Sunday, January 10, 2016

The 3 - January 10, 2016

In this week's edition of my week-in-review feature, The 3, there are more developments regarding the professor at Wheaton who contends that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.  Also, a bill that would have defunded Planned Parenthood was passed by the House and vetoed by the President.  And, Franklin Graham launched his series of prayer meetings that will be scheduled in all 50 states.

3 - Wheaton professor may be terminated for comments about Muslims and Christians worshipping the same God

Christianity Today reported on Tuesday that Wheaton College has begun termination proceedings against Larycia Hawkins related to her public statements of solidarity with Muslims.  The website said that Hawkins, a professor at the school, had posted on her Facebook and Twitter statements, including “I stand in human solidarity with my Muslim neighbor,” “I stand in religious solidarity with Muslims because they, like me, a Christian, are people of the book,” and an assertion that Christians and Muslims “worship the same God.” Those statements were part of Hawkins's explanation for why she was pledging to wear a hijab during Advent in support of her Muslim neighbors. The college said that the hijab wasn’t the reason she was suspended in December.

It had been reported that talks between Hawkins and the school had reached an impasse just before Christmas.  According to WORLD, school officials had issued a statement that Tuesday that “Extremely frank conversation and communication have taken place in recent days,” adding, “The college’s perspective is that additional theological clarification is necessary before Dr. Hawkins may resume her full duties. Regrettably, Dr. Hawkins has clearly stated her unwillingness to further participate in clarifying conversations.”

Hawkins is now saying that she thought matters had been resolved.  According to Christianity Today, Hawkins met with the press this past Wednesday, flanked by roughly three dozen clergy, along with Wheaton faculty and alumni. She recounted a conversation with Wheaton provost Stanton Jones, in which she says Jones asked her if she affirmed the school’s statement of faith and told her that if her theological statements were sufficient, no further conversation would be necessary. She delivered a statement that, according to Hawkins, Jones told her would be accepted by the faculty personnel committee “with little to no revision.”

Her response can be found on her website.  CT reported that Hawkins said that Jones cited her with not providing “reasonable assurances in line with the statement of faith” in his recommendation for termination.

WORLD published a story on Friday that quoted a statement from Wheaton administrators, which says, "While Wheaton College disagrees with some of the facts presented in the press conference, the college admires Dr. Hawkins’ commitment to caring for our Muslim neighbors...As previously stated, at issue are the theological implications of Dr. Hawkins’ statements and requested explanation. The college will continue the internal review process set in place for tenured professors.”

2 - Senate-passed bill to defund Planned Parenthood passes House, vetoed by President

A historic vote took place in the U.S. House of Representatives this past week, as the House voted 240-181 in favor of legislation that would have cut funding to Planned Parenthood and repealed key parts of the Affordable Care Act, according to a report on the website. Last month, the Senate voted 52 to 47.

At a press conference following the passage of what is known as the reconciliation bill, House Speaker Paul Ryan said, "It’s up to the president to decide if he wants to side with the people whose health care costs have skyrocketed out of control, or the abortion industrial complex whose profits have skyrocketed out of control.” He added: “Congress is holding President Obama accountable.”

The President did veto the bill Friday, declaring: “Rather than fighting old political battles by once again voting to repeal basic protections that provide security for the middle class, members of Congress should be working together to grow the economy, strengthen middle-class families, and create new jobs.”  

Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee took the President to task. She is quoted as saying: "He spent this week discussing the need to ‘protect innocent people’ and ‘save more lives’ yet he callously vetoed a bill to protect the most innocent and vulnerable among us from the heinous abuses of Planned Parenthood.”

Casey Mattox of the Alliance Defending Freedom is quoted in the article as saying: "All he has done is kill an historic bill that would have redirected existing funding from the scandal-plagued Planned Parenthood to thousands of better, low-cost community health care providers that serve women and families far more comprehensively."

1 -  Franklin Graham's 50-state tour launches in Iowa

Last year, Franklin Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham and President of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, announced that he would be hold prayer rallies in all 50 states in 2016.   On Tuesday, he launched the Decision America tour in Des Moines, Iowa. reported that 2,500 people braved 30-degree weather, navigating snow banks and icy steps to gather at the Des Moines, Iowa, Capitol building.

The website reported that at the beginning of the prayer rally, Graham said, "Our country is in trouble,” adding, "It's in big-time trouble. The moral and political walls of our nation are crumbling.

“The most important thing we can do as Christians is pray.”

After a time of worship music and prayer and 30 minutes of Franklin Graham sharing his heart for this country, his ending was similar, but with a significant and optimistic tone of returning to “one nation under God."

The prayer rally ended with an opportunity to make the Decision America Tour pledge—via text message or at—to both God (to honor God at home, in public and at the ballot box) and America (to pray, vote and consider running for office).

Franklin Graham told the crowd that an estimated 20 to 30 million Christians stayed home in the 2012 election. He wondered what our country would look like if city councils, school boards and mayor seats were filled by believers in the next two or three elections.

The next Decision America tour date is this Tuesday, January 12th at the State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida.  The Georgia rally is coming up on Wednesday, February 10th in Atlanta at Liberty Plaza. And, the date for Alabama is Thursday, April 14th at the State Capitol.

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