Atheists to Distribute Literature at Fla. Public Schools in Response to Bible Giveaway By Katherine Weber , Christian Post Reporter

A Florida-based atheist group has recently announced its plans to  dispense literature to students at 11 Orange County public high schools.

Central Florida Freethought claims a Collier County court ruling allows the  group to dispense atheist-themed literature after the conservative group World  Changers of Florida, Inc. distributed bibles in the lunchrooms of these same 11  high schools earlier this week.

The Central Florida Freethought organization reportedly issued a letter to  Orange County Public Schools to refute its policy of allowing outside groups on  school premises, and vowed to dispatch similar volunteer groups to provide  literature should the policy remain.

“The county has invited people in now to do this, and what we need to do is  put the views of the biblical creationists into perspective with our  perspective,” David Williamson, an organizer of the Central Florida Freethought  community, told Fox News Orlando.

“It’s not tit for tat. Our effort is to ensure the county realizes this is  the wrong policy,” Williamson added.

Williamson added to the Orlando Sentinel that he would rather see the school  district modify its policies so that no religiously-affiliated group can  disperse materials on school grounds, but until then, his atheist organization  “[wants] to be on a level playing field.”

The Central Florida Freethought group is reportedly affiliated with the more  widely-known Freedom From Religion Foundation, and plans to distribute books  entitled “Why Jesus?”, “What is a Free Thinker?” and “Why Women Need Freedom  from Religion” at the public high schools.

On Jan. 16, volunteers from World Changers of Florida, Inc. distributed  bibles in Orange County high schools.

The conservative group earned permission to distribute bibles after it  successfully sued Collier County in 2010, when the county attempted to bar the  group from distributing religious material.

According to a memo previously provided to The Christian Post by Media Relations for Orange County  Public Schools, those who distributed the bibles on Wednesday followed the  guidelines of school policy, which included background checks on volunteers.

Additionally, volunteers could only participate in “passive distribution,”  meaning they can leave an unmanned display table on school grounds where  students would congregate, and may only be present at the tables to replenish  the Bible stock.

Diego “Woody” Rodriguez, general counsel for the Orange County School  District, ensured the Christian News Network that the policy will stand and  continue to impose strict regulations on what type of literature can be  distributed on school campuses.

“Anything that contains pornographic material, any references to advertising,  alcohol, tobacco, illegal drugs, or anything disruptive to school district and  their educational facility [is prohibited],” Rodriguez told the media  outlet.

What Are We Holding On To?

“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.”  —1 Timothy 6:12

Tolkien’s classic The Lord of the Rings trilogy came to life in recent years on film. In the second epic story, the hero, Frodo, reached a point of despair and wearily confided to his friend, “I can’t do this, Sam.” As a good friend, Sam gave a rousing speech: “It’s like in the great stories . . . . Full of darkness and danger they were. . . . Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.” Which prompted Frodo to ask: “What are we holding on to, Sam?”

It’s a significant question, one that we all need to ask ourselves. Living in a fallen, broken world, it’s no wonder that sometimes we feel overwhelmed by the powers of darkness. When we are at the point of despair, ready to throw in the towel, we do well to follow Paul’s advice to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life” (1 Tim. 6:12).

In life’s battles, let’s hold on to the fact that good will triumph over evil in the end, that one day we will see our Master and Leader face-to-face, and we will reign with Him forever. You can be part of this great story, knowing that if you have trusted Jesus for salvation you are guaranteed a victorious ending!

Though weak and helpless in life’s fray, God’s mighty power shall be my stay; Without, within, He gives to me The strength to gain the victory. —D. De Haan

The trials of earth are small compared with the triumphs of heaven.

“It Is the Lord!”

Thomas answered and said to Him, ’My Lord and my God!’ —John 20:28

Jesus said to her, ’Give Me a drink’ ” (John 4:7). How many of us are expecting Jesus Christ to quench our thirst when we should be satisfying Him! We should be pouring out our lives, investing our total beings, not drawing on Him to satisfy us. “You shall be witnesses to Me . . .” (Acts 1:8). That means lives of pure, uncompromising, and unrestrained devotion to the Lord Jesus, which will be satisfying to Him wherever He may send us.

Beware of anything that competes with your loyalty to Jesus Christ. The greatest competitor of true devotion to Jesus is the service we do for Him. It is easier to serve than to pour out our lives completely for Him. The goal of the call of God is His satisfaction, not simply that we should do something for Him. We are not sent to do battle for God, but to be used by God in His battles. Are we more devoted to service than we are to Jesus Christ Himself?

