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Florida man sentenced to prison over Facebook threat to kill Christian group

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A Florida man has been sentenced to six months in prison for threatening to “literally kill” employees of the national conservative Christian non-profit American Family Association in social media messages that Facebook allegedly said did not violate its policies.

Chase Davis, 21, of Pompano Beach, Florida, was sentenced to federal prison last week by U.S. District Judge Sheri Polster Chappell after sending two May 2019 Facebook messages in which he claimed that he and others would kill every person who runs the Mississippi-based AFA.

In addition to incarceration, Davis must also serve 400 hours of community service, pay $1,440 of restitution to AFA for costs it incurred to protect its employees from the threat and will be required to accept mental health treatment, according to Department of Justice. After his sentence is served, Davis will be under court supervision for three years.

“I am coming to Tupelo unexpected with a group of people and we are going to kill every single person that runs your group,” Davis’s May 2019 Facebook messages to the group reads. “I have put together a group to have you… obliterated to dust. Yes, I literally mean killing all of you.”

In a statement, AFA explained that its employees contacted Facebook after receiving the threats. Facebook’s policy does not allow “hate speech, credible threats or direct attacks on an individual or group, content that contains self-harm or excessive violence.”

But the activist organization claims that Facebook deemed the messages it received were not a violation of policy. AFA added that its appeal of Facebook’s decision was unsuccessful.

The threat did prompt immediate reports to federal law enforcement and an FBI investigation was launched. Davis was indicted for criminal threats in the summer of 2019 by a grand jury in the Northern District of Mississippi. He pled guilty to the charges in a Florida federal court.

His guilty plea in Florida was according to a rule that allows a defendant to plead guilty to charges in the district where they reside through an agreement by the parties and the court, according to the Justice Department.

“It is important to protect free speech, but when it crosses the line and becomes threats to harm others on the basis of race, religious beliefs, political affiliations or other protected reasons, we will use Federal laws to hold those individuals accountable for their actions,” U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi William C. Lamar said in a statement.

The motive has not been directly proven as a threat to conservative Christians, but Davis’ messages do suggest a hatred towards AFA, a Christian nonprofit that advocates for public policy goals and holds conservative views on issues like abortion and LGBT rights.

“AFA supports a biblical worldview that God created us by design as male and female and that marriage is between one man and one woman,” AFA Senior Vice President Buddy Smith said in a statement.

“With all the sexual brokenness in our society and in the church today, AFA will not be intimidated into silence … a relationship with Jesus Christ is the only answer to the culturally controversial questions about gender and sexuality.”

AFA advocates for traditional family values but is listed as a “domestic hate group” by the controversial far-left civil rights organization Southern Poverty Law Center.

AFA and dozens of other organizations that hold Christian conservative views on issues like marriage and sexuality have contested their labeling by AFA as “hate” groups. SPLC has been cited by some media organizations in their reporting on such groups.

In 2018, 47 conservative groups, including the AFA, issued an open letter calling on government agencies, news organizations and other entities to avoid using SPLC for guidance, claiming that the organization has “defamed and otherwise harmed” dozens of groups because of ideological differences.

In August 2012, the headquarters of the Family Research Council, a Washington D.C.-based Christian conservative activist organization, was attacked by a gunman who later admitted to FBI agents that he found FRC through SPLC’s list posted online of anti-LGBT “hate” groups.

FRC President Tony Perkins accused SPLC’s “reckless labeling” of causing “devastating consequences.” Perkins at the time claimed that SPLC had provided a “guide map” for terrorists to target FRC and like-minded groups.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has urged tighter regulation on internet communication, especially regarding harmful content and what constitutes free speech.

In February, Zuckerberg spoke at a conference in Germany, stating that private companies should not have to make regulation decisions and that the government should, according to BBC.

In the February speech, Zuckerberg recommended a combination of existing television and media regulations to be applied with a new regulation targeting social media specifically. On Wednesday, Zuckerberg testified before the U.S. House of Representatives antitrust subcommittee to discuss the power of big-tech companies and the content on their platforms.

“I understand that people have concerns about the size and perceived power that tech companies have,” Zuckerberg said in prepared remarks.

“That’s why I’ve called for a more active role for governments and regulators and updated rules for the Internet. If we do this right, we can preserve what’s best about this technology … while also protecting society from broader harms.”

Sources:Christian Post

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Do Christians Really Donate More? Bible’s Stunning Impact on Charitable Giving Revealed in Fascinating New Study

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As the debate over the impact of Christianity on charitable behavior forges on, a new study reveals Scripturally-engaged Americans are “far more likely than others to donate to charity.”

In fact, the majority of these individuals — people who interact consistently with Scripture and allow it to shape their lives and relationships — report giving to such causes, according to the eighth chapter of “The State of the Bible” report.

“Americans who are engaged with the Bible gave $145 billion to charitable causes in 2021,” a statement from the American Bible Society read. “And … Practicing Christians, those who are actively living out their faith, are much more likely to give.”

The results are pretty stunning when comparing people engaged in the Bible with those who are disengaged as well as the so-called Moveable Middle, a group falling between those dynamics.

Bible-engaged Americans gave a total of $145 billion to charities in 2021, amounting to about $2,907 per household. The same figure for the Bible disengaged was just $924.

To underscore the monumental nature of that giving, consider that Scripturally engaged Americans account for just 19% of adults yet give 44% of every dollar donated.

The finer details point to the fascinating nature of this group’s generosity.

“People who are Scripture-engaged gave six-times as much to churches as those in the Movable Middle and 13-times as much as those who are Bible-disengaged,” a statement explained. “When it comes to non-church giving, Scripture-engaged Americans gave 9% more than the Bible-disengaged and 165% more than the Movable Middle.”

