Iowa Civil Rights Commission Releases Revised Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Public Accommodations Brochure

This just in from the Iowa Civil Rights Commission:

Iowa Civil Rights Commission Releases Revised Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Public Accommodations Brochure
The Iowa Civil Rights Commission announced today the publication of its Revised Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity Public Accommodations Brochure.  The revision replaces the previous version which had not been updated since 2008 and clarifies that religious activities by a church are exempt from the Iowa Civil Rights Act.
“The Iowa Civil Rights Commission has never considered a complaint against a church or other place of worship on this issue,” said director Kristin H. Johnson. “This statute was amended to add these protected classes (sexual orientation and gender identity) in 2007 and has been in effect since then. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission has not done anything to suggest it would be enforcing these laws against ministers in the pulpit, and there has been no new publication or statement from the ICRC raising the issue. The Commission regrets the confusion caused by the previous publication.”
The revised brochure may be found at this link: https://icrc.iowa.gov/sites/default/files/publications/2016/2016.sogi_.pa1_.pdf

This new language is more clear:

P L A C E S O F W O R S H I P
Places of worship (e.g. churches, synagogues, mosques, etc.) are generally exempt from the Iowa law’s prohibition of discrimination, unless the place of worship engages in non-religious activities which are open to the public. For example, the law may apply to an independent day care or polling place located on the premises of the place of worship.

By independent day care, the Commission means a day care renting or leasing a place of worship and not being conducted by the church as a part of the church’s ministry. Ms. Johnson clarified that to me earlier in the week.
For background on this issue see these posts: Link, link

NewSpring Church Won't Deny Departure of Perry Noble (UPDATED – Noble Dismissed July 1)

Yesterday, Watchkeep Blog speculated that Anderson, SC megachurch NewSpring Church had fired pastor Perry Noble. Today, I emailed NewSpring Communications Director Suzanne Swift and ask if she could confirm or deny this report. She replied via email and said:

I would love to invite you to join us at church this Sunday to learn more from Perry and NewSpring Church. We will have services on Sunday at 9:15am, 11:15am, 4pm or 6pm at our Anderson Campus, located at 2940 Concord Road.

When I told her I couldn’t make it, she said I could watch the service at NewSpring.cc.
Apparently, local news outlets are on to something because South Carolina television station WYFF reported on a closed door leadership meeting today at the church. When asked by WYFF about the meeting, Swift gave the exact same answer to WYFF as she did to me and Watchkeep.
The lack of a denial seems odd but apparently the church wants people to tune in Sunday to find out.
Noble has faced friendly fire from his Southern Baptist peers and has been a consistent supporter of Mark Driscoll and in the face of criticism defended Driscoll’s appearance at his leadership conference in the Spring.
 

Iowa Civil Rights Commission Revising Guidance on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Public Accommodations

The Iowa Civil Rights Commission plans to revise guidance on how Iowans can comply with the 2007 Iowa amendment adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the state’s non-discrimination law. Recently, the Alliance Defending Freedom legal group has challenged 2008 wording from the Commission which gives the false impression that churches must comply with the non-discrimination law in their religious activities and worship services.
The wording from the 2008 brochure refers to church services as if this means worship services. See below:
Iowa Church Case
“A church service open to the public” is the problematic phrase. This wording sounds like the Sunday worship service which for nearly all Christian churches are open to the public. However, Iowa Civil Rights Commission executive director Kristin Johnson told me that the word “services” was drawn from the Iowa statute and refers to economic goods and services and not worship meetings.
In response to public concern over the meaning of the phrase, Johnson told me today that the guidance from the Commission will be revised saying, “We are in the process of revising our publication and appreciate the fact that it was brought to our attention. It has not been the intention of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission to mislead anyone with respect to the Commission’s enforcement of the law.”
Johnson also clarified that the guidance brochure published by the Commission has been around since 2008. Earlier, I reported that the brochure was from 2012. However, Johnson said the guidance was written and published in 2008 but had a 2012 date because the brochure was migrated to new digital storage in 2012.
Even with the change in language, Erik Stanley of Alliance Defending Freedom told me today that the lawsuit will continue. He said he believes Iowa’s law is unconstitutional and should be challenged. The churches involved wanted to create facility use policies and ADF believes a lawsuit will help get certainty for them.

