Sunday, May 21, 2017

The 3 - May 21, 2017

In this week's edition of The 3, focusing on three stories of relevance to the Christian community, there is news about a Cuban pastor who has been put in prison - why?  Because he dared to homeschool his children.  Also, a substitute teacher in New Jersey has been reinstated after being removed from his position because he discussed faith with and handed a Bible to a student.  And, in another pro-life move, the President has broadened a policy preventing U.S. tax dollars from funding abortions in other countries.

3 - Cuban pastor jailed because of homeschooling

The imprisonment of a Cuban pastor for homeschooling his children has had reverberations in America, according to a report on the Faithwire website. Pastor Ramon Rigal, described as a "Cuban evangelical pastor" has been given a one-year prison sentence, and his wife is facing a sentence of a year of house arrest because they removed their children from the Cuban school system in order to homeschool their children.

This past Thursday, there was a protest about the decision in front of the Cuban embassy in Washington, D.C., as those gathered "demanded political asylum" for the pastor and his family.

The Faithwire story states:
According to the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is working on the Rigals [sic] behalf, the pastor and his wife chose to homeschool their children after they began to face indoctrination and backlash for their faith in the Marxist-friendly schools.
The article reports that Mike Donnelly of HSLDA "told the Christian Post that the Cuban government’s decision to jail Rigal is inhumane and violates the tenets of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which was signed by the island nation in 2008 and 'recognizes the role of parents having the ability to conform the education of their children to their religious beliefs and philosophical convictions.'"

The story also says that those who were at the embassy "were attempting to deliver the CitizenGo petition" that was set up by HSLDA, which has received around 31,000 signatures, but "they were turned away by officials."  The report states that, "While the Rigals hope to stay in Cuba and continue serving their congregation, they are also open to coming to the United States should it prove to be the only option."

2 - Substitute teacher who shared Bible with student exonerated

Walt Tutka was a substitute teacher in Philipsburg, New Jersey, and in 2013, according to a report on the Family Policy Alliance website:
After hearing Tutka say “The first shall be last, and the last shall be first,” a student asked him about the quote, then asked more about the Bible, and ultimately asked if he could have one. Tutka, a member of the Gideons, gave him a pocket New Testament.
Tutka was removed from his position, and recently, he was exonerated by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.  The EEOC found that he was discriminated against by the school "on the basis of religion."  He has been reinstated.  Hiram Sasser of First Liberty Institute is quoted as saying: “We always knew Walt complied with all school district policies and federal laws,” adding “The EEOC agreed, and now Walt is returning to his service to the community in Philipsburg.”

The Family Policy Alliance article also pointed out that "The young man in the case had his religious freedoms violated as well."  The article also points to a bill that has passed the Indiana Legislature providing religious freedom protection for students.

1 - President expands Mexico City policy

Early in his Presidency, Donald Trump reinstated the Mexico City policy, which prevents U.S. taxpayer dollars from going to fund abortion in foreign countries.  Now, the Susan B. Anthony List reports that recently, the President has issued an Executive Order, which "modernized" the policy. According to its website:
The administration modernized the policy to cover all foreign health assistance provided by government agencies including the State Department, U.S. Agency for International Development, the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, and the Department of Defense. Previously the policy only covered family planning funds.
Susan B. Anthony List President Marjorie Dannenfelser is quoted in a statement: “By modernizing this important policy and expanding it to include $8.8 billion in foreign aid, President Trump is continuing Ronald Reagan’s pro-life legacy. This executive order does not cut a single penny from U.S. aid, rather it simply ensures our hard-earned tax dollars are used by other health care entities that act consistently to save lives, rather than promoting and performing abortion. Abortion is not health care.”

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