Sunday, November 15, 2015

The 3 - November 15, 2015

This week on The 3, my week-in-review feature, I devote some attention to religious content relative to the horrific attacks in Paris, where over a hundred perished and many more were injured.  Also, this past week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced it would take up 2 provisions of a Texas pro-life bill.  And, a Tennessee school district has decided to keep the Gideons from making Bibles available in its schools.

3 - TN school district puts a halt to Bible distribution

In Bledsoe County, Tennessee, free Bibles have been made available to students in the schools there by the Sequatchie Valley Camp of Gideons, but will not be made available on school property in the county any longer, according to a report from WRCB Television that was published online this week.

This comes as the result of a complaint made to the school system.  The superintendent, Jennifer Terry, in a statement, said: "Bledsoe County Schools do not allow the distribution of religious materials from any religious groups. The distribution of religious materials in a public school is in violation of constitutional provisions and well established federal and state laws and precedence." 

Charlie Queen, the chaplain for the local Gideons group, told the television station: "We simply go in and we lay it on the table. We tell them what it is and who we are. If they want one, they freely take one," adding, "We do not hand it to them, they take it freely and voluntarily."

It was reported that community members plan to protest this decision at the next school board meeting. School leaders tell WRCB they do have a Bible History course that includes a textbook. Students are allowed to Bring their personal bible to school should they wish.

By the way, earlier this year, the Tennessee House of Representatives passed a bill recognizing the Bible as the official book of the state - that bill died in the Senate, according to The Tennessean. Also, a bill has been proposed to keep religious "doctrine" from being taught in classrooms other than 10th, 11th and 12th grades.   The Chattanooga Times-Free Press said that the bill from Rep. Sheila Butt comes on the heels of complaints from some parents in several communities as to what their children are learning in middle school about Islam.

2 - Supreme Court will review Texas abortion clinic regulations

The pro-life bill in Texas, House Bill 2, contains a provision that requires abortion facilities to meet the same health and safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers, and a provision that protects women against cut-and-run abortionists by requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital in the event a woman must seek hospital care due to post-abortion complications, according to a statement on the Alliance Defending Freedom website.  And, the bill is going to the U.S. Supreme Court.

ADF reported that the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld those provisions after they were challenged.  This week, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that it would hear the appeal of that decision.  ADF Senior Counsel Steven Aden is quoted as saying: "Texans should have full freedom to prioritize women’s health and safety over the bottom line of abortionists. The 5th Circuit was on firm ground to uphold this law, and therefore, the Supreme Court should affirm that decision. The law’s requirements are common-sense protections that ensure the maximum amount of safety for women. Abortionists should not be exempt from medical requirements that everyone else is required to follow."

1 - Paris attacks: religious motivation, Islamic State takes credit

An unthinkable series of events transpired on Friday in Paris, with coordinated attacks in 3 different locations with around 130 people losing their lives.   WORLD reports over 300 people were injured. Eight attackers had lost their lives.

Most of the casualties were at the Bataclan concert hall, with nearly 90 people dying there.

In response, President Francois Hollande ordered security checks at the French border and raised the country’s security alert system to its highest level. He also declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

And, there are numerous religious connections here.  For one thing, militant Islamic group ISIS has claimed responsibility, which arouses concerns about the spread of radical Islam outside the Middle East.  Religious leaders have voiced their sympathy - and outrage.

On his Facebook page, Franklin Graham spoke forthrightly about the religious motivation of the attacks, writing:  

This attack was done in the name of Allah, the god of Islam. Eye witness reports say that the murderers yelled, “Allahu Akbar” before committing their atrocities. Now we know, in their own words, that the Islamic State has claimed the attack on Paris describing the city as “the carrier of the banner of the Cross in Europe.” In this case terrorism does have a religion – its name is Islam and its god is Allah.

He added, "Islam is at war with us–we’ve witnessed its evil face firsthand over and over. And today the world wakes up to their threats: 'This attack is the first of the storm and a warning.' Reports say they have also posted: 'The American blood is best - And we will take it soon.'"

In closing, Graham wrote: "As we continue to pray for the people of France we also need to pray for wisdom for the world’s leaders and that Islam will be stopped in its tracks."  The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has sent Rapid Response Team chaplains to Paris.

The Catholic News Agency reported on an interview of Pope Francis by TV2000.  The pontiff said that the acts of terrorism which took place in Paris Friday night are the latest part in what he has called a “piecemeal World War III,” describing the attacks as “inhuman.”

A post on the Facebook page of Igniting a Nation, headed by a recent guest on my radio program, Messianic Rabbi, Eric Walker, says:

As the world looks at the events of the Paris attacks we are reminded that France has reached the tipping point of 8% Muslim. With the wide open borders of the EU, we have now seen how a small band of terrorists can mobilize and strike. America's borders are compromised and what happened there has and will continue to happen here. The influx of Syrian refugees, added to the 100,000 Muslims entering America annually, will further compromise our ability to predict and respond. The dividing lines of the world are being drawn and persecution of those labeled as infidels is on the rise.

He closed by saying, "We must use this time to share the Gospel and prepare ourselves spiritually for the battle that is coming."

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