Archives For Same-Sex Marriage

The Briefing

Trump to Liberty grads: Follow Christian convictions
In front of a record-setting crowd of about 50,000 attendees, the newly minted politician winked to his support from evangelicals—repeatedly bringing up religious freedom and identifying with their position as Washington outsiders. “In America we do not worship government, we worship God. We do not need a lecture from Washington on how to lead our lives,” he said to the graduates.

La. Executive Board concludes study of ERLC
The Louisiana Baptist Convention’s Executive Board has concluded a study of “issues of concern” related to the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and issued a letter commending ERLC President Russell Moore for “confessing his failings.” The letter, addressed to the ERLC president and trustees, also urged Moore “to listen carefully and respectfully to Southern Baptists even as we listen to him.”

Graham calls persecution of Christians ‘genocide’
Franklin Graham, son of the famed evangelical preacher Billy Graham, urged fellow Christians to struggle against a “Christian genocide” that he says has killed in greater numbers than most believers can fathom. Graham spoke May 10 at a conference aimed at highlighting an issue many feel is ignored by politicians and the media.

Court sides with Christian print shop
The owner of Hands on Originals, a Lexington, Ky., print shop, did not violate a local nondiscrimination ordinance when he refused to create T-shirts for an annual gay pride festival, the Kentucky Court of Appeals ruled. The 2-1 decision is the second to uphold Blaine Adamson’s right to engage in “viewpoint or message censorship.” A local gay and lesbian advocacy organization asked Adamson to create T-shirts promoting the organization’s 2012 Pride Festival. Adamson declined, saying he could not promote that message as a Christian.

Majority of Protestants support gay marriage
Sixty-four percent of U.S. adults say same-sex marriages should be recognized by the law as valid. Although not meaningfully different from the 61% last year, this is the highest percentage to date and continues the generally steady rise since Gallup’s trend began in 1996. However, U.S. Protestants, including all non-Catholic Christians, are now about twice as likely to support gay marriage as they were in 1996 (55% vs. 27%). This year’s poll is the first-time Protestant support has reached the majority level.

Sources: Christianity Today, Baptist Press, Religion News, World Magazine, Gallup

The BriefingStorm damage hampers relief efforts in Haiti, Carolinas
In the United States, the death toll from Hurricane Matthew reached 23. As floodwaters receded and Haitians could begin to count the bodies, the death toll in the Caribbean country soared to 1,000. Officials began to bury the dead in mass graves in Jeremie, one of the hardest-hit cities.

Trump’s pastor problem
A large number of Protestant pastors are undecided ahead of the election, and few of them have endorsed a candidate from the pulpit. Their indecision poses an issue for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump. In the past two elections, more of these pastors suggested they were firmly in the Republican camp.

InterVarsity stands for biblical marriage
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship USA, one of the largest evangelical organizations on college campuses nationwide has told its 1,300 staff members they will be fired if they personally support gay marriage or otherwise disagree with its newly detailed positions on sexuality starting on Nov. 11.

Justice Ginsburg calls Kaepernick protests ‘dumb and disrespectful’
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, never shy to weigh in on the controversies of the day, said she thinks “it’s really dumb” for San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and others to refuse to stand for the national anthem.

Illinois marijuana sales top $20 million
Medical marijuana sales reached more than $3.8 million last month at licensed dispensaries throughout Illinois. September’s sales figures bring the total retail sales in Illinois to $23.5 million since purchasing began in November last year, topping the $20 million mark for the first time.

Sources: World Magazine, Washington Post, Time, CNN, NowDecatur

The BriefingPhyllis Schlafly, ‘Founding mother’ of the modern conservative movement, dies at 92
Phyllis Schlafly, best known for her tireless work to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, has died at the age of 92. “Phyllis Schlafly courageously and single-handedly took on the issue of the Equal Rights Amendment when no one else in the country was opposing it,” said James C. Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family. “In so doing, she essentially launched the pro-family, pro-life movement.”

SBC leaders grieve court’s expansion of parenthood
The decision by New York’s highest court to expand custody and visitation rights to “de facto parents” serves as evidence same-sex marriage advocates desire to overthrow humanity’s oldest institution and as part of “a major turning point in human history,” Southern Baptist leaders said.

