Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders 07.09

Newsworthy

Come as you are. You may have read that actor Brad Pitt's mother wrote a forceful letter to her hometown newspaper last week supporting Mitt Romney and traditional marriage. In her letter to the Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader, Jane Pitt wrote, "Any Christian should spend much time in prayer before refusing to vote for a family man with high morals, business experience, who is against abortion, and shares Christian conviction concerning homosexuality just because he is a Mormon." Brad Pitt himself famously said he would not marry fiancée Angelina Jolie until marriage was an option for all people, regardless of sexual orientation. This story has gotten a lot of traction, usually with a headline something like this one, from The Hollywood Reporter: "Brad Pitt's Mother Pens Anti-Gay, Anti-Obama Letter to Local Paper." My question is: Why are Christians always characterized as "anti"? If I tell a child not to play in a busy intersection, does that make me "anti-play" or "anti-child"? Those of us who object to same-sex marriage object to it in part because we believe it hurts society, hurts traditional marriage and-wait for it-hurts the people who engage in it. Christianity is not "anti" any class, race, or tribe of people. Indeed, Christianity bids all people: "Come as you are." But there's a second part of that message: "Come as you are, but don't stay as you are. Be transformed."

Abortion? Yes. Spanking? No. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA) met last week and approved a resolution calling for "an end to the practice of corporal punishment in homes, schools, and child care facilities." Fifty-one percent of the church leaders meeting in Pittsburgh voted for the measure, while 47 percent opposed it. The General Assembly also affirmed and expanded the PCUSA's support of abortion. In 1992 the PCUSA said abortion can be "morally acceptable" under certain circumstances. This year, it said the church supports "full access to reproductive healthcare for both women and men in both private and public health plans." Such positions are why people of conscience are fleeing the PCUSA in droves. The church has seen a precipitous decline in attendance in recent years-more than 10 percent in the last five years alone. Today, the PCUSA has less than 2 million members, down from a high of more than 4 million in the 1970s. The average PCUSA church now has less than 150 in attendance on a typical Sunday.

The Gates Foundation funds contraceptives. The London Summit on Family Planning, to be convened by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in London on Wednesday, plans to raise billions of dollars for family planning and population control groups. It also expects commitments from governments to overthrow "barriers" to contraception such as parental involvement and religious beliefs-the same obstacles that exist for abortion-and for "all members of the global community" to fund and advocate for contraception. Wendy Wright, interim executive director of C-FAM, a Catholic pro-family group, said, "This is a new chapter in the population control movement. Elite billionaires and powerful governments use the guise of 'helping poor women' to extract permanent funding for abortion-promoting and population control groups. Contraception will have a higher priority than education, basic healthcare, infrastructure, and economic improvements-diverting funding from measures that empower women and communities. None of the contraception programs help pregnant women or newborns." According to C-FAM, the USAID budget for family planning and reproductive services is $524 million. This is more than the budgets for tuberculosis, public health threats, pandemic influenza, vulnerable children, and nutrition combined.

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News flash: Anderson Cooper is gay! Of course, this is no surprise to anyone who has watched him over the years. He has long been one of the most gay-friendly interviewers on television. To homosexual guests he lobs softballs. To conservatives, Christians in particular, he fires bean balls. Nonetheless, Cooper, according to the gay magazine The Advocate, "has long dodged questions about his orientation." In April 2012, he placed No. 6 on Out's annual list of most powerful LGBT people. So why did Cooper make the announcement now? Daytime talk show host Star Jones said she thinks it could be for a ratings boost. Cooper's network, CNN, is at a near all-time ratings low (2010 was its worst year ever, and it rebounded slightly in 2011). It is hoping to get a ratings boost from the 2012 elections, but so far that bounce hasn't materialized.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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