7 Inspiring Habits for Christians with Anxiety Disorders

Cortni Marrazzo
Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer Sept 12, 2019

7 Inspiring Habits for Christians with Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders can be a hard topic to talk about in many churches and Christian circles. Some people equate chronic anxiety with a lack of faith and trust in God. However, many Christians who have a close relationship with God—and trust Him deeply—still experience high anxiety.

If you are someone who loves and trusts God, yet still regularly face anxiety, I want to encourage you that you are not alone. Hope is not lost. It’s possible to experience the freedom of Christ in your life, even when anxiety is persistently knocking at your door. I want to share with you, based on my experience with anxiety, seven habits for living well in the midst of struggling with anxiety:

1. Focus on the true freedom of Christ.

So now there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. And because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death. – Romans 8:1-2

To experience true freedom in Christ, it helps to recognize what that freedom really entails. The freedom we have in Christ is freedom from condemnation and freedom from the separation from God. If you struggle with anxiety, it’s likely you face a lot of guilt and shame from not doing enough or not being enough (or both). While this guilt and shame can easily overwhelm you, it’s important to remember that this is not how God sees you.

Experiencing freedom in Christ doesn’t necessarily mean you will ever be free from all the symptoms of anxiety on this side of heaven, but you can be free from being in bondage to that anxiety. Despite how you may feel and what you physically experience, you can always stand on the truth of God’s word that promises that God never condemns you and that you are always loved and accepted by Him.

2. Keep coming to God for help with your anxious feelings.

Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin! So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. – Hebrews 4:15-16

My own experience with anxiety has caused me to run to God a lot, because I find myself in desperate need of His peace to overcome anxious feelings. I used to try to numb my anxious thoughts with shopping, food, tv, social media…whatever I could do to temporarily drown it out. This was mostly because I felt shame about my struggles, and didn’t want to take it to God for fear of judgement.

I know in my mind that God doesn’t judge me in my weaknesses, but anxiety tries to convince you of things that aren’t true. Jesus was human and experienced anxiety Himself, so not only does He accept and love us no matter what, He can actually relate to our struggles! He was so anxious before dying on the cross that he actually sweated drops like blood (Luke 22:44).

When you are anxious, you are in need of God’s peace, and God tells you to come bravely to Him when you are in need. He promises that you will be treated with undeserved kindness and that He will help you.

Anxiety can cause us to feel ashamed when we are in need, but God actually created us to need Him!

back view of diverse group of adults linking arms around waists, walking forward together

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages

3. Embrace outside help in dealing with your anxiety.

Without good direction, people lose their way; the more wise counsel you follow, the better your chances. – Proverbs 11:14 MSG

It is very important to seek God’s help when struggling with anxiety, and sometimes part of that help may come from outside sources like a professional counselor. When my son was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, I found myself struggling with my own anxiety in trying to navigate how to help my son.

I sought out a Christian counselor who has since helped point me back to God’s Word, while also equipping me with tools and actions to help me physically train my brain to do what God had actually made it to do.

Counselors are trained in methods of dealing with anxiety that make changes at a physical level. They can teach us how we can help our brain recover from the fight or flight reactions that kick into overdrive when anxiety shows up.

Healthy habits like journaling, deep breathing, practicing mindfulness, and many others have personally helped (and continue to help) me when I struggle to get past anxious thoughts and feelings in my life.

4. Take care of your body.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

Exercise and diet are huge factors in helping anxiety. Running is something that has personally helped me immensely. I actually didn’t realize just how much until recently when my running partner went on vacation and I took a week off from running and found that I struggled with a lot more anxiety that week than I did when I was regularly running.

For me, when I run or do some other form of exercise consistently, it helps me eat less junk and eat more nutrient-dense foods. Exercise and nutrition have a big impact on your brain and can contribute to the levels of anxiety you experience in your day to day life.

5. Follow God’s leading on how best to tend to your unique anxiety needs.

The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life. I will advise you and watch over you.” – Psalm 32:8

There is a wealth of information out there and a lot of people advising those struggling with anxiety. While research, knowledge, and advice are valuable, it’s important to listen to what God is specifically telling you to do. 

