“[Y]ou will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in one town, flee to the next, for truly, I say to you, you will not have gone through all the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.” Jesus, in Matthew 10:22-23
I’m going to give evangelical pastor Louie Giglio a lot of slack. After all, what would you have done had you been threatened with public shaming, humiliation, vitriol, and, no doubt, inevitable threats to your life and limbs made by opportunistic sociopaths?
Pastor Louie Giglio of Atlanta’s new Passion City Church and a graduate of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, was invited to offer the benedictory prayer at the January 21 second inaugural ceremony for President Barack Obama. Then, almost as soon as the announced engagement was made public by the official Inaugural Committee, Pastor Giglio issued a statement saying he had withdrawn from the program, explaining his prayer would be overshadowed by the discovery of a more than decade-old sermon he had preached calling homosexuality a sin.
Now, I don’t know Louie Giglio and I’m not privy to the exact details of what transpired, but I’ve been in Washington for 18 years. I’ve been through three presidential administrations–have met those three presidents–and I know plenty of people that have worked in presidential inner circles. I also know about the politics of inaugural committees.
Pastor Giglio was already inside the Obama circle when he was invited to this event. Obviously, the presidential handlers thought he either deserved thanks for something he had done for them, or, he could make the President look good. As I understand it, the Pastor had taken part in some of the meetings of clergy that the White House has hosted over the last few years. (It may come as a surprise to you, but President Obama has actually hosted more gatherings of pastors than his predecessor, George W. Bush, did while in office.) Pastor Giglio was not only among those that ministered in one way or another to President Obama, but he was admired for his work on ending human trafficking. Knowing how things work in the rare air of White House pastoral calls, I have no doubt President Obama and his handlers genuinely liked Pastor Giglio. In my analysis, they only came to dislike him after some of their most ardent and valuable supporters, namely gay activist groups, registered displeasure with the Inaugural Committee’s pick.
Alright, what I’m about to say may upset you, so, if you’re looking for a feel-good moment, quit reading now. Otherwise, take a deep breath, squint your eyes, and read this–but I ask you to give me some slack now:
I don’t think Barack Obama is a big fan of things “gay.” I know . . . many will disagree with me. I just think the President sees gays the way he sees Christians: as yet another politically useful group. For the President, embracing gays is just cynical politics. In reference to his re-election, gays were an indispensable group. He needed their energy, their money, and their time and talent. He got it all when he made his somewhat sheepish announcement that his view on same-sex marriage had changed and he would endorse it. That’s when all the gay political and activist groups came fully aboard. Like any president learns, though, the people who propel you to the top can also slam you to the bottom.
The next development in this drama was probably when the White House took some calls from high-level gay political operatives protesting the selection of Giglio. Deciding there was no way the Obama White House could afford to infuriate such important patrons, I can imagine a call was made from the White House to the Inaugural Committee, which then in turn called Giglio. The latter call probably went something like this:
Pastor, you know how much the President admires your work on human trafficking, but we have a problem. Apparently some people are upset about a sermon you preached issuing your opinion on gays. As you can imagine, this is a big problem that threatens to overshadow your good work and this administration’s commitment to inclusiveness. That leaves us all in a bad spot, and we’d hate for that to negatively affect you. The best thing you can do for yourself and your ministry is to remove that possibility. Do you understand what I’m getting at Pastor?
Read all of that, If you know what’s good for you, you’ll spare the President any further embarrassment and withdraw.The implication being, If you want to preserve any access to the White House, Pastor, back off. Now.
I could be wrong about all this, and I’d love someone to set me straight, but this is how I know the game is played. If I’m right, and Pastor Giglio was led to believe he would be kept in the President’s company if he was a good soldier and fell on his sword, he can forget it. Pardon my vulgarity, but Pastor Giglio is now on the White House poop list. How do I know? Because I’m on the same list! That’s a another story too long to tell, but I know of what I speak. Washington–and presidential Washington in particular–is a rough place. The games played here are the modern-day equivalent to the ancient Roman blood sports. If you’re going to climb into the arena, be prepared to be at least maimed, if not obliterated.
