Monday, May 26, 2014

We Give a Huge Shout Out to our Soldiers on Memorial Day


This is to honor our soldiers, who chose to serve their fellow Americans by giving of their time, their talents and in many cases their lives.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Virginia proposal would limit size of gatherings at private homes..could this violate freedom of assembly, religion?

Commentary by Kirby Harris

Could this be political or religious persecution in the guise of public safety and being a good neighbor or just be an unintended consequence of such laws?

housechurchCould this really be aimed at House Church Fellowships or Grassroots Political Gatherings?

Could this infringe on, not only the right to assemble (which includes grassroots political activity), but on the freedom of religion as well?

First we have the right to assemble protected by under the US Constitution, which includes gathering for political and religious reasons, not just in public but in homes.

Many patriot groups and smaller Tea Parties meet in homes for lack of other venues or to organize their neighborhoods.

Also, as far as house churches, many Christians believe God wants them to only meet in homes like the early church, while others just prefer home fellowships to mainstream church buildings. My wife and I ran an active house church for years.

How might this law mess up house churches or political gatherings you might ask?

Well "the proposed zoning ordinance limits “group assembly” at residences to 49 people a day. Such gatherings “shall not occur more frequently than three times in any 40-day period.”

Now I know that there has to be a limit to the amount of people you have gathering in a residential home for safety reasons, but you don’t need a one size fits all number for all residences. You all ready have occupancy laws based on square foot. And if this doesn’t apply to residential homes in your area, then just add homes to the business occupancy law that your area already has in place. Though this could be a slippery slope.

Another issue is that many political groups meet once or several times a week, and this definitely is true of churches, so no more than three gatherings in a 40 day period definitely infringes on them. Some churches even have a mid week service or other church related bible studies, not to mention it limits growth. Sorry your number 50..go away.

I understand for safety reasons limiting the number of occupancy in any dwelling, but the frequency of how many gatherings you have is ridiculous and frankly none of the government’s or your neighbor’s business. I will add this to my previous comment, if you have regular gatherings in your home be a good neighbor and consider parking, noise level and times that don’t interfere to much with your neighbors as best you can.

Comment on Below Article by Mark Wood:

“What bothers me even more than even the thought of proposing such a law is the thought, "Who is going to keep track of the number of people entering each house?"

To enforce such a law, there must be proof of breaking such law. So, even those not breaking the law must have their visitors counted - just to show innocence. Those breaking the law must be counted in order to prove guilt.

Not a good law by any means or scenario.”



Fairfax aims to downsize home assemblies

By Kenric Ward  -  Published May 05, 2014  -

patherrity-watchdogFAIRFAX, Va. – A plan to ban “frequent and large gatherings at neighborhood homes” is a lawsuit waiting to happen, a Fairfax County supervisor predicts.

Officials will get an idea Wednesday when public-comment hearings begin in Virginia’s most populous county.

“I believe the county is risking a lawsuit and/or a constitution challenge by interfering with peoples’ right to assemble,” Supervisor Pat Herrity said in a statement.

The proposed zoning ordinance limits “group assembly” at residences to 49 people a day. Such gatherings “shall not occur more frequently than three times in any 40-day period.”

County officials say they have received complaints about group meetings at homes. But Herrity said “they haven’t even reached 1 percent of the thousands of complaints our Department of Code Compliance investigates a year.”

“This is yet another instance where we appear to be punishing the many for the actions of the few,” said Herrity, who reported a total of six complaints were received last year.

Church groups, scouting organizations or even sports fans drawn to a home’s big-screen TV during playoffs could be potential targets of the proposed county law. Realtors worry that even open houses would invite civil penalties.

John Whitehead, an attorney and president of the civil-libertarian Rutherford Institute, calls the Fairfax plan “nefarious.”

“Broad enactments like these have governments assuming that private property is their property,” Whitehead said in an interview with

“If you can’t determine what goes on at your own residence, you have surrendered your rights. The Constitution is founded on property rights.”