Prescription medicines for anxiety disorders can be a controversial choice for some people, but I believe each person should follow God’s leading on this decision. Because an anxiety disorder is a medical diagnosis that stems from the way your brain is wired—and can be genetic—it is highly possible that you may benefit from a medication to help you. This is especially applicable if you’ve found that counseling, diet, exercise, and even prayer just don’t seem to be relieving your anxiety.

If you feel like you could possibly benefit from the help of medication, pray for God’s guidance in this matter, and don’t let fear stop you from at least talking to a counselor and/or your doctor about your options. God may lead to you this resource as a way to help you.

There have been a few times in my life where I’ve taken medication to help me through some particularly rough seasons. Before making that decision, I prayed about it and when I sensed His peace about it, I continued to trust that God would help the medication work in my brain.

I continued to seek God and use other strategies to help myself while taking medication, but I believe God used the medication to help me quiet my brain down enough to make those positive choices every day. More importantly, it helped me connect with Him on a daily basis. My hope wasn’t in the medication, but my hope was in God using it for good in my life.

a woman with her eyes closed and a grateful expression

Photo Credit: ©GettyImages

6. Give yourself grace when you feel anxiety.

Yet now he has reconciled you to himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result, he has brought you into his own presence, and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault. – Colossians 1:22

One of the worst things about anxiety is the guilt and shame that often accompany it. It’s easy to blame yourself for how you feel or feel guilty about it, yet experiencing anxiety about your anxiety is very easy to slip into. Have you ever struggled with any of these thoughts?

“If I trusted God enough, I wouldn’t be anxious.”

“Why do I keep struggling with this?”

“I’m just not good enough to get past this.”

Anxiety isn’t something anyone chooses, but it is something many struggle with. There are many different reasons someone may experience more anxiety than the next person: genetics, how your brain is wired, previous trauma, perfectionism, and many others.

The point is, it’s not your fault. You are not less than others, or less than God wants you to be because you struggle with this.

You are human and your struggle is part of your humanity.

7. See the good in your struggle with anxiety.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. – 2 Corinthians 12:8-9

Even though we don’t know for sure what Paul’s particular thorn was, we know it was something he struggled with. I don’t know about you, but anxiety sure feels like a thorn in the flesh to me because it’s definitely a struggle! But when I struggle, I run to God because I know He is the only one who can ultimately help me. This keeps me coming to God a lot, and as a result, I am growing closer to Him and growing in my faith.

Dealing with anxiety isn’t easy or fun, but it keeps you aware of your need for God and helps you continue to see just how much His power works through your weaknesses. And when you experience God and His strength more powerfully, you are able to share your experiences with and encourage others who are also struggling.

Truth is, even when you have to consistently face the monster of anxiety, you can still freely live out the two greatest commandments that Jesus gave: to love the Lord your God, and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30-31)


Cortni Marrazzo is the Communication Director at ONE* Church in Spokane, WA.  She and her husband Jason have two elementary-age sons, one of which has special needs. She has a Degree in Biblical Discipleship and has a passion for ministry and encouraging the body of Christ. You can contact her at Cortni.Marrazzo@gmail.com or on her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/CortniMarrazzo)

https://www.crosswalk.com/special-coverage/depression-suicide/inspiring-habits-for-christians-with-anxiety-disorders.html

Advertisements

Reality Check List for all Husbands – Reignite your Marriage

HOW TO REKINDLE YOUR MARRIAGE

The Key to a Happy Wife:

Husbands should understand the importance of emotional intimacy in marriage. This is the key to living with a happy wife. It is a well known fact that women are emotional beings, if you’re an emotionally unavailable man, your marriage will suffers from all directions. I know that maintaining emotional intimacy requires hard work due to the fact that men are not that emotional. But restoring emotional intimacy after it is lost can be a lot tougher than working hard to preserve it along the way. As a matter of fact, this is where all divorce process begins.

