Sunday, June 14, 2015

The 3 - June 14, 2015

In this week's edition of The 3, my week-in-review feature, a look at news emerging from Africa, where dozens of Christians from Eritrea have been kidnapped by Islamic State.  Also, Michigan's governor has signed into law 3 bills designed to protect faith-based agencies that provide adoption services from having to violate their convictions.  And, pro-life legislation from Texas got a boost in a Federal appeals court - the same week that it was announced that a bill that would ban abortions at the stage at which research has proven that an unborn child can feel pain would be taken up by the U.S. Senate,

3 - News spreads of 88 Eritrean Christians kidnapped by ISIS

Earlier this week, on its website, the Christian advocacy organization Open Doors published an article on the plight of 88 Christians in Eritrea who were kidnapped by ISIS.  The organization says that it has been reported that there are numerous children and at least 12 women.

These Christians were reportedly fleeing Eritrea, ranked #9 on the Open Doors World Watch List, due to persecution and human rights violations (as noted by the just released UN report), only to be kidnapped by the Islamic State.   Open Doors is in this region helping believers who are facing the same uncertain and terrifying circumstances that these 88 have fell victim to.   Eritrea is located in northern Africa.

The article also mentions similar events from earlier this year of the kidnapping and later killing of the 21 Egyptian and 28 Ethiopian Christian martyrs.

The website says:

The Islamic State is growing in influence in Libya and throughout this region. Throughout North Africa, the Middle East and even parts of Asia, unprecedented persecution has been occurring. To create a way for you to advocate for those throughout this region, Open Doors has a petition for you to sign, asking President Obama to take action and address the urgent security concerns of believers in this region by appointing a Special Envoy.

According to its Facebook page, in the coming week, Open Doors will be launching a prayer campaign during the month of Ramadan (June 18th - July 17th) to unite Christians around the world in prayer for the persecuted church and for Muslims to have an encounter with Jesus during this time. A prayer guide is available - for more information, go to

2 - New MI law protects religious freedom rights of adoption agencies

This week, Michigan Governor Rick Snyder signed 3 bills designed to protect adoption agencies in the state from being forced, in opposition to their deeply held religious beliefs, to allow certain couples to adopt.  In a piece on The Daily Signal website from Sarah Torre and Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation, they comment:

Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder has signed into law three bills protecting the freedom of private adoption agencies to operate in accordance with their beliefs, including that children deserve a married mother and father. This is good public policy. The Michigan law comes on the same day the North Carolina legislature protected the religious liberty of clerks and magistrates in that state over the governor’s veto.

The writers make the point that, "...allowing private adoption providers to operate according to their own values—including declining to place children in unmarried or same-sex households—does not prevent public agencies or other private providers from choosing to do so."  They stress that, "Foster care and adoption policy should seek to increase the number of families willing to foster and potentially adopt children. These agencies should be free to operate according to their values, as they have for decades, especially concerning their reasonable and religiously informed beliefs about marriage."

A report on the website quotes the governor: "The state has made significant progress in finding more forever homes for Michigan kids in recent years and that wouldn't be possible without the public-private partnerships that facilitate the adoption process."  He added, "We are focused on ensuring that as many children are adopted to as many loving families as possible regardless of their makeup."

1 - TX abortion law continues to win in court, US Senate to take up 20-week abortion ban

A 2013 Texas pro-life law, HB 2, survived a court challenge in the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals this past week.  Baptist Press reported on how contested portions of the law were upheld by the appeals court.  It quotes the Texas Values pro-family organization, which said in a news release that the standards prescribed in the law are “steps to protect women who go into abortion facilities from being less likely to jeopardize their own lives.”  The leader of that organization, Jonathan Saenz, is quoted as saying, "The court’s decision ensures that abortion clinics must uphold basic health standards -- standards that are required of other surgical centers in the state.”

The article noted that a three-judge panel of the federal appeals court noted in their published opinion that many of the ambulatory surgical center (ASC) standards “seem benign and inexpensive."

The piece said that, "The challenged portion of the law upheld in this most recent court decision joins another provision challenged and upheld in court regarding the requirement that doctors performing abortions must have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the location where an abortion is performed."

Meanwhile on Capitol Hill in Washington, CitizenLink reports that:

Sen. Lindsey Graham announced the Senate will take up the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. The bill stops abortions after 20 weeks – the time at which preborn babies can feel pain.

Pro-life leaders, including Marjorie Dannenfelser of the Susan B. Anthony List, joined Graham at a news conference in support of the bill.

“Right now in our country, a child can be killed in his or her mother’s womb for any reason, at any point, up until the moment of birth,” Dannenfelser explained. “We are one of only seven nations in the world, including China and North Korea, to allow such brutality. We are a better nation than this.”

The Senate is expected the pass the measure, while it is anticipated that the President will veto the bill.

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