Saturday, November 28, 2009

The 3 - November 28, 2009

This week's edition of "The 3" has a definite Christmas flair, as retailers who acknowledge Christmas (and those who don't) gain attention from a number of Christian, pro-family groups, plus the annual effort of Samaritan's Purse, Operation Christmas Child, is gearing up for another banner year of collecting shoebox gifts for needy children. Also, a follow-up to last week's story on the Manhattan Declaration demonstrates the power of these challenging words.

3 - Thousands sign "Manhattan Declaration"

Last week, I highlighted the announcement of the "Manhattan Declaration", designed to be a united proclamation by Christians, a belief statement on cultural issues. Since the original release of the Declaration last week, over 180,000 people have "signed" it online through the website,, and the numbers continue to grow rather quickly.

Dr. Timothy George, Dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama was one of the three lead authors of the document, and visited with me on The Meeting House radio show about what led to the release of it. You can download the audio file at

2 - Operation Christmas Child hopes to collect over 8 million shoeboxes

Operation Christmas Child is the effort sponsored by Samaritan's Purse, an international relief organization headed by Franklin Graham, in which shoeboxes full of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, candy, and more, are sent to needy children around the world. The national collection dates concluded this past Monday, but shoeboxes can still be sent to Samaritan's Purse. The Christian Post had an informative piece about the effort, which aims to send some 8 million shoeboxes in the name of Christ to children around the world. For more information, you can go to

1 - Christian groups identify retailers who acknowledge Christmas

As shoppers flooded the malls and shopping centers on Black Friday, already the cultural discussion about which retailers do and don't acknowledge Christmas in their marketing was well underway. Focus on the Family Action, with regular Meeting House guest Stuart Shepard as the face of the campaign, has announced its new Stand for Christmas website at, and late last week and continuing this week, customers have begun to "rate" retailers regarding their Christmas-friendliness, or lack thereof. A conversation with Stuart about the overall topic can be found by clicking here and scrolling down to Friday's listings. Also, Christian legal organization Liberty Counsel has announced its annual "Friend or Foe" Christmas campaign, and this week released its "Naughty and Nice" list for this year - find out more at

A new effort has arisen this year involved the distribution of buttons and even car magnets, proclaiming a belief in using the word, "Christmas". Declaring, "It's OK, wish me a Merry Christmas", this campaign reaffirms the spirit of the season and the importance of using the name of Christ in association with this traditional holiday. For more information, you can go to

Honorable mention:

"The Blind Side" attracts theatergoers, portrays authentic Christianity
Check out interview with Dr. Marc Newman of Movie Ministry at

Planned Parenthood drops lawsuit against former employee

Biological mom ordered to give up custody of daughter, transfer custody to former lesbian partner

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The 3 - November 21, 2009

On this week's edition of "The 3", here just hours before health care reform legislation takes another lurch forward, I look back at this week and see the march to this moment as it unfolded, plus the debate over the confirmation of Judge David Hamilton in the U.S. Senate, and a major declaration by Christian leaders of a variety of stripes.

3 - Senate confirms judge who banned Christian prayers in Indiana House

Judge David Hamilton was confirmed by the U.S. Senate this week to a seat on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. I first became aware of Hamilton as he made a ruling against Christian clergy praying according to the dictates of their conscience, in Jesus' name, on the floor of the Indiana House of Representatives. He later ruled that public prayers to Allah were permissible. Hamilton has made other rulings that are opposed to the beliefs of many people of faith, and Concerned Women for America has an informative press release on the issue.

Wendy Wright, President of CWA, came on my radio show, "The Meeting House", this week and discussed Judge Hamilton, along with the health care debate, and the attempt to keep District of Columbia residents from voting on a definition of marriage. You can download it from

2 - Democrats expected to vote to move health care reform forward

Earlier, Senators Blanche Lincoln of Arkansas became the anticipated 60th U.S. Senator to declare her support for a procedural motion to bring the health care reform bill proposed by Majority Leader Harry Reid to the floor of the Senate. Now, the bill will no doubt face some amendments as the floor debate unfolds during the next few days and weeks, but the passage of this procedural vote still clears the way for massive government intervention into the U.S. health care system. This type of reform has been opposed by a number of Christian and pro-family organizations, and the fact that prohibition of taxpayer funding of abortion has been stripped from this Senate version of the bill has brought plenty of concerned comments this week.

There are Senators, such as Ben Nelson of Nebraska, who voiced concern about some of the details of the bill, including the lack of pro-life language, nevertheless stated he would vote for the cloture motion to continue debate. So, Nelson, and other so-called moderate Democrats, can vote for the motion, then oppose the bill on its final vote and say to their constituents that they opposed this unpopular concept. However, they had a chance to stop it before it got to floor debate, and chose not to. Here is Jill Stanek's excellent analysis of that point.