Church Files Suit Against Iowa Civil Rights Commission Over 2007 Law Change

Twitter was abuzz a couple of days ago with outrage over a brochure from the Iowa Civil Right Commission which provided guidance on how to comply with a 2007 change in Iowa law to forbid discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. At first, I thought the law had recently been changed but later learned that the law was changed in 2007 and the brochure was first published in 2012. Here is some of the reaction. Clearly the tweeters also thought the change was recent.


Let me repeat, the Iowa law went into effect in 2007 and the guidance was issued in 2012. The Supreme Court’s gay marriage decision had nothing to do with Iowa’s non-discrimination law.
Here is another revelation. In the nine years the law has been on the books, not one complaint has been filed against a church. Kristin Johnson, Executive Director of the Iowa Civil Rights Commission told me, “We’ve never considered any complaint on this issue in the 9 years since the statute was amended.”
Given the urgency of the stories about the Iowa brochure, I thought the document had been recently published and the issue was new.
As it turns out, Ms. Johnson is confused about why the Alliance Defending Freedom brought a suit now. ADF did not reply to an email I sent yesterday evening. Johnson said:

We don’t know what raised this issue. This statute was amended to add these protected classes (sexual orientation and gender identity) in 2007 and has been in effect since then. The Iowa Civil Rights Commission has not done anything to suggest it would be enforcing these laws against ministers in the pulpit, and there has been no new publication or statement from the ICRC raising the issue.

As to the language in the 2012 brochure, Ms. Johnson did acknowledge ambiguity. Here is the section about churches:
Iowa Church Case
The portion that is unclear is the sentence: “Where qualifications are not related to a bona fide religious purpose, churches are still subject to the law’s provisions. (e.g. a child care facility operated at a church or a church service open to the public). (emphasis added)” This makes it sound as if the Commission will enforce the law during a public church service, i.e., during Sunday or other worship services. However, Ms. Johnson told me that is not what the phrasing means. She said:

The term “Services” comes from the statute and is not intended to refer to worship or religious services. It was intended to be used in the general sense as provided in Iowa Code Chapter 216. The brochure was apparently intended to be a “FAQ” of sorts and an attempt to explain some of the legal terms. A less ambiguous way to word this might have been “services provided by a church to the public.”

The code reads:

“Public accommodation” means each and every place, establishment, or facility of whatever kind, nature, or class that caters or offers services, facilities, or goods for a fee or charge to nonmembers of any organization or association utilizing the place, establishment, or facility, provided that any place, establishment, or facility that caters or offers services, facilities, or goods to the nonmembers gratuitously shall be deemed a public accommodation if the accommodation receives governmental support or subsidy

The word “services” doesn’t mean worship services as is being commonly reported in press accounts of the Iowa guidance. Instead, it refers to the provision of a good or service in the economic sense. If a church allows a non-religious group to hold a bake sale or rents out a part of the building to a group that offers goods or services, the law would apply. However, using the example of a day care ministry, Ms. Johnson told me that “the question there would be whether that day care was provided by a bona fide religious institution and served a bona fide religious purpose.” On the other hand, the commission might look at the situation if a church leased their building to a day care business which operated without a bona fide religious purpose.
For some, this enforcement will still be unacceptable. In any case, the narrative that Iowa has recently initiated a move against worship services and religious freedom in church just doesn’t match up with the facts.