Validate your Wife’s Feelings:

To your wife, being understood means having her feelings validated and accepted. I know women can get overly emotional, which makes them hard to understand. But it helps to just bite your tongue and actively listen to her. “Pretend if you have to.”  It will magically calm things down and give you some breathing space. In return, she will feel loved, valued, and safe enough to allow emotional intimacy.

Marriage is Work in Progress:

Having strong emotional bond in your marriage relationship is important and worth the effort. When you take steps in the direction of strengthening this area it demonstrates your commitment to a long, strong and happy marriage. And that helps you become a better father and man, as well as being an amazing husband. If your wife is happy, it’s guaranteed that she will always desire you.

Photo by Lubov’ Birina on unsplash

Spend Time Together:

Your wife probably has a lower priority with marital intimacy than you. If you commit to meeting her other needs and desires, things will change. When you approach her for deeper intimacy, she wants to get together with compassion, not with someone who simply shares her mailing address. If you’re not spending time having fun together in all kinds of settings, she’s going to be less motivated with being intimate with you. Commit to spending at least 30 minutes of uninterrupted time with her. If you have kids, wait until they are in bed.

Put Away Devices and Take Her Out:

Making time to focus on each other without the kids or other distractions is critical to maintaining the sparks in your marriage. Deep intimacy in a relationship depends on the quality of human interaction. Electronic devices has greatly interfered with human one-on-one interaction. When you spend time with your wife, consider turning them off, look each other  in the eyes when talking. It creates deeper connection. Avoid the boring marriage spells by visiting different places together.

Spending time in pursuits you enjoy together can build good memories and experiences. Consider the things you did when you were dating, the ones that made you look forward to the next time you spend together. Remember those fan activities strengthened the bond between the  two of you. They played a huge role in your decision to put a ring on her. For this reason, you need to reintroduce them back.

Spend Time Away From each Other:

Although making time for each other in important,  time away from each other is just as important. Strong marriage relationships have two interdependent partners. Each one has a professional life or social life, they come together to invest in the marriage. Too much togetherness can be a bad thing if it deprives the marriage of the energy and experiences of interdependence. Take time to engage in some good self-care as a husband and allow your wife to do the same, and then come together as a secure and trusting partners. It is absolutely healthy to spend some time with other men. Time away allows you to appreciate your spouse more.

Make Her feel Safe in your Arms:

Your wife needs a safe and secure relationship. In order for her to engage with you from her heart, mind and body, she needs assurance that you will be there for her, that you are committed to her. There’s no short cut to this, for your wife, any physical intimacy has to be in full alignment with her emotional feelings. If you repeatedly do things that make her feel insecure, she will not allow herself to be intimate with you.

If you watch pornography or stare at other women, in her presence, you are being unfaithful. You don’t need to have an affair to be an unfaithful husband. The bible makes it clear that any lust for a woman who is not your wife is adultery.
Proverbs 5:18-19, TLB. “Let your manhood be a blessing; rejoice in the wife of your youth. Let her charms and tender embrace satisfy you. Let her love alone fill you with delight.”

“Thought for the Soul”

Often, couples don’t realize the signs of emotional intimacy withdrawal. One spouse may be blindsided when their partner announces that they want to leave the marriage. If emotional withdrawal can be avoided, then the worldwide divorce rate can decrease.

Original here

VIDEO The Immensity and Intensity of the Christian Faith – A deeper meaning to the crucifixion

SEPTEMBER 4, 2019 BY FRANCES ROGERS

Or, we might use the title, The Immensity and Intensity of the Gospel.
They are the same.

There is no Christian faith without the Gospel.

The Gospel is the means to a life of faith. It is more than just words spoken by men. The good news of Christ is more than men can ask and more than men can imagine. It is the revelation of the kingdom of God by the Spirit of God within the spirit of men.

It is meant to be experienced within the mind, the heart, and the life of men ~ beyond our own doing.

The Christian faith is different than any other faith. It is the only religion that addresses, deals with, and resolves the issues of sin and death.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ promises more than any other ~ promises we can trust ~ greater than any man could plan for himself.

Its immensity is little known because man cannot desire what he has never tasted. We do not taste unless we are drawn to and search God’s Word. The kingdom of God is the kingdom of the Christian faith to which the Gospel brings His people.

