Sunday, September 05, 2010

The 3 - September 5, 2010

This week's edition of "The 3", my week-in-review feature, highlights an appeals court ruling on that tricky college-Christian group relationship, the death of an Army chaplain in battle for the first time in 40 years, and the call to Christians across America to pray, underscored by TheCall in California this weekend.

3 - Appeals Court rules that university cannot deny funds to religious group

The relationship between colleges and universities and the students that attend them has become an increasingly troublesome one, as certain institutions, in attempting not to "establish" religion, are creating an atmosphere that does not treat Christian groups in an equal manner, according to the Constitution. Case in point: the recent ruling in Wisconsin, as the University of Wisconsin had attempted to restrict student activity fees from helping to fund a Catholic group on campus, when other student groups were receiving funding. The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said that UW was incorrect, and that all student groups, including religiously-oriented ones, should be treated equally and fairly. Here's the story from the Alliance Defense Fund.

Interestingly enough, the court referred to Christian Legal Society vs. Martinez in its ruling. That's the case that stated that Christian student groups who wished to be recognized on the Hastings Law School campus could not restrict their membership or leadership to only people that adhere to their beliefs and philosophy, i.e. Christian beliefs. The 7th Circuit used the CLS decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to tout equal treatment for all organizations. Hastings was viewed by Christian legal experts as a restrictive ruling that stymies freedom of association.

And, the word has circulated that in light of the Hastings decision that Christian organizations who operate on college campuses are evaluating their participation on those campuses. Most notably, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship has reportedly stated it is examining its relationships with various campuses.

2 - First Army chaplain to lose his life since Vietnam dies in Afghanistan

For the first time since the Vietnam era, an Army chaplain has lost his life in wartime service to his country. 43-year-old Dale Goetz was killed near Kandahar Province in Afghanistan when an explosive device went off near his convoy. Here's the story from TIME magazine.

This incident does remind us of the sacrifice that those who are called to be chaplains make. While they are not sent directly into combat, still they encounter dangerous situations as they attempt to encourage and counsel our troops, including those who are serving in war. And, this type of atmosphere calls for someone who is not only grounded in his faith, but also someone who can provide strength and wisdom for soldiers who perhaps are struggling with some faith issue.

- TheCall reminds Christians to stand in the gap

Saturday in Sacramento, California, thousands of Christians gathered in a prayer meeting, solemn assembly, and worship service all rolled into one, as Lou Engle, Jim Garlow, Harry Jackson, and other noted Christian leaders spent time encouraging a large audience to respond to God's call to intercede for our nation. Here's the report from The Christian Post.

While some press reports viewed the latest in a series of TheCall events as being a political rally, history teaches us that this movement is about a Christian response to some social issues, recognizing that prayer and repentance, calling upon the name of Jesus Christ, are essential elements in seeing our country recapture the great vision of our Founders for morality and religious freedom. It is notable that this latest event took place in a state that is the center of controversy for same-sex marriage, which many view as a frontal assault to the God-ordained institution of marriage.

I believe that God is calling His people to pray in this seemingly desperate hour for our nation. Prayer efforts have been sponsored by a number of organizations, including National Religious Broadcasters, Southern Baptist pastors, and the North American Mission Board, as well as pastors such as Michael Youssef and Charles Stanley. With important elections on the horizon, and with an overall dissatisfaction with the direction of our country, I believe that Christians have a great opportunity to provide hope for an entire nation, as we share the message of salvation and pray that the Lord will turn hearts to Him.

Honorable Mention:

TX Appeals Court rejects same-sex divorce

OK to erect 10 Commandments monument on capitol grounds

Sojourners-Soros monetary connection admitted

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