The Secret of Immortality

“‘Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, for I am with you,’ declares the LORD. ‘Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you. I will discipline you but only in due measure; I will not let you go entirely unpunished.’”—Jeremiah 46:28

This Torah portion for this week, Bo, is from Exodus 10:1–13:16 and Jeremiah 46:13–28.

Just as the Torah portion continued with the description of the fall of Egypt, the Haftorah describes another time in history when Egypt was punished again. This time, they were being punished for going to war against Israel. The prophet Jeremiah prophesized that Egypt would soon fall into the hands of Babylon and her people exiled there.

He told them, “Pack your belongings for exile, you who live in Egypt” (Jeremiah 46:19) and “Take your positions and get ready, for the sword devours those around you” (Jeremiah 46:14). Egypt was headed for disaster.

All of this did little to console the people of Israel because they were slated for a similar fate. They had already been warned that they would be captured by the Babylonians. They, too, had sinned and were deserving of punishment. When the people of Israel heard Jeremiah’s words, they weren’t comforted; they were afraid!

This is why the prophet ends with God’s words of comfort for Israel: “Do not be afraid . . . Though I completely destroy all the nations among which I scatter you, I will not completely destroy you.” This is God’s eternal promise to the Jewish people – He will never completely destroy them.

And even though all logic and statistics say that a tiny nation that has been expelled from its own country twice and has been persecuted for centuries should no longer exists, the nation of Israel lives. According to many theologians, the very fact that the nation of Israel exists today is proof enough of God and the veracity of the Bible.

In 1899 Mark Twain wrote:

“The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendor, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed; and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other people have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal but the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of their immortality?”

The source of Jewish immortality is no secret to believers. It is God Almighty. He says, “‘Pharaoh king of Egypt is only a loud noise” (Jeremiah 46:17), but Israel is forever.

As we look upon the modern miracle of the nation of Israel, let us remember that God keeps all promises and celebrate the fulfillment of them all.

Critics: Obama’s proposals wouldn’t have prevented Sandy Hook by Chris Woodward,Chad Groening,Jody Brown

Lawmakers and gun advocates are sounding off on President Obama’s 23 executive actions involving gun violence, as well as the dozen or so actions that he has called on Congress to approve.

Obama is taking 23 separate actions on his own, using his presidential powers, but says it is up to Congress to “make a real and lasting difference” by imposing new gun restrictions. His proposals, introduced Wednesday in the nation’s capital, include universal background checks and bans on military-style assault rifles. But he acknowledged he faces a tough fight to get those measures approved on Capitol Hill.

Indeed he might. Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) appeared Wednesday afternoon on Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch onAmerican Family Radio. The senator has issues with the approach being taken by the president.

“My concern still is whether or not he is going to usurp this authority and do it on his own,” said Paul. “We set up a country with checks and balances [because] we didn’t like the king to have all the balance of power — so we separated the power. In fact, one of the people we based this on was the writings of Montesquieu. He said it was very important to do this, or else you will have tyranny.”

Obama, said the Kentucky Republican, “has shown a tendency to go around Congress when he can’t get his way — and that worries me.”

And that is why Senator Paul plans to take some legislative action. “We’ll be introducing some legislation to try to rein in his authority to do things by executive order. That’ll be coming by the next week or so,” he stated. “We’ll also be looking very carefully at these executive orders to see if any of them go afoul of the Second Amendment.”

Appearing on the Fox News Channel this morning, Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) called the president’s actions “misguided.”

“Here’s my point: the impetus for all of this is the shooting in Connecticut, right? That’s what led to this — and yet nothing he’s proposing would have prevented Connecticut,” said Rubio.

“… It appears to me[that] this is stuff they’ve always wanted to do, and now this [tragedy] has created the political climate to pursue it — and it’s not going to solve the problem,” . Washington, DC, had some of the strictest gun laws in the country, and when they passed them violence skyrocketed.”

Texas Governor Rick Perry (R) agrees with Rubio, saying “very few of his recommendations have anything to do with happened” in Connecticut.

“Guns require a finger to pull the trigger,” Perry says in a press release. “The sad young man who did that in Newtown was clearly haunted by demons and no gun law could have saved the children in Sandy Hook Elementary from his terror.”

