Legendary football coach Lou Holtz once observed, “If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you are doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking.”
Now in its 46th year, an example of Focus on the Family’s total commitment leads this morning’s headlines:
- Evangelicals step up efforts to place ultrasound machines in pregnancy resource centers
From the Washington Times:
Evangelical Christians say they are stepping up efforts to provide high-tech ultrasound machines to more than 2,700 pregnancy resource centers, faith-based outposts that counsel women in crisis pregnancy situations across the nation.
The devices, which can cost $30,000 to $40,000 apiece, are credited with helping change the minds of many women who were committed to having an abortion, pro-life advocates say.
Leading the effort are Focus on the Family and the Psalm 139 Project, a long-term initiative by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC). The Psalm 139 Project said in June that it had raised $1.5 million to purchase 50 machines.
Robyn Chambers, executive director of advocacy for children at Focus on the Family, said “nearly 60% of women who are really abortion-determined will change their minds and choose life” after viewing an ultrasound image of a fetus and having one-on-one counseling.
“We hear from centers that they have clients that will come in and say, ‘I have an abortion scheduled later in the week. … You have one opportunity to basically talk me out of this,’” Ms. Chambers said. “‘Abortion-determined’ can mean that that woman has searched online, [and] she knows exactly what she’s going to do.”
She marveled over the “amazing” evolution of the technology, from analog devices producing “grainy-looking pictures” to 3D and 4D scans.
- Illegal Immigrant Arrested for Allegedly Raping Ten-Year-Old Ohio Girl at Center of Viral Abortion Story
From National Review:
Police arrested a man, who is believed to be an illegal immigrant, on Tuesday after he allegedly raped and impregnated a ten-year-old girl who reportedly traveled from Ohio to Indiana for an abortion, according to the Columbus Dispatch.
The outlet reported that 27-year-old Gershon Fuentes confessed to raping the ten-year-old child on at least two occasions.
The child became the subject of national media attention after the Indianapolis Star reported earlier this month that an Indianapolis-based obstetrician-gynecologist named Caitlin Bernard was asked by a child-abuse doctor in Ohio to help the young girl get an abortion in Indiana, given that the procedure had recently been outlawed in Ohio after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
3. The Administration is Working Hard to Counter State Pro-Life Laws
From the Daily Citizen:
In response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s June decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization that overturned Roe v. Wade and returned the abortion question democratically back to the states and their citizens, the Biden administration has initiated several efforts to thwart the laws of pro-life states.
First, the Department of Justice (DOJ) has announced a new task force designed to monitor state laws and sue states whose laws are deemed to violate federal protections involving abortion.
Second, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) intends to announce it will transfer pregnant women who illegally entered this country to states where they can obtain an abortion, if the state where they are currently being detained does not allow abortions.
You read that right. Our current government is facilitating abortion for non-citizens with your tax dollars.
Finally, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is warning hospitals covered under federal law that they must provide abortions in certain cases, such as to preserve the life or health of the mother in medical emergencies.
International Inventory of Abortion: How does America Stack up?
From the Daily Citizen:
The reversal of Roe v. Wade has provoked the ire of pro-abortion activists, many of whom seek unfettered abortion access, anywhere and anytime. Even now, as some states allow abortions through the end of the first trimester of pregnancy, or to the point of fetal viability, the United States is unusual for the extent to which it permits abortion. Should pro-abortion activists get there way, our country would remain an extreme outlier.
Examining other countries shows us just how liberal America’s abortion laws have been.
Few countries allow abortions to be performed on a whim late into a pregnancy. In fact, countries who do allow abortion restrict it to a far greater extent than American activists push for domestically. These examples demonstrate how far afield “abortion on demand” instances are from the norm.
4. Florida Gov. DeSantis takes aim at what he sees as indoctrination in schools
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has made it clear how he views public schools and what they’re teaching children: He doesn’t trust them.
At a recent news conference, he returned to a familiar theme.
“Following woke indoctrination in our schools, that is a road to ruin for this country,” he said. “And we’re not going to let it happen in Florida.”
Since becoming governor in 2019, DeSantis has become known for taking combative positions on controversial issues, including education. He recently signed a number of measures aimed at preventing the sort of “indoctrination” he and his Republican supporters fear is taking place.
