Two out of the entries in this week's edition of "The 3" come from the state of Florida, while one of our honorable mentions also emerges from the Sunshine State. The other main entry comes from a meeting in the nation's capitol involving many Christian and pro-family leaders.
3 - Major Florida church votes to keep pastor
Tullian Tchividjian, the grandson of Billy Graham, has been a guest on my radio show on a couple of occasions in the past. He was voted to be Senior Pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church earlier this year. Also, I've had the chance to have conversations with other representatives of Coral Ridge Ministries, such as Jerry Newcombe, the author and television producer who worked closely with the late Dr. D. James Kennedy, former pastor of the church.
So, it was disturbing to hear that this great church has been embroiled in some turmoil recently, as some members, including the late Dr. Kennedy's daughter, had questioned Tchividjian's leadership. It has been quite a high-profile story of conflict within the church, and the series of events came to a head on Sunday morning, as church members met in a closed session to either affirm their pastor, or vote to remove him. By a two-thirds margin, Tchividjian will remain as pastor of the church. Here's the Orlando Sentinel's story.
2 - Values voters channel energy
The Values Voter Summit is an annual event, with FRC (Family Research Council) Action as the lead sponsor, but supported by other pro-family organizations, as well. Stuart Shepard offered a report on the Friday edition of The Meeting House - go to www.meetinghouseonline.info/download to download the conversation or check out The Meeting House page on Facebook.
The Summit is a means for Christian conservatives to meet together and hear from a variety of speakers who bring messages designed to inspire and motivate those attending to continue to stand strong, from a values-based perspective, on a variety of important family issues. It is hoped that attendees will return to their home areas and work to elect strong pro-family candidates. The Christian Post had a number of articles, including a report on the straw poll of possible 2012 candidates, which was won by former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee.
It will be interesting to see if Huckabee will become the standard bearer of Christian conservatives, but his credentials are consistent with many of the common views of that group, and if his message resonates and evangelicals gravitate to him, he could make a strong showing. But there are others who are thought to likely garner the evangelical vote, as well, such as former Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence, and current governors Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana. All except Jindal placed in the top 5 of the VVS straw poll.
1 - Light shines in Sunshine State courtroom
That agreement drawn up between the ACLU and the school district in Santa Rosa County, Florida, has garnered more than its share of attention. In fact, the ACLU has dragged 3 school employees to court for violating this decree, which limits religious expression among county school employees and students, and so far, look at the results - 3 school officials acquitted, a faith-affirming graduation ceremony where students recited the Lord's Prayer, and a groundswell of support for religious liberties.
Liberty Counsel, acting on behalf of Christian Educators Association International in defending school district employees, successfully defended the latest challenge, where the principal and athletic director at Pace High School were brought up on criminal contempt charges. Here is Liberty Counsel's report on the developments. While at Liberty's site, you may also want to check out the article about how it sees that the ACLU's agenda is to criminalize Christianity.
Debate 1: Dinesh D'Souza and Christopher Hitchens square off in Orlando
Debate 2: Dallas-area pastor and businessman debate sexual issues
Outreach Magazine & LifeWay Research release lists of fastest-growing and largest U.S. churches