Saturday, February 27, 2010

The 3 - February 27, 2010

I'm here at National Religious Broadcasters in Nashville, as thousands of representatives of radio and TV stations, media ministries, churches, and more gather for fellowship, training, and networking. The festivities kick off officially tonight, but our team has been here since yesterday, and I've been involved in preparing our booth, where starting tomorrow, I will be interviewing a significant number of ministry leaders for airplay on The Meeting House.

But, even though I'm away from home, "The 3" must go on, and I've selected some diverse subjects for this week's installment, including a rather unique and unsettling White House meeting, a gambling standoff in Alabama, and the passing of the baton in a high-profile broadcast ministry.

3 - White House officials hold meeting with non-theists

A meeting on Friday involving White House officials and a number of representatives of the Secular Coalition of America, which includes organizations that demonstrate a non-religious, non-believing point of view, attracted quite of a bit of attention simply because it was presumably the first time an Administration had met with such a group, which wanted to call attention to a variety of issues, including faith-based initiatives. Such notable atheists as Christopher Hitchens and Michael Newdow are part of the board of directors of the coalition.

The Christian Post had a report on the meeting.

2 - Gambling opponents stage rally, protesters attend and interrupt speakers

On Tuesday of this week, pastors, church leaders, and citizens concerned about the prospect of expanded gambling in Alabama were invited to gather on the steps of the Alabama State House to hear from a number of speakers who would provide encouragement to stand strong in the fight against legalized casino-style gambling (incorrectly termed "electronic bingo") in Alabama. Unfortunately, gambling proponents, many of whom were apparently employees of several now-closed gaming facilities, showed up early for a pro-gambling rally that was scheduled later that afternoon, and proceeded to disrupt the earlier, anti-gambling event. The result was a sad contrast between the rude supporters of gambling who showed total disrespect for the Governor and First Lady of Alabama, as well as other speakers, and the anti-gambling people, many of them Christians who just want to make a difference and oppose gambling on moral, as well as economic grounds. Apparently, the gambling proponents don't want those of differing opinions to have their say.

CitizenLink from Focus on the Family Action picked up on the story. Here is a review from the ALCAP (AL Citizens Action Program) website.

Gambling legislation was held off for another week, as supporters may not have the 21 votes necessary to bring a bill forward, allowing for a statewide vote on "electronic bingo" at 10 sites in Alabama to the floor. Meanwhile, the Governor's Task Force raided a facility that opened this week in Chickasaw. The Alabama Baptist had a report.

1 - Dobson's last "Focus on the Family" radio broadcast marks end of an era

Dr. James Dobson, who founded Focus on the Family and led the ministry for some 33 years, was featured on his final Focus broadcast on Friday. Along with new President and CEO Jim Daly and Pat Carauna, Chairman of the Focus on the Family Board, Dr. Dobson shared reflections from his heart, and Daly and Carauna expressed their appreciation for Dr. Dobson's outstanding contributions to Focus and the impact he has made on so many lives. Dr. Dobson will now move on to host a new program, "Family Talk", which will also include his son, Ryan.

World Magazine had this coverage.

Again, Dr. Dobson reiterated that he does not intend for his new ministry to be in competition with Focus, and expressed his strong belief that he needs to be a voice speaking into the culture. The Focus broadcast will now feature Jim Daly, Juli Slattery, and John Fuller, and the first official post-Dobson broadcast will air Monday, with highlights of a recent chapel service with Dr. Dobson and his wife, Shirley, at Focus on the Family.

Honorable Mention:

New health care bill contains taxpayer abortion funding, possibility of rationing

Perkins de-invited from military event

Focus on the Family ad on NCAA website pulled

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The 3 - February 20, 2010

This week's installment of "The 3" includes a new development in the case of those missionaries to Haiti who had been detained there, Christians making their mark in the Vancouver Winter Olympics, and a gathering of conservatives, including Christian leaders, in the nation's capital.

3 - 8 of 10 missionaries to Haiti secure release

More good news out of Haiti this week, as 8 of the 10 missionaries who had been held in Haiti under suspicion of trafficking, as a result of their attempt to rescue orphans from the country, were released from prison. The leader of the group and another woman continued to be held for questioning in the nation. The Christian Post has an account of recent developments in the case.

2 - Christian athletes make impact on Winter Olympics

The world of sports has given Christian athletes a platform upon which to share their faith. Currently, on the world's biggest stage, the Olympic Games, Winter Olympians who profess faith in Christ are making an impact, some by merely being open to share their faith, others who take it to a different level by earning medals on behalf of their respective countries. Baptist Press has been doing an excellent job in providing coverage of these Christian participants, and here is a link to their regularly-updated blog site.