Nevertheless, some courts have upheld aggressive zoning restrictions. In Phoenix, a minister was sentenced to 60 days in jail for conducting Bible study classes with 10 people at a home.

Herrity, who beat back a controversial dance-hall regulation two years ago, said Fairfax County already has several codes that address neighborhood nuisances.

“We should be focusing on dealing with the issues and not restricting groups’ rights to assemble,” he said.

The Board of Supervisors is moving ahead with three public-comment sessions on the staff-drafted ordinance:

  • Wednesday, May 7, South County Government Center, 8350 Richmond Highway, Alexandria.
  • Monday, May 12, Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax.
  • Monday, May 19, Lemon Road Elementary School, 7230 Idylwood Road, Falls Church.

All meetings run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Kenric Ward is a national reporter for and chief of the Virginia Bureau. Contact him at or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Our Constitution was made ‘for a moral and religious people’ views from a Devoted Christian and a Devoted Atheist

By Kirby Harris

This article is about what it means to be ‘a moral people’ and how it relates to the US Constitution and Individual Liberty. Here you will read a perspective from a devoted Christian and a devoted Atheist.


First as a gentleman, I will let my guest poster Phil Mccanless give his point of view from an devoted Atheist perspective :

I've often heard conservatives who "lean libertarian" quote or paraphrase the John Adams quote about how "our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other" as a defense for anti-liberty laws which ban or prohibit drug use or consenting sex between adults.

As an atheist, I object to the insinuation that only the religious can be moral, but I couldn't agree more that our constitution was made for and can only be of benefit to moral people. Surprised?

You shouldn't be. But, here's where I diverge from those who would use this as an excuse to violate human rights: it isn't the morality of those who would use (certain, unpopular) drugs or have (socially unacceptable) sex, whether those acts be deemed "moral" or not, who are the reason our constitution is failing us. It isn't the peaceful person with a bad habit or the those who would explore the dark, unknown areas of human sexuality which can threaten a moral and free people.

The morality (or obvious lack thereof) of the individuals who would attempt (ironically, in the name of law and morality) to violate the rights of others by kidnapping and caging peaceful, honest adults is the problem. If the peaceful, honest actions of people with bad habits can be used as an excuse to violate human rights, then cannot ANY habit, any excuse, even other peaceful, honest behaviors, be used to justify such an infringement?

It has been suggested that the "immorality" of the drug user or sexually active person somehow justifies the decimation of the fourth amendment right to be safe in our homes from unreasonable searches and safe in the courts from unlawful evidence, but this begs the question: what on earth could a peaceful, honest drug user, seller or grower do; what could two or more people having consenting sex possibly do, that could threaten the liberty of others more than than the enforcement of immoral, anti-libertarian laws prohibiting peaceful, honest, behavior?

If using (certain) drugs and having sex with consenting adults is immoral and a threat to liberty, then how much of a threat to liberty is a person or group of people using the violence and coercive police powers of the state to kidnap and lock in cages peaceful, harmless people for merely pursuing their happiness in their own ways?

So, I concur fully with those politicians who suggest only a moral people can be free . . . and I suggest that they look in the mirror and face the immorality inherent in laws which prohibit peaceful and honest activities among adults. Immorality IS a threat to liberty, but it isn't the immorality of the people's actions, but of the politician's laws, which threaten both liberty and safety. Peace now!

Now here is my (Kirby Harris) perspective as a devoted Christian:

Let me start by saying what you read here about liberty, human nature and morality isn’t what you might normally hear from a lot of Christians, rather they be liberal or conservative.

I am a devoted Christian. And I say a devoted Christian because I don’t like the term ‘good’ our ‘devout’ Christian, because there is no such thing.

I say this because all Christians, including me, are sinners saved by grace, NOT of our (my) own good deeds. And because when saved we don’t loose our human nature that causes us to sin. That is why I and all others need Jesus to redeem us.

