3 - Johns Hopkins pro-life student group reinstated
Colleges and universities across America have seemingly become more concerned about the ideological makeup of some of their student groups. Public and private institutions have attempted to institute non-discrimination or "all-comers" policy, stating that certain groups cannot place limits on their leadership or membership makeup. And, unfortunately, these policies skew adversely toward Christian groups, who desire to embrace viewpoints consistent with Scripture and who find themselves facing increased pressure to admit those who do not share the same faith perspective into their membership and leadership.
And, an instance from Johns Hopkins University gives us another example of an attempt to discriminate against the official campus recognition against a student club or organization based on some of its viewpoints. In this case, it was the Voice for Life club (VFL), that was rejected in its quest for recognition by the student Senate because of its pro-life views and how its planned activities included sidewalk counseling outside abortion facilities.
WORLD Magazine reports that according to minutes of the March 12 meeting, during which the club was denied official recognition, members of the senate said they feared the group would “make people uncomfortable.” They also suggested the pro-life group shouldn’t get recognition because the school’s pro-abortion group had disbanded.
Enter the student Judiciary, which unanimously overturned the Senate's decision to deny recognition to VFL. School administrators said in a letter to Voice for Life organizers the school did not believe the group’s activities would violate school policy.
“A student group’s distribution of literature and advocacy of its viewpoint, in the manner set out in your email, would not constitute harassment within the meaning of these policies,” wrote Caroline Laguerre-Brown, the school’s vice provost for institutional equity. “In fact, such conduct is fully in accord with the university’s robust commitment to the values of free expression and open debate that is articulated in these policies.”
Unfortunately, this is not the only recent occurrence of extreme political correctness exercised at Johns Hopkins. Dr. Ben Carson, renowned pediatric neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins Hospital, was scheduled to deliver the commencement address at the University's graduation. Fox News reported that Dr. Carson sent medical school Dean Paul Rothman a letter saying that he didn’t want to “distract from the celebratory nature of the day."
Seems as if Carson did not say exactly the right thing, to some, when he stated in an interview on Fox News, that "no group, be they gays, be they NAMBLA, be they people who believe in bestiality ... they don't get to change the definition" of marriage. He later apologized. Dean Rothman
released a statement calling Carson’s comments “offensive” and said the university recognizes “that tension now exists in our community because hurtful, offensive language was used by our colleague, Dr. Ben Carson, when conveying a personal opinion. Dr. Carson’s comments are inconsistent with the culture of our institution.”
So, by upholding traditional marriage and saying that no one gets to change the definition of marriage, Dr. Carson has received pressure and ultimately backed down rather than become a distraction. It's blatantly unfair to a great and compassion man who has done so much for the reputation of Johns Hopkins, but it's another indicator of the way that people's words are so easily twisted to mean something other than their intent.
2 - Thatcher passes away; closer look at Christian faith warranted
This week, former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher passed away at the age of 87. The lady known as the "Iron Lady" was noted for her bold determination and her stance against Communism.
In the coverage of her death, there emerged a narrative about her devout Christian faith. Christianity Today reports that in the estimation of the British blog Cranmer, she gave a 1988 speech to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, in which she said:
"We must not profess the Christian faith and go to Church simply because we want social reforms and benefits or a better standard of behavior...but because we accept the sanctity of life, the responsibility that comes with freedom and the supreme sacrifice of Christ."Christianity Today referenced The Economist, which published Thatcher's so-called "Sermon on the Mound", delivered at that General Assembly. She posed the question:
What then are the distinctive marks of Christianity?She said,
They stem not from the social but from the spiritual side of our lives, and personally, I would identify three beliefs in particular:
First, that from the beginning man has been endowed by God with the fundamental right to choose between good and evil. And second, that we were made in God's own image and, therefore, we are expected to use all our own power of thought and judgement in exercising that choice; and further, that if we open our hearts to God, He has promised to work within us. And third, that Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, when faced with His terrible choice and lonely vigil chose to lay down His life that our sins may be forgiven. I remember very well a sermon on an Armistice Sunday when our Preacher said, "No one took away the life of Jesus , He chose to lay it down".She went on to quote the hymn, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross".
