SCOTUS, Where the Rubber Meets the… Playground

 

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Baptist Press reports that the Supreme Court will hear an argument in March or April that may set precedents for future church/state decisions. From the article:

Missouri nonprofits can apply to the state for scrap tires to use for rubber playground surfaces. Trinity Lutheran Church in Columbia, Mo., which has a daycare called the Learning Center, applied to receive the ground-up tires for its playground. The state ranked the church’s application highly, but refused the grant based on a state constitutional provision that forbids state money going to support churches. About 35 states have similar provisions in their state constitutions.

The implications of the high court’s decision will go far beyond playground equipment. Continue reading Church-state case goes to Supreme Court via bpnews.net.

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Remember What We Are Called To

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The Supreme Court announced their decision regarding state issued bans on same-sex marriage on Friday morning. Social media came alive with reaction; supporters changed their profile image to the rainbow flag and used the hashtag #lovewins, some angry Christians expressed despair in the collapse of America and quoted verses from Leviticus. But what caught my attention were the Christians that calmly reminded us we live in and also apart from the culture we are immersed in.

I pastor a small SBC church in the deep South. Below is my Sunday morning sermon, directed to my own congregation with all Christians everywhere in mind. Whatever your initial reaction was to Friday’s news, please prayerfully consider this position: Continue reading

The State of Marriage to be a Federal Issue

wedding rings“The Obama administration abandoned its states’ rights position on marriage Thursday (Feb. 28) by asking the Supreme Court to overturn California’s Proposition 8, and in the process it laid the legal groundwork for legalizing gay marriage nationwide.” -Baptist Press, March 1, 2013

Last year president Obama announced his support of gay marriage and made it an issue in the campaign, but at that time indicated the legal specifics of marriage should remain the business of each state. Last year he said  “I think it is a mistake to try to make what has traditionally been a state issue into a national issue.”  Now in his second term he can say and act on what he really thinks.  The Justice Department is asking the Court to use a form of review known as “heightened scrutiny” which is much more likely to result in Prop 8 being struck down than “rational basis.”  Reviewing California’s Proposition 8 under heightened scrutiny could be a big step in legalizing gay marriage nationwide.

Read the full article here.  

Supreme Court Will Hear Same Sex Marriages Cases

wedding ringsThe U.S. Supreme Court will hear cases concerning California’s Proposition 8 and the Defense of Marriage Act.  Prop 8 was passed by California voters defining traditional marriage after the state’s Supreme Court upheld gay marriage rights.  The Defense of Marriage Act, passed by Congress in 1996, means that the federal government does not have to recognize gay marriages performed in the states in which they are legal.

The cases will be heard in March, on the 26th and 27th respectively.  The High Court’s decision(s) could lead to the legalization of gay marriage nationwide or the affirmation of current laws.  Gay marriage is currently legal in nine states, while 30 states have constitutional amendments defining marriage as between one man and one woman.

READ MORE HERE. 

A Piece of My Mind

I didn’t watch the evening news the day the Supreme Court ruled on Obamacare.  I held my tongue as every single person on Facebook suddenly became a constitutional scholar.  I can’t take it anymore, I’m going to have to share how I really feel before a vein pops or something.  Here comes my 2 cents worth.

Allow me to put on my history teacher hat.  When our present system of federal government was designed by the framers of the Constitution in 1787, they were still trying to settle the representation issue.  Under the Articles of Confederation (a smaller government with fewer taxes that failed miserably) each state got one vote.  There were 13 states and any measure required a 2/3 majority vote.  There was only one branch of government, Congress, and even if they could pass something there was no executive to carry it out.  Without the power to tax, the brand new American government was already in debt from fighting the Revolutionary War and had no means of income whatsoever. Continue reading

The Read and Share File

When I heard the SBC would appoint their first ever African-American president I thought “well that’s neat.”  When I learned he mangled a new motorcycle at age 21, later walking down the aisle on crutches… now there’s a guy I can respect.  Read more on Fred Luter’s life in ministry here, via Baptist Press.  

Here’s another story coming out of the SBC convention this week – in something of an ongoing conflict, SBC messengers passed on a resolution on the “sinner’s prayer.”  The headline for the article is worded badly, but the report is excellent.  Full text of the resolution is included.

It’s not nearly short enough for Twitter, but here is the message of the Bible in only 221 words.

The Donald Miller blog is going on hiatus and will return new and improved on August 1st.  Here’s the list of what to expect.

Meanwhile, Tall Skinny Kiwi just changed the appearance of his blog, citing the old look as “boring.”  Check it out, I like it.

I always enjoy getting some classic iMonk, and here’s a collection of original Internet Monk selections from 2005.

I don’t regularly read Mark Driscoll, so thanks to Noel Heikkinen for sharing 11 Practical Ways for Men to Lead a Family.

I didn’t even know there was a .church internet domain; meanwhile, LifeChurch.tv wants to own it.

Did the Supreme Court strike down indecency laws regulating t.v. broadcasts?  No it did not, although the Associated Press initially reported so.  The Court ruled a narrow decision on only the two cases, involving FOX and ABC, that were being considered.  The Court did not overturn the existing laws nor consider constitutionality of the existing FCC regulations.  Full story here.