Saturday, June 10, 2017

The 3 - June 11, 2017

This week's edition of The 3, highlighting three relevant stories to the Christian community, includes a church denomination in the U.K. that has recently approved same-sex "marriage."  Also, there was a significant vote in the U.S. House on providing relief people who are facing religious persecution in Iraq and Syria.  And, the question on whether or not a Christian is disqualified to serve in a position in government because of his or her beliefs was a central focus in a U.S. Senate hearing.

3 - Scottish church denomination approves same-sex "marriage"

Churches and denominations continue to grapple with the cultural trending toward so-called "same-sex marriage."  And, the first Anglican body in the United Kingdom has made its move in that direction - the Scottish Episcopal Church, according to a story on the Christian Headlines website.

The vote occurred on Thursday, June 8, and it "removed the definition of marriage as being a 'union of one man and one woman' from the church’s doctrinal statement," according to the story, which cited a CBN News report that both clergy and laity took part in the vote.

The proposal needed a two-thirds majority to pass, and 80 percent of the bishops and 67 percent of the laity voted to approved the change in the church's doctrine.

A small consolation is that, "The newly-adopted proposal does, however, allow for exceptions if a clergy member objects to officiating at a same-sex wedding. In a case like this, the Church would not force a clergy member to go 'against their conscience.'"

2 - U.S. House votes to provide relief for Iraqis and Syrians facing persecution and genocide

The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Iraq and Syria Genocide Accountability Act, and it now goes on to the Senate for approval. This is a bill that, according to its co-sponsor, Rep. Chris Smith, "is a blueprint for how to assist Christians and other genocide survivors and hold perpetrators accountable," according to a piece on the Family Research Council website.

In a press release, Open Doors USA President and CEO David Curry is quoted as saying:
"Since the United States declared more than one year ago that Christians and Yazidis, among other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria, were victims of a genocide perpetrated by ISIS, little has been done to aid them in this unfolding tragedy. This bill is a crucial, necessary response to the terrible situation facing religious minorities throughout the region.
"This tragic situation demonstrates the need for the U.S. government and the United Nations to act on behalf of Christians and other minorities. They deserve rights to equal citizenship, dignified living conditions, and a prominent role in reconciling and rebuilding society in the Middle East. Open Doors USA is advocating for this through our One Million Voices of Hope for the Middle East campaign, asking all Americans to sign on in support of this call to action...
The FRC website also states about the bill:
Among other things, it would jumpstart the asylum process for religious minorities -- but not in a way that would leave the U.S. vulnerable. "Everyone will have to go through a vetting process," the congressman reassured people. FRC also says, "Not only would H.R. 390 speed up the application process, but it would also prosecute those committing war crimes against Christians and fund relief efforts for survivors of Middle East genocide."
1 - Sanders' questioning exposes bias toward Christian government deputy

An alarming exchange took place on Capitol Hill in Washington in a U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for Russell Vought, the nominee to be deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget.  You wouldn't think there would be a whole lot of fireworks in such a hearing, but Sen. Bernie Sanders made sure that there were.

Faithwire reported on the developments:
As Faithwire previously documented in detail, Sanders’ angst was rooted in a blog post that Vought wrote in January 2016 about the then-furious debate at evangelical school Wheaton College over whether Muslims and Christians worship the same God — a popular, heated and seemingly never-ending dispute in theological circles.
The post, which relied extensively on accurate biblical theology that any scripture-reading Christian with a basic understanding of Jesus’ character would embrace, apparently infuriated Sanders.
“You wrote, ‘Muslims do not simply have a deficient theology. They do not know God because they have rejected Jesus Christ, his son, and they stand condemned,’” Sanders said to Vought’s [sic] during a hearing. “Do you believe that that statement is Islamophobic?”
Sanders and Vought then engaged in a "back-and-forth," according to the article, with Vought contending that the statement certainly was not and he "attempted to explain over and over again that he’s a Christian who believes in biblical principles (i.e. that belief in Jesus is essential to inherit salvation). That did little to appease Sanders, though."

Billy Hallowell, who wrote the piece for Faithwire, stated:
It’s troubling that Sanders would essentially create a religious test to target the basic Christian doctrine embraced by a nominee in an effort to try and prevent that person from securing a position.
He contends that, "The person whom Sanders is really at odds with is Jesus, not Vought," and stated:
While initially shocking, none of this should be too surprising. After all, increasing numbers of Americans are falling prey to moral relativism and confusion, specifically when it comes to matters of faith and why people believe what they believe.

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