Signs and Wonders
President Obama campaigning in Las Vegas
Associated Press/Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Obama campaigning in Las Vegas

Signs and Wonders 10.01


The gap widens. The online prediction market Intrade now has Barack Obama’s chances of winning reelection at a whopping 76.9 percent. That’s up from the mid-50s in the past three weeks. Real Clear Politics, based on a consensus of state polls, now has 265 electoral votes either “likely Obama” or “leaning Obama.” He needs only 270 to win. None of this means that Obama will win. Much can happen between now and Election Day. Among the key events of the campaign: this Wednesday’s debate. And on Friday we get another round of employment numbers, and they’re not expected to be much better than what we’ve seen so far. But Mitt Romney has much ground to make up. Either way, it will be a historic election: Either Obama wins a second term and enters the elite club of two-term presidents, or Romney pulls off an upset for the ages.

Unprecedented. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation prohibiting a form of therapy that helps children avoid homosexual behavior. It’s the first law of this kind in the nation. The new law could mean that Christian counselors who uphold biblical standards of sexual behavior with their clients could be subject to sanction. The conservative Pacific Justice Institute said it would file a suit to challenge the new law.

Assisted suicide could expand. A New Jersey lawmaker proposed a bill last week that would let doctors legally prescribe lethal doses of medication to help patients end their lives. The New Jersey Death with Dignity Act would allow doctors to issue deadly drugs to patients who’ve been told they have less than six months to live. Pro-family groups are, of course, opposed. New Jersey Family Policy Council President Len Deo said, “We believe that life should run its course. As our country struggles with the culture of death verses the culture of life, these are inevitable the outcomes we will see in public policy.” The New Jersey law would be modeled after laws in Oregon and Washington, where doctors may prescribe drugs to help terminally ill people commit suicide. Oregon enacted its law in 1997. Washington’s law went into effect in 2009. In Montana, physician-assisted suicide has been permitted on a case-by-case basis decided by courts since 2009. Since the 1990s, residents of California, Maine, and Michigan have voted down physician-assisted suicide bills. Voters in Massachusetts will see a similar measure on their ballots in November. If the bill passes in New Jersey, it would need voter approval to be enacted. 

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Truing the Vote. A national voter fraud watchdog group said last week it discovered at least 31 cases of absentee ballot fraud in New York and Florida. The group, True the Vote, said these 31 cases are "just the tip of the iceberg." These 31 cases identify people who True the Vote says voted in two states—Florida and New Jersey—in the same federal election, which is a felony. Logan Churchwell, a spokesman for the group, told that the organization accessed Florida's complete voter registration roll and cross-referenced it against 10 percent of New York's list. It identified more than 1,700 people with voter registrations in both states. Of that number, 31 people allegedly voted in both states during the same federal election cycle. "This is further evidence of just how susceptible our election system is to voter fraud," the group's president, Catherine Engelbrecht, said in a statement.

On this date. We begin a new month as well as the fourth quarter of the year. It’s an auspicious date in history, too. On this date 50 years ago, in 1962, The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson made its debut. Five years earlier, in 1957, the phrase “In God We Trust” made its first appearance on paper currency. (I bet you thought it had always been there.) And to remind us that troubles in Syria have been around for a long time, on Oct. 1, 1918, Arab forces under T.E. Lawrence, “Lawrence of Arabia,” captured Damascus. Even though World War I was coming to an end, troubles in Syria continued for another decade or more, with France the dominant European power in the country, though it was often in conflict with Syrian nationalist forces. It wasn’t until 1946 that Syria attained full independence from France.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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