Hillary's Emails and the Case of Navy Man Bryan Nishimura

It appears all but certain that Hillary Clinton will not face federal charges over her “extremely careless” handling of emails. FBI Director Comey gave her a stern public reprimand but that came with no recommendations for other consequences. Comey also asserted that no prosecutor would take up her case with the set of facts as the FBI had uncovered them. He may be right. However, others have done very similar things and been prosecuted. One such case is Bryan Nishimura.
Nishimura, a Navy Reserve Commander, violated 18 U.S.C. § 1924 pertaining to the “unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents and materials.” According to court documents, beginning in 2007 while in Afghanistan, Nishimura downloaded classified documents on to his personal devices. He then brought that information back to the United States when he service in Afghanistan ended. The FBI found the classified documents on an unclassified server in his home. As with Clinton, the FBI found no evidence that Nishimura intended to distribute the classified information. He had work related classified information stored on unauthorized servers without intent to distribute. He was extremely careless.
He also faced consequences. Nishimura was fined $7500, placed on probation, forced to give up his security clearance and barred from applying for security clearance in the future.
The relevant statute reads:

§ 1924. Unauthorized removal and retention of classified documents or material (a) Whoever, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant of the United States, and, by virtue of his office, employment, position, or contract, becomes possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removes such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location shall be fined under this title or imprisoned for not more than one year, or both.

The federal complaint against Nishimura reads:

The United States Attorney charges:
THAT BRYAN H. NISHIMURA, defendant herein, from on or about January 2007 through April 2012, while deployed outside of the United States on active military duty with the United States Navy Reserve in Afghanistan and thereafter at his residence located in the County of Sacramento, State and Eastern District of California, being an officer and employee of the United States, specifically: a United States Navy Reserve Commander, and, by virtue of his office and employment as such, becoming possessed of documents and materials containing classified information of the United States, specifically: CLASSIFIED United States Army records, did knowingly remove such documents and materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents and materials at his residence in the County of Sacramento, an unauthorized 2 location, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1924(a), a Class A misdemeanor.

Could we not substitute Hillary Clinton’s name in this paragraph?
According to FBI Director Comey, Clinton sent emails which were classified at the time she sent them.

From the group of 30,000 e-mails returned to the State Department, 110 e-mails in 52 e-mail chains have been determined by the owning agency to contain classified information at the time they were sent or received. Eight of those chains contained information that was Top Secret at the time they were sent; 36 chains contained Secret information at the time; and eight contained Confidential information, which is the lowest level of classification.

Clinton told the public she did not send classified emails. These emails were stored on vulnerable servers. Comey added:

Although we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.
For example, seven e-mail chains concern matters that were classified at the Top Secret/Special Access Program level when they were sent and received. These chains involved Secretary Clinton both sending e-mails about those matters and receiving e-mails from others about the same matters. There is evidence to support a conclusion that any reasonable person in Secretary Clinton’s position, or in the position of those government employees with whom she was corresponding about these matters, should have known that an unclassified system was no place for that conversation. In addition to this highly sensitive information, we also found information that was properly classified as Secret by the U.S. Intelligence Community at the time it was discussed on e-mail (that is, excluding the later “up-classified” e-mails).
None of these e-mails should have been on any kind of unclassified system, but their presence is especially concerning because all of these e-mails were housed on unclassified personal servers not even supported by full-time security staff, like those found at Departments and Agencies of the U.S. Government—or even with a commercial service like Gmail.

Like Nishimura, Clinton housed documents (emails) on unclassified personal servers and she should have known better.
Is the difference in outcome because Nishimura downloaded classified digital records and briefings to a device and stored them at his home and Clinton’s documents were classified documents of the email variety? Or is the difference because Clinton is a Democrat running for president and Nishimura was a Navy Reservist?
In Nishimura’s case, he admitted his deeds. Mrs. Clinton told the public she didn’t send classified information. The FBI says she did. The Associated Press has a take down of those claims. Seems like she needs to address her statements which conflict with the FBI’s investigation.
If her defense is that she didn’t know she was breaking the law, it doesn’t help to inspire confidence in her competence.
I am not an attorney but as a layman reviewing Nishimura’s case and the FBI statement about Clinton, I think Nishimura should consider asking for a pardon. Or alternatively, the American people should consider assigning Nishimura’s punishment to Mrs. Clinton: no additional security clearance or access to even more classified information.

