This week's edition of "The 3" includes preparation for the observance of Sanctity of Life Week, the anniversary of the Haiti earthquake, and the thread of faith woven through the aftermath of the Tucson shootings.
3 - Pro-life advocates prepare for Sanctity of Life Week activities
Next Saturday, January 22nd, is the 38th Anniversary of the dreadful decision made by the U.S. Supreme Court known as Roe vs. Wade, legalizing abortion in America. Now, after more than 53 million babies who have lost their lives, and numerous women who have experienced the pain and guilt in the aftermath of an abortion have told their stories, there are some positive and negative signs with regard to this cornerstone issue in our society.
On the positive side, there was a significant number of pro-life lawmakers who were elected to Congress in the last election. These people are now in a position to send a message in the U.S. House of Representatives with respect to life issues, as well as to attempt to halt taxpayer funding of abortion, as reflected in the health care law.
According to CitizenLink, there are 35 states that have opted out or are in the process of considering legislation to opt out of including abortion in their state-maintained health exchanges, provided for in the health care reform bill.
Also, a positive sign is that polling data shows a significant number of Americans who are pro-life. However, the decline in the abortion rate that has been observed over the past few years may have stalled a bit, according to new data released last week by the Guttmacher Institute, an arm of Planned Parenthood. But, fortunately, in looking at the big picture, there is a marked decline in abortions over the past decade. Here is some analysis from Dr. Michael New at LifeNews.com.
So, while one baby losing his or her life is too many, there is plenty of hope on the horizon for a reduction in the number of abortions in America. As thousands plan to take part in pro-life events during Sanctity of Life Week, such as the anticipated 35-50,000 in San Francisco on the 22nd or the hundreds of thousands who are expected to gather in the nation's capital on the 24th, there is a great amount of motivation to continue to speak out on behalf of the innocent children in the womb.
2 - Haiti earthquake anniversary observed
Christian organizations from across the globe have poured in people and supplies since the January 12, 201o earthquake in Haiti that resulted in the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and incredible property damage. Franklin Graham held a crusade in Haiti last weekend, and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse continue to be on the leading edge of reaching out to the victims. Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll spoke to some 50,000 people in Haiti last week outside the collapsed capitol building. Driscoll and Chicago pastor James MacDonald have co-founded the Churches Helping Churches effort, which is active in the island nation.
There is much work to be done in this impoverished nation, and with the Haitian government still in a state of instability, there are many Christ-centered organizations that are stepping up to provide needed assistance and to build a sense of hope in the hearts of the people.
1 - Faith thread permeates Tucson recovery
I have often related how tragedy becomes an opportunity for the faith community. And, in the Tucson area, people experienced the pain and fear of the mass shooting that took place at a town hall meeting sponsored by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who clung to life for several days after suffering head injuries. 6 people lost their lives in the incident, including a Federal judge, John Roll, who was apparently a devout Christian who was at the shooting site to have a conversation with the Congresswoman about an issue with which he was concerned.
In the memorial service that was held at the University of Arizona this past Wednesday night, President Obama quoted from Scripture and reportedly consulted with area clergy prior to his remarks. He also indirectly addressed some of the attempts to attach blame for the tragedies on the tone of political rhetoric. These attempts, in my estimation, were inappropriate and inaccurate. Inappropriate, because the blame game takes the focus off the victims of the tragedy and their families, who need prayer and support. Inaccurate, because while we are still unsure of what would have been Jared Lee Loughner's motives for attempting to take the life of Rep. Giffords and the crowd surrounding her, there is evidence that he was not ideologically aligned with conservative talk radio or politicians and in fact, may not have even listened to talk radio. On the ideological scale, I would characterize Loughner as an extreme left-wing ideologue, placing him far to the left of moderate Democrat Giffords.
But, the focus now is for prayers for the recovery of those that were injured, comfort for the families of those who lost loved ones, and relief for the residents of Tucson and beyond who have faced emotional pain in the wake of this tragedy.