Monday, April 17, 2017

The 3 - April 16, 2017

This week on The 3, there is story from Alabama that has made national impact, about a governor, who was a former Baptist deacon, who speaks the faith language, but was forced from office in the wake of a scandal.  Also, two new appointees from President Trump are signals of his continued commitment to surround himself with people who embrace a perspective consistent with Scripture. And, the President signed his first piece of pro-life legislation this week, the same week that Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch, who was widely supported by pro-life groups, was sworn in.

3 - Christians respond to Bentley resignation

The words were full of Scriptural principles:
With the strength that God gives me every day, with the blessed assurance that I have in my salvation in Jesus Christ, I have worked hard to move beyond any of my past mistakes. And especially this time of year at Easter, I am grateful that I serve a loving and forgiving God who loves me, and he loves each and every one of us unconditionally.
That was taken from a WHNT Television story.  Former Alabama governor Robert Bentley was speaking on April 7, just 4 days before his resignation, saying that he would not resign and calling on people to halt the exposure of personal details of his activity.  The Alabama Ethics Commission had announced just days before that it had found "probable cause" that Bentley had violated ethics laws, and a the same day that an expansive House Impeachment Committee report was released.  He went on:
Last year, I got to a point where I recognized and I realized I could not carry these burdens on my own. I got to the point where I knew I could not do this by myself. That day last May, I asked God to take these struggles and to help me carry these burdens. And I found freedom in that, and I completely gave him all of me, and I dedicated myself to depending on him. And with the prayer and opportunity God gives me, I’ve worked hard trying to restore and reconcile with my family, especially my boys who I love with all my heart.
Now, you can hope and pray that what he declared - walking in forgiveness and reconciliation - would indeed take place.

Baptist Press featured an article that included quotes from a variety of Alabama Southern Baptist leaders.  State convention president John Thweatt responded: "More than anything, we need to pray for Gov. [Robert] Bentley," adding, "Pray for his family. Pray for our new governor [Kay Ivey], lifting her up and asking God to give her direction and give her wisdom."  The article continues:
Thweatt, pastor of First Baptist Church in Pell City, Ala., said moral failures among politicians are "especially devastating for us when it's a person who claims to be a believer." He added Christians should condemn the former governor's sin but not become judgmental.

"There is an expectation of holiness for the child of God," Thweatt said. Because all believers are susceptible to sin and moral failure, "we've got to take steps to make sure we're walking in sanctification."
The article pointed out that Bentley is a former deacon chair at First Baptist Church of Tuscaloosa.

So, legislatively speaking, how will new Kay Ivey, govern, especially related to social issues. The Susan B. Anthony list tweeted out: "@GovernorKayIvey is a #prolife, pro-woman champion. She's a longtime friend of SBA List. And now she is Governor of Alabama!"

With regard to gambling, Ivey seems to favor a statewide vote on gambling.  According to a WIAT Television story:
When asked about the future of gambling in Alabama, she says it’s a complex issue.
“Just a pure simple lottery, that would probably have some merit, but there is no such thing as a pure simple lottery,” Ivey said. “Section 65 I have the constitution, I believe it is, forbids the lottery, so if we are going to have a lottery, we have got to repeal that, and if he [sic] repeal that, it opens the door for all types of gambling.”
During her brief campaign for governor in 2010, before she decided to run for lieutenant governor, Ivey had said, according to WBRC Television:
Monday morning on Good Day Alabama, Ivey called for a simply worded referendum: "Do you support the legalization of casino gambling, yes or no?"
Ivey says the current legal and legislative battle over e-bingo in the state has been distracting. She believes if a simple referendum passed, it would be followed up by a vote to detail how gambling would operate in the state.
Governor Bentley had set up a committee to "study" the issue of gambling.  A report had been expected by the end of the legislative session.

2 - Trump nominees contrast with previous administration's agenda

A number of the President's actions thus far have contained plenty for which Christian conservatives can be grateful.  Some of the high-profile people with whom Mr. Trump has surrounded himself  are people who have displayed strong faith, such as Vice-President Pence, Attorney General Sessions, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, and Education Secretary DeVos.

Now, there is word that people have been nominated by the new administration who can be expected to pursue an agenda that is more in line with traditional values than some in the previous administration.

Take, for instance, Roger Severino.  He is described by LifeSiteNews, which reported:
President Trump has appointed social conservative Roger Severino to head the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in a choice celebrated by pro-family advocates and condemned by pro-LGBTQ leftists.
Severino, a Harvard Law School graduate who served as director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society at the conservative Heritage Foundation, has written and published extensively against leftist “gender ideology” and the Obama administration’s promotion of transgenderism in the military.
Ken Blackwell of Family Research Council said, according to the article that...
...HHS Secretary Price is “building a team” and “has a game plan” to “attack the administrative state,” which includes dismantling the far-reaching tentacles of Obama’s pro-LGBT agenda across the federal government’s bureaucracy.
And, then there is the appointment of Mark Green to be the next Secretary of the Army.  Again, from LifeSiteNews:
President Trump has chosen a Tea Party, pro-life conservative Christian and former U.S. Army flight surgeon as Secretary of the Army in a move that LGBTQ activists denounced, according to news sources.
If approved by the Senate, Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green, a Clarksville Republican, would fill the spot occupied by Eric Fanning, who was appointed in 2016 by former President Obama as the first “out” homosexual to hold the post.
Open homosexuality was not allowed in the Armed Forces until Obama signed a bill ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 2011. As LifeSiteNews reported, Fanning was a leading pro-“transgender” advocate in the military and a key player behind Obama’s policy change allowing gender-confused individuals to serve openly.
The article also points out that:
Donald Trump campaigned for president as one who would strongly defend religious liberty, and his reported appointment of Dr. Green as Army Secretary could further that objective.
Under Obama, politically correct, pro-secular military actions that effectively stripped servicemembers of their free-conscience rights proliferated. The anti-religious-freedom cases only slowed after successful legal challenges from groups like First Liberty, which specializes in defending military conscience rights.
1 - President signs resolution allowing states to refuse to fund Planned Parenthood

Another pro-life victory under the Trump administration was recorded this past week, as the President signed into law his first pro-life piece of legislation, according to a piece on the WORLD Magazine website.

The article, released on Thursday, states:
Trump signed the Congressional Review Act today, which blocks a last minute order President Barack Obama issued in the waning days of his presidency. The Obama order banned 13 conservative states from redirecting Planned Parenthood’s Title X funding to community health centers that do not offer abortion. This is the first piece of pro-life legislation Trump has signed into law and the first time the U.S. Senate has successfully passed a pro-life bill in more than eight years.
Marjorie Dannenfelser, President of the Susan B. Anthony List, is quoted: "The resolution signed today simply ensures that states are not forced to fund an abortion business with taxpayer dollars,” adding, “Rather, states have the option to spend Title X money on comprehensive healthcare clinics that better serve women and girls.”

The WORLD piece noted that, "About 25 percent of all Title X grants currently go to Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. In total, Planned Parenthood receives about $500 million in federal funds each year."  Title X grants are set aside for family planning services, and 13 states had been shifting money away from Planned Parenthood, but were then blocked by the Obama administration. This restores those states' ability to direct such funds to clinics that do not perform abortions.

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