Homeowners’ Board May be in Legal Trouble for Stopping Four Christian Services on “Common
Anyone who has been in church work for any length of time has come across rude homeowners’ associations with rigid rules about church
practices on their properties. But, one such association may have gone too far, and it may turn out to set a new precedent in the future.
WND.com (May 25, 2017) reports that:
The complaint of a single resident of a planned community of hundreds of homes in California prompted the homeowners
association board to banish four Christian groups that had been meeting in a common building, some for nearly a decade.
But board members Karyl Ralles, Tom Burch, Jim Griffin, Kay Marks and Steve Steiber now face the possibility of a huge liability for
what Christian group members describe as a violation of their civil rights.
A judge in a California court has refused to dismiss claims for punitive damages against the board members.
The Pacific Justice Institute, representing Christians who live in the Solera at Kern Canyon community in Bakersfield, California, said
Thursday a judge in Kern County Superior Court has denied four motions on behalf of the association, its board of directors and its
general manager to strike a request for punitive damages.
“The court observed that the allegations, if proved, would be akin to racism and other forms of civil rights violations justifying
punitive damages,” PJI said.
The legal team said it was part of an effort by the homeowners association and its board “to shield itself from punitive damages for
shutting down Bible studies and a Sunday worship service.”
Here’s the story of what happened:
“Like many retirement communities, Solera at Kern Canyon has a central clubhouse and recreation facilities where numerous
interest groups like book clubs and water aerobics meet. About 10 years ago, several members of the community began meeting
together on Tuesday mornings for a men’s Bible study. Two different women’s Bible studies were later formed. In 2014, some of the
men felt a need to serve physically challenged residents who have difficulty leaving the community by offering informal worship on
Sundays. The Sunday services quickly became the best attended weekly event held at the clubhouse. Participants come from a wide
variety of denominational backgrounds, and it is not a formal church. Unlike most churches, no offering is taken, and the retired
pastor who does most of the preaching does not receive a salary.”
However, according to court filings, one resident, Bruce Blythe, threatened to sue the homeowners association for allowing the
Christian groups to meet in facilities for which they paid dues.
The arguments immediately turned nasty, the court filing explains.
“Among other invectives, it was suggested the Romans should have finished off the Christians while they had the chance. In
response, the HOA board just before Thanksgiving ordered all four groups to stop meeting in the clubhouse indefinitely. After one
resident filed suit in late December and an injunction hearing was scheduled, the board reluctantly allowed the groups to resume
meeting while it considered further restrictions. Leaders of the religious groups are now regularly denounced at the HOA Board
meetings and they receive numerous harassing phone calls,” PJI said.
The court filing explains Nancy Griffin, the communications director at the clubhouse, the spouse of board member Jim Griffin, also
stated at the time, “Don’t worry … those Christians will be out of there before Christmas.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out.
The Right and Wrong of a Christian School Preventing a Pregnant Student from Graduating
This item made national news and needs to be addressed.
Maddi Runkles is an 18-year-old straight-A student who attends Heritage Academy, a private Christian high school in Maryland.
She's also pregnant and due to give birth to her son on September 4, and because of her pregnancy, she is not being allowed to walk
at graduation. Runkles' story first broke last week, and her school is not backing down. In fact, her principal issued a letter to the
school community saying that Runkles is being punished for her "immorality," not pregnancy, and the school will not re-consider its
Despite a public outcry and growing pressure from national antiabortion groups to reconsider, Heritage Academy in Hagerstown
says that senior Maddi Runkles broke the school’s rules by engaging in intimate sexual activity. In a letter to parents Tuesday
evening, school principal David R. Hobbs said that Runkles is being disciplined, “not because she is pregnant but because she was
immoral. ... The best way to love her right now is to hold her accountable for her morality that began this situation.”
When Runkles first told her school she was pregnant in February, she was initially told that she would not be allowed to attend
classes and would have to finish the year at home. Heritage Academy has a school code that forbids premarital sex, drug use, and
the consumption of alcohol, among other things. Eventually, the school relented and allowed her to attend class, but stripped her of
her role as student council president and told her she was still not permitted to attend graduation. To confront rumors, Runkles
addressed her entire school at an assembly and informed them of her pregnancy, and asked them for forgiveness.
