Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, President Joe Biden decorated the White House with rainbow lights and signed a bill codifying so-called same-sex marriage into federal law. Plans were unveiled to build a $300 million tourist village next to the purported location of Jesus’s baptism. Meanwhile, a Christian taxi driver in India was stabbed multiple times after handing his passenger a gospel tract.
Biden Signs Landmark Federal Same-Sex Marriage Bill
“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Romans 1:18).
President Joe Biden approved the Respect for Marriage Act, a piece of legislation enshrining homosexual marriage into federal law in accordance with the Supreme Court’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges.
The commander-in-chief commemorated the bill signing by inviting hundreds of LGBTQ activists to the White House and lighting the building in rainbow colors. “On this day, Jill and I are thinking of the courageous couples and fiercely committed advocates who have fought for decades to secure nationwide marriage equality at the Supreme Court and in Congress,” he said in a statement. “While we are one step closer on our long journey to build a more perfect union, we must never stop fighting for full equality for LGBTQI+ Americans and all Americans.”
Democrats recruited thirty-nine Republicans in the House of Representatives and ten Republicans in the Senate to support the legislation. Among the guests invited to the White House was a drag queen named Marti G. Cummings, who once gained notoriety for performing in front of a two-year-old boy, according to a report from The Daily Signal.
Tourist Village Could Be Built Near Possible Site of Jesus’s Baptism
“Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers” (Mark 11:17).
The site on the Jordan River that was the purported location of Jesus’s baptism could soon be turned into a major pilgrimage attraction.
A proposal offered to King Abdullah of Jordan would cost $300 million over the next decade and create souvenir shops, boutique hotels, and botanical gardens near the place where John the Baptist declared Christ to be the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world. Evidence for the validity of the site dates as early as the fourth century.
The new tourist facilities could draw more than one million visitors each year if approved by the Jordanian government, according to a report from Reuters.
“We are talking about rustic stones and pebbles in architectural designs that preserve the place’s pristine nature and ensure that the sanctity and spirituality that existed 2,000 years ago are not trampled on by any development,” Kamel Mahadin, the architect behind the designs, told the outlet. “We are not talking about a high-tech landscape.”
The landscape of the Jordan River has changed in recent years as various congregations erect churches near the site. Jordanian Baptist Evangelical researcher Philip Madanat told the outlet that additional concerns are raised by the Islamic kingdom using the site to generate revenue, creating a necessity for strict funding guidelines. “This is an attempt to usurp religious spirit,” he said. “It is unprecedented to have such a Christian holy site used for this purpose in Jordan.”
Indian Christian Stabbed after Sharing the Gospel
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account” (Matthew 5:11).
A Christian taxi driver in India was assaulted after he shared the gospel with a Sikh passenger.
Pastor Sukhdev Mark, who drives the taxi to support his family, successfully offered his passenger the gospel tract while driving him to a Sikh house of worship. One day later, however, the passenger called Mark and asked him for another ride, luring him to a location where three other men were waiting to stab him, cutting his hands and severely injuring his abdomen, according to a report from Morning Star News.
“I was bleeding profusely, and I started shouting for help,” he told the outlet. “When I started shouting for help, the three assailants crossed the road and ran away.”
Mark, a former alcoholic and worshiper of various Hindu deities, drove himself to the hospital, where he received thirty stitches and was later discharged. The three assailants were apprehended and charged with attempted murder.