He adds: “… The piling on by the political left, and their cohorts in the media, to use the massacre of little children to advance a pre-existing political agenda that would not have saved those children, disgusts me, personally. The Second Amendment to the Constitution is a basic right of free people and cannot be nor will it be abridged by the executive power of this or any other president.”

A gun rights organization also is skeptical about President Obama’s 23 executive actions aimed at curbing gun rights. Sam Paredes is on the board of directors of Gun Owners of America.

“[The executive actions] would do nothing to impact crime, nothing to stop murders, nothing to stop the criminally insane from committing their atrocities,” he tells OneNewsNow. “So we are very skeptical and are prepared to challenge them any way we can, whether it’s in Congress or through the courts.”

Paredes and GOA feel several of the president’s proposals that were particularly egregious. “The so-called assault weapons ban and the high-capacity magazine ban; the mandatory background checks for all purchases — we think that those issues are the most egregious; a clear violation of the Second Amendment.”

Paredes says it is fortunate that Obama will not be able to put those severe restrictions in place without congressional approval.

Obama Praises National Religious Freedom Day, Conservatives Point Out ‘Irony’ By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter

President Barack Obama marked National Religious Freedom Day by  releasing a statement on Wednesday celebrating the event, although some  conservative groups have argued that his administration’s policies go against  that very freedom.

“Foremost among the rights Americans hold sacred is the freedom to worship as  we choose,” Obama began in his statement. “Because of the protections guaranteed by our  Constitution, each of us has the right to practice our faith openly and as we  choose. As a free country, our story has been shaped by every language and  enriched by every culture.”

National Religious Freedom Day is celebrated annually on Jan. 16,  commemorating the Virginia General Assembly’s adoption of Thomas Jefferson’s  landmark Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom on Jan. 16, 1786. The document  was essential for fostering the religious freedom clause in the First Amendment  of the United States Constitution.

In his statement, Obama reminded the nation that Americans of every faith  have shaped the country, and praised the pilgrims, pioneers and protesters who  have fought for abolition, women’s suffrage and civil rights.

“Each generation has seen people of different faiths join together to advance  peace, justice, and dignity for all,” the president’s statement read. “Today, we  also remember that religious liberty is not just an American right; it is a  universal human right to be protected here at home and across the globe. This  freedom is an essential part of human dignity, and without it our world cannot  know lasting peace.”

Some conservative groups, like anti-abortion source, have called Obama’s statement “ironic,”  however, and said that the current White House administration has pushed some  big laws that go against religious freedom, such as the Affordable Care Act  provision of Obamacare which mandates employers to provide contraceptive  coverage in their employees’ health plans.

Most recently, the White House administration announced it is challenging an  injunction awarded to Tyndale House Publishers, which publishes Bibles along  with Christian fiction and non-fiction works, arguing that the for-profit group  cannot be considered a religious organization and therefore is not exempt from  the Obamacare mandate.

“Our religious liberty and rights of conscience have been threatened like  never before under President Obama, who has mandated that employers must cover  abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans, regardless of their moral or  religious objections,” added Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie  Dannenfelser. “President Obama must first rescind his HHS mandate before making  any proclamations on the subject – this is blatant hypocrisy.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also called Obama out on the  contraceptive mandate and reminded him of Americans’ freedom of religion, not  just worship.

“Earlier today President Obama issued a proclamation declaring today  ‘Religious Freedom Day.’ However, the first sentence of his proclamation  emphasizes the sacredness of the ‘freedom of worship.’ I would remind the  president that the Constitution does not guarantee us only freedom of worship  but also the freedom of religion,” Perkins said in a statement. “The two are  very different. Freedom of religion goes further by guaranteeing the right to  live out one’s faith not only in the privacy of his or her home but in the  public square as well.

“While President Obama’s proclamation extols the ‘freedom of worship,’ his  administration has the worst record protecting religious liberty in American  history.”

During his 2012 re-election campaign, Obama stressed that he is very  dedicated to religious liberties, and the White House created a website called  “People of  Faith” that outlines the president’s promise to the nation.

“In a changing world, my commitment to protecting religious liberty is and  always will be unwavering. As American’s diversity grows, we have a chance to  reaffirm the pluralism that has defined us as a nation. A pluralism expansive  enough to protect the rights of all to speak their minds and to follow their  conscious,” Obama declared in a video message.

The website Religious Freedom Day offers a collection of all the  statements made on Jan. 16 by Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton  during their time in charge of the country.