Here is an overall report on the proceedings from the Wall Street Journal.

1 - Christian leaders announce "Manhattan Declaration"

On Friday of this week, a group of Christian leaders from a variety of backgrounds joined together to announce the "Manhattan Declaration", a document designed to define some of the convictions that we possess with regard to issues and philosophies in the culture. had this report.

It is important from time to time that like-minded people unite around common goals and beliefs. The Declaration gives the opportunity to speak words of Biblically-centered truth to the culture at large and its institutions, declaring what we as Christians believe about fundamental truths regarding the sanctity of human life, the definition of marriage as one man for one woman, and religious freedom. The website,, gives more information, including an opportunity for you to sign the declaration yourself and send a strong message about how you wish to influence the culture for good, upholding the principles of Christ.

D.C. officials say no vote on marriage definition

Ministry distributes Darwin book with new foreward debunking theory of evolution

Sherwood Pictures announces next movie

Christian leaders express concern over new hate crimes law

Rally for Rifqa in Ohio
video with Robert Spencer of Jihad Watch

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The 3 - November 15, 2009

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.

Honorable mention:
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

Sunday, November 08, 2009

The 3 - November 8, 2009

It's been an active week on the public policy front, highlighting the influence of faith on politics - this week's edition of "The 3" highlights Election Day news and trends, as well as the vote on health care reform in the U.S. House. Plus, learn about a dramatic change-of-heart by a former Planned Parenthood director.

3 - Planned Parenthood director in Texas declares she is pro-life

Abby Johnson, a Planned Parenthood director in Bryan-College Station, Texas has declared that she is now pro-life, a development that reportedly came about after she viewed an abortion through ultrasound. She has been embraced by a pro-life group in the area, the Coalition for Life. The Christian Post has the story.

This is a great testimony to how the Lord is using ultrasound technology in pregnancy resource centers and clinics all across America to point out the fact that a pre-born child is indeed a person, a life to be protected. The truth is being communicated in powerful ways and women, through the personal touch and through the technology, are making decisions to preserve the lives of their children.

2 - Pro-family victories in off-year elections

A pro-life graduate of Regent University is the newly elected governor of Virginia, topping a ticket of pro-family, pro-life conservatives who were spurred to victory by the voters on Election Day. Bob McDonnell held a double-digit lead over Democrat Creigh Deeds in the state, recapturing a state that went for Obama in 2008 and has been led by Democrat Tim Kaine. Also, in New Jersey, incumbent liberal Democrat Jon Corzine was turned out of office by Republican Chris Christie. Meanwhile in Maine, voters rescinded the Legislature's acceptance of same-sex marriage and affirmed at the ballot box the definition of marriage as one man for one woman.

In a tightly contested race, a conservative, Doug Hoffman, bucked the Republican party leadership and ran as a Conservative Party nominee against both the Democrat and Republican candidates in the race. The weekend before the election, the Republican pulled out and threw her support to...the Democrat! Hoffman lost narrowly, but many pro-family conservatives celebrated his rise from obscurity to finish a close second as a testimony to the strength of pro-family values.

Here is Liberty Counsel's election overview.

1 - Health care passes House minus taxpayer abortion funding

In an incredibly narrow vote, the U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday night approved a sweeping health care reform bill. The vote of 220-215 illustrates the strength of the opposition to essentially a government-managed health care system, and signals that similar legislation in the Senate could be in for a tough road. President Obama hailed the passage and stated his expectation for health care reform to pass by the end of the year. This week, Sen. Harry Reid had been less optimistic, signaling that it could be 2010 before his chamber passes a bill.

Much of the drama on Saturday was over the taxpayer funding of abortion. Without an amendment to plainly state that abortions would not be funding by the reform proposals, Rep. Bart Stupak had said that some 40 pro-life Democrats would not vote for the bill. After initially refusing to allow a vote on such an amendment, instead endorsing a watered-down version that would not accomplish the objective, Speaker Nancy Pelosi finally allowed a vote, and the House finally enacted an amendment by a vote of 240-192. This provided some cover for moderate Democrats who were leaning toward supporting the legislation. Concerned Women for America had some excellent analysis of the health care reform vote.

The Christian Medical Association has published some helpful links on the overall subject of health care reform. Although taxpayer funding has been removed for abortion, with the exceptions of rape, incest, and danger to the mother's life, the basic structure of the health care reform legislation remains, with increased government intervention, employer mandates, the possibility of rationing, and more. We will have to be vigilant in the coming days to monitor our lawmakers, especially as the attention turns to the Senate.

Washington state bans religious displays

Christians join together to pray for persecuted church

Churches raise awareness of orphans' plight