Biden pledges to make law out of Roe
President Joe Biden’s administration said on the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade it will move to codify with a federal law the decision that legalized abortion in the U.S., in case the Supreme Court ever overrules it. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opposed the decision by Biden, as did March for Life President Jeanne Mancini. “It is heartbreaking but not surprising that on the day we commemorate the loss of 60+ million Americans to abortion the new administration is already aggressively leaning into abortion extremism.”
President’s initial orders a mixed bag for Christians
On his first day in office, President Joe Biden signed 17 executive orders, including measures to address the COVID-19 pandemic, immigration, and gay and transgender rights. He also later reversed a ban on transgender people serving in the military. The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission outlined current and upcoming actions that can be expected in the early days of Biden’s presidency.
Summit Church to review executive pastor’s handling of abuse claims
The Summit Church in Raleigh-Durham hired Pastor Bryan Loritts in June 2020 after completing an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against his former brother-in-law at the Memphis church Loritts pastored. But in January, Summit, pastored by Southern Baptist Convention President J.D. Greear, announced an independent review of the investigation, citing a desire “to do everything possible to foster a culture in churches that are safe from abuse and safe for survivors.”
Missouri proclaimed ‘abortion-free,’ but Planned Parenthood disputes report
A report by pro-life organization Operation Rescue called Missouri the first abortion-free state, “at least in practice for now.” The last abortion facility in the state, a Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Louis, is still open, but Operation Rescue reported no abortion appointments have been available there for months or for the foreseeable future. Instead, abortion seekers have been referred to the recently opened Planned Parenthood facility in Fairview Heights, Ill.
Planned Parenthood disputed the report, the Associated Press reported, by pointing to increased restrictions as the reason abortions dropped in Missouri.
Vote coming soon on controversial Illinois teaching standards
Illinois legislators will soon consider new teaching standards critics say would require teachers to abandon their religious beliefs. The General Assembly’s Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) was scheduled to consider the “Culturally Responsive Teaching and Leading” in January, but now will do so Feb. 16.
The standards, adopted by the Illinois State Board of Education last year, touch on issues such as sexual orientation, gender identity, and race-based privilege in what supporters call an effort to encourage support for diversity in school age children. Opponents say the standards violate free speech and religious rights. If approved, they would take effect Oct. 1, 2021.
‘Waymaker’ was 2020’s top worship song
“Comfort in chaos” was the theme of last year’s most popular worship song, based on data from Faithlife. On the top Sunday for “Way Maker,” the song by Nigerian worship leader Sinach was used in nearly 7% of all worship presentations. Sinach’s song, which proclaims the Lord as “way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness,” also won 2020 Song of the Year at the GMA Dove Awards.
Sources: Christian Post, Baptist Press, ERLC, Operation Rescue, Associated Press, Illinois Baptist