Plaintiffs Respond to Mark Driscoll's and Sutton Turner's Motions to Dismiss the RICO Suit: Not Enough Funds to Continue

Today, attorney Brian Fahling filed responses to the motions to dismiss the RICO lawsuit accusing Mark Driscoll and Sutton Turner of misuse of funds in their positions as pastors at the now defunct Mars Hill Church in Seattle.
Bottom line: Because sufficient funds have not been raised to pursue the case, the suit was not served to Driscoll and Turner. Thus the plaintiffs do not object to dismissal without prejudice (the case could be tried later). Turner had requested the suit be dismissed with prejudice (permanently) and asked for sanctions. From the plaintiffs filing today (linked below):

For the foregoing reasons, Plaintiffs and their counsel respectfully request that this Court deny Defendants’ Motions to Dismiss with prejudice and Turner’s Motion for sanctions, including attorney’s fees. Plaintiff does not object to dismissal without prejudice of the claims against Defendants.
DATED: July 5, 2016

The opposition document revisits the legal case against Turner and Driscoll with much concerning Mars Hill Global, Result Source and the Campus Fund. You can get up to speed on the plaintiffs arguments about those matters by reading the opposition document.
Click the links below to read the documents.
Plaintiffs opposition to the Driscoll and Turner motions
A. Kildea declaration
R. Kildea declaration
B. Jacobsen declaration
C. Jacobsen declaration
B. Fahling declaration
Commentary to come…

Eric Metaxas, You Know the Constitutional Convention Didn't Have Daily Prayers, Right?

In his new book, Eric Metaxas features the June 28, 1787 motion for daily prayer made by Benjamin Franklin at the Constitutional Convention. Earlier today, he tweeted out this message with a link to an excerpt of his book, If You Can Keep It. 


Based on the way Metaxas tells the story, I can’t tell if he knows that the Constitution Convention didn’t follow through on Ben Franklin’s exhortation to pray to God. The way he tells the story, it appears that he wants people to believe the delegates went along with Franklin’s motion and then everything went well. In fact, after Franklin chided the delegates for not praying, a motion was made to start daily prayers. However, the meeting was adjourned without a vote being taken. In other words, nothing happened on Franklin’s exhortation.
Here is how Metaxas portrays it.

Drawing up the U.S. Constitution was a massive and unprecedented work of political prudence, and by all accounts, their efforts in that room were failing dramatically.
In fact, there came a day when most of the Founders present believed they had in fact failed — that their meeting must break up without any agreement, and the country would be forced to limp along as it was already doing, until it tore itself apart.
But it was just then, when the disagreements and arguments had mounted to an impossible height, that the eldest delegate, Benjamin Franklin, surprised the room. The man history often remembers — along with Jefferson — as among the more secular of the Founders actually gave a speech to the assembly in which he implored them to turn to God. The fact that Franklin should be the one to beseech the assembly to turn to God in prayer for an answer to their problems is evidence of their desperation, and for those of us who have forgotten how seriously all the Founders took God, it is startling. Here is his remarkable speech:

Mr. President,

The small progress we have made after four or five weeks close attendance & continual reasonings with each other, our different sentiments on almost every question, several of the last producing as many noes and ayes, is methinks a melancholy proof of the imperfection of the Human Understanding. We indeed seem to feel our own want of political wisdom, since we have been running about in search of it. We have gone back to ancient history for models of Government, and examined the different forms of those Republics which having been formed with the seeds of their own dissolution now no longer exist. And we have viewed Modern States all round Europe, but find none of their Constitutions suitable to our circumstances.

In this situation of this Assembly, groping as it were in the dark to find political truth, and scarce able to distinguish it when presented to us, how has it happened, Sir, that we have not hitherto once thought of humbly applying to the Father of lights to illuminate our understandings? In the beginning of the contest with Great Britain, when we were sensible of danger, we had daily prayer in this room for the divine protection. Our prayers, Sir, were heard, and they were graciously answered. All of us who were engaged in the struggle must have observed frequent instances of a Superintending providence in our favor. To that kind providence we owe this happy opportunity of consulting in peace on the means of establishing our future national felicity. And have we now forgotten that powerful friend?

