The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC), America’s largest Protestant denomination, made history June 19 when it elected the Rev. Fred Luter its president, the first black leader in the SBC’s 167-year existence. Luter was chosen in his native New Orleans, where the SBC was meeting for its annual denominational conference, and where Luter pastors Franklin Avenue Baptist Church.
A small Texas town has taken a bold stand for prayer and patriotism. CBS News reported that on June 12 the city council of Weatherford, a west-central Texas community, voted four to one to bring back the tradition of a regular invocation, as well as the Pledge of Allegiance to both the state and U.S. flags, following a 37-year absence of the rituals.
A New York City principal caused quite a stir when she banned a patriotic song from being performed at a kindergarten graduation ceremony, and opted instead for a pop-culture hit, asserting she did not want to offend other cultures. Though her decision angered local residents and parents, the New York City Board of Education has now come to her defense, prompting a great deal of debate over political correctness in the school system.
Greta Hawkins, principal at P.S. 90 Edna Cohen School in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, found herself in some hot water with parents after she asked teachers to remove the song “God Bless the USA” by Lee Greenwood from the program for the kindergarten graduation ceremony. According to school staff, Hawkins said she was afraid that such a song might “offend other cultures.” Instead, she opted to have Justin Bieber’s hit song “Baby” played during the ceremony.
Tens of thousands of Christian and pro-life activists gathered in over 160 cities across America on June 8 to take a public stand against President Obama’s impending contraception mandate that would require employers to include free contraception in the health insurance they provide their employees. Such contraception would include abortion-causing drugs such as RU-486, referred to by pro-life activists as the “abortion pill.” Religious leaders have expressed alarm that the mandate would apply not only to secular businesses, but also to Christian institutions and non-profits, as well as to Christian business owners who are morally opposed to birth control and abortion.