Merry Christmas! This week's edition of "The 3" highlights one of the positives that came out of the "lame duck" session of Congress, regarding a defeat of taxpayer-funded abortion at military facilities. Also, the FCC voted this past week on regulation that would extend its reach into the Internet. Plus, a look at some different aspects of the celebration of Christmas worldwide.
3 – Lame duck Congress keeps taxpayer-funded abortion out of military hospitals
The much-maligned Defense Authorization Bill, which would fund the military for the coming year, had several objectionable attachments as it made its way into the U.S. Senate – for one thing, it contained a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy which many Senators found to be unacceptable. And, it contained a provision, called the Burris Amendment, which would allow military hospitals at home and abroad to perform abortions – at taxpayer expense. The DADT repeal was stripped out of the bill and eventually became stand-alone legislation that was ultimately approved. And, in the final version of the bill, the Burris Amendment was also eliminated, guaranteeing that our tax dollars would not fund abortion.
This delighted pro-life organizations, such as the Susan B. Anthony List, which issued a press release on the victory. It was prominently mentioned in this piece from The Christian Post.
There are those in Congress that have long stood strong against preventing an increase in abortions generally and against the used of tax dollars to go to this abhorrent practice. It seems like too often that lawmakers in Washington are playing defense against legislation that would add to the number of abortions. Now, with dozens of pro-life lawmakers entering Congress who are motivated to act on behalf of the unborn, perhaps authentically pro-life legislation that could actually reduce the number of abortions in America can advance in the next session of Congress.
2 – FCC votes to attempt to regulate Internet
The Internet represents to millions of Americans a free flow of information and opinion. There have been few efforts to limit the content that is posted and available on the information superhighway – until now. This past Tuesday, the Federal Communications Commission, by a 3-2 vote, under the guise of “net neutrality”, approved a sweeping new initiative that could result ultimately in the FCC regulating the use of the Internet. Rules approved this week are designed to prevent large Internet companies from controlling access, but once the Commission is allowed to extend its reach into the previously untouched world of the Internet, there are some who fear that freedom of speech could ultimately be at risk.
The activities of the FCC are governed by Congress, and activity is already underway to turn back this attempt to regulate the Internet. Sen. Jim DeMint is planning to introduce legislation that would make plain to the FCC that it does not have authority over the Internet. Here is a report from The Daily Caller. To some, this jurisdiction (or lack thereof) was defined in a court ruling issued out of D.C. And a host of lawmakers of both parties wrote a letter to FCC Chair Julius Genechowski, stating their disapproval for FCC governance of the Internet.
The implications for Christians and Christian groups are enormous – if some sort of content regulation emerges, and religious speech is somehow found to be unacceptable, then the reach of this tremendous tools could be stifled.
1 – Christmas celebrated around the world
This past Saturday was Christmas Day, and marked the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Generally, Christians regard this day not only as a time to give gifts and gather with family, but also to observe the significance of our Savior’s birth and to celebrate in a variety of ways at church – Christmas Eve services, special musical and dramatic presentations, and other Christ-centered activities. Even though, according to a recent LifeWay Research poll, many do not celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday, nevertheless it has spiritual significance to a large number of people. And, regarding those who don’t attach meaning to Christmas that is consistent with the birth of Jesus, it gives Christians an opportunity to reach out and share the reasons why we do celebrate Jesus’ birth. Here is an interesting story from USA Today.
Our local church offered a full array of services on the day after Christmas. However, that was not true for some high-profile churches, such as North Point Community Church in Atlanta, where Andy Stanley is the pastor – North Point did not hold any activities or services the day of Christmas. Some churches offered a reduced menu of services. Here is The Christian Post’s take on the “day after Christmas” dilemma.
And, around the world, Christians were celebrating in a variety of ways. Here are 2 more items from The Christian Post. Officials in the city where Jesus was born report a noted increase in tourism during this Christmas season. In Iraq, where Christians are feeling quite threatened these days, the believers there were laying low and having quiet celebrations of our Savior’s birth.
Christmas gives us the opportunity to think on the birth of Christ and its significance. I trust that during the New Year, you will seek Him wholeheartedly and allow Him to work mightily in your life.