Is Trump’s Executive Order n Religious Liberty Effective?

Recently, President Donald Trump signed an executive order on “Promoting Free Speech and Religious Liberty.” While some Christians praised the order, others expressed disappointment that it did not go far enough in protecting religious liberty. Here are four facts about the order:

  1. WHAT? An executive order is an official document, signed by the president, used to manage the federal government. While a president cannot directly create a new law or sign an executive order that violates existing law, he or she can use an executive order to specify how laws will be carried out or direct how a federal agency will carry out a task.
  2. WHAT DOES THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH COMMIT TO IN THE ORDER? The first section of this executive order announces the Trump administration’s intent when it comes to executive policy to “vigorously enforce federal law’s robust protections for religious freedom.” The order says, “Federal law protects the freedom of Americans and their organizations to exercise religion and participate fully in civic life without undue interference by the federal government.”
  3. WHAT DOES THE ORDER SAY ABOUT THE JOHNSON AMENDMENT? The second section states that all executive departments and agencies “shall, to the greatest extent practicable and to the extent permitted by law, respect and protect the freedom of persons and organizations to engage in religious and political speech.” The order also specifically states the Department of Treasury will not impose any tax penalties or deny tax-exempt status for any individual, house of worship, or other religious organization that speaks about “moral or political issues from a religious perspective” or intervenes in a “political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) a candidate for public office.”
  4. WHAT DOES THE ORDER SAY ABOUT RELIGIOUS LIBERTY AND HEALTHCARE? The third section states that the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Labor, and the Secretary of Health and Human Services “shall consider issuing amended regulations, consistent with applicable law, to address conscience-based objections to the preventive-care mandate” of the Affordable Health Care Act.

 

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Planned Parenthood names Hillary Clinton “Champion of Century”

Recently, former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was given an award from Planned Parenthood at the organization’s centennial gala. Clinton received the “Champion of the Century” award at Planned Parenthood’s “100 Years Strong: The Celebration of a Century” celebration “for her 40 years of service to women and girls in this country,” according to Planned Parenthood’s press release.

National Review contributor Alexandra Desanctis writes that, rather than serving “women and girls in this country,” Clinton has been a consistent champion of abortion.

Desanctis also notes that Clinton has already received the “Margaret Sanger” award from Planned Parenthood. Margaret Sanger, the organization’s founder, was a proponent of eugenics.

Clinton was also a driving force behind the Democratic party’s updated platform regarding abortion which is its most pro-abortion platform ever. The updated platform includes advocating for the repeal of the Hyde Amendment, which bans taxpayer funding of abortion.

Clinton has long held close ties to Planned Parenthood, as has the Democratic party in general. Desanctis notes that Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards campaigned for Clinton and her organization donated around $38 million to Democratic candidates in the 2016 election cycle.

Additionally, the work Planned Parenthood claims to do for women is highly exaggerated. The organization reportedly provides less than one percent of Pap tests in the country and less than two percent of the country’s breast exams and cancer screenings, despite its claims to the contrary. They do, however, provide 325,000 abortions each year.

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News In Brief

  • Andrew Snelling is an accomplished scientist and researcher. He is also a committed man of faith. Recently, Dr. Snelling, who works for Ken Ham’s Kentucky-based Answers in Genesis, submitted a request to Grand Canyon National Park (GCNP) to collect and analyze soil and rock samples, but GCNPdenied his request. In their denial, GCNP made note of Dr. Snelling’s faith, and not his accomplishments and experience, according to CBN News. Dr. Snelling reapplied and was given permission to collect samples from limited areas, but the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is still filing a lawsuit in federal court on Snelling’s behalf, alleging that he was discriminated against on the basis of his faith.
  • Oklahoma’s House of Representatives haspassed a resolution declaring abortion to be murder and calling on state officials to protect life at any state. According to The Christian Post, House Resolution 1004 states that “all human life is protected by God’s law and the highest laws of the land.” The Resolution calls on state officials at every level to work to support life, rather than allowing it to be destroyed via abortion. Although it is “a statement of policy and does not carry the weight of law,” lawmakers hope that it will support pro-life regulations already in place in the state.

