Monday, December 26, 2011

The 3 - December 26, 2011

When Christmas falls during a week covered by "The 3", my week-in-review feature, with 3 stories of relevance to the Christian community, would there be any other story that would rank in the #1 position other than the celebration of Christ coming to earth? No!! But unfortunately, some worshippers in Africa experienced a violent Christmas at the hands of radicals who targeted worship services. And, Christians in North Korea faced an uncertain Christmas this year in light of the new leadership in that country.

3 - North Korean Christians face uncertainly after leader's death

Last Sunday night, it was announced that North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il had died at the age of 69. The presumed successor is his son, Kim Jong-Un, who has already begun to put his stamp on the government, and who, interestingly enough, has already met with leaders from its adversary, South Korea. Dr. Carl Moeller, President of Open Doors USA, an organization that has rated North Korea as the #1 nation for Christian persecution on its World Watch List, had these comments:

“Today marks a significant day in North Korean history...Though this brutal dictator, who was responsible for so many atrocities, has died, the future is still unknown. Some speculate that his son Kim Jong-Un will be just as cruel to all dissenters. Others suggest that he may be more lenient. We simply do not know the future of North Korea, but God does.”

“This is why it is vital that Christians around the world pray for North Korea during this transitional time. Pray especially for the brave Christians inside North Korea. They are fearful that they might face even more suffering. There are an estimated 50,000 to 70,000 Christians being held in North Korean prison camps where they face even more horrific treatment than other prisoners. People are starving to death. The people of North Korea are living a nightmare that never ends.”

Open Doors USA had this report.

A prominent Christian leader who has had good relations with the North Korean government is Franklin Graham, who has visited the isolated nation four times, and his father became the first foreign religious leader to preach there, in 1992. He shared these words:
"Having visited North Korea four times, most recently in May 2011, and worked in this difficult country for many years, I have maintained a special interest and concern for the people of this nation."

"The passing of the General Secretary Kim Jong Il gives the United States an opportunity as the people of the DPRK mourn the loss of their leader. We should be working to build stronger bridges of relationship and understanding with his son, Kim Jong Un."
Regarding North Korea, this period of time represents an opportunity for improved relations with the government, as well as perhaps new hope for Christians who have endured strong persecution there.

2 - Church bombing in Nigeria kills dozens, brings greater awareness of plight of believers

An Islamist group has taken responsibility for a series of bomb and gun attacks in Nigeria that has resulted in the deaths of at least 39 people, according to a report in the Christian Examiner.
Over 50 people are reported to have been wounded.

Mervyn Thomas, Chief Executive of Christian Solidarity Worldwide, had this statement:
"The Christmas Day bombings were appalling and cowardly attacks on innocent families who were merely expressing their faith on one of the most significant dates in the Christian calendar...The bombings are a serious threat to freedom of religion in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic state where co-existence is vital. For the sake of national unity, those behind them must not be allowed to prevail."
The most severe of the attacks took place in Madalla, at St Theresa's Catholic Church, where bombers in a vehicle hurled explosives at the congregation at the end of mass. Another attack took place in Jos, where 38 lost their lives last Christmas in bombings. The same militant group, Islamic fundamentalist organization Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for that attack, as well as incidents spread throughout the African nation this year in 5 locations.

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, who is a professed Christian, condemned the attacks, 4 of which took aim at worship services, but critics are concerned that the government has not done enough to prevent attacks of this sort. And, with the multi-ethnic culture of the nation and the insertion of this radical Islamic group, the atmosphere is ripe for ethnic turmoil. Christians face a high degree of persecution, and there is quite a bit of fear of more attacks, as well as reports of people fleeing cities because of the threat of violence.

While the suspects have been apprehended, the radical organization has recruited effectively and apparently continues to proliferate in the nation, spreading its message of contempt for non-Muslims and its dedication to implementing Sharia law. This is certainly a matter of prayer - for protection of Christian believers, and for the government as it attempts to deal effectively with this threat to its security.

1 - Churches across America open for Sunday Christmas

While some churches had announced that they would not hold services on Christmas Day, the overwhelming majority of Protestant churches had indicated in a survey by LifeWay Research (summarized by the Alabama Baptist) that they would be open and offering opportunities for worshippers. Over 90% of churches had indicated they would be open for Christmas services, with only slightly less saying they would be holding services on New Year's Day.