I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth — that God governs in the affairs of men. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without his notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without his aid? We have been assured, Sir, in the sacred writings, that “except the Lord build the House they labour in vain that build it.” I firmly believe this; and I also believe that without his concurring aid we shall succeed in this political building no better than the Builders of Babel: We shall be divided by our little partial local interests; our projects will be confounded, and we ourselves shall become a reproach and by- word down to future ages. And what is worse, mankind may hereafter from this unfortunate instance, despair of establishing Governments by Human Wisdom and leave it to chance, war and conquest.

I therefore beg leave to move, that henceforth prayers imploring the assistance of Heaven, and its blessings on our deliberations, be held in this Assembly every morning before we proceed to business, and that one or more of the Clergy of the City be requested to officiate in that service.

As we have known for over two centuries, their prayers were answered. All impasses were broken, compromises on all issues struck, and solutions found. There arose what all felt to be a truly remarkable — almost odd — willingness for each side to set aside its concerns for the good of the whole. The spirit of selflessness and compromise that came over this body of opinionated, brilliant, and principled men was in the end sufficient for them to ratify the great document called the Constitution.

The problem with Metaxas’ narrative is that no formal prayers were offered. He makes it seem like the Convention acted favorably on Franklin’s motion which led to “compromises on all issues struck.” Not so. James Madison recorded what happened next.

Mr. SHARMAN seconded the motion.
Mr. HAMILTON & several others expressed their apprehensions that however proper such a resolution might have been at the beginning of the convention, it might at this late day, 1.64 bring on it some disagreeable animadversions. & 2.65 lead the public to believe that the embarrassments and dissensions within the Convention, had suggested this measure. It was answered by Docr F. Mr. SHERMAN & others, that the past omission of a duty could not justify a further omission-that the rejection of such a proposition would expose the Convention to more unpleasant animadversions than the adoption of it: and that the alarm out of doors that might be excited for the state of things within, would at least be as likely to do good as ill.
Mr. WILLIAMSON, observed that the true cause of the omission could not be mistaken. The Convention had no funds.
Mr. RANDOLPH proposed in order to give a favorable aspect to ye measure, that a sermon be preached at the request of the convention on 66 4th of July, the anniversary of Independence; & thenceforward prayers be used 67 in yr Convention every morning. Dr. FRANKn. 2nd this motion. After several unsuccessful attempts for silently postponing the 68matter by adjourn; the adjournment was at length carried, without any vote on the motion.
[Note 15: 15 In the Franklin MS. the following note is added:–“The Convention, except three or four persons, thought Prayers unnecessary.”

In short order, two motions hit the floor. Franklin moved for daily prayers with a second by Roger Sherman. Then Edmund Randolph suggested a sermon followed by prayers. Franklin seconded that motion. Neither motion was voted on and the Convention adjourned. In fact, Franklin later noted that “The Convention, except three or four persons, thought Prayers unnecessary.” I am sure many of the founders took God seriously, but this story isn’t a good one to offer as evidence.
If the Convention delegates thought prayers unnecessary, then what is Metaxas referring to?
Furthermore, the Convention didn’t come back after the July 4th recess all prayed up and ready to compromise. On July 10, George Washington wrote Alexander Hamilton (who left the convention after the recess) and said:

I thank you for your Communication of the 3d. When I refer you to the State of the Councils which prevailed at the period you left this City—and add, that they are now, if possible, in a worse train than ever; you will find but little ground on which the hope of a good establishment, can be formed. In a word, I almost dispair of seeing a favourable issue to the proceedings of the Convention, and do therefore repent having had any agency in the business.

