This week's edition of "The 3" includes a number of high-profile stories, including a tie for second place. You'll read some good news about the health of a well-known Christian leader, the future of government funding of Planned Parenthood in Indiana, court arguments regarding health care, and the ordination of gay clergy in a major denomination.
3 - Billy Graham hospitalized with pneumonia, released
On the same day that one giant of the faith was honored in a memorial service, another came home from a 5-day hospital stay. David Wilkerson's memorial service was held at the church he founded, the Times Square Church in New York City, on Sunday. Wilkerson had lost his life in an automobile accident in Texas on April 27...his wife remains in the hospital, but her condition is improving.
Meanwhile, many across America were no doubt praying for Dr. Billy Graham as he endured a 5-day hospital stay, returning home on Sunday. He was hospitalized as the result of pneumonia. The 92-year-old evangelist reportedly responded well to treatment, and carried out a fairly normal routine, meeting for prayer and Bible study with his pastor, and visiting with family members.
2 (tie) - Indiana governor signs bill to defund Planned Parenthood
Much of the debate about taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, has played out on the national level, as the U.S. House of Representatives has voted twice to not allow government subsidies for the organization. The Senate, meanwhile, in a recent vote, decided to allow taxpayer funding to stand.
But, there are state and local decisions that can be made regarding the sending of tax dollars to Planned Parenthood. The Indiana Legislature had passed a bill that would prevent the state government from funding any entity that performs abortions or allows the procedure to be performed at its facility. The bill also bans most abortions after 20 weeks and strengthens the state's informed consent law. After the Legislature passed the bill, all eyes were on Governor Mitch Daniels, who is viewed as a pro-life, pro-family Christian who had raised concern in the evangelical community over his call for a "truce" on social issues, claiming that the economic issues the nation faces should supersede such issues as life and marriage.
Daniels signed the bill, which may have raised his credibility with evangelicals who are looking for some candidate, any candidate they can support in 2012. And, with the departure of Mike Huckabee as a 2012 Presidential candidate, it's still possible that Daniels could look to evangelical Christians as a voter base. However, Daniels later this week said that he would consider Condoleezza Rice, a former Secretary of State whose position on abortion would be described as "pro-choice", a good Vice-Presidential nominee.
Will Daniels succeed in motivating evangelical voters? Who knows. And no one knows if he will run at all...
2 (tie) - Christian university appeals Federal judge's ruling in health care case
Oral arguments in the first private lawsuit filed against the Federal health care law were heard in the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia this week. Liberty University had filed suit, saying that the individual and the employer mandates in the law were unconstitutional. A Federal district judge had ruled against the school, which resulted in the appeal. The same day, subsequent to the Liberty case, the Court heard arguments in a case where the Attorney General of the state of Virginia had challenged the individual mandate. The judge in that case had ruled in favor of AG Ken Cuccinelli in the state's challenge.
No matter what the Court's ruling, the cases are expected to end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, along with 2 other cases, including the one filed by some 26 state attorneys general, which resulted in a Federal district judge finding the entirety of the law to be unconstitutional.
1 - Presbyterian Church USA votes to ordain homosexuals
After a lengthy process involving regional body after regional body voting to allow the ordination of gay clergy in committed relationships, the most recent of these bodies, or presbyteries, of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., voted to affirm this decision, resulting in it becoming part of the denomination's constitution.
The change to the denomination's constitution was approved by the General Assembly last summer, but 87 presbyteries had to vote to go along. The requirement for clergy to practice fidelity in a marriage relationship between a man and a woman, as well as chastity in singleness has been eliminated.
Some supporting this measure claim that society has changed, therefore the church must adapt to these cultural trends. But, the fact remains that the teaching of the Scriptures is that this behavior is sinful. Furthermore, while homosexual practice has gained greater acceptance, perhaps, a recent study shows that less than 2 percent of the adult population, or some 4 million adults, are gay. Yet, church denominations, the Federal government, state governments, and corporations are drafting policy based on a very small percentage of the population.
Gay activists, who speak with a loud voice and have drafted the mainstream media as accomplices in their exaggeration of demographic power, have sought to distort and desensitize the general population - they are not, and should not be a protected class, and their brazen attempt to legitimize unbiblical behavior has resulted in many in the church exercising excessive restraint in speaking out firmly in opposition to it. Speaking the truth - in love - is Biblical direction; it's not bullying and it's not intolerance when we point out practice that does not square with the Scriptures.