The Margaret Thatcher Foundation offered a 1978 interview in which she explained her view of "religion and personal responsibility." Among other comments, she cited C. S. Lewis as an influence, and said:
"Methodism is the most marvellous evangelical faith and there is the most marvellous love and feeling for music in the Methodist Church which I think is greater than in the Anglican Church. But you sometimes feel the need for a slightly more formal service and perhaps a little bit more formality in the underlying theology too.
"So throughout my life I have felt the need for both things, to some extent for the informality, for the works you do; but always I found myself groping out for more of the actual teaching of the religious basis. As I say, I went for something a little more formal. I suppose it's first one's belief and then one's background."So, you have the case of a major world leader who has lost her life, and someone whom we discovered had laid down her life to enjoy spiritual pursuits and a relationship with Christ. Apparently, this worldview informed the decisions she made and the policies she professed.
1 - Abortion industry on trial, another state attempts to protect women
This has not been an especially good week for the abortion industry in America. The murder trial of Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell is underway, and the gruesome accounts continue within the courtroom about the late-term abortions inside Gosnell's "House of Horrors", including children killed after they were born. Gosnell is charged with the murder of 1 woman and 7 children inside the clinic.
This week, the controversy surrounding the media coverage of the trial hit somewhat of a fever pitch. Criticism of the media over their lack of coverage has come from Christian and conservative circles, but now even liberal journalists have begun to question why the mainstream media have not given this story the attention it deserves. According to a piece by Jill Stanek at LifeNews.com:
...in the case of Gosnell we are seeing something rare, mea culpas, such as at the Washington Post and The Daily Beast. Some of the blinders are lifting, thanks in large part to Kirsten Powers, who has pointed out the Gosnell case is so obviously over the top.
In the days to come there will likely be plenty of room for righteous indignation regarding the media’s treatment of Gosnell...But I am also now trying to be sensitive to those mea culpas as well as those in the liberal press who are doing a bit of soul searching...CNN reportedly led Anderson Cooper 360 with the Gosnell case on the Friday edition.
A "TweetFest" was organized by pro-life groups on Friday, as participants were asked to post tweets and status updates about the Gosnell trial to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, and contact their local media to ask them why they are not covering the case if they are not doing so.
"We are going to make 'new media' work on behalf of Kermit Gosnell's innocent, helpless victims. The mainstream media is acting like nothing is happening, however – if we unite & spread the word far enough, we can FORCE the media to cover this horrific story," the TweetFest Facebook event page stated.
And, while Planned Parenthood attempted to distance itself from the Gosnell clinic, the nation's largest abortion provider still actively opposes attempts by lawmakers to force abortion mills to conform to the same standards as other medical facilities. Alabama legislators passed a bill, signed this week by Gov. Robert Bentley, that would regulate the clinics within the state. And of course, the leading opponent: no surprise, Planned Parenthood.
While the Gosnell trial brought late-term and born-alive abortions to light, a Planned Parenthood representative testified several weeks ago before the Florida legislature that if a child who survives an abortion attempt is actually born, that a decision to terminate the child's life should be a personal decision between the woman and her doctor. Upon further questioning, she did not advocate that the child should be allowed to live under those circumstances.
And, if the news isn't great for the abortion industry in light of the information concerning the Gosnell trial, a new Rasmussen poll about morality of abortion, reported at LifeNews.com shows that 51% of likely voters consider abortion to be morally wrong most of the time. That’s up from an all-time low of 44% in January but more consistent with findings in surveys since March 2006. Just thirty-four percent (34%) view abortion as morally acceptable in most instances. Fifteen percent (15%) are not sure.
This past Monday, April 8 was "Exodus 2013: Leave Your Job in the Abortion Industry Day", which was founded by former Planned Parenthood clinic director Abby Johnson. And, 5 people reported quit their jobs working in that industry (according to LifeNews.com)!! Plus, this week the Alliance Defending Freedom released a report to Congress about waste, fraud, and abuse within Planned Parenthood, which receives millions of taxpayer dollars.
So, perhaps as the truth is communicated, the stronghold of abortion is unraveling. It certainly has not been a good week for the industry, and as more revelations surface, a message consistent with the Biblical view of the sanctity of life has a greater chance of resonating with people.