Nike settles lawsuit over rapper Lil Nas X’s ‘Satan Shoes’; MSCHF to offer refunds

Lil Nas X, the artist behind “Old Town Road,” has announced he is collaborating with the streetwear company MSCHF on a pair of “Satan Shoes.” | YouTube/Lil Nas X

MSCHF, the Brooklyn-based collective behind the “Satan Shoes” line released in collaboration with rapper Lil Nas X, has resolved a copyright lawsuit filed by Nike and will offer to repurchase the customized sneakers from consumers.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Nike settled its legal dispute with the New York-based fashion and art collective last week. The controversial shoes in question are modified Nike Air Max 97s that incorporate drops of blood and ink into an air bubble.

A total of 666 sets, priced at $1,018 each, sold out in less than a minute last month.

The shoes are decorated with a pentagram pendant and a reference to Luke 10:18: “And he said to them, ‘I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven.’”

MSCHF will offer refunds to people who want to return the sneakers under the terms of the settlement, according to Nike.

“MSCHF has agreed to initiate a voluntary recall to buy back any Satan Shoes and Jesus Shoes for their original retail prices, to remove them from circulation,” Nike said in a statement.

David Bernstein, a lawyer with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP representing MSCHF, said the company was “thrilled” with the outcome. 

“MSCHF from the start distributed these shoes to make a statement, and thanks to the lawsuit and all of the publicity that came from it, that statement reached far more corners than we expected,” he said, according to the newspaper.

“These shoes were never about making money. MSCHF made these shoes to make a point about how crazy collaboration culture has become,” Bernstein added, noting that the shoe “appeared to be a collaboration with Satan.”

The settlement comes about a week after a U.S. District Court judge in Brooklyn granted Nike a temporary restraining order against MSCHF, claiming the shoes falsely associated MSCHF with Nike. 

The Satan Shoes release coincided with Lil Nas X’s latest single, “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” and its accompanying music video. In the video, Lil Nas X descends a stripper pole and gives Satan a lap dance.

The openly gay rapper, whose real name is Montero Lamar Hill, explained the song was about a guy he met last summer. 

The Satan Shoes line is a follow-up to the release of the collective’s Jesus Shoes, which reportedly contain holy water. The white shoes are marked with the phrase “MT. 14:25,” which references Matthew 14:25.

Both the release of the Satan Shoes and the music video, announced ahead of Palm Sunday weekend, drew criticism from conservative and Christian leaders. 

On Facebook, Samaritan’s Purse head Franklin Graham, the son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham, called the shoes “a dangerous marketing endeavor.”

“The morals in this country have fallen so fast, and many times the entertainment industry is leading the way,” he wrote.

“The Word of God says, ‘And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell’ (Matthew 10:28). Hell is a real place, and so is the eternal torment of those who reject Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.”

In a statement to The Christian Post, conservative author and evangelist Alex McFarland said that using Satan as a marketing tool is “disconcerting.”

“Believers and non-believers alike have questions about Satan and the demonic,” he said.

“Some youth seem especially prone to curiosity about the dark side. There is no shortage of references to Satan in pop culture to satisfy public fascination, but it is important that our opinions on such be biblically informed.”

US Embassy warns of ‘high’ terror threat in Indonesia after church bombing

Indonesian police stand guard as they seal the area after an explosion outside a church in Makassar, Indonesia on March 28, 2021. | Indra Abriyanto/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Embassy in Indonesia has issued a security alert for American citizens, asking them to maintain increased security awareness and heightened vigilance at places of worship following a slew of terrorist attacks, including a church bombing on Palm Sunday. 

“The U.S. Embassy encourages American citizens in Indonesia to maintain increased security awareness,” reads the notice issued last Wednesday. “Indonesian authorities warn that the terrorism threat level remains high.”

The warning comes after two suspected terrorists attacked a church in Makassar, Sulawesi, on March 28 and after an assailant with an Airsoft gun attacked the Indonesian National Police headquarters in South Jakarta on March 31. 

According to the alert, national police may visibly increase its presence at Indonesian government buildings, tourist sites, churches, malls and other venues. 

The U.S. Embassy advises heightened personal security awareness, particularly in public areas.

