Dealing With Bitter-Root Judgements

by Kenyette Mills

What Is A Bitter-Root Judgment? 

“Bitter-root judgments are judgments that we make concerning hurts that we have experienced that we have not surrendered to the Cross.”

Hebrews 12:15:

“See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled . . .

root of bitterness comes from unforgiveness and can lead to resentment that corrupts our relationships and our ability to love like Yeshua loves. Bitter-roots grow when we fail to secure God’s grace to forgive. Bitterness and unforgiveness are the driving forces behind re-occurring problems, patterns, and destruction in our lives.

We must forgive. As soon as we experience a hurt we must immediately turn that hurt over to the Lord so that we do not take on a wound. Two of the most important people whom we must forgive is our mother and father (Exodus 20:12).

Bitter-root judgments can be judgments that we made towards our parents because of hurts that we incurred during our upbringing. From the womb certain patterns are formed that opened the door for us to form unhealthy judgments and strong opinions of ourselves and others. Whenever we make a judgement as a result of the hurts that we incurred that we do not bring to the Yeshua we set into motion forces that will cause us to reap in kind the very same judgement that we project upon others. (Galatians 6:7-9).

“Through heartache, I have learned that my strong opinions and my two-cents are best left on the threshing floor. Whenever I am presented with a situation in which I could pass judgement on someone, I choose to withhold my opinion and pray for the person instead. In life we can either take on the role as an enforcer or an intercessor, I choose the latter.”

Not all of us, have had the best parental experience. Some of us have experienced abuse. Some of us have experienced abandonment and neglect. However, to honor our parents is to forgive them and to accept their humanity.

We all have our stories… Hurt is real. Pain is real. Yeshua does not dismiss the wrong done to us. However, we miss God when we demand vengeance…. “Well, you say someone has to pay”… Yeshua already paid. Yeshua covers the offense, the offender, and the offended with His precious BLOOD – and if we stay in His presence He will bring us to a place of lasting peace.

Romans 2:1-3:

“Therefore you are without excuse, O man—every one of you who is judging. For by whatever you judge another, you condemn yourself. For you who judge practice the same things. We know that God’s judgment on those who practice such things is based on truth. But you, O man—judging those practicing such things yet doing the same—do you suppose that you will escape the judgment of God?”

Identifying Bitter Roots:

Bitter-roots can affect your relationships and destroy your future. Often our wounds go down deep. Often it takes the Lord to reveal, heal, and uproot bitter-roots. Pray and ask God to reveal the judgments that you have made against your parents and against others. It may take some time. God will reveal what you need to know when you need to know it.

Look for patterns of fear, doubt, rejection, heartache, jealousy, or anger. These patterns may be from judgments that you have made against others. Notice situations where you repeat the same behavior over and over.

Some examples of bitter-roots that can indicate judgment toward your parents include: perfectionism, addictions, critical spirit, emotionally unavailable, hostility, manipulation, working continually, rejection, uncontrolled anger or rage, bitterness, rejection, and performance orientation.

I have been a believer for 30-years. I had a very abusive childhood. Over the years, God has taken me through layers of forgiveness. God has walked the winding path of wholeness with me. Every time I recall a painful memory, I release the hurt to God. It has been two years since my mother died. Although, my mother is not here to physically reconcile, I speak out forgiveness in my prayers. “I forgive you. I love you. I release you in love and redemption.” I have reconciled every hurt, pain, disappointment, fear, rejection, to the Cross.

“Bitter roots bring about bitter fruit. When we condemn others. We condemn ourselves. We Must Forgive!”

Luke 6:37:

Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Pardon, and you will be pardoned.”

How To Cancel Bitter-Root Judgments?

There is an old saying: “what goes around comes around” but God calls it “the law of sowing and reaping” (Galatians 6:7-9). We must REPENT, FORGIVE, & RELEASE! We are not to let the sun go down on our wrath. When we harbor resentment, we open the door to the enemy to reap a bitter reward. Yeshua has come to free us from bitterness and re-set our default.  Below are so helpful steps to help us deal with bitter-roots.

