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Supreme Court to Reexamine View of Church-State Relations

By Editorial Staff
Published November 1, 1989

WASHINGTON, D.C. (FR) – The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a number of cases exploring the relationship between church and state during its current session which began on October 2.

The Court will decide the constitutionality of the Equal Access Act, passed in 1984, which requires schools to open their facilities to religiously-orientated student groups if they permit non-religious student clubs.

On July 3, 1989, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear a case called Westside Board of Education vs. Mergens. The Court will examine equal access in the Mergens case, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of a Christian student group that had been forbidden to meet on school grounds. The Court could also review the Garnett case, a similar case, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled against a Christian student group.

The Court is expected to uphold Equal Access by a wide margin.

Another case that may appear this session, but is not yet scheduled for review, involves Larry Witters, a disabled man from the state of Washington who wants to use funding from a state educational assistance program to pursue a seminary education. Previously the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously that his individual choice to use a state education grant at a religious school did not pose a constitutional problem. But the Washington Supreme Court has since overruled the decision, claiming that the state’s constitutional prohibition of establishment of religion is stricter than federal legal codes.

Witters’ case is expected to win review because it involves a conflict between state and federal standards, and because the lower state court is acting out of accordance with the ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Jordan Lawrence, litigation director for Concerned Women for America, thinks that Witters’ case could lead to a landmark decision by the Court. “I think it has significant implications,” Lawrence said. “The case is innocently asking for the Supreme Court to review this whole area once again and adopt a constitutional principle that if the government makes money available to anyone, as an individual, they can use it to attend a religious institution. It could produce a very important decision.”

Other decisions made recently by lower courts have upheld the religious freedom guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution. In Denver, Colorado, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Matsch ruled that students have a constitutional right to distribute a publication at their high school that promoted Christian principles. In New Orleans, Louisiana, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit ruled that a public library in Oxford, Mississippi may not prohibit a Concerned Women for America prayer chapter from using its facilities because of the religious content of the group’s meetings.

These cases and other upcoming decisions by the U.S. Supreme Court promise to reestablish and uphold the constitutional right of religious freedom, which had been denied to millions of Americans in recent years.


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Martin Luther: Digitally Remastered 1953 Classic (DVD)

“Here I stand … I can do no other!”

With these immortal words, an unknown German monk sparked a spiritual revolution that changed the world.

The dramatic classic film of Martin Luther’s life was released in theaters worldwide in the 1950s and was nominated for two Oscars. A magnificent depiction of Luther and the forces at work in the surrounding society that resulted in his historic reform efforts, this film traces Luther’s life from a guilt-burdened monk to his eventual break with the Roman Catholic Church.

Running time: 105 minutes

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Watch a clip from Martin Luther.

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The Silent Scream (DVD) Eight Languages

“When the lives of the unborn are snuffed out, they often feel pain, pain that is long and agonizing.” – President Ronald Reagan to National Religious Broadcasters Convention, January 1981

Ronald Reagan became convinced of this as a result of watching The Silent Scream – a movie he considered so powerful and convicting that he screened it at the White House. More recently, it was by catching just a glimpse of what this film reveals that Planned Parenthood director and abortion advocate Abby Johnson turned and became a strong advocate for the pre-born.

The modern technology of real-time ultrasound now reveals the actual responses of a 12-week old fetus to being aborted. As the unborn child attempts to escape the abortionist’s suction curette, her motions can be seen to become desperately agitated and her heart rate doubles. Her mouth opens – as if to scream – but no sound can come out. Her scream doesn’t have to remain silent, however … not if you will become her voice. This newly re-mastered version features eight language tracks and two bonus videos.

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Languages: English, Spanish, French, South Korean, Chinese, Russian, Portuguese, Japanese

Running Time: 28 minutes

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Abortion Clinic 911 Calls (DVD)

Exposes the Dangers of Abortion to Women!

These shocking eyewitness accounts expose the dangers of abortion not only to unborn children, but to the health and lives women as well. An antidote to the smokescreens of the liberal media, these short clips show what really happens in and around abortion clinics.

Although the content is emotionally gut-wrenching, these videos have been used in church seminars and small groups to educate Christians on the abortion issue and to lead people toward a pro-life position. Contains 2 hours and 40 minutes of materials that can be shown separately.

Watch these pro-life videos on-line.

“These videos helped change my mind from pro-choice to pro-life. Your videos are what did it for me. I will be walking in next year’s March For Life in San Francisco.” — A. Jackson, California

“I was going to have an abortion until I saw your video. Praise Jesus!”
— M. Drew, YouTube Commenter

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The Beast of Revelation IdentifiedThe Beast of Revelation: Identified (DVD)

Who is the dreaded beast of Revelation?

Now at last, a plausible candidate for this personification of evil incarnate has been identified (or re-identified). Ken Gentry’s insightful analysis of scripture and history is likely to revolutionize your understanding of the book of Revelation — and even more importantly — amplify and energize your entire Christian worldview!

Historical footage and other graphics are used to illustrate the lecture Dr. Gentry presented at the 1999 Ligonier Conference in Orlando, Florida. It is followed by a one-hour question and answer session addressing the key concerns and objections typically raised in response to his position. This presentation also features an introduction that touches on not only the confusion and controversy surrounding this issue — but just why it may well be one of the most significant issues facing the Church today.

Ideal for group meetings, personal Bible study — for anyone who wants to understand the historical context of John’s famous letter “… to the seven churches which are in Asia.” (Revelation 1:4)

Running Time: 145 minutes

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Amazing GraceAmazing Grace: The History and Theology of Calvinism (DVD)

Download the Free Study Guide!

Just what is Calvinism?

Does this teaching make man a deterministic robot and God the author of sin? What about free will? If the church accepts Calvinism, won’t evangelism be stifled, perhaps even extinguished? How can we balance God’s sovereignty and man’s responsibility? What are the differences between historic Calvinism and hyper-Calvinism? Why did men like Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Spurgeon, Whitefield, Edwards and a host of renowned Protestant evangelists embrace the teaching of predestination and election and deny free will theology?

This is the first video documentary that answers these and other related questions. Hosted by Eric Holmberg, this fascinating three-part, four-hour presentation is detailed enough so as to not gloss over the controversy. At the same time, it is broken up into ten “Sunday-school-sized” sections to make the rich content manageable and accessible for the average viewer.

Running Time: 257 minutes

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