3 - Christian evangelist announces departure from GOP
Evangelist Franklin Graham, who heads the organization that his father, Billy Graham, founded, as well as the relief agency, Samaritan's Purse, made a bold statement regarding his affiliation with the Republican party. On his Facebook page, he wrote:
Shame on the Republicans and the Democrats for passing such a wasteful spending bill last week. And to top it off, funding Planned Parenthood! A Huffington Post article called it “a big win for Planned Parenthood.” I call it a big loss for America. After all of the appalling facts revealed this year about Planned Parenthood, our representatives in Washington had a chance to put a stop to this, but they didn’t. There’s no question—taxpayers should not be paying for abortions!
Graham called abortion "murder in God's eyes." He continued by saying: "Nothing was done to trim this 2,000 page, $1.1 trillion budget. This is an example of why I have resigned from the Republican Party and declared myself Independent. I have no hope in the Republican Party, the Democratic Party, or Tea Party to do what is best for America. Unless more godly men and women get in this process and change this wicked system, our country is in for trouble." He challenged Christians to consider running for office. He also mentioned the Decision America tour, in which he will be travelling state-by-state to hold prayer rallies. The first is in Des Moines, Iowa, site of the nation's first Presidential caucuses. The Franklin Graham event there is January 5. Learn more at decisionamericatour.com.
2 - Co-founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now Cru in the U.S.) home for Christmas
Vonette Bright, who, along with her late husband Bill Bright, founded Campus Crusade for Christ, which is now known as Cru in the U.S., died earlier this week from acute leukemia at the age of 89. Christianity Today published a story on her death.
The Brights had met when they were very young, lost touch, and then reconnected when he was in seminary. They became engaged, but there was something standing in the way. The CT story says that although Vonette had grown up in church, she wasn’t serious about her faith. She felt Bill was too serious. She later wrote, according to the Cru website, “I decided Bill had become a religious fanatic and that somehow he must be rescued from this fanaticism,” adding, “At the same time, Bill was beginning to think that perhaps I was not a Christian. He knew he could not marry me until there was a change in my spiritual life.”
She did give her life to the Lord, they married in 1948, and in 1951, on the campus of UCLA, they founded Campus Crusade for Christ. Now, the organization reports having more than 25,000 staff members and 300,000 volunteers working in 173 countries. Vonette was involved in prayer ministry, including the organization of a national prayer rally in preparation for Explo ’72, a national Campus Crusade conference that drew a reported 80,000 students to the Cotton Bowl in 1971. The prayer rally itself drew 7,000 women. Later, she would host a series of events known as the Great Commission Prayer Crusade, would serve on the Lausanne Committee for World Evangelization, and would be a chair of the National Day of Prayer Task Force.
1 - New Kentucky governor removes clerks' names from marriage licenses
Newly-elected Kentucky governor Matt Bevin issued an executive order this past week that removes the names of all County Clerks from marriage licenses. According to Liberty Counsel's website, this action "protects the religious rights and freedoms of Kim Davis and all other clerks in Kentucky. This action is a fulfillment of a campaign promise by Gov. Bevin and is directly what our client Kim Davis has been requesting for months. This promise will enable her and other clerks to do their jobs without compromising religious values and beliefs."
Liberty Counsel has represented Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. A Federal judge placed her in jail for almost a week. Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, stated, "...What former Gov. Beshear could have done but refused to do, Gov. Bevin did with this executive order. We are pleased that Gov. Bevin kept his campaign promise to accommodate the religious rights of Kim Davis. We will notify the courts of the executive order and this order proves our point that a reasonable accommodation should have been done to avoid Kim having to spend time in jail."