4 Post-Roe Policies Worth Pushing For

Supporting unborn children requires more than government, but not less.

By now you’ve no doubt heard the news and felt the shockwave: The US Supreme Court, through Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health, has overturned Roe v. Wade and its purported constitutional right to abortion. In response, many states (including my current home of Arkansas) acted quickly to ban abortion in all but the most serious of medical circumstances. In the context of abortion policy, we are back to the pre-1973 landscape.

As pro-life Americans celebrated and offered prayers of praise and thanksgiving for the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs, some Christians urged legislatures to move toward greater social safety net spending. For example, author and former Obama administration official Michael Wear said the following:

Calls like this attracted their share of criticism from conservatives skeptical of government intervention. Consider this, from the Babylon Bee’s Kyle Mann:

Or this, from former Trump administration official William Wolfe (from just after the decision’s draft opinion leaked last month):

Or this nuanced thought from scholar James Wood:

Rehabilitating the family unit should absolutely be the top priority for Christians rightly focused on promoting a flourishing and thriving society. This is a foundational concern. But as we encourage this, we must also be open to complementary, immediate solutions to problems that have arisen precisely because of the decline of the …

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D. James Kennedy Ministries Loses Legal Battle Against ‘Hate Group’ Label

Supreme Court declines to reconsider definition of defamation and make it easier to prove malice.

The late D. James Kennedy’s television and radio ministry cannot sue for defamation over being called an anti-LGBT hate group.

Five years after Coral Ridge Ministries Media first protested the “hate group” designation, the US Supreme Court has declined to reconsider the legal definition of “defamation.” The ministry’s suit against the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) cannot go forward.

The Supreme Court’s summary disposition was handed down Monday without explanation. The only dissent came from Justice Clarence Thomas. He argued the court should overturn the guiding 1964 precedent, New York Times Company v. Sullivan, which says media companies are only liable for libel against public figures when they publish false information with reckless disregard for the truth and “actual malice.”

“Coral Ridge now asks us to reconsider the ‘actual malice’ standard,” Thomas wrote. “As I have said previously, ‘we should.’”

Donald Trump also pushed for a reevaluation of New York Times v. Sullivan when he was president, calling the legal standards for libel “a sham” and “a disgrace” to America.

“We are going to take a strong look at our country’s libel laws, so that when somebody says something that is false and defamatory about someone, that person will have meaningful recourse in our courts,” Trump said in 2018.

According to Coral Ridge Ministries’ lawyer David C. Gibbs III, the “actual malice” standard is “a more-often-than-not insurmountable bar for a public figure to plead and prove a defamation claim.” He argued it should only apply to elected officials, not “private …

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Praying Football Coach Wins at Supreme Court

Conservative majority says Washington school was wrong to worry about “excessive entanglement” between church and state.

Update (June 27): The US Supreme Court ruled 6 to 3 on Monday that a high school coach’s post-game prayers on a football field were in-bounds.

Joseph Kennedy’s prayers are protected by the First Amendment’s right to free speech and free exercise of religion, the court decided. The coach didn’t coerce any Bremerton, Washington, high school players into praying, so the school district was wrong to try to stop him from practicing his Christian faith.

“The Constitution neither mandates nor tolerates that kind of discrimination,” Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the conservative majority, citing a 1992 precedent. “Learning how to tolerate speech or prayer of all kinds is part of learning how to live in a pluralistic society,’ a trait of character essential to ‘a tolerant citizenry.’”

According to Gorsuch, the ruling would have been different if Kennedy had forced students to join him or said his prayers as part of his official coaching responsibilities. But state employees don’t lose the right to say private prayers of thanksgiving just because they work for a public school.

“Mr. Kennedy prayed during a period when school employees were free to speak with a friend, call for a reservation at a restaurant, check email, or attend to other personal matters,” Gorsuch wrote. “He offered his prayers quietly while his students were otherwise occupied.”

Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote a sharp dissent, joined by justices Elena Kagan and Stephen Breyer. Despite the characterization in the majority opinion, Kennedy’s prayers weren’t actually brief, quiet, or private, she said.

The dissent included three photos of Kennedy surrounded by praying …

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Bonus Episode: A Conversation with Stephen Prothero on Culture Wars Now That ‘Roe’ Is Gone

What the overturn may mean for American society.

On this special episode of The Russell Moore Show, author and professor Stephen Prothero discusses the overturn of Roe v. Wade and what it may mean for the United States.

Moore and Prothero talk about potential implications for other legislation like Obergefell. They consider the potential effects of the Roe v. Wade overturn on America’s culture wars. Listeners may appreciate their conversation on talking about abortion with someone who holds a different opinion, and what it may look like to have a reasoned, productive dialogue on the subject.