Confess your bitter-root judgment. Name whom you judged and what you judged them for. Pray for forgiveness, and repent and renounce your sin.

If others have judged your harshly, forgive them and release your pain to God.

Ask God to meet the needs that were not met in you as a child. Some of the basic needs for adults and children are unconditional love, acceptance, worth and value, security, recognition, nurture, emotional nourishment, and comfort.

Ask God to show you how this bitter root has affected your relationships with others. Pray for God to heal those relationships. Thank God for your answered prayers.

Prayer:

Father, I repent for not speaking life over myself and loved ones. Lord, please forgive me for misunderstanding the high calling and privilege of intercession and to speak words of righteousness – not doubt and fear. Father, please remove all bitter-root judgments that entered my life as a result of harshly judging others. 

Father, I ask that You uproot any bitter-roots in my life that entered through wounds of rejection. Please heal me of all the rejection, pain, trauma, shock, fear, terror and shame. Father, You have not given me a spirits of rejection, bitterness, or shame; but of love, power and soundness of mind. 

Father, please allow me to feel the depths of Your love. Please come and establish Your dominion of peace in my life and manifest Yourself in such a way that I will know that You are with me. 

Father, from this day forward, I shall walk in the light of Your love. You have filled every empty place within me. Your love permeates every area of my life. Father, I trust in Your MAGNANIMOUS power to rescue me, heal me, bless me, provide for me, protect me, sustain me, establish me, advance me, aide me, guide me, promote me, deliver me, and give me a delightful inheritance. In Yeshua’s name – Amen.  

Additional Prayer Resources:

Let’s go deeper in prayer. These powerful prayers and resources will equip us to ENTER and POSSESS the Land – and conquer the strongholds keeping us from FREEDOM and FULLNESS in Messiah Yeshua. Please CLICK HERE for powerful prayers and resources.

Additional Audio Resources:

CLICK HERE to listen to this life changing message on Dealing With Bitter-Root Judgments from Win Worely.

For inspirational resources, please visit: TheGodBlog.Org.

https://godinterest.com/2019/12/02/dealing-with-bitter-root-judgements/

 

 

Fossil Ape Skull Is a Game Ender

 

BY BRIAN THOMAS, PH.D. * | SEPTEMBER 17, 2019

A recent poll of college-age Americans showed that the single most convincing science-based argument for evolution is the lineup of supposed ape-like evolutionary ancestors of mankind.1 But epidemic disagreement among researchers over the relevance and position of every thus-far-proposed human ancestor undermines confidence in this fluctuating and fragmented fossil lineup. Creation researcher Marvin Lubenow called it “the fake parade” in his book Bones of Contention.2 A new ape-fossil study adds even more reason to decry this fossil parade as a fake.

Publishing in the journal Nature, a team of experts described a fossil skull that puts both a new face and a contradictory age onto an extinct ape variety previously known only from teeth and bone fragments.The team discovered the fossil in 2016 in the Afar region of Ethiopia. Early on, they recognized it as an australopithecine ape, but after analysis, they assigned it to the species anamensis.

Australopithecus anamensis supposedly evolved into Australopithecus afarensis—the most famous example of which is nicknamed Lucy—which some have asserted became humans. But many evolutionists see no anatomical link between this extinct ape kind and mankind. One zoologist admitted, “They are just apes.”4

Bible-respecting scientists see both Australopith varieties as members of the same created ape kind—now extinct. From this perspective, they would have lived at the same time but perhaps in different places, much like the two chimp varieties on Earth today. The common chimp Pan troglodytes has a wide habitat range, whereas the more rare pygmy chimp (bonobo) Pan paniscus appears to only live south of the Congo river in the Congo basin.