The disputations continued even after Franklin’s motion. It was not until mid-July, with the threat of dissolution hanging over their heads, that the delegates reached a compromise. Even then, four delegates left the convention in protest (John Mercer, Caleb Strong, John Lansing, Luther Marton) and three delegates didn’t sign the Constitution  because it lacked a bill of rights (George Mason, Edmund Randolph, Elbridge Gerry). In the end, only 39 of the 55 delegates signed the document. The more parsimonious explanation for the consensus is that those with strong disagreement left the Convention.*
The quotes from Washington and Madison Metaxas used in his book about the miracle of the Constitution were written after the end of the Convention and did not reference Franklin’s call to prayer.
If the events were taught accurately, would Eric Metaxas really want this taught in school? It certainly doesn’t support the Christian foundation narrative Metaxas develops in his book.
Clearly, Metaxas wants us to believe that God was involved in the Constitution. If you believe in providence, you believe God is involved with every government (read Augustine). However, in his book, Metaxas flirts with the idea that America has a special relationship with God, in the sense of being a chosen people like Israel was chosen. Metaxas quotes Abraham Lincoln calling Americans “an almost chosen people” and then later puts words in Lincoln’s mouth:

He [Lincoln] understood that to be chosen by God— as the Jews had been chosen by God, and as the prophets had been chosen by God, and as the Messiah had been chosen by God— was something that was a profound and sacred and even terrifying obligation. Metaxas, Eric (2016-06-14). If You Can Keep It: The Forgotten Promise of American Liberty (p. 213). Penguin Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

America is chosen like the Messiah? I’m not a theologian but that sounds like a problem to me (see Wheaton College historian Tracy McKenzie’s thoughts on this topic). Again about Lincoln from the Stream excerpt of If You Can Keep ItMetaxas writes

Why is it too much for us to suppose — as Franklin, Washington, Adams, and so many others did — that the finger of the Almighty might indeed have been involved? This was an idea that did not die with the founders but lived and was kindled afresh by Abraham Lincoln, who faced obstacles every bit as difficult as what the founders faced, and who came to the same conclusions about how they must be surmounted.
And it is an idea that must not die with this generation. May God help us to keep it alive, not just for our sake, but for the sake of all those beyond our shores who hope to taste the freedoms we enjoy, and for all those yet to be born, too.

May God help us not to perpetuate myths and instead tell the whole story.**
UPDATE: After I posted this article, an editor at the Stream added a sentence disclosing that no action was taken on Franklin’s motion.
Metaxas franklin article paragraph
While I am glad the editor provided this fact, I believe doing so raises questions that are not answered here. Metaxas used the story to draw a straight line of causation from Franklin’s call to prayer to the harmonious completion of the Constitution. With the revelation that the Convention delegates didn’t believe prayer was necessary, the whole narrative is thrown into question. Why even talk about Franklin’s speech since what he called for didn’t happen?
For more historical problems in Metaxas’ book, If You Can Keep It, see here, here, here, and here.
 
*Others left for business or personal reasons but may have also disagreed with one aspect or another of the Constitution.
**I added an additional quote from the book to demonstrate what is apparent to anyone who reads it that Metaxas uses his citations of Lincoln and the founders to support his view that America is on a mission from God.

On July 4, 1826, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson Died – Happy Independence Day!

With slight editing, this post is reprinted from prior posts on Independence Day. Last year it was the culmination of my Daily Jefferson series.
Happy Independence Day!
john adamsIn addition to being Independence Day, this is the day that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826.

On this day in 1826, former Presidents Thomas Jefferson and John Adams, who were once fellow Patriots and then adversaries, die on the same day within five hours of each other.

Thomas Jefferson and John Adams were friends who together served on the committee that constructed the Declaration of Independence, but later became political rivals during the 1800 election. Jefferson felt Adams had made serious blunders during his term and Jefferson ran against Adams in a bitter campaign. As a consequence, the two patriots and former friends had fallen out of touch. Mutual friend and Philadelphia physician Benjamin Rush wanted to encourage them to reconcile. Rush was on good terms with both Adams and Jefferson and after the end of Jefferson’s second term, endeavored to help them bridge the distance. In his letter to Adams on October 17, 1809, Rush used the device of a dream to express his wish for Adams and Jefferson to resume communications. This letter is part of a remarkable sequence of letters which can be read here. In this portion, Rush suggests his “dream” of a Jefferson-Adams reunion to Adams.

