3 - Pro-life, pro-traditional marriage proponents influence Republican platform; Trump chooses Christian conservative for VP
Even though there was talk leading up to the meetings to decide on the platform of the Republican Party that there would be a less conservative stance on life and marriage, the final product has been "hailed by many as one of the most conservative in recent memory," according to Conservative Review, which speculated that, "This is due to the strong conservative presence on the committee, fueled in large part by Cruz’s delegate strategy. The platform language is in many ways more evocative of Cruz’s rhetoric than Trump’s. The document is a strong win for constitutional conservatives." This is welcome news to those Christians that desired for their values to be reflected in the GOP platform.
The analysis, written by Robert Eno, continues:
...In the 1976 Republican platform, the first platform after Roe v. Wade, the abortion language was not strong. Contrasted with the post Obergefell language in this platform on traditional marriage shows the effect that Cruz’s delegates had on the drafting process. The platform states unequivocally that the marriage of one man and one woman is the best model for children.
Also, as the article points out, presumptive nominee Donald Trump had made it known that he wanted a "softening of platform language on abortion." The analysis says that, "The final platform language is extremely strong on the protection of life."
And, on Saturday, Trump formally introduced Indiana Governor Mike Pence as his Vice-Presidential choice, after tweeting it out on Friday. According to WORLD Magazine:
Trump called Pence “my partner in this campaign” and praised his ability to create jobs in Indiana: “This is the primary reason I wanted Mike—other than that he looks very good, other than he’s got an incredible family, and incredible wife.” Pence referred to himself as “just a small-town boy” and praised Trump as “a good man,” a fighter, a legendary businessman, and a patriotic American. “The American people are tired,” Pence said. “We’re tired of being told that this is as good as it gets. We’re tired of having politicians in both parties in Washington, D.C., telling us we’ll get to those problems tomorrow.”
Describing himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican—in that order,” Pence has a track record on issues as long as Trump’s is short. As a member of Congress, Pence supported a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution, opposed same-sex marriage, opposed the No Child Left Behind Act, and led the effort to defund Planned Parenthood. In March, as governor, he signed a bill that prohibits abortion in Indiana based solely on genetic abnormalities such as Down syndrome.
But, as Derrick relates:
Last year, Pence angered many when, after signing the state’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, he approved a “fix” that tried to find a middle ground with the LGBT community and corporate opponents. Conservative critics said the amended bill could expose religious persons to fines or even jail time for living out their beliefs on marriage.
2 - U.S. House passes conscience protection legislation regarding abortion
The U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation on Wednesday that would provide conscience protection for health care professionals who do not wish to be involved in abortion. According to the Susan B. Anthony List website, the bill would make the Weldon Amendment permanent law.
The site says:
SBA List and other pro-life groups have been pressing for a vote on this legislation for years, and praised Speaker Ryan for taking swift action following HHS’ decision last month to unilaterally reinterpret the Weldon Amendment in order to allow California to force churches to purchase healthcare plans that cover abortion on-demand.
SBA List President Marjorie Dannenfelser said:
For decades, conscience has been an area of public policy consensus. Even those who support Roe used to agree that Americans who object to abortion should not be forced to participate in it or subsidize its costs. That longstanding consensus is now under attack from the Obama Administration and others on the left. Speaker Ryan’s quick action to counter this attack demonstrates exactly the kind of pro-life leadership we are looking for. We thank him for fighting back and offering Americans real protections...
Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Counsel Matt Bowman is quoted on the Alliance Defending Freedom media website:
“Health professionals should always have the freedom—and indeed, have a right—not to be forced to perform abortions. In addition, every woman should be free to choose a doctor who values the life of her baby. Because the Obama administration has violated pro-life conscience laws so that now even churches, in many instances, must pay for abortion insurance, this bill has become necessary. The House was right to pass this bill to protect the freedom of Americans to practice and choose pro-life health care, and we hope the Senate will take it up as well.”
1 - Thousands join "Together" on the National Mall in Washington
The Together 2016 event took place on the National Mall in Washington, DC on Saturday, July 16, and while thousands attended, emergency officials instructed the event to shut down early due to intense heat in the nation's capital.
Charisma News stated that thousands came to celebrate that "Jesus changes everything." The event was shut down by Emergency Services after medical personnel were overwhelmed with the number of people, reported at more than 400, who were overcome by extreme heat.
Nick Hall of PULSE, which had planned the event, tweeted out: "This event has never been about coming to the Mall. It's about sending a generation out from the mall to share Jesus."
Hall is quoted as saying that they wanted to continue but "just felt like the right thing to do was to show respect and try to listen." The article says that he pointed out that it wasn't a coincidence that the event ended early, encouraging attendees to be witnesses for Christ. Hall said, "There might be somebody that needs Jesus that you're supposed to go talk to. ... God is the one that leaves the 99 to go after the one."
Christian rapper and hip-hop artist Lecrae tweeted out, "I see people as far as my eye can see," adding, "I see people who should be referred to as brothers and sisters...Let's not be a religious community that walks by people who are struggling and hurting. If we're not a healing salve, we contribute to the pain."
Scheduled speakers included Ravi Zacharias, Francis Chan, Josh McDowell, and Tony Evans. Musical artists, in addition to Lecrae, included Hillsong United, Casting Crowns, and Michael W. Smith.
The Religion News Service report on the event said that the program included author Ann Voskamp and poet Amena Brown in a spoken-word segment that featured calls for forgiveness and reconciliation related to racism and privilege. Voskamp cried, "We will not be the people who turn a blind eye to injustice," and Brown replied, "We will use our voices, our time, our resources to effect change."
Kirk Franklin prayed, “Let me die for my home, let me die for my community, let me die for a white man, let me die for a black man, let me die for an Hispanic man, let me die for an Asian man,” adding, “Let me get out of the way so you can be God in my life.”