According to Runkles, other students who have broken rules were still permitted to march at graduation. She believes she's being
targeted as her pregnancy is visual reminder that she made a "mistake."
Students for Life of America is hosting a graduation party for Runkles. Other pro-life groups have issued statements in support of
Runkles, saying that they were glad she chose life for her baby.
If we were living in America before 1973, when abortion was legalized, we would see that even public schools had standards against
immoral lifestyles that prevented students from graduating.
Today, because of the issue of abortion, the fact that a pregnant student chooses life is expected to erase any immoral action that created
the problem to begin with.
The Biblical position is to forgive. However, forgiveness must never be construed to mean condonement.
In our world of loose morals and loose living, we must praise the decision to choose life - while at the same time condemning immorality
in the lives of our young people.
This is not an issue about personal preferences, this is a discussion about a moral issue that is forbidden in the Bible. It must be treated
with both love and holiness, and not the absence of either.
“Concerned Clergy for Choice” Meets to Support Abortion in New York
Liberal members of the “clergy” are sickening in their support of killing unborn children.
A group known as “Concerned Clergy for Choice” and others recently gathered in the New York state capital to advocate for access
to abortion and contraception, and to express support for the sexually-centered organization Planned Parenthood.
“As pastors, we believe in New Yorkers’ ability to get the health care that is supported by their religious teachings and personal
beliefs,” Director Dennis Ross, a Reformed Jewish rabbi, told the Legislative Gazette. “People of all faiths believe in safe and legal
abortion, access to contraception and sex education, and we know Planned Parenthood is an essential healthcare provider.”
The group, which is a program of Planned Parenthood Empire State Acts, includes Presbyterian, Methodist, Episcopalian, American
Baptist and Unitarian clergy members.
Also present at the event was Sara Hutchinson Ratcliff of Catholics for Choice, who asserted that many Catholics differ with their
leaders on the issue of abortion.”
How a professing Christian leader can support abortion in the name of God must be a mystery to the angels in Heaven. Killing human life
in its most fragile and innocent form is a travesty, but to defend and promote it in the name of God is the worst kind of apostasy.
Today Begins Islamic Holy Month “Ramadan” - What Does That Mean?
Ramadan is Islam’s most holy month. It begins this year today (May 26) and lasts until June 24.
Islamist and jihadi organizations encourage their followers to carry out violent attacks on Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims,
when terrorist groups especially encourage and value martyrdom.
There is usually a spike in jihadi attacks during the holy month, expected to start on Friday this year.
Following the Islamic State’s (ISIS/ISIL) call for violence during the holy month last year, the U.S. State Department-led Overseas
Security Advisory Council warned: “According to Islamic practice, sacrifice during Ramadan can be considered more valuable than
that made at other times, so a call to martyrdom during the month may hold a special allure to some.
The month long observation is a time of abstinence from certain things for some, and a time of militant action by others:
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) notes that Islamist and terrorist groups stress themes of jihad in messages,
articles, and sermons published on Ramadan.
Among the Ramadan themes identified by MEMRI, are:
The commandment of jihad, which is of supreme importance at all times, assumes even greater importance during this holy month
and gains precedence over all other commandments… On Ramadan Allah grants fighters special strength, despite - or rather by
virtue of - their fasting. Those who gain martyrdom during the month of Ramadan are doubly rewarded in Paradise.
Most Muslims follow the tradition of abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, having sex, and other physical needs each day,
starting from before the break of dawn until sunset during the month of Ramadan.
However, other Muslims adhere to the tradition that perceives Ramadan as a month of jihad and martyrdom.
…MEMRI describes Ramadan as “a month in which Allah grants military victories to His believers,” a belief exploited by jihadist
groups like ISIS.”
Attacks on America coincided with this “holy” month:
An ISIS-linked jihadi carried out the biggest act of domestic terrorism in the United States since 9/11 during Ramadan last year,
killing at least 49 people and injuring more than 50 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
Bottom line: America needs to be on the alert when Islam has a “holy” month. “Holy” for them is not the same thing as “holy” to