The story of supposedly ancestral A. anamensis evolving into A. Australopithecus was easier to tell back when A. anamensis fossils occurred in rock layers below, and thus before, those of A. australopithecus. But this newly described A. anamensis skull received an evolutionary age that overlaps its supposed descendant by 100,000 years. Lead author of the Nature paper Haile-Selassie told the Max Planck Institute, “This is a game changer in our understanding of human evolution during the Pliocene.”5

Talk about an overstatement. Rather, this is a game-ender for merely the Australopith backstory of one of the many human evolution narratives. The long overlap in evolutionary time erases notions of an ancestor-descendant relationship between these extinct ape varieties, but leaves intact the Genesis-friendly model of variations within kinds.

References
1. Biddle, D. A., and J. Bergman. 2017. Strategically dismantling the evolutionary idea strongholdsJournal of Creation. 31(1): 116-119.
2. Lubenow, M. 2004. Bones of Contention. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 167.
3. Haile-Selassie, Y. et al. 2019. A 3.8-million-year-old hominin cranium from Woranso-Mille, Ethiopia. Nature. Posted on Nature.com before print, August 28, 2019, accessed September 2, 2019.
4. Lewin, R. 1987. Bones of Contention: Controversies in the Search for Human Origins. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 164.
5. A face for Lucy’s ancestor. Max Planck Institute. Posted on mpg.de August 28, 2019, accessed September 2, 2019.

Stage image: cranium of Australopithecus anamensis
Stage image credit: Copyright © Dale Omori, Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Adapted for use in accordance with federal copyright (fair use doctrine) law. Usage by ICR does not imply endorsement of copyright holders.

Dr. Thomas is a Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.

https://www.icr.org/article/fossil-ape-skull-game-ender/

Simple things you Should do for your Marriage to Work

Tips That Make A Marriage Last A Lifetime

We all know that after the honeymoon, reality begins to sink in and things can easily take a wrong turn if not well handled. Marriage does require hard work and patience. It requires team work and intention to get things moving towards the right direction. The intentions to make the marriage work for the rest of your lives should be unanimous. Let’s take a look at some of the simple things you should do for your marriage to work:

Don’t Try to Change your Partner:

Most couples get smitten by what they see at the beginning of a relationship that they miss out on the important things that can actually ruin their relationship later on. They get caught up on the positive things about their partner and totally ignore the negative side. The truth is, when those negative traits begin to emerge more often, it becomes unbearable. You might think that you will change your partner and get rid of the things you dislike about them. That’s where problems begin because you cannot change the other person. You can encourage them into changing, but the decision to actually change lies entirely in an individual.

I’ve heard women complaining about their husbands habits, I’m sure they had noticed those habits when they dated. Sadly, they choose to ignore them and hoped for some changes once they live together and start a family.  They come and remain as is, unless they decide to change. Those imperfections become part of your life forever once you get married, Don’t start nagging your partner because of imperfections you clearly noticed before you got married. Besides, we all have imperfections, your partner may not tell you but nobody is perfect. If you want to see your partner changed, get down on your knees and pray.

Photo by Sarandy Westfall on unsplash

Know your Spouse:

Once you get married and start living under the same roof with a new housemate. You start to realize that your time and self no longer belongs to you alone which is challenging.  Some people think that going out on a date is not a priority anymore because you see each other everyday. But for a person whose love language is spending quality time together, not being in able to do that outside of the home will make them feel unloved.

People show and feel loved through words of affirmation, giving and receiving gifts, acts of service, physical touch and spending quality time together. You should be familiar with your spouse’s love language. I have a friend who complained about his wife. He said that he took her on a vacation for her birthday, but all she did for his birthday was cook a special dinner. Well, she’s my friend too and had bragged about making him some exotic dishes. She gave her all because that’s her love language, but her husband missed the whole point.

Learn how to Stop an Argument:

I always say that two people living together as one must agree to disagree. Arguments will start and that’s normal, but never go to bed mad at your spouse. At the very beginning of our marriage, my husband and l would  get into heated argument, he likes to hold his peace and doesn’t say much when this happens. He would rather take all the blame just to end the fight. I was never very good at staying calm. Although I’m petite, my adrenaline levels are exaggerated. I guess I’m such a woman {smile}.

