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Joe Ortwerth's
 Jeff City Update
Missouri Family E-News November 2, 2009
 
 
Lee's Summit Schools Accused of Religious Discrimination
 
A Christian sports ministry is accusing the Lee's Summit School District of religious discrimination.  The Victory Through Jesus Ministry Foundation has filed suit against the Kansas City area school district in federal district court.  The group claims that the district refused to include fliers advertising the ministry's summer soccer camp along with other fliers sent home with students. 
 
The soccer ministry, known as "Victory Soccer Camps," is headed by former professional soccer player Goran Hunjak, who played for the Kansas City Wizards and the Kansas City Comets. Hunjak was born and raised in Croatia and came to know the Lord through his wife Gina. 
 
The school district says that it declined to include the fliers in the district's "backpack program" because Victory for Jesus was not on the district's list of approved organizations.  Yet the district approved distribution of fliers for another secular soccer program.  Michael Whitehead, a Kansas City attorney who will represent Victory Through Jesus on behalf of Liberty Counsel, says "a school district cannot arbitrarily come up with a list of groups."   
 
Liberty Counsel founder Matthew Staver adds that such an approach violates constitutional rights to free speech and public access.  "The government violates the First Amendment when it discriminates against certain after-school programs on the basis of the program's sponsor.  Schools are required to treat religious groups equally in all matters, including access to the channels of information distribution." 
 
 
 
Thank You, Pastor Greiner and Church Without Walls!
 
Many of you saw the full-page ad in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch concerning the abortion training program operated by Washington University and Barnes-Jewish Hospital in concert with Planned Parenthood.  The ad included information revealed by the Missouri Family Policy Council concerning the Family Planning Fellowship program, which trains resident physicians to become "experts" in the performance of abortions.  We wanted you to know how it came about.
 
We were approached by Pastor Todd Greiner of Church Without Walls in Marion, Illinois.  He said that his church wanted to take out the full-page ad to make sure that people in the St. Louis area were aware of this atrocity.  Members of his congregation raised the $23,000 cost for full-page placement in the Sunday Post
 
Pastor Todd has a longstanding passion for justice for the unborn child.  You may remember the picture taken a few years ago of an unborn child named Samuel who stretched his hand out of his mother's uterus and squeezed the finger of the doctor who was performing intra-uterine surgery on his spina bifida condition.  Pastor Todd and the members of another church he pastored at the time raised the $150,000 to place a full-page ad in USA Today with that amazing photo of life in the womb.
 
The mission of Church Without Walls is to put faith into action by making disciples and engaging society.  Pastor Todd believes we must heed the Scriptural call to be "the salt of the earth."  He says, "Salt doesn't do much good if it is left in the salt shaker."
 
We thank God for people like Todd Greiner and the church family of Church Without Walls for being salt and light to our culture, and for being "movers and shakers" for the Kingdom.
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Robin Carnahan Urges Consideration of
"Civil Unions"
 
Missouri Secretary of State Robin Carnahan has endorsed the concept of establishing "civil unions" in Missouri for homosexual partners.  A "civil union" is a legal relationship between members of the same sex that is essentially equivalent to marriage in that it grants the same rights and privileges under the law as marriage.  In other words, "civil unions" are simply marriage by a different name.
 
Carnahan made known her views on "civil unions" during a recent presentation at the Missouri University School of Law.  She was asked her views on the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which protects states from being required to legally recognize out-of-state same-sex "marriages."
 
Carnahan told the law students that she believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman, but that "civil unions are something we should consider." 
 
When pressed later for a further explanation of her view on "civil unions," a spokesperson for Carnahan suggested that the issue should be put to a statewide vote.  Linden Zakula, Carnahan's press secretary, stated:  "Secretary Carnahan says that ...
 
Missouri should be open to civil unions...It's something they should consider and it should be left up to the citizens of Missouri to decide."
 
Missouri voters made clear what they think about marriage in our state in 2004.  Voters approved a constitutional amendment saying that "marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman" with a resounding 71% of the vote.  Carnahan did not support Missouri's marriage amendment at the time. 
 
It is important to note that the language of Missouri's constitutional amendment on marriage does not preclude the establishment of "civil unions," as was true of marriage amendments in many other states.  As a result, the Missouri Legislature could establish "civil unions" in Missouri by passing a law to do so.
 
Carnahan has announced that she plans to seek the office of United States Senator in Missouri in 2010, hoping to succeed retiring Senator Kit Bond.  Missouri Congressman Roy Blunt and State Senator Chuck Purgason have also declared that they will file for election to the U.S. Senate seat as well.
 
Blunt has charged that Carnahan would support President Obama's efforts to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act.  "President Obama and Robin Carnahan want to radically change the country including one of the essential building blocks of the traditional family.  They oppose protecting traditional marriage because they prefer liberal judges to impose same-sex marriage."
 
"President Obama wants to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act," Blunt continues.  "Robin Carnahan would vote for repeal, just as she refused to support Missouri's vital constitutional ban against same-sex marriage. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and strongly supported Missouri's constitutional ban on same-sex marriage."
 
Where exactly Carnahan stands on the Defense of Marriage Act is unclear.  She told the University of Missouri law students that individual states should control the issue of same-sex marriage, and told another group that "states should be in charge of these kinds of things."  But whether she believes those states should be able to impose their definition of marriage on other states is an unanswered question.
 
Carnahan's campaign is being highly touted by Emily's List, the nation's leading pro-abortion political action committee.  That group recently announced that electing Carnahan to the U.S. Senate was one of their top five priorities in next year's elections.  Carnahan has been a strong supporter of legalized abortion, as was her father, deceased Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan.
 
On the subject of traditional marriage, we beseech you to focus your prayers on the people of the State of Maine as they head to the polls tomorrow.  Voters there will be casting ballots on a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman.  Earlier this year, the Maine Legislature enacted a law redefining marriage to include individuals of the same gender.  Voters will be deciding tomorrow the outcome of an initiative petition to overturn the Legislature's action.  Please pray that the citizens of Maine will preserve the integrity of marriage in their state.
  
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