More than 6,000 people took part in a webcast on Monday to launch a program to help people who want to leave their jobs in the abortion industry, reports cnsnews.com. The program is a new, nonprofit ministry, “And Then There Were None,” and is the brainchild of Abby Johnson, a former Planned Parenthood clinic director who left her post in 2009 after witnessing a 13-week-old unborn baby die during an ultrasound-guided abortion. Johnson wrote a book about the challenge of defecting from a powerful organization like Planned Parenthood, Unplanned: The Dramatic True Story of a Former Planned Parenthood Leader’s Eye-Opening Journey Across the Life Line. Now she wants to help others who have had a similar change of heart and fear repercussions from their former employer, like the failed attempt by Planned Parenthood to take legal action against Johnson. “If you defect from our organization, if you betray us, if you leave us then this could be you sitting in a courtroom having to defend yourself,” Johnson said was the message Planned Parenthood was sending. “And for a lot of people, that’s very, very scary.” Since Johnson began working on the project four months ago, she has helped 17 people make the transition out of the abortion industry. “All of them see the corruption inside the abortion industry,” Johnson said. “They don’t want to be a part of it anymore.”
- The national debt is much larger than most people think, $50 trillion instead of $15.7 trillion, says The Christian Post, citing a report by financial services firm Deloitte. Besides the true debt, the report describes four additional risk factors that deserve attention when considering the extent of the U.S. debt crisis. The federal government is currently adding about $4 billion per day to the national debt, which comes to about $750 per household per month. The typical way of calculating the national debt would currently report over $15.7 trillion. This is how much cash is currently owed (including what the government owes itself). This number does not, however, take into account future unfunded liabilities, or payments that the federal government has already promised to make but does not have the revenue streams needed to make those payments. When measuring the national debt on this accrual basis, Deloitte says, the United States actually owes over $50 trillion. The second risk factor is that the size of the debt is highly sensitive to economic fluctuations. Third, Deloitte believes that the debt could adversely impact the global competitiveness of U.S. companies. Fourth, Deloitte expects monetary policy to be less independent from political considerations. Last, the Deloitte report argues that the United States cannot rely indefinitely on foreign borrowers willing to buy U.S. debt and thus enabling high rates of deficit spending.
- In explaining her opposition to a Health and Human Services regulation that requires virtually all health-care plans to cover sterilizations, contraception, and abortifacients, Rep. Michele Bachmann said the issue involved in this mandate was whether the government could place itself before God and prevent institutions and people from following their faith and their consciences, reports cnsnews.com. “The people want to have their liberties back and they don’t like to see religious institutions, particularly the Catholic Church, have to be forced to deny their sincerely held faith and the doctrine of their faith in order to be in compliance with government because at that point who is God?” Bachmann said. “Is government God? Or are people allowed to follow their conscience before God?” said Bachmann. “That’s really the issue at hand and we cannot have this change that Barack Obama has put forward and that’s why you see the people here today who are working very hard to make sure they can hold on to their religious liberties,” Bachmann said. “So, of course, we’re going to stand,” said Bachmann, who indicated the House of Representatives should use any legislative vehicle possible to stop the regulation, which was issued under the ObamaCare law. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called the regulation “an unprecedented attack on religious liberty” and 43 Catholic institutions, including the archdioceses of New York, St. Louis, and Washington have sued the Obama administration in federal court arguing that the regulation is a violation of their First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion. The Catholic Church teaches that sterilization, artificial contraception, and abortion are morally wrong, and, thus, the HHS regulation would force Catholics to act against their faith by making them provide and/or purchase coverage for these things.
