Sunday, September 01, 2013

The 3 - September 1, 2013

This week on "The 3", I begin with a high-profile Christian athlete who suffered what could be regarded a career setback, but handled the occasion with grace.  Also, officials in San Antonio are considering a new policy which some say would inhibit religious freedom.  And, the 50th anniversary of a landmark occasion in American and civil rights history was marked with festivities in the nation's capital.

3 - Tebow cut by Patriots, responds graciously

On Saturday, it was announced that the New England Patriots had cut former Heisman Trophy winner and outspoken Christian Tim Tebow from their roster.   Tebow had signed with the Patriots after a disastrous season last year with the New York Jets, following his successful stint leading the Denver Broncos to a playoff berth.

This is not your average case of an NFL player not making the cut - it's a larger-than-life figure who has instant name recognition and an unusual level of popularity, due in a large part to his ability to relate the Christian faith in a bold, but winsome manner.

Tebow took the news with grace and class.   According to, in a series of tweets, Tebow said, "“I would like to thank Mr. Kraft, Coach Belichick, Coach McDaniels and the entire Patriots organization for giving me the opportunity to be a part of such a classy organization. I pray for nothing but the best for you all. I will remain in relentless pursuit of continuing my lifelong dream of being an NFL quarterback. 2 Corinthians 12:9: And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me.”

So, even in a moment of defeat, if you will, Tim Tebow exalted Christ and exhibited a gracious spirit.   It's a great example for all of us when things don't go the way we think they should - we attempt to respond in a Christlike manner.

2 - San Antonio non-discrimination proposal stirs emotions

The City of San Antonio has proposed a new non-discrimination policy which would include "sexual orientation" and "gender identity" to a list of categories, including race, color, religion, national origin, sex, veteran status, age and disability, for which discrimination would be prohibited.

There is an exemption in the proposal for religious groups, but, according to a story on The Christian Post website, it only says that religious groups may limit hiring to co-religionists.

About 500 people showed up at a city council meeting this past Wednesday to voice their opinions on the measure, according to local television station KVEO. Most of them were opposed to the measure and wore blue shirts to demonstrate their solidarity.   African-American and Latino pastors have been on the forefront of the opposition to the measure.

Supporters say that the language of the ordinance is necessary to prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians, but opponents claim it could prevent Christians from living according to their religious beliefs and censor their speech.

Rev. Eliezer Bonilla, pastor of Abundant Life Church in San Antonio and a National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference Executive Board Member, said: "Now, the attack of cultural elites against everyday common law-abiding citizens is being fought at the altar of political expediency. Whether the ordinance passes or fails, the rise of a peace loving people has been awakened. Righteousness and justice will stand."

Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, claimed that the proposed ordinance would be used to harm those who believe that homosexuality is harmful and sinful.

"This ordinance is not about preventing discrimination," he said. "It is about promoting an intolerant agenda directed at Christians, people of faith, and those who believe that homosexuality is contrary to the natural order. This ordinance will punish people because of their views on human sexuality. Everyone must wake up and realize the agenda behind this ordinance before it is too late."

1 - Christian presence at 50th anniversary of MLK "I Have a Dream" speech

This past Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech on the National Mall in Washington, DC.   Speaking in front of the Lincoln Memorial, Dr. King laid out his vision for a colorblind society, and matters of justice and equality for African-Americans.   To commemorate the occasion, the day began with an interfaith service at the Shiloh Baptist Church in the nation's capital and concluded with a gathering of thousands at the site of the original speech.  Two former Presidents - Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter - and current President Obama also delivered messages.   Past Presidents George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush, declined to attend because of health concerns.

The service at Shiloh featured a variety of faith perspectives represented.   The church's pastor, Wallace Charles Smith, had spoken with Washington television station, WUSA9, saying that the church was glad to host the event with only 2 weeks notice, and emphasized the importance of the church as a component in fueling Dr. King's dream:

"...He really saw himself as someone who was speaking for all people, not just to ... African-Americans. Although clearly, the African-American cause was most prominent in his mind and certainly in the minds of a lot of people in those days. His overall goal, his dream was that people would see that justice is not just for any one community but justice is for everyone."

In addition to a host of speakers, musicians included Natalie Grant, who sang "I Love the Lord" from the steps of the memorial.  The day's lineup also included BeBe Winans and his brothers, Marvin and Carvin, who debuted their new song, "If God Be For Us", which will be included on a new project slated for release in 2014. They are being called 3WB, or 3 Winans Brothers.   The ceremony at the memorial also included the ringing of bells at 3:00pm Eastern Time, which was duplicated at sites across America, marking the time the words, "Let Freedom Ring" were spoken.

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