Signs and Wonders
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton addresses a pro-gay marriage ralley on April 18.
Associated Press/Photo by Jim Mone
Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton addresses a pro-gay marriage ralley on April 18.

Signs and Wonders: Lobbying Republicans to support gay marriage

Newsworthy

Republicans, down and out. Billionaire hedge fund manager Paul Singer last year formed American Unity PAC, which supports Republican candidates who are in favor of same-sex marriage. The group now has created a lobbying arm, the American Unity Fund, which has spent more than $250,000 in Minnesota, where the state legislature could vote on approving gay marriage as early as next week, and $500,000 in Rhode Island, Delaware, Indiana, West Virginia, and Utah. Minnesota will be a good “control” case to see if all this money has an effect. So far, only one Minnesota Republican state lawmaker has committed to voting to legalize same-sex marriage: Sen. Branden Petersen, of Andover. The American Unity Fund will likely claim credit for any additional Republican legislators who cast a pro-homosexual marriage vote. Rick Santorum, on the other hand, recently told the Des Moines Register the issue is trendy, not lasting. He also said he thinks most in Republican Party leadership knows this and won’t really push for changes to GOP’s current position on gay marriage. Santorum said standing strong for traditional marriage is “foundational” to the party’s principles.

God is (not) dead. The headline read “Kentucky woman ordained as priest in defiance of Roman Catholic Church.” The Associated Press story goes on to say, “In an emotional ceremony filled with tears and applause, a 70-year-old Kentucky woman was ordained a priest on Saturday as part of a dissident group operating outside of official Roman Catholic Church authority. Rosemarie Smead is one of about 150 women around the world who have decided not to wait for the Roman Catholic Church to lift its ban on women priests, but to be ordained and start their own congregations.” The AP story conveniently skips dealing with how this can be a true ordination without the church’s approval. In other words, by what authority does such ordination takes place. Certainly not the church’s, and historically Christians have said not the Bible’s, either. All of this is why I sometimes hear conservative Catholics say, “We might get married priests when the current pope dies, but we won’t get women priests until God dies.” There’s something to that. In the Protestant world, when a church starts ordaining women, it usually takes less than a generation before that church also starts rejecting, or at least stops exclusively affirming, such core Christian doctrines as the Resurrection and the Trinity. The Episcopal Church is a case in point. And far from making that church more “inclusive” and “welcoming,” as it hoped it would do, that church—precisely because God is not dead, and violating His law has consequences—has lost at least 50 percent of its membership since it started ordaining women in the 1970s.

Black turnout soared. According to an analysis by the Associated Press, the real reasons Barack Obama won reelection in 2012 was black voter passion and white voter apathy: “Had people voted last November at the same rates they did in 2004, when black turnout was below its current historic levels, Republican Mitt Romney would have won narrowly.” William H. Frey, a demographer at the Brookings Institution who did the analysis for the AP using census data on eligible voters and turnout along with November’s exit polling, estimated total votes for Obama and Romney under a scenario where 2012 turnout rates were the same as those in 2004. In 2012 voter turnout was roughly 58 percent, down from 62 percent in 2008 and 60 percent in 2004.

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Benny Hinn’s “wall of debt.” Prosperity gospel preacher Benny Hinn is apparently deep in debt and wants his donors to help bail him out. According to The Christian Post, “Hinn has asked supporters of his ministry for $2.5 million in donations, which he says an anonymous donor will match dollar by dollar to help him get out of debt.” The anonymous man, whom Hinn calls a “long-time and beloved” friend, said, “God wants your ministry to be completely out of debt, and I want to plant an anointed seed that will help you take a giant step toward becoming totally debt-free!” This is not the first time Hinn has been embroiled in controversy regarding money. He was one of the “Grassley Six” televangelists the Senate Finance Committee investigated in 2008 and 2009. Hinn repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, and—in part because of the financial crisis, which distracted the members of the Finance Committee—no charges were ever filed as a result of that investigation.

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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