Welcome to G3 Weekly—a summary of this week’s top news stories on Christianity and the public square.
This week, pro-life activists in Missouri advocated against a bill to abolish abortion and establish equal justice for preborn babies. The percentage of American church attendees who view tithing as important continues to decline. Meanwhile, a mother in Oregon was barred from adopting children because of her support for biblical sexual ethics.
Missouri Pro-Lifers Oppose Bill to Abolish Abortion
“This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me” (Matthew 15:8).
Pro-life activists in the state of Missouri opposed legislation, which would have established equal protection under the law for pre-born babies.
The Abolition of Abortion in Missouri Act would have protected the lives of preborn children “with the same criminal and civil laws protecting the lives of born persons” by repealing statutes that permit willful prenatal homicide and assault. The bill also included language clarifying that legitimate medical procedures which result in the unintended death of the child or are performed when all reasonable alternatives to save both lives are exhausted are not criminal acts.
The only two witnesses to testify against the bill before the Missouri Senate Health and Welfare Committee were Samuel Lee, a lobbyist for Campaign Life Missouri, and Susan Klein, a legislative liaison for Missouri Right to Life. Both activists cited a letter authored by several dozen pro-life organizations last year which said that they “oppose any measure seeking to criminalize or punish women” and “stand firmly opposed to include such penalties in legislation.”
Republican State Senator Mary Elizabeth Coleman, who chairs the Health and Welfare Committee, initially told Abolish Abortion Missouri that she would personally cosponsor the bill. Supporters of the legislation said she backed away from supporting the measure after a meeting with Missouri Right to Life.
Proponents of the Abolition of Abortion in Missouri Act sought to recognize that so-called medical abortions, in which mothers can order a series of pills to murder their preborn babies in their homes, still remain available in the state even as surgical abortions are heavily regulated. Supporters of the bill also noted that mothers seek abortions largely for reasons of convenience.
Pro-life entities, such as March for Life, National Right to Life, and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, endorsed the open letter cited by the activists after a similar abolition bill advanced last year to the floor of the Louisiana House. The document added that “women are victims of abortion” and contended that penalizing mothers who murder their preborn children “is not the way.”
Fewer American Church Attendees Consider Tithing Important
“Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).
A smaller share of professed American Christians believe that tithing is a biblical command, according to a survey from Lifeway Research.
Some 77% of Protestants in the United States believe that tithing is still a command, marking a moderate decline from the 83% who said the same in a similar poll taken six years ago. Younger church attendees are the least likely to believe that tithing remains a biblical command, while Lutherans are the least likely among other denominations to affirm the practice.
Respondents who hold to evangelical beliefs, which include assent to doctrines such as the authority of Scripture and the importance of evangelism, were considerably more likely than those without evangelical beliefs to agree that tithing is biblical and currently applicable. Some 31% give one-tenth of their income, a decline from 37% in the last iteration of the poll.
Members of Baptist and Presbyterian churches were among the most likely to tithe one-tenth of their income, while Methodist and Restorationist church attendees were among the least likely.
Oregon Mother Barred From Adopting Due to Christian Beliefs
“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world” (James 1:27).
Jessica Bates, a mother who desires to adopt in her home state of Oregon, was told she could not welcome children into her home because of her Christian beliefs about sexual ethics.
Bates, a widow who has five children between ten and seventeen years old, submitted an application to adopt a pair of siblings. She learned, however, that state laws require adoptive parents to support the “spiritual beliefs, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression” of any children welcomed from the Oregon Department of Human Services.
When she told officials that she would not violate historic doctrines on biblical sexuality, they reportedly informed her that she cannot adopt children without abandoning her convictions.
“Those with ‘correct’ views on sexual ethics may adopt; those with religious views may not,” a lawsuit filed on behalf of Bates said. “Because she will not agree to use a hypothetical child’s preferred pronouns or facilitate a hypothetical gender transition, she cannot even adopt a newborn who has no concept of, much less a desire for, these things.”
The lawsuit contended that the laws penalize Bates for her Christian faith and noted that there are nearly 8,000 children in the Oregon foster system waiting for a home.