Signs and Wonders
Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.
Associated Press/Photo by Jose Luis Magana
Tea Party favorite Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Signs and Wonders: The Tea Party gets some GOP competition

Newsworthy

Unhappy with the tea party. It is not exactly a news flash that the mainstream of the Republican Party is unhappy with, perhaps even scared of, the Tea Party. Nor, of course, is it any secret that theTea Party is unhappy with the “go along to get along” direction of the GOP. Indeed, the Tea Party’s very existence is a testimony to that unhappiness. But now a new group, Defending Main Street, has sprung up on the mainstream GOP side. The Associated Press said the moderate group is “halfway to its goal of raising $8 million. It plans to spend that money on center-right Republicans who face a triumvirate of deep-pocketed conservative groups—Heritage Action, Club for Growth, and Freedom Works—and their preferred, typically Tea Party candidates.” Given that most congressional seats are safely either Republican or Democrat, this new fund could make for some very interesting primary races.

GAFCON concludes. A group of conservative “confessing” Anglicans from around the world met in Nairobi, Kenya, this week to reaffirm their commitment to orthodox Christianity and to “outreach, witness, and building networks of orthodox Anglicans around the world.” This meeting is the second GAFCON conference. The first one, in 2008, came at a moment of crisis for the Anglican Communion, a time when the American church, in particular, was taking quick steps away from historic Christianity. Approximately 1,300 bishops, priests, and other delegates from more than 40 countries attended the event, including Jeff Walton, of the Institute for Religion and Democracy. His assessment: “Delegates describe a peaceful, less anxious climate than GAFCON 2008. ‘I expected to build relationships,’ reported one delegate ‘but I never expected such unity and intimacy in Christ.’”

Religious oppression. I’m in New York this week and—given this city’s reputation as the crossroads of the world—I guess it was no surprise that I should run into someone I knew on the flight up. In this case, Tina Ramirez, who was on her way to New York to co-chair a panel discussion at the United Nations on religious oppression. Ramirez has become one of the nation’s experts on the subject as a result of nearly a decade on Capitol Hill working for and with Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., and others, not to mention a stint at The Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. She told me that the phrase “religious liberty” sometimes causes liberals to run because of its use in domestic political fights, from Obamacare to same-sex marriage. But the fight against “religious oppression” is gaining bipartisan support. “Religious oppression is one of the greatest threats to the dignity of women globally,” she told me, “with at least 1.2 billion women in the 29 worst countries for religious freedom.” Ramirez will discuss how women’s rights are linked to religious freedom at the U.N. event today.

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Military homeschooling. Homeschooling continues to grow. In 1985, only about 50,000 children in America were homeschooled. Today, most estimates put that number above 2 million. One area of growth: military families. According to homeschooling mother Nicole McGhee: “If there’s a military installation, there’s very likely home-schoolers there.” McGhee, 31, has three kids and a husband stationed at North Carolina’s Fort Bragg. She runs a Facebook page on military home schooling. The Associated Press story featuring McGhee says the military is slowly realizing that many of its families are homeschoolers, and its making adjustments to accommodate them. For example, “at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the library sported special presentations for homeschoolers on Benjamin Franklin and static electricity. Fort Bragg offers daytime taekwondo classes. At Fort Belvoir, Va., there are athletic events and a parent-led chemistry lab.”

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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