Sunday, November 20, 2016

The 3 - November 20, 2016

This week on The 3, featuring three stories of relevance to the Christian community, there was a development this week regarding a florist in Washington state who would not furnish flowers for a same-sex "wedding" ceremony.  Also, thousands of Christians in Iraq gathered to pray late last week to pray for their nation and triumph over ISIS.  And, a legislative body in Mexico has turned back the nation's President's proposal authorizing so-called same-sex marriage."

3 - Christian florist in Washington state goes before state Supreme Court

The florist in Washington state who declined to provide flowers for a gay marriage ceremony was in court earlier this week, according to a story on the CBN News website.   Two gay men had filed suit against Barronelle Stutzman, as did the state's attorney general.  The two men had been customers of her business, Arlene's Flowers, and she says that the conversation, in which she explained why she did not want to provide flowers for the wedding, went well.   Stutzman told CBN News, "When Rob left the shop we hugged each other, and left as friends, and we didn't think there was a problem."

A lower court had found that Ms. Stutzman violated a state anti-discrimination law.  This week, the Supreme Court in Washington state heard the case. According to CBN News:
A huge crowd gathered outside the courthouse holding signs with supportive messages for the florist such as, "Justice for Barronelle" and "Freedom to Create."
Earlier, the state had offered Barronelle a settlement, and the story points out that she had told a gathering in Washington, DC: "I wasn't offered a settlement. I was offered an ultimatum: 'Either you will do as I tell you to do; you will think the way I think; you will perform the way I think you should perform and create..."

Stutzman is being represented by the Alliance Defending Freedom, whose attorney, Kerri Kupec, is quoted as saying, "The heart of the case is this, should creative professionals and artists like Baronelle be forced by the government to create custom work for a religious ceremony that specifically violates their religious beliefs under threat of severe punishment..."

 2 - Thousands of Iraqi Christians gather to pray for peace

This past Friday, an estimated crowd of over 20,000 people gathered in the Iraqi city of Erbil to pray for their nation and for victory against ISIS in an event called "Christ Day," according to a Christian Today story, quoting from CBN News.  The event was broadcast over the Christian satellite network, SAT-7.

According to the Christian Today article, the event coincides with an offensive by Iraq and its allies to retake the captured city of Mosul. The piece quotes Fabian Greche, the co-founder of the Mesopotamia House of Prayer in northern Iraq, who said he believes God is far from finished with the Middle East.  Greche said, "We easily get affected by darkness around us. It affects us, but if we look at Jesus and at His Word we see that God wants to pour out His Spirit. He's coming back for a Bride and He will have one in the Middle East."

The article says that:
The six-hour prayer event marked the end of the participants' 50 days of fasting, with many of them expressing hope that they would soon be back in their land, living peaceful lives without ISIS.
Standing together in the shape of a cross, the participants released balloons with prayers in them "as a symbol of raising prayer on behalf of the whole nation," according to George Makeen, SAT-7 ARABIC's programming director.
1 - Same-sex marriage measure rejected in Mexico

Just weeks after Australian lawmakers decided to reject so-called same-sex "marriage," a group of legislators in Mexico took similar action.  According to a piece on the Christian Examiner website, a committee in the national Chamber of Deputies has voted 19-8 against a proposal by Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto to amend the country's constitution to allow same-sex marriage.
More than half of those voting against the amendment were members of the president's political party.

Mexico's Supreme Court ruled last year that bans on same-sex marriage implemented by states throughout Mexico were unconstitutional.   The story reports that now, the National Front for the Family, which includes more than 1.000 pro-family groups, has said it is ready to stand behind a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

According to the report, the proposed change to the country's constitution was unpopular among "traditionalists" in the country; not only because it would allow same-sex marriage, but would also possibly become a gateway to same-sex adoptions.

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