A Czar, a Cross, and Prayer Chain for Liberals
President Obama's safe schools 'czar,' Kevin Jennings, is currently enemy number one for many conservative advocacy groups.
President Obama stands behind Jennings, but several conservative groups have called for his resignation. Both Jennings's history and current association are worrisome to the groups.
The Family Research Council (FRC) points out that, as a teacher 20 years ago, Jennings condoned a sexual relationship between a high school student and an older man, a situation he could have handled appropriately with "a basic understanding of right and wrong."
Jennings said in a statement this month that he had handled the situation poorly, but had not been trained to handle it well.
"Teachers back then had little training or guidance about this kind of thing," he said. "I would like to see the Office of Safe and Drug Free Schools play a bigger role in helping to prepare teachers."
The organization that Jennings founded — the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which works to make schools accepting of different sexual orientations — is also causing concern. According to Focus on the Family Action, the group "turn students into lobbyists for its extreme left causes," and Jennings could enforce similar policies in schools nationwide.
Calls for his resignation are now coming from a broader conservative circle, including Sean Hannity and The Washington Times.
Lawmaking: More on Health Care and Homosexuals
Health care is still high on the priority list for many evangelical groups. Traditional Values Coalition's Andrea Lafferty supported Republican amendments that would "make this socialist bill less threatening to our liberties, our health care options, and our incomes."
In stark contrast, Steve Taylor, writing for Sojourners, called the current health care system "demonic," and called for Christians' repentance for their compliance with it.
"Do we need universal health care today?" he said. "No — we needed it before my parents and tens of thousands of others had lost their homes. We needed universal health care yesterday."
Pro-life organizations also weighed in on abortion and other issues. The National Right to Life Committee expressed concern about an amendment that would penalize doctors who provide expensive services.
The FRC also criticized a move to allow gays in the military, saying the move would reduce the strength of the armed forces, and an American Family Association "action alert" opposes hate crimes legislation, which may be included as part of a Defense Authorization bill.
Supreme Court: A Cross in the Desert
The U.S. Supreme Court resumed Wednesday over a religious liberty case: Should a cross in the Mojave Desert be removed?
Focus on the Family Action and Liberty Counsel took the opportunity to criticize the American Civil Liberties Union as extremists who want to remove all religious symbols from the public square, even symbols in the middle of the desert.
Al Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, expressed a different theological concern over defending the cross. Christians should be wary of an argument that the cross is just a symbol to honor soldiers, he said.
"Of all people, followers of the Lord Jesus Christ must be the first to insist that the cross is a symbol of Christian faith," he wrote. "The cross must not be reduced to a generic symbol of death and the memory of loved ones."
The Supreme Court also attracted attention from Americans United for Life (AUL) when it declined to hear a case on whether the State of Illinois had to provide a "Choose Life" license plate. In denying to hear the case, the Court affirmed that the state does not need to provide the plate. AUL said the decision allows the state to continue unfairly restrict its citizens' freedom of speech by not allowing them to obtain a plate with a life-affirming message.