Last month the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom's 2010 report expressed concern about how President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are talking about "freedom of worship" rather than "freedom of religion," the traditional phrase derived from the First Amendment.
That's not an inconsequential change: Freedom of worship means the ability to have church services, which is crucial, but leaves out protection for Christian schools, publications, and Christian compassionate ministries such as those profiled on the following pages or in previous issues (April 24, May 22).
"Freedom of religion" means that ministries designed to help prisoners change their lives, or to help the poor enter the workforce, can teach what the Bible teaches. Under "freedom of worship," these ministries could become illegal, as they are in many parts of the world.
This is a development to watch warily-but for now we can still celebrate the success of our three South Region finalists: Advance Memphis, Forsyth (N.C.) Jail and Prison Ministries, and Wears Valley Ranch in Pigeon Forge, Tenn. The winner, Advance Memphis, will join in our final four regional winners from Colorado and Iowa, and one from the northeast to be named in June.
In July our subscribers will be able to vote online to determine this year's national champion. To see video of all the finalists so far, please go to worldmag.com/compassion.
Click here to listen to WORLD editor in chief Marvin Olasky discuss with Alisa Harris the South regional finalists.