1 - Christian, pro-life leaders participate in CPAC Conference, Mt. Vernon Statement

The annual Conservative Political Action Conference took place this week in Washington, DC. Representatives from a number of Christian, pro-family, and pro-life organizations were in attendance, as they attempted to present a social and religious conservative viewpoint in the overall tapestry of ideas being shared at the conference. One of the notable events in the week was a panel discussion of the pro-life movement, with a number of prominent, familiar names in advocacy for pre-born children. reported on that forum at the CPAC Conference.

Prior to the official opening of the conference, dozens of conservative leaders issued the "Mt. Vernon Statement" ( , which was intended to unify conservatives around some foundational principles based on the Constitution. A number of familiar Christian and conservative leaders were signers of the statement, which calls for an embracing of limited government, individual liberty, free enterprise, the advancement of freedom around the world, and the defense of family, neighborhood, community, and faith. Here is a report about the statement from CitizenLink.

SPECIAL: Christian leaders rally to attempt to stop gambling in Alabama

The attempt to legalize slot machines in Alabama, under the more innocuous name, "electronic bingo", continues in earnest in light of recent actions by the Governor's Task Force on Illegal Gambling. 3 large casinos remain closed, with a law enforcement standoff in effect at another. Gambling interests are attempting to gain the legal right to operate their machines and be protected from prosecution by proposing a constitutional amendment, which would require a statewide vote on legalizing these machines. It takes 21 votes in the Alabama Senate to pass the amendment, and a vote has been delayed because it is believed that the proponents simply do not have the votes to pass it. Opponents of gambling will gather at the State House for a Statewide Rally on Tuesday, February 23rd at 12:30pm.

Dr. Richard Land, President of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, spoke to gatherings across Alabama this week, and here is audio from the Montgomery meeting.

For additional information, including facts about the damage to individuals and families caused by gambling, go to


Judge thwarts CEAI effort to intervene in Santa Rosa County, FL

Pastor who helped Rifqa Bary escape from Ohio under investigation

Large Charlotte church pledges to give 6000 hours of service to the community

Saturday, February 13, 2010

The 3 - February 13, 2010

The stories swirling around Tim Tebow and elements of his Christian testimony continue to maintain a presence in "The 3", as well as the fate of missionaries to Haiti being held in prison. Also, a missionary to North Korea received some really good news recently.

3 - North Korea releases missionary held since Christmas Day

On Christmas Day, a young missionary crossed the border from China into North Korea carrying letters with a confrontational message for that nation's leader. He was apprehended, and last weekend was released from prison. Here is the story from the Arizona Daily Star.

Of course, the Korean Central News Agency reported that Park had renounced his views about religious freedom (of the lack of it) in the isolated Communist country, but I would imagine that those quotes were made under duress. The whole situation involved North Korea is intriguing - this is a totalitarian regime which has topped Open Doors' list of the top persecutors of Christians for a number of years - and it's not even close!! (See list here.)

The nation has attempted to put a positive face on by inviting notables such as Billy and Franklin Graham to the country, and Casting Crowns and the Annie Moses Band, who are Christian music groups, travelled to a cultural festival there last year. But behind the attempt to look good and communicate a message of tolerance, there is fierce treatment of Christians, and it is hoped that increased international scrutiny and pressure will cause the leadership to pull back on its treatment of Christ-followers.

2 - Tebow video at Focus on the Family approaches one million hits, NCAA proposes "Tebow Rule" concerning eyeblack writing

As Focus on the Family's Super Bowl ad continues to attract attention, the video on the ministry's website featuring an interview with Bob and Pam Tebow is approaching and perhaps surpassing one million hits. The 8-minute video shows the Tebows telling the story of their decision to choose to give birth to their son, Tim. The website address was displayed at the end of the Super Bowl ad, and apparently that has generated an enormous amount of web traffic for the ministry.

And, this comes at an excellent time for Focus!! Dr. Dobson's last week on the radio broadcast is coming up during the final week of February, and new leader Jim Daly has had plenty of media time granted to him, which has served to cement him in the new position of being the chief spokesperson for the ministry. Here is the Christian Post report from earlier this week.

