Signs and Wonders
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott
Associated Press/Photo by Firdia Lisnawati
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

Signs and Wonders: Gay marriage facing challenges


Back from the brink. The march of privileges for homosexuals is encountering a few speed bumps. Australia’s Capital Territory legalized gay unions on Dec. 7, but the new law has been challenged by Prime Minister Tony Abbott, and may be ruled unconstitutional by Australia’s High Court when it issues a ruling on Dec. 22. India’s top court has reinstated a ban on homosexual acts. Here in the United States, three states are likely to have gay marriage on the ballot in 2014. Indiana will likely affirm traditional marriage. Oregon will likely affirm homosexual marriage. The toss-up state will be Ohio.

Mandela revisited. NBC News reported last week that the United States had Nelson Mandela on a terrorism watch list until 2008. It noted that President Ronald Reagan had condemned Mandela’s party, the African National Congress (ANC), for its violent tactics. The State and Defense departments considered the ANC a terrorist group during the Cold War. The NBC report seemed to imply that the United States, especially Reagan, was unenlightened in its condemnation of Mandela and the ANC. The possibility that Mandela and the ANC deserved condemnation then and changed over time has become politically incorrect. The idea that standing strong against the violence of Mandela and the ANC might have actually helped bring about their change is an idea not considered at all.

Joining the fray. James Dobson and his ministry, Family Talk, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in the U.S. District Court in Denver challenging the Obama administration’s abortion pill mandate. “We believe that every human life, from the moment of conception, is sacred and a gift from God, and we cannot cooperate with this immoral mandate without violating our most deeply held religious beliefs,” said Dobson, Family Talk’s founder and president.  A statement released by Dobson said that if Family Talk does not comply with the mandate's requirements by May 1, 2014, it will be subject to fines up to $36,500 per employee annually. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is defending Dobson’s ministry. According to ADF lead counsel Matthew Bowman, “The government has put religious employers to a cruel choice: ‘Abandon your religious beliefs or be fined out of existence.’” The lawsuit, Dr. James C. Dobson v. Kathleen Sebelius, was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. It argues that the mandate violates the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the First and Fifth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, and the Administrative Procedure Act. Notre Dame also announced this week that it would sue over Obamacare. One of the ironies here is that this Catholic school gave President Obama an honorary degree in 2009.

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Tax deal. The budget deal announced this week is not making conservatives happy. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who helped craft the deal, said it holds the line on taxes and decreases spending. The truth is that spending goes down by a mere $23 billion, which is a pittance next to our $17 trillion national debt. The Heritage Foundation is also questioning Ryan’s assertion that it doesn’t raise taxes. It has released a list of what it calls “sneaky tax increases” hidden in the bill. I was in Washington this week, and even some Tea Party conservatives are saying they plan to vote for the deal. I make it a habit of not predicting the future, but only of reporting what I see, but what I see is a conservative wing that lacks the votes to stand up against a moderate wing that lacks the will to cut taxes and spending. So I expect this budget deal, or something very much like it, will be the best we'll be able to get for now.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren is vice president of mission advancement for The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview and the host of WORLD Radio’s Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.


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