This week on my week-in-review feature, "The 3", an education showdown continues in the Lone Star State, influencers of the culture with regard to matters of faith meet in 2 locales, and Congress deals with some issues that are relevant to Christians and Christian organizations.
3 - Texas BOE approves balanced approach to Islam
The textbook battle continues to attract attention in the state of Texas, where the state school board earlier this year approved standards that would, among other things, reinforce the concept of American exceptionalism and place a greater emphasis on the role of religion in the history of the country. And, just this week, the school board voted 7-6 to make sure that the treatment of religion was balanced, essentially attempting to ensure that there is not what is considered a pro-Islam, anti-Christian bias. Apparently, board members saw a trend toward making Islam and its impact on world history more prevalent in history textbooks, and felt this resolution was a necessary step. Here is the story from The Christian Post.
There are a lot of eyes watching this textbook case in Texas, because textbook authors and manufacturers will be writing in order to comply with the standards that are passed in this large state. This would no doubt influence many school districts and their curriculum.
2 - Media members who cover religion convene in Denver, Christian counselors meet in Branson
Some large conferences have been scheduled this week involving some groups of influencers. The Religion Newswriters Association (RNA) had its conference in Denver, and a wide variety of religious streams were represented, from Rainn Wilson of The Office, who is a Buddhist, to evangelical seminary leader Dr. Albert Mohler.
This is an important gathering, because the role of religion in American life cannot be underestimated. Even though this is not a distinctly Christian gathering, nonetheless the Christian worldview perspective was included, and hopefully writers can perhaps be more aware of and evenhanded with covering the perspective of Bible-believing Christians. The RNA website is www.rna.org.
Also, the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) gathered in Branson, Missouri for its National Christian Counseling Conference, where they heard from a number of high-profile speakers, such as Dr. Gary Smalley and Dr. Larry Crabb, as well as a variety of workshop leaders, who offered their perspective on many topics that can help in addressing some of the struggles that Christian people face. Dr. Tim Clinton is President of the AACC. The website is www.aacc.net.
1 - U.S. Senate turns back 2 bills with faith-based implications
This week, the U.S. Senate failed to cross the 60-vote threshold necessary to move 2 bills forward which would implement policy that contrasts with the viewpoints of many Christians or Christian organizations. One bill, a Defense Authorization bill, also contained amendments that would rescind the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy with respect to homosexual behavior and would allow taxpayer funding of abortion at overseas military hospitals. Because of those amendments, Republicans refused to vote in favor of the cloture motion, which would have moved the bill forward. 2 Democrats joined 37 Republicans in turning the legislation back. Here's the take from CBN News.
Just 2 days after that bill failed to move forward, the second attempt to force the DISCLOSE legislation through the Senate failed to reach 60 votes. The DISCLOSE Act was introduced in response to the Supreme Court decision earlier this year on campaign finance, and would have forced organizations that sponsor ads during a political season to follow strict disclosure rules, including the possibility of releasing donor names, and forcing the head of the organization to appear in the ad. Opponents claimed free speech concerns, and at the end of the day, the bill again failed to reach the 60-vote threshold. Here is the story from CitizenLink.
Again, this shows the determination of the leadership in the Senate to move legislation forward that runs counter to the Judeo-Christian values to which so many Americans deeply hold. There are serious concerns about the potential repeal of the DADT policy and the effect on troop morale, unit cohesiveness, the moral fiber of our armed services, and even health concerns. The DISCLOSE Act represents yet another attempt to get to the donor lists of organizations, including Christian and pro-family organizations, who respect the privacy of those who donate. If donors' names are released, resulting in a decline in income, then the message of these vital organizations becomes less impactful.
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