The dis-invitation of Pastor Giglio was a clumsy, awkward, and rakish way for the President’s people to deal with the profoundly complex matter of what to do when popular culture clashes with the wisdom of the ages and with religious revelation. That agonizing question will not be resolved in this instance. Unfortunately, President Obama has staked his claim on the territory occupied not by the religiously faithful, but, instead, by those who oppose historic Christianity. These are the groups that wish to ban the morality of the ancients from the public square. This exclusion encompasses a lot of people. Not only do observant Jews, Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Amish, and other Biblical believers adhere to the same moral theology that Pastor Giglio espoused in his offending sermon, but Mormons, Muslims, and many other religious believers do as well.
The President’s exile of Louie Giglio creates a big problem for him. In order to be “inclusive,” President Obama had to become “exclusive.” That nuance will be lost on most people, but those of us who do see it need to call out the President on this. The segment of Americans that the Obama culture just threw under the bus with Pastor Giglio represents far more than the 47% Mr. Romney dissed during his campaign.
Louie Giglio probably did the best he could in this prickly circumstance. Again, pardon my language, but he was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t. Pastor Giglio is definitely on the outside now, but had he stood his ground and forced the committee to officially cut him from the program, he would have been reeeeelllllyyyyyyy on the outside.
Of much greater importance to me than the loss of Louie Giglio to the Inaugural program is the message this incident sends to the country: If you’re a faithful Jew, a faithful Christian, or even a faithful Mormon or Muslim, you are of no value to the Obama Administration.
The White House may not have intended this incident to be an invitation–but it is–for all of the above named to respond to the President’s message with a plea for clarification: Mr. President, are you inclusive enough to include us? Or are you only exclusively inclusive?
Let the conversation begin . . .
PS: I’m very curious about what will happen should the White House and the Inaugural Committee discover that Jim Cymbala, the famous pastor to their featured musical guests, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir, lumps together homosexuals with junkies and prostitutes in an article published just two years ago!* Will they mete out similar punishment? My guess: No. Why? Because the very powerful New York senator, Charles Schumer, brought the choir to the table. Case closed.
September 6, 2012 – If you’ve been looking for Rev. Rob Schenck’s video reports on the Democratic National Convention, here’s what he said today on Faith & Action’s Facebook:
“You haven’t heard much from me since my arrival at the Democratic National Convention. I’ll explain the reason in future posts. This morning I’m in the convention hall to observe the ‘morning prayer’ session. Will report later. Pray for me for wise words today!”
4:50 PM Update: “From Charlotte: My view of the stage where Barack Obama will deliver his acceptance speech tonight. I was in Tampa for Mitt Romney’s speech, so I’m looking forward to comparing the two experiences.”
August 31, 2012 – Rev. Rob Schenck took the Gospel truth to the Republican National Convention and now he invites you to follow him at the Democratic National Convention, which takes place September 4-6 in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Here’s how to follow him:
1) His personal–and partisan opinions–will appear on his Rob Schenck Facebook page, which you may join by clicking here
2) His neutral remarks will appear on our Faith & Action, National Clergy Council, and Defend the National Day of Prayer Facebook pages.
4) If you prefer, you may watch Rob’s video reports on our website by clicking here for our Video News section.
August 1, 2012 – Today, Faith and Action presents good news and bad news on the healthcare crisis in America.
Today, a Department of Health and Human Services’ mandate goes into effect. This order issued under provisions in President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act forces employers, regardless of their religious or moral convictions, to provide insurance covering abortion-inducing drugs and voluntary sterilizations and other immoral treatments under threat of heavy penalties.
Last week, Faith and Action president Rev. Rob Schenck and Mrs. Cheryl Schenck attended the Evangelical Church Alliance annual meeting in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. Rob chairs ECA’s Committee on Church and Society and gave his report on the health insurance crisis for religious organizations, calling Evangelical missionaries, ministers and military chaplains to righteous resistance against this unjust law. He also delivered his annual missionary field report to the full convention.
In February, a State of Emergency Declaration by Rob was delivered to President Obama, and you can read the letter by clicking here. While receipt of the letter was acknowledged, President Obama neglected to recognize the letter’s content and the National Clergy Council’s concerns about religious liberty.
However, there is hope because Hercules Industries, a for-profit business owned by the Newland family in Colorado, has won a preliminary injunction against the HHS/Obama mandate in federal court. This family is Catholic and they employ 265 persons full-time.
Friday, Alliance Defending Freedom, the law firm representing the plaintiffs in Newland v. Sebelius, announced that Senior Judge John Kane of the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado ruled the federal government’s arguments “are countered, and indeed outweighed, by the public interest in the free exercise of religion. As the Tenth Circuit has noted, ‘there is a strong public interest in the free exercise of religion even where that interest may conflict with [another statutory scheme]….’ Accordingly, the public interest favors entry of an injunction in this case.” Judge Kane also wrote that the government’s “harm pales in comparison to the possible infringement upon Plaintiffs’ constitutional and statutory rights.”
