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In a recent CNN interview, 2020 Democratic presidential nominee Cory Booker dismissed sending “thoughts and prayers” to victims of gun violence as BS. Evangelical Christian leader Rev. Franklin Graham is firing back.

Graham said that Booker “obviously doesn’t know the power of prayer.” He also addressed the importance of America called on God in these dark times, saying that until we as a nation call on God for help in the human heart, “violence of all types will continue to escalate.”

Sen. Booker sat down with David Axelrod on his CNN show, The Axe Files. During the interview, he addressed gun violence and gun policy.

“When I’m president of the United States, I’m taking a fight to this issue like folks have never seen before, because we’re better than this as a country. It’s a uniquely American problem. No other country has this kind of courage.”

“We are not going to give thoughts and prayers, which to me is just bullsh**,” Booker said. “And I’m sorry to say it as a main of faith, but I was taught that faith without works is dead.”

Graham commented on Booker’s remarks in a post on Facebook, writing:

“Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker obviously doesn’t know the power of prayer,” said Graham. “He said that thoughts and prayers after gun violence is BS. That couldn’t be further from the truth.”

“When people have lost loved ones, they need the comfort and strength that can only come from God,” he said. “The solution for the problem in this country is much deeper than more laws.”

Graham added, “The Bible says, ‘…out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies…’ (Matthew 15:19). Jesus’ words are true, and only He can transform the human heart.”

“I’m sorry that some of our politicians have turned their backs on God,” said Graham. “I’m going to continue to pray for victims of violence and their loved ones, and I’m going to continue to urge others to pray for them when these tragedies occur.”

Gage Skidmore

Gage Skidmore

Vice President Mike Pence shared a bit of reality to the graduating class of Liberty University: be prepared to face discrimination because of your religious beliefs.

Pence, who is known for having strong Evangelical roots, gave the commencement address at Liberty University, know for also being tied to the Christian faith, over the weekend. He warned the graduates of what it’s like to live out a Christian faith in a secular America.

“We live in a time when it’s become acceptable and even fashionable to ridicule and even discriminate against people of faith,” Pence told the Class of 2019.

“You know, throughout most of American history, it’s been pretty easy to call yourself Christian. It didn’t even occur to people that you might be shunned or ridiculed for defending the teachings of the Bible,” Pence told the nearly 21,000 graduates. “But things are different now. Some of the loudest voices for tolerance today have little tolerance for traditional Christian beliefs.”

Pence further warned them that their values would be questioned and thrown aside.

“You’re going to be asked not just to tolerate things that violate your faith; you’re going to be asked to endorse them. You’re going to be asked to bow down to the idols of the popular culture,” he added.

During the speech, Pence spoke from personal experience, referencing several examples of what he called discrimination against faith-based people.

His wife Karen Pence, who was in the crowd during the ceremony, had faced attacks in January after she returned to teach art at a Christian school that bans LGBTQ teachers and students. Pence characterized the incident as an “un-American” attack on Christian education.

Pence told the crowd he was dedicated to upholding the first amendment, which grants us freedom of religion.

“I’m proud to report our administration has already taken decisive action to protect religious liberty, and we’ll continue to do just that,” he said. “And I promise you: We will always stand up for the right of Americans to live, to learn, and to worship God according to the dictates of their conscience.”

Watch his entire speech below.

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christian-bible-on-flagPeter Brigg, the principal of Sabold Elementary School in Springfield, would say “God Bless America” following the Pledge of Allegiance over the loud speaker. After the district received a legal complaint, he was forced to stop.

The district received the complaint from the Freedom From Religion Foundation on behalf of a parent who claimed that Brigg’s actions broke the law.

An attorney from FFRF sent a letter to the district superintendent Tony Barber on March 25th, complaining that publicly announcing the expression violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits of government sponsoring religious messages.

The foundation continued by stating “young elementary school children don’t need to be coerced into affirming God’s name every morning.”

The district released a statement Friday confirming that it received a complaint that reciting the words “God Bless America” over the loudspeaker “violated the law” and that it would stop the practice immediately.

“In accordance with District protocol, this complaint was forwarded to our District Solicitor’s Office. Based upon the Solicitor’s legal research and recommendation, we ceased this practice. Continuation of any practices that may be unlawful would only expose the District to litigation, which the local taxpayers would have to financially support,” the statement read.

The district went on to say that students who wanted to say the phrase after the pledge could still do so. Students were never obligated to repeat it in the many years Brigg used the religious phrase to conclude the pledge, but they were welcome to do so if they chose.

The Freedom from Religion Foundation said it was pleased with the resolution reached by the school district.

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Democratic lawmakers in Massachusetts want to take “God” out of the oath of office for every elected official in the State.

This would amend the old state Constitution in the country, allowing public officials to cite a secular phrase instead: “This I do under the pains and penalties of perjury.”

Bill, S. 2211, proposed by State Representative Mindy Domb, D-Amherst, was passed by the Democratic-led Joint Committee on the Judiciary last month.

The current Massachusetts Constitution requires “every person chosen or appointed to any office, civil or military” in the state to “solemnly swear [that] I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and will support the constitution thereof. So help me God.”

In order to make it a constitutional amendment, it would require passage by two consecutive legislatures and then approval by voters. This would include 17 members of the House and Senate.

Amending the document would make it more general neutral changing the pronoun from “he” to “they.”

This bill is supported by atheists who believe invoking God violates the establishment cause.

Zachary Bos, the state director for American Atheists told The Meadville Tribune, “We support any move that helps to increase the government’s commitment to secularism.”

Conservatives say that removing God is another recent example of secular efforts to diminish the influence of religion in society.

“It’s yet another cynical attempt to erase the rich legacy of faith that has been part of our Commonwealth form from the Pilgrims to today,” Andrew Beckwith, president of Massachusetts Family Institute told News and Tribune.

This is not the first time House Democrats failed to strike “so help you God” this year. Earlier this year, they failed to remove it from the House committee oath after an outcry from House republicans.

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