Sunday, June 05, 2016

The 3 - June 5, 2016

This week's edition of The 3, which highlights three stories of relevance to the Christian community, includes a pro-life emphasis to a celebration in China.  Also, a noted evangelist and volunteers were banned from handing out gift cards at a Reason Rally in Washington, but gave the cards to the homeless.  Also, a retired general who is in leadership at a Christian, pro-family advocacy organization has been removed as speaker for a prayer breakfast at an Army facility.

3 - Pro-life message introduced on "Children's Day" in China

This past Wednesday, June 1st, was Children's Day in China, a day marked by children’s events, reduced entrance fees at tourist attractions, and student performances, according to an article on the WORLD Magazine website. For the last past five years, Jonny Fan of Chengdu Early Rain Reformed Church has attempted to place an emphasis on unborn children during the campaign, with his “Don’t Abort on Children’s Day” campaign.

This year, the faith communities' involvement on behalf of unborn children included church members in multiple cities passing out informational flyers and holding signs outside hospitals, as well as an online 40 Days for Life campaign. There was also the first-ever declaration on the sanctity of life by a church group. The article notes that these activities faced little resistance from the government, which could signify that pro-life initiatives are becoming less sensitive in the country, which has a serious aging population crisis.

Fan launched the 40 Days for Life campaign on the Chinese social media site WeChat. It would be difficult to pray on the streets, but believers shared prayers online, and the group grew from 600 to 1,600 by the end of the 40 days, which ended on Children's Day. On that day, Fan encouraged group members to inform their community by passing out flyers or making banners.

Also, the West China Presbytery issued a directive on abortion, which was posted on WeChat Wednesday. The article points out that although in the past, individuals have spoken out against abortion, no church had officially expressed a stance on abortion. The directive had three parts: an affirmation of the sanctity of life, Bible passages supporting life-affirming statements, and actions for churches to take.

2 - Evangelist banned from handing out gift cards at "reason" rally

Noted evangelist Ray Comfort was planning to attend yesterday's Reason Rally in the nation's capital, and planned to hand out Subway gift cards and copies of his new book to attendees of the gathering of atheists in Washington, according to an article on the WORLDNetDaily website, which reported that more than 1,000 Christians had volunteered to help hand out the gifts, which caused his appearance to be nixed by the police.  The book is called, Fat Chance: Why Pigs Will Fly Before America Has an Atheist President 

The event, by its own description, is to “showcase the presence and power of the nonreligious voting bloc, and to demand that reason be put at the forefront of our public and political discourse.”  So instead of giving out 5,000 copies of his book and $25,000 in gift cards to the atheists, Comfort declared that the gift cards would go to the homeless.  Comfort was still planning to do some open-air preaching, to take a film crew out to the event, and to give out copies of the book to people he meets. He said volunteers were free to come of their own volition.

Oh, by the way, the Reason Rally attendance apparently didn't meet expectations.  According to Religion News Service:

Organizers had hoped for an attendance of 30,000, higher than the estimated 20,000 at the first Reason Rally in 2012 — when crowds contended with pouring rain. They estimated by mid-afternoon that 15,000 to 20,000 were in attendance on a warm, sunny day. But observers said the numbers seemed strikingly smaller in number than the previous year.

1 - Prayer breakfast featuring retired general cancelled, to be rescheduled without him

Retired Lt. General Jerry Boykin, Executive Vice-President of the Family Research Council, was scheduled to be the keynote speaker for an upcoming prayer breakfast at Fort Riley in Kansas, but the breakfast has been cancelled due to the contention that Boykin is "anti-Muslim" and "anti-gay," according to Todd Starnes of

His article says that Military Religious Freedom Foundation founder Mikey Weinstein told Army Times that Boykin’s invitation had caused great angst among soldiers at Fort Riley – leading some to break down in tears.

Boykin is quoted as saying, "I sincerely doubt that America can expect to win wars if the people who are tasked to do so are frightened by an old retired general with biblical views and a testimony of faith."

Starnes said that he reached out to Fort Riley, and it was confirmed that the prayer breakfast has been called off. The cancellation was blamed on a scheduling conflict and he was told it would be rescheduled - but with a different speaker.

Chief Public Affairs NCO MSG Mike Lavigne said in a statement: “Lt. Gen. (Ret) Boykin’s credentials as a Soldier and leader speak for themselves and his 36 years of service to our nation are worthy of our respect,” adding, “However, in an effort to ensure everyone in our broad and very diverse community feels welcome at any event on Fort Riley, we will pursue the invitation of a different speaker for the prayer breakfast once it is rescheduled.”

Boykin said that the cancellation is “just another reminder of the incredible discrimination against Christians in our armed forces.” He is quoted as saying, “This should tell you how difficult it is for Christians, and especially chaplains, to live their faith in our military."

Starnes had also reported on how Boykin had been removed from a position at Hampton-Sydney College because of pressure from LGBT activists over some comments (not the best choice of words, in my estimation) he had made to a gathering of conservatives.  The school reinstated Boykin less than six hours later!

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