Tuesday, December 24, 2013

All Around the Web - December 24, 2013

Religion News Service - Conservatives say Utah polygamy ruling confirms their worst fears
Fueling debates over marriage and religious freedom, a federal judge declared on Dec. 13 Utah laws criminalizing polygamy are unconstitutional, ruling on a case involving the Brown family from TLC’s reality series “Sister Wives.”

Social conservatives who have argued for marriage solely between one man and one woman have long warned that allowing gay marriage would ultimately lead to allowing polygamy — an argument that’s both feared and rejected by gay marriage proponents.

Perhaps not surprisingly, groups advocating for legalizing gay marriage were quiet in response, saying that legalizing polygamy is not part of their mandate.

At the same time, proponents of traditional marriage did a victory lap of sorts, saying their worst fears are starting to come true.

Albert Mohler - Moral Mayhem Multiplied—Now, It’s Polygamy’s Turn
As most Americans were thinking thoughts of Christmas cheer, a federal judge in Utah dropped a bomb on the institution of marriage, striking down the most crucial sections of the Utah statute outlawing polygamy. Last Friday, Judge Clark Waddoups of the United States District Court in Utah ruled that Utah’s anti-polygamy law is unconstitutional, violating the free exercise clause of the First Amendment as well as the guarantee of due process.

In one sense, the decision was almost inevitable, given the trajectory of both the culture and the federal courts. On the other hand, the sheer shock of the decision serves as an alarm: marriage is being utterly redefined before our eyes, and in the span of a single generation.

Judge Waddoups ruled that Utah’s law against consensual adult cohabitation among multiple partners violated the Constitution’s free exercise clause, but a main point was that opposition to polygamy did not advance a compelling state interest. In the background to that judgment was the argument asserted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy to the effect that the only real opposition to any form of consensual sexual arrangement among adults would be religiously based, and thus unconstitutional.

Gospel Coalition - Don't Hate on Rural Ministry




Joe Carter - 9 Things You Should Know About Christmas
2. Despite the impression giving by many nativity plays and Christmas carols, the Bible doesn't specify: that Mary rode a donkey; that an innkeeper turned away Mary and Joseph (only that there was no room at the inn); that Mary gave birth to Jesus the day she arrived in Bethlehem (only that it happened "while they were there"); that angels sang (only that the "heavenly host" spoke and praised God); that there were three wise men (no number is specified) or that the Magi arrived the day/night of Jesus' birth.

3. Rather than being born in a stable, Jesus was likely born in a cave or a shelter built into a hillside. The hills around Bethlehem were dotted with small caves for feeding and boarding livestock. The exact site of Jesus' birth is unknown, but by the third century, tradition had established a probable cavern. Constantine's mother, Helena, erected the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem over the small space.

4. During the Middle Ages, children were bestowed gifts in honor of Saint Nicholas (the namesake for Santa Claus). In an attempt to turn away from the Catholic veneration of saints and saint's days, Martin Luther laid gift-giving in his household on Christmas Eve. He told his children that "Holy Christ" (Christkind) had brought their presents. The tradition caught on with many Lutherans, though later St. Nick would get the credit as often as Christkind.

5. Martin Luther is widely credited as the first person to decorate Christmas trees with lights. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

Daily Caller - Who tops Cruz in early Iowa 2016 poll? | This story is meaningless at this point in the "race," but interesting nonetheless.
Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan is the most popular of the would-be 2016 Republican contenders among Iowa Republicans, handily outstripping his potential competition in the state that holds the first nominating contest every four years, according to a new poll.

The Des Moines Register poll, conducted by Selzer & Co. and released Sunday found that a whopping 73 percent of Iowa Republicans hold a favorable opinion of Ryan, the House Budget Committee Chairman and 2012 Republican vice presidential nominee, while just 10 percent have an unfavorable opinion of him. Among tea partiers, he is also far more popular than his competition, with 66 percent saying they view him favorably. 54 percent of born-again Christians like him; only former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee is more popular among that group.

The poll surveyed Iowa adults by phone interview from December 8 through December 11, meaning most of the interviews were completed by the time Ryan announced the budget deal he co-authored with Democratic Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray on Dec. 10. The Des Moines Register reported that several people interviewed after the deal was announced said that while they were not fans of the plan, they still felt Ryan was “a true conservative” and it did not affect their opinion of him.


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