Read Judge Kane’s entire ruling by clicking here.
Meanwhile, Paul McGuire, Christian author of the 2010 book “Are You Ready for the Microchip?”, warns: “In the massive U.S. healthcare bill, which your elected representatives voted for without reading, there is a section titled: Subtitle C-11 Sec. 2521 – National Medical Device Registry which states:
“The Secretary shall establish a national medical device registry (in this subsection referred to as the ‘registry’) to facilitate analysis of postmarket safety and outcomes data on each device that—‘‘(A) is or has been used in or on a patient; and ‘‘(B) is a class III device; or ‘‘(ii) a class II device that is implantable.”
McGuire further explains: “The language is deliberately vague, but it provides the structure for making America the first nation in the world that would require every U.S. citizen to receive an implanted radio-frequency (RFID) microchip for the purpose of controlling medical care.”
As always, Rev. Rob Schenck urges all Americans to keep the faith and fight the good fight. And as Rob travels the country encouraging Christians to engage in the political process; as he engages our national leaders and presidential candidates on your behalf, please click here to join Faith and Action’s ministry as Rob requests in Let Your Voice Be Heard Loud & Clear!
God bless America!
July 30, 2012
With one of the most critical presidential and congressional elections in decades coming up this fall, there has never been a moment in recent American history when a prophetic voice to our national leaders was more urgently needed – a prophetic voice for you and your rights!
For almost 20 years now, Faith and Action has been that prophetic voice, whether challenging presidents, members of Congress and Supreme Court justices face-to-face with the truths of the Gospel or engaging in intimate moments of one-on-one ministry to national leaders facing personal and professional crises.
The only question now is: Will we be able to continue this important ministry? The answer to that question depends upon YOU!
You see, NONE of our prophetic ministry is possible without the generous support of friends like you! We are your missionary outreach to our elected and appointed officials.
Summer is the time of year we typically lag behind in support. That’s to be expected. But this summer we can’t afford to lag behind. We need to stay financially strong as we prepare for the fall election cycle.
After all, we intend to be there, front and center, speaking prophetically to BOTH presidential candidates. Doors of access have opened to us in both political parties. Yet, at the same time, our financial need has never been greater. In fact, I have just 5 days left to raise $15,000 to cover our expenses and prepare for the elections.
Millions of Americans are giving to Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. But what about standing for the message of the Gospel in Washington, D.C. among our national leaders? Is that worth $5?
To make your much needed, tax-deductible contribution of $5, $15, $25, $50 – or even $100 or more – please click here.
If you prefer to make a donation over the phone, please call our supporter relations coordinator, Patty Bills, at (202) 546-8329.
Thank you for your prayers. You continue to be a wellspring of hope and encouragement to me. And I remain,
Your missionary to our nation’s capital,
Rev. Rob Schenck
PS – If you prefer to make a donation via check, our mailing address is:
Faith and Action, 109 Second Street NE, Washington D.C. 20002
LINCOLN July 17, 2012 - U.S. District Judge Warren Urbom of Lincoln dismissed the religious liberty lawsuit filed by Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and six other state attorneys general requesting a permanent injunction of the federal mandates forcing religious-affiliated organizations to support activity violating “the sacred beliefs of millions of Americans.” The filing included Nebraska-based co-plaintiffs Pius X Catholic High School, Catholic Social Services, the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America, and private citizens Stacy Molai and Sister Mary Catherine, C.K.
The defendants were the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Treasury, and Labor, plus all their respective secretaries: Kathleen Sebelius, Timothy Geithner, and Hilda Solis.
In brief, Judge Urbom declared the plaintiffs have no legal standing until certain provisions of President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act go into effect during 2013. But the matter isn’t quite that simple because President Obama issued his own executive order demanding that health insurance companies provide free abortion-inducing drugs and HHS Secretary Sebelius ordered religious-affiliated organizations to provide such health insurance.
“Today’s decision completely disregards the federal government’s continued shell game when it comes to this rule,” Attorney General Bruning told the Lincoln Journal Star. “Essentially, this decision asks millions of Americans to watch and wait for their religious liberties to be violated. Obviously, we’re disappointed with the ruling, and we will consult with our co-plaintiffs to assess our next steps.”
