As the first rays of morning light wash over the eastern seaboard – a flag is unfurled with broad stripes and bright stars.
A soldier stands guard over sleeping heroes – known only to their Maker.
A resting place for the Common Man.
A farmer in the heartland gathers his crop as golden wheat shimmers in the breeze. A rancher gallops along the Texas Hill Country – herding his cattle to the stockyards. A river boat captain pilots his boat down the muddy waters of the Mississippi.
A job for the Common Man
In a Tennessee church house a candle flickers – a preacher prays on bended knee – asking God to bless our land – to shed his grace on thee.
A prayer for the Common Man.
When the floodwaters rise and the storm clouds billow – we stand ready to help — feeding the hungry — mending the wounded – rebuilding homes and lives.
Goodwill for the Common Man.
And in some distant land a soldier stands guard defending our nation — tending Lady Liberty’s flame. They are young men and young women from our big cities and small towns – willing to sacrifice their lives so that we can be free.
A protector for the Common Man.
We are the sons and daughters of the Common Man.
We are noble people forged by freedom’s fire.
We are an uncommon nation established by common men.
A Navy chaplain who faces the end of a stellar 19-year career because of his faith-based views on marriage and human sexuality was told by a base commander to refrain from offering a prayer in the name of Jesus, according to attorneys representing the chaplain.
That allegation was tucked away in an 18-page letter written to the commander of Navy Region Southeast by Liberty Institute attorneys representing Chaplain Wesley Modder. Liberty Institute is a law firm that specializes in religious liberty cases.
The letter included the results of Liberty Institute’s investigation of allegations levied against the chaplain by Captain John Fahs.
Last December, an openly gay officer at the Naval Nuclear Power Training Command in South Carolina, took offense at Modder’s take on homosexuality. The chaplain, who is endorsed by the Assemblies of God, was accused of discrimination and failing to show tolerance and respect – among other things.
Navy Chaplain Wes Modder is pictured with a ceremonial oar presented to him by Naval Special Warfare Command. He received the oar at the end of his tour. (Courtesy Wes Modder)
Just a few months earlier, Modder’s commander had called him the “best of the best” and a consummate professional leader.” But now he’s on the verge of being kicked out of the military.
“After our investigation, it is clear that the facts and law are on Chaplain Modder’s side,” Liberty Institute attorney Michael Berry said. “He has done nothing more than provide ministerial services in accordance with the precepts of his faith – which is completely consistent with Navy rules and federal law.”
Their letter is a point by point repudiation of the allegations against the highly respected chaplain – a man who once led chaplains who ministered to Navy SEALs.
“We believe the Navy will exonerate Chaplain Modder and restore him to continue his true calling of ministering to sailors and Marines as he has done for the past 15 years,” Berry said.
Liberty Institute maintains that Modder’s private counseling on issues involving human sexuality and same-sex marriage were consistent with the beliefs of his endorsing agency – the Assemblies of God.
“As a result of honoring the tenets of his endorsing denomination, he now faces the loss of his employment and removal from the Navy,” Liberty Institute wrote.
While Chaplain Modder specifically denies accusations that he used inappropriate language or gestures, he does admit to providing answers to questions from a Biblical world view.
“On occasion and only when asked, he expressed his sincerely held religious belief that sexual acts outside of marriage are contrary to biblical teaching; homosexual conduct is contrary to biblical teaching and homosexual orientation or temptation as distinct from conduct is not a sin,” Liberty Institute wrote.
They also reminded the Navy that Department of Defense regulations allow Chaplain Modder to hold religious beliefs.
“Navy chaplains are never required to compromise the standards of their religious organization, but are required to perform in a pluralistic environment,” they wrote.
That brings me back to the moment when Chaplain Modder was told he could not pray in the name of Jesus Christ.
Liberty Institute alleges it happened shortly after Modder assumed chaplaincy responsibilities at the training command. He was asked to deliver an invocation at a ceremony.
As he was walking to the lectern, Fahs is alleged to have told him to deep-six the Jesus talk – “counsel that Chaplain Modder accepted and with which he complied.”
Chaplain Modder’s fate could have a significant impact on every Christian military chaplain, asserts Liberty Institute.
Taking action, they argue, “Would send a dangerous message that other chaplains who share his beliefs – the vast majority of military chaplains – may also suffer adverse personnel actions and would have a profound chilling effect on any chaplain who seeks to provide biblical care.”
And if the Navy silences chaplains – they could certainly silence sailors.
“If the Navy can remove a chaplain who expresses his religious beliefs, then service members who share those beliefs will believe that they, too, are unwelcome in the Navy,” Liberty Institute wrote.
