Signs and Wonders
Associated Press/Photo by Gregory Bull

Signs and Wonders: Gay military pay, Boy Scout morals, pro-life heroes …

Newsworthy

Adding injury to insult. Allowing homosexuals to openly serve in the military was a moral insult to the nation. Now we get to pay for insult. Homosexuals separated from the military since late 2004 typically got an honorable discharge, for reasons I will let someone else explain. But they often did not get full discharge pay. They will now. About 181 homosexuals will get about $2.4 million in separation pay, according to a settlement with the government reached this week. Given the results of this case, one wonders if there will be more. Between 1994 and 2010, the military dismissed about 13,000 homosexuals under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Ten killed. On New Year’s Eve, tens of thousands of Pentecostal Christians tried to crowd into a stadium in Luanda, Angola, for a worship service. Organizers expected about 70,000 people, but the numbers ended up far exceeding those expectations, and in the crush of people at least 10 people died. This story is, of course, tragic, but what struck me when I heard this story was both the size of the rally and the size of the denomination hosting it. The Universal Church of the Kingdom of God began in 1977 in Brazil and now claims 12 million members. The church openly identifies with prosperity gospel theology, which goes a long way toward explaining its explosive growth in developing countries.

In your face. A California Boy Scout council is recommending that an openly gay former Scout be awarded the top rank of Eagle. “From what I understand, this has never happened before,” Eric Andresen, father of former Scout Ryan Andresen, told Reuters. “It’s the first in-your-face [challenge],” said Bonnie Hazarabedian, who chaired the Boy Scout district review board that signed off on Ryan’s Eagle Scout application and forwarded its recommendation last week to the national headquarters for final approval. As an Eagle Scout myself, and the father of two Eagle Scouts, I hope (and believe) the National Office of the Boy Scouts will reject this application. The Scout Oath says, in part, “I will … do my duty to God” and will “keep myself … morally straight.” For 100 years, the Scouts have said that homosexual behavior is inconsistent with this oath. This position has served the Scouts and America well.

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Getting their due. Those of us who pay attention to the pro-life movement know that those who work in pregnancy centers are the quiet heroes. Now, The New York Times has finally figured that out. In a Jan. 4 article, the Times wrote: “With free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, along with diapers, parenting classes and even temporary housing, pregnancy centers are playing an increasingly influential role in the anti-abortion movement. While most attention has focused on scores of new state laws restricting abortion, the centers have been growing in numbers and gaining state financing and support.” Note that the Times can’t bring itself to call us “pro-life,” but we’ll let that pass for now. The Times article goes on to admit that most pregnancy centers are “run by conservative Christians.” The article quotes Roland Warren, head of Care Net, one of the largest pregnancy center organizations, describing them as “a compassionate approach to this issue.” Jeanneane Maxon, vice president for external affairs at Americans United for Life, told the Times, “They’re really the darlings of the pro-life movement” by providing a “ground level, one-on-one, reaching-the-woman-where-she’s-at approach.”

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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