Sunday, February 28, 2016

The 3 - February 28, 2016

On this week's edition of The 3, there was news out of Charlotte, where the City Council approved an ordinance granting special status based on sexual orientation and gender identity.   Also, there is good news about the number of abortion clinics that have closed in the past 5 years, according to a report released this week.  And, religious broadcasters and media professionals met together in Nashville this past week at the NRB International Christian Media Convention.

3 - Following Jacksonville's rejection of LGBT ordinance, Charlotte city council approves similar law

After three hours of testimony by 140 citizens opposing a so-called "non-discrimination ordinance" in Charlotte, NC, and in light of over 21,000 area residents signing a petition against it, the City Council voted 7-4 for the proposed expansion of the city ordinance, according to  The ordinance will now have additional provisions for homosexuals and those who identify as the opposite sex, according to the website.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts stated: “I’m pleased that Charlotte has sent a signal that we will treat people with dignity and respect, even when we disagree."

However, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory had already warned that state legislators will likely move to overturn the law.  From an e-mail the Sunday before the vote, he is quoted as saying: “[T]his action of allowing a person with male anatomy, for example, to use a female restroom or locker room will most likely cause immediate state legislative intervention which I would support as governor.”

House Speaker Tim Moore told the Charlotte Observer on Tuesday: “The Charlotte City Council has gone against all common sense and has created a major public safety issue by opening all bathrooms and changing rooms to the general public,” adding, “This ordinance is impossible to regulate as intended, and creates undue regulatory burdens on private businesses. I join my conservative colleagues and Gov. McCrory in exploring legislative intervention.”

The previous week, according to the Liberty Counsel website, the Jacksonville, Florida City Council voted to withdraw two bills which would have added the new categories of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity or expression" to Jacksonville’s longstanding nondiscrimination ordinance.

2 - New report shows abortion clinics closing at a relatively rapid rate

This week, a story was released on the Bloomberg website that shows that a significant number of abortion clinics have closed over the past five years.  Business Insider, reporting on the Bloomberg study, stated that 162 abortion providers have closed their doors and only 21 have opened. Furthermore, in this same period, states have passed more than 200 new abortion restrictions – more than the previous 10 years combined, according to a 2014 report from the Guttmacher Institute, which is described as a reproductive health research institute.

The article referred to the upcoming case before the U.S. Supreme Court, about which oral arguments are scheduled to be held this week, involving a Texas law that strengthened regulations for abortion providers.  The Business Insider story referred to such laws as "TRAP" laws, or Targeted Regulation of Abortion Provider laws. The story asks the question, "So are TRAP laws responsible for the plunging number of abortions?" The response:

Not necessarily. Almost 40 of the 162 providers, or roughly 25 percent of all closed clinics, shut down due to business or financial reasons. In other words, the demand just wasn’t there.

The story quotes an Associated Press survey released last year, showing that the number of abortions performed has decreased by 12 percent nationwide since 2010.  The Business Insider story says: "This drastic decrease is easily explainable, say abortion rights activists: women are deterred from receiving an abortion if they have to pay too much or drive too far to a clinic. Thus, the more TRAP laws, the fewer abortions."  But the story adds: "...a closer examination of the data paints a more nuanced picture."

Could it be that solid information given to abortion-minded women and overall strong pro-life trends in the culture are contributing to a lessened "demand" for abortions?   So, it's not as much of a matter of access as it is a desire to terminate the life of a pre-born child.  Some interesting trends, indeed.

1 - Religious broadcasters convene in Nashville

This past week, thousands of representatives of Christian media organizations converged at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville for the National Religious Broadcasters International Christian Media Convention.  Faith Radio was well-represented at the event, which featured a number of different components.

Sessions. There were a number of general sessions, as well as smaller, topic-focused meetings designed to give information on a variety of concerns, ranging from broadcast regulations to public policy.  General sessions featured an impressive list of speakers, including Rick Warren, Roma Downey, H.B. Charles, Jr., and NRB President and CEO Jerry Johnson.

There were a variety of other special events, including dinners featuring the Green family of Hobby Lobby and Museum of the Bible, and the closing event with Anne Graham Lotz.  Two Presidential candidates, Dr. Ben Carson and Ted Cruz, responded to invitations issued to all candidates to be part of a Q&A session at NRB.

Summits.  Again this year, NRB featured a series of summits that were specific to various forms of media, including radio, television, and church media.  The convention opened with the Digital Media Summit, teaching Christians involved in media how to better use technology, including social media.

Conversations.  NRB is a wonderful gathering place, and Faith Radio and The Meeting House recorded conversations in the exhibit hall, where our broadcast center was set up, as well as in the NRB Media Center.  Interviews were held with the Benham Brothers, Dr. Tony Evans, Ken Ham, June Hunt, Dr. Satish Kumar (pastor of the largest church in India), Joni Eareckson Tada, and many more.

Networking.  The National Religious Broadcasters convention is a place to fellowship with like-minded believers and to learn about how God is at work through a variety of ministries.  Faith Radio sees a tremendous benefit in attending and relating content generated at the annual NRB event.

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