“The Russell Moore Show” is a production of Christianity Today
Chief Creative Officer: Erik Petrik
Executive Producer and Host: Russell Moore
Director of Podcasts: Mike Cosper
Production Assistance: CoreMedia
Coordinator: Beth Grabenkort
Producer and Audio Mixing: Kevin Duthu
Associate Producer: Abby Perry
Theme Song: “Dusty Delta Day” by Lennon Hutton

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What Does a Pro-Life Economy Look Like?

Abortion has been a national institution for nearly 50 years. Where should Christians spend their pro-life dollars now?

During the past 49 years of abortion debates under Roe v. Wade, some have lost track of how profits and poverty drive the issue—and why pro-life Christians must continue to innovate as we put our money where our mouths are.

A common argument for a pro-choice ethic is that abortion access is good for the economy. Many like US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen argue that limiting abortion access will only make things worse financially for vulnerable women. And if resources for pregnant mothers do not continue to improve, this is an understandable argument.

Seventy-five percent of abortions occur in households living on less than twice the federal poverty level, and nearly half are below the poverty line, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Sixty percent of women who choose abortion already have children, and 55 percent are single. Presently, there is little economic incentive for single women already struggling to feed their children to have another child.

Yellen and others also suggest the economy at large will suffer if abortion access is restricted. Already harrowing workforce dropout rates will only increase and having more mouths to feed in already disadvantaged homes will result in more poverty.

If you follow this line of fiscal logic, one could argue abortion access can lead our 401(k)s to expect pregnant workers will forgo maternity leave and maintain uninterrupted productivity. It can lead our tax bills to expect fewer households will enroll in government assistance after an unplanned pregnancy. If this is the case, then perhaps we have all blindly yet complicitly profited from the economy of abortion.

However, this by no means suggests abortion access is good for …

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How to Greet the End of ‘Roe’

Faithful responses to the Supreme Court decision should involve new care practices.

One of the best parts of attending Perimeter Church in north Atlanta was seeing the parking lot for young families. Industrial-sized vans pulled in each Sunday and poured forth children. These were not shuttles that gathered youngsters from local neighborhoods but single-family vans filled with children who had been adopted domestically and internationally, many with special needs.

Perimeter families have adopted over 100 children in the past 13 years, due in large measure to a ministry incubated in the church. Named for the declaration in Psalm 68:6 that God “sets the lonely in families,” Promise686 has supported nearly 500 adoptions through grants and other assistance. The ministry supported the adoption of my daughter, whose congenital heart defect probably would have been fatal if she had been left in China’s state orphanage system.

Ministries such as Promise686 will be critical now that the US Supreme Court has overturned Roe v. Wade. We celebrate the ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson. The sanctity and dignity of all human life remains the preeminent moral issue of our time, and five decades of calling evil good has distorted the moral vision of our culture. Overturning Roe is a testament to a long faithfulness, passed down from parents to children to grandchildren, to fight for the lives and dignity of people in all stages of development. It could be the most significant moral achievement of a generation.

But what will a faithful response to success look like? Overturning Roe sends abortion policy decisions back to the states, and many will prohibit or have prohibited abortion. In the words of Jedd Medefind, president of the Christian Alliance for Orphans, “Many children will be born that would have been …

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Can the Church Still Enact Justice When a Pastor Sues His Accusers?

The PCA takes up the case of a church leader who responded to sexual harassment claims with a defamation lawsuit against his accusers.

As the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) discusses its response to abuse at its annual General Assembly this week, a case involving a pastor suing former congregants over allegations against him is making its way through civil court and the denomination’s own system.

Dan Herron, a PCA pastor—or teaching elder—accused of sexual harassment, says the women making claims against him are lying and has sued them for defamation. Several presbyteries have passed measures requesting the PCA intervene.

“For an accused teaching elder to sue his accusers in a civil court—it is ugly,” said Steve Marusich, a pastor in the Central Indiana Presbytery who has been closely involved in the presbytery’s investigation.

The country got a glimpse of defamation cases around abuse allegations with the recent Johnny Depp–Amber Heard trial, where the actor accused his former spouse of defamation over an op-ed that implied he had abused her.

After the ruling awarding Depp $10 million in damages, some legal experts worried that more abusers would use defamation as a strategy to silence victims. The threat of such lawsuits could discourage victims from coming forward.

