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Must Read Monday: Trump riles Planned Parenthood

April 17, 2017

Trump’s latest pro-life move riles Planned Parenthood — and emboldens anti-abortion activists— Faithwire

Congress passed and President Trump signed legislation to restrict funds to abortion providers. Even before this law, government funds could not go toward abortion services, but certain federal grants can be given to agencies like Planned Parenthood to be used for other family planning services. The Obama Administration, in an eleventh-hour regulation, sought to protect these funds for agencies that perform abortions. With this new law in place, states can ensure that these federal grants no longer go to agencies that provide abortions.

Global Restrictions on Religion Rise Modestly in 2015, Reversing Downward Trend— PEW

PEW’s annual report on religious liberty finds persecution is on the rise. And while we were celebrating Easter, several news outlets wrote extensively on the reality facing Christians around the world— particularly in the Middle East.

Christianity’s prospects of surviving in its birthplace are grim— FOXNews

War, terrorism, and the Christian Exodus from the Middle East— New Yorker

Egypt’s Coptic Christians celebrate Easter in the shadow of ISIS— NBCNews

Texas Bill Allows Recusals for Issuing Gay Marriage Licenses— AP

Texas State Senator Brian Birdwell who sponsored this bill argues it is necessary to protect the rights of religious individuals. Also, it provides these protections for people seeking marriage licenses:

“Birdwell’s hotly debated proposal only applies in cases where other officials without objections agree to step in for the recusing party. If the substituting official is located outside the county where the marriage license is being sought, documents could be sent electronically so as not to unduly delay the process.”

Opponents say it would allow the government to “pick and choose which taxpayers they will serve.” The conversation is about whose rights matter? Can the government preserve both those of a judge with religious concerns and a person seeking a marriage license?

America’s uncivil war over words— Opinion, New York Times

There is a battle going on— and it is one over the meaning of words. In last week’s MRM, we highlighted a story about a federal court’s redefinition of “sex.” Words and their meanings change as the people who use them make (or allow) them to change. It is something worth paying attention to— how have words changed meaning over time and why did they? The other implication is we could be having a conversation about the same word but using it totally differently.

Has Trump found religion in the Oval Office? — POLITICO

A President, whose personal faith and religious affiliation defies traditional categorization, is using religious references more than ever. Could it be the weight of the Oval Office and the daily life-or-death decisions or working daily with deeply religious people like Vice President Mike Pence? Or could this be the result of adopting the more typical verbiage of American Presidents who regularly evoke God?

Pause on Arkansas executions highlights national trend— USATODAY

In 2016, America put to death the fewest number of prisoners in 25 years. Arkansas was planning to execute eight death-row prisoners because the state’s supply of drugs was going to expire. The issues and conversations related to the death penalty are myriad. Among them are legitimate deterrent, justice for victims and prolife arguments that it is always wrong under any circumstances.

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