Sunday, June 14, 2009

This Week at Baptist Press: "Are evangelicals fractured & losing influence in the public square?"

And churches in Maine are gettin' all activist

"Baptist Press," (BP) reported this week that the "religious right" is not as fractured as some affiliates of the political left are reporting them to be, " the oft-attributed-to-Mark Twain saying goes, "Reports of my demise are greatly exaggerated," BP Executive Editor Will Hall quipped.

Then, he explained what the numbers really say.

Although Obama received a 3 percent bump among evangelical Christians when compared to John Kerry in 2004, BP reports that Obama actually represented a loss of 2 points against what had been won by Bill Clinton in 1996, and a 5 percent loss when compared to the race in 1992.

But, he didn't stop there, according to Hall, "This actually is a 17 percent decline (5 percentage points Obama lost divided by Clinton's 29 percentage point base), which by any objective basis is a political calamity."

Maine churches gather petition signatures to reverse gay marriage law

Several churches in Maine have launched a petition drive to veto the approval of gay marriage legislation.

Even though, as BP pointed out, IRS law is clear that churches may involve themselves in issues of legislation, a gay "civil rights" organization filed a complaint with the IRS in May, "...claiming that the Catholic Diocese of Portland violated IRS law by publicly backing the proposed People's Veto," BP credited the Maine Public Broadcasting Network as reporting.

Under Maine's "People's Veto Law," 55,000 petition signatures will be required to overturn the recently approved gay marriage law. It was approved by what BP reported as a Democratic-controlled legislature and Democratic governor but, has not yet gone into effect.

"The "gay marriage" law has yet to go into effect and won't do so until the signature effort fails or citizens OK such unions," BP reported.

Those opposed to the law have 90 days to collect the signatures after the legislature adjourns but, the churches active in gathering petitions want to gather enough signatures by the end of July so that the veto can make it to the ballot in November. Otherwise, it would not go on the ballot until next summer.

Hosanna Church Pastor Dallas E. Henry told BP people are excited about exercising their right to veto the legislation. He said a significant number of signatures has already been gathered. "They are sickened by the fact that ... the legislature keeps voting for these laws that the people of Maine do not want. They are frustrated, very frustrated."

BP indicated there has not been much polling done to track Maine citizens' sentiments regarding the issue of gay marriage but, "...a Pan Atlantic SMS Group poll of 400 Maine adults in April found that given three options, 39 percent supported "gay marriage," 34.5 percent same-sex civil unions and 23 percent opposed all legal recognition for homosexual couple(s)," BP reported. Read more about this issue.....


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