Friday, 08 February 2013 15:28

Top 10 Topics of 2012

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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In keeping with my tradition on The Meeting House on Faith Radio and in this column, I present to you my “Top 10 Topics of 2012”, incorporating some of the principal issues impacting the Christian community during 2012.  

 

10 – New York City school system faces off against churches

For years, the school system in New York City has attempted to cease renting space for churches to meet in its buildings, and a lawsuit that had been filed by one of the churches has been in litigation for almost 18 years.  In 2011, a Federal appeals court ruled in favor of the school system.  Churches, faced with eviction, went back to court and received a positive ruling, allowing them to continue to rent space.  At year’s end, that ruling was on appeal.

 

9 – Survey data shows rise in the “nones”

Polling data is showing a significant number of people who classify themselves as religiously unaffiliated - referred to as the “nones”.  A Pew study shows in the last five years, the unaffiliated have increased from just over 15% to just under 20% of all adults in the U.S.

Results of an extensive Gallup poll were consistent with the Pew numbers, showing a rise in “unbranded” religious people, including those who attend churches that are not part of a traditional denomination.  Almost 70% of Americans describe themselves as either very or moderately religious. 

 

8 – Southern Baptist Convention names first African-American President

At its annual gathering, the Southern Baptist Convention elected its first African-American President.  New Orleans pastor Dr. Fred Luter, who led the rebuilding effort for his church after it had been devastated by Hurricane Katrina, was named to lead the 16-million-member denomination.

 

7 – Death of Chuck Colson brings remembrance, reflection

Chuck Colson died this past year at the age of 80.  He was inspired to start Prison Fellowship after being convicted during the Watergate era.  Through his work with inmates, he began to develop a vision for cultural transformation and became a leading voice for impacting the culture with Biblical truth. 

 

6 – Health care law upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court

Christians had opposed the national health care law for a number of reasons, including its provision for taxpayer-funded abortion, the potential for rationing, and the growth in the size of government.   Many had high hopes the U.S. Supreme Court would rule the law unconstitutional, primarily because of the individual mandate that requires citizens to buy health insurance.  The high court ruled 5-4 that the mandate was constitutional.  

 

5 – Islamic fundamentalism continues in influence, Christians fearful

The “Arab Spring” in the Middle East resulted in a new President for Egypt, who, because of his ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, wants to implement Sharia, or Islamic, Law there.  Syria is in civil war, Libya is forming a new government, and Christians in the entire region are concerned about more persecution.

4 – Evangelicals turn out strong for Romney in Presidential contest

Polling data shows that almost 8-in-10 evangelicals voted for Mitt Romney in the 2012 Presidential election - a higher percentage than for John McCain in 2008.  Christian leaders were quite active in the election cycle, including Dr. Billy Graham, who urged Christians to vote according to Biblical values.  

 

3 – Ministry opportunities occur in aftermath of tragedy

In times of crisis, people look for answers and hope.  God’s Word and His presence can provide people with comfort in times of tragedy and disaster.  In the wake of the destruction of Superstorm Sandy on the East Coast to the mass shooting in Connecticut, we were reminded that God is a present help in time of fear and trauma.

 

2 – Mandate to provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs results in opposition, lawsuits

The Department of Health and Human Services mandate that employers, including religious organizations, provide free contraception and abortion-inducing drugs in their health care plans drew significant opposition amid claims that it violates religious liberties and conscience rights.  A number of non-profit organizations and for-profit companies filed suit against the mandate, and by year’s end, there were over 40 lawsuits on behalf of over 100 organizations.

 

1 – Scope of same-sex marriage increases

The issue of same-sex marriage dominated headlines in 2012, from President Obama’s endorsement of gay marriage to the support shown to Chick-Fil-A and President Dan Cathy after his comments embracing traditional marriage.  Also, three states voted to legalize gay marriage, one affirmed one-man, one-woman marriage, and another rejected an amendment that would approve the traditional definition of marriage.  The Supreme Court agreed to hear challenges to California’s marriage amendment and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.  

Conclusions to most of these stories have yet to be written.  That’s why we as Christians must be aware of these trends in the culture and engaged in speaking God’s truth as He gives us opportunity.

 

 

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