Unplanned Continues to Roll. The pro-life movie Unplanned added another $6-million to its opening week at the box office of $6-million. It also added 700 additional theatres. This success comes despite the fact that HGTV, Lifetime, and even the Christian radio network K-Love refused to run ads for the movie. Unplanned is not classified as a “Christian movie” by its producers or by BoxOfficeMojo, but if it was, it would now be in the top 30 Christian movies of all time – after only two weeks in the box office.
Nice Guy Finishes First. Bobby Jones, one of the greatest defenders in the history of basketball, is finally going in pro basketball’s hall of fame, more than 30 years after his retirement. He was ignored for so many years because he did not put up gaudy offensive numbers, averaging just 12 points a game during his 12-year NBA career. But he made the All-Star team five times (four times with the NBA and once with the ABA), and he helped lead his team to the NBA championship in 1983. The teams he played for never missed going to the playoffs. But he was best known to teammates as a committed Christian who lived differently on and off the court. In his entire career, he was never called for a technical foul, and on one of the rare occasions he even spoke to a referee, it was to tell the ref he had called a foul on the wrong guy. In fact, he confessed to the ref, he had committed the foul, even though it was his fifth foul and it meant he had to leave the game. He did not smoke, drink alcohol, or curse. When Seagram Distillers gave him an award at the end of the 1977 season, he gave the $10,000 prize to Christian ministries, and said he would not attend if Seagram served alcohol. (I’ll have more on Bobby Jones in my “Restoring All Things” column on Friday.)
Transgender Chaos. Back in February Martina Navratilova said men who identify as women should not be allowed to participate in women’s sports. Navratilova, who is a lesbian, was condemned by the LGBTQ ideologues and dropped as an ambassador for the LGBTQ group Athlete Ally. Her exclusion from the community that she had helped lead was so great that she ultimately issued an apology. Now, another elite athlete, Paula Radcliffe, is saying that transgender people should not compete at elite levels in the sport, and she too is taking criticism. Radcliffe set a record in the women’s marathon in 2003 that was so far ahead of previous records that it still stands today, more than 15 years later. She told the BBC that she understands that transgender people want to compete, but they should not be allowed to compete at the elite level because the “female section of elite sport has to be protected so that females can genuinely reach the top of it.” A Canadian man who now competes as a transgender cyclist named Rachel McKinnon won a women’s world cycling championship in October and said, “Paula continues to ignore facts: Trans women are legally female.” A number of male-to-female transgender athletes are eyeing spots in the 2020 Summer Games.
States Protecting Life. The states continue to be where the action is on abortion and the protection of human life. In Alabama, lawmakers are considering a bill that would make abortion a felony for the abortionist except in cases of danger to the mother’s health. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Terri Collins, said she hopes the bill, if passed into law, attracts legal challenges that go all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. In Arkansas, the state Senate voted 29-5 last Thursday to require women to wait 72 hours after an initial appointment before they have an abortion. The measure has already passed the House and Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson has indicated he will sign it. That would make Arkansas the sixth state with a mandatory 72-hour waiting period. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp has promised to sign a heartbeat bill. However, two weeks have gone by since the bill passed the Georgia General Assembly, and he has yet to take action.
Milestones. Christian martyr Dietrich Bonhoeffer died on this date in 1945. His last recorded words: “This is the end. For me, the beginning.” After uttering these words, he was executed in a Nazi concentration camp at age 39…. Brennan Manning died on April 12, 2013, six years ago this week. A Marine-turned-priest, his best-known book is A Ragamuffin Gospel, which had an impact on Christian musician Rich Mullins, Andrew Peterson, and many others…. Christian music pioneer Larry Norman would have turned 72 this week. He was born on April 8, 1947…. Happy birthday to Michael Card, who turns 62 on Thursday…. Lance Sijan was born April 13, 1942, 77 years ago this week. He is the only US Air Force Academy graduate so far to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. Sijan died in a Vietnamese prison camp in 1967. He was 25 years old. You can read more of his story here.
Warren Cole Smith is the Vice-President of Mission Advancement for the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.