Sunday, March 08, 2015

The 3 - March 8, 2015

This week's edition of The 3, my week-in-review feature, includes a story from the realm of Christian music, some troubling news concerning the health of the lead singer of one of Christian music's most popular bands.  Also, another one of  those SOGI - Sexual Orientation Gender Identity - ordinances was proposed for Charlotte, NC, and defeated.   And the top story, the Alabama Supreme Court has halted the issuing of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in the state.

3 - Casting Crowns lead singer likely has cancer

The blog post by Melanie Hall asked a very thought-provoking question:  "When it happens to you, where do you turn?" You see, this week, she and her husband, Mark, found out the dreaded news - Mark, the lead singer of Casting Crowns, may have cancer in his kidney.

A post of the front page of the Crowns website and the band's Facebook page bore the news, saying, in part:
Doctors found a solid mass in my right kidney about a week ago. They are 90% sure it's cancer and they are going to remove the entire kidney next Wednesday, March 11th. They believe the cancer is contained in the kidney, which is also a great hope. They will know more once it is out and Pathology can see it.
He added, "I'll be in recovery for a month or a little longer because of the surgery. Please pray for healing and for God's peace for my family."

Apparently, the news has brought the rescheduling of 3 Casting Crowns dates scheduled for the second week of April, including Pikeville, KY, Asheville, NC, and Fayetteville, NC.   The next anticipated concert for Crowns?   April 16 in Montgomery - if things progress according to that timetable, it could be a wonderful night for Mark to return to his hometown after a serious health scare.  

Melanie wrote in the aforementioned blog post:
Mark and I seemed to be in a bit of a fog for several days while the news was sinking in.
Yet the whole time, the verse that kept running through my head over and over was
"You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in You." -Isaiah 26:3
So that's what we are trying to do in the waiting. Keep our minds steadfast on Him.
She added:
We turned to our families, our Crowns family and our church family first. They've loved on us and prayed with us. It's been a little different to be on the receiving end, but it's also a good feeling to know they've got our backs. Mark and I have both agreed that we can't imagine what people do in times like these when they don't have a family of believers around them.
2 - Charlotte City Council turns back SOGI ordinance

This new trend of ordinances granting special rights on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity has led to some rather vocal opposition.  On the heels of the Houston city council passing such an ordinance and the subsequent overreach of the lesbian mayor there, the future of that city's policy is still very much in doubt.  Fayetteville, Arkansas voters went to the polls to overturn a similar type of ordinance that had been passed by the council there.

Plano, Texas officials, faced with a public outcry on its SOGI (Sexual Orientation Gender Identity) ordinance, have thrown out petitions demanding a public vote, according to a Focus on the Family report.

Going into this week, the next battleground in the conflict over policies granting special rights for homosexual and transgender individuals was Charlotte, North Carolina.  The North Carolina Family Policy Council reports that following four hours of public comment and an additional hour of committee discussion, the Charlotte City Council defeated a proposal by one vote that would have expanded a number of city ordinances to include legal protections on the basis of “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression.”

The 6-5 vote came after an amendment was adopted to exclude restrooms, locker rooms, showers and changing facilities from the “public accommodations” that would have been covered by the measure.

More than 60 percent of the 100-plus individuals who participated in the public comment period spoke in opposition to the proposal and they asked the City Council to do the same.

According to the state Family Policy Council's website, the ordinance would have:
  • Allowed a man to go into a women’s restroom, locker room, or shower room, and would allow a woman to go into a men’s restroom, locker room, or shower room, depending upon the individual’s “sexual orientation,” “gender identity,” or “gender expression,” and not their biological sex. This ordinance would apply to any “public accommodation."
  • It would have required small business owners – especially those related to the wedding industry – to potentially violate their religious beliefs about marriage or face legal action by the government. 
  • It would have authorized the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations Committee, or any “aggrieved person,” to file an action in State Superior Court and seek monetary damages and other penalties against an individual or business for allegedly violating this amended ordinance. 
  • It would have made Charlotte the first city in the state to adopt a hazardous “public accommodation” ordinance creating legal protections on the basis of an individual’s “sexual orientation,” “general (gender?) identity,” or “gender expression” as they determine it at any given time.
Charlotte residents David and Jason Benham were leaders in the opposition to the ordinance, as well as Franklin Graham, President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which is based in Charlotte.

1 - Alabama Supreme Court temporarily halts gay marriages in the state

This past week, the Alabama Supreme Court, in response to a legal action filed on behalf of two pro-family organizations, the Alabama Citizens Action Program (ALCAP) and the Alabama Policy Institute (API), issued a ruling directing probate judges in the state to no longer issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

API responded by saying:
Today, the Alabama Supreme Court granted our request for a writ of mandamus directing Alabama’s probate judges not to issue same-sex marriage licenses in violation of Alabama’s Constitution. The ongoing confusion caused by the federal court’s action in January needed to be clarified in a formal opinion by the State’s highest court and the Alabama Policy Institute was well-suited to pursue such a remedy. This decision by the Alabama Supreme Court finally, in the words of Justice Scalia, gives the people of Alabama the respect that they deserve by preserving our law until the U.S. Supreme Court resolves the issue. The sanctity of marriage—an institute that has always been reserved for the states—is a cause worth fighting for, for as long as the States still have their rightful say in the matter. quoted from the high court's ruling:
"As it has done for approximately two centuries, Alabama law allows for 'marriage' between only one man and one woman," the order said. "Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to this law. Nothing in the United States Constitution alters or overrides this duty." reported that the order gave probate judges five days to submit responses if they wanted to show cause why they should be able to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.  The order also gave Mobile County Probate Judge Don Davis until this past Thursday to argue why he should not be bound by the order. Davis has asked the court to dismiss him from the lawsuit because he had been ordered by the federal district court to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

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