These are indeed difficult days for Christians who want to serve in the Armed Forces.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Indiana Statehouse on Saturday, March 28, 2015, for a rally against legislation signed Thursday by Gov. Mike Pence that opponents say could sanction discrimination against gay people. (AP Photo/Rick Callahan)
A small town, family-owned pizzeria has become the latest target of an angry mob of modern-day fascists — hell-bent on silencing anyone who opposes gay marriage.
Kevin O’Connor and his daughter Crystal own Memories Pizza in Walkerton, Ind. — just a hop, skip and a jump southwest of South Bend.
Mr. O’Connor and his family have been forced into hiding and had to temporarily shut down their store after they told a local television reporter that they would not cater a gay wedding.
“If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no,” Crystal told ABC 57 on Tuesday.
Neither Crystal nor her father realized they were about to become the LGBT community’s Public Enemy No. 1.
“I’m a born-again Christian,” Kevin O’Connor told me in an exclusive telephone interview Thursday. “My faith is the base of my business.”
And the O’Connor family’s faith teaches them that marriage is reserved for a man and a woman.
“I would not participate in a gay marriage,” Kevin O’Connor said. “To condone a gay wedding to me is just wrong. I could not put my stamp of approval on a gay wedding.”
The television station labeled Memories Pizza as the “first business to publicly deny same-sex service,” in the aftermath of the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Washington Post reported.
But the O’Connors said they have never denied a same-sex couple a pepperoni pie.
“I have never turned anybody away from my store,” Kevin O’Connor said. “If they come in there with clothes barely hanging on their back – I don’t turn anybody away. I don’t care what their beliefs are.”The hell storm this 61-year-old grandfather faced as a result of his Christian faith is simply beyond belief.The family business came under fierce assault by LGBT activists and their cronies — accusing them of being anti-gay bigots. Their Facebook pages were smeared with gay pornography. Their phones were overwhelmed by vulgar and profane threats.A high school softball coach in Concord, Ind., was suspended after posting an arson threat on Twitter.
“Who’s going to Walkerton, IN to burn down #memoriespizza w me?” Coach Jess Dooley tweeted.
How’s that for tolerance, folks?
The Elkhart Truth newspaper reports Dooley was suspended from her coaching responsibilities and the police department forwarded the case to the county prosecutor for possible charges.
The bullying and abuse became so severe the Walkerton Police Department issued a statement urging people to follow the law.
“We ask that all frustrations and rebuttals with Memories Pizza’s recent media statements remain within the law,” the statement read.
The events of the past few days have been incredibly troubling for the O’Connor family. During my interview with Kevin — he became quite emotional.
“It’s been pretty tough, yeah,” he said. “It’s been hard.”
It was his lifelong dream to own a business. That dream came true when he opened the pizzeria in 2006, when he started the business from scratch.
And his Christian faith is evident in the restaurant.
“We get together and pray every day when the store opens,” he said. “We have a box for customers to put prayer requests in. We don’t push it. We don’t try to preach.”
He doesn’t force his religion on anyone.
“We treat them like we want to be treated,” he said.
Kevin told me he was especially thankful for the support he’s received from fellow Christians around the nation — including a group that launched a fundraising drive.
He also wants other Christian business owners to be encouraged.
“Trust the Lord,” he said. “Pray. Even though we don’t see where He’s taking us, He’s got control. And He will make it work for His good and our good.”
Kevin said he hopes to reopen the pizzeria sooner rather than later – but an exact date is unclear.
Right now, he’s trying to console his 21-year-old daughter – who has shouldered a mountain of hateful threats.
“Crystal needs some time,” Kevin said. “This scared her pretty good.”
I believe that was the mission of the LGBT activists and their Mainstream Media cronies. Welcome to the age of pitchforks and torches.
The O’Connor family has become the face of the religious liberty movement. It seems to me that Christian-owned businesses are being singled out by LGBT activists.
They don’t want tolerance and diversity. They want compliance and forced acceptance — and they want to silence and punish any person who opposes their beliefs.
The Religious Freedom Restoration Act is the stop-gap.
7-year-old Adam Stinnett shows off his military-style haircut. (Amy Stinnett)
Adam Stinnett looks up to his older stepbrother – a soldier in the U.S. Army. So when it came time to get a haircut, the seven-year-old told his mother he wanted a basic military-style cut. And that’s exactly what he got – high and tight – just like his stepbrother.
Adam got his haircut on March 8. On March 9, his mother got a letter from the principal of Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School in McMinnville, Tennessee.
It seems they were not all that thrilled with the second grader’s new hairdo. The principal told Amy Stinnett that her son’s haircut was distracting – and needed to be fixed.
Amy refused to comply.
The following day, she was summoned to the principal’s office where she was given an ultimatum.
“We were told that we had to either cut his hair or he could not return to school,” she said.
Amy tried to explain to the principal that her son’s haircut was meant to emulate his older brother. But her explanation was dismissed and the principal demanded that the boy’s hair be “in compliance with our rules.”