The Christmas season gives us the opportunity to demonstrate our devotion to Christ in following His two great commandments: to love the Lord with our entire heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. At Christmas, we reflect on the significance of God sending His Son into the world so that we might be saved, and we can be challenged to grow in our walk with Him. Furthermore, we can show the meaning of the love of Christ as we serve others and perhaps share with them resources that God has entrusted to us.

So, with 9 out of 10 people in America celebrating Christmas, and with people being spiritually sensitized during this time of year, we can be prepared to shine Christ's light and radiate His hope. One of the trends within Christianity over the past few years has been the redefinition of the observance of Christmas, and reallocating dollars to charitable causes during the holidays. Two articles over the weekend underscored the trend: The Christian Post highlighted one family's journey and presented some of the giving opportunities. And, a USA Today front page article portrayed people and organizations getting involved to provide fresh water to impoverished nations. Christian band Jars of Clay and the charity they founded, Blood:Water Mission, were featured prominently in the USA Today piece. I encourage you, as you prepare to pack up your Christmas decor, to evaluate your observance of Christ's birth, and ask Him to direct your steps in bringing honor to Him during the special season next year.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

The 3 - December 18, 2011

This week on "The 3", we look at the responses of Christian leaders to the death of a high-profile atheist author and speaker. Also, there are some pro-family implications in the final versions of some of the spending bills going before Congress this past week. And, we commemorate what has become the "Year of the Nativity" with regard to public displays of manger scenes being challenged across America - and citizens in some instances are pushing back.

3 - Atheist's death brings response from Christian community

You would think that the death of a religious leader would bring a great wave of commentary and tribute from the Christian community, and we see that transpire quite often. But who would have thought that a well-known atheist's death would bring a significant amount of response? That is the case with Christopher Hitchens, who passed away this week at the age of 62 from complications surrounding cancer.

The Christian Post had a summary of some of the high-profile Christian leaders who made comments regarding Hitchens' death. Some of the comments included:
Rick Warren
, who tweeted: "My friend Christopher Hitchens has died. I loved & prayed for him constantly & grieve his loss. He knows the Truth now."
Albert Mohler: “The point about Christopher Hitchens is not that he died of unbelief...but that his unbelief is all that matters now. Unspeakably sad.”
Lee Strobel tweeted: “I was among many who shared Christ with him; so sad he rejected Gospel..."

Hitchens dismissed any chance of a deathbed conversion as he responded to Christians who vocalized that they were praying for him. Hitchens authored the book, God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, but it is striking to me that he not only debated Christians, but he was friendly with a number of Christian leaders. He was quite engaged with Christianity, it appears, even though he did not embrace it, or express a desire to.

Perhaps he was trying to change minds and building bridges with those with whom he disagreed, and perhaps he just enjoyed the company of others, regardless of their beliefs. Whatever the case, he was not necessarily viewed by a number of Christians as an enemy, even though he was an intellectual, and albeit spiritual, adversary.

What do we learn from Hitchens? Well, we can be challenged to be prepared at all times to defend our faith, and to realize that God will bring people into our lives, even those who don't know Him, in order that we might be a conduit of God's love for those people.

2 -
Budget battles yield pro-family provisions

As the most recent session of Congress is winding down, the respective chambers are in the process of giving final approval to spending bills, in order to provide for the government's continued operation. While much of the attention has been centered on the extension of payroll tax cuts and unemployment benefits, there were some key provisions in some of these end-of-year bills that are significant from a Christian, pro-family perspective.

First of all, the conference committee compromise of the Defense Authorization bill contained some language regarding same-sex marriage. While it would have been considered a major victory to see language saying that same-sex marriage ceremonies are banned on military facilities (which did not happen), still there was a minor victory in that chaplains received some conscience protections, as the bill basically says that chaplains do not have to perform ceremonies that violate their deeply-held religious beliefs. Also, the language affirmed that the Federal Defense of Marriage Act was in effect on military bases. And, an attempt to repeal Article 125 in the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which would have made sodomy and bestiality legally protected acts, was turned back. Here is the report from the Family Research Council.

Also, in another spending bill, even though Federal funding of so-called "comprehensive" sex education has far outweighed the taxpayer dollars allotted to teach abstinence, still there was $5 million assigned to abstinence programs. Here is a report from

Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association is quoted as saying, "this funding of five million dollars is contrasted against about 100 million dollars in the budget for contraceptive sex education...We are a long way from parity. But it's definitely a step in the right direction."

