This week's edition of "The 3" includes another gathering in DC, this time featuring so-called "values voters". Also, invitations spread throughout America in association with "National Back to Church Sunday", and the Pope came calling in Great Britain.
3 - "Values Voters" assemble in the nation's capital
The effect of the so-called "values voters" has been debated over the past few years, especially after the 2004 elections, when this subset of the electorate was said to have played a vital role in the re-election of George W. Bush. On ballots across America that same were marriage amendments, affirming marriage as one man for one woman.
While many think of the "values voters" as those basically concerned about life (abortion) and marriage, the focus has broadened somewhat to include a number of issues that I believe have a moral component. The size of government has become an important issue for this particular group of voters, which in many cases is motivated by a deep adherence to Judeo-Christian values. In this election cycle, we are seeing a true anti-establishment, anti-incumbency sentiment that is calling for a change - to a more restrained, values-centered government. These candidates, such as Rand Paul, Sharron Angle, Joe Miller, and Christine O'Donnell, are pro-life and pro-family, in addition to being fiscal conservatives who are calling for restraint in the government's practices.
Against this backdrop, some 2000 people gathered in Washington, DC to attend the Values Voter Summit, with its lead sponsor, FRC Action. Here is some coverage from CitizenLink about the 2010 Values Voter Summit. Particularly notable is the Presidential straw poll that was taken at the Summit, where Indiana Representative Mike Pence narrowly won over former Arkansas Governor and 2008 candidate Mike Huckabee. Here are the results, from FRC Action.
2 - Thousands of churches take part in "National Back to Church Sunday"
Amid reports of church attendance in decline in some sectors of America, Outreach, Inc. and LifeWay Research teamed up to try to motivate church members to invite people to return to church. September 12th was "National Back to Church Sunday", and the results were quite impressive.
Not only did over 3800 churches participate, but some 1.4 million invitations were sent out by church members across America. At churches who participated, the average attendance was up 26 percent. And, the stories are continuing to be submitted to the sponsors. Here is a recap from the website, www.backtochurch.com.
Also, recently, Outreach released its list of the 100 Largest and 100 Fastest-Growing Churches. Here's the press release about the list an some of the dynamics of it.
1 - Pope visits U.K., meets with Anglican church head
The visit of Pope Benedict to the United Kingdom this week had a number of significant elements. Perhaps most striking about the visit was the willingness of the Pope to address some of the abuse issues that have affected the Catholic Church over the past decade. Certainly the openness that was shown could be considered a positive sign in the process of healing the church is experiencing. Here's a report from the Catholic News Service.
Also, the Pope met with the head of the Anglican church, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams. In light of an announced outreach by Catholics to Anglicans departing the church, this dialogue could be regarded as helpful in bringing understanding between these two large church bodies. Here is the take from The Christian Post on the meeting.
And, the papal visit highlighted possible tensions with Islamic fundamentalism as 6 men were arrested in a possible assassination attempt, presumably by terrorists from North Africa. Here is a report from the Telegraph from the U.K.
This papal visit to the U.K. brought with it some significant implications for people of faith around the world, as what this influential leader says and to whom he says it are worth paying attention to.
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