Sunday, July 16, 2017

The 3 - July 16, 2017

This week's edition of The 3, with three stories of relevance to the Christian community, includes good news about replacing a Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas.  Also, the rights of churches to select their own leaders was upheld by a Federal appeals court.  Plus, the U.S. House decided to commit billions to gender reassignment surgery for members of our Armed Forces.

3 - Movie company to help restore Ten Commandments monument in Arkansas

Last month, a man drove a vehicle into a 6-foot Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol less than 24 hours after it was installed, according to a story on the website, which reported that the man apparently live-streamed the act on Facebook.

But an identical monument will be installed on the Capitol grounds, according to Senator James Rapert, who had sponsored the original legislation authorizing the monument, The Hill website reported.  The site said that $55,000 in private donations had been raised, according to the senator. 

That includes $25,000 from Pure Flix, which is a Christian film production company. reported on the company's donation.  The exterior of the Arkansas State Capitol was used as the courthouse housing the courtroom where pivotal scenes took place in the film, God's Not Dead 2, which was a Pure Flix production.

2 - Church's ability to select its own leaders upheld in Federal appeals court

An important decision came out of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in the case of Fratello v. Archdiocese of New York, which, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom website, upheld "the freedom of a church to decide who will serve as its religious leaders."

Alliance Defending Freedom Legal Counsel Jeremiah Galus stated:
“The First Amendment plainly protects a church’s freedom to decide who serves as its religious leaders, as the U.S. Supreme Court acknowledged only five years ago. The 2nd Circuit correctly recognized that this freedom extends to choosing a religious school’s principal—a position that is perhaps a school’s most important. Governmental inference here would have amounted to nothing less than state control of a religious school—something the First Amendment clearly forbids. ADF was honored to file a friend-of-the-court brief in this case on behalf of the Orthodox Church in America, which supports the foundational constitutional freedom that the Second Circuit upheld.”
The Catholic News Agency, giving some background on the case, stated that the school, St. Anthony's in Nanuet, NY...
...had decided in 2011 not to renew the contract of its then-principal Joanne Fratello because of her alleged “insubordination” shown to the pastor of St. Anthony’s parish.
Fratello later alleged that the contract decision was a case of sex-based discrimination, and she filed a lawsuit against the school and the archdiocese. She said that she had been hired in a lay capacity, and thus the archdiocese would not be exempt from a discrimination lawsuit under the “ministerial exception.”
The “ministerial exception” forbids the government from intervening in the employment of a minister by a church, as part of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.
This exception was at the heart of the Hosanna-Tabor ruling of the U.S. Supreme Court, and the appeals court found that the exception did apply, which was the position that the archdiocese had taken.

ADF has been in the news recently because of an ABC News story calling it a "anti-LGBT hate group." stated that this label was applied to the organization after Attorney General Session spoke to it.

Kerri Kupec of ADF is quoted as saying, "Nothing could be further from the truth," and said that the network is "encouraging this lack of civil discourse." ADF has accused ABC of "journalistic malpractice" and has "asked for an apology and retraction of the story."

1 - U.S. House votes to fund sex change surgery for members of the military

Here is some alarming news out the U.S. House of Representatives, which took a vote on a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act.  In a 214-209 vote, our elected lawmakers voted to spend $3.7 billion dollars on gender reassignment surgery for members of the military, according to Family Research Council.

These are the people's representatives, right?  Well, consider this from FRC:
According to the latest Rasmussen polling, only 23 percent of the country agrees with them that opening the doors to the gender-confused is good for the military. Add in the sky-high costs of treatments and lost deployment time, and that number would probably look generous by comparison. Like most service chiefs, Americans don't understand how anyone could justify spending billions on a radical medical procedure when the same amount could buy a Navy destroyer, 22 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Planes, 3,700 tomahawk missiles, or 116 Chinook helicopters.
And there's more on the "transgenders in the military" front:  The Washington Free Beacon reports that even though Defense Secretary Mattis has delayed a proposed policy to integrate transgender soldiers into the military, "hour-long mandatory training" is being conducted on dealing with transgender issues.  The story states:
The Army is still moving forward with its transgender training, which is conducted in the morning in place of physical training, the Federalist reported.
The guidelines reveal that soldiers only need to get a diagnosis from a medical doctor and change their gender in a database before showering with the opposite sex.
The Army's tips for an "inclusive environment" include no gossip.
"Social interactions and developing friendships with peers are what contribute to a positive work environment," the training states. "Maintain an inclusive environment and do not gossip. In accordance with good order and discipline, do not ask a colleague or subordinate for their personal information unless it is mission related."

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