I used to go on and on about it until l get a hug, “it took a long time for that to happen”. Not until my husband noticed that when he hugs me everything evaporates. He mastered how to turn off my flares and end an argument. To balance things up, I’ve also learned that he dislikes being nagged so l stay off this female specialty. It is advisable to calmly discuss and solve the issue that started your argument. Don’t just swipe it under the rug because it will resurface. Issues don’t go away by ignoring them, it builds up and becomes significant over time. you can’t make something better unless you get clarification and find resolution.

Work on your Communication Skills:

Compliment your partner as much as you can, communication is not only for sharing problems and negative feelings. Avoiding sharing your issues with others , this includes family members. Sharing your issues might cause more harm than good in your marriage. Don’t vent on social media, the goal is to communicate with your spouse and not build a block. When you start sharing your marital issues with the world, some will laugh behind your back and others will throw you into a deeper hole with their advice.

Make God the Centre of your Marriage:

There’s nothing as peaceful as letting God take full control of your marriage.  Make a point of praying together and for one another. I noticed the tremendous changes that took place in my own marriage, when l quit trying to control things and put everything into the hands of God. If God is in your life, both of you will become better. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control will reflect in your lives. All the best in your marriage.

 

Original here

Humbly Coming Before Our Father

The Privilege of Christian Prayer

by Burk Parsons
Pastor, Sanford, Florida

As a local church pastor, I spend a lot of time in the community of central Florida, a diverse community that is composed of people from numerous backgrounds, cultures, nations, and religions. As I engage with them, I find that no matter what religion they claim or whatever religions they oppose, they all agree on one thing, namely, that everyone is a child of God.

When I hear people claim the universal fatherhood of God, I immediately want to respond by saying, “Well, yes and no.” Everyone is indeed a child of God in the sense that we are all creatures made in the image of God — we are “God’s offspring,” as Paul declared on Mars Hill (Acts 17:29). However, not everyone is a child of God spiritually, being born again by the Holy Spirit and adopted by God as Father through the imputed righteousness of his Son.

“We can always, at any time, day or night, cry out to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe.”

Although most people, even many professing Christians, believe that everyone is a child of God in a spiritual way, the word of God is undeniably clear that only those who are united to the Son by faith are the adopted children of God. These, and these alone, are those with whom Paul includes himself when he says, “Because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’” (Galatians 4:6; see John 1:12Romans 8:14–219:8Galatians 3:26).

Adopted into a Family

When Jesus taught us to pray with the words “our Father” (Matthew 6:9), he was not employing universal language to be inclusive of all human beings. He was teaching us something profound about God and our relationship to him — namely, that God is not merely a Father or the Father; he is our Father. When God adopts, he adopts us into a family. When we pray “our Father,” we are reminded that we’re not alone and that we’re part of a family.

God created us as human beings for community, and by the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit, he created us anew for the community of his family. For that reason, God calls us as his people to gather together, face-to-face, to worship him. When we come together in gathered worship every Lord’s Day, we are reminded that we are not alone, that we are a vital part of a living body, a covenant community of believers and our children.

That the only begotten Son of God would tell us to call his Father “our Father” is humbling. But for many Jews in the first century, it seemed arrogant. For them, it was extraordinary that Jesus called God his Father, as it implied that he is the Son of the Father (John 1:148:1914:7). Some scholars have argued that for Jesus to teach his followers to call God “our” Father would have been regarded by Jewish rabbis of the day as presumptuously conceited at best and blasphemous at worst.

Consequently, when Jesus rebuked certain Jews who rejected him, he made it abundantly clear not only that God was not their Father but that they were of their father the devil (John 8:39–47). They did not understand how God was not their Father because they did not believe that Jesus came from the Father. In their natural state before God, they could not believe because the Spirit had not given them ears to hear, eyes to see, or hearts to perceive that Jesus is the long-awaited seed of the woman, the long-expected Son of God (Genesis 3:15Isaiah 9:6). Moreover, in our natural state before God, we were enemies until God conquered us and made us his friends and adopted us as sons in Christ.