“What book is that in your hands?” said I to my son Richard a few nights ago in a dream. “It is the history of the United States,” said he. “Shall I read a page of it to you?” “No, no,” said I. “I believe in the truth of no history but in that which is contained in the Old and New Testaments.” “But, sir,” said my son, “this page relates to your friend Mr. Adams.” “Let me see it then,” said I. I read it with great pleasure and herewith send you a copy of it.
“1809. Among the most extraordinary events of this year was the renewal of the friendship and intercourse between Mr. John Adams and Mr. Jefferson, the two ex-Presidents of the United States. They met for the first time in the Congress of 1775. Their principles of liberty, their ardent attachment to their country, and their views of the importance and probable issue of the struggle with Great Britain in which they were engaged being exactly the same, they were strongly attracted to each other and became personal as well as political friends.  They met in England during the war while each of them held commissions of honor and trust at two of the first courts of Europe, and spent many happy hours together in reviewing the difficulties and success of their respective negotiations.  A difference of opinion upon the objects and issue of the French Revolution separated them during the years in which that great event interested and divided the American people. The predominance of the party which favored the French cause threw Mr. Adams out of the Chair of the United States in the year 1800 and placed Mr. Jefferson there in his stead. The former retired with resignation and dignity to his seat at Quincy, where he spent the evening of his life in literary and philosophical pursuits, surrounded by an amiable family and a few old and affectionate friends. The latter resigned the Chair of the United States in the year 1808, sick of the cares and disgusted with the intrigues of public life, and retired to his seat at Monticello, in Virginia, where he spent the remainder of his days in the cultivation of a large farm agreeably to the new system of husbandry. In the month of November 1809, Mr. Adams addressed a short letter to his friend Mr. Jefferson in which he congratulated him upon his escape to the shades of retirement and domestic happiness, and concluded it with assurances of his regard and good wishes for his welfare. This letter did great honor to Mr. Adams. It discovered a magnanimity known only to great minds. Mr. Jefferson replied to this letter and reciprocated expressions of regard and esteem. These letters were followed by a correspondence of several years in which they mutually reviewed the scenes of business in which they had been engaged, and candidly acknowledged to each other all the errors of opinion and conduct into which they had fallen during the time they filled the same station in the service of their country. Many precious aphorisms, the result of observation, experience, and profound reflection, it is said, are contained in these letters. It is to be hoped the world will be favored with a sight of them. These gentlemen sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years and rich in the gratitude and praises of their country (for they outlived the heterogeneous parties that were opposed to them), and to their numerous merits and honors posterity has added that they were rival friends.
With affectionate regard to your fireside, in which all my family join, I am, dear sir, your sincere old friend,
BENJN: RUSH

I don’t think Rush had an actual dream. He may have used the dream narrative as a clever device to prod his friend into reconciliation with Jefferson. On more than one prior occasion, Rush communicated his views to Adams via writing about them as dreams. For instance,  Rush responded to a political question from Adams in a February 20, 1809 letter via a dream narrative.  Adams responded on March 4, 1809 (the same day Jefferson’s second term ended) praising Rush’s wit and asked for a dream about Jefferson:

Rush,—If I could dream as much wit as you, I think I should wish to go to sleep for the rest of my Life, retaining however one of Swifts Flappers to awake me once in 24 hours to dinner, for you know without a dinner one can neither dream nor sleep. Your Dreams descend from Jove, according to Homer.
Though I enjoy your sleeping wit and acknowledge your unequalled Ingenuity in your dreams, I can not agree to your Moral. I will not yet allow that the Cause of “Wisdom, Justice, order and stability in human Governments” is quite desperate. The old Maxim Nil desperandum de Republica is founded in eternal Truth and indispensable obligation.
Jefferson expired and Madison came to Life, last night at twelve o’clock. Will you be so good as to take a Nap, and dream for my Instruction and edification a Character of Jefferson and his Administration?

