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Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News June 22, 2009
 
Congressmen
Blunt, Akin Condemn Ban on Religious Programming
 
Missouri Congressmen Roy Blunt and Todd Akin have voiced their objections to a decision by the Public Broadcasting System to ban religious programming on its stations.  The Board of Directors of PBS have voted to enforce a policy prohibiting any "sectarian" content on any of their affiliate stations, which number more than 350 across the country.  Some PBS stations have carried local religious services aimed at shut-in audiences unable to attend a church of their choice.  A PBS spokesman said such programming "would cause the public's trust in PBS to erode, along with the value of the brand."  Blunt and Akin signed on to a letter with 37 other members of Congress opposing the decision.  They called the action "wrong-headed and unnecessary."  They went on to say: "There is simply no compelling reason for punishing these stations by forcing them to choose between programming that many depend on, including the disabled and elderly, who are not able to make it in person to church services, and the PBS affiliation."  PBS has now decided to exempt current religious broadcasts from the ban, but prohibit any new religious programming.    
 
House Panel Examines 
Religious
Profiling
 
Missouri House Speaker Ron Richard has appointed a committee to examine the state's law enforcement intelligence procedures.  Members of the committee are raising questions as to whether state public safety officials are engaged in political and religious profiling.  The questions are the result of a report issued earlier this year by the Missouri Information Analysis Center.  That report described what it called "the modern militia movement," and proceeded to profile groups it viewed as aligned with "the militia movement."  It described what it called right-wing extremist groups, including those with a "Christian identity," opposition to abortion and immigration, and involvement in "third party political groups."  Lt. Governor Peter Kinder sharply criticized the report at the time, saying "All Missourians should rest assured that we...should never have to fear being monitored by our government based on [our] race, place of birth, political beliefs, or [our] spiritual convictions."  Missouri Highway Patrol Superintendent James Keithley informed the committee that the Department of Public Safety has no plans to prepare similar reports in the future, acknowledging: "This report caused us a lot of harm and a lot of problems."  The state intelligence report was similar to a federal report issued by the Obama Administration that described pro-lifers and veterans of war as "right-wing extremists" who are "fueling a resurgence in radicalization." 
Essay Contest Winner Takes on "Sexting" Craze 

A St. Louis area high school student has won an essay contest for her article deploring the current "sexting" phenomenon.  Christiana Zipay, a student at Lutheran South High School, won the award for her essay entitled, "What's Wrong with Sexting?" The award was presented by the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families. "Sexting" is a practice in which young people send text messages to each other including nude, or semi-nude pictures of themselves.  Surveys have suggested that as many as 20% of teens have admitted to "sexting."Zipay writes:  "Sexting leaves scars...The purity lost by sexting may never be regained...The problem with sexting is that our bodies are meant to...honor and glorify [God].  If sexting honors or glorifies anything it is only personal vanities and lusts."  You can read Christiana's entire essay by clicking this link, selecting the St. Louis Regional Office, and going to the articles page:
Please be praying for young people like Christiana that they may be able to maintain their sexual integrity in a world that so vigorously challenges them to do otherwise.
       
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Judge Authorizes
 Christian Witnessing at "Gay Pride" Event
 
A federal judge has issued an order that members of a Messianic Jewish organization may distribute Christian literature at the upcoming homosexual "Pridefest" event in St. Louis.  U.S. District Judge Harold Autrey has instructed officials with the city of St. Louis to meet with organizers of "Pridefest" to instruct them that the dissemination of religious literature is constitutionally protected activity.
 
The St. Louis "Pridefest" is the annual gathering of homosexual activists and adherents which will be held this year on June 27-28 at Tower Grove Park in the city of St. Louis.  This is the 30th year for the event in St. Louis, at which participants "celebrate" and promote the homosexual lifestyle.
 
Members of the Apple of His Eye Mission Society
attempted to hand out Christian tracts at the "Pridefest" event in 2006, and were threatened with arrest by a park ranger, who said their actions violated a city ordinance.  That ordinance stated that "no person shall...distribute any...circular or handbill in or adjoining any public park, place, or square."
 
Leaders of the Apple of His Eye ministry, which is a Jewish outreach ministry of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, filed suit against the city, arguing that the law was a violation of their free speech rights.  The group was represented by the American Liberties Institute.
 
Judge Autrey issued a preliminary injunction against enforcement of the ordinance in April of last year, essentially agreeing with the claims made by Apple of His Eye.  He ruled that a city park is what federal courts have termed a "traditional public forum", and thus is open to all who may enter for "peaceable and Constitutionally protected purposes." 
 
Autrey added, "In these quintessential public forums, the government may not prohibit all communicative activity...The very essence of the Spirit of the First Amendment embraces the tolerance of various and even divergent viewpoints and opinions. " 
 
The city of St. Louis repealed the unconstitutional ordinance last month.  Judge Autrey has now issued a permanent injunction prohibiting the city from re-enacting any ban on the distribution of any advertisements, circulars, or handbills in or adjacent to any public place or public place.
 
"Gay pride" events such as St. Louis "Pridefest" are notorious for their flaunting of lewd and lascivious behavior.  That is why it is so disappointing to see major corporations sponsoring a community festival where a totally depraved lifestyle is "celebrated" and public decadence is on display.
 
Corporate sponsors this year include Macy's, Best Buy, Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Verizon Wireless, MasterCard, and Papa John's Pizza.  You may wish to contact these companies and let them know you disagree with their endorsement of conduct that God has called "an abomination."  You may also wish to evaluate your spending choices in light of these companies' declared hostility to Christian values.
 
The vision of The Apple of His Eye Mission Society is "to see Jewish people given the opportunity to consider the Biblical claims of Jesus as Messiah and respond in faith."  The name "Apple of His Eye" is taken from a Scripture in Deuteronomy 32:10, where it says that Yahweh guarded the People of Israel as the apple of His eye.  You can learn more about the ministry by clicking this link:  www.appleofhiseye.org
 
Please be praying for Steve Cohen and Alan Butterworth and all those from Apple of His Eye who will be spreading the Gospel message this weekend.  May they be both courageous and kind ambassadors of God's Grace.
 
Please also be praying for all the participants in "Pridefest."  While Bible-believing Christians are so often accused of "hate" by the homosexual community, most of the hate and intolerance by far is spewed by leaders of the homosexual movement.  Yet that does not warrant a hateful response. 
 
We must pray in sincerity that all those trapped in the homosexual lifestyle and all those trapped in any kind of sexual bondage can find freedom in Jesus Christ.  We pray that every child of God will value and choose the richness and blessings of Our Master's design for human sexuality and human relationships.
 
For information on liberation from the homosexual lifestyle, visit the website of Exodus International at www.exodus-international.org
  
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