This week in "The 3", my week-in-review feature, a look at the passage of pro-life legislation in North Carolina, where members of the Legislature had to overcome the governor's veto pen, plus a governor won a court challenge regarding his participation in and promotion of a large prayer gathering, and a key symbol of hope in the aftermath of 9-11 is the subject of a lawsuit filed by an atheist group.
3 - North Carolina lawmakers thump governor's veto of pro-life legislation...again
Since the 2010 election, there has been a heightened level of interest in bills in various statehouses that protect the unborn. North Carolina is one of those states where the Legislature has passed numerous pro-life bills - last month, it was a bill to defund Planned Parenthood; following passage in the Legislature, Governor Beverly Perdue vetoed the bill, and the Legislature overrode her veto.
To a certain extent, history repeated itself this week. The Legislature passed a bill that would provide for a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion, including a provision for the women to see an ultrasound of her unborn child, as well as other information about her baby. That bill was vetoed by Governor Perdue, but the House and Senate overrode the veto, so it now becomes law in the state.
Here is a report from LifeNews.com.
Some 34 other states have some form of waiting period legislation on the books, and one of the North Carolina lawmakers said that statistically, the "women's right-to-know" legislation could reduce abortions in the state by as much as 10 percent. This dedication to transparency, using the technology of an ultrasound, is helpful to women facing the pressure of an unexpected or perhaps even unwanted pregnancy, giving them the opportunity to thoughtfully consider the humanity of their child and the consider more thoroughly other options, including adoption, involving their child.
2 - Perry wins court challenge
Momentum is building for The Response, a prayer gathering scheduled for this coming Saturday, August 6th, at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Texas Governor Rick Perry has been instrumental in bringing this event to pass, but the Freedom from Religion Foundation had filed a lawsuit, essentially attempting to ban the governor from participating...keep in mind, this is the same bunch that tried to have the Congressional declaration of a National Day of Prayer eliminated, too - an effort that failed at the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals, a decision cited by a Federal judge this week. That judge, Judge Grey Miller of the U.S. District Court, said that FFRF had no standing in the case, i.e., it had not been injured by Perry's proposed participation.
Here is CitizenLink's coverage of this latest judge's decision.
Governor Perry now moves forward to exercise his free speech rights and his religious freedom by being involved in The Response. He has not stated what his exact role will be in the 7-hour program that day, but he has been a public face and voice for not only this event, but generally the importance of prayer by public officials.
1 - World Trade Center cross source of debate, mayor's defense
Last Saturday, the cross-shaped steel beams that formed on the site of the World Trade Center were moved to the National September 11th Memorial and Museum. An atheist group, American Atheists, filed suit this past Monday, saying that the display violates that mythical concept of "separation of church and state". The 20-foot cross was found by a construction worker 2 days after the tragedy, and it has served as an inspirational reminder of the presence of God, even in the midst of such an unspeakable event.
Here is a report from the Christian Examiner.
The American Center for Law and Justice has pledged to vigorously defend the inclusion of the steel cross in the museum, and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has actually defended the presence of the cross, as well. The Christian Post reported on the Mayor's comments. Bloomberg basically said that other religious symbols would be on display, and that people looked to religion for strength in the aftermath of the attack. He is named as a defendant in the lawsuit.
The documentary, "The Cross and the Towers", produced by the Erwin Brothers of Birmingham, tells the story of this symbol of hope...
More information can be found at www.thecrossandthetowers.com. With the 10th Anniversary of 9-11 coming soon, it gives us as Christians an opportunity to not only reflect on the devastation that day, but on the hope that was shared by so many Christians with people who were looking for some peace and comfort in those days of uncertainty and grief.