Monday, August 29, 2016

The 3 - August 28, 2016

On this edition of The 3, spotlighting three stories of relevance to the Christian community, there is a victory for an Air Force officer who had faced a complaint for having a Bible on his desk. Also, recently there was a baptism service involving almost 5,000 South Korea soldiers.  And, a Federal court judge has halted an Administration directive regarding transgender restrooms.

3 - Air Force officer OK'd to have Bible at his desk

Air Force Maj. Steve Lewis, who is a supervisor at the Reserve National Security Space Institute, had placed a Bible on his desk. Not surprisingly, according to Todd Starnes' website, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation filed a complaint against the major, accusing him of "harboring and encouraging a truly abhorrent example of First Amendment civil rights violations." 

The major voluntarily removed his Bible pending a military review, according to Starnes, who spoke with a public affairs spokesman, Lt. Col. David Fruck, who is quoted as saying, "We have concluded that no abuse of liberties has occurred."  Starnes reported that Fruck said "both the workplace environment and the major's behavior were well within the provisions governing the free exercise of religion and religious accommodation."

2 - Thousands baptized in South Korea

Recently, almost 5,000 Korean soldiers gathered at the Korea Army Training Center (KATC) in Nonsan for a baptism service and ceremony organized by FEBC Korea in celebration of its 60th anniversary, according to the National Religious Broadcasters website,

NRB President & CEO Dr. Jerry A. Johnson joined around 40 Korean local church leaders and 22 American Christian leaders and military chaplains in conducting the baptisms in the center’s swimming pool. Dr. Johnson also delivered a message on baptism before the soldiers went out to be baptized. He explained, “When you become a Christian, your life changes,” adding, “You’re showing today that you’re dying to an old way of life, and you’re living a new kind of life.”

Also on hand were Dr. Billy Kim, Chairman of FEBC Korea; Ed Cannon, President & CEO of FEBC USA; and the Rev. Chad Hammond, Director of Asian Affairs at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

1 - Federal court blocks Administration's directive on transgender bathrooms in schools

A little more than a week ago, a Federal judge in Texas ruled against a directive from the Obama administration to school districts across the nation to allow transgender students to use the restroom or locker room facility of their choice, according to a story on the Religion News Service website, which reported that a 38-page order by U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor stated that "federal agencies exceeded their authority under the 1972 law banning sex discrimination in schools."

Concerning that law, known as Title IX, the judge wrote, “Without question, permitting educational institutions to provide separate housing to male and female students, and separate educational instruction concerning human sexuality, was to protect students’ personal privacy, or discussion of
their personal privacy, while in the presence of members of the opposite biological sex.”

The case was filed originally by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and was joined by 12 other states, including Alabama. They argued that the guidance from the administration came with an "implicit threat that federal education funds could be withheld if school districts refused to allow transgender students to use the bathroom of their chosen gender identity." The story says that the injunction is in effect nationwide.

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