This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, concentrates on the Christian response to the earthquake in Chile, the gathering of religious broadcasters in Nashville, health care reform legislation, and a setback for legalizing gambling in Alabama.
3 - Christians respond to massive Chilean earthquake
Last weekend, viewers across America and around the world watched as the after-effects of the 8.8-magnitude quake in the Pacific off the coast of Chile caused concern about tsunamis across the Pacific basin. Fortunately, areas such as Hawaii dodged the bullet, but nevertheless the magnanimity of this occurrence was no doubt breathtaking.
And there was plenty of damage in Chile, and Christian groups were mobilizing to help the victims of the powerful quake. World Vision shared this report on its efforts to bring much-needed relief. Continue to pray for organizations who are helping not only in Chile, but also in Haiti, reaching out to the afflicted in the name of Christ.
2 - Religious broadcasters gather in Nashville
This past week, thousands of media members, representing radio, television, church media, new media, and other media-related organizations gathered in Nashville for National Religious Broadcasters. The annual convention draws attendees from across the nation and around the world, and provided a host of educational sessions, as well as large, inspiring events, such as the opening session with Del Tackett of The Truth Project and Jim Garlow of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, with music provided by Steve Green. Other speakers at events throughout the convention included Al Mohler, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Joel Rosenberg, and Chuck Colson.
Faith Radio and The Meeting House had a booth on the exhibit hall floor, and you can get a flavor of the convention by checking out this video at this link. Also, check out this week's program schedules for audio and photos from NRB 2010 here.
1a - Christian and pro-family groups re-fight health care battles
With President Obama's introduction of a health care proposal last week, followed by the so-called "summit" where ideas were exchanged, and this week's call for an "up or down" vote on health care, there is a definite move to try to get health care reform legislation through Congress someway, somehow. The process of reconciliation may result in the passage of legislation through the Senate by 51 votes, rather than the 60 votes that is needed under normal circumstances.
And, House members who may be called upon to vote on the Senate's bill, face some tough choices, including the dilemma that pro-life lawmakers are encountering, perhaps being asked to vote on a bill that includes taxpayer funding of abortion. Here is CitizenLink's report on the health care progression.
1 - Gambling legislation fails to get needed votes in Alabama
When 2 bills dealing with gambling made it to the calendar of the Alabama Senate this week, it appeared supporters of legalized electronic bingo in Alabama may have had the required 21 votes to bring the bills to the floor on Wednesday - one bill would provide for a referendum vote on legalizing casino-style slot machines at 10 locations in the state and the other provided for immunity for casino operators until such a vote could be held. But, when the procedural vote was taken in the Senate, there were not enough votes to bring these bills up for debate, in effect defeating those bills - for now. Opponents of gambling caution that pro-gambling legislation could come to the floor any time, and that Christians who recognize the potential of gambling to do harm to individuals, families, and communities will stand strong and encourage their legislators to do the same.
Senator Hank Erwin of Alabama's District 14, came on The Meeting House on Thursday, and recounted the remarkable events of Wednesday.
Also, the Alabama Policy Institute posted this video of the February 23rd Anti-Gambling rally at the State House in Montgomery. This gives an idea of the rude behavior of gambling supporters who attempted to deny the speakers, including Governor and Mrs. Bob Riley, their right to speak out on the issue.
The Alabama gambling controversy continued on Friday, with the reopening of the electronic bingo hall in Macon County - a nearby judge issued a temporary restraining order shielding the facility from a potential raid by the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling, and Task Force Commander John Tyson promised to appeal the order to the Alabama Supreme Court, which overturned the same judge's order to prevent action against the same facility a few weeks ago.
Action in the state Senate could turn to a bill that would provide a straight up-or-down vote on gambling in the state, which may have support from gambling proponents and opponents. Eagle Forum Executive Director Brooklyn Roberts points out that this could result in snatching "defeat from the jaws of victory". Read her blog post here.
ANY statewide vote could result in millions of gambling dollars flooding the state of Alabama in an attempt to sway voters to support the spread of casino-style gambling in the state. A vote in support of gambling would embolden the casino operators and perhaps usher in a new era of increased gambling in the state.
My preference would be to continue to let the courts provide clarity in the matter, and to allow law enforcement to do its job in enforcing the decisions of the courts. The Alabama Supreme Court, in recent rulings, indicates that these so-called "electronic bingo" machines are illegal. This is a critical issue, and prayer is so very important in protecting our state from this detrimental activity.
Shepherds' Conference (John MacArthur)