Thanking God. The Minnesota Vikings beat the New Orleans Saints on Sunday in a nail-biter of a playoff game. As stunning as the victory was, perhaps even more noteworthy were the post-game interviews. Vikings quarterback Case Keenum, who threw a last-second touchdown, said, “This is probably going to go down as the third best moment of my life. Behind giving my life to Jesus Christ and marrying my wife.” The man who caught Keenum’s desperate pass was wide receiver Stefon Diggs. In an emotional interview after the game, Diggs said, “God put me in position. I just tried to take advantage of that opportunity.”
Whoa, Nellie! While we’re on the subject of sports, I wanted to take a moment to remember sports commentator Keith Jackson, who died last week. He was 89 and his death marks the passing of a giant in sports broadcasting, a man whose name became synonymous with college football. When I was a senior journalism major at the University of Georgia in 1980, UGA was making a national championship run. In the days before a million cable channels, the Georgia game was often the biggest game of the week. That meant it got the broadcast “A-Team,” and that meant Keith Jackson. So, Jackson was often in Athens, and on one of his trips he spoke to my journalism class. It was a seminal moment in my budding career as a journalist. He loved football, but it seemed to me that he loved people, too. I would also note that he had one non-sports, non-celebrity accomplishment worth celebrating: He remained married to his wife Turi Ann for more than 60 years.
Chinese Church Destroyed. The Christian ministry ChinaAid has reported that a large church in China was destroyed by government authorities. Military police detonated explosives inside the Golden Lampstand Church in the city of Linfen, in China’s Shanxi province. The building, which was the worship center for as many as 50,000 Christians in the region, was destroyed. According to the Christian Post, “Lampstand’s head Pastor, Yang Rongli, had previously spent seven years in prison on charges of assembling a large crowd to disturb traffic order, and has been under police surveillance since his release in October 2016.” ChinaAid founder Bob Fu said, “The repeated persecution of Golden Lampstand Church demonstrates that the Chinese government has no respect for religious freedom or human rights. ChinaAid calls on the international community to openly condemn the bombing of this church building and urge the Chinese government to fairly compensate the Christians who paid for it and immediately cease these alarming demolitions of churches.” This demolition is the latest in a crackdown on Christian churches in China. Government authorities have also started removing crosses from churches in Zhejiang province, saying they violate building codes.
Pro-Life Bills Coming Up. At least three important pro-life bills are set for a vote in Congress this week. The Pain Capable Child Protection Act would protect babies 20 weeks of gestation and older from abortion. It has already passed the House. The Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act would add criminal penalties to a similar law passed in 2002. The Heartbeat Protection Act would make it a crime to “knowingly perform an abortion: (1) without determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat, (2) without informing the mother of the results, or (3) after determining that a fetus has a detectable heartbeat.” The latter two bills are scheduled for a vote on Friday, the same day as the annual March for Life.