Sunday, June 27, 2010
I had intended to write a post last week, but it seems that everything in DC runs behind schedule - so time was at a premium, especially for our first 2 or 3 days...by then, it seemed a bit ludicrous to write a "week-in-review" when the next week was in full swing.
News out of Washington is the number 3 story this week, as campaign finance legislation that had been opposed by a number of Christian groups had appeared to be stalled, then the process restarted and the bill passed. Also, prayer was a topic that was highlighted by governors in the Gulf Coast region, as they called for a day of prayer related to the oil spill. And, a high-profile Christian leader who has blessed thousands of people with disabilities faces a new health challenge.
3 - House removes DISCLOSE from schedule, suddenly brings it back and passes it
Early in our week in Washington, I read that a campaign finance bill that would place restrictions on groups that advocate certain positions in elections had stalled. Just a couple of days later, I heard that the bill had narrowly passed the U.S. House of Representatives. CitizenLink has been following this bill, and offered this report.
This has been decried as a bill that threatens the freedom of speech, and will likely face challenges on constitutional grounds. The bill would force certain advocacy groups to reveal names of their top donors and require the CEO of the organization sponsoring the ad to appear in it. Critics have charged that the Democratic leadership could be using this bill to influence the upcoming election. Over 50 pro-family groups whose views are consistent with a Christian worldview had voiced their opposition to the bill. There could be a silver lining, in that groups that do not reflect that perspective could also be forced to reveal their information, which could limit their activity and possible influence. Nevertheless, the passage of the bill in the House does have the potential to limit free speech, if the bill were to pass in the Senate, as well.
2 - Southern governors declare day of prayer regarding oil spill
The governors of 4 Southern states bordering on the Gulf of Mexico - Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Texas - have called for a day of prayer concerning the oil spill that is affecting their coastlines and that threatens the economic conditions of the entire region.
Certainly, the response by BP and the Federal government has not yielded a long-lasting, effective solution to preventing the flow of oil from the site of the explosion and the spread of the slick area of oil. In this potentially devastating set of circumstances, solutions outside of man's wisdom are needed, and the Biblical response when facing dilemmas, large and small, is to cry out to the source of all wisdom, our Almighty God. The Christian Post had this report.
1 - Joni to undergo breast cancer surgery
Joni Eareckson Tada, who has been a champion for many across America with disabilities, as well as their families, has lived a life that has been full of health challenges, but a life that has demonstrated the strength of the Lord working powerfully within her. It was announced this week that Joni has another health challenge - she will be undergoing surgery for breast cancer.
Here is a release from A. Larry Ross Communications, representing Joni's ministry.
Joni has always responded so gracefully in the midst of the challenges she faces. She is an example of someone that has decided to use adversity and pain to God's glory. Perhaps on the other side of this challenge, she will come forth stronger and be a glorious advocate to minister to those who have been afflicted with cancer and provide insight and inspiration to them. Please be in prayer for Joni, her husband Ken, the doctors who will treat her, and the overall ministry of Joni and Friends.
Case Made Against Kagan
Sunday, June 13, 2010
3 - Thousands protest "Ground Zero" mosque
It's a possibility that is touching emotions across America, including the Christian community...the plan to build a mosque near the site of the World Trade Center tragedy on September 11, and to open it on the 10th Anniversary of the events. The Christian Post had this coverage of a protest last Sunday.
I believe that due to the fact that the 9-11 terrorists were motivated by Islamic fundamentalism, there is a sensitivity toward erecting anything associated with Islam in such close proximity to the site. Combine that with what is known about the head of the organization slated to build the mosque, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who has come under some criticism for his views of Christians and the West. In fact, in inviting people to the protest in New York on June 6, Jihad Watch's Robert Spencer gave some insight into the philosophy of the Imam.
2 - Crist vetoes strong pro-life ultrasound bill in Florida
There were some hopeful signs emerging out of the Florida Legislature recently, as lawmakers took steps to not only allow the state to opt out of taxpayer funding of abortion related to the recent health care law, but also to allow women to see ultrasound pictures of their unborn children. I believe that recent declines in the number of abortions, as well as the number of people who declare themselves to be pro-life according to surveys, are attributable to information about unborn children. The child inside the womb is more than a blob of tissue - it is actually a pre-born human being. Ultrasound technology is a contributing factor in these declines, as well as information shared during waiting periods for abortion that are provided in a number of states.
So, it's not surprising that Florida lawmakers seized the opportunity to pass solid pro-life legislation. And, perhaps, we shouldn't be surprised that Governor Charlie Crist vetoed the bill this past Friday - the Legislature is no longer in session, so it can't be overridden. Even though Crist has said he is pro-life, in the case of Terri Schiavo, he came under fire for his refusal, while attorney general, to take steps to preserve Terri's life. And, just this week, word has come that he has removed a pro-life section from his campaign website. His campaign for Senate, that is - yes, Crist is running for the U.S. Senate as an independent, rather than as a Republican, where he faced a stiff challenge by former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio. Now that Crist is running as an independent, perhaps he thinks he can attract independent voters by taking a more "choice"-oriented position. Never mind the recent surveys that show the majority of Americans describing themselves as pro-life.
LifeNews.com had this recap of the situation surrounding the veto.
