- - Thursday, March 17, 2016

(1) Citing the vice president’s abortion stance, bishop opposes Notre Dame medal for Biden

(2) John Kerry determines IS group committing genocide in Iraq, Syria

Secretary of State John Kerry determined Thursday that the Islamic State group is committing genocide against Christians and other minorities in Iraq and Syria, meeting a congressional deadline for a decision. The declaration, while long sought by Congress and human rights groups, changes little. It does not obligate the United States to take additional action against IS militants and does not prejudge any prosecution against its members.

(3) Georgia lawmakers pass bill shielding gay marriage opponents

Georgia lawmakers have sent a contentious bill protecting same-sex marriage opponents to Gov. Nathan Deal. The proposal unveiled Wednesday seeks to resolve years of heated debate concerns that various bills shielding religious people would excuse discrimination against gay, lesbian and transgender people. But gay-rights advocates blasted the bill as discriminatory.

(4) Scam Christian prayer website to return millions to people for online prayers

A Seattle man running a so-called Christian prayer website and other businesses will return millions of dollars to consumers nationwide who paid for prayers, the Washington state attorney general said. As part of an agreement, Benjamin Rogovy will pay back as much as $7.75 million to approximately 165,000 customers who were victims of Rogovy’s deceptive business practices in several companies he ran, Attorney General Bob Ferguson said Wednesday.

(5) Gov. Nikki Haley Endorses Ted Cruz

(6) How Kasich’s Religion Is Hurting Him With Conservatives (POLITICO)

…There’s good reason to believe, however, that the most religiously driven candidate of all is a man who is remarkably un-theatrical about his beliefs—who even vows, “I don’t go out and try to win a vote by using God. I think that cheapens God.” That would be John Kasich.

…The irony here is not just that the most pious Republican candidate has been largely overshadowed in a campaign for which Christianity is a major calling card. As Kasich makes what could be his last big campaign push to win Ohio’s primary on Tuesday, his devout faith might actually be hurting him. The governor’s faith appears to drive his politically moderate stances on immigration, climate change and gay marriage—positions that alienate him from mainstream conservatives whose support Kasich needs to have a chance at the nomination. 

(7) Trump’s Pastor Friends Have One Thing In Common: They’re All Rich

…As others such as Sarah Posner have pointed out, Trump’s own allure among voters mirrors that of prosperity preachers, often flaunting his riches and influence as proof that he will “make America great again” — if only people would give him their votes. It’s also clear that Trump, who was raised on the early prosperity theology of Norman Vincent Peale, inculcated a number of prosperity gospel tactics into his own business practices: his notorious Trump University, for instance, encouraged low-income students to max out their credit cards to pay for the school, promising them a top-notch education that did not exist.

Despite Trump’s affinity for theology that rewards financial and spiritual dedication to pastors, it’s not clear that his support for prosperity preachers will give him a return on investment if he makes it to the general election.

(8) Why Donald Trump is tearing evangelicals apart

…Pastor Rick Scarborough has spent 20 years traveling the country to politically mobilize evangelical voters and knows better than most just how un-monolithic they are. In recent years, those differences have just gotten more pronounced, said Scarborough.

“In the past when we’d talk about abortion, 90 percent said: ‘You’re right.’” Now half seem to have experienced it or know someone who has, he said. And “when Falwell spoke against gay marriage there was unanimity. Now half the congregation has a niece or brother who is impacted.”

But the Texas Baptist says he’s never witnessed the bitter divisions among evangelicals that this GOP primary season has unleashed.

…“Evangelicals are so divided….It’s because we are living in a growing age of secularism that is forcing itself on people who hold traditional values,” Scarborough said. “Along comes a champion to the common man, a guy who says to Christians: ‘I’m going to take care of you.’ Now it’s a numbers game and I don’t know if he can be stopped. People are confused.”



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