While the attention on health care shifted to U.S. House members' home districts, remaining Senators voted to approve President Obama's first Supreme Court nominee by a sizable margin. Outside of our country, Christians were on the receiving end of violence in Pakistan. Plus, a major denomination held a convention and made history. No summer slump on stories affecting the faith community - welcome to another edition of "The 3"...
3 - Pakistani protests turn violent
The word spread that the Koran was being desecrated at a Christian wedding. This led to some 7 people being killed and 20 injured, followed by some 200 arrests in the wake of the incident. The original impetus for the violence - the action against the Koran - was proven to be false. CNN published a story on the actions against Christians in Gojra City, This wave of persecution was reported on the Time website. (click here)
This story, and so many similar to it, remind us that Christians are facing intense persecution for their faith. Even as North Korea released two prisoners this week, nevertheless thousands of Christians languish in prisons around that isolated nation. It is important that we pray for the persecuted church around the world, recognizing that God is using this persecution to strengthen believers and to build his church.
2 - Assemblies of God accept new female leader
The Assemblies of God held their 53rd General Council in Orlando, and George O. Wood was re-elected as general superintendent of the denomination. Also, a missionary to India, Rev. Beth Grant, was selected as the first female member of the Executive Presbytery. While many Christian denominations are suffering membership declines, the Assemblies continue to grow. In fact, for the 19th consecutive year, the Assemblies of God reported an increase in the number of members and now claims more than 2.8 million followers, according to the Annual Church Ministries Report. The Christian Post reported on this week's festivities in Orlando, which was expected to draw some 30,000 attendees.
1 - Pro-life groups propelled against Sotomayor, health care
The life issue continues to occupy a prominent position in Congressional debate. A number of pro-life groups had expressed concern about the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor as a justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, and voice disappointment over her confirmation this week by a 68-31 vote. Lifenews.com reported on some of the reaction.
Meanwhile, in the health care debate, the National Association of Evangelicals called on Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to work toward building in abortion prohibitions in any health care plan. Here is the text of a letter sent by NAE's President Leith Anderson.
Also, the White House sent out an e-mail urging people to basically turn in so-called "fishy" information about health care reform. This prompted a response from the Family Research Council, which released a video and this blog entry. Focus on the Family action was quick to respond, as well, with this post, and another excellent Stoplight video with Stuart Shepard.
So, as the health care debate reflects the concern of many Americans, who, at least according to polling data, are opposed to this type of government-centric plan to reform our health care system, we must remember to be in prayer, to be in civil and reasoned communication with our elected officials, and to inform our friends and neighbors about our concerns.
65,000 meet Franklin Graham and friends in St. Louis for 2nd "Rock the River" event
Leadership Summit brings Christians together to hear encouragement, principles
"Most religious college students" list released
Employment Non-Discrimination Act introduced into Senate