This edition of my week-in-review feature, "The 3", includes court activity surrounding the military's stance on homosexuals in the armed forces, a large Christian conference taking place in South Africa and one country's delegates who are having some trouble attending, and the enormous spiritual implications of the dramatic Chilean miner rescue.
3 - "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" faces judge's block, Administration appealThis past week brought new court activity for the current policy regarding gays in the military known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"...and let it be noted that the U.S. military's official position is that homosexuality in the ranks of the armed forces is not allowed. The Clinton Administration enacted the DADT policy as a compromise in light of his attempt to allow known, active homosexuals to serve. Well, this week, a Federal judge who had earlier ruled the policy was unconstitutional went one step further and essentially barred the military from enforcing the policy. CitizenLink had this story.
The speculation then began on whether or not the Obama Administration would appeal the ruling to the 9th U.S. Circuit. After all, the Administration is on record as opposing the ban, and the President is taking steps to have it repealed. Therefore, it is believed that the defense of DADT would be tepid, at best. Nevertheless, on Thursday, it was announced that the Department of Justice would appeal the ruling of the ONE judge who attempted to make policy for the entire U.S. military. Here is CitizenLink's follow-up.
Again, it is unclear how vigorous the defense posture of the Obama attorneys will be - apparently, the DOJ is appealing based on how chaotic an immediate reversal of the policy would be. Those who favor the military's current position maintain that it will be chaotic no matter when DADT is rescinded, if indeed it is reversed.
2 - Delegates prepare for Lausanne convention, Chinese government detains attendees
A large conference is getting started in Cape Town, South Africa that is bringing together missions-minded Christians from a variety of organizations from all over the world. The 3rd Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization is designed to bring some 4000 invited participants together from almost 200 nations. According to a press release, the Lausanne Movement was founded by Billy Graham, and the Congress will be reaffirming truths of Biblical Christianity and engage with critical issues facing the church during the next decade.
However, some delegates from one particular nation may not be allowed to make the trip. Reports are widespread that Chinese representatives of a variety of house churches are not being allowed to leave the country, including reports of some being physically removed from the airport. The advocacy organization, ChinaAid, has been tracing some of the incidents, and here are some of their press releases.
So, against the backdrop of a world that so desperately needs to hear the message of the gospel, the delegates are gathering to be inspired and instructed, and to fellowship together in the common bond of Christ's love. Hopefully, the representatives from China, where God is moving in such a powerful way, will be able to attend, to share their stories, and to help to encourage others who desire for the kingdom of God to move forward in their nations.
1 - Christian elements of the Chilean miners' rescue revealed
The moving rescue of 33 miners trapped underground in Chile for weeks attracted attention from all over the world. And, the spiritual element of the rescue and the events leading up to it cannot be denied. Consider this:
- one of the miners was instrumental in leading prayer services each day
- resources were sent down into the mine, including .mp3's of the Jesus film and copies of the New Testament
- 2 miners reportedly gave their lives to Christ
- all 33 miners emerged wearing T-shirts thanking God and giving glory to Him
- miners shared testimonies of God's hand in sustaining them during their ordeal and for their ultimate rescue.
Here is a summary from The Christian Post. Also, Baptist Press offered coverage, including this story about how the miner who has emerged as the spiritual leader, Jose Henriquez, recruited a pastor to aid miners and their families.
This is a high-profile story that can give us as Christians an opportunity to discuss God's faithfulness in the midst of difficult circumstances, and to help people reflect on how God has rescued us from the bondage of sin through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
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