Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, voters in Wisconsin elected a progressive to the state’s Supreme Court to enable likely future rulings in favor of abortion. An Australian lawmaker unveiled documents showing that Hillsong Church paid six-figure speaking fees to TD Jakes, Joyce Meyer, and other teachers associated with the prosperity gospel. Meanwhile, police arrested a self-identified transgender individual who was allegedly planning to attack schools and churches in Colorado.
Wisconsin Flips Supreme Court toward Liberal Majority
“Evil men do not understand justice, but those who seek the LORD understand it completely” (Proverbs 28:5).
Voters in Wisconsin elected Janet Protasiewicz to the state’s Supreme Court, establishing a new liberal majority that could have implications for abortion policy.
Protasiewicz, who currently serves as a judge for the Wisconsin circuit court in Milwaukee, was endorsed by organizations such as Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America. She defeated Daniel Kelly, who formerly served on the Wisconsin Supreme Court, by eleven points.
The state’s new four-to-three liberal majority could overrule the law passed in 1849 which restricts abortion except for cases in which the life of the mother is in danger. The policy renders abortion a felony for all except the mother who seeks the procedure.
The vote immediately worried prominent Republicans, who recently saw unexpectedly lackluster results in the midterms, leading some Republican commentators to suggest that Republicans should cease to pursue “strict limits” on abortion in order to win next year’s general election.
Hillsong Pays Massive Sums to TD Jakes and Joyce Meyer
“And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep” (2 Peter 2:3).
Australian officials are investigating Hillsong, a global charismatic megachurch based in New South Wales, after the organization paid prominent ministers linked to the prosperity gospel large sums to appear at their events.
Financial documents released by Andrew Wilkie, an independent member of the Australian Parliament, and analyzed by the Christian Post found that TD Jakes received a one-day payment of nearly $147,000 to address the church’s annual conference. Other teachers likewise received considerable payouts between 2005 and 2011: Joyce Meyer received more than $133,000, Israel Haughton received almost $59,000, and Judah Smith received $25,000.
Jakes and Meyer have frequently been criticized for advancing the so-called prosperity gospel, which teaches that financial and physical blessings are universally promised to Christians, an assertion that denies the Christian doctrines of suffering and self-denial.
The documents from Hillsong did not indicate whether the teachers’ ministries or the teachers themselves received the payments. Andy Stanley, a nondenominational megachurch pastor in Atlanta, Georgia, also received a $25,000 payment to appear before Hillsong audiences.
The Australian Charities and Not-for-Profits Commission confirmed in a statement last month that they had launched an investigation into Hillsong. American lawmakers such as Senator Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, have previously called for investigations into other proponents of the prosperity gospel such as Joel Osteen and Paula White for alleged abuse of their nonprofit statuses.
Police Apprehend Possible Transgender Shooter
“The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).
Law enforcement arrested an individual who identifies as transgender for allegedly planning to execute mass shootings at schools and churches in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
A man who identifies as a woman and uses female pronouns was recently apprehended by the Elbert County Sheriff’s Office and subsequently charged with attempted first degree murder, according to a report from local news station KRDO. The possible shooter said he was “about a third of the way” from following through with the attacks and confirmed that his main targets included schools and churches.
A manifesto drafted by the suspect reportedly included influences from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, as well as details on how to fabricate various firearms and makeshift explosives.
The arrest comes shortly after three children and three adults were killed by a self-identified transgender shooter at The Covenant School, a private Christian elementary school in Nashville, Tennessee, associated with Covenant Presbyterian Church. A sign outside the headquarters of Focus on the Family, a prominent ministry based in Colorado Springs, was vandalized at the end of last year with slogans accusing the organization of inspiring a shooting at a nearby LGBTQ nightclub.