Weekly Review

Joni Eareckson Tada, Transgender Prisoners, Clergy Reputation Declines, and “Unplanned” in Canada

Joni Cancer Free. Joni Eareckson Tada is an author, disabilities activist, and a recipient of The Colson Center’s Wilberforce Award. She announced last week she is cancer-free after a second battle with the disease. “The Lord was gracious and heard the desire of our hearts—last Friday’s PET scan shows that my second tumor that was removed last November … did not metastasize!” Tada wrote on her website Tuesday. “Given the aggressive nature of that reoccurring cancer, this news is quite miraculous.” Tada, 69, was paralyzed 51 years ago in a diving accident. Since then, she founded Joni and Friends, an international ministry to people with disabilities. Tada was WORLD’s Daniel of the Year in 2017. Last fall, doctors diagnosed her with breast cancer for a second time after an earlier bout of the illness in 2010.

Predators and Prey. A bill passed the California Senate that will allow men who identify as transgender women to stay with female inmates in prison facilities. If the bill becomes law, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation would ask individuals entering department custody their gender identity. The prisoner would be assigned to a men’s or women’s facility based on the answer to that question. The bill would also require the prison to use an inmate’s preferred name, pronoun, and “honorific.” It would also allow inmates to change their gender identity while in prison. Current law mandates that the state house inmates according to their biological sex unless they have undergone sex change surgery.  Interestingly both conservative groups and feminist groups opposed the bill. Abby Lunetta, a member of the Women’s Liberation Front, a radical feminist group, testified during the same hearing. “This bill permits male inmates to be housed with female inmates at the mere request of a male inmate, even though males commit violent crimes three times more often than women,” she said. Lunetta referenced the case of Richard Masbruch, a biological male in a women’s prison in Corona, Calif., who was convicted of raping and torturing women. “Under no circumstances is this morally justifiable,” she said.

Clergy Decline. A poll released this week by the Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research was not good news for clergy and other religious leaders. According to a report on the survey in WORLD, “Just 55 percent of adults surveyed in May said they believe religious leaders have a positive effect on society, compared to 84 percent for teachers and 83 percent for doctors. Scientists and members of the military also scored higher.” Perhaps most disturbing: only 34 percent said they think religious leaders are trustworthy individuals. Another finding of the survey: Nearly two-thirds of Catholics and mainline Protestants said they believed homosexuals should be clergy members in their faith. Even one-third of evangelical Protestants said “yes” to that question.

Unplanned in Canada. You might call the grass-roots uprising a bit…well…unplanned.  The pro-life movie Unplanned was originally blacklisted by Canada’s largest theater chains. However, pro-life activists in Canada organized social media, letter-writing, and other campaigns until the country’s two largest chains relented, at least a bit. The movie finally opened in Canada on about 60 screens. That’s a tiny fraction of the country’s movie theatrers, but the film’s producers are calling it a success.  Unplanned is the story of former Planned Parenthood facility manager Abby Johnson, who has become a pro-life advocate. The movie, made for just a few million dollars, has grossed more than $18 million in the United States. In a video posted on Facebook, Johnson said, “We have fought tooth and nail to get Unplanned into Canada, and it is finally happening. I do not believe we should be censoring films because we don’t agree with them. That’s not what a democracy looks like.” According to WORLD, “In May, a private showing of Unplanned at the Edmonton Expo Center in Alberta drew 3,000 people.”

Milestones. Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (now called Cru), died this week (July 19) in 2003.

 

Warren Cole Smith is the Vice-President of Mission Advancement for the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.
Image: YouTube

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