His “Stop Woke” act sets limits on how issues involving race may be taught. And it allows parents to sue teachers and school districts that violate it.
Another measure, the Parental Rights in Education Act, dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by critics, bans any instruction involving sexual orientation or gender identity in the earliest grades and says beyond that it must be “age appropriate.”
In a June interview with the Christian fundamentalist group, Focus on the Family, DeSantis said he believes there’s a “concerted effort to inject … gender ideology and sexuality into the discussions with the very youngest kids.”
- Hong Kong’s Coming Religious Crackdown
From the Wall Street Journal:
Freedom of speech, assembly and the press are gone in Hong Kong, and there’s good reason to fear religious liberty will be the next target.
That was the warning from Monsignor Javier Herrera-Corona, the Vatican’s unofficial envoy in Hong Kong, as he prepared to leave the city this spring after six years. Reuters reports that in four private meetings he encouraged some 50 Catholic missions in the city to safeguard their property, files and funds in anticipation of more mainland Chinese control.
“Change is coming, and you’d better be prepared,” Monsignor Herrera-Corona warned the missionaries, according to Reuters, which quoted an attendee as summarizing the monsignor’s message: “Hong Kong is not the great Catholic beachhead it was.”
Hong Kong’s Basic Law guarantees freedom of religion, and diverse faiths have flourished there. The city has also long been a haven for mainland Christians, who traveled to Hong Kong to study. Father Laszlo Ladany, a Hungarian Jesuit based in Hong Kong, famously reported on Chinese political and legal developments during the Mao Zedong era.
Yet China has violated other liberties it swore to respect under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, and there’s no reason to believe religious freedom will be an exception.
- Inflation Hits Another Four Decade High of 9.1%, Hitting Struggling Families the Hardest
From the Daily Citizen:
Have you filled up your gas tank recently? Or gone to the store to purchase groceries? Or bought practically any other good or service?
If so, you probably looked at your receipt and did a double take, wondering whether that high price could be correct.
If you feel like things are getting more expensive, and therefore your money is losing value, you’re not imagining things.
The annual inflation rate hit another four-decade high in June, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Wednesday.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) increased by 1.3% in the month of June alone, leading the CPI to rise by 9.1% compared to one year ago.
According to the BLS, this increase is “the largest 12-month increase since the period ending November 1981.”
Managing and Moderating Our Anger & Worry in Times of Economic Trouble
From the Daily Citizen:
Each time we look at our investments, go to the gas station, or check out at the grocery store and pay considerably more for what we bought for much less a year ago, our blood pressure goes up and our savings go down.
But is there a better way to respond to these days of inflation and economic uncertainty?
Whenever challenging times come, it can be helpful to remember what the writer of Ecclesiastes acknowledged: “Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before” (3:15).
Self-consumed modern man tends to think everything is unprecedented, but only because they’ve never seen or lived through it themselves. Climate alarmists do this all the time, proclaiming one year the “hottest” or “coldest” ever – ignoring the fact that records have only been kept for 150 or so years.
The problem of decreasing purchasing power seems to be alluded to in the book of Haggai, where we read, “He who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes” (1:6).
As Christians, we pray and work toward the election of godly and wise leaders who will govern with biblical wisdom. Monetary policy can be complex. But discouraging work, thereby reducing the availability of goods and services while simultaneously distributing “free” money the government doesn’t have to people who haven’t earned it, is a recipe for inflation.
Reckless economic policies are diametrically at odds with the wisdom found in the Scriptures. So, placing our current frustrations at the Lord’s feet is a good way to temper our tempers. But tightening our proverbial spending belts, cutting back on non-necessities and continuing to serve others is also a practical way to move forward.
7. Jewish couple’s discrimination lawsuit dismissed after rejection from Christian foster home
From the Christian Post:
A Tennessee court has rejected a lawsuit by a Jewish couple suing the state government after being told that they couldn’t undergo foster parent training through a publicly-supported Christian charity due to religious differences.
In a decision released June 27, a three-judge panel of the Chancery Court in Davidson County ruled 2-1 to grant a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Elizabeth and Gabriel Rutan-Ram against the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services and DCS Commissioner Jenifer Nichols.
The court rejected claims of discrimination.
The Rutan-Rams argued in a January lawsuit that they were denied access to foster training programs through the state-supported Holston United Methodist Home for Children because they were not Christian. The organization only offers foster training programs to couples who uphold Christian beliefs.
The majority concluded that the couple’s legal claims were moot, as they were able to complete the programs and receive certification through DCS months after being rejected by Holston.
8. The Masculinity Debate Needs Johnny Cash
From Christianity Today:
While The Duke is synonymous with true grit, masculine bravado, and dominance, The Man in Black offers an alternative vision—and perhaps a way forward in these deeply fragmented times.
Cash’s roots ran deep in the American South, and themes of poverty, religion, and all things Americana informed his music. His biggest hits include sentimental ballads about riding the rails, the mythical Wild West, and hard-working, hard-living men who miss their mamas.
But while Cash celebrated a kind of rugged masculinity, he was also a deeply-flawed man. His life was marked by infidelity, alcoholism, and drug abuse. He was no pastor.
And yet, Cash had a singular advantage—something the current rhetoric around masculinity misses. He knew he was a deeply flawed man. He knew he was a man in need of grace. So while he sang about the temptations that are common to all, he didn’t justify or excuse his own participation. Instead, his discography rings with confession, grief, and cries for redemption.
- Marvel Has Issues with God
From Religion Unplugged:
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has a new big bad. And it’s God Himself.
In the past 14 years of pop culture dominance, Marvel movies have typically gone out of their way to be secular, keeping their social commentary to the socio-political. But no more. Over the past year, most of the Marvel movies or shows released have had some version of God as the main villain.
Since Marvel movies are arguably the most dominant pop culture franchise in the world today, exploring what they have to say about God tells us something about what our culture thinks about God and gives us the opportunity to explore and to challenge it.
So what do Marvel movies say about God?
The first thing about how Marvel consistently portrays God characters in their movies and shows (as I alluded to earlier) is that they are all beings that present themselves as good but are secretly awful—and usually evil.
Even though Marvel has a bad opinion of God, its movies are still sophisticated enough to realize that getting rid of God just makes the problem worse.
I don’t know how Marvel plans to resolve the conflict between God and man, but I don’t think they’ll have many good answers — because Marvel movies reflect our culture, and our culture hasn’t found any good answers it can agree on. Hopefully that will one day change. And when it does, hopefully they’ll make a Marvel movie about it.
10. On Twitter, Tony Dungy Models How to Defend the Sanctity of Life in a Hostile Culture
From the Daily Citizen:
Whether motivating and instructing a football team from the sidelines, fielding questions from a hostile press, or engaging users on social media, former NFL coach and current NBC analyst Tony Dungy has a reputation for being cerebral, straight-forward, and never the type to shy away from difficult topics and conversations.
This tendency was on full display earlier this week when the Super Bowl-winning coach responded to a comment on Twitter from Adam Davidson from National Public Radio.
“For a project, I’m researching the biblical case for the idea that life begins at conception,” Davidson tweeted. “There doesn’t seem to be one. It’s a brand new idea, made up in the 1970s. In the bible and for nearly all of Xn [Christian] history, life was thought to begin some time in the 2nd trimester.”
Although many agreed with him on the social media platform, Adam Davidson is wildly incorrect. Tony Dungy told him as much – in his characteristically subtle and polite way.
Coach Dungy tweeted back:
Read Jeremiah 1:5, Psalm 139:13-16, and Genesis 25:23. Then see what you think.
Another user shot back at Coach Dungy:
“So we’re siding with people from 2000 years ago who also had the belief that if you were sick it was most likely due to the fact that you had sinned.”
The coach replied, “No. I’m basing my opinion on what God said, not what people want to advocate.”
Social media has been likened to a cesspool or dumpster fire, and understandably so. In many instances, it’s provided a platform to the ignorant and the angry. It’s filled with people who love to argue. But like so many other things, it can also be used well, and Coach Dungy regularly models how Christians might converse and witness online.
At the heart of Tony Dungy’s defense of life is the belief that it’s God’s laws and perspective that matter – not worldly wisdom that’s easily blown and scattered about.
Today’s culture is full of a lot of spineless individuals who either back down, shut down or morally and ethically equivocate to garner the praise of society’s so-called elites. But not Coach Dungy – and for that, we can continue to thank God for good men like him who are willing to stand tall at a time when we desperately need heroes to emulate and model.