Welcomed and Blessed

God is our Father only by virtue of our being united to Jesus Christ, the Son, by faith. Through his resurrection, our brother Jesus demonstrated that he is the firstfruits of our resurrection, that he is the firstborn among many brethren, and that, united to him, we are heirs with him. It is fitting, then, that our Father has given to us all things pertaining to life and godliness through Jesus Christ our Lord (2 Peter 1:3–4).

“God is not merely a Father or the Father; he is our Father.”

Our Father is a gracious and generous Father who cares for us in ways that our fathers on earth cannot, and who thus disciplines us in ways our earthly fathers cannot, because he loves us in a way they cannot (Hebrews 12:9–10Romans 5:8). Knowing the innermost desires and sins of our hearts, he is able to conform us to the image of Christ in the precise ways that we uniquely need to be conformed.

Too often, we presume what our Father will not do for us or what our Father will not give us, and thus we never ask. We treat ourselves like orphans although God has made us sons. For when God adopts us into his family, he doesn’t merely call us “adopted”; he calls us sons. Mephibosheth was crippled and at enmity with his king; we were not only crippled but dead in sin and at enmity with our King and his kingdom. However, as David welcomed and blessed Mephibosheth, God has welcomed us and blessed us; he has brought us in and has made us able to recline and rest at his table to be washed by him, to dine with him, and to dwell with him forever (2 Samuel 9; John 13:1–20).

Hallowed in Heaven

Jesus also taught us that God is our Father who is in heaven, reminding us that our Father is perfect in his glory, that he is transcendent, and that because he is in the spiritual realm of heaven he is not far away but is near to us, ever present, and always ready to listen to us and commune with us (Psalm 145:18Jeremiah 23:23Acts 17:28James 4:8). Therefore, we are not to regard him as some sort of distant authority figure who doesn’t listen to us, who is never around, who is too busy for us. Rather, we can always, at any time, day or night, cry out to the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the sovereign, triune, and almighty God, humbly and confidently praying, “Our Father.”

When Jesus taught us to call on God as our Father, he also taught us to call on our Father whose name is hallowed. The self-disclosed covenantal name of God is Yahweh (Exodus 3:14). Recognizing that the name of God is hallowed, or praying to him as one whose name is hallowed, does not make his name hallowed. On the contrary, his name is, in itself, apart from us, by his own declaration, hallowed.

His name is set apart and sanctified by no greater authority or power than God himself (Hebrews 6:13). His name is holy because he is holy. His name is not like our names, his name is not simply what we call him, and his name doesn’t just describe him. His name is who he is: Yahweh. Thus, when we confess that his name is hallowed, we are not asking him to become something he isn’t; we are acknowledging who he is, we are affirming our reverence of his holy name, and we are praying that God would make his name known and revered as hallowed to others throughout the world.

So, whenever we pray, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name,” we can rest assured that he is our Father and that once he has adopted us, he will never leave us or forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6Hebrews 13:5).

Pastor in England Sues After Forced Out of Second Job Over Anti-LGBT Pride Tweet

 

Pastor in England Sues After Forced Out of Second Job Over Anti-LGBT Pride Tweet

An English pastor is suing his local public school after he was driven from his second job as the school’s caretaker for posting a message on Twitter reminding Christians not to participate in LGBT Pride events.

Ely, a town 14 miles northeast of Cambridge, was preparing to host its annual LGBT Pride Festival in June. Keith Waters, 53, who serves as pastor of Ely’s New Connexions Free Church, wanted to warn Christians of the dangers of such events. Copying and slightly modifying a tweet from Rhode Island Bishop Thomas Tobin, Waters tweeted on June 1: “A reminder that Christians should not support or attend LGBTQ ‘Pride month’ events held in June. They promote a culture and encourage activities that are contrary to Christian faith and morals. They are especially harmful to children.”

“The backlash was savage and swift,” reported Church Militant. “LGBT activists from Ely went ballistic and stirred up local residents in an attempt to drive the pastor and his family out of the countrified cathedral town.”

