Edith Schaeffer, 98, went to be with the Lord on Saturday, March 30, reports The Christian Post. She was born on Nov. 3, 1914 in Wenzhou, China, the child of missionaries associated with China Inland Missions. As a young adult, she attended Beaver College in Glenside, Pa., where she met Francis Schaeffer. The two were married in 1935. Francis subsequently attended Westminster Theological Seminary and went on to pastorates in Pennsylvania and Missouri. In 1948 the Independent Board for Presbyterian Foreign Missions sent the Schaeffers to Switzerland as missionaries. Later they decided to simply open up their home and make it available as a place to demonstrate God’s love and provide a forum for discussing God and the meaning of life. They called it L’Abri after the French word for “shelter.” By the mid-1950s up to 30 people each week were visiting. Edith had an integral role in maintaining the home and mentoring those who visited. She wrote or co-wrote 20 books, including Affliction, a book on suffering, and the autobiographical The Tapestry: The Life and Times of Francis and Edith Schaeffer, each of which received the Gold Medallion Award from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (in 1979 and 1982 respectively).
- Mississippi, America’s poorest, fattest, and most religious state, is aiming to set yet another record in U.S. history—to become the nation’s first abortion-free state, reports The Christian Post. And the Rev. Flip Benham of Operation Save America says his organization is working hard to make it happen. In a press statement on Thursday, Benham noted that Mississippi currently has a strong desire to become the first abortion-free state in America and “authorities” were moving to shut down the state’s only abortion center in Jackson run by Planned Parenthood. “Mississippians have done everything possible to eliminate the horror of abortion from their state. From the Governor, through the Congress, to the Health Department, the electorate has sounded a clear trumpet call to end abortion in the state of Mississippi,” noted Benham in the statement. The church in Mississippi, he said, had answered the call to rid the state of abortion by keeping tabs on the activities of Planned Parenthood, which has benefitted from significant federal funding to keep operating in the state. “Abortion will end when the Church of Jesus Christ rises up, leaves the shelter of her church buildings, and engages the culture at the very gates of hell,” said Benham.
- Kentucky lawmakers have voted to override the governor’s veto of a bill intended to better protect legal claims of religious freedom, news.yahoo.com notes. The law will give stronger legal standing to people in court who claim the government burdened their ability to practice their religion. The legislation protects “sincerely held religious beliefs” from infringement unless there is “a compelling governmental interest.” The courts will still consider and rule on each matter. Democrat Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed the bill Friday over concerns that someone’s claim of religious freedom could undermine civil rights protections for gays and lesbians and lead to costly lawsuits for taxpayers. But bill sponsors said it would only provide a higher level of legal protection that already exists on the federal level and in at least 16 states. The debate pitted civil liberties groups like the ACLU against religious organizations such as the Catholic Conference of Kentucky. Lawmakers voted Tuesday to override.
- A Christian-themed specialized plate in Texas approved in 2011 has sold hundreds of copies, resulting in about $60,000 for the state’s General Revenue Fund. The Calvary Hill license plate created by a charity group called Glory Gang has sold over 560 plates, generating money for both the Texas government and the nonprofit. The plate, which features the phrase “One State Under God,” is distributed by My Plates, a Texas-based company that was given a contract by the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles to create and sell specialized plates. Kim Miller Drummond, public relations manager at My Plates, told The Christian Post about the level of success the Calvary Hill plate has had over the past year. “It’s done really well in our program. We have about a hundred and fifty license plates now in our program and the Calvary Hill plate is now ranked number 45,” said Miller. “And that’s pretty high for a plate that has been in the program only one year. A lot of our top ten or top twenty have been around for the start of our program.” Showcasing the phrase “One State Under God” and including an image of three crosses on a hill, Drummond told CP that the Calvary Hill plate was the only explicitly religious license plate in the My Plates program.
- News reports surfacing out of Saudi Arabia have raised the red flag for Christians, reports Mission Network News. Todd Nettleton, a spokesman for the Voice of the Martyrs USA, said, “The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia—the top Islamic official in the country of Saudi Arabia—has declared that it is ‘necessary to destroy all the churches of the region.'” Nettleton went on to note that the report hasn’t surfaced anywhere except on the Council on Foreign Relations website, which was then picked up by The Atlantic. Ranked second on the Open Doors World Watch List (a compilation of the 50 countries where persecution of Christians is the most severe), the news is said “not really a surprise. There is no provision for religious freedom in the constitution of this Islamic kingdom. All citizens must adhere to Islam, and conversion to another religion is punishable by death. Public Christian worship is forbidden; worshipers risk imprisonment, lashing, deportation, and torture. Evangelizing Muslims and distributing non-Islamic materials is illegal. Muslims who convert to Christianity risk honor killings and foreign Christian workers have been exposed to abuse from employers.” The Saudi declaration is believed to affect churches in Kuwait, Oman, Yemen, Bahrain, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates. Nettleton observes that “in most of these countries, we’re not talking about a lot of churches; we’re talking about a few that are allowed to exist primarily to serve foreigners that are living in that country.” However, the UN Human Rights Council has yet to take a stand on such blatant violations of freedom of religion. How the governments implement this declaration is yet to be determined. “Most of these countries would consider their native population to be 100% Muslim. We could see more persecution, we could see churches closed or destroyed. We just kind of wait to see now.” The concern raised by this view has not escaped notice of the U.S. government. The most recent International Religious Freedom report (annually issued by the State Department) remarks, “Freedom of religion is neither recognized nor protected under the law and is severely restricted in practice. . . . The government officially does not permit non-Muslim clergy to enter the country to conduct religious services, although some do so under other auspices and are able to hold services. These entry restrictions make it difficult for non-Muslims to maintain regular contact with clergy. This is particularly problematic for Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, whose faiths require that they receive sacraments from a priest on a regular basis.”