The politically-correct view, promoted by organizations such as Planned Parenthood, operates from the assumption that since promiscuity is pervasive, so contraceptive use should be taught and promoted to young people. The abstinence view reinforces the fact that abstinence is the only 100%-effective way to prevent teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases, as well as the negative emotional, psychological, and spiritual effects resulting from not engaging in abstinence.

1 - "Year of the Nativity": church, civic leaders stand against attempts to remove creches

Last week, one of the top 3 stories I identified on this week-in-review blog was the threat to a Nativity scene in Athens, Texas, about which the Freedom from Religion Foundation had complained, calling for its removal. Church and civic leaders stood against the removal, and this week, a powerful ally, the Attorney General of Texas, pledged his support for the County in its defense of what he saw as a constitutional expression. This is just one of many flash points where the display of the Nativity has faced pressure, and in many cases, the civic and church leaders have stood together to resist the attempts to have these displays removed.

Let's run through some of these instances in what I have termed the, "Year of the Nativity":

Ellwood City, PA:
I mentioned this last week - residents celebrated that government leaders allowed the Nativity to be displayed, and the mayor of Ellwood City refused an atheist group's request to post a banner at the site.

Athens, TX: Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott said that he would file legal briefs in support of Henderson County's contention that the Nativity scene at the courthouse square in Athens is legal. And, yesterday, some 5000 people rallied downtown to show support for the Nativity scene. Here's the story from the Houston Chronicle.

Travis AFB:
Another organization that is intent on removing the vestiges of Christianity in public life, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, called on the base to remove its scene. Here is the report from Family Research Council. According to FRC:

Retaining one of the most respected law firms in the country, they fired off a letter to Colonel Dwight Sones, objecting to the base's nativity. "This conspicuous display of ritual objects," they write, referring to the manger and menorah, "is a clear endorsement of religion in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and must either be removed from the premises or moved to a more appropriate location on the Air Force Base to ensure compliance with the United States Constitution."
Todd Starnes of Fox News shared a report that the base had decided not to remove the display. He received this statement:

“While we appreciate the concerns raised by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, the Office of the Air Force Judge Advocate General, upon review, concluded the inclusion of a Wing Chaplain sponsored Nativity Scene and Menorah as part of a broader, secular holiday seasonal display does not violate the establishment clause of the United States Constitution."
Santa Monica, CA: In Santa Monica, there is a pavilion with 21 spaces to be used, presumably for Nativity displays. Because there were a number of groups that had requested space this year, a lottery system was implemented, and secular, or atheist, groups ended up receiving the bulk of the spaces, but have apparently only used just a few of them, to display messages such as "Happy Solstice" or a quote from Thomas Jefferson likening religion to myths or fables. Radio station KPCC had this report.

The churches are attempting to push back. They have begun a letter-writing campaign to get the city to give them more slots and held a flashlight vigil to draw attention to their cause. Hunter Jameson, chairman of the Santa Monica Nativity Scenes Committee, said he felt the lottery rules were fair, but manipulated by atheist individuals that applied. He is quoted as saying, "Through the force of numbers, [they] were able ... to win the vast majority of the space," he said. "Our problem with that is that this attempt was transparently not a good faith effort to put up their own display, but rather to force us out of the park."

Green County, Arkansas:
And, finally, a Nativity scene is back on a bulletin board in Paragould, Arkansas after it was initially ordered to be removed by the school superintendent in the Green County Tech School District. Superintendent Jerry Noble had originally removed the display because he did not want to submit the district to a legal challenge, which could be rather costly. But, a group came forward to support the school in case legal action was filed. The Arkansas ACLU has said that the school is wrong and must abide by what it sees as the Constitution.

