs and promote division at a time when our country has already suffered enough division among its citizens. Trying to promote and share ones beliefs is one thing, but attacking another persons, or mocking them in order to be heard, is nothing short of bullying.
In an American Atheists press release, David Silverman, the groups President said, “Prayer is superstition, plain and simple. It’s 2014; it’s time to stop believing that prayer works. Give credit where credit is due and celebrate what this is really about—coming together to cheer on hard-working athletes doing what they do best.”
The idea of an athletes hard work, training, and skill being responsible for his or her abilities is without a doubt true, but Christian believers might argue that the opportunities and skills that the athletes have and develop were given them by God. A great number of professional athletes admit to having faith in God and praying before, during, and even after games to ask for protection, ability, and to offer thanks. So what is wrong with this? If a person believes such to be true, why does the idea of prayer and thanksgiving seem to frighten or anger some people? Shouldn’t a person be able to practice their belief without fear of persecution, mockery, or other forms of abuse?
From a Christian standpoint, I will say that I do believe in the power of prayer. I have seen first hand what prayer can do, not just on a physical level, but emotionally as well. Even many Psychiatrists and doctors tell us that having a strong spiritual faith in God can help keep us mentally fit and emotionally stable. I cannot imagine going through life with nothing more to believe in than myself, because I am far from perfect. My belief in God and my faith in Jesus Christ is unshakable and it is something that cannot be taken from me. It’s unfortunate that events like the Super Bowl, events that are meant to be fun and exciting for our nation, are often places where some choose to inject their hatred and fear. I hope that all in attendance, and those watching around the world, truly enjoy the game. God bless America, and may God bless you dear reader.
“And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.”
– Matthew 21:22 (KJV)