While church disputes don’t usually turn into legal fights, Herron is among several pastors and ministry leaders who have filed defamation suits in recent years. These kinds of cases are costly and often drag out for years, grinding down victims and denominations trying to separately enforce church discipline. Civil proceedings during a church trial mean that witnesses in the church trial might be afraid of testifying for fear of being sued, or of other consequences in the civil trial. Civil cases also require extensive evidence gathering …

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They Fled Ukraine, and Ukraine Followed

Escaping Russian missiles, some exiled believers found a new sense of purpose helping refugees.

It was 2:30 in the morning on February 24 when Maksym Maliuta finally fell asleep. That night, he had been arguing with his college classmates, who dismissed warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as “Western media panic.” No, Maksym insisted, the signs were all there: Vladimir Putin was building up to a massive military operation.

Maksym had been asleep two hours when his phone rang. Russian airstrikes were raining on cities across Ukraine, his cousin called to tell him. Maksym went online and found a video of missiles exploding in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Then he went into his parents’ room and woke them with the news: Putin was attacking their country.

When Maksym walked to the bathroom to wash up, the shock finally splashed him full in the face, and he began shaking. The possibility of a Russian invasion had been looming in his consciousness since he was 10, when Russia annexed Crimea in 2014. And yet, it seemed unreal when it actually happened, “like a nightmare that finally came true.”

It should have been a relief that the Maliutas were, in fact, half a continent away from their home in Kyiv.

Maksym’s father, Ruslan, works with international evangelical ministries, and whenever people outside of Ukraine asked for his thoughts, Ruslan had answered, “War is possible, but unlikely.” But in mid-January, while on a prayer walk, Ruslan began wondering if, as a father of five children, he ought to prepare an evacuation plan, just in case. He reached out to a friend who owns a chalet in the Swiss mountains. That friend offered the chalet as a temporary safe place to his family but advised, “If I were you, I’d think about coming soon.”

Until …

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Supreme Court Rules Against Maine Policy Denying Christian School Aid

Update: Justices say that exempting religious schools amounts to discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that a Maine policy covering tuition for private schools but not religious schools violates the First Amendment.

Maine offers the tuition assistance in rural districts that do not have public schools. The challenge involved two private Christian schools, Bangor Christian Schools and Temple Academy, which didn’t meet the state’s “nonsectarian” requirement for families to qualify.

The court said such a requirement infringes on free exercise protections and that there was “nothing neutral” about the program.

“The State pays tuition for certain students at private schools— so long as the schools are not religious. That is discrimination against religion,” the court ruled in a 6–3 opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts. “A State’s antiestablishment interest does not justify enactments that exclude some members of the community from an otherwise generally available public benefit because of their religious exercise.”

The Carson v. Makin decision upholds the court’s 2020 ruling against a Montana scholarship program that also barred religious schools from receiving the funding.

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Original post (December 6, 2021): The latest Supreme Court case over public funding for religious schooling examines a policy in Maine, a state dotted with small towns too tiny to run their own public schools. Over half of the state’s school districts (officially called “school administrative units” or SAUs for short) contract with and pay tuition costs to another nearby school of the parents’ choice—public or private.

And that’s where the hangup lies. By law, Maine mandates that partnering …

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Why Juneteenth Should Matter to the Church

Exploring the historical, cultural, and theological significance of Juneteenth.

On June 19, 1865, the Union Army arrived in Galveston, Texas, to inform enslaved Black Americans that the Civil War was over and slavery had been abolished. They were free. President Abraham Lincoln had actually announced his Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier, on January 1, 1863. But for a variety of reasons, the more than 250,000 enslaved people in Texas did not receive the news of their freedom until this June day. Their initial shock soon turned to celebration.

Juneteenth—also known as Emancipation Day—commemorates this important moment in American history. (The name is a mashup of the words “June” and “nineteenth.”) Last year, Juneteenth was officially declared a federal holiday. But it’s much more than another festive date on the calendar. For American Christians, it’s an opportunity to give thanks for our nation’s progress while also meditating on the change still necessary for us to truly act justly, love mercy, and reflect the unity and diversity of God’s heavenly kingdom.

On June 15, Our Daily Bread’s Rasool Berry, CT’s Russell Moore, and other Christian thought leaders assembled for a virtual roundtable on the enduring significance of Juneteenth and how this pivotal event in American history points to the biblical visions of freedom, restoration, and hope. Watch their thoughtful discussion above.

This webinar was co-hosted by Christianity Today and Our Daily Bread Ministries.

Mentioned in the video: Our Daily Bread also invites you to take part in Juneteenth: Our Story of Freedom, a 10-day devotional reading plan. Sign up here to access the digital plan. There’s no cost or obligation.

PANELISTS

Rasool Berry

Rasool serves as teaching …

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