The Nativity is a powerful representation of the Incarnation, and cities and towns across America have traditionally allowed nativities to be displayed, consistent with our strong Christian traditions. And, while we have seen skirmishes all along, it is concerning that there is seemingly a fresh wave of challenges - has the Constitution changed? NO, and certainly not our religious traditions or the deep faith that has influenced our social and governmental structure. And, acknowledgement of God or these rich traditions is not the same as establishing a government church - there is confusion, and there are secular groups that have taken advantage of it and tried to contribute to the erosion of these foundational practices - now, people are saying, "enough is enough". And, perhaps even a resulting court case before the right judges could reverse this trend of attempting to whitewash our faith tradition from the fabric of our culture.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The 3 - December 11, 2011

This week on my week-in-review feature, "The 3", with 3 stories of relevance to the Christian community, another flash point in the so-called "War on Christmas", the subject of religion shows up in the GOP Presidential race, and a decision by the Obama Administration is actually acceptable to pro-life leaders and organizations.

3 - Texas nativity scene becomes another high-profile site of conflict over Christmas

Last week on The Meeting House, I reported about a nativity display in Ellwood City, Pennsylvania which was part of a smorgasbord of holiday symbols - in addition to the manger scene, there were symbols of Kwanzaa and Hanukkah, a snowman, a Christmas tree (or is that a "holiday" tree?), and, of course, the big guy - Santa Claus. The town as a whole seemed to be happy, I guess, except for the atheists that wanted to put up one of their "no god" banners, which the mayor nixed.

Now, in Henderson County, Texas, a manger scene has become not only a symbol of our Savior's birth, but of religious freedom, as local clergy are saying that they will resist the efforts of the Freedom from Religion Foundation. The FFRF has said this religious display is unconstitutional, despite the fact it is surrounded by other Christmas-related symbols, such as Frosty the Snowman and some carolers. Here is the story from The Christian Examiner.

30-year-old Nathan Lorick, Pastor of First Baptist Church of Malakoff is quoted by the TEXAN as saying, "What are Christians going to do about this?...It's time for the silent majority to wake up, speak up and stand up." He is concerned
at the ever-increasing secularization of America, noting that Christian symbols and speech are no longer a significant part of the fabric of the culture and often are marginalized or vilified.

A majority of Henderson County commissioners said they opposed moving the nativity scene based on the FFRF complaint, according to the Malakoff News, reporting on a perspective shared by County Judge Richard Sanders. The county does not own the nativity scene nor the secular decorations, but allows a local group known as Light Up Athens to set them out on the courthouse lawn in Athens.

Lorick also questioned how one local resident and an organization on the other side of the country can turn his county on its head — a county, Lorick said, that is predominantly evangelical. He feels a "moral, parental and spiritual responsibility" to stand against those who literally would take Christian expression out of the public square.

Indications are that church leaders and county officials will be standing strong against this attempt to remove religious expression from the public square. The celebration of Christmas is an acknowledgement of the religion upon which many of our laws and traditions have been formed, and a limitation or removal of its celebration is a denial of the importance of our heritage and of the free speech rights of Christians, who have faced repeated attempts to diminish the impact of our faith.

2 - Texas governor pledges to end what he calls President Obama's "war on religion"

While Texas Governor Rick Perry continues to languish in the polls leading up to the Iowa caucuses next month, a video his campaign has released has brought a wave of positive - and negative - response. It's called "Stand", and Perry reinforces his Christian beliefs and includes these comments:

"I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian, but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." He goes on to say, "As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage." Here's the story from the Family Research Council.

Well, this ad has been panned by the pundits, and affirmed by many of the faithful - millions of hits on the Internet mean the message is being seen...and evaluated. In fact, one of the evaluators is Tony Perkins, who cited a number of examples from the Obama Administration's record where religious liberties, and especially Judeo-Christian freedoms, are being challenged:

And, these were just in the last 6 months! Fox News analyst Todd Starnes came up with his own list of areas where faith is being challenged by the White House and/or its addition to some that were included on Perkins' list, you find:

As a candidate, he declared in an email to CBN News that “whatever we once were, we’re no longer just a Christian nation.”

This is the same administration that invited Lady Gaga into the White House for an anti-bullying conference but banned Franklin Graham from the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer observances.

It was during Obama’s Administration that Christian school children were ordered to stop praying outside the Supreme Court building because they were violating the law. Instead, those American boys and girls were forced to pray for the elected officials while standing in a gutter.

It was President Obama who dropped the words “by their Creator” when reciting a key excerpt from the Declaration of Independence to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus – not once, but twice.

It was the Obama Administration that opposed the commemoration of a prayer by Franklin Roosevelt at the site of the World War II Memorial on the Washington Mall, arguing that it would “dilute” the memorial’s central message.