“It is the Father’s good pleasure to give us the kingdom.”
Luke 12:32

Who can describe such a kingdom?

The intensity of the Gospel and the Christian faith that excels through the Gospel is the working of the Gospel itself by the power of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of men. Yes, I am repeating myself. The Gospel bears repeating even as preachers continue to proclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 10).

It is not puny words of men that fall to the ground, but it is the power of God for salvation to those who believe (Romans 1:16). It is power to quicken those who are dead in their trespasses and sin, awakening their senses to their sin and need of a Savior.

The power of the Gospel is the good news of Christ raising the dead to life in Him.

And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power,
Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,
and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places,
Even when we were dead in sins,
hath quickened us together with Christ,

(by grace ye are saved;) 
Ephesians 1:19-20; 2:5

No minister, worth his salt, will throw out a dry bone to his congregation. Dead men need the meat of God’s Word to live. Those who have been revived ~ made new through the new birth of the Gospel ~ need the continual Gospel to grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ as we wait for the promise of eternal life in Him.

The man of God digs deep into the treasury of God’s Word and presents those treasures to his hearers.

The Gospel works its immensity within the hearts of the ministers of the Gospel.

They must be overwhelmed with the greatness of God’s redeeming love.

They must know the reality of a heavenly Father who, in the covenant of redemption, planned to sacrifice His own Son to secure our place with Him for eternity and the reality of His Son, in agreement with this covenant to sacrifice Himself.

What love! What sacrifice! ~ immensity of grace greater than can be comprehended by mortal men.

This should bring forth an intensity of the Gospel which the man of God cannot keep to himself.

He should be zealous, always ready to present the Gospel wherever He is called, to whoever hears.

Are there such ministers in the world today? Yes! I would not be writing on this subject if it were not so.

Our own pastor, Chris Strevel, is such a minister of the Gospel and the Christian faith. Preaching for thirty years, he holds Christ in the center of every sermon, continuing to unfold the treasures of His kingdom. My heart is weekly quickened, opened and enabled to receive the Good News of Christ ~ His grace and His glory. You can listen or view all his sermons on Sermon Audio. He is presently preaching through the Gospel of Luke and Exodus.

Another pastor, Ryan McKee, in Northern Ireland, is younger, but also preaches the immensity of the Gospel with the intensity of Christ. I began watching these services in 2016 when we were unable to attend church for ten months. Five hours ahead, their morning worship is at seven. Their evening worship is at two. Ryan is preaching through the Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s Gospel.

We have one among us here on WordPress from California. Check Jim’s blog here.

I mention these who are devoted to Christ and His Gospel as they serve God’s people. The Gospel and the Christian Faith are too valuable to take for granted ~ too precious to keep hidden. If you know other local pastors, please let me know.

We should pray for a revival among the ministers of God’s Word in our local churches. Some preach to the masses in conferences, etc. but we need daily, weekly oversight of pastors who shepherd God’s people in the name and power of Christ.

Gracious heavenly Father. Lay it upon the hearts of your ministers to draw near to you ~ to seek the face of Christ as never before. By your Spirit, draw them to your Word, fill their hearts with the zeal for the power of the Gospel. Enable them to proclaim your Word to your people. Open the hearts of your people to hear and to live the Christian faith Jesus died to give. In His name, I pray. Amen.
Fran

Five Lessons for Preachers  Charles Spurgeon

The Immensity and Intensity of the Christian Faith


A deeper meaning to the crucifixion | IN HIS DEATHS | The Book of Mysteries

Fix Your Marriage – There’s Nothing Better Out There

 

MARITAL PROBLEMS THAT LEAD TO DIVORCE

People with the greener grass syndrome think there’s something better out there than what they have. Individuals in difficult marriages often contemplate on divorce. But no matter how someone evaluates the choice divorce is not a tidy pathway to happiness. I don’t judge anyone who has experienced divorce, but l believe that divorce-minded couples should take things slow and consider the consequences.

