Sunday, August 11, 2013

The 3 - August 11, 2013

On this week's edition of "The 3", I want to take a closer look at an important court case that challenges the national health care law, based on several principles that are consistent with some of the objections that Christians have raised throughout the years.   Also, I'll share some news on encouraging court action regarding a new form of pro-life activity.   And, The Global Leadership Summit returned this week, and high-profile speakers elaborated on leadership principles, a number of which are consistent with Biblical truth.

3 - Liberty University receives mixed rulings from court in health care case

A comprehensive lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act received some action this week from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.   In the case, Liberty University, represented by Liberty Counsel, is contending that the mandate under the health care law for employers to provide health insurance coverage for its employees is unconstitutional.   In an interesting series of events, the appeals court initially issued a stay of the mandate, then later denied the stay.   The employer mandate has been put on hold by the Obama Administration, delaying for a year its going into effect.

Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, said, “Denying a stay while awaiting a petition for cert is not unusual, but it is unusual that conflicting orders are sent on the subject. The conflicting orders from the court of appeals do not have any relevant bearing on this case. We are preparing the petition to ask the Supreme Court to review the case.”  In this case, a petition for cert refers to the action of asking the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case on appeal.

Liberty Counsel is challenging (1) the employer mandate; (2) the abortion mandate for religious employers; (3) the abortion mandate for individuals; and (4) the entire law because tax bills must originate in the House.

In the cert petition due in early October, Liberty Counsel will argue that the employer mandate violates the Commerce Clause.  It contends that as Congress lacks authority to force individuals to buy an unwanted product, so Congress cannot force employers to buy an unwanted product.  And, unlike the individual mandate, which the High Court ruled was a tax, the employer mandate exceeds Congress’s taxing powers because the penalties go beyond reasonable taxing limits and are punitive.  The case also challenges the employer and individual mandate provisions as violations of religious free exercise because they force employers to provide abortion-inducing drugs and many individuals to fund abortion.

Even though there has not been a lot of success in this case, it does encapsulate a number of the objections that people of faith have expressed, including the idea of an expansive government dictating to citizens how their money is to be spent.   The idea of taxpayer-funded abortion is offensive to many Christians, including the mandate that employers provide abortion-inducing drugs, which has been challenged in court, and a number of plaintiffs have been exempted temporarily until their cases are decided.

2 - Mobile ultrasound effort upheld by Federal judge; local judges closes Alabama clinic - again

During the same week when a local judge directed the New Woman All Women clinic in Birmingham to shut down...again, a Federal ruling has helped to certify the legality of a new front in the battle for pre-born children.   In Birmingham, Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boohaker ruled that a clinic owned by Diane Derzis had to close - she had been prohibited from operating an abortion facility after the Alabama Departement of Public Health detailed numerous violations of state law.

According to LifeSiteNews.comDerzis had signed a consent agreement to relinquish ownership of the clinic last year. A close associate then attempted to purchase the facility, but the state refused, believing Derzis was using her friend to remain active in the business.

Derzis attempted to claim that she is merely landlord for the building that housed Dr. Bruce Norman's private abortion practice, but the ADPH said in court that phone and utility records proved she maintained control.

After the alleged change in ownership, the office lacked state license to perform abortions. The Life Legal Defense Foundation (LLDF) provided ample evidence that Norman continued to perform abortions at the location, anyway.

The decision comes just one day after an ambulance was called to the Jackson Women's Health Organization in Mississippi, where Dr. Norman also performs abortions, to transport a woman to the hospital.

“In 2012, Norman landed three Alabama women in the hospital in just one day,” Rev. Terry Gensemer, director of CEC For Life, observed. “Now a woman in Mississippi has been harmed. It's only a matter of time before a woman loses her life."

And, an important new strategy in pro-life work was given a boost this week by a Federal court in Illinois. According to Christian News Network, a Federal judge ruled that officials in Elgin City, Illinois can’t use a local zoning ordinance to thwart the efforts of a free mobile ultrasound unit to “save the lives of unborn children.”

In March of this year, TLC Pregnancy Services, run by The Life Center, Inc., filed a lawsuit against the city for forcing the pro-life outreach to shut down its operations following a complaint by Council Member Anna Moeller.  Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda had boarded up the mobile unit in August 2012, ordering the ultrasound technician to “cease and desist” her activities. He explained that a council member had called the unit an “eyesore.”

Additionally, The Life Center learned that Elgin City Council had amended its zoning code so that the mobile ultrasound would be considered a “temporary land use” that could only receive a permit four times a year per location. When the pro-life outreach attempted to obtain a permit last year, it was told that the City would not issue the organization any permits for the rest of 2012.

The Life Center, aided by the Alliance Defending Freedom, filed suit, and ADF voiced their pleasure with the ruling. Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Steven H. Aden said, “The court was right to stop the City of Elgin from preventing women in need from obtaining free ultrasounds and health information. Life Center’s free services help both the city and its citizens, so the city’s actions have been both counterproductive and unconstitutional.”

The judge in the case, Samuel Der-Yeghiayan wrote, “[I]t must be recognized that the City is preventing Life Center from being able to effectively provide pregnant women in the city with needed medical care that could identify issues and save lives of unborn children...Life Center has in fact provided evidence that it has helped a multitude of young women who have used the services at the mobile facility.”

The use of mobile ultrasound units opens up another area of opportunity to get good information into the hearts and minds of women.  An organization called, "Save the Storks", is working to build a fleet of vans equipped with ultrasound technology and partner with pregnancy resource centers across America, parking these "Stork Vans" outside abortion clinics. This organization and its representatives are able to meet with abortion-minded mothers right at the door of an abortion clinic to show them an image of their child. They say that the majority of the women they come in contact with are not fully convinced that abortion is the best option, but instead feel as if it is their only option.  So far, the effort has a 60% success rate for women choosing life.   Find out more at

1 - Global Leadership Summit distributed to churches across America

This past Thursday and Friday, The Global Leadership Summit, an annual event, was held at Willow Creek Community Church outside of Chicago, and The Christian Post estimates that some 75,000 people watched at over 200 locations across America.   Later this year, an estimated 100,000 people are projected to view the messages in some 100 nations around the world.  On the closing day, Andy Stanley, pastor of North Point Community Church outside Atlanta, brought a message on the purpose of the church.  He is quoted as saying that:

"Every once in a while, because your Savior and my Savior is so committed to building the local church, he interrupts plans...He'll be willing to interrupt anything, because whether you participate or not, cooperate or not, or believe or not, our savior is building and will build his church, and nothing, nothing, nothing will stand in the way."

Other speakers included Mark Burnett, who produced "The Bible" miniseries, along with his wife, Roma Downey.  Burnett, who The Christian Post quotes as saying that the miniseries was a calling from God, also had these comments, according to blogger and social media expert Tim Schraeder:
  • Stop playing defensively and start playing offensively.
  • When I hear the word NO, I just think ‘Next Opportunity.’
Here are some other quotes from the event, according to Schraeder:
Bob Goff: 
  • If we lead strong, we will lead people towards Jesus.
  • If you create some margin, Jesus will shove some terrific things in that space.
  • God wants to blow your minds. He took the foolish things of the world to shame the wise so that no one can boast.
Chris Brown:
  • Don’t let the great things of leadership distract you from the God things of leadership
Oscar Muriu:
  • Think about your own unique context and how you can multiply leaders around you exponentially.
  • The size of your harvest depends on how many leaders you have (Matt 9:37-38).
This event provides an opportunity for leaders, in and outside the church, to learn valuable principles and hear from difference-makers - to be inspired to go into their various spheres of influence and make an impact.

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