And it was the Obama White House that asked Georgetown University to cover up all religious signs and symbols prior to a presidential address.

These incidents really do, I believe, demonstrate a pattern in which religious expression, especially that which is consistent with a Christian perspective, is being restricted or even eliminated by Federal officials aligned with the Obama Administration. There is a lack of understanding by many of those in public office about the deep spiritual foundations of our nation, and in the effort to be tolerant, politically correct, or not "establishing a religion", there are those that would choose to ignore the preponderance of evidence about the role of faith generally, and specifically the Christian faith, in America's history. It's important that people of faith continue to educate and continue to stand strong against these attempts to limit the freedom of religious expression guaranteed in our Constitution.

1 - Health Secretary trumps FDA, says minors can't buy "morning after" pill on store shelves

Pro-lifers were engaged in some muted rejoicing this week...even though the Plan B, "morning after" pill, which basically causes an abortion, is widely available, even to minors - and available without a prescription to women over the age of 17, and they were concerned that the Food and Drug Administration had approved the sale of it to young ladies under 18 over-the-counter. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius overruled the FDA's decision, noting in a letter that very young girls — 11- and 12-year-olds — are now reaching puberty, but “it is commonly understood that there are significant cognitive and behavioral differences between older adolescent girls and the youngest girls of reproductive age, which I believe are relevant.”

According to CitizenLink, former Concerned Women for American President Wendy Wright, who is now acting interim director of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute in New York City, who has debated abortion activists many times about the problem of making Plan B widely available to girls, said:

“This has got to be one of the biggest surprises of my life!...Is it political? This decision isn’t courting one side or another. It’s just reflecting the facts about this drug. (Sebelius’s) letter reflects a parent’s concern, and a very mainstream understanding that kids so young need a parent’s and doctor’s intervention. I’m extremely surprised and extremely pleased that she is showing this kind of concern for minor girls, because it reflects the view of many parents.”

Again, it is gratifying that such a decision was made, one life-affirming decision from an Administration that has been characterized as the most pro-abortion in history, with a HHS Secretary who, as governor of Kansas, was quite supportive of abortion-on-demand. But, with solid scientific evidence on her side, this moral decision protects young girls and protects unborn human life.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The 3 - December 4, 2011

This week on "The 3", my week-in-review feature, some concern about America's most high-profile Christian leader's health, more areas of conflict over what to call a Christmas tree (how about a "Christmas tree"?), and gay marriage and the military was a topic that was address in Congress this week.

3 - Graham hospitalized for pneumonia tests

Just last month, Christians across America rejoiced at the celebration of the 93rd birthday of legendary evangelist Dr. Billy Graham. And, many, no doubt, are praying for Dr. Graham, as he was hospitalized this week with some breathing difficulties. He was tested and treated for pneumonia. This marks the second time this year that Dr. Graham has been in the hospital.

Here are the chronological updates from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The evangelist recently completed work on the book, "Nearing Home", and is said to be in the process of writing another book. Also, it's been announced that Dr. Graham, along with President Obama, Oprah Winfrey, and Steve Jobs, is under consideration for being honored on a "Living Legends" postage stamp.

The Postal Service waived a rule in September requiring that a stamp honoree be dead at least five years, and postal officials asked customers to use the mail or social media to nominate an “American or American-related subjects,” who “made enduring contributions to the United States of America.” According to the Washington Post, sources say the Postal Service has received at least 1,500 submissions by mail and more than 1,000 through social media.

2 - Christmas Tree or "holiday tree" - government officials make determinations

It's the most wonderful time of the year, but there is an aspect to the Christmas season that has proven to be troublesome, and in some ways a distraction to the celebration of our Savior's birth. However, the preservation of our faith traditions is an important aspect of American life, and even though over 90% of Americans celebrate Christmas (according a Rasmussen poll last year), there are those that still are intent, in the name of tolerance or out of an outright hostility toward religion, to remove the name of "Christmas" from this time-honored holiday.

One of the conversation topics that surfaces this time of year is what to call the government's official tree - now granted, you wouldn't even have a tree to commemorate this time of year outside of the traditional observation of Christmas. Nevertheless, there are those that would say that just because the government erects a tree and calls it a Christmas tree, that it is establishing a religion. But, the acknowledgement of God or a Christian holiday that many non-Christians celebrate does not make the proper naming of a Christmas tree an establishment of religion.