The embassy also asks American citizens to exercise additional vigilance, especially in places of worship, crowded streets, shopping areas and locations with large crowds.

People are also advised to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. People should also refrain from displaying “signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive jewelry or watches.”

Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reports that the two terror attacks in recent weeks, along with the arrest of nearly 100 suspects, reveals that terrorism is a significant concern for the government. 

The U.S.-based nonprofit notes that pro-Islamic State cells and lone wolves still pose severe threats in the country, though they are not as powerful as before, thanks to anti-terrorism efforts.

At least 20 people were injured in the March church attack, and the perpetrators — a newly-married couple in their 20s — were killed. The pair are believed to have been affiliated with Jamaah Ansharud Daulah (JAD), a local extremist group that pledged its allegiance to the Islamic State.

The JAD, Indonesia’s most active terror cell for the last two years, was also behind coordinated attacks on three churches on May 13, 2018, in Surabaya that killed at least 13 people. Those churches include Immaculate Saint Mary Catholic Church, Indonesia Christian Church and Surabaya Central Pentecost Church.

JAD “participates in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing, or perpetrating of acts or activities” in conjunction with groups like the Islamic State and al-Qaida, according to the United Nations Security Council.

Muhammad Syauqillah, head of the University of Indonesia’s terrorism studies program, told The Australian that many terrorists believed they would receive religious rewards twofold if they carried out an attack in the holy month of Ramadan, which this year runs from April 12 to May 12. 

Ramadan is observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community.

President Joko Widodo condemned last month’s bombing and instructed security forces to “unearth the terror networks down to their roots.”

“Terrorism is a crime against humanity and is not at all related to any religion,” he said. “I ask every member of the public to fight terrorism and radicalism that go against the values of religion and our culture as a country that respects multiculturalism.”

Indonesia, where Christians form about 10% of the population, is ranked No. 47 on Open Doors USA’s World Watch List of countries where Christians face the greatest levels of persecution.

FDA lifts ban on abortion pill by mail during pandemic; pro-lifers say move ‘prioritizes’ profits

FDA Building 21 stands behind the sign at the campus’s main entrance and houses the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. The FDA campus is located in Silver Spring, Maryland. | Official FDA photo

The Food and Drug Administration has announced that it will not enforce the requirement that abortion pills be administered in person, easing restrictions on mailing abortion pills for the coronavirus pandemic’s duration.

In a letter Monday, Acting Commissioner of Food and Drugs Dr. Janet Woodcock responded to two doctors who had “expressed concerns about the in-person dispensing requirements for certain prescription drugs during the public health emergency.” 

The in-person dispensing requirements are part of the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies implemented to protect women from the adverse effects that the abortion pill, referred to as mifepristone in the letter, may cause.

Woodcock told the doctors that the Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research was “evaluating the issues you raised” by analyzing “studies pertinent to the in-person dispensing requirement in the Mifepristone REMS program during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The evaluation concluded that there were no significant “increases in serious safety concerns (such as hemorrhage, ectopic pregnancy, or surgical interventions) occurring with medical abortion as a result of modifying the in-person dispensing requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“Provided the other requirements of the Mifepristone REMS Program are met, and given that the in-person dispensing of mifepristone for medical pregnancy may present additional COVID-related risks to patients and healthcare personnel because it may involve a visit to a clinic solely for this purpose, CDER intends to exercise enforcement discretion during the COVID-19 PHE with respect to the in-person dispensing requirement of the Mifepristone REMS Program,” she wrote.

The dispensing of the abortion pill can now either take place “through the mail either by or under the supervision of a certified prescriber, or through a mail-order pharmacy when such dispensing is done under the supervision of a certified prescriber.”

Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the pro-life grassroots organization Susan B. Anthony List, described the FDA’s decision to suspend the in-person dispensing requirement for the abortion pill as the latest example of how “pro-abortion activists have exploited the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

According to Dannenfelser, “this decision prioritizes abortion industry profits over the health and safety of women and puts the abortion extremism of the Biden-Harris administration on full display.”

“This decision is pure politics,” she added. “The Biden-Harris FDA is acting in the financial interest of the big abortion lobby. This is [a] flagrant and dangerous disregard for the health and safety of American women and girls.”

Carol Tobias, president of National Right to Life, said in a statement that “suspending this basic requirement places the lives of an untold number of women at risk.”

“Telemedicine abortions and abortions by mail fit in with the plans of abortion groups to have women essentially self-abort at home. Sadly, women and their unborn babies will be the ones to suffer,” Tobias said. 

“Abortion groups now argue that, during the pandemic, it is ‘safer’ not to evaluate and monitor a woman taking abortion drugs than to have her come to the office. An office visit would confirm that she is not too far along for the pills to work or that she does not have an ectopic pregnancy, which these pills do not treat and can prove deadly to a woman if it goes undetected.”

The activist further added that the FDA’s changes “place women at greater risk because they may not be able to distinguish the signs of an incomplete abortion, a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or a deadly infection from the ordinary pain and bleeding of completed chemical abortion.” 

“None of these changes make this process safer for the woman,” she asserted. “What these changes do is make the process easier and cheaper for the abortion industry.” 

The FDA’s announcement was celebrated by abortion-rights proponents, such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

“ACOG has for years advocated for the FDA to remove the in-person dispensing requirement for mifepristone, given that there is no safety reason for the restrictions and that the restrictions were more burdensome than those placed on medications with similar safety profiles, or even those with greater risks,” a statement from ACOG leaders reads.

“Moreover, mifepristone itself has demonstrated, through both clinical study and decades of use, to be a safe, effective medication. Requiring the medicine to be dispensed in person, then taken elsewhere at the patients’ discretion, is arbitrary and does nothing to bolster the safety of an already-safe medicine.”

On Monday night, before the FDA’s decision became public, the national pro-life group Students for Life of America hosted a webinar outlining the efforts to eliminate the REMS. 

Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., participated in the panel discussion. He was joined by Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins and Kristi Hamrick, the organization’s chief media and policy strategist.

The conversation focused on the side effects that chemical abortions can cause and the effort by pro-abortion activists to enable women to obtain the abortion pill by mail without seeing a doctor. 

Daines accused Democrats of hypocrisy for mandating measures to protect the American people from coronavirus while working to gut measures that protect women from dangers that chemical abortions can cause. 

Daines mentioned that he had recently taken two two-hour flights on his way from Montana to Washington, D.C., noting that he and all other passengers were asked to wear a mask “to protect the fellow passengers” from possible exposure to coronavirus. 

“And yet, at the same time, under the guise of COVID, they’re saying … we can remove these protections and [a young woman] can just receive these … drugs here to take a life,” he argued.

“The mortality rate’s 100% in that situation.” 

Stressing that he is “not arguing about whether masks are right or wrong,” he lamented that the administration mandated wearing masks on airplanes to “protect your fellow passenger as a precaution” while supporting the idea that “a young woman doesn’t have to have … a face-to-face discussion with a doctor and can get a mail-order drug to take a life.”

Hawkins suggested that the abortion industry was looking to skirt safety standards that all companies that make products that may have adverse effects have to abide by, asking, “In what other industry would you allow to do that?” 

She likened the abortion industry’s push to eliminate the REMS to “the tobacco industry going up to Capitol Hill, telling Senator Daines and the other senators that they don’t need warnings anymore, they can regulate themselves.”

Hamrick also raised allegations of hypocrisy. She asked, “What other procedure is going to be DIY? I mean, ‘do-it-yourself appendectomies,’ or ‘I think I have cancer, so I’m going to mail out for some chemotherapy?’” 

“While that sounds like a joke, it really isn’t because some of these drugs are dangerous, deadly drugs that have been used in cancer and ulcer treatments,” she said.

At the beginning of the conversation, Daines described chemical abortions as “lethal for women,” citing “high complications for the mothers,” including “infections, severe bleeding and in some cases, even death.” 

“And due to this danger, the FDA has clearly articulated, imposed this REMS, this risk evaluation and mitigation strategy on the abortion pill to ensure that the mother is seen in person by a doctor who dispenses the drug and informs her of the risk,” Daines contended.

“None of us on this livecast support abortion. But even if you supported abortion, you don’t have to kill babies with these pills, you don’t have to mail them into homes, you don’t have to risk women’s lives with RU-46 chemical abortion pills,” Hamrick argued. “To kill women with these pills in the name of making it easier to sell them makes no public policy sense, and it’s dangerous. It’s not healthcare. It’s politics.”

Students for Life launched a petition asking President Joe Biden to ensure that the REMS remain in place. Daines signed on to support the Save Moms and Babies Act, which he said would “preserve and strengthen these requirements.”

Referring to chemical abortions are a “two-step regimen,” Daines explained that the first step is taking mifepristone, which he says “causes the mother’s body to stop nourishing an unborn baby and therefore, it kills the little baby.”

“And then it’s followed by another drug that’s taken in to expel the dead child,” he added. 

Hawkins warned that the push to enable women to obtain the abortion pill without seeing a doctor is part of an overarching goal of the pro-abortion lobby to make abortion available “everywhere.”

“They want to make abortion happen in your home. They want abortions on college campuses. They want … a woman to be able to walk into a CVS, get the drug or … get her Amazon package and be able to start an abortion immediately.”

The pro-life group Live Action compiled an investigative report last summer called “Abortion Pill Kills,” which expands on the dangers of chemical abortions.

The report noted that 8% of women who take the abortion pill could experience “heavy bleeding” for more than 30 days. Additionally, since its approval by the FDA in 2000, chemical abortions have caused “24 maternal deaths” as well as “1,000 hospitalizations” and “more than 4,000 adverse events.”

Mike Pence launches new conservative organization to advance Trump-era policies

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks about Operation Warp Speed with U.S. President Donald Trump in the Rose Garden at the White House on November 13, 2020, in Washington, D.C. | U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

Former Vice President Mike Pence has created a conservative advocacy group to advance policies that were championed during the Trump administration.

Known as Advancing American Freedom, the launch of the conservative policy group was announced last week, with Pence explaining in a statement that its goal is to “build on the success of the last four years by promoting traditional Conservative values and promoting the successful policies of the Trump Administration.”

“Conservatives will not stand idly by as the radical Left and the new administration attempt to threaten America’s standing as the greatest Nation in the world with their destructive policies,” stated Pence in the announcement.

Advancing American Freedom will engage in policy discussions and issue advocacy at both the state and federal level by proposing conservative policy solutions. Among many policy focuses, the group will try to “stop taxpayer dollars from funding abortions domestically and globally” and “defend religious liberty, including the conscience rights of doctors, nurses, teachers, and religious charities.” 

The announcement also listed the Advancing American Freedom Advisory Board members, which comprises several leading conservative activists and public figures.

Advisory board members include former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas megachurch Pastor Robert Jeffress, former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway, former Heritage Foundation President Kay James, former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint, and Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser, among others.

In an interview with The Christian Post, Dannenfelser, who heads one of the nation’s leading grassroots pro-life organizations, explained that she has known Pence and his team for many years and has worked alongside them to advance pro-life policy efforts.

“I’ve known Mike Pence and his team for many, many, many years. So, I think it’s a natural extension of our friendship and our partnership and the fact that I really believe in him,” said Dannenfelser. “He invited me to be on the advisory board, and I said yes.”

Dannenfelser spoke positively of Pence, saying he “makes this organization what it is” and has a strong “adherence to principle” and “ability to lead” in what she called a “moment” for the pro-life movement.

She told CP that she believes Pence can be an important factor for helping to support pro-life legislation, especially at the state level, and aid in having Republicans take back the U.S. House of Representatives in 2022.

“This is a larger moment for the pro-life movement. And for him to lead at this moment is particularly important, and it is a watershed because of the complete transformation of the federal judiciary,” she continued.

“All of those [state-level pro-life] bills will require articulation, they require advocacy, and then the people who are the governors, who are signing those bills, the legislators that are advancing those bills, the people running for Congress later need an advocate that has a high profile, [an] articulate advocate like Mike Pence.”

Although Pence wants to build upon the Trump administration’s policies, former President Donald Trump recently criticized his vice president at a fundraiser event in Florida.

At the invitation-only speech held Saturday at his Mar-a-Lago resort, Trump reportedly told Republican donors that he was “disappointed” in Pence. Trump also attacked U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

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