Saturday, July 11, 2009

The 3 - July 11, 2009

The latest edition of "The 3" - 3 stories of relevance to Christians - includes the celebration of the anniversary of a noted Christian leader's birth, a potentially groundbreaking legal case involving religious liberty, and the meeting of a religious leader and a political leader in Europe.

3 - A Celebration of Calvin

This week in Geneva, Switzerland, Christians from around the world met to celebrate the 500th Anniversary of the birth of faith pioneer John Calvin - July 10, 1509. Special meetings included sermons, lectures, and the pondering of the effect that Calvin had on Christianity.

A couple of sources highlight the celebration of Calvin's birth - The Calvin 500 blog has a play-by-play of the week's activities in Geneva, plus another celebration, the Reformation 500, took place in Boston. Here's a link to Vision Forum's Founder Doug Phillips' blog.

2 - Keeping up the Pace

I've been following the history of the case involving religious expression in Santa Rosa County, Florida for a couple of months now. It was near the end of May when I found out about the rally that took place there on behalf of the attempt by the ACLU to stifle religious expression in that county, including the city of Pace, where two students had been removed from the graduation program at the local high school because there presumably was a fear they might mention God. At graduation at Pace High School, some 400 seniors stood up in the ceremony and spontaneously recited the Lord's Prayer. Here's an account from Liberty Counsel.

All the protest in Pace is the result of this consent decree, agreed upon by the ACLU and the school district, which has had a chilling effect on the rights of especially teachers and administrators to express their faith in a constitutional manner. In fact, the principal of Pace High and a teacher in the district could be found guilty of contempt of court because of seemingly innocuous actions. The Christian Educators Association International and Liberty Counsel have become involved in the case, and here is some information from CEAI's perspective, and Liberty's website.

This has the potential to be a groundbreaking case with respect to religious expression. It has been contented that school faculty do not leave their constitutional rights at the schoolhouse door, and this case is a major threat to the conduct of Christian teachers and administrators, as the result of an overreaching consent decree that has not even been heard in a court. Finn Laursen, Executive Director of CEAI, visited The Meeting House this week, and you can download the conversation from

1 - The President and the Pope

Finally, when you have a major national leader and a major religious leader meet together, the mix means a significant relevant event for people of faith. Factor in the differing perspectives on the sanctity of life of the two individuals and you have quite an intriguing meeting.

So, as President Barack Obama concluded his European tour, he met with Pope Benedict XVI for less than an hour...they discussed some of the usual fare, such as Middle East peace, but what I found interesting were the post-meeting statements. Reportedly, the President pledged to the Pope to reduce the number of abortions in our country, which is interesting, considering Mr. Obama's has been highly criticized by members of the pro-life movement for his policies that do anything but contribute to the reduction of abortions. Furthermore, Mr. Obama's support for the expansion of embryonic stem cell research contrasts with the Pope's opposition to such research, which takes the life of a human being - an embryo - in order to perform research on it. Interestingly enough, in the exchange of gifts after the meeting, the Pope gave the President a document on bioethics, which reportedly give the basis for his opposition to embryonic stem cell research.

Here is an account from the New York Daily News.

Honorable Mention:

Coming up this week, it's the confirmation hearings for Judge Sonia Sotomayor, President Obama's nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. This week, a number of female, pro-family leaders weighed in on the debate.

You might want to see what the Institute on Religion and Democracy had to say about Rick Warren's address before an Islamic group this past weekend. There are a couple of posts in July dealing with that topic.

Developing: Plus the latest undercover video from Lila Rose and Live Action has been posted, which has attracted the attention of law enforcement officials in Alabama, including Attorney General Troy King. Lila returns to the Meeting House on Tuesday.

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