Third Circuit breaks with other circuits in "religious exercise" case...
I'm not much for conspiracies as they're normally conceptualized--plots carried out by evil men who act in concert with one another while hiding their identities and intentions.
Why? Because a good conspiracy requires discipline and a lot of hard work, and the liberals I've known are too lazy for that kind of stuff.
But I do believe, intensely, in conspiracies planned and implemented by Satan using men as pawns in his insurrection against the Only True God. At times, I think we'd almost have to be deaf, dumb, and blind not to see the direction he's heading. One of those directions I've often written about in the past is the steady loss of religious freedom that is making it more and more costly for followers of Jesus Christ to live according to Scripture's principles.
Take the matter of churches' hiring practices, for instance: the state continues to fiddle around the edge of our religious freedoms by declaring that certain matters are simply a question of equality and justice--not moral or religious principles. The state claims to have an interest in assuring that churches and other religious institutions conduct their business in such a way as not to violate our current civil compact, particularly in matters where that compact is going through radical change.
Sexual matters are the center of this oppressive use of civil authority today--particularly the normalization of sodomy. Does the free exercise of religion allow bigoted churches to call sodomy "sexual perversion" and refuse to hire a sodomite as their church organist or high school youth leader? Generally, the answer here in the U.S. is still "yes," but not for long--I guarantee it. The direction of Satan's conspiracy is clear to those who have trained themselves to distinguish good and evil. As the Holy Spirit says, "...solid food is for the mature, who because of practice have their senses trained to discern good and evil" (Hebrews 5:14).
A week ago, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit issued a decision in Petruska v. Gannon University that does not bode well for the peaceful life of the People of God. Good commentary on the significance of this bad decision may be found here and here.
Dissenting from the majority, Judge D. Brooks Smith wrote: "I disagree with the majority's fundamental premise that a church's choice regarding who performs particular spiritual functions is not necessarily a religious decision. Rather, in my view, such a decision is, by its very nature, a religious one.... (T)he process of selecting a minister is per se a religious exercise. A minister is not merely an employee of the church; she [sic] is an embodiment of its message."
(Thank you, Mark.)