G3 Weekly—April 1, 2023

Ben Zeisloft

G3 Weekly 1920

Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.

This week, three children and three adults were martyred in a shooting at a Christian school in Tennessee. Multiple individuals were charged and one was arrested for attacks on pregnancy resource centers last year. Meanwhile, the Presbyterian Church in America will consider officially exhorting government officials to ban so-called gender transition surgeries for minors.

Massacre at Nashville Christian School Leaves Six Martyred 

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1).

American believers mourned as six people at The Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, were martyred in a shooting.

Three children and three adults were murdered by a 28-year-old woman, who claimed to be a man in the months leading to the attack, as school began on Monday. The students killed in the shooting were each nine years old and were identified as Evelyn Dieckhaus, William Kinney, and Hallie Scruggs, the daughter of Covenant Presbyterian Church senior minister Chad Scruggs. Dr. Katherine Koonce, the school’s sixty-year-old principal, was also killed, as were sixty-one-year-olds Cynthia Peak, a substitute teacher, and Mike Hill, a custodian.

“We are heartbroken,” Chad Scruggs said in a statement to ABC News. “Through tears we trust that she is in the arms of Jesus who will raise her to life once again.”

Two officers from the Metro Nashville Police Department, Rex Engelbert and Michael Collazo, were credited with killing the shooter shortly after arriving at The Covenant School and roughly fourteen minutes after the first emergency call was made. The shooter is reportedly an alumna of the school.

Covenant Presbyterian Church is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church in America, also known as the PCA, an evangelical denomination which affirms historic biblical doctrine with respect to human sexuality. The shooting came the same week that some activist groups had declared a transgender “day of vengeance,” including in Tennessee, where lawmakers recently banned sexually explicit drag shows for minors and so-called pediatric gender transition surgeries.

Christian individuals and groups across the nation rallied around Covenant Presbyterian Church as they offered prayers to the Lord on behalf of the congregation. 

“Beloved, it is a time for us to lament in the face of unbearable grief and trial and to intercede and plead on behalf of our sister congregation, her families, ministers, staff, and school,” the Nashville Presbytery said in a statement. “Words fail us in speaking of this tragedy even to one another, but our prayers will not fail us in lifting our pleas to God for mercy and the grace that is needed.”

Justice Department Cracks Down on Pro-Abortion Terrorists

“But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain” (Romans 13:4). 

Officials from the Justice Department announced the indictment of two individuals and the arrest of one individual who terrorized pregnancy resource centers after the Supreme Court decided to overturn Roe v. Wade last summer.

Gabriella Oropesa and Annarella Rivera allegedly vandalized three pregnancy resource centers in Florida with threatening messages such as “if abortions aren’t safe then neither are you” and “your time is up,” according to a press release from the Justice Department. Caleb Freestone and Amber Smith-Stewart were recently charged with similar offenses in Florida.

Rivera, Freestone, and Smith-Stewart each face penalties as high as $350,000 and as many as twelve years in prison. Oropesa faces ten years in prison and $250,000 in penalties.

Hridindu Roychowdhury was meanwhile arrested in Massachusetts nearly one year after he allegedly “used an incendiary device” to firebomb a pregnancy resource center in Wisconsin. The attack, which occurred on Mother’s Day last year, also involved the suspect allegedly vandalizing the facility with the message “if abortions aren’t safe then you aren’t either,” according to another press release from the Justice Department.

The legal actions against the alleged terrorists only came after coalitions of pregnancy resource centers, which are often run by Christians and provide resources for mothers tempted to seek abortions, repeatedly pressed the Biden administration to charge the suspects.

Presbyterian Church in America Weighs Condemning Gender Transitions

“It would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea” (Matthew 18:6).

Attendees of the PCA General Assembly this summer will consider a motion that would call on officials to ban purported gender transition procedures for minors.

The overture from the PCA, not to be confused with the theologically and socially progressive PCUSA, says that “medical and social interventions related to so-called sex change procedures are a rejection of God’s design” for an individual’s sexuality. The document also noted that “social contagion” has been the primary cause of a sudden rise in emotional distress related to gender identity among young people, especially females, over the past decade.

Ministers will vote on the motion three months after the shooting at Covenant Presbyterian Church, which is affiliated with the PCA.

“We who love our nation, in the name of God who alone is sovereign in his good and perfect design of men and women, call upon you to renounce the sin of all medical and surgical sex change procedures in minors by the American healthcare system because they result in irreversible harm,” the document tells lawmakers. “The obedience to God, which places us in subjection to your rightful civil authority, requires of us to humbly, boldly, and prayerfully proclaim the counsel of God as it bears upon the same God-given authority.”

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Author G3 Weekly 1920

Ben Zeisloft

Ben Zeisloft is the editor of The Sentinel and a former staff writer for The Daily Wire. He and his wife, Neilee, are members at Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia.