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Missouri Family E-News December 21, 2010


Merry Christmas from the Missouri Family Policy Council!


We wish to extend our warmest Christmas greetings to you from the Missouri Family Policy Council. We hope that this is an especially meaningful time for you and your family as you reflect on the goodness and greatness of our God. We pray that this Christmas season is a time of pronounced peace and genuine joy in your household as you celebrate the love of our Heavenly Father in the name and person of our Savior Our Lord Jesus Christ.

It is easy for Christian believers to become discouraged in a world that seems to become darker and darker all the time. The continent that used to be a bastion of the Christian faith, Europe, has renounced the Gospel message and become virtually pitch black. Canada is not far behind.

Darkness continues to descend on the United States of America as our nation increasingly chooses to abandon the faith of our fathers. Ironically, the part of the world that used to be called (unfortunately) "the dark continent," Africa, is a place where the Christian faith is experiencing unparalleled vibrancy.

The Scriptures remind us that Jesus Christ is the Light of the World, and that this Light pierces the darkness. The darker it gets, the more piercing that Light becomes. Lights aren't nearly as bright at dusk as they are when all natural light has disappeared.

In the Gospel of John, we are assured that the light of Jesus Christ SHINES in the darkness, yet those in the dark will not understand it. In fact, men will love the darkness and hate the light.

We who call on the name of the Lord are called "sons of the light and sons of the day." We are told that "the night is nearly over and the day is almost here," and that we must "put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light." Jesus told his disciples: "Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. Put your trust in the light while you have it, so you may be sons of light."

Our prayer should be like that of David, who said (Psalm 18: 28): "You, O Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light." We are promised that God will give us His own personal lantern (Ps. 119:105): Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path." We must pay heed to the word of God "as to a light shining in a dark place."

Our charge, like that of John the Baptist, is to testify concerning the Light, so that through Jesus Christ all men might believe. We have the privilege to be ambassadors for Christ, sharing the Good News that every man and woman who receives Him and believes in his Name has the right to become a child of the Light.

As believers, we have a special responsibility to be true to the Light, for in God there is no darkness at all. "If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light...the blood of Jesus purifies us from all sin." (1 John 1:5-7)

The prophet Isaiah declared that "the people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned." We pray this Christmas that a nation increasingly walking in darkness and entranced by the "stars" of this world will be drawn once again to the bright star, the Morningstar in our hearts.

Regardless of the ways of the rulers of this world, we take comfort in knowing that there will be no end to the government and peace of the King of Kings, who is the Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:7)

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones from the Missouri Family Policy Council and all your friends at Focus on the Family.
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Federal Reserve Orders Bank to Remove Christmas Messages Officials of the Federal Reserve ordered an Oklahoma bank to remove Christmas messages from its banking facility in the small town of Perkins. Merry Christmas

Bank examiners from the Federal Reserve instructed officers of the Payne County Bank to remove all religious references from the bank because they might be "offensive" to the bank's customers.

Bank examiners from the Fed were making their periodic visit, which occurs every four years, to ensure that the bank was complying with federal banking regulations. The examiners objected to employees wearing buttons stating "Merry Christmas-God with us." They also challenged a "Bible verse of the day" posted in the bank's lobby and on the bank's website. They even expressed displeasure with Thomas Kinkade paintings hanging in the bank's lobby.

Bank examiners concluded, in Scrooge-like fashion, that the religious references violated "the discouragement clause" of Regulation B of federal banking regulations. Merry Christmas

That clause states that financial institutions may not use "words, symbols, models, or other forms of communication" which "express, imply, or suggest a discriminatory preference or policy of exclusion."

The Federal Reserve officials stated that the public celebration of Christ's birth might be offensive to Muslims, Jews, or atheists, and cause them to feel like they were the subject of discrimination. Bank officers were told that if they failed to remove the religious elements the matter would be referred to the Department of Justice for enforcement action.

Oklahoma U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe and Congressman Frank Lucas sent a letter to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke demanding that the Christmas messages be restored. Merry Christmas "This is an all-out assault on the faith, values, and rights of the bank, its employees, and the people of Perkins they serve," Inhofe said.

"It is absolutely ridiculous for the regulation to be interpreted this way, and it unduly discriminates against a person's faith in Christ and their constitutionally protected freedom to publicly express that faith. It is simply another case of liberals in Washington overstepping their bounds and intruding in the lives of individuals."

Not only were the federal grinches trying to steal Christmas, they were acting to deny the religious liberties of a business, its employees, and the community of Perkins, Oklahoma.

Upon receiving the letter from Senator Inhofe and Congressman Lucas, officials with the Federal Reserve backed down. Tom Hoenig, President of the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, advised bank officials that it was determined that the regulation does not apply to personal items displayed in the workplace.
Merry Christmas
"We have been advised by the senior officers of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank--after conferring with the Board of Governors at the Federal Reserve Bank in Washington, D.C.--that this matter has been resolved and we can, in fact, display religious images and phrases on our website and in our facility," reports Lynn Kinder, President Merry Christmasof the employee-owned Payne County Bank. "We appreciate the generous outpouring of support and prayers of Americans from all over the country."

The heavy-handed action by the Fed has been roundly criticized by bloggers and columnists across the nation. Michael Tennant wrote for The New American: "One might think that the Federal Reserve is busy enough with bailing out foreign banks, monetizing federal debt, and inflating the dollar into oblivion, but apparently that is not the case. The Fed somehow found time to micromanage the decor of an Oklahoma bank in an effort to prevent the bank's customers from being confronted with evidence that the upcoming holiday has anything at all to do with with a birth in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago." Merry Christmas

The actions by the Federal Reserve stand in stark contrast to the views of the average American. A recent Rasmussen survey reveals that 74 percent of Americans believe that religious symbols like Christmas Nativity scenes should be allowed on public property. The survey also found that 80 percent of Americans believe that religious holidays should be celebrated in the public schools.

Yet the champions of secular religion continue their crusade against Christmas and any and all vestiges of our Christian culture. Officials at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale recently silenced Christmas music being played from the university's bell tower. Merry ChristmasFor as long as anyone can remember, Christmas carols have been heard over the campus from the university's Pulliam clock tower. Yet that didn't sit well with the politically correct crowd on campus.

"We took the music off the clock tower as a result of some complaints we received that religious music was offensive to non-Christians," says Chancellor Rita Cheng. Merry Christmas "We want to be sensitive that there are people from all over the world on the Carbondale campus from many different religions, and we want to be more inclusive." When the Carbondale community reacted quite negatively to the Chancellor's decision, she restored Christmas tunes to the clock tower, along with selections from Jewish and Kwanza music.

All these episodes reinforce the importance of passing religious liberty legislation in our state and nation that protects the freedom of religious expression of everyday Americans. Our state and federal constitutions need to be amended to counter the erroneous interpretations of the First Amendment mandating so-called "separation of church and state." Merry Christmas This bogus constitutional theory has resulted in the expulsion of God and religious values from the public arena, and now it is even being extended to the private sector.

The Missouri Family Policy Council will be prioritizing the passage of a religious liberty constitutional amendment during the coming session of the Missouri General Assembly.
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