A local journalist and LGBT advocate almost immediately tweeted back, accusing Waters of attacking the local LGBT community.

The next day, council member Alison Whelan tagged the East Cambridgeshire police in a tweet demanding that Waters’ tweet be investigated as a “hate incident.”

On June 3, Waters made the front page of the Cambridge Evening News in an article that negatively contrasted his views with those of the local Anglican bishop, whose church flew a rainbow flag in support of the previous year’s Pride festival — an action the paper stated “did not represent a move from traditional church teachings on sexuality and gender.”

Waters acquitted himself well in his comments to the Evening News. Pride, he explained, “suggests something which is unbiblical is good. I’m not saying it’s not okay for people to be who they are, our view is everybody, unless it is who they are by Jesus and saved by Jesus, is none of us are the right people. We’re all messed up. It’s a case of loving everybody, but not necessarily loving what everybody does.”

That wasn’t the end of Waters’ troubles. According to a press release from Christian Concern, whose legal-aid arm, the Christian Legal Centre, is handling Waters’ case, the pastor “experienced a string of threats including his wife having to answer the door to funeral directors who had been sent to arrange his ‘funeral.’ [Real estate] agents contacted him, having been told he was moving from the area ‘in a hurry,’ and he was nearly knocked off his bike by an angry local resident in a car who wanted to remonstrate with him. False rumors were spread that Pastor Waters was a child molester.”

The ongoing threats to himself, his family, and his church led Waters to delete his tweet, but the persecution kept on coming.

At the time, Waters was supplementing his income from the church by working as a caretaker at the Isle of Ely Primary School. Waters’ last performance review called him “an asset to the school.”

Having received “a handful of complaints” about Waters’ tweet, including the ludicrous claim that he was threatening “violence” against Pride supporters, the school’s headteacher issued him “a final warning for allegedly bringing the school into disrepute and breaking the code of conduct,” wrote Christian Concern.

“As a result,” the group continued, “Pastor Waters believed he could no longer combine his roles as a Christian pastor and caretaker at the school, and decided that he had no alternative but to resign.”

Waters is suing the school for constructive dismissal (forced resignation due to a hostile work environment), indirect discrimination, and breach of public sector equality duty.

“Anyone who believes in freedom of religion and expression should be very concerned about my story,” Waters said. “This was an attack, not just against my Christian beliefs, but against anyone who dares to question these matters in public. The biggest concern should be that a story like mine is becoming normal.”

Indeed, noted Christian Legal Centre chief executive Andrea Williams, “This is not a local issue … but a growing intolerant and threatening trend towards, not just Christians, but anyone across the country who dares to oppose Pride.”

Sadly, the same can be said of many other nominally Christian countries, including the United States.

https://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/faith-and-morals/item/34268-pastor-in-england-sues-after-forced-out-of-second-job-over-anti-lgbt-pride-tweet


 

VA announces proposed rule regarding equal treatment of faith-based organizations in VA-supported social service programs

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)  proposed a rule, Jan. 16, that would implement President Trump’s, May 3, 2018, Executive Order (EO) establishing a White House Faith and Opportunity Initiative, to remove regulatory barriers allowing religious and non-religious organizations equal treatment in VA-supported social service programs.

The proposed rule ensures VA-supported social service programs are implemented in a manner consistent with the Constitution and other applicable federal law.

Under current regulations governing these programs, religious providers of social services — but not other providers of social services — must make referrals under certain circumstances and must post notices regarding this referral procedure. VA’s proposed rule would eliminate religious providers from this requirement.

The current hindrances were not required by any applicable law, and because they were imposed only on religious social service providers, they are in tension with recent Supreme Court precedent regarding nondiscrimination against religious organizations. The proposed rule will foreclose other unequal treatment of religious organizations by ensuring they are not required to provide assurances or notices that are not required of secular organizations.

