This week's edition of "The 3" highlights a follow-up story to a recent vote in Maine regarding marriage, some good news out of Iran, and a significant court ruling in South Carolina with respect to a license plate carrying a religious message.
3 - Iranian Christians set to be released from prison
According to Voice of the Martyrs' partner ministry, Elam, 2 Iranian Christians, Maryam Rostampour and Marzieh Amirizadeh, have been told they will be released from prison tomorrow, after an almost 8-month stay. They were charged with various activities that violate the state's laws, including apostasy. In fact, a judge had told the 2 young ladies to renounce their Christian faith, which they refused to do.
While this is good news on the surface, their journey may not yet be over. They may still have to attend court hearings following their release. Faith Telegraph has a report.
2 - South Carolina "I Believe" license plates ruled unconstitutional
In the state of South Carolina, the "I Believe" specialty license plates were ruled to be unconstitutional, with the judge saying the tags demonstrate an endorsement of religion by the government. The plates featured a graphic of a cross superimposed on a stained-glass window. Associated Baptist Press had this report. This were available on a completely optional basis.
So far, the track record seems to have been positive for pro-life license plates, as well as tags offering messages such as "In God We Trust" and "God Bless America". The Lt. Governor of the state cited this as a case of judicial activism. The ruling could be characterized as a broad interpretation of the Establishment Clause.
1 - Churches under scrutiny after Maine marriage vote
On November 3, the voters of Maine reversed what the Legislature had done in allowing same-sex marriage in the state by voting to officially define marriage as one man for one woman. Now, in the aftermath of the vote making Maine the 31st state to pass such an measure, those who support same-sex marriage in the state are mobilizing - against churches. They are instructing people to report churches who spoke in favor of the Question 1 to the Internal Revenue Service. Churches and non-profit organizations are authorized under IRS regulations to take a position on ballot measures, but not candidates, as long as the advocacy of the position represents an "insubstantial" portion of its overall work. The Alliance Defense Fund has stepped in to help defend churches who are facing this type of harassment. Here is ADF's report on the overall situation.
Alabama Supreme Court upholds actions of the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling
"Bible Across America" (in which I participate) up for bids on eBay