Nebraska’s co-plaintiffs are the states of Florida represented by Attorney General Pam Bondi; Michigan represented by Attorney General Bill Schuette; Ohio represented by Attorney General Mike DeWine; Oklahoma represented by Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt; South Carolina represented by Attorney General Alan Wilson, and Texas represented by Attorney General Greg Abbott. To see precisely why they sued the federal government, click here for Seven States Sue Over Obama Mandates. And click here for Rev. Rob Schenck Calls People of Faith to Righteous Resistance.
While the judge’s decision isn’t good news, it isn’t the end of the story because this summer Rev. Rob Schenck is traveling the country to mobilize Christians. To find out more, sign up for Faith and Action’s Field Reports by clicking here – and keep the faith!
June 28, 2012
6:45 PM ET
Like so many, I was disappointed at the decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to uphold President Obama’s healthcare law. My concern is not directed at the issue of health care itself. As the wealthiest nation in the world, affordable health care should be available to every citizen. It is one thing, however, to be certain health care is available; it is quite another to force people to buy insurance, at times in direct violation of their religious beliefs.
Throughout the day, I’ve been in discussions with leading constitutional experts, members of congress, constitutional historians, and religious leaders. The struggle facing people of faith has changed dramatically from what it was at 9:59 this morning. This opinion may allow the government to compel people to pay into the system, but it can’t compel any of us to abandon our most deeply held convictions. This is a moral, spiritual and ethical crisis.
At this point in American history, at Faith and Action we now call upon people of all faiths to engage in “righteous resistance” to being forced to offer employees abortion-inducing drugs or any benefits in direct violation of deeply held religious beliefs.
You will hear more about this in the days ahead. Please pray for us as we strive to challenge people of faith to remember it is “better to obey God than men.”
Of course, everything we do depends upon the prayers and support of our friends—like you. If you haven’t had an opportunity yet to help with our urgent need to support our staff so they can take care of their families during this trying time, you can do so now with a generous tax-deductible gift by clicking here. Whatever you are able to give is deeply appreciated—perhaps now more than ever.
Your grateful missionary to our nation’s capital,
PS: Take a moment to participate in our survey regarding our response to today’s decision. To complete the survey, click here.
June 28, 2012 – Rev. Rob Schenck, president of Faith and Action and president of the National Clergy Council, first prayed before the Supreme Court released its decision; then condemned government actions codifying and upholding President Obama’s unconstitutional mandates.
See Rob’s encouraging statement to people of faith and goodwill by clicking here.
June 28, 2012 – Today, the United States Supreme Court released its majority decision upholding President Obama’s Patient Protect and Affordable Health Care Act. The ministry team at Faith and Action expresses profound disappointment with the Court’s decision, which will ultimately result in government-funded abortions.
Teams from Faith and Action actively prayed and served as a prophetic witness in front of the Court the entire time the arguments were being heard. The day before the arguments, we encircled the Court with prayer, placing 3,300 flowers on the sidewalks around the Court as a reminder of the number of innocent babies killed every day in America as a result of abortion on demand. Photos of our teams engaged in prayer were featured in newspapers across America.
Responding to the Court’s decision, Rev. Rob Schenck (last name pronounced Shank), lead missionary of Faith and Action, president of the National Clergy Council and one of the only evangelical leaders inside the Court during the arguments, challenges people of faith to stay true to their convictions.
Rev. Schenck stated, “This opinion may allow the government to compel people to pay into the system, but it can’t compel any of us to abandon our most deeply held convictions. This is a moral, spiritual and ethical crisis. People of conscience will need to make difficult decisions, including engaging in conscientious objection or even respectful civil disobedience, which may bring painful penalties with it. It’s time to be prayerful, brave and strong. From here on we will need help from God and from one another.”
Rob condemns the government’s actions on video below.
Media may call Rev. Schenck for comment at (202) 546-8329.
June 25, 2012 – This morning at the Supreme Court, Faith and Action’s Chief of Program Peggy Nienaber prayed with Kristan Hawkins, executive director of Students for Life of America, and several other young women and men from SFLA. Here they explain why praying today – and every day – is important to our entire nation.
See more in 50 Years of War on the Faithful in America.
As you can see below, Peggy still wears a cast as she recovers from recent foot surgery – but it doesn’t stop her from prophetic witness with our longtime partner Rev. Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition and Students for Life of America.