Signs and Wonders
Associated Press/Photo by Charles Dharapak

Signs and Wonders 10.17

Newsworthy

Obama the conservative. One of the most interesting things about last night’s debate was President Obama’s attempts to stake out conservative positions on a number of issues. He embraced the Second Amendment, gave a rousing defense of free enterprise, and praised intact families. These positions are counter to his governing record, but the president nonetheless confused a lot of moderate voters because Mitt Romney has been a weak standard-bearer of these conservative ideas. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer called Obama’s makeover “breathtaking,” especially his attempts to paint himself as pro-family. According to Bauer, “I cannot think of one program that would strengthen intact families. And I can recall only one speech in his entire presidency devoted to the subject.” If you ask me, the real star in last night’s debate was Planned Parenthood. Obama mentioned the group, positively, at least four times. That’s more often than he mentioned his vice president, his Cabinet, or just about anything else. Planned Parenthood is the nation’s largest abortion provider, so Obama’s promotion of the group tells you a lot about the president’s worldview.

Gallaudet deaf to conservatives. Last week, I told you that Gallaudet University’s Dr. Angela McCaskill was suspended from her position at the college because she had signed a petition opposing Maryland’s Question 6, which would make same-sex “marriage” legal in the state. Yesterday, Gallaudet University President T. Alan Hurwitz released a statement saying he would “like to work with” McCaskill “to enable her to return” to the university. More than 52,000 people across the country have signed a petition asking Gallaudet’s president to immediately reinstate McCaskill. That said, there’s no deal yet. Hurwitz seemed to indicate he would ask for concessions from McCaskill before she can have her job back. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said the episode has a chilling effect on supporters of traditional family values. “The message he wants to send to Dr. McCaskill and the nearly 200,000 Maryland voters who signed the ballot petition,” Perkins said, is that “if you support giving voters the right to vote on marriage, you risk losing your livelihood. Dr. McCaskill is the perfect illustration of what’s at stake if Question 6 passes. The effort to redefine marriage is all about our most basic civil rights—the right to worship, to speak freely, to cast our ballots, even, in Dr. McCaskill’s case, to pursue a livelihood. Even the simple act of participating in the political process is grounds for dismissal.”

Moore on nones. The Pew study saying more young people choose “none” when asked about religious preference continues to generate conversation. I was taken by theologian Russell Moore’s assessment. He said young people are not walking away from Christianity, but from the “crypto-Marxist liberation ideologies” and “sexual identity politics” that dominate mainline denominations. “Most of the old-line Protestant denominations are captive to every theological fad that has blown through their divinity schools in the past 30 years,” Moore wrote. He is actually encouraged that young people have the good sense to reject that. Moore concluded: “The American Protestant majority is over and I say, ‘good riddance.’ Now let’s pray for something new—like a global Christian majority, on earth as it is in heaven.”

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Biden gets a bishop-slap. While all eyes were on the presidential debate last night, it was easy to miss that the Catholic bishops were still cleaning up from the vice presidential debate last week. Joe Biden claimed nothing in Obamacare harms religious liberty. Here are his exact words: “With regard to the assault on the Catholic Church, let me make it absolutely clear. No religious institution—Catholic or otherwise, including Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital—none has to either refer [for] contraception, none has to pay for contraception, none has to be a vehicle to get contraception in any insurance policy they provide. That is a fact. That is a fact.” Catholic bishops beg to disagree. They issued this response: “This is not a fact. The [Obamacare] mandate contains a narrow, four-part exemption for certain ‘religious employers.’ That exemption … does not extend to ‘Catholic social services, Georgetown hospital, Mercy hospital, any hospital,’ or any other religious charity. They will … still be forced to provide their employees with health coverage, and that coverage will still have to include sterilization, contraception, and abortifacients.”

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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