This week's edition of The 3, offering three stories of relevance to the Christian community, includes a skirmish between China and South Korea missionaries, with China forcing dozens of missionaries to leave their country. Also, in Kentucky, lawmakers there protected students' right to religious expression. And, the U.S. Supreme Court no longer plans to hear a case considering restroom facility usage based on gender identity.
3 - China forces South Korean missionaries to leave country
In the midst of a tough situation involving North Korea and other countries, China has decided to remove anywhere from 30 to 70 missionaries from South Korea, according to a report on the Christianity Today website. The story states:
There are about 500 officially registered South Korean missionaries in China, though some say the actual number could be as high as 2,000. Many gather in the northeast, drawn by the poverty of China and the proximity of North Korea. Close to the border, the language and culture are heavily Korean.The article says there were no reasons given, although there is speculation that South Korea's plan to build an American missile shield, the THAAD radar, could be a factor. Others said it could have been restrictions on Christians in China that have recently been tightened.
The story pointed out several developments involving North Korea, which just recently launched four ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan; also, Malaysia and North Korea are holding one another's citizens because of the assassination of the North Korean leader's half-brother in Malaysia.
The CT story quoted the Korea World Mission Association, which called the group ejection “unprecedented.”
2 - Kentucky lawmakers pass religious freedom bill
The House of Representatives in Kentucky overwhelmingly passed a bill that would uphold students' rights to freedom of religious expression, according to the Kentucky.com website. The House passed the bill 81-8, and the article says:
Senate Bill 17, sponsored by State Sen. Albert Robinson, R-London, would affirm the constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom, supporters of the bill argued.
“All this legislation does is put into law and recognize those constitutional facts,” said Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.The Senate had already passed the bill by a 31-3 margin, so the bill was sent to Governor Matt Bevin to sign. In the article about the Senate vote, Kentucky.com stated that Senator Robinson...
...said the idea for the measure started in December 2015, when Johnson County school officials prohibited students from reading religious scripture in a school play, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”
Robinson said his bill also allows religious student groups access to school buildings during non-school hours, allows students to speak at public events to mention religious and political viewpoints, and allows public college students to exercise their freedom of speech on college campuses, especially in outdoor areas.
Senate Bill 17 also would allow a teacher to use the Bible when teaching about religion “without providing religious instruction,” and to teach about religious holidays “in a secular manner.”1 - Supreme Court sends transgender bathroom law back to lower court
One of the anticipated cases in the upcoming term of the U.S. Supreme Court involved a case out of Virginia, where a female student identifying as male wished to use the boys' restroom facilities. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld a lower court ruling against the school district. According to the Family Research Council, the district had offered the student, Gavin Grimm, the option to use a unisex restroom. The case was later accepted by the high court.
But recently, according to the FRC website, the Supreme Court sent the case back to the appeals court to reconsider. Why? The court wrote: "The judgment is vacated, and the case is remanded to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit for further consideration in light of the guidance document issued by the Department of Education and Department of Justice on February 22, 2017."
FRC offered this commentary:
Grimm's suit was probably the Left's best crack at rewriting the Title IX sex discrimination laws to include "gender identity." Now, thanks to the Trump administration, those goals will be on hold until at least next year when Neil Gorsuch will almost certainly be on the Supreme Court. Until then, the showdown will be where it belongs: in states and local communities.