Archives For U.S. military

The BriefingGraham urges ‘Beast’ boycott
Franklin Graham has called for a boycott of Disney over the company’s inclusion of a gay character in the upcoming Beauty and the Beast remake. “They’re trying to push the LGBT agenda into the hearts and minds of your children—watch out!” Graham wrote in a Facebook post.

Christian bakers appeal $135K fine
Christian bakers who lost their store and were fined $135,000 for declining to make a cake for a same-sex wedding brought their case before the Oregon Court of Appeals in an attempt to overturn the judgment. Aaron and Melissa Klein, owners of Sweet Cakes by Melissa in Gresham, Oregon, said they simply want the freedom to live by the tenets of their faith.

High court vacates pro-transgender ruling
The U.S. Supreme Court set aside March 6 a ruling in favor of a transgender high school student and returned it to a lower court for reconsideration in light of the Trump administration’s recent withdrawal of a directive issued under President Obama. With the change in administration guidance, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals will have to weigh its April 2016 decision that the school board of an eastern Virginia county violated federal law by refusing to permit a transgender high school student — who is a female biologically but identifies as a male — to use the boys’ restroom.

Muslim chaplain to head Army division
After a ceremony this summer, Lt. Col. Khallid Shabazz will become the first Muslim division-level chaplain in the history of the U.S. military. In January, he was offered the job of chaplain for an entire division, an honor for anyone in his field but a milestone in his case – a Muslim spiritual leader for more than 14,000 mostly Christian soldiers.

Americans warm to religious groups—except evangelicals
Fewer Americans say they know an evangelical Christian. Potentially as a result, evangelicals were the one religious group that didn’t experience an increase in warmth among Americans. Pew Research asked Americans to rate their feelings toward major faith groups on a “feeling thermometer,” ranked from zero to 100—the higher the ranking, the more positive the impression. Overall, Jews (67 degrees), Catholics (66 degrees), and mainline Protestants (65 degrees) were rated warmest.

Sources: Time, The Washington Times, Baptist Press, McClatchy DC, Facts and Trends

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

Six Illinois volunteers, arriving in the Philippines this week, will help rebuild this school on Gibitngil Island.

Six Illinois volunteers, arriving in the Philippines this week, will help rebuild this school on Gibitngil Island. Photo is from the project’s Facebook page.

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

A team of six Illinois Disaster Relief volunteers will travel to the Philippines this week to help rebuild after last fall’s Typhoon Haiyan.

The group, composed of “blue cap” leaders from around the state, is part of a multi-week, multi-crew project to rebuild a school on Gibitngil Island. The team is the first from Illinois to join the long-term relief effort in the Philippines coordinated by Baptist Global Response. Keep up with their project here.

Other news:

Forum to focus on biblical sexuality
“The Gospel and Human Sexuality” is the theme of a Nashville summit planned for pastors and leaders this spring. The Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission will host the April 21-23 meeting on marriage, family, purity, morality and culture.

“So many of the questions pastors grapple with today deal with situations that would not even have been possible a generation ago,” said ERLC President Russell Moore. “…We’ll talk about these questions, and how we can be faithful in ministry, Gospel-focused in engagement and Christ-shaped spiritual warriors in the ways we seek to wrestle with the principalities and powers of this age.” Read more at ERLC.com.

Blessed are the … athletic?
Just before the Super Bowl and Winter Olympics took over our TV screens, Americans weighed in on whether God rewards faithful athletes with health and success. Opinion is evenly split, according to the Public Religion Research Institute, with 48% saying yes and 47% disagreeing. But among white evangelicals, 62% believe God rewards faithful athletes. Read more at ChristianityToday.com.

Military’s religious climate questioned
The U.S. military has long been serious about protecting the religious freedom of its troops, said retired Gen. Doug Carver in submitted testimony before a House subcommittee last month. But Carver, who directs the North American Mission Board’s chaplaincy ministry, noted a climate within the military that could restrict religious liberty. Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R.-Ohio) summarized the prevailing concern: “There is a fine line between accommodation and respecting all religions and restricting religious freedom and that’s the line we are walking on here.”

Subcommittee chairman Joe Wilson (R.-S.C.) called for another hearing on the issue in the next 60 days. Read more at BPNews.net.

Bible-themed movies coming soon
2014 may well be the “Year of the Bible,” says culture writer Jonathan Merritt. At the movies, at least. Merritt lists five movies that will have the Bible front and center in the country’s consciousness, beginning with this month’s “Son of God.” Biblical biopics “Noah” and “Mary, Mother of Christ” are due late this year, along with “Exodus.” And although “Heaven is for Real” (April) isn’t based on the Bible, Merritt includes it on his list because “it will likely riff on popular Bible themes such as heaven, Jesus, and salvation.” Read more at JonathanMerritt.com.