The Reason For This Marine’s Court-Martial Should Infuriate Every Christian

Burdened by the taint of a bad-conduct discharge, Monifa Sterling — who was once a lance corporal in the United States Marines — says she is now unable to find work. Her life, her livelihood, and her reputation have been forever changed because of seven words printed in tiny font on a small strip of paper — seven words closely approximating a Bible verse that Sterling says she taped in three places on her work desk to give her strength as she performed her military duties.

The words that Monifa Sterling displayed on her desk at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina were: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.” That’s essentially part of what’s found in Isaiah 54:17, which reads, in the King James version of the Bible: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.”

As Fox News reports, when Sterling refused an order from a staff sergeant to remove the strips of paper on which the seven words were printed, she was brought up on charges and convicted at a court-martial for engaging in conduct that the military ruled “could easily be seen as contrary to good order and discipline.”

At her trial in February 2014, Sterling represented herself, arguing that her First Amendment rights and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act protected her expression of faith. She lost the argument; the court-martial found that others using the desk at which Sterling sat, as well as those passing by, could see the words and be made to feel uncomfortable. Sterling was punished with a bad-conduct discharge and reduction in rank from lance corporal to private.

As The Fox News report notes, even higher courts ruled against the Marine: “Both lower court and the appellate court ruled that the Religious Freedom Restoration Act did not apply to her case because displaying a Bible verse does not constitute religious exercise.”

But Monifa Sterling’s battle to reclaim her reputation and her rank is not over. The attorney who recently won a Supreme Court victory for Hobby Lobby in its religious freedom fight against the Affordable Care Act has taken on Sterling’s case. Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement, along with legal counsel from the Liberty Institute, will argue that Sterling’s right to express her religious belief in a reasonable manner was violated by the military’s actions.

A constitutional law firm, Liberty Institute’s mission is described on its website: “to defend and restore religious liberty across America—in our schools, for our churches, inside the military, and throughout the public arena.” Todd Starnes of Fox News spoke with one of the lawyers for the organization, Hiram Sasser, who told Starnes:

“This is a very scary time when you are not allowed to have a very small printed Bible verse in your own personal workspace because it might offend other Marines,” Sasser told me. “Our Marines are trained to deal with some of the most hostile people on the planet. I don’t think they are afraid of tiny words on a tiny piece of paper.”

As Monifa Sterling’s case proceeds, it will be interesting to see if, in a legal sense, the slightly altered Bible verse she posted will prove prophetic: “No weapon formed against me shall prosper.”

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

IRS Hacked, Secret Taxpayer Info Stolen. Agency Head’s Crazy Response Is Beyond Belief.

If you were one of the more than 100,000 taxpayers whose confidential data was stolen by criminals who hacked into IRS computers, you might rightly feel that you were the victim of a serious security breach. But surprisingly, that’s not what the head of the Internal Revenue Service thinks.

IRS Commissioner John Koskinen — while acknowledging that the private information of some 104,000 taxpayers has been stolen over the past few months — claims the theft is “not a security breach.” The Washington Times reports that Koskinen held a phone call with reporters on Tuesday to discuss the hacking that has reportedly gone on since February, but was caught only last week.

According to the Times report, despite the obvious failure of the IRS computer system to protect against unauthorized intrusion, Commissioner Koskinen insisted, “’This is not a security breach. Our basic information is secure.’”

Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah was quick to pounce on Koskinen’s seeming denial of the truth in the security breach that reportedly allowed fraudsters to file false returns that cost the government millions of dollars. Hatch, according to The Washington Times, said the IRS has been warned repeatedly that it needed to do more to keep taxpayers’ private data safe and secure.

“That the IRS — home to highly sensitive information on every single American and every single company doing business here at home — was vulnerable to this attack is simply unacceptable,” said Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican and chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance.

The hackers are said to have gained access to taxpayers’ info by breaking into a new system called “Get Transcript,” which is designed to let individuals go online and retrieve their own tax records. Koskinen said the criminals used information they already knew about taxpayers — some of it supposedly gathered from social media sites — to fool the system into believing it was the taxpayer logging in.

That the IRS boss would find harsh critics among Republicans on Capitol Hill is not surprising in the least. As Western Journalism has reported, the agency head has recently been accused of lying to Congress because he repeatedly testified, under oath, that many thousands of Lois Lerner’s “missing” emails were lost forever and could not be recovered.