- Iranian security forces closed down the Jannat Abad Church, an Assemblies of God church in Tehran, leaving the 100-member church without a home, reports charismanews.com. Now church officials stateside are responding. Reports state that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence branch gave the order to close the building on June 5. Currently only three Farsi-speaking churches remain in Tehran, including the Assemblies of God Central Church of Tehran—which is reportedly also being pressured—a Presbyterian church, and an Evangelical church. “Believers in Iran and many other parts of the world literally place their livelihoods, their lives and their families’ lives on the line every time they enter their church’s doors,” says Greg Mundis, executive director of AG World Missions. “We need to faithfully intercede for our brothers and sisters who are suffering so greatly for the name and cause of Christ.” The forced closing of this AG church follows the forced closing of another AG church in December 2011 in Ahvaz, Iran, where the entire congregation was arrested and interrogated. Several months ago, George Wood, AG general superintendent, met with President Obama concerning his administration speaking forcefully to Iranian leaders about religious rights, mentioning Yousef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor who Iranian courts sentenced to death on charges of apostasy (abandoning Islam). It is believed at least 20 other Christians are being held behind bars due to their faith in Christ. Wood echoes Mundis’ thoughts and concerns, stating that prayer is absolutely essential for the persecuted church, adding, “We also need to continue to make our political leaders aware of the situation of the persecution of Christians world-wide and request local media begin covering the tragic story of the deprivation of human rights in respect to religious freedom that is occurring all over the world.”
- The B&H Publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention says its Bibles can no longer be emblazoned with the official insignia of branches of the U.S. military, reports onenewsnow.com. LifeWay Christian Resources spokesman Marty King says the military branches have revoked their prior authorization to use the official service emblems on the Soldier’s Bible, Sailor’s Bible, Marine’s Bible, and Airman’s Bible. King says permission to use the insignia was granted in 2003, but withdrawn last year. Mikey Weinstein says his Military Religious Freedom Foundation had threatened to sue over what it regarded as an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state. King says military versions of the Holman Christian Standard Bible now bear generic insignia instead of the official service emblems. He adds that the military Bibles “continue to sell well and provide spiritual guidance and comfort to those who serve.”
- North Dakota voters rejected a controversial measure 64 to 36 percent this week that would have added an amendment to the state constitution prohibiting the government from putting a “burden [on] a person’s or religious organization’s religious liberty,” reports Christianity Today. Known as the Religious Liberty Restoration amendment, supporters of Measure 3 argued it would prevent attacks on religious freedom. The North Dakota Family Alliance, headed by Tom Freier, led the push to put the measure on the ballot: “This measure would really put in place the protection for North Dakota that would make sure the people are protected, and religious organizations are protected, when and if they do need that protection.” Critics argued the amendment could cause unintended problems, included providing a curtain of protection for parents who abuse their children or employers who discriminate based on differences in morals and religious beliefs. But Christopher Dodson, head of the North Dakota Catholic Conference, said, “The measure itself says that it doesn’t affect those acts which the state has a compelling interest in preventing,” he told NPR. “And it’s somewhat irresponsible to even imply that the state doesn’t have an interest in protecting children, women and vulnerable persons.”
- Utah Republican Orrin Hatch became at least the fifth senator to call for U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation as lawmakers step up criticism of his handling of probes into a federal gun investigation and leaks of classified information, reports newsmax.com. Hatch, who said during a radio interview on the Mike Huckabee Show that Holder “ought to retire,” is the second Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee to say Holder should step aside. John Cornyn of Texas did so as Holder testified before the panel this week. Holder told lawmakers yesterday that he acted appropriately and doesn’t have “any intention of resigning.” Dozens of House Republicans have called for Holder to quit and 115 have signed a “no-confidence” resolution.
- Just 12 percent of American adults believe the United States should change its national anthem from “The Star-Spangled Banner” to another patriotic song such as “America the Beautiful” or “God Bless America,” according to a new Rasmussen Reports national poll. Eighty-two percent oppose changing the song written by Francis Scott Key during the War of 1812 and adopted officially as the U.S. national anthem in 1931.
- A homeschool graduate in Poland has received news that he will finally be able to complete his university studies, after receiving assistance of the Home School Legal Defense Association. “After five years of fighting against irrational legal demands, my son is able to finish his college studies,” reports Marek Budajczak, homeschool pioneer and father. “With HSLDA’s help, we were able to obtain American educational documents for my son Pawel, and these documents were supported by the American Consul in Cracow and accepted by the Polish Regional School Authority—something our family had been waiting for for years.”