And, I came across this story from the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Meanwhile, more attention has been garnered by Tim Tebow, although a bit inadvertent. The NCAA Football Rules Committee is considering regulation of messages contained on the eyeblack that football players place under their eyes. Tebow has been known for placing Scripture references on the eyeblack, but other, less redeeming messages are also printed there by players. Here is a story from the Palm Beach Post.

This is a practice commonly associated with Tebow, but it has been abused by other players. I can see the merits of what the NCAA is trying to do, but it does come at a rather curious time, when it could be interpreted as being directed at the former Florida star.

1 - Missionaries in Haiti get judge's OK for release

There was seemingly good news earlier this week emerging out of Haiti regarding the 10 missionaries, mostly from Idaho, who had been arrested for suspected trafficking as they attempted to extract Haitian children, presumably orphans, into the Dominican Republic. The judge in the case recommended their release, but apparently a local prosecutor has to sign on to it, even though the judge has the final word. This is the latest development in a case that has had numerous twists and turns, and the case will still not be over once the missionaries are released. Baptist Press has done an outstanding job covering the developments, and here is their update.

Honorable Mention:

Students celebrate Day of Purity

Alabama Planned Parenthood clinic put on probation

Saturday, February 06, 2010

The 3 - February 6, 2010

The first week of February found military leaders looking for a way to open the door to the practice of homosexuality in their ranks, pro-abortion advocates seeking for ways to malign college football star Tim Tebow and his mom over a pro-life Super Bowl ad, and abstinence proponents searching for ways to get the word out about the findings of a new study reaffirming their position.

3 - Hundreds of thousands block for Tebow

The hype leading up to Super Bowl XLIV (44) in Miami continues, and one of the big topics of discussion is not necessarily Peyton Manning or Drew Brees, but a quarterback who will not be playing in the game, although he will be seen in a cameo role in the first-quarter. Response to the Tim Tebow spot from Focus on the Family continues to be strong and notable, with over 200,000 signing on as fans to the Americans United for Life/ Facebook page in support of the former Florida star. A pro-choice columnist for the Washington Post weighed in behind the Tebows, and a Marist poll showed 60% for the yet-to-be-seen-by-very-many-people ad.

Meanwhile, Focus on the Family, whose President Jim Daly appeared on Larry King Live this week, has purchased 4 slots in the pregame show for another Focus on the Family ad. Jim Daly has shared how he wants to elevate the discussion on the sanctity of life, and the national discussion has definitely been elevated!! Check out Stuart Shepard's "insider" perspective on this sound clip.

Meanwhile, Mosaic, the California church pastored by leading evangelical Erwin McManus, is attempting to get in the Super Bowl telecast in a different way - by entering the Doritos original video contest. Here is the story, from BeliefNet.
The Doritos website is

2 (tie) - Military revisits "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy

After President Obama voiced his support in his State of the Union message for rescinding the "don't ask, don't tell" policy for homosexuals in the ranks of the military, leaders in Washington have announced their support for an alternative to the policy, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff head Mike Mullen. Changing the policy could have a negative impact on the morale and effectiveness of our troops, and would come at a time where maximum focus is needed in prosecuting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Peter LaBarbera, President of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, provides some excellent analysis about the potential implications of crafting new policy allowing open gay behavior in the military.

2 (tie) - Abstinence-based education results affirmed

Christian and pro-family groups are lauding the results of a study that shows the effectiveness of abstinence based education, supporting what many in the faith community have been saying for some time. Dr. David Stevens of the Christian Medical Association commented on the implications. Also, Leslee Unruh, Founder of the Abstinence Clearinghouse, offered support for the study's findings.

During these times, when Federal funding for abstinence education is in danger of being reduced or eliminated, these results can be potentially powerful in showing that this type of education can change behavior. Abstinence is the ONLY 100% effective way to prevent pregnancy and contributes to a reduction in sexually-transmitted diseases.

1 - Baptist group jailed in Haiti

A group of 10 Baptists attempting to extract Haitian orphans from Haiti to the Dominican Republic were arrested for suspected trafficking and remain in prison as of this writing. Here is an early story from ABC News. SkyNews has an updated story.

It is obvious that mistakes were made here, and that the group did not take the proper steps to bring the children out of Haiti. The U.S. State Department is apparently working on behalf of the Christian missionaries. Unfortunately, the Haitian government has decided, even amidst the chaos of the earthquake, to make an example out of these believers, who were trying to do the right thing, only in a way that was not so right.

Honorable Mention:

Christian activist freed from North Korea

New film to portray Christian surfer and shark bite victim Bethany Hamilton