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“Hand of God” Image Appears on NASA X-Ray

Religion and astronomy may not overlap often, but a new NASA X-ray image captures a celestial object that resembles the “hand of God.”

The cosmic “hand of God” photo was produced when a star exploded and ejected an enormous cloud of material, which NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, glimpsed in high-energy X-rays, shown in blue in the photo. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory had imaged the green and red parts previously, using lower-energy X-rays.

“NuSTAR’s unique viewpoint, in seeing the highest-energy X-rays, is showing us well-studied objects and regions in a whole new light,” said Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR telescope principle investigator, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Regardless of the scientific explanation, the image is causing quite a stir across the country.

The hand might look like an X-ray from the doctor’s office, but it is actually a cloud of material ejected from a star that exploded. NASA’s NuSTAR spacecraft has imaged the structure in high-energy X-rays for the first time, shown in blue. Lower-energy X-ray light previously detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory is shown in green and red.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/McGill

Religion and astronomy may not overlap often, but a new NASA X-ray image captures a celestial object that resembles the “Hand of God.”

The cosmic “hand of God” photo was produced when a star exploded and ejected an enormous cloud of material, which NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, glimpsed in high-energy X-rays, shown in blue in the photo. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory had imaged the green and red parts previously, using lower-energy X-rays.

 

“NuSTAR’s unique viewpoint, in seeing the highest-energy X-rays, is showing us well-studied objects and regions in a whole new light,” NuSTAR telescope principal investigator Fiona Harrison, of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a statement.

 

The new image depicts a pulsar wind nebula, produced by the dense remnant of a star that exploded in a supernova. What’s left behind is a pulsar, called PSR B1509-58 (B1509 for short), which spins around 7 times per second blowing a wind of particles into material ejected during the star’s death throes.

As these particles interact with nearby magnetic fields, they produce an X-ray glow in the shape of a hand. (The pulsar is located near the bright white spot in the image but cannot be seen itself, NASA officials said.)

Scientists aren’t sure whether the ejected material actually assumes the shape of a hand, or whether its interaction with the pulsar’s particles is just making it appear that way.

“We don’t know if the hand shape is an optical illusion,” Hongjun An, of McGill University in Montreal, said in a statement. “With NuSTAR, the hand looks more like a fist, which is giving us some clues.”

The red cloud appearing at the fingertips is a separate structure called RCW 89. The pulsar’s wind may be heating the cloud to produce the low-energy X-ray glow, astronomers believe.

The X-ray energies seen by NuSTAR range from 7 to 25 kiloelectron volts, or keV, whereas the energies seen by Chandra range from 0.5 to 2 keV.

The Hand of God is an example of pareidolia, the psychological phenomenon of perceiving familiar shapes in random or vague images. Other common forms of pareidolia include seeing animals or faces in clouds, or the man in the moon. Despite its supernatural appearance, the Hand of God was produced by natural astrophysical phenomena.

Follow Tanya Lewis on Twitter and Google+. Follow us @SpacedotcomFacebook and Google+. Original article on SPACE.com.

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Study: Only 17% of Christians Have Biblical Worldview

Research from the Barna group shows that Christians in the U.S. are “absorbing” non-biblical worldviews.

The study, conducted with Summit Ministries, found that only 17 percent of Christians had a “biblical worldview.” Instead, the study found “strong agreement with ideas unique to non-biblical worldviews among practicing Christians.”

The study showed that four in 10 practicing Christians were sympathetic to some Muslim teachings, 61 percent agreed with New Spirituality ideas, 54 percent could agree with postmodernist views, 36 percent agreed with some Marxist ideas and 29 percent believed some secularist ideas.

In one question asked in the study, about three in 10 practicing Christians said they strongly agree that “all people pray to the same god or spirit, no matter what name they use for that spiritual being.”

Younger people were more than eight times as likely to accept these “non-biblical” worldviews than older people. According to the study, men were more open to the ideas than women.

“The challenge with competing worldviews is that there are fragments of similarities to some Christian teachings, and some may recognize and latch on to these ideas, not realizing they are distortions of biblical truths,” said Brooke Hempell, senior vice president of research. “The call for the Church, and its teachers and thinkers, is to help Christians dissect popular beliefs before allowing them to settle in their own ideology.”

 

 

 

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