“They shamed my son and they shamed a lot of military people – that’s how I feel about it,” Amy said. She also would like the school to apologize to her son.
The Warren County School District responded to the newspaper story with a four-paragraph statement telling folks they could not comment on the incident or the investigation – on the advice of their attorneys.
“This is an internal school matter and the administration of the school district has been advised to address it as such from this point forward,” the statement read.
While the district does not have a policy about hair styles, individual schools are given authority to make such decisions.
“Neither Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary, nor any school in Warren County School District, prohibits military haircuts,” the statement declares.
Well, someone at the district office might want to clue in the principal — because according to her email – military style haircuts are clearly against the rules.
It’s a pretty sad state of affairs in McMinnville – especially when you take into account that Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School is named after a local war hero.
Navy Corpsman David Robert “Bobby” Ray was killed in action during the Vietnam War. His final act of heroism was to use his body to shield a Marine from a grenade. The Marine survived. Ray did not. He was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.
“We are extremely proud that Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary was named in honor of a true American hero,” the school district stated.
And yet, they chose to shame a seven-year-old boy who wanted to look like a soldier. That school district doesn’t know the first thing about honor.
A small family owned business is being subjected to a public shaming because they declined to videotape a lesbian wedding.
Next Door Stories is based in Bexley, Ohio. Last month, a lesbian couple asked them to film their wedding. The owner replied with a brief note stating she did not do same-sex weddings. Instead of finding another videographer – the lesbians decided to go public.
They contacted the local chamber of commerce to file a complaint – and they also posted a story on Facebook.
The small business was inundated with hate mail. Their social networking sites were deluged with disgusting comments.
The chamber of commerce denounced the company’s actions said they plan to revise their rules to put a stop to discrimination.
Yet another example of the intolerance of those who profess to be tolerant.
Reaction in the upstate New York high school was swift, and so was the backlash, The Times Herald-Record reports. Furious students tried to shout down the recitation in their classrooms. Other students sat down in protest.
School Superintendent Joan Carbone told the newspaper that the Arabic pledge “divided the school in half” – noting that many complaints came from Jewish parents and those who had lost family members fighting the war on terror.
The outrage among students was so significant that the school issued an apology.
“We sincerely apologize for having the Pledge of Allegiance recited this morning in the high school in a language other than English,” the apology read. “In our school district the Pledge of Allegiance will only be recited in English as recommended by the Commissioner of Education.”
Well, that’s somewhat reassuring.
However, state regulations do not mandate that the pledge be recited in a specific language. It recommends only specific wording.
108.5 Pledge to the flag.
(a) It is recommended that schools use the following pledge to the flag:
“I pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
(b) In giving the pledge to the flag, the procedure is to render the pledge by standing with the right hand over the heart.
The school said the pledge was recited in Arabic as a way to honor National Foreign Language Week “and in an effort to celebrate the many races, cultures and religions that make up this great country.” It said the pledge had been recited in other languages throughout the week.
That explanation didn’t set well with student Alex Krug.
“I think it should be said in English,” he told television station TWCNews.com. “It is foreign language week but we don’t even offer Arabic in Pine Bush High School.”
Andrew Zink, the student body president, defended what he did and said he would do it all over again – telling TWC News he “knew exactly what would happen” because “it’s the right thing to do.”
Zink wrote on his Twitter account: “To everyone who disagrees with my decisions, I respect your right to do so and hope we can have a productive conversation,”
Oh, there’s been no shortage of conversation around the small town.
A writer who claimed to be an American of Arab Christian ancestry said he, too, was offended by what happened.
“The Pledge of Allegiance isn’t a ‘salute’ to America,” he wrote. “It’s a promise to be loyal to it. Part of that loyalty should be to learn English and integrating into our culture.”
Based on the comments made by the student body president, it appears the Arabic recitation was less about celebrating a foreign language and more about stirring up trouble.
In my most recent book, “God Less America,” I illustrate how the nation’s public schools have been turned into indoctrination centers. Teachers are preaching a liberal ideology. Our schoolhouses have become places where Christianity is marginalized and Islam is given accommodation.
The First Lady of these United States is now urging Americans to stop drinking sweet tea.
Yes – friends – you heard correctly. Mrs. Obama has declared war on the House Wine of the South. It’s all part of her anti-obesity campaign — called Let’s Move.
The website Free Beacon was the first to report on her latest culinary atrocities – urging us to wash down our lettuce and bean sprouts with unsweetened tea.
The First Lady also told Americans to stay away from all-you-can-eat buffets — which I’m sure is great news for all those folks employed by all-you-can-eat buffets.
Mrs. Obama also wants us to consider rustling up some tasty eats from the Department of Agriculture’s Pinterest page. Among her personal favorites are entrees like bean-kale burgers and curried pumpkin with peas.
I just got a little throw up in my mouth, America.