Tuesday Briefing: Wheaton removes Hastert’s name from policy center

Meredith Flynn —  June 2, 2015

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Wheaton College has removed the name of former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert from the school’s public policy center, following Hastert’s indictment on charges he paid $1.7 million to cover up past sexual misconduct, and then lied to the FBI about it. J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy opened in 2007.

Hastert resigned from the board of the J. Dennis Hastert Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy May 29, and college officials announced the name change two days later in a statement on its website:

“We commit ourselves to pray for all involved, including Speaker Hastert, his family, and those who may have been harmed by any inappropriate behavior, and to continue the work and mission of the Wheaton College Center for Economics, Government, and Public Policy.”

Gallup: Americans are thinking less traditionally on moral issues
American views on key moral issues continue to trend in a less conservative direction, Gallup reports. According to research from May, “gay or lesbian relations” is morally acceptable to 63% of people, up from 40% in 2001. Also on the rise: perceived acceptability of having a baby outside of marriage, sex between an unmarried man and woman, divorce, and embyronic stem cell research.

Young people key in Ireland’s marriage vote
After a majority of Irish citizens voted to legalize same-sex marriage, Dublin’s Archbishop Diarmuid Martin said the vote is indicative of the Catholic Church’s relationship with young people. “I ask myself, most of these young people who voted yes are products of our Catholic school system for 12 years,” Martin told national Irish broadcaster RTE. “I’m saying there’s a big challenge there to see how we get across the message of the church.”

A new Gallup poll of American adults found 60% support same-sex marriage, an all-time high.

Coach withdraws from fundraiser amid controversy over group’s marriage stance
Clemson University football coach Dabo Swinney was to be honored by South Carolina’s Palmetto Family Council today along with “defenders of religious liberty” in the state. But after Swinney’s appearance at the conservative group’s fundraiser raised objections from Clemson students, GLAAD, and others, he withdrew from the event.

“I appreciate the recognition of my and the foundation’s efforts,” Swinney said, according to this ESPN report. “However, after much thought, in order to avoid a distraction for the team and the entire football program, I’ve decided it is in the best interests of all involved that I not attend the event on June 2.”

Subsidiary wins bid to purchase bankrupt Family Christian Stores
Family Christian Stores, the country’s largest Christian bookstore chain in number of locations, has avoided closure for now, Christianity Today reports. A bid to purchase the bankrupt company by FC Acquisitions, a subsidiary of Family Christian’s parent company, was awarded last week and must be approved by a bankruptcy court this month. The chain filed for bankruptcy in February.

Black Hawk Down vet graduates from Baptist seminary
Jeff Strueker, a hero of the Somalian conflict portrayed in the 2001 movie “Black Hawk Down,” recently received his Ph.D. in Christian leadership from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Baptist Press reports.

Church’s photo project restores Joplin
After a massive tornado barreled through Joplin, Mo., five years ago, First Baptist Church in nearby Carthage started a ministry to help restore and return lost family photos. The “Lost Photos of Joplin” project, begun by Minister of Music Thad Beeler, has returned more than 17,500 photos to people through reunification events.

“Why God landed [this ministry] here, I don’t know,” Beeler told The Pathway newspaper in Missouri. “But I do know that we chose to follow His lead, and we’re going to keep doing that until He shuts the door.”

Meredith Flynn


Meredith is managing editor of the Illinois Baptist newspaper.