- - Monday, October 31, 2016

(1) Obama Threatens to Veto Military Bill Over Religious Liberty|Daily Signal

… Included in the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act is an amendment offered by Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., that applies decades-old religious exemptions from Title VII of the Civil Rights Act (1964) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (1990) to federal grants and contracts.

The Russell Amendment is sound policy that will prevent the administration from stripping contracts and grants from faith-based social service providers whose internal staffing policies reflect their faith.

…But Obama’s veto threat is actually the strongest proof of why the Russell Amendment is needed. It shows that the president wants absolute freedom to discriminate against religious social service providers that interact with the government — all because many religious organizations won’t endorse the LGBT cause. Congress should say no to the president’s blatant attack on religious diversity. 

(2) Erick Erickson Is Sorry About Some of the Things He Has Said |The New Yorker

***A short profile of Conservative pundit, radio host, and (now) seminary student.

…Some have wondered, understandably, if Erickson is softening. “I’ve always been perceived as the conservative rabble-rouser who’s just saying stuff,” he told me. “And I have said some things I regret. I shouldn’t have said the thing about Michelle Obama—she wasn’t running for President. It was a ridiculous comment.” He has also apologized for the Souter tweet. “The Wendy Davis one, though? She had a profile in Vogue talking about her Barbie looks. And I knew the polling in Texas showed that if you defined her abortion position, she’s not gonna win. So I’m actually rather proud of ‘Abortion Barbie.’ It’s a perfect definition of what she stood for.”

…A year and a half ago, he began attending a seminary class in the city. “I’ve been taking the systematic theologies recently,” he said. “But I really should have saved the eschatology class for this semester. Studying the end times would be richly rewarding this year!”

The seminary course is teaching Erickson, among others things, “how to always have a voice in the back of my head saying, ‘You probably want to pause before tweeting or writing that.’ ” I asked him to elaborate. “It has really put me in conflict with my political positions and how I say things.”

(3) Tim Tebow Ponders a Future in Politics

***Also in The New Yorker, a word about Christian athlete Tim Tebow’s potential future. Maybe in a baseball uniform. Maybe in Congress. Also, I enjoyed seeing the focus on his faith.

“It’s something I could imagine,” he told me recently, over the phone, when I asked about the possibility. “I want to do whatever I feel can have the greatest impact and touch the most people. If one day that is the political realm, then that’s something I’d consider. I wouldn’t be doing it out of a passion for politics but out of a passion for people.”

Tebow grew up abroad, the son of Baptist missionaries. From the moment he got widespread attention as a football player, playing quarterback at the University of Florida, where he won two national championships, he’s been known as much for expressions of faith as for accomplishments on the field. (Most famously, he celebrated by kneeling in prayer, striking a pose that came to be called “Tebowing.”) He was invited to speak at this summer’s Republican National Convention, but passed on the opportunity. He told me that he doesn’t like the tenor of this year’s Presidential campaign. “It’s just disappointing that so much has to be about the negativity—but I’m not in that world yet,” he said.

“I’d do it if I could share a message of faith, hope, and love, share a message of ‘We are all created equal’—literally, everyone is created equal. God created us equal, but in our own unique way, in love, by love, and for love, to do amazing things,” he said. “When you understand that basic concept and principle, it totally transforms how you think of people and treat people. Every single person, no matter where they are from, what their ethnicity, what their socioeconomic status is, God created them for a purpose.”

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