Monday, May 13, 2024

We’re starting this week’s newsletter with a viral story that fortunately had a positive ending.

Police in Pennsylvania arrested a man Sunday who tried to shoot a church pastor because “God told him to do it.” But the preacher’s life was spared when the assailant’s gun somehow jammed. Video shows the moment it all unfolded. It’s almost too stunning to believe.

Subscribe to have The Washington Times’ Higher Ground delivered to your inbox every Sunday.

And while we’re on the topic of stories with uplifting endings, this 7-year-old miraculously survived being sucked up in a tornado. It’s a powerful read you won’t want to miss.

LGBTQ debates in the courts

In this April 16, 2016, photo, a statue draped in a rainbow flag showing support against HB2, North Carolina's law on LGBT rights, is displayed at Whitehall Antiques showroom located in the Suites at Market Square, in High Point, N.C. (Jessica Nuzzo/The Enterprise via AP) **FILE**

SEE ALSO: The Higher Ground Podcast: Mass baptisms, shocking Baptist numbers, LGBTQ Methodist chaos continues

On the religious freedom front, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday that a Catholic school has the right to strictly hire staff who agree with its religious values, rejecting a lawsuit from a substitute teacher planning to enter into a same-sex marriage. Here are the details.

On a separate note, the U.S. Supreme Court could once again hear challenges to state bans on medical procedures for transgender youth. The court has declined to hear such cases in the past, but it’s unclear if a new dispute could finally be taken up. The Washington Times’ Alex Swoyer has more.

Antisemitism, campus chaos and double standards

Rep. Burgess Owens, Utah Republican, speaks at a press conference about K-12 antisemitism with Jewish students and parents on May 8, 2024, by Parents Defending Education in Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Parents Defending Education)

In addition to targeting colleges, congressional lawmakers have set their sights on stopping antisemitism in K-12 education. 

Officials brought in public school leaders this week from major cities such as New York and Berkeley, California, to hear how they’ve taken action to combat anti-Jewish hate. But it seems some members of Congress don’t believe adequate action is being taken. 

For instance: “I’m hearing really nice words here: teaching, redirecting, directing. What I’m missing is ‘discipline’ and the word ‘fired,’” said Utah Republican Rep. Burgess Owens. Read more.

Meanwhile, a report shows that Ivy League schools took millions of dollars in gifts from “State of Palestine” entities, opening up some pretty important questions.

Christian musician and worship leader Sean Feucht hosted a “United for Israel” march and rally outside the University of Southern California, where officials have shut down the campus to outsiders after clearing out a pro-Palestinian camp.

The event, which drew a crowd of about 200 marchers, came a few weeks after Mr. Feucht led a “Unite for Israel” gathering outside the gates of Columbia University. Read more.

The right-of-center Independent Women’s Forum is calling out the White House and feminist groups for what they see as “continued silence when it comes to … Israeli women and girls.” They see a major disconnect between responses to Hamas’ horrors against women and mass support for past movements like #MeToo and #BringBackOurGirls. Here’s why they’re accusing some of “selective outrage.”

Denomination bleeds members

The headquarters of the Southern Baptist Convention is seen, Dec. 7, 2011, in Nashville, Tenn. A Southern Baptist Convention leader said Wednesday, March 5, 2024 the U.S. Department of Justice has ended its investigation of the denomination's handling of sexual abuse in its churches and doesn't anticipate further action. The statement by Jonathan Howe, interim president of the denomination's Executive Committee, said the department informed the convention's legal counsel that there is “no further action to be taken" in the probe, which began a year and a half ago. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

Though the Southern Baptist Convention lost 241,000 members last year, it still remains the largest U.S. Protestant denomination.

With a total of 13 million members, the SBC is down from its much larger 16.3 million in 2006. Here’s the full story, numbers breakdown — and why it all matters.

Speaking of organizational crises, the Boy Scouts of America is dropping “boy” from its name, and there’s no shortage of opinions about the move.

In our opinion

A holy wooden Christian cross laying on a wood background with an American flag. File photo credit: enterlinedesign via Shutterstock.

Pastor Shane Idleman tackles “what the Bible says about self-defense.” 

Columnist Billy Hallowell explores how mass baptisms are popping up all over America — and why that matters.

“Amid mass confusion and aimless cultural wandering, a slow-building resurgence is afoot — a spiritual hunger that appears to be growing in tandem with culture’s ethical demise,” he writes. As the evil, darkness and discontentedness increase, something remarkable is happening: For many, the veil is being lifted. There’s a rising tide of people across America who are snapping out of their stupor as the cultural dumpster fires rage.”

Finally, Everett Piper in his “Ask Dr. E” column responded to someone who targeted him for his insightful columns. That reader wrote: “We don’t need authoritarians like you telling us how to live our lives.” Mr. Piper responded by noting “disagreement is not synonymous with authoritarianism” — and he wasn’t done there.

Copyright © 2024 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

Please read our comment policy before commenting.

Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide