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Thursday, October 6, 2011

The LCMS before the SCOTUS

Readers of this blog should be interested in a case on the docket of the Supreme Court. A congregational dispute about whether or not to rehire a parish school teacher after a leave of absence has worked it way up to the highest court of the land.

This is no longer about a local dispute. It has become about whether or not the Federal Government can impel a church to hire someone. The decision issuing from this case has the potential to overturn centuries of case law and could impair a congregation's ability to hire based on the life and doctrine of a particular teacher or preacher.

For a synopsis of the case, read this article in the Wall Street Journal.

For a transcript of the argument before the Supreme Court, read this PDF document.

Or, you may wish to follow this on the Supreme Court Blog.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pastor Yousef: The Tactics Are Changing

Reports as recently as Saturday morning indicate that Pastor Yousef Nadarkhani is still alive. These same reports indicate that the Iranian government seems to be changing its tune. While the original trial ran all the way up to the Iranian supreme court on the charge that Yousef left Islam for Christianity. Now the Iranian press is indicating that his death penalty is actually because of rape. Much is still unclear. Namely, whether this is a new formal charge or whether it is only an allegation to deflect international pressure.

This kind of tactic should surprise no one who is a student of history. As Eusebius' Church History tells, oftentimes the Roman persecutors of the early Christians would trump up outrageous moral charges once they knew that threats of death did not have the desired effect. While a Christian is not afraid of dying, it would be abhorrent to drag Christ's name into baseness and dishonor.

Let us pray keep praying for Pastor Yousef remains steadfast in the face of this new challenge. Let us also pray that we may be as abhorred by the thought of falling into immorality as the faithful martyrs of all ages.