Mugged by reality. Louie Giglio is an Atlanta megachurch pastor who was invited and then disinvited to speak at President Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 21. Giglio was invited because he is the hipster pastor of the moment. His Passion conference, just ended, attracted tens of thousands of mostly college-aged kids over the Christmas break. But Giglio discovered that no matter how cool he is, the gospel remains an offense to many. Southern Baptist Theological Seminary President Al Mohler is one of many calling what happened to Giglio a new “Moral McCarthyism.” Fox News’ Kirsten Powers summed it up when she said, “For the record, I don’t agree with a lot of what Giglio said, but his sermon was basic orthodox Christianity. Who is banned next?” Specifically, here’s what Giglio said in a sermon back in the 1990s that got him in so much trouble: “Homosexuality is sin. The only way out of a homosexual lifestyle, the only way out of a relationship that has been engrained over years of time, is through the healing power of Jesus.”
New Zealand awakes. Family First NZ and Protect Marriage in New Zealand say support for traditional marriage in the notoriously liberal country is growing. A Herald on Sunday poll said support for same-sex “marriage” has fallen from a previous high of 63 percent last May to just 53 percent now. “These results are energising our campaign to maintain the definition of marriage as is,” said Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First NZ. “We always knew that once we got past the slogan of ‘marriage equality’ and debated the real impact of redefining marriage, that New Zealanders would understand that there is no need for a ‘same-sex marriage’ bill.”
Needless suffering. According to the 2010 Global Burden of Disease Study (GBD 2010) just published in The Lancet medical journal, more than 1.4 million people worldwide, mostly children, died from diarrhea in 2010. The only good news in this number is that it represents a 41.9 percent drop from 1990 levels. Also of interest: The GBD 2010 reported 37,100 deaths from abortion complications, and 1.24 million people died from malaria.
Milestones. The great singer-songwriter Jim Croce would have been 70 years old yesterday. Croce died on Sept. 20, 1973, in a plane crash. Happy birthday to pastor, theologian, and occasional WORLD contributor John Piper, born today in 1946. We are in the midst of a four-year-long sesquicentennial remembrance of the Civil War. On this date 150 years ago, the Battle of Arkansas Post took place. The battle was a Union victory, and one of the consequences of the battle was the Union taking control of the Arkansas River, as well a portion of the Mississippi River, a vital shipping corridor.