This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, concentrates on an appeals court decisions about familiar God references in public life, as well as instances of persecution in Africa and Asia.
3 - 9th Circuit upholds Pledge, "In God We Trust"
This past Thursday, a 3-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which has generally been regarded as a launchpad for judicial activism and controversial decisions, released a decision regarding two cases filed by noted atheist Michael Newdow. Newdow's last attempt to try to remove the words, "Under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance was disallowed by the U.S. Supreme Court, saying he lacked standing because he no longer had custody of his daughter, for whom he claimed to be filing the lawsuit. He rounded up a group of parents to file another suit, which was ruled upon this week by the 9th Circuit.
Saying that the phrase did not violate the Establishment Clause, the court ruled against Newdow and the plaintiffs. Also at stake was a claim that the national motto, "In God We Trust", violated the Constitution - this was also turned back. Newdow said that he would appeal to the full appellate court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here are some comments from various Christian organizations, beginning with Concerned Women for America. Liberty Counsel was involved in the motto case, and had a unique historical perspective.
2 - Christians become victims in Egypt and Nigeria
Events this week highlighted the continued tension between fundamentalist Muslims and those of other religions, especially Christianity, as high-profile acts of religious violence were seen in several areas of the world.
One was in Egypt, where a group of Coptic Christians was attacked while at a church community center. Some 2 dozen people were said to be injured in the skirmish, which is the latest in a series of instances where apparent persecution of Copts has been seen in that nation. The Christian Post had this report.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Christians lost their lives in the nation of Nigeria, where two predominantly Christian villages near the city of Jos were the sites of attacks by Muslims who were armed with machetes. Compass Direct News had this report.
These are just two of the seemingly increasing numbers of violent instances upon Christians at the hands of Muslim attackers. In both these examples, there is the thought that law enforcement did not do enough or needs to do more in protecting the Christians in these areas. We are reminded that believers in Christ are being persecuted in great numbers, and many of the countries in which the persecution is the greatest are those where Islam is the dominant religion. Check out Open Doors' World Watch List to learn which countries are the greatest persecutors and learn how you can be in prayer for Christians who live in daily danger.
1 - World Vision workers slain in Pakistan
While it has not been established as of this writing who carried out an attack on a World Vision center in Pakistan, there is suspicion that it was motivated by fundamentalist Islam. We recognize that the Christian relief agency is ministering in an extremely tense section of the world. Six people, all Pakistani, lost their lives, and some 8 others were injured. Multiple gunmen carried out the attack. Here is the report from World Vision's website. Crosswalk.com had this news story.
Moroccan authorities expel foreign Christians
California math teacher can still hang "God" banners, school board disagrees
Arizona city bans home Bible study