More substantial evidence for questioning whether Rush reported an actual dream is the existence of a draft of this letter which demonstrates that Rush considered another literary device for his prophecy. A footnote in Lyman Butterfield’s  compilation of Rush’s letter explains:

In the passage that follows, BR [Benjamin Rush] made his principal plea to Adams to make an effort toward reconciliation with Jefferson. That pains were taken in composing the plea is shown by an autograph draft of the letter, dated 16 Oct. in Hist. Soc. Penna., Gratz Coll. In the draft BR originally wrote, and then crossed out, the following introduction to his dream history: “What would [you omitted] think of some future historian of the United States concluding one of his chapters with the following paragraph?” The greater verisimilitude of the revision adds much to the effectiveness of this remarkable letter. (Butterfield, L.H., The Letters of Benjamin Rush, Vol. II, 1793-1813, Princeton Univ. Press, 1951, p. 1023)

Rush had at least two options to get across his message of reconciliation: a dream or an appeal to a future history book. He first wrote about the history book, then he chose a more creative device, one which he had already used in letters to Adams and which Adams had actually requested in March of that year.
In any case, real dream or not, Adams liked the proposition and replied to Rush on October 25, 1809, about the “dream” saying,

A Dream again! I wish you would dream all day and all Night, for one of your Dreams puts me in spirits for a Month. I have no other objection to your Dream, but that it is not History. It may be Prophecy. There has never been the smallest Interruption of the Personal Friendship between me and Mr. Jefferson that I know of. You should remember that Jefferson was but a Boy to me. I was at least ten years older than him in age and more than twenty years older than him in Politicks. I am bold to say I was his Preceptor in Politicks and taught him every Thing that has been good and solid in his whole Political Conduct. I served with him on many Committees in Congress in which we established some of the most important Regulations of the Army &c, &c, &c
Jefferson and Franklin were united with me in a Commission to the King of France and fifteen other Commissions to treat with all the Powers of Europe and Africa. I resided with him in France above a year in 1784 and 1785 and met him every day at my House in Auteuil at Franklins House at Passy or at his House in Paris. In short we lived together in the most perfect Friendship and Harmony.

Although in a less poetic manner, Rush also wrote Jefferson to suggest a resumption of friendship with Adams. It took awhile (1812), but Adams and Jefferson did resume contact. As predicted by Rush, they carried on a vigorous correspondence until late in their lives regarding their personal and political views. Then 50 years after July 4, 1776, Jefferson and Adams “sunk into the grave nearly at the same time, full of years and rich in the gratitude and praises of their country…”*
 
*Much of this post was adapted from a prior post on John Adams and the Holy Ghost letter and published on this blog May 31, 2011.  Read more about Jefferson in Getting Jefferson Right by Michael Coulter and me.

Mark Driscoll's The Trinity Church Buys a Million Dollar Mid-Century Modern Home

If Driscoll and Co. paid the building’s appraised value, they are one rich start up church.
Here’s the purchase announcement:
trinity church announcement

Hey everyone! I have a really exciting announcement. We have officially purchased our historic church home in Scottsdale, Arizona!
Every family needs a home, and this one is a wonderful fit for our church family.
I am so thankful for all the hard work from the many volunteers that has already gone into getting this 50-year-old mid-century modern church home ready for our public launch on August 7th at 9am and 10:45am. We still have a lot of work to do. Just this week we had the exterior painted back to the period correct colors that originally adorned the building. It looks amazing!
I’m also very grateful for the generous donations from not only from The Trinity Church family but also from friends of The Trinity Church that just want to help support this new Church plant. It’s your generosity that has helped to make this happen, and to each one of you, I’m very humbled and grateful. Thank You!
We are nearing the public launch and still have some work to do and some money to raise (you can give HERE), but God has proven faithful every step of the way, so we trust in His continued provision.
Your Rejoicing and Grateful Pastor,​
Pastor Mark Driscoll

According to The Trinity Church website, the governing board would have made the decision. That board consists of Driscoll, Randal Taylor, Jimmie Evans, and Robert Morris. As with Mars Hill, things just happen with no explanation. Money just shows up.
The appraised value in tax year 2017 is $21-million. I wonder how much came from The Trinity Church and how much came from rich benefactors.
driscollchurchassessment
Thanks to Deana Holmes for the tip.