January Ministry Update

While everyone in the country rushed around in mid-December buying and wrapping last-minute Christmas gifts, a Boston judge was preparing to issue the first decision of its kind anywhere in the United States: a decision declaring that a religious school must hire a gay man married to his gay partner, despite the school’s objection to homosexuality and same-sex marriage. The Catholic school had offered this man a job as Food Services Director, but upon learning that he was a homosexual and was married to his gay partner, they rescinded the job offer in light of the fact that his lifestyle did not align with the school’s religious beliefs.

To our knowledge, this is the first time a religious organization has been ordered by a judge to hire a person who knowingly, openly lives a lifestyle completely and unashamedly opposed to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the organization. It’s the first case where the homosexual “rights” of an individual were deemed to trump the religious liberty and free association rights of a religious organization.

We’ve already witnessed the collision between homosexual “rights” and religious liberty in a number of private businesses across the country—particularly in the wedding industry—and we knew it was just a matter of time before this same collision occurred between homosexuals and religious organizations. In anticipation of this day, the NCLL has been advising ministries for some time now to update their documents and policies to reflect their positions on marriage and human sexuality. Given this incident out of Boston, please click hereand take a moment to ensure that your ministry has implemented two of the NCLL’s recommendations for addressing this issue in the hiring context. Ministries partnering with the NCLL can also contact us for further information on other ways they can proactively address these issues in other contexts.

During the holiday season, the phones steadily rang at the NCLL with questions from pastors, churches, and individuals concerned about this case and other potentially and already problematic situations in their own churches, families, and communities. Following is a run-down of a few of the situations that your support and partnership has allowed us to help with during this last month. Our attorneys:

  • Helped several churches on the East and West coasts navigate potentially litigious church discipline issues
  • Drafted a legal memo/letter to a judge in the upper Midwest on an issue involving discrimination against homeschoolers in the application of child support laws
  • Assisted a church in the Northeast with handling a person in their community who continually picketed the church and harassed those attending services
  • Advised churches in NC, FL, and TX on drafting emergency response policies for their ministries and another church on firing an employee for sexual harassment
  • Advised a church on its responsibility for water drainage problems on land that had recently been donated to the church
  • Responded to several churches’ requests about the legalities of printed and online posting of prayer request lists in light of threatened invasion of privacy lawsuits over such lists

As we begin this New Year, we need your prayers more than ever. We fully know that it is the prayers of God’s people that keep this ministry going, and we ask you to bring the following requests before God over the next few weeks:

  • Pray for the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals case that the NCLL is advancing to defend the name of Jesus in public life in our nation. This case will have huge national impact, as it is the first major prayer case to be reviewed after the 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in 2014 on the same issue. It is a constant battle to keep Jesus and the Bible in our American culture!
  • Pray for a number of ministries nationwide that are facing IRS and tax issues. The NCLL is fighting for the tax-exemption freedom of churches and ministries nationwide.
  • Pray for the schools and ministries that are dealing with gender-identity and transgender issues. These are complicated legal days for those ministering to children and their parents.
  • Pray for the upcoming NCLL Pastors’ Network. The NCLL is organizing a group of pastors to go to Washington DC in 2016 to remind our leaders that there are pastors and churches who will continue to preach Jesus and the Bible, practice biblical morality, and pass those values on to the next generation. Pray as this initiative is organized, and if you would like to take part, please let us know. This is a limited event, available to just a few hundred pastors, as we want to coordinate maximum impact with Congress and the media for the two days that we are in the nation’s capital.

Thank you again for your support and your confidence in the NCLL ministry. We pray that we may be a blessing to you in 2016 as you were to us in 2015.