Chicago homicides in 2016 reach 500
Chicago’s 500th homicide of the year happened over Labor Day weekend, according to the Chicago Tribune. That number carries a lot of weight for the city — not just in quantity, but in meaning: 2016 is now the deadliest year in two decades.

‘Sad’ Russian anti-evangelism law ends a ministry
Independent Baptist missionaries Donald and Ruth Ossewaarde always suspected their Gospel ministry in Oryol, Russia, wouldn’t last when they began in 2002. But they did not expect Donald to be among the first people arrested under Russia’s new law prohibiting organizations from evangelizing outside church walls and without a government permit.

Missouri sends first openly lesbian to Miss America Pageant
Miss Missouri, Erin O’ Flaherty, will compete for the Miss America crown this weekend as the first openly lesbian contestant. “Behind the scenes, we’ve been well-represented, but I’m the first openly gay title holder, so I’m very excited,” she told The Associated Press. “I knew going in that I had the opportunity to make history. Now I get to be more visible to the community and meet more people.”

Sources: Baptist Press, Religion News Service, CNN, Baptist Press, Time Magazine

The BriefingIllinois judge orders Christian B&B to host same-sex wedding
An Illinois administrative judge has given the owners of a bed and breakfast one year to provide their facility to a gay couple “for an event celebrating their civil union.” The order, part of a decision handed down March 22 in a discrimination case filed by the two men, also includes an $80,000 fine.

Religious liberty focus of new study
A growing number of Americans believe religious liberty is on the decline and that the nation’s Christians face growing intolerance, according to a survey by LifeWay Research. Two-thirds (63%) say Christians face increasing intolerance, up from half (50%) in 2013. Those surveyed also noted American Christians complain too much.

Feds threaten NC aid over transgender law
The Obama administration is considering whether North Carolina’s new law on gay and transgender rights makes the state ineligible for billions of dollars in federal aid for schools, highways and housing. Cutting off federal money would put major new pressure on North Carolina to repeal the law, which prohibits transgender people from using public bathrooms that do not match the sexes on their birth certificates.

Abortion pill guidelines eased
The Food and Drug Administration has updated its guidelines concerning the abortion drug mifepristone, allowing women to take it later in pregnancy and with reduced medical supervision. The New York Times called the update “an unequivocal victory for abortion rights advocates.”

Evangelicals love baseball
Religion, it turns out, is a better predictor of who is a baseball fan than age or where one lives. A poll last year by CBS found that while there is a gender gap (but evangelical women are among baseball’s biggest fans), there are also religious differences. The “nones” are less likely to be fans; Catholics and evangelicals are more likely to root, root, root for the home team.

Sources: WORLD Magazine, Facts & Trends, New York Times, Baptist Press, Religion News Service

The BriefingNY Times asks: What does it mean to be evangelical?
Donald Trump’s popularity with evangelicals has led some church leaders to break with the term. The New York Times Opinion Page asked four evangelical writers to share what it mean to be an evangelical today.

Gary Smalley passes away
Best-selling author and world-renowned marriage and relationship expert Gary Smalley has died at age 75. Smalley passed away March 6 after a lengthy illness, his family announced on Facebook March 7.

Christianity Today apologizes for ‘son-in-law’ job posting
The flagship evangelical magazine Christianity Today has tweeted an apology after publishing a job listing for a son-in-law that raised some eyebrows on social media. The ad, which ran in the March edition, was bought by an unnamed Chicagoland church elder who is based in Wheaton, Ill., the magazine’s longtime home.

Millennials increasingly view the church negatively
Since 2010, millennials’ view of churches and other religious organizations as having a positive effect on the country has fallen 18 percentage points, according to Pew Research. In 2015, 55% of young adults believed churches have a positive impact on the country compared with 73% five years ago.

Florist who refused gay wedding gets appeal
The highest court in Washington state has agreed to hear the appeal of florist Barronelle Stutzman found guilty of violating state laws and the constitutional rights of a gay couple when she refused to arrange flowers for their wedding, citing religious beliefs.

