THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn
The Supreme Court’s decision Oct. 6 to let stand lower-court rulings on same-sex marriage combined with a subsequent appeals court ruling could mean 35 states will soon have legal same-sex marriage, Baptist Press reported.
The effort to “redefine marriage is perhaps the fastest, most effective social change in our nation’s history,” said Andrew Walker of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. “The furthered erosion or deinstitutionalization of marriage that comes by redefining it will re-wire or re-circuit how we understand family arrangements.”
Before the courts’ rulings, 19 states allowed same-sex marriage, including Illinois. The Supreme Court’s action legalized same-sex unions in Virginia, Indiana, Wisconsin, Oklahoma and Utah, and put Colorado, Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, and Wyoming on the same path. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals struck down laws marriage laws in Idaho and Nevada on Oct. 7, a decision that will likely affect Alaska, Arizona and Montana.
Walker will be part of this week’s “Elevate Marriage” conference at the Illinois Baptist State Association in Springfield, Ill. For more information and to register, go to www.IBSA.org/Marriage.
Hong Kong protestors include Christians
Some churches in Hong Kong are supporting protestors in the city this week, Christianity Today reports, and some Christians are actively objecting to the Chinese government’s control over Hong Kong’s 2017 election. CT and other media outlets explain how tensions between China’s Communist government and a growing church movement could be at the root of the protests.
Ebola survivor urges greater response
“…The reality on the ground in West Africa is worse than the worst report you’ve seen,” Dr. Kent Brantley told an audience at Abilene Christian University this month. Brantley, the missionary doctor who contracted Ebola and was successfully treated in the U.S., expressed sympathy for the family of now-deceased Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan, The Christian Post reported. He also urged listeners to avoid panic. “Let’s stop talking about that highly improbable thing and focus on saving people’s lives and stopping the outbreak where it is.”
YouVersion reaches 1,030 versions, 721 languages
A Bible app developed by a media-savvy Oklahoma church is now available in 1,030 versions and 721 languages. And counting. A ticker on YouVersion.com tracks key metrics like versions, languages and installs—currently at more than 156 million. The app, developed by Lifechurch.tv’s Bobby Gruenewald, reached the 1,000-version mark earlier this month, but there are still more than 1,800 languages that do not have a Bible translation in progress, according to YouVersion.
Care line offers help for pastors
A new telephone care line opened Oct. 1 for pastors dealing with crises in their personal lives, families, or congregations. 1-844-PASTOR1 is co-sponsored by the North American Mission Board (NAMB) and Focus on the Family. “Because [pastors] have always been there for others, it’s our privilege to be there for them,” said Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, in a NAMB article about the care line. Workers from the ministry’s Family Help Center answer the confidential calls, pray with pastors, and refer the call to a counseling team as needed. The care line, open weekdays between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. Eastern time, offers help in English and Spanish.