Although l encourage couples to try and fix the existing problems. I’m not advocating that anyone in a difficult marriage suck it up and suffer indefinitely in silence. Any form of abuse requires immediate separation to ensure safety of the family. Relationships dealing with addiction or unrepentant infidelity require prolonged intrusive work to bring about restoration.

Let’s take a closer look at three of the simplest marital hurdles, that if ignored send couples searching elsewhere, and how you can overcome them:

Photo by Stephanie Liverani on unsplash

Trying to Change your Spouse:

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to see your spouse change and grow. We are like trees and growing is important and inevitable, unless we’re dead. But you can only change you!

You must be as concerned about responding to your spouse’s interests as you are with how your interests can be served. Instead of trying to make your spouse see things your way, try holding different perspectives. If you both view situations from different angles, you can combine your views for accuracy.

Always account for the difference between both of you. There’s family back ground to consider, gender, temperament, and cultural variations. There’s a reason God did not clone couples. His intention was that you and your unique qualities can work with your spouses unique characteristics.

Arrogance:

People who are guilty of possessing this trait often have no awareness of it. If confronted by feedback that suggests that they may be grabbing more ground than they are entitled to, they become defensive.

When dealing with such a spouse, you must cultivate in you the complete opposite of arrogance in order to influence him/her. You must have a humble spirit. Humility is one of the most important things a good relationship should posses. Afterall, since humility  is contagious, you might influence him/her.

Lack of Satisfaction:

Couples who ignore each other’s needs are more than likely tempted to go elsewhere. However, unmet needs is not an excuse for infidelity. The word of God to all married couples is, “Be satisfied with the wife of your youth.”

This is a clear indication that we should be content with our mates. For this reason, water your own grass to avoid the greener grass syndrome. Truth is, there’s nothing better out there. Create whatever your heart desires in the woman/man you married.

Remind yourself why you chose your spouse over anyone else. You evidently saw some wonderful qualities in them. Shift your focus to the best in them instead of their faults. The more you meet their needs, the more they will meet yours.

Most importantly, look at the person in the mirror, before judging your spouse. Hopefully you’re not the kind of person who thinks everyone is a problem. More often than you might know. The biggest problem can be eliminated if you change something about you. Good luck with your relationship. To learn more about building a solid marriage, read on how to save your marriage here

 

 

Original here

Veteran walks across country for suicide awareness

Tom Zurhellen is trekking 22 miles a day from Oregon to New York to help his fellow Veterans

A man with a hiking staff on a walking trail

Veteran Tom Zurhellen was hoping to write a novel this summer. Instead, he’s walking 22 miles a day across the U.S. to raise awareness about Veteran homelessness and suicide.

Zurhellen is a Navy Veteran who teaches English at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, New York. He’s breaking his journey of about 2,860 miles into segments of 22 miles a day. The daily goal matches an [outdated] number of Veterans who commit suicide each day.

“I had a year off [for] sabbatical and I was just going to write another novel,” he said. “But then I got this commander job at the Poughkeepsie Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 170. I’m a Veteran, but I had no idea how much support was needed by our local Veterans with mental health and homelessness.

“I figured if that was happening in my hometown, it had to be happening all across the country. So instead of writing just another silly novel, I decided to use my sabbatical to embark on this crazy adventure.”


A man and a woman pose together for a selfie in a coffee shop

Air Force Veteran Erin Ganzenmuller and Zurhellen


Maintaining the pace

Since leaving Oregon in mid-April, Zurhellen has doggedly maintained his 3-mph pace through all kinds of weather.

“It was 100 degrees in Sioux City, 98 degrees in Beloit, I hit a snowstorm three or four times, sub-freezing temperatures, so yeah, I’ve seen it all,” said Zurhellen.

His journey brought him along the Hank Aaron Trail, which winds through the campus of the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

He kicked off his walk through the Milwaukee metro area in a local coffee shop.

On hand to offer support was Navy Veteran Mike Waddell, who said he had learned of Zurhellen’s walk that morning on Facebook.

“I just figured I’d come down and show him a little love and encourage him, keep him going,” Waddell said. “I think what he’s doing is great.”