Bible translators split over Trinity description
Wycliffe Associates (WA) is leaving Wycliffe Global Alliance (WGA), a partnership of more than 100 Bible translation agencies around the globe. WA cited several reasons for its decision, starting with controversy over the language used to describe Jesus. In some Bible translations, the language of Jesus’ relationship to God the Father (e.g. “Son of God”) is softened to stem confusion and anger from Muslims.

Sources: BPnews.net, Christianity Today, Facts and Trends, Focus on the Family, Religion News Service, New York Times

The Briefing‘LSD in the water,’ says Moore
Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson interviewed Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Feb. 29 covering the issues evangelical voters are most concerned about and how the tone of the campaign is resonating with them. “I think this campaign gives me reason to think someone has released LSD into the water system in this country, and every single day one looks at the news and cannot even fathom that it’s happening,” Moore cracked.

Baptist group: Keep church, political parties separate
Jon Akin wants members of his congregation in Lebanon, Tenn., to be politically engaged, but the Southern Baptist pastor thinks sermons should focus on the issues, not a particular candidate or political party. He belongs to Baptist21, a group of young Southern Baptist ministers who want a clear division between their denomination and the Republican Party.

Survey spotlights refugees, churches & fear
When it comes to helping refugees, Protestant churches and their pastors are often separated by faith and fear, according to a new survey from LifeWay Research. Most pastors say Christians should lend a hand to refugees and foreigners, and believe caring for refugees is a privilege. But pastors say their churches are twice as likely to fear refugees than they are to help them.

Kasich tells Christian bakers, ‘Make them a cupcake’
Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said that social conservatives need to “move on” from the issue of gay marriage and Christian wedding vendors shouldn’t deny service to same-sex weddings. Although Kasich, an Anglican, believes marriage is a union between one man and one woman, he said conservatives need to move on to more important issues.

Bible removed from POW/MIA display inside VA clinic
A Bible and Bible verse were removed from a POW/MIA display inside an Ohio Veteran’s Administration clinic after the Military Religious Freedom Foundation complained. They were part of a “Missing Man Table” recently erected by volunteers at an outpatient clinic in Akron.

Sources: Baptist Press, Christian Post, Fox News, Here and Now, USA Today

The BriefingInterVarsity backs #BlackLivesMatter at Urbana 15
InterVarsity Christian Fellowship (InterVarsity) devoted an evening at its Urbana missions conference to the group Black Lives Matter and called on the 16,000 students present to support the movement. InterVarsity’s support for the group caused controversy in part because of the  speaker’s anti-police rhetoric and comments which were seen as critical of the pro-life movement. InterVarsity has since issued a clarification.


Scalia: Presidents Honoring God Is Constitutional
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said the U.S. Constitution doesn’t prohibit presidents from honoring God or the government from placing religion above secularism, though added that one denomination cannot be favored over another. Scalia, told the audience at Archbishop Rummel High School in New Orleans that there is no reason to believe the Constitution dictates state neutrality between religion and its absence.


Catholic school ordered to hire gay employees
A Massachusetts state court ruled in mid-December that a Catholic school may not deny employment to a homosexual. Fontbonne Academy offered Matthew Barrett a job as a food service director in 2013. But when Barrett filled out a new employee form and listed his “husband” as an emergency contact, school administrators rescinded the offer, citing Catholic belief that marriage is between a man and woman.


NC pastor disarms man during service
A man carrying a semi-automatic assault rifle walked into the New Year Year’s Eve service at Heal the Land Outreach Ministries in Fayetteville, NC. “I asked him, ‘Can I help you?'” Bishop Larry Wright shared. “He said, ‘Can you pray for me?'” Wright disarmed the man and began to pray.


Billy Graham makes ‘Most Admired’ list for 59th time
Gallup released it list of most admired people in 2015 with Billy Graham rounding out the top ten. It is the 59th year Graham has been named to the top ten list.  According to Gallup, “Graham has been among the top 10 most admired men every year since 1955 except for 1962, in addition to 1976 when Gallup did not ask the question.”

Sources: Baptist Press, Billy Graham Evangelical Association, Christian Post, Christianity Today, Gallup, NBC News, and Religious News Service.