Saturday, September 26, 2009

The 3 - September 26, 2009

It was a week for religious expression of various types, as Muslims gathered in the nation's capital for prayer, and Christian students led prayers at school flagpoles. Plus, Christian and pro-family groups took aim at Senator Max Baucus' proposal to reform health care. Welcome to the latest installment of "The 3"...

3 - Muslim prayers on mall get attention from Christian groups

The call to prayer to Muslims went forth, and thousands took part in the event in Washington, D.C. This brought some cries of concern from Christian leaders and Christian groups. I came across a commentary from the Rev. Canon Julian Dobbs, the leader of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America's "Church and Islam" Project, who saw the event as an attempt to further the cause of Islam in America. He offered some words of caution, as reported by CNN. Shirley Dobson of the National Day of Prayer Task Force and Lou Engle of The Call encouraged Christians to pray and fast in response to this gathering by Muslims, according to The Christian Post.

2 - Baucus bill's backing

The health care reform proposal from Senator Max Baucus, Democrat from Montana and chair of the Senate Finance Committee, while on the surface lacking widespread support from both parties, nevertheless provided a framework for a bill that could be pleasing to the Administration and Congressional Democrats. Christian and pro-family groups expressed concern about the structure of the bill, which could lead to rationing of health care, which would adversely affect the elderly, as well as the possibility of Federal funding for abortion. Perhaps Wendy Wright's comments on my radio show (you can download the interview from were indicative of the type of opposition that continues to emerge from the evangelical community. Wendy is President of Concerned Women for America, and you can glean some information on the health care debate from their website. In our conversation, she also expressed concern about the Obama Administration criticizing Medicare provider Humana for so-called "misleading" statements about the possibility of the reduction of benefits for seniors, a fact that was actually confirmed by the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

As the debate goes on, I still maintain my position that increasing government control over this significant portion of the economy exceeds what I view as the Biblical role of government, according to Romans chapter 13. The end-of-life issues that could arise from health care rationing, that many experts have stated would result from this new structure, will result in the denial of life-sustaining health care for seniors, and perhaps those with disabilities, who require significant amounts of care. The Federal funding of abortion continues to be a dangerous sticking point, and taxpayer dollars could be used in the proposed structure for the taking of innocent human life. Isn't it interesting that pr0-abortion lawmakers are not crying "foul" when the President of members of Congress say that the bill (or bills) won't fund abortion? They, like so many others, know the truth - in its current form, it will!

1 - See You at the Pole galvanizes students

It's an event that has now been bringing students together at flagpoles on school campuses for some 20 years...a Constitutionally-protected, student-led event called "See You at the Pole". From its humble beginnings in Texas, the event has spread and inspired students to be in prayer for their schools, their teachers and administrators, their communities, and their nations. The event regularly helps to identify who the Christian students are on a campus, and to inspire Christian students to be more active for Christ. Click here to go to the See You at the Pole website.

Honorable Mention:
Lutherans wrestle with sexuality decision

Christian groups respond to GA flooding, including Billy Graham group and Samaritan's Purse

Believers vow to "Take Back America"

"Prayer in the Square" attracts thousands to NYC's Times Square

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The 3 - September 20, 2009

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 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.

Honorable Mentions:
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

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The 3 - September 13, 2009

This week's edition of "The 3" points to a legal challenge to a ban of a religious musical piece from a graduation ceremony. Also, a number of parents were concerned about the political implications of the President's speech to school children this week. Plus, the 8th Anniversary of 9/11 brought a number of prayer-related events and services.

3 - "Ave Maria" ban upheld

A Washington school district ruled out a performance of the musical piece, "Ave Maria" from a 2006 graduation there. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the school district's decision was constitutional. USA Today had this report.

In his dissent, Judge Milan Smith, saying the ruling violated the students' rights to free expression, cautioned the taking of excessive measures and highlighted the rich tradition of religious music in America. Here is the San Francisco Chronicle's report.

This is still another example where the courts' interpretation of the constitution limits the free expression of religion that is guaranteed by the First Amendment. In this case, the school district took an extreme act of attempting to limit such expression, fearing a backlash if the performance was allowed. Unfortunately, there are quite a few public officials these days that would rather risk stifling students' rights than to allow constitutional religious expression. A number of Christian legal organizations offer clarification on such matters; now, it's important that information is disseminated.