Erin Maney, a social worker at the Milwaukee VA, said raising awareness with a goal of prevention is extremely important.

“Every day, Veterans are getting the help they need. They’re doing it for real!”

“I think there’s a lot of media coverage when, unfortunately, there’s a Veteran death by suicide,” Maney said. “But there’s not always coverage when every day, Veterans are coming in asking for help, getting the help that they need, and going on to live meaningful lives. What he’s doing is extraordinary.”

Erin Ganzenmuller, an Air Force Veteran and environmental consultant, thanked Zurhellen.

“I think it’s an incredible journey to raise awareness for struggles that our Veterans face,” said Ganzenmuller, who also volunteers at Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. “It’s awesome that he came to Wisconsin.”


A group of people talk outside on a hospital lawn

Zurhellen at the Milwaukee VA greeted by employees and well-wishers


Never giving up

In the early going, Zurhellen thought about giving up, but those days are fewer and farther between.

“There was a time up until about a month ago, I was hitting the wall at about mile 15. And I thought, ‘What am I doing, experiencing pain? It would be so easy to go home.’

“But then I remembered the pain of the Veterans I’m walking for. The people who are dealing with mental health issues. The people who are dealing with homelessness.

“Their pain’s a lot worse than mine. I can go home anytime. It’s like I’m just playing at being a homeless Veteran, but they’re doing it for real. So, when I put in that perspective, it gets a lot easier.”

And with that, it was time for Zurhellen to hit the road and walk another 22 miles—a distance that to him means something far greater than just a number.


Jim Hoehn is a Public Affairs Officer at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center.

Photos by Benjamin Slane, Milwaukee VA Medical Center Public Affairs.

Original here


 

The Billy Graham Rule Goes to Court

A North Carolina sheriff’s deputy sues his former employer for religious discrimination after it wouldn’t accommodate his request to not train a female officer one-on-one.
DAVID ROACH AUGUST 20, 2019

The Billy Graham Rule Goes to Court

Aformer North Carolina sheriff’s deputy may be the first to file a lawsuit alleging he faced discrimination for his commitment to the “Billy Graham Rule.”

Manuel Torres, 51, claims in a federal lawsuit that he requested a “religious accommodation” from the Lee County, North Carolina, Sheriff’s Office, where he was employed from 2012 to 2017, after he was ordered to train a female deputy. The training included “the requirement that he spend significant periods of time alone in his patrol car with the female officer trainee.”

A deacon at East Sanford Baptist Church in Sanford, North Carolina, Torres “holds the strong and sincere religious belief that the Holy Bible prohibits him, a married man, from being alone for extended periods of time with a female who is not his wife,” according to the lawsuit filed July 31 in US district court.

The practice of not being alone with a member of the opposite sex other than one’s spouse is called the Billy Graham Rule in honor of the late evangelist, who adopted the policy early in his ministry to avoid temptation and accusations of sexual immorality. While some say the practice demonstrates integrity and protects marriages, others claim it can be discriminatory.

According to Torres’s lawsuit, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office allegedly vacillated between granting and denying the requested accommodation for weeks before terminating Torres “without an explanation.” Torres also claims a colleague “failed to respond” to his call for backup at a “multi-vehicle accident in an unsafe area” because of the requested accommodation.

Howard Friedman, a University of Toledo law professor who blogs about religious liberty at Religion Clause, said he is unaware of any other court cases involving the Billy Graham Rule but noted Torres’s lawsuit “is part of the growing number of cases in which religious freedom clashes with non-discrimination norms.”

“This is a public official who is invoking religious free exercise to avoid carrying out a part of his employment duties,” Friedman said in an email to Christianity Today. “In that context, it is similar to the long-running Kim Davis saga in which a Kentucky court clerk refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.”

He also noted “a parallel” to a case in which Washington State pharmacists were ordered to dispense emergency contraception pills despite their religious objections.

Robbie Gibson, Torres’s pastor at East Sanford Baptist Church, told CT Torres is “a man who is genuinely trying to walk his faith out in everyday life.” The Graham Rule, he said, is the “best approach” for avoiding temptation and guarding against false accusations of impropriety. Still, after news of Torres’s lawsuit broke, the church’s Facebook page was inundated with negative comments, including some calling the congregation “bigots” and “oppressors of women.”

