Two of the three stories in this week's edition of "The 3" deal with health care, including the skirmish between the Federal & state government in Indiana, which has recently voted to ban taxpayer dollars from going to Planned Parenthood, as well as the hearing in Atlanta at the 11th Circuit on the Federal health care law - 26 state attorneys general are filing suit. The other story deals with some issues receiving publicity this week on a decline in the number of baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention, as it prepares for its annual convention in Phoenix this week.
3 - Group of Senators stands with Indiana on Planned Parenthood law
Recently, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels signed into a law passed by the state's legislature that would prohibit state tax dollars from being used to fund Planned Parenthood, which is the nation's largest abortion provider. The latest development is that Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick stated that Medicaid regulations prohibit the denial of funding to providers, such as Planned Parenthood, based on the services they provide, therefore the state cannot implement its law. Planned Parenthood had immediately filed a lawsuit challenging the law, but a Federal judge had declined to issue any sort of injunction that would prevent the law from being implemented.
LifeNews.com had this story about the Obama Administration's attempt to supersede a state law.
State officials have indicated they would defy the Administration and move to implement the law. And, this week, 28 U.S. Senators have written a letter to the Administration in support of the law.
Here is a story written for the Christian Post, published on the Susan B. Anthony List website.
The Donald Berwick involved here is the same individual who was placed in his position in a recess appointment, since his confirmation in the Senate was not a foregone conclusion. He had made favorable comments about the British health care system, which has a strong rationing component, and has been quoted as favoring redistributing wealth as a way to effectively fund health care. He, along with Health and Human Services Director Jean Sibelius, are carrying the water for the Obama Administration pertaining to its pro-abortion agenda and the implementation of the health care law, which not only funds abortion, but offers a structure that dramatically increases the size and scope of government, and could deny health care to those who most need it, such as the elderly and those with special needs.
2 - Southern Baptists process new statistics, prepare for Phoenix convention
The Southern Baptist Convention will meet in Phoenix this year, and one of the topics that messengers who will be attending may be talking about is a set of headline-grabbing statistics released this week, citing a small but significant decline in the number of baptisms.
LifeWay Christian Resources, in its Annual Church Profile (ACP), has stated that the number of baptisms in 2010 showed a 5 percent decline. Total membership, at just over 16 million, showed a decline for the fourth consecutive year, with the 2010 decline being .15 percent. Worship attendance also decreased slightly.
LifeWay head Thom Ranier said, “We must make the Great Commission the heart of all we do and say. These latest numbers should be received with a broken spirit and a God-given determination to reach people for Christ.” Here is LifeWay's report on the survey.
While there may have been a decline in these key areas, nevertheless, with over 16 million Southern Baptists, the denomination is nowhere near life support. And, with an increase in the number of churches and a renewed commitment to fulfilling the Great Commission, the Convention is poised to be used of God to dramatically impact our world for Christ. So, it's important that Southern Baptists don't over-analyze or over-dramatize the statistics, but use them as motivational tools for reaching people.
1 - 11th Circuit hears health care challenge
The national health care law has been under challenge almost since its passage by Congress last year. Recently, oral arguments were held in Richmond, Virginia before the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals involving two cases challenging the mandate for individuals to buy health insurance, and this week, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit held oral arguments in an appeal of a district judge's ruling that the law was unconstitutional. Federal District Judge Roger Vinson's ruling had found the law's individual mandate to be unconstitutional, and since it could not be severed from the rest of the law, then he found the entire law to be unconstitutional.
CitizenLink offered this synopsis.
Here we have another instance of the Federal government attempting to impose its will on states, and states are pushing back. 27 states are involved in litigation seeking to have the law struck down. A number of state legislatures have passed "opt out" legislation from the health care law. Some states are seeking waivers from the mandates. And, states are declaring that the state insurance exchanges provided for in the law will not fund abortion.
For Christians, the Federal health care law is a pro-abortion law that increases the reach of government, funds abortion, and could result in the rationing of health care, affecting those that stand in need of health care being denied that care.