1 - Election yields victories for pro-life women
An pro-family e-mail blast declared it as "ladies' night", a pro-life women's organization hailed a "resurgence of authentic, pro-life feminism". The elections on Tuesday indicated some significant victories for women who are also pro-life.
Perhaps the most notable is the contest in California, where former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina defeated several challengers in the Republican primary to earn the right to face longtime Senator and noted abortion supporter Barbara Boxer. Former eBay CEO Meg Whitman is not regarded in some circles as pro-life, but certainly her views on the abortion issue would be considered more moderate than those of her Democratic opponent, former California governor Jerry Brown, who, after a stint as Attorney General (where he has been engaged in fighting against Proposition 8 and the one-man, one-woman definition of marriage), is seeking the state's highest office yet again.
Other states where pro-life women enjoyed victories include Nevada, where Sharron Angle, who was touted as a Tea Party, even an extreme candidate, easily defeated her two closest challengers. Angle, a pro-life Southern Baptist who is a former homeschool mom, won the Republican nomination and goes on now to face Harry Reid - yes, that Harry Reid, the Senate Majority Leader who has been slipping for months in the eyes of Nevadans, and will likely face a stiff challenge from Angle, even though the press nationwide has attempted to paint Angle as out-of-the-mainstream.
Apparently, pro-life women made a strong impact in races in New Jersey and South Dakota, as well. Plus, South Carolina gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley came close to winning the Republican nomination without a runoff.
The Susan B. Anthony list had some analysis the day following the runoff.
So, the election results, I think, do demonstrate some conservative energy, and even validate the strength of candidates affiliated with the Tea Party movement (such as Angle and Haley). There is a significant segment of the population that is dissatisfied with the status quo and the inability of both parties nationally to govern effectively and cut Federal spending, and candidates who embrace fiscal (and in many case, social) conservatism are finding themselves doing quite well, in quite a few cases so far.
Christian groups mobilize to do ministry at World Cup
Human trafficking likely to increase around World Cup
Christian family, the Sunderlands, asking for prayer for 16-year-old daughter sailing around the world
Saturday, June 05, 2010
3 - CT graduation at church stymied by court
In what can be regarded as a blow for religious liberties, a Federal judge has ruled against a Connecticut school district that had planned to hold graduation for 2 of its schools in a large Bloomfield, CT church. When it was announced that 2 Enfield schools were planning to expose students involuntarily to a religious atmosphere, complete with religious symbols, the ACLU and Americans United for the Separation of Church and State cried foul and filed a lawsuit. The judge, after touring the facility, came down on the side of the ACLU. The school board narrowly decided not to appeal. The Christian Post has the story.
Interestingly enough, this had been a common practice in the school district for years. In fact, because of space considerations, school districts will turn to churches to hold major school-related events. This is another indication of the extent to which the ACLU and like-minded organizations will go in order to intimidate and thwart religious expression, as if somehow being in a church building would be coercive to students. As it has been pointed out, the building is not the church, and using a church's facility cannot be construed as forcing a person to be inappropriately exposed to religious activity.
2 - John Wooden dead at 99
He was known first as a man of great character, I believe, a leader's leader, who not only trained young men in basketball, but in life. Former UCLA head basketball coach John Wooden has died at age 99. The accolades continue to pour in for the coach, who was an active Christian, an avid Bible reader, and was outspoken about his faith. He was involved with Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and I would dare say that his many of his "maxims" were consistent with Biblical truth. I appreciated the observations of Terry Mattingly at GetReligion.org.
The Los Angeles Times, in a blog post, listed some of Wooden's maxims, or quotes:
"Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out."
"Never mistake activity for achievement."
"Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then."
"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
"Be prepared and be honest."
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."
"You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you."
"What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player."
"Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character."Wooden is a great example of someone that made the most out of life, someone recognized for achievement off-the-court, perhaps more than the championship on it. He exemplified the importance of character, and displayed strong leadership skills, as he cultivated a host of admirers.
1 - Gay agenda continues advance; Obama expands domestic partner privileges
Just a few months ago, President Obama came under fire from one of his major constituencies, the gay and lesbian activists, who felt the he had not done enough to advance their cause. In the State of the Union message this year, he vowed to overturn the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy currently in use in the military with regard to homosexuals in the armed services. He is also on record as opposing the Defense of Marriage Act (which Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan stated the Administration does not support, even in a feeble attempt to "defend" the law), which supports marriage as a man and a woman. And, last week, ignoring the statements from the leaders of the 4 branches of the Armed Forces, the U.S. House attached a repeal of this policy to a Defense Authorization Bill, presumably pending the results of a study to be completed later this year. Action is pending in the U.S. Senate on similar legislation.
And, this week, the Administration expanded another set of benefits to same-sex couples, following a granting of some benefits in action last June. CitizenLink has this report.
The President has also proclaimed June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth Against Homosexuality has astutely pointed out that the 2010 proclamation (Obama also made a proclamation in 2009) calls for a repeal of DOMA. What we are watching is an attempt to redefine the institution of marriage and grant rights to individuals based on sexual orientation. Homosexual behavior is clearly characterized in Scripture as being sinful, so to give these special rights based on what many regard as a lifestyle choice is a disruptive path regarding the stability of our culture and its families. And, next up: the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which could force Christian employers to hire homosexuals.
Wycliffe announces "Last Languages" campaign
Ted Haggard announces plans for new church
Christians take case to advertisers about Comedy Central's "JC" series