Giving among active believers is, thus, much higher than for other cohorts.

Dr. John Farquhar Plake, director of ministry intelligence for the American Bible Society, said his organization’s research continues to show “a strong correlation between charitable giving and human flourishing.” This is particularly relevant among Christians surveyed in the annual report.

“Engaging with the Bible and actively living out our faith doesn’t simply mean reading the words in the pages of Scripture — rather, it is a transformation of the heart that inspires us to love and live well,” Plake said.

The results for this chapter of the “State of the Bible” were collected from 2,598 phone and online responses from American adults in January 2022.

Atheists will often decry the Bible and its contents, yet study after study shows the strong benefits faith offers individuals and, in turn, the culture at large.

As Faithwire reported, an earlier chapter from the “State of the Bible” report showed “Americans who consistently read and apply the Bible report greater levels of hope and resilience.” Read more about the Bible’s significant impact on the faithful here.
Sources:faithwire

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PASTOR JACOB MATHEW – 57 MEMORIAL SERVICE 12/02/2022

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For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel,and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.

To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. We walk by faith, and not by sight! Pastor Jacob Mathew (57 ) has been promoted to his eternal home and went to be with Jesus on 11/24/2022 . He served as the assistant Pastor of the Mizpah Church of God. Pullad. He lived a life that exampled Jesus Christ, a life of servitude,faith,and love. He will be missed by his family, his wife Shiney,daughter Jesna Jacob and son Joel Jacob.

We kindly request for prayers at this time for the family. He is Survived by his mother, Thankamma Mathew, sister Mary Mathew, and brother Paul Mathew and family.


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Christian Organization Wins Legal Battle, Will Be Allowed to Hire Christians

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Just two months after the Wyoming Rescue Mission filed its federal lawsuit against state and federal agencies for threatening to punish the Christian nonprofit for hiring employees who share the ministry’s religious beliefs, attorneys with Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) announced they reached a favorable settlement in the case.

As part of the settlement, state officials acknowledged that the rescue mission, as a religious organization, is free to hire like-minded employees who share the ministry’s religious beliefs and mission to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ through its homeless shelter, clothing voucher service, faith-based recovery programs, and life-rebuilding assistance to Casper residents.

“The First Amendment protects Wyoming Rescue Mission’s freedom to hire those who share its beliefs without being threatened and investigated by the government,” said ADF Legal Counsel Jacob Reed. “We’re pleased to favorably settle this case for the rescue mission so it can continue its critical work of serving some of Casper’s most vulnerable citizens and spreading the Gospel.”

On behalf of the faith-based organization, ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, Wyoming Rescue Mission v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, in the US District Court for the District of Wyoming.

According to court documents, the mission requires all employees to agree with its religious beliefs. Before being forced to remove it, the mission’s “Career Opportunities” webpage explicitly stated that “Employees are expected to commit to the precepts in our Statement of Faith, and to help the Mission fulfill its mission statement, vision statement, and ends statement.”

And the Mission’s employment application says: “The Mission considers every position one of ministry and a vital and valued part of our team. Therefore, it is essential that all employees of the Mission have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and subscribe to our Statement of Faith and Ministry Principles. Employees must be willing to lead and/or participate in Bible study, prayer, devotions, and sharing the Gospel.”

As CBN News reported, in 2020, the mission decided not to hire a self-proclaimed non-Christian for one of its Rescued Treasures Thrift Store associate positions. Included with this job is the responsibility of teaching the mission’s Discipleship Recovery Program guests how to spread the gospel and model Jesus Christ.

The lawsuit explains that the mission advised the applicant during the pre-screen interview that it is a Christian ministry and that all employees must agree with the Mission’s statement of faith and demonstrate Christian principles in their life and work as a condition of employment. The applicant responded that she did not have any faith.

The non-Christian applicant then filed a discrimination charge against the mission with Wyoming’s Department of Workforce Services and the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), according to Decision Magazine.

State officials conducted a 16-month-long investigation to determine if the mission engaged in discrimination as prohibited by law.

The officials determined the mission likely violated the Wyoming Fair Employment Practices Act of 1965 and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for refusing to hire the non-Christian applicant, ignoring the fact that neither of those laws applies to faith-based organizations’ religiously based employment decisions.

After ADF attorneys filed suit, the government capitulated and agreed the mission can hire only “those individuals who agree with and live out the mission’s religious beliefs and practices.”

“Like-minded employees who share the mission’s purpose to spread the Gospel and uplift the Casper community by providing free meals, shelter, recovery programs, and job training are essential for the Wyoming Rescue Mission to continue its important work,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Tucker, director of the ADF Center for Christian Ministries. “Wyoming officials have rightly recognized that both state and federal laws protect religious organizations’ ability to hire those who share their beliefs.”

As part of the settlement in Wyoming Rescue Mission v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Wyoming Department of Workforce Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) agreed to pay the rescue mission’s attorneys’ fees. In light of the settlement, the court dismissed the EEOC from the case and signed a consent decree settling the case with the state.

A press release from the ADF revealed that in 2021, the mission served 60,862 free meals to the public; provided 41,037 beds for men, women, and children; enrolled 92 Discipleship Recovery Program participants; offered 5,597 case management sessions, and gave 1,208 thrift store vouchers worth $39,649.92 that provided free clothing and essentials to families and guests in need.

John G. Knepper, one of more than 4,600 attorneys in the ADF Attorney Network, served as local counsel for the Wyoming Rescue Mission.
Sources:BREAKING CHRISTIAN NEWS

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