Republican Governor signs Pro-Abort Bill, Anti-Christian Bigotry, Facebook Reforms, Pastor Andrew Brunson, and Tom Petty

Signs and Wonders

Republican Governor Caves on Life. A Republican governor has signed a bill approving taxpayer funding of abortion. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the bill—which also protects state abortion provisions in the event the U.S. Supreme Court ever overturns Roe v. Wade—last Thursday. Rosemary Hackett, president of Illinois Right to Life, said before the governor took this action, “If Gov. Bruce Rauner signs HB 40, he will be publicly repudiated by pro-lifers throughout the entire state of Illinois. He promised to veto this horrendous legislation, which would force all Illinois taxpayers to pay for free abortions for those on Medicaid and state employees, which can be done through all nine months of pregnancy and for any reason—even when the unborn child can feel pain and survive outside the womb.”

Anti-Christian Bigotry Down Under. Christians are facing what WORLD’s Mindy Belz calls “a truly astonishing amount of discrimination and abuse with balloting underway through Nov. 7 on legalizing same-sex marriage.” Lyle Shelton, head of the Coalition for Marriage, reports that volunteers for his group have been physically assaulted. According to Belz, “An LGBT activist detained for attempting to blow himself up outside Shelton’s headquarters last December told a court he meant to destroy the whole building.”

Facebook Acts. Facebook announced yesterday it would take steps to make sure its ads were not fraudulent. The announcement came after an internal investigation revealed many Facebook ads came from “a Russian entity known as the Internet Research Agency.” Facebook admitted that it “found more than 3,000 of these ads, which ran between 2015 and 2017. Many appear to amplify racial and social divisions. Today we are delivering those ads to congressional investigators and explaining more about the steps we’re taking to strengthen our ads policies and enforcement.” The company said it would hire 1,000 additional employees over the next year to review ads before they are approved, and verifying that the organizations buying the ads are legitimate.

Pastor Still Jailed. An American pastor, Andrew Brunson, is a political prisoner of Turkey. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has confirmed, finally, that Brunson is in captivity and being used to get the United States to release Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen. Gulen is a Turkish exile Erdogan accuses of masterminding a failed coup against the Turkish government last year.

Tom Petty Dead at 66. Almost lost in the avalanche of coverage about the Las Vegas shooting was news of the death of rock star Tom Petty. This thoughtful “blue-collar rocker” attracted a global fan base with his songs about the brokenness of the world. Though not a Christian, and sometimes disdainful of the Christian worldview, songs such as “Refugee” and “Running Down a Dream” brilliantly expressed the longings of modern and postmodern man. My most vivid memory of him is from the hours after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, when the major networks interrupted regular programming to do a fundraising telethon featuring some of the nation’s biggest musical acts. Most musicians performed songs of sadness and reflection. Petty and his band The Heartbreakers performed his 1989 hit “I Won’t Back Down,” a song of defiance and resolve tinged with melancholy. Many people call the performance a defining moment of both Petty’s career and America’s response to the 9/11 terror attacks. In the aftermath of the Las Vegas shootings, the song rings true today, too.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia under CC BY 2.0

Warren Cole Smith is an investigative journalist and author as well as the Colson Center vice president for mission advancement.

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