So now having said all that, I will go on to say NO Christian is any better than the drug addict, the homosexual, the thief, the murderer, ect., because again ALL Christians are still sinners and still sin because we are human. Just because God supernaturally saves us, doesn’t mean our human nature stops. So that means, just because I am a Christian, I don’t always automatically act morally, especially when I attack others for their sin.

Jesus did call sin sin, but he never attacked the sinner. Instead he loved people, told them what he thought of their actions, what he thought it meant for their life here and in eternity, but left it up to them to change said behavior. Also Jesus never tried to get the government to stop people from engaging in sin.

To the Christian I ask, am I excusing sin? NO, not in the least. Would you, my fellow Christians, tell Jesus he was excusing sin for handling the this the same way I am? No of course not! But that is exactly what the religious folks of Jesus day accused him of doing.

We are all responsible for recognizing what is sin or immoral and what is not, and rather we believe in God or not, and how to move on from there. And if our actions harm others directly and cause tangible harm, then we suffer the consequences with human authorities.

Now, most of the Christian Founders knew that being or becoming a Christian did NOT cure us of our human nature. That is why they set up the system they did, because they knew human nature was by nature selfish, and that unchecked  without any moral training then we would take what we wanted from others. And that we needed to learn morals to fight the urge to be selfish and take forcefully form others what they had.

That is why they John Adam's said "our constitution was made for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other". Did he mean don’t get high off drugs, get drunk off alcohol or have sex forbad in the Bible? Who knows? But I doubt he would have been for the “decimation of the fourth amendment right to be safe in our homes from unreasonable searches and safe in the courts from unlawful evidence” as my friend Phil Mccanless.

So do I believe doing drugs, getting drunk or homosexual sex is wrong and sinful? Yes. DO I believe Jesus or the most of the Founders thought so? Yes. DO I believe Jesus or most of the Founders would want government (at any level) to violate the 4th amendment rights and liberty of any human to basically be left alone unless they harmed another tangibly? NO! They didn’t want the 4th amendment rights of those guilty to be violated much less the accused person innocent of the crime.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Love without limit -- Today's Devotion from Mike MacIntosh


By Mike MacIntosh

From there He arose and went to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And He entered a house and wanted no one to know it, but He could not be hidden. For a woman whose young daughter had an unclean spirit heard about Him, and she came and fell at His feet. The woman was a Greek, a Syro-Phoenician by birth, and she kept asking Him to cast the demon out of her daughter.
But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not good to take the children's bread and throw it to the little dogs." And she answered and said to Him, "Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs under the table eat from the children's crumbs."  Then He said to her, "For this saying go your way; the demon has gone out of your daughter." And when she had come to her house, she found the demon gone out, and her daughter lying on the bed.

Mark 7:24-30

In one short passage from the book of Mark, we see Jesus breaking all stereotypes and going to people that need to be loved.  Jesus is in a hostile and foreign country just north of Israel (modern day Lebanon), a nation whose Greek people were considered "unclean."  But it is no accident that this passage is placed right here in Mark.  I mean, think about this; the previous incident shows Jesus wiping out all distinction between clean and unclean food, and now Jesus shows us that there is no distinction between clean and unclean people (the Jews and the Greeks).  You see, in Jesus Christ we are all one people of God; all able to love Him, live for Him, and serve Him.  And He loves us just the same.  John tells us that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever (even a Greek, Syro-Phoenician woman) believes in Him would have eternal life!

Maybe you are a person that didn't have a dad or a mom, or your relationship with them was strained.  Or maybe you've been struggling because you've never really received love from people.  Well, you are just the prime candidate for the Lord to show you.  He loves you!  He loves the lovable and the unlovable.  Do you see it here?  There are no geographical borders to God's love.  There are no religious things that you have to do in order to get God's love.  Jesus Christ shattered all of that.  Your relationship with the Lord, and His love for you, isn't about a religious activity; it's a relationship with Him. Jesus traveled miles to seek and to save those who were lost (Luke 19:10), and He's doing the same today.  He is reaching out to you in love and compassion.  It doesn't matter where you've been, where you're from, or what your social or economic status is.  God loves you and is setting you free from your bondage.  For whom the Son sets free is free indeed (John 8:36).

