Sunday, February 21, 2016

The 3 - February 21, 2016

In this week's edition of The 3, another state legislature and governor has decided to strip taxpayer funds from the nation's largest abortion provider.  Also, over four thousand churches were anticipated to sing a reimagined hymn during Sunday services this weekend.  Plus, a funeral service for a Supreme Court justice took place amidst a debate about who his successor might be, his or her judicial philosophy, and whether or not a successor would have a chance at confirmation.

3 - Planned Parenthood funding in Wisconsin halted by governor

Wisconsin lawmakers had passed two measures aimed at reducing taxpayer funding of Planned Parenthood, the nation's largest abortion provider, and those two bills were signed into law by Governor Scott Walker this week.

According to WORLD, those two bills are:

AB 310, which mandates state funds designated for family planning and health services go only to centers that do not provide abortions, make referrals for abortions, or have affiliates that provide or make referrals for abortions.

SB 238 will cut another $4.5 million from Planned Parenthood’s bottom line by requiring billing for prescription drugs to be for the actual acquisition costs and dispensing fees.

WORLD says that the two measures are designed to eliminate a total of $8 million in taxpayer funds from going to Planned Parenthood.   The article states that governors in Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Texas, and Utah have signed bills over the past six months defunding Planned Parenthood in their states.

And, on Sunday, the Alliance Defending Freedom reported that Republican presidential contender Gov. John Kasich, governor of Ohio, has signed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood in that state.

As WORLD points out, though, unfortunately, when challenged in court, in most of those cases, Planned Parenthood has won and received at least temporary relief.

2 - Thousands of churches sing Gettys' evangelistic hymn

A remarkable worldwide event took place in churches around the world over the weekend, as over 4,600 churches had signed up, indicating that they were planning to sing the new hymn from Keith and Kristyn Getty, Facing a Task Unfinished.  That is according to the Gettys' Twitter feed,   One Tweet, from the partnering missions organization, OMF International, said that 100 countries were involved.

According to their Twitter feed, the Gettys were in Southern California singing the hymn, at Grace Community Church, where Dr. John MacArthur is the pastor.  The event was live-streamed.

Christianity Today provided a story about the hymn.  It reported that in 1920, missionary Frank Houghton travelled east with China Inland Mission, now OMF International.  Almost 10 years later, the missions agency issued a call for 200 missionaries to minister in China - the song aided the ministry in recruiting its 200 missionaires. OMF International asked the Gettys to update the hymn as part of the organization's 150th anniversary.

1 - Funeral held for Supreme Court Justice Scalia; ideological balance of the court at stake

The religious faith of Antonin Scalia was honored and emphasized at a Washington funeral service on Saturday at the largest Roman Catholic church in North America, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.   Religion News Service featured a story on the event.  It said that the former Supreme Court justice's body, laying in a casket covered by a white-and-gold pall, led a procession to the altar with his family during the opening hymn of “O God Our Help in Ages Past.”

His son, the Rev. Paul Scalia, was one of the speakers.  He is quoted as saying: “We are gathered here because of one man. A man known personally to many of us, known only by reputation to even more. A man loved by many, scorned by others. A man known by man for great controversy, and for great compassion," adding, "That man, of course, is Jesus of Nazareth.”

The report said:

...Scalia spoke of his father’s legacy — as a man of faith, if not the law — but also of his uncompromising temperament that became an essential part of his public image.

The story also related:

Justice Clarence Thomas, Scalia’s closest ally on the bench, and Leonard Leo, executive vice president of the conservative Federalist Society, read the scripture passages at the liturgy.

A separate, more secular memorial service for family and friends will be held March 1 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, the Scalia family said Saturday (Feb. 20).

Thousands of Scalia’s devoted fans — his expansive family, current and former Supreme Court justices, nearly 100 former law clerks and guests, including Vice President Biden and his wife, Jill — filled the romanesque-style church for the funeral Mass on a cloudy, breezy, warm winter day.

The article also reported that on Friday, more than 6,000 people paid their respects as Scalia’s body lay in repose at the Great Hall of the Supreme Court. President Obama paid his respects on Friday and was later seen carrying a binder with information about potential nominees for weekend reading.

No doubt the President will be submitting a Supreme Court nominee to Congress to replace Scalia. There had been initial indications that Republicans in the Senate would block any nominee.  The likelihood of a liberal jurist who would be ideologically aligned with the President receiving the nod by the Senate is not particularly strong, with Republicans holding the majority in the upper chamber. The addition of another liberal judge would create a solid majority of those with a liberal judicial philosophy, with five justices, as opposed to three conservatives and then justice Kennedy, long regarded as a swing vote.

Regarding Scalia's philosophy on the bench, the RNS story added:

His defense of originalism (that is, reading the Constitution literally, not expansively) and textualism (reading government statutes the same way) changed the way cases were debated and, in some cases at least, won or lost.

The 79-year-old justice also will be remembered as one of the most gifted writers in the court’s history and a fierce debater from the bench who changed the nature of oral arguments. His many lectures, speeches and interviews helped to educate and energize younger generations of conservative legal thinkers who will carry on his legacy.

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