2 - School kids' message stirs concern

As CitizenLink reported, President Obama made a speech to children in schools across America this past Tuesday. There was some initial concern about the content of the speech, based on the Department of Education's lesson plans that had been posted on the Internet. There were districts across America, responding to the concerns of parents, that did not allow the message to be seen. And, there were a number of parents who did not allow their kids to view the webcast.

The curriculum had been revised, focusing less on how students could serve the President, and more on taking responsibility for staying in school and following their dreams. But, with an Administration that has made national service a priority, and with legislation that could lead to mandatory service to the government, parents can be none too careful.

Stuart Shepard of Focus on the Family Action came on The Meeting House on Friday to discuss that speech, as well as his "Stoplight" video coinciding with it. There was also discussion of the President's health care speech on Wednesday night. It can be downloaded from You can view his "Stoplight", entitled, "Critical Thinking", at

1 - 9/11 anniversary marked by prayer and other activity

This past Friday represented the 8th Anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks on America, which took the lives of over 2,700 people. The attacks themselves motivated Christians to be in prayer for our nations, and the commemoration continues to be an occasion for prayer and remembrance. The Awakening America Alliance organized its Cry Out America gatherings, and the Presidential Prayer Team hosted an online event. Information on prayer initiatives surrounding 9/11 can be found at The Christian Post.

Also, the evening of September 11th, author and journalist Joel Rosenberg was featured on a webcast coinciding with the DVD release of "Inside the Revolution". The purpose of the program, which was scheduled to be viewed in over 600 churches across the U.S., was to call attention to the rise of Islamic terrorism and its threat to Israel and the world, and to encourage Christians to support Israel, following the Scriptural admonition to pray for the peace of Jerusalem.

More information can be found at The "townhall" event can be downloaded from that website, as well.

Honorable Mention:

"The Nines" brings Christian leaders to the Internet for 9 hours of 9-minute messages on 9/9/09

Christian music rocks Orlando at 2 theme parks

Saturday, September 05, 2009

The 3 - September 5, 2009

This week's edition of "The 3" spotlights some pro-family organizations' response to President Obama's proposed message to students on the Tuesday following Labor Day. Also, some news regarding a Bible translation which will be revised, as well as a variation of that translation that is going away. Plus, the stirring case of Rifqa Bary reached another mile marker this week, and the future does seem as unclear as ever.

3 - Obama's oration to school kids stirs it up

The Obama administration announced plans for the President to address students across America at noon Eastern time on Tuesday, September 8. This garnered some swift response from parents concerned that the speech would attempt to present policy directives of the administration, as well as condition schoolchildren with an attitude of service to the President, rather than service to America. My concern was that, in light of recent legislation that authorizes a national service program, this would be a precursor to get students motivated to serve in this corps, which is now voluntary, but perhaps mandatory in the future.

Now, after the response against the idea of the speech was gauged, the Administration toned down some of the companion curriculum material. The website for the Department of Education, showing the suggested classroom exercises, is

Liberty Counsel, a Christian, pro-family, constitutional advocacy organization, called the move "illegal". Here is their press release. A pro-life organization, Students for Life of America, teamed with other pro-life groups to urge students to wear clothing with a pro-life message to school on Tuesday. Here is some information on this initiative. World Magazine ran this editorial.

2 - Out with the old TNIV, in with the new NIV

This week, some new information about the New International Version, the leading-selling translation of the Bible. It was announced the NIV will be undergoing some revisions, and a new edition will likely be released in 2011. Also, the TNIV (Today's New International Version), which had come under fire for some of its content, including gender-inclusive language, will no longer be published. Christianity Today included this report on its blog. You can also get more information on the NIV revision at the website

1 - Rifqa remains in Florida...for now

The continuing saga of 17-year-old Rifqa Bary continued this past Thursday, with a hearing in Florida, taking into account an investigation the court authorized regarding Rifqa's family in Ohio, whom she left after converting to Christianity. She felt she would become a victim of an "honor killing" if she remained with her family, so she fled to Florida, where she lived with a foster family. The judge ordered the investigation documents sealed for 10 days, plus he ordered mediation in the case, among other directives. Here is the Orlando Sentinel's story.

Rifqa's attorney, John Stemberger, prior to the gag order, joined me to discuss the case. You can access and download a copy of the conversation by going to

Honorable Mention:

Carrie Prejean files lawsuit against Miss Cali USA pageant

A few Vermont gay couples marry, popular ice cream changes its name

Pat Robertson recovers from heart surgery

Anne Graham Lotz releases new book, reports on father's health
You can check out my interview with Anne Graham Lotz at