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed" (Luke 4:18).

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

An undefiled heart -- Today's Devotion from Mike MacIntosh

by Mike MacIntosh

When He had entered a house away from the crowd, His disciples asked Him concerning the parable. So He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Do you not perceive that whatever enters a man from outside cannot defile him, because it does not enter his heart but his stomach, and is eliminated, thus purifying all foods?" And He said, "What comes out of a man, that defiles a man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within and defile a man."
Mark 7:17-23

Steeped in legalism and tradition, the Pharisees (and the disciples) had a difficult time understanding God's love and grace.  You see, it's not what you eat or drink, or what rules and regulations you follow that make you a Christian.  Likewise, it's not the absence of any of these things that make you a better Christian.  We can get so hung up on rules and regulations, on making sure others around us don't do this or that, that we lose all perspective of Jesus' words here: It's not the physical stuff in life that defiles us; it's our hearts.  Your actions are merely a by-product of your heart.

The Pharisees were so caught up in their rules and regulations (a.k.a. playing church) that they totally ignored the things that really defiled their lives.  I mean, look at the list Jesus gives of evil things that defile us: evil thoughts, adultery, fornication, murder, stealing, coveting, wickedness, deceit, slandering anot! her's character, pride, and foolishness.  These are the things that we should be concerned about -- issues that begin in our hearts.  This list was written over 2,000 years ago and it's more relevant than ever!  If our hearts are in the wrong place, our actions will follow.  Our hearts need to be focused on Jesus!

Maybe you're prone to watching soap operas or questionable prime-time shows where inevitably you see people undressing and making out.  What do these shows do?  They plant lustful thoughts in your mind.  One way you can tone down the lustful thoughts is to get rid of the lustful books and magazines, and turn off the lewd television shows you once thought were so great.  Instead of letting evil thoughts control you, "be transformed by the renewing of your mind" (Romans 12:2).  When thoughts come up that are lustful, sensual, and wicked, you need to say out loud, "Stop! Lord, I turn these thoughts to you."  God will take those thoughts and He will bring them under control.

Don't let the enemy destroy your life, your marriage, or your relationship with your family.  Don't allow these things to defile you, all the while thinking that you're "a good person" because you don't smok! e or drink or eat unhealthy foods.  Don't get me wrong; it's important to take care of yourself and to be a good steward of the body that God has given you.  But don't let that be your sole focus when there are so many things (as Jesus lists here) that you need to control.  Have a heart that seeks after the things of the Lord.

"For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty through God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled" (2 Corinthians 10:3-6).

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Listen and understand -- Today's Devotion from Mike MacIntosh


By Mike MacIntosh

When He had called all the multitude to Himself, He said to them, "Hear Me, everyone, and understand: There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man.
Mark 7:14-15

We are all very busy people, pulled in many different directions by distractions that, at times, hinder our ability to hear the Lord.  But despite all the distractions, Jesus is speaking to us.
Jesus says here two things that are so important for us to remember.  First, He says, "Hear Me."  In Mark 7:16, Jesus says, "He who has ears to hear, let him hear."  Jesus is talking to you and with you, so you need to be in a place where you can hear Him.  He is there with you, right now, as you read this.  Make it a priority to find that quiet place where you can just listen to Him.

The second thing Jesus says is, "Understand."  Not only does Jesus want to be heard, but He wants you to understand what He's saying to you.  He is communicating deep, rich, and important truths to you that will change your life.  Not only do you want to be in a place to hear those things, but you need to understand them, take them to heart, and let them soak into you.

You may be involved in a lot of religious activities, and you may have bumper stickers that say so.  But none of these things mean that you have a relationship with the Lord, or that you are listening to, and heeding, His words.  Jesus is giving you words of comfort and encouragement.  He is giving you words to help you through life.  Listen to Him, and take to heart what He's saying.