By compelling religious organizations, but not secular organizations, to post special notices and make referrals, the alternative-provider requirements unequally placed impediments on religious organizations and cast unwarranted suspicion on them

Additionally, the proposed rule will clarify that religious organizations may apply for awards on the same basis as any other organization and that when VA selects award recipients, VA will not discriminate based on an organization’s religious character. The proposed rule further clarifies that religious organizations participating in VA-supported social service programs retain their independence from the government and may continue to carry out their missions consistent with religious freedom protections in federal law, under the First Amendment.

The proposed rule incorporates the Attorney General’s 2017 Memorandum for All Executive Departments and Agencies, Federal Law Protections for Religious Liberty.  That memorandum was issued pursuant to President Trump’s, May 4, 2017, Executive Order Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty, which guides all federal administrative agencies and executive departments in complying with federal law.

“Protecting religious liberty is a key part of ensuring Veterans, families and potential partners — no matter their religious beliefs — feel welcome to work with and seek services from VA,” said VA Secretary Robert Wilkie. “These important changes will help us accomplish these important goals.”

https://www.va.gov/opa/pressrel/pressrelease.cfm?id=5384

Texas commission sued for bashing justice of the peace for her Christian faith

Officials charged with violating Religious Freedom Restoration Act

A Texas justice of the peace is suing the state for punishing her for devising a solution to accommodate her Christian belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.

Judge Dianne Hensley initially refused to officiate any weddings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June 2015 that same-sex couples have a right marry. But in August 2016, she resumed officiating weddings and “politely referred” same-sex couples to willing local judges.

There have been no complaints about her system, but the State Commission on Judicial Conduct investigated and issued a “public warning” against the judge.

The case was filed by First Liberty Institute on behalf of Hensley against state officials. The legal team argued that the law in Texas allows judges to officiate weddings but it does not require them to do so.

When the Supreme Court established a legal right to same-sex marriage in 2015, most of the judges in Waco and McLennan County stopped performing ceremonies.

That forced residents to “travel further and incur greater expenses,” First Liberty said.

“To ensure those seeking to be married in McLennan County could be, including same-sex couples, Judge Hensley made arrangements with a local private vendor and her staff to facilitate weddings she, for religious reasons or just because of schedule, could not officiate,” the legal team said.

The complaint charges that the commission “violated the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act by investigating and punishing Judge Hensley for recusing herself from officiating at same-sex weddings, in accordance with the commands of her Christian faith,:.

“By investigating and punishing her for acting in accordance with the commands of her Christian faith, the state of Texas has substantially burdened the free exercise of her religion, with no compelling justification,” the complaint states.

“Because of Judge Hensley, anyone who wants to get married in McLennan County can get married,” said Jeremy Dys, special counsel for Litigation and Communications at First Liberty Institute. “For simply trying to reconcile her religious beliefs while meeting the needs of her community – ensuring anyone can get married who wants to be married – the Commission on Judicial Conduct punished her.”

The filing in McLennan County District Court states: “At her own expense, Judge Hensley invested extensive time and resources to compile a referral list of alternative, local, and low-cost wedding officiants in Waco that she provides to people for whom she is unable to officiate due to time constraints or her religious convictions.”

The options include a walk-in wedding chapel three blocks away.

The judge’s “referral solution” means that “many more couples – including same-sex couples – are able to marry than by the predominant practice of many public officials, who have simply ceased officiating weddings altogether.”

The complaint charges: “The commission’s public punishment of Judge Hensley – as well as its threat to impose further discipline if Judge Hensley persists in recusing herself form officiating at same-sex weddings – violates Judge Hensley’s rights under the Texas Religious Freedom Restoration Act.”

The lawsuit seeks to recover damages, costs and attorneys’ fees. Hensley also wants “a declaratory judgment that her referral system complies with Texas law, and that the law of Texas prevents the commission from imposing any further discipline on justices of the peace who recuse themselves from officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies.”

The commission’s preliminary charges claimed Hensley was violating the code of conduct for judges, which requires judges not to “manifest bias” based on religion, race, sex, sexual orientation and other factors.

But the commission’s complaint itself was based on Hensley’s religion.

Original here