G3 Weekly—September 16, 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, one of the few officials who stood against Obergefell v. Hodges was forced to pay two men to whom she had refused to give a marriage license in 2015. Government schools in Texas witnessed more attendance declines as families turned to home education. Meanwhile, residents of southeast Asian nations are wary of their increasingly Christian neighbors.

Former Clerk Who Resisted Same-Sex Marriage Order Must Pay Damages

“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh” (Matthew 19:4-5).

Kim Davis, a former county clerk in Kentucky who refused to provide same-sex couples with marriage licenses, was ordered by a jury to pay $100,000 in damages to two homosexual men affected by her decision.

Davis garnered nationwide attention in 2015 for emerging as one of the few government officials to avoid complying with the Supreme Court opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges, which said that there exists a fundamental right for same-sex couples to marry in the Fourteenth Amendment. She was held in jail for five days as she refused to issue the marriage licenses.

The plaintiffs, David Ermold and David Moore, were each awarded $50,000 by a jury, eight years after Davis resisted the opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges and one year after a district court found her personally liable for refusing to issue them a marriage license. 

Liberty Counsel will appeal the case on behalf of Davis, who has Oneness Pentecostal convictions. “We look forward to appealing this decision for Kim Davis,” Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver said in a statement. “We will argue religious accommodation under the First Amendment, and other state and federal laws. We will also argue that Obergefell v. Hodges was wrongly decided and should be overturned.”

Texas Children Flee from Government Schools

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children” (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).

Some 30,000 children in Texas between seventh and twelfth grade withdrew from government schools to pursue home education during the 2021 to 2022 school year.

The data, provided to the Texas Home School Coalition from the Texas Education Agency, show that the number of students who left government schools matched levels seen in the school year most affected by statewide lockdowns and virtual instruction. Between 8% and 10% of students in Texas are now estimated to be receiving an education at home.

One study from the National Center for Education Statistics released in 2019 found that concerns about “safety, drugs, or negative peer pressure” drove 25% of exits from government schools, while 13% of exits were attributable to a “desire to provide religious instruction.”

Southeast Asia Wary of Growing Number of Christians

“For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).

Residents in Southeast Asian countries are wary of the rapid growth of Christianity in their nations, according to a survey from Pew Research Center.

Christians as a share of the overall population has surged in multiple countries: in Singapore, for instance, many who were raised Buddhist are becoming Christians or disassociating from religion. Large shares of Buddhists and Muslims across several nations are likely to say that the minority Christian populations are threats to their religion: some 51% of Sri Lankan Buddhists who believe in religion-state integration said that rising numbers of Sri Lankan Christians are a threat, while 39% of Indonesian Muslims said the same about Indonesian Christians.

Singapore currently has a Christian population of 17%, while believers in Malaysia and Indonesia compose 10% and 6% of the population respectively. Christians represent less than 2% of the population in Cambodia and Thailand.

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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.