3 - Court favors Christian club meeting after school
Some good news this week out of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Here's the backstory: Child Evangelism Fellowship offers Good News Clubs, an after-school meeting for children ages 5 through 12. And, under the law, if a school is offering other clubs the change to meet on school property after school, then under the principle of "equal access", a Christian or religious club can likewise meet on school grounds.
This has given CEF the opportunity to establish the Clubs on campuses all across America, including the state of Minnesota, where the Minnesota Public Schools Community Partners has allowed the clubs to meet for some 12 years. However, 3 years ago, an employee of one school district claimed that the club is "proselytizing", according to a report on the CitizenLink web site. The district had removed CEF from its after-school programs in the 2009-10 school year and CEF had sued the schools for violating its constitutional right to free speech.
A lower court originally ruled that CEF’s message was sponsored by the school district, and therefore could not include prayer. On Wednesday, August 29, a three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that decision. Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, is quoted as saying: “The law is crystal clear. Christian viewpoints are constitutionally protected. Public schools must provide equal access for Christian viewpoints and Christian clubs.” In this case, the Federal court reinforced the law on allowing Christian clubs to meet on school property when other clubs and organizations are given the same access.
2 - Pro-life, faith element present at RNC
The storm-shortened Republican National Convention concluded in Tampa on Thursday night with Mitt Romney's acceptance speech. And, among those in the Bay region for the Convention were a number of people who support the sanctify of life. According to The Christian Post, a gathering on Thursday morning, sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony List, Concerned Women for America, Americans United for Life Action, and Citizenlink, an affiliate of Focus on the Family, honored a number of pro-life women, including New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Lt. Governor Rebecca Clayfish of Wisconsin, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi. It was called a "Celebration of Pro-Life Women Leaders", and was intended to support life and to make the case, essentially, that to be pro-life is not to show opposition to women, as some would contend.
Bachmann was also among the honorees at a "Treasure of Life" event on Tuesday, hosted by Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum, and Tony Perkins, president of Family Research Council, recognizing Rep. Bachmann, Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Texas Governor Rick Perry and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum for their advocacy for the unborn. The Post had this report.
With a nominee that is committed to protecting the lives of unborn children and with passionate pro-life people among the party faithful, the Republican Party has attempted to position itself in alignment with the majority of the American people, who would be characterized as pro-life. The Party included a plank in its platform calling for a Human Life Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, that would ban abortion, except in very rare cases.
Prior to the convention, there was also a prayer meeting featuring a number of high-profile Christian leaders, according to CitizenLink. Held at a Tampa church on Sunday afternoon, Bishop Harry Jackson, Tom Minnery of CitizenLink, Pastor Jim Garlow, and others were all part of the event, which was called a "Prayer Rally for America's Future". More than 2000 people attended to offer prayer for the future of our nation.
1 - Christian ministries respond to Isaac damage
And, across the Gulf while the Republican Convention was progressing in Tampa, there were millions of people who nervously watched a major weather system as it intensified. Despite the comparisons to Katrina some 7 years ago, Hurricane Isaac was a different sort of storm, and the Southeast Louisiana area, which was believed to be the target of the wrath of Isaac and was the hardest-hit region, was a different sort of area, having learned valuable lessons in storm preparation from the events of that August in 2005.
Southern Baptists from around the South were on standby and mobilized to respond when the storm hit. According to Baptist Press, Tom Long, the southeast region coordinator for Louisiana Baptist Disaster Relief, said:
"I think this truly shows what the Great Commission is all about as far as reaching out to our own communities in our area," Long said. "Then the support we have as Southern Baptists from all across our convention, the gathering together of our workers and teams, has been tremendous. No matter what kind of problem may come up, we're able to respond and respond quickly."Southern Baptist Disaster Relief was active in helping in the areas of feeding, cleanup, chaplaincy and childcare for the victims of Isaac. Samaritan's Purse and their sister organization, the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, were also active in the region, where there were just a handful of deaths, but hundreds of thousands left without power, and extensive flooding and widespread damage.
Perhaps hardest hit was Plaquemines Parish in Louisiana, and the Rapid Response Team was deployed there, according to this piece from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website. Samaritan's Purse is ministering in the Biloxi and New Orleans areas and seeking volunteers at www.samaritanspurse.org.
A crisis gives Christians tremendous open doors to share hope and comfort in Jesus Christ - sometimes it will involve doing some home repairs, often it will involve a listening ear and a compassionate word. These and so many other Christian organizations, churches, and individuals who are responding in the aftermath of Isaac do so much to share Christ's love and advance God's Kingdom.