Signs and Wonders
A soldier wearing an Army t-shirt holds flags during the 2012 gay pride parade in San Diego.
Associated Press/Photo by Gregory Bull
A soldier wearing an Army t-shirt holds flags during the 2012 gay pride parade in San Diego.

Signs and Wonders: No gay marriage counseling for Baptist military chaplains

Newsworthy

Baptist boundaries. The Southern Baptist Convention’s North American Mission Board (NAMB) said last week that Southern Baptist military chaplains could not offer “any kind of relationship training or retreat, on or off of a military installation, that would give the appearance of accepting the homosexual lifestyle or sexual wrongdoing.” Mike Ebert, spokesman for NAMB, told Religion News Service, “A lot of our chaplains were asking for clarification. We wanted to clearly articulate in writing for the Department of Defense that these are our expectations.” Also last week: the Pentagon issued the convoluted guideline of allowing homosexuals who plan to wed the possibility of a travel leave of up to 10 days. However, to get the 10-day leave, you must live at least 100 miles from one of the 13 states that allow same-sex marriage.

Evangelical appeasement? The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) was at one time an influential voice for shaping public policy. Alas, no more. The nation’s largest evangelical denomination, the Southern Baptists, are not members. Ted Haggard was president of the NAE when he had his famous sex and drug scandal. Former NAE executive Richard Cizik, who represented the NAE on public policy issues, was so left-leaning he eventually formed his own “progressive” organization. All of which makes me wonder why I bothered to pay attention when NAE President Leith Anderson issued a statement this week opposing intervention in Syria. The main reason was his statement’s mention of a survey the NAE did of its members. According to Anderson: On Sept. 3, the National Association of Evangelicals surveyed evangelical leaders to ask ‘Should Congress authorize direct U.S. military intervention in Syria?’ Sixty-two and a half percent said ‘no.’  Thirty-seven and a half percent said ‘yes.’” Interesting data. Not sure what it means, but it’s interesting.

Safe abortions? The Washington Post and Religion News Service, among others, have reported that “unsafe abortions” are rampant in Africa. Both the WaPo and RNS stories are full of unexamined bias. For example, both stories assume a difference between “unsafe” abortions and “safe” abortions. Since a baby dies, it’s hard to understand how any abortion could be called “safe.” The articles also suggest that contraceptives (rather than abstinence) is the right solution. Despite the flaws in these stories, they cover an important topic, and I commend them to you.

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Storytelling. Two writers have left DC Comics because they can’t write that Batwoman is a homosexual.  Actually, that’s not quite right. They have already written her as gay. In fact, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) bestowed Batwoman with the award for outstanding comic book in 2012. (I didn’t even know GLAAD had such an award.)  The two writers are protesting DC’s insistence that they can’t go too far in pursuing story lines that highlight the character’s homosexuality, including allowing her to marry her girlfriend. The current dust-up (including GLAAD’s involvement) is another example of how liberals understand the value of story in shaping cultural norms. It’s a skill conservatives and Christians should develop more fully.

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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