Saturday, June 21, 2014

The 3 - June 22, 2014

In this week's edition of "The 3," my week-in-review feature, I bring to you some news from a Presbyterian denomination's annual meeting, where same-sex marriage was affirmed.  Also, thousands gathered in the nation's capital to voice their support for traditional marriage.  And, a unanimous decision from the U.S. Supreme Court went in favor of a pro-life group.

3 - Presbyterian Church USA votes to allow gay marriage

In its General Assembly in Detroit this past Thursday, the Presbyterian Church (USA) voted to recognize same-sex marriage.  According to the WORLD website, delegates voted 371-238 to allow ministers to perform same-sex marriages wherever legal, and 429-175 to amend the definition of marriage in its constitution. The PCUSA is the nation's largest Presbyterian denomination, with some 1.8 million members.

The order to pastors was made effective when the assembly adjourned, while the constitutional changes require approval from a majority of 172 regional presbyteries, which will vote on the change over the next year. The amendment says marriage can be the union of “two people,” not just “a man and a woman.” 

As WORLD reported, Thursday’s vote wasn’t surprising.  Since a 2011 vote to ordain pastors in open homosexual relationships, 428 of the mainline denomination’s more than 10,000 churches left for other, more conservative Presbyterian denominations or dissolved.  With the potential for further backlash, PCUSA officials issued a letter to pastors telling them to remember that God is in control and “to take seriously our charge to bestow … grace and love on one another.”

The Presbyterian Lay Committee, a conservative group within the PCUSA, denounced Thursday’s vote as “an abomination,” calling for a financial boycott of any PCUSA arm that fails to denounce the assembly’s actions. The committee stated that the assembly “committed an express repudiation of the Bible.”  It said that, “God will not be mocked and those who substitute their own felt desires for God’s unchangeable Truth will not be found guiltless before a holy God.”  The committee contended that Scripture was missing throughout the process. The marriage amendment, for example, doesn’t mention the marriage-gospel metaphor in Ephesians 5. Rather, the denomination affirmed that the “sacrificial love that unites the couple sustains them as faithful and responsible members of the church and the wider community.”

In other news from the General Assembly, on Thursday, 78 percent of the PCUSA General Assembly rejected a resolution condemning the killing of babies born alive during abortions.  The resolution was initiated by the South Alabama presbytery and called for inclusion of pro-life Presbyterians and an investigation into doctrinal and financial support of abortion.  Dissenters cited pro-abortion stances, while others noted past affirmation of viable babies and reservations in commenting on criminal cases.

2 - Marriage march affirms support for traditional marriage

On the same day as the vote on same-sex marriage at the PCUSA meeting - this past Thursday - the National Organization for Marriage, which has been a key force in attempting to uphold the traditional definition of marriage across America, sponsored its second March for Marriage in Washington, D.C., which featured a rally near the Capitol building, followed by a march to the U.S. Supreme Court building.

Brian Brown, President of NOM, wrote in a blog post:
Did you see yesterday's March for Marriage? What a day it was!
Several thousand Americans — people from across the spectrum of America — Men and Women, African Americans and Latinos, Orthodox Jews, Evangelicals and Catholics, young and old — stood together in defense of marriage between one man and one woman.
There were people from all over the country, and we even got congratulations from the states of Texas and Indiana as they watched the rally online. Texas Values president Jonathan Saenz wrote, "Marriage is a Texas value, and we stand in unison with the thousands in D.C. today standing for marriage between one man and one woman."
Besides those gathered at the Capitol for the exciting rally, there were thousands more who tuned in to watch the live stream from their own hometowns, making this a truly national event.
Christopher Plante, Regional Coordinator for NOM, gave a preview on the Tuesday edition of The Meeting House radio program, and a brief recap on Thursday.

Speakers included former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum, New York State Senator Rev. Ruben Diaz, and Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone.

The Washington Times featured a special section on its website devoted to coverage of the March.  In a report on the March for Marriage, it quoted one of the speakers, Gov. Huckabee, who told the Times and TellDC that without the traditional understanding of marriage, the foundation of American freedoms and government will begin to crumble.

He is quoted as saying, “It’s not just conservatives, there was a time at one point in America where liberals and conservatives both agreed that marriage was foundational to the structure to the stability and to the longevity of society, Some of us just haven’t given up on that notion that families still matter and that a family is the most foundational form of any government."

1 - Supreme Court gives green light to pro-life organization in free speech case

A national pro-life advocacy organization received a positive, unanimous ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court this week and is continuing its challenge to a "false statements" law in the state of Ohio.

Here's the backstory, reported by

In the 2010 election, the Susan B. Anthony list had planned to put up billboards highlighting Rep. Steve Driehaus’ record on life issues. Driehaus, a Democrat, claimed to be pro-life, but had voted for Obamacare, which allows taxpayer funding of abortion. When Driehaus found out about the billboards, he filed a complaint with the Ohio Election Commission, which decided in favor of the Congressman, who was defeated in his re-election bid.

SBA List filed suit in federal court challenging the Ohio “false statement” law, which puts election officials in charge of what is “true” in campaign ads and what is “false.”

Two federal lower courts ruled that SBA List’s free speech had not been silenced. The case was then appealed to the Supreme Court, where, this past week, the justices unanimously ruled that the pro-life group had “standing” to challenge the law on First Amendment grounds.

SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser is quoted as saying, “Our goal from the beginning has been to educate Ohio voters about the multiple abortion-funding provisions in Obamacare and expose those elected officials who voted for it...Everything we have argued is true and the reality of abortion-funding in Obamacare will continue to be an issue in the midterm elections and future election cycles.”

This week, in the aftermath of the Supreme Court decision, the SBA List is seeking for the law to be placed on hold as the legal process moves forward. Dannenfelser said, "SBA List must be permitted to continue educating voters...both in Ohio as well as in other battleground states.”

To hear Kim Trobee of CitizenLink's discussion of this case, click here.

No comments: