Friday Five: Major win for religious liberty, Phase 2 of NC reopening, and more

Welcome to the Friday Five! Every Friday we share our top five articles, stories, and quotes for you to read and share with your friends and church families. 

We would be very grateful if you could make a donation of $100, $50, $25, or $10 today towards our work producing these Friday Fives and fighting for your values on the public square!



1. NC VALUES VOICE: Live with Congressman Dan Bishop

Earlier this week we had another episode of “The NC Values Voice”, a weekly 30-minute interview by Executive Director, Tami Fitzgerald, with a special guest. The NC Values Voice aired on Facebook Live and on Wednesday night at 7:30pm. Our goal with these programs is to inform and motivate our statewide coalition members with current, relevant information.

This week's program featured Congressman Dan Bishop, who discussed North Carolina's planned reopening and Governor Cooper's response.

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2. NC VALUES: Major legal win for churches and religious liberty in NC

On Saturday, churches across our State received a big victory for religious freedom!

Federal Judge James Dever issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) making Governor Cooper's restrictions on churches unenforceable statewide.

The NC Values Coalition has been saying for the last two weeks in emails and press releases that Governor Cooper's Executive Order 138, issued on May 5th, is unconstitutional as it targets churches for unequal treatment. The Order prohibits church worship services indoors for more than 10 people, unless it is "impossible" for those services to take place outside. In guidance issued by the Governor's office about how the Executive Order was to be interpreted, it said that religious entities may not assemble with more than 10 people indoors unless it is "impossible." The example given for "impossibility" is when "particular religious beliefs dictate that some or all of a religious service must be held indoors and that more than ten persons must be in attendance."

Well, thank God we have the First Amendment and judges who understand its protections for exercise of religious beliefs and assemblies, as well as its prohibition on the establishment of religion by the government!

For more stories about this major win for religious liberty, check out these articles from WBTV, Redstate, and WRAL.

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3. WRAL: #ReopenNC Phase 2 Begins Today, Friday, at 5pm

"North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper on Wednesday announced that enough progress was being made to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus and to allow for an end to the statewide stay-at-home order in effect since March 30.

On Friday at 5 p.m., the state will move into Phase 2 of a three-phase plan to reopen the economy and allow a gradual return to public life.

Phase 2 will take effect May 22 at 5 p.m."



4. CIVITAS: HB 1129: Progressives tell us once again how much they hate school choice

"Late last week Representatives Graig Meyer (D-Orange), Ashton Clemmons (D-Guilford), Cynthia Ball (D-Wake) and Raymond Smith (D-Sampson) introduced HB 1129, a bill which essentially ends the highly popular Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), among other things. As of May 20th, 40 legislators — all Democrats – have signed on to the bill.

OSP, started in 2015, provides eligible students a scholarship of up to $4,200 per year to attend a school of their choice. This past year 12,283 students participated in the program.

Do legislators seek to cancel the program because it helps middle, or high-income families?

According to a study by North Carolina State University, the median household income of new OSP recipients is $16,213 and $15,000 for those who renew.

Do legislators seek to cancel the program because it’s not working?

Students use OSP to get a better education.

OSP’s growth from just over 1,200 students in 2015 to almost 12,300 five years later says something is working.

Do legislators want to cancel OSP because parents and the public don’t like it?

This new bill would destroy the Opportunity Scholarships and take aid way from low-income families during a time they need it most. We must fight against it. For more information about HR 1129, check out Parents for Educational Freedom in North Carolina's article here.



5. FOX NEWS: Planned Parenthood affiliates improperly applied for and received $80 million in coronavirus stimulus funds feds say

Planned Parenthood affiliates improperly applied for and received $80 million in coronavirus stimulus funds, feds say.

Money that is needed by small businesses was inappropriately taken to fund abortion institution. Thoughts?




LORD, you have blessed us with a spiritual liberty that is so wonderful and beyond description, that it can only be understood through experiencing a life-giving relationship with Christ. However, we also recognize that in your grace, you have blessed our country with a political liberty that enables us to openly proclaim the experience of a life lived in the freedom of the Gospel.

In the past 100 years, we have continued to hear the cry of the martyr and believer whose lives are ravished in countries that rob them of this natural and fundamental right. We mourn with the brethren in China and other abusive countries when their churches are demolished by bulldozers, and their families are imprisoned for the Christ-focused profession of their lips.

LORD, as individuals and as a nation, may we never take the inalienable right of religious freedom for granted. Right now our country has faced a rapid increase in the number of attacks made against this cherished right. We have seen groups across our public arena increase in boldness and frequency their smears against religious liberty. They claim it is bigotry, when we know it is the security of the greatest of all possible loves.

Be with your people and our country as it continues to protect the constitutional right protected by our nation's Founders. Be with legislators and the Supreme Court, as they determine through their actions the protection of this particular and fundamental freedom. In particular, we lift up Tom Harris and his family owned funeral home, where the Court is deciding whether Tom and other employer across our country can exercise their religious freedom in their businesses.

It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery." (Galatians 5:1)

"For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." (Galatians 5:13)

"Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God." (1 Peter 2:16)



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