Another batch of Lerner’s “missing” emails has been found, according to a report on Fox News. And not just a handful of previously undisclosed communications, but thousands of emails that had been requested by congressional investigators but not provided to them. It was the Treasury’s Inspector General for Tax Administration who reportedly turned up the emails that the head of the IRS had told Congress were lost forever.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

SHOCK VIDEO: Rand Paul Just Blamed The Rise Of The Barbaric Islamic State On…WHOM?

Republican presidential hopeful Sen. Rand Paul often marches to the beat of a different drummer when it comes to U.S. foreign policy and America’s involvement in military conflicts on foreign soil. And now, in an appearance on the MSNBC program Morning Joe, the senator from Kentucky has banged out a stunning beat-down of members of his own party — a criticism that could set off a raucous new round of attacks between Paul and his Senate colleagues in addition to his fellow Republicans vying for the presidential nomination.

While some might agree with Sen. Paul’s basic message that the Islamic State has grown stronger and more formidable because so many U.S.-supplied arms have fallen into their hands, those he blames for the rise of ISIS would certainly take exception to Paul’s saying that hawks within the GOP ranks are the culprits. In the interview with Joe Scarborough, Paul declared, “ISIS exists and grew stronger because of the hawks in our party who gave arms indiscriminately, and most of those arms were snatched up by ISIS.”

Curiously, the Kentucky senator was singing a different tune only a few months ago. As the CBS-TV station in Washington, D.C., reported in February, Paul then laid blame for the rise of ISIS at the feet of Hillary Clinton.

“The disaster that is Libya is now a breeding ground for terrorists and it’s also a breeding ground for armaments,” Paul said.

“So I really do blame Hillary Clinton’s war in Libya for creating a lot of the chaos that is now spreading throughout the Middle East.”

You can watch Rand Paul’s interview on Morning Joe by clicking on the video above.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

What Marco Rubio Just Said About Christianity Will Raise A Huge Red Flag For Many

With a presidential campaign theme of “A New American Century,” GOP Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida is clearly looking to the future; and what he sees for mainstream Christianity is a future in which there’s a “real and present danger” for the faithful. In an interview with CBN News, the 43-year-old Republican lawmaker with his sights set on the White House said that his deeply held Catholic faith provides the foundation for his positions on controversial social issues such as same-sex marriage.

“If you think about it, we are at the water’s edge of the argument that mainstream Christian teaching is hate speech,” Rubio told CBN News. “Because today we’ve reached the point in our society where if you do not support same-sex marriage you are labeled a homophobe and a hater.”

By clicking on the video above, you can see the CBN interview with Marco Rubio, who — according to a recent Vox Populi-Daily Caller poll — is a top contender among early state Republicans with a clear favorite for their party’s nomination.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth

BREAKING: In A HUGE Blow To The President, Appeals Court Has Just Upheld Block On Amnesty

In a stunning setback to President Obama’s effort to defer deportation and grant certain citizenship rights to millions of illegal immigrants, a federal appeals court has just upheld an injunction blocking Obama’s executive order on amnesty. The Washington Times reports that the highly anticipated ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit marks the second major legal setback for an administration that was skirting the Congress and charging ahead on its highly controversial program to defer deportation for as many as 5 million illegals.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled in favor of Texas, which had sued to stop the amnesty, on all key points, finding that Mr. Obama’s amnesty likely broke the law governing how big policies are to be written.

“The public interest favors maintenance of the injunction,” the judges wrote in the majority opinion.

As Western Journalism has reported, U.S. District Judge Andrew Hanen in Texas recently refused to lift his order temporarily blocking the president’s unilateral action on amnesty. The angry judge also issued what The Washington Examiner called “a scathing rebuke” to Obama’s lawyers for “misleading” him about steps the administration had already taken to implement the president’s amnesty orders.

Obama’s Justice Department had asked the three-judge Appeals Court to reverse Judge Hanen’s order temporarily blocking the amnesty plan. Hanen’s original order to put the brakes on the president’s executive action was in response to a lawsuit filed by 26 states alleging Obama’s unilateral orders on amnesty were unconstitutional.

A Fox News report on Tuesday’s split-decision Appeals Court defeat for Obama notes: “The states suing to block the plan, led by Texas, argue that Obama acted outside his authority and that the changes would force them to invest more in law enforcement, health care and education. But the White House has said the president acted within his powers to fix a ‘broken immigration system.’”

In Tuesday’s ruling, the two 5th Circuit judges who voted to deny the stay and thus keep the injunction in force said in a written opinion that the federal government’s lawyers are unlikely to succeed on the merits of that appeal.

This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth