This week, there's plenty to talk about as "The 3" continues to keep its watchful eye on health care legislation and efforts by pro-life lawmakers to remove abortion funding from a proposed plan, as well as the return of Promise Keepers to Boulder, Colorado, plus a flashpoint in the battle to pray in Jesus' name.
3 - Pennsylvania Senate allows prayer in Jesus' name
There does seem to be a building conflict about whether or not to allow prayers in Jesus name in the public square, which I believe is perfectly constitutional and does not represent an establishment of religion...in fact, when government does attempt to dictate how a member of the clergy who is invited to say a prayer in a public gathering, then it is guilty of violating the "free expression" clause of the First Amendment.
This tug-of-war has been seen in such a variety of locales as the Indiana State House of Representatives, where the practice of allowing clergy members in Jesus' name was rejected by a Federal judge, who happens to be one of President Obama's appointees to a circuit panel. Chaplain Gordon J. Klingenschmitt was dismissed as a Navy chaplain because he prayed in uniform - in Jesus' name - outside the White House, and is leading a charge to preserve the right to pray according to the dictates of one's conscience in Lodi, California, where a rally is scheduled this week.
Well, in Pennsylvania this week, a ministry named Rev. Gerry Stoltzfoos WAS allowed to pray in Jesus' name in the state Senate there. This comes after he was asked to submit a prayer to the PA House, a prayer that was rejected because the name of Jesus was contained there...rather than omit the name, he turned down the invitation. Read The Christian Post's account here. This instance is a mixed bag, for sure, but highlights the philosophy of those who would either want to limit the expression of Christian faith in public life or not allow it because of intimidation. The question posed by Rep. Randy Forbes on the floor of the U.S. House is quite pertinent - basically, he asked when we ceased to be a Christian nation; what was that moment in time when that took place? You can view the video below.
2 - Promise Keepers returns to Boulder
It was 1993 when over 50,000 men gathered at Folsom Field in Boulder, Colorado, on the campus of Colorado University to unite and be inspired by sound and challenging teaching about walking as men of God. CU Coach Bill McCartney was the co-founder of Promise Keepers, which had built over several years to that pivotal point, and from there expanded to stadiums across America. The PK movement peaked in 1997 with the massive "Stand in the Gap" rally on the Mall in Washington, DC, and since then has inhabited smaller arenas and even some less populous cities. According to this account in the Boulder, CO newspaper, the crowd has declined since that gathering in 1993, and this year, for the first time, women have been invited to attend.
Remarkable staying power is a characteristic of Promise Keepers, and while the novelty has worn off quite a bit, the call to Christian men is still fiercely relevant today. Coach Mac, after leaving the organization for a few years, has come back on board, and brought a passion especially for those of the Messianic Jewish persuasion, which is reflected in the musician choices for the Boulder event. At is peak, a PK event was a not-to-be missed phenomenon, and it was exhilarating for me to be part of some 60-70 thousand men in Atlanta in the Georgia Dome for 2 consecutive years. I trust the spirit of Promise Keepers will continue to live on in the hearts of men who want to make a solid impact for Christ in their homes, churches, and communities. To learn more about PK, go to www.promisekeepers.com.
1 - Pro-life lawmakers seek to ban abortion from health care legislation
The march toward health care reform marches on, and one of the key areas that has attracted opposition from people of faith is the possibility of abortion being allowed under the new government-centric health care plans that are being proposed. An attempt to remove abortion funding from a proposal being considered by one House Committee appeared to have won approval, only to be rejected on a second vote. CitizenLink's website has the story.
I contend that even if abortion is removed from health care reform, there are still areas of concern for Christian believers. Some of my concerns include the possible denial of life-saving treatments to the elderly and maybe even others who are deemed to not be worthy to receive it. Required counseling for seniors on end-of-life issues seems to be another step in the progression toward government-sanctioned euthanasia.
In addition to abortion and end-of-life issues, I have also expressed concern about the increase in the size of government as it extends its reach to 1/6 of the American economy. This exceeds what I view as the Biblical prescription for the role of government in Romans 13, which is to basically do 2 things: keep order and punish evil. I believe controlling health care, as well as attempting to over-manipulate economic concerns, falls outside this purview. Factor in the projected deficits for the plan, and you see the potential negative ramifications for American families, who could be bearing a greater tax burden.
Gary Bauer and his organization American Values have put together a series of talking point and even questions for Congress members as they visit our districts during the August recess. You can find it here.
"God Has a Better Way" effort in Charlotte attempts to reach out to homosexuals with the truth in love
(my blog post on this issue)
Texas school board looks into including religious historical references in curriculum
And, from last week, Florida QB Tim Tebow lets his light shine at SEC Media Days