Saturday, October 31, 2009

The 3 - October 31, 2009

This edition of my week-in-review feature, known as "The 3", spotlights the response of a Christian and pro-family groups to the latest release of health care reform bills, plus a new survey shows that charitable giving has held its own in churches, and a familiar radio voice makes his announcement about when he'll be leaving the airwaves.

3 - Christian, pro-family groups still sour on health care reform legislation

Despite new health care reform proposals released by the leaders of the House and Senate, a number of Christian, conservative, and pro-family groups continue to show concern about these plans, supposed crafted as amalgamations of the bills emerging from the variety of committees in both chambers. One of the matters of debate among the majority party is the size and scope of the so-called "public option" - whether it should be robust or a more moderate approach, giving the states the ability to "opt out" of a government option.

Some of the other areas of disagreement include: the amount of Federal taxpayer funds that would fuel this increased role of government, the funding of abortion using tax dollars, and the possibility of rationing of health care, which could especially adversely affect the elderly, as well as people with special needs and disabilities.

The Christian Post has a synopsis of the sticking points that continue to crop up with respect to health care reform.

There has been criticism of opponents of the current prevailing view of health care reform, saying they are not proposing any sound alternatives. No doubt there is an abundance of ideas to improve the system, and it is unfortunate that a truly comprehensive, effective form of altering the health care system is not really being discussed. I was struck by a recent op-ed piece by the head of Whole Foods, embracing some of the no-nonsense ideas that opponents of the current prevailing view have recommended. From the Wall Street Journal, here is the Whole Foods approach to health care.

I believe that we certainly need to be praying for wisdom for our leaders as they craft a truly effective means of reforming our health care system. I remain unconvinced that the current proposals will offer a true solution to the ills of the system, plus there are no guarantees that the sanctity of life will be upheld. We need to pray, and speak out as God leads.

2 - Giving to churches still strong amidst recession

On my Meeting House radio program, I have examined some of the effects of the decline in our economy and how we as Christians can respond. One fear that I have expressed is that when economic times are tough, that people will pull back on their charitable giving. One study, released this week by the Lake Institute on Faith & Giving at the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University and the Alban Institute, shows that fewer than one-third of churches surveyed indicated a decline in giving during the first half of 2009. You can read the press release on the survey here.

1- Focus on the Family founder announces withdrawal from radio program

For some years now, the leadership of the ministry Focus on the Family has been mindful of a transition plan, responding to the age and ability of Dr. James Dobson, the founder of the ministry. Certainly, the Board of Directors recognized the need to raise up new leadership and new voices within the huge ministry. Earlier this year, Dr. Dobson, and his wife, Shirley, stepped down from their position of the Focus board, and this Friday, it was announced that Dr. Dobson would no longer perform the duties of speaker for the Focus on the Family radio program. CitizenLink offers this report.

Dr. Dobson and the ministry leadership has clearly seen the importance of knowing when it is time to step aside from particular duties, and has handled this transition in a close-to-flawless manner. You can hear Stuart Shepard (of Focus on the Family Action), on my Meeting House radio program, by downloading the .mp3 from the download center at

Honorable Mention:

Palau crusade draws multiple thousands in Arkansas

Home Depot employee claims firing for religious discrimination

Rifqa Bary back in Ohio, with foster family, under scrutiny

University of Minnesota comes under fire for mock prayer at football game

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