This year, one of the flashpoints is in the state of Rhode Island, where Governor Lincoln Chafee is doggedly holding on to his belief that the state's tree should be called a "holiday" tree. Timothy Stanley has some excellent observations in this piece from the Telegraph.

According to Politico, Representative Doreen Costa, the sponsor of a resolution that passed back in January saying that the state tree would be a "Christmas" tree, has taken the governor to task. She said Wednesday she was “disturbed” when she first heard the Statehouse tree being referred to as a holiday tree. “If it has lights and ornaments and an angel and decorations on top, it’s a Christmas tree,” the freshman legislator said on Fox. She has gone as far as to place a small tree in her office and called it a "Christmas" tree. Meanwhile, the tree farmer who has provided the state's tree for the last few years, has even told the media that he is thinking about reconsidering his donation of a state tree.

I don't like to call this the "war on Christmas", but every year there are a number of high-profile disagreements about the celebration of the holiday that 9 out of 10 people celebrate as Christmas. This year, in addition to Rhode Island, we've seen a community on Long Island - Mt. Sinai - debating whether to have a "holiday tree" or a "Christmas tree" lighting this weekend. In Wisconsin, the backyard of the Freedom from Religion Foundation, Governor Scott Walker proclaimed for the first time since the '80's that the state tree was indeed a "Christmas" tree, and had legislators who backed him up.

Fortunately, Rockefeller Center in New York still has its Christmas tree, as does the national Capitol in Washington, DC, and so far, these and scores of other municipal trees on public property across America are still considered to be "Christmas" tree - and it's not against the law to say it, since it is a Federal holiday.

1 - Deliberations regarding gay marriage on Capitol Hill

Pro-family leaders said it was bound to happen - the repeal of the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on homosexual behavior would lead to pressure on chaplains to act and speak in a manner inconsistent with their deeply-held beliefs. And, now we see it expressed - in the realm of same-sex marriage. Earlier this year, there was an announcement from the military that said that certain "ceremonies", interpreted to mean same-sex marriage ceremonies, were allowed on military facilities, and allowed to be performed by military chaplains. This comes even though the military is presumably under the provisions of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Now, in both houses of Congress, there are those that want to step in and protect chaplains, as well as to disallow same-sex marriage ceremonies. A House committee held a hearing this week on the matter, and according to CitizenLink, Rep. Todd Akin of Missouri said: “How in the world can you ignore federal law and have the Pentagon essentially just go off making laws on their own?...That’s what we were trying to find out. How do you come up with the justification for doing this?”

The piece goes on to say that:

Responding were lawyers from the Pentagon and the U.S. Navy, whom Akin said offered “some very hair-splitting legal logic.”

“They were saying that DOMA doesn’t really say that you can’t have homosexual marriages — just that marriage is between a man and a woman and doesn’t preclude homosexual marriages, and therefore they’re OK,” he said. “But DOMA says marriage means ‘only a legal union between one man and one woman as a husband and wife.’ That’s the only legal definition of ‘marriage.’"

There were concerns that over in the Senate, lawmakers supporting same-sex marriage would attempt to attach language to a Defense Authorization Bill that would redefine marriage, but that was apparently scrapped. According to CitizenLink:

In order to pass the defense spending bill at all, the Senate dropped 71 pending amendments at the last minute. The $117 billion senators approved, on a 93-7 vote, for war spending is $1 billion less than the Pentagon requested.

Meanwhile, the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, a group representing more than 2,000 military chaplains, expressed their appreciation for a Senate vote that took place Tuesday, ensuring they will not be forced to perform same-sex ceremonies on military bases in the wake of the repeal of "Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell". The Senate amendment, which allows chaplains to decline performing same-sex ceremonies in states where such unions are deemed legal, differs slightly from a bill that passed the House, which is said to contain much stronger language - not only prohibiting chaplains from taking part in same-sex ceremonies, but also enacting a ban on same-sex ceremonies on any federal property. The two versions are headed to a conference committee.

The news on same-sex marriage in the military this week is encouraging, but, now that Congress has opened up the military further for social experimentation by repealing DADT, gay advocacy groups and their friends in Congress will attempt to further their agenda, bringing more acceptance of that behavior and solidifying in Federal law a so-called "right" to same-sex marriage.