“You cannot live in a #MeToo world” and “then force people to act and live in such a way that they can be accused without any defense,” Gibson said, as when an employee is told, “I’m going to put you out alone all night long in a car with someone.”

Vice President Mike Pence and former Mississippi gubernatorial candidate Robert Foster are among public figures to draw critique for stating they follow the Billy Graham Rule. Pence faced criticism in 2017 after a Washington Post profile of his wife, Karen, claimed the vice president never eats alone with a woman who is not his wife. A reporter for Mississippi Todaysaid last month it was “sexist” for Foster to ask that a male colleague accompany her if she wanted to ride along with him on a campaign trip.

Despite criticism of Graham Rule adherents, a New York Times poll found most American women and nearly half of men think it is inappropriate to have dinner alone with someone of the opposite gender who is not their spouse. About a quarter of those polled found it inappropriate to have a work meeting alone with a colleague of the opposite gender.

Torres alleges religious discrimination against his former employer as well as two North Carolina police departments—the Apex Police Department and the Silver City Police Department—which supposedly did not hire him after the Lee County told them about his request for a religious accommodation.

The lawsuit asks the court to award Torres $300,000 in compensatory damages plus more than $15,000 in punitive damages. The defendants have yet to file their responses to the suit.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act “requires a reasonable accommodation” in cases like Torres’s, according to Friedman. Yet a female employee who was denied training due to the Billy Graham Rule might also have grounds to claim discrimination on the basis of sex if her trainer was given an exemption.

David Roach is a writer in Nashville, Tennessee.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/news/2019/august/billy-graham-rule-sheriff-north-carolina-lawsuit.html

Alabama curbs ‘state meddling’ in marriage

Ceremony, officiant no longer required under new law

WND Staff August 31, 2019

The ripples from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision creating same-sex marriage – a ruling the chief justice said was unrelated to the Constitution – continue to be felt.

One of the biggest impacts has been the prosecution of Christian florists, photographers and cake bakers who decline to promote same-sex marriage because of their religious beliefs.

Alabama lawmakers apparently have had enough.

A law went into effect Friday that eliminates the state’s role in approving marriages, making it largely a record-keeper.

AL.com reported the law makes obtaining a marriage license as simple as filling out a state form and returning it.

No ceremony or signature by an officiant, such as a minister or judge, is required. Applicants simply put their names on the form, have it notarized and return it.

At the Tenth Amendment Center blog, Mike Maharrey said that while the change in the law “may seem like semantics, it is quite significant.”

“It ends the requirement to get state permission before getting married. The state will now record signed contracts between consenting individuals. In effect, it removes the state from the approval process and relegates it to a mere record-keeper,” he said.

He pointed out the law will maintain a few state requirements governing marriage.

“Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 still must obtain parental permission before applying to record a marriage, the state will not record a marriage if either party was already married, and the parties cannot be related by blood or adoption as already stipulated in state law.”

But civil or religious ceremonies will no longer be required.

Maharrey said the law is “a step toward returning to the traditional Western custom in which the state had little to no involvement in marriage, even though it was a legal contract as well as a religious institution.”

“Marriage in medieval Europe technically fell under the legal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, with priests officiating weddings at the door of the community church,” he noted. “However, it was ultimately a private arrangement that did not require a third party in order to be considered legitimate.”

He noted the state’s role in defining and regulating marriage “has become a contentious issue and places a burden on government officials torn between the legal requirements of their jobs and their personal religious convictions.”

“By limiting the state’s role in marriage, the legislation will allow Alabamans to structure their personal relationships as they see fit without interference or approval from the government.”

He said that that removing “state meddling in marriage will render void the edicts of federal judges that have overturned state laws defining the institution.”

“The founding generation never envisioned unelected judges issuing ex-cathedra pronouncements regarding the definition of social institutions, and the Constitution delegates the federal judiciary no authority to do so.”

Original here