- An appeal has been filed with a state Supreme Court led by a newly elected chief justice who has expressed doubt about Obama’s qualification for office, WorldNetDaily reports. Roy Moore was elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court last November, a decade after he defied a federal order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building. Now, 2012 Constitution Party presidential nominee Virgil Goode and Alabama Republican Party leader Hugh McInnish are asking the state’s highest court to force Secretary of State Beth Chapman to verify that all candidates on the state’s 2012 ballot were eligible to serve. Attorney Larry Klayman, founder of the Washington, D.C. watchdog Judicial Watch and now head of Freedom Watch, filed the appeal last Tuesday with the Alabama Supreme Court, asking for oral arguments. “We are hopeful that Chief Justice Moore and the rest of the jurists on the Alabama Supreme Court will follow the law,” Klayman told WND. Klayman says he and his team “have great respect for Chief Justice Moore and his integrity and legal acumen.” “He is one courageous and brave man. There are few in this country.” The case is an appeal of a dismissal by the Montgomery Circuit Court. In his brief, Klayman says “credible evidence and information from an official source” was presented to Chapman before the election indicating Obama might not have been qualified for Oval Office. The complaint argues Chapman failed her constitutional duty as secretary of state to verify the eligibility of candidates. Moore is on the record questioning Obama’s eligibility. In an interview with WorldNetDaily in 2010, he defended Lt. Col. Terrence Lakin’s demand that President Obama prove his eligibility as commander in chief as a condition of obeying deployment orders. Moore said he had seen no convincing evidence that Obama is a natural-born citizen and much evidence that suggests he is not. Moore said Lakin “not only has a right to follow his personal convictions under the Constitution, he has a duty.”
- Florida legislators considering a bill to require abortionists to provide medical care to an infant who survives an abortion were reportedly shocked during a committee this past week when a Planned Parenthood official endorsed a right to post-birth abortion, weeklystandard.com reports. Alisa LaPolt Snow, the lobbyist representing the Florida Alliance of Planned Parenthood Affiliates, testified that her organization believes the decision to kill an infant who survives a failed abortion should be left up to the woman seeking an abortion and her abortion doctor. “So, um, it is just really hard for me to even ask you this question because I’m almost in disbelief,” said Rep. Jim Boyd. “If a baby is born on a table as a result of a botched abortion, what would Planned Parenthood want to have happen to that child that is struggling for life?” “We believe that any decision that’s made should be left up to the woman, her family, and the physician,” said Planned Parenthood lobbyist Snow. Rep. Daniel Davis then asked Snow, “What happens in a situation where a baby is alive, breathing on a table, moving. What do your physicians do at that point?” “I do not have that information,” Snow replied. “I am not a physician, I am not an abortion provider. So I do not have that information.” Rep. Jose Oliva followed up, asking the Planned Parenthood official, “You stated that a baby born alive on a table as a result of a botched abortion that that decision should be left to the doctor and the family. Is that what you’re saying?” Again, Snow replied, “That decision should be between the patient and the health care provider.”
- New York City is asking appeals judges to reinstate a ban on supersized sodas and other sugary drinks, which was struck down by a Manhattan judge the day before it was to go into effect, bighealthreport.com reports. The city had vowed an appeal and said Thursday that lawyers had filed it late Monday. In his decision on March 11, State Supreme Court Justice Milton Tingling said the 16-ounce limit on sodas and other sweet drinks arbitrarily applies to only some sugary beverages and some places that sell them. “The loopholes in this rule effectively defeat the stated purpose of this rule,” Tingling wrote in his ruling, which was seen as a victory for the beverage industry, restaurants, and other business groups that called the ban unfair. In addition, the judge said the Mayor Michael Bloomberg–appointed Board of Health intruded on the City Council’s authority when it imposed the rule. In its appeal, the city disputed those points. “The rule is designed to make consumption of large amounts of sugary drinks a conscious and informed choice by the consumer,” it said. “Thus, although a consumer is free to consume more than 16 ounces by ordering a second drink, getting a refill, or going to another store, he or she will be making an informed choice.”