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HomeAll The NewsTRUMPET NOTES: August 17, 2022

TRUMPET NOTES: August 17, 2022

Marijuana Amendment on Ballot While Lawsuit Progresses

On Aug. 10, the Arkansas Supreme Court ordered the Secretary of State to certify an amendment legalizing marijuana for the November ballot while a lawsuit over the amendment plays out in court.

On Aug. 3, the State Board of Election Commissioners unanimously voted not to certify the “Adult Use Cannabis Amendment” for the ballot after determining that the measure’s ballot title was insufficient. The ballot title provides an explanation of the amendment, and it is the primary tool that helps voters understand a ballot measure.

The following day, attorneys for Responsible Growth Arkansas — the group backing the amendment — filed a lawsuit against the Arkansas Secretary of State arguing that the proposal to legalize marijuana should appear on the November ballot. The group asked the Arkansas Supreme Court to expedite the case, because Aug. 25 is the deadline for the state to certify ballot proposals ahead of the election.

The Arkansas Supreme Court granted the motion to expedite the case and issued a preliminary injunction instructing the Secretary of State to conditionally certify the marijuana amendment for the ballot, pending the court’s decision in the case. That means if the Arkansas Supreme Court rules against Responsible Growth Arkansas, the measure will still appear on the ballot, but votes cast for or against the amendment will not be counted. The court’s order indicates that the lawsuit will be resolved sometime in September.

The proposed amendment would let medical marijuana cultivators and stores grow and sell recreational marijuana in Arkansas, and it would let people 21 and older buy, possess and use marijuana. The measure repeals, replaces and rewrites several parts of Arkansas’ medical marijuana amendment, and it adds new language to other parts of the Arkansas Constitution. (familycouncil.org)

Arkansas Looks to Expand Services for Women and Children

Now that abortion in Arkansas is prohibited except to save the life of the mother, Arkansas is looking at ways to expand services for children and pregnant women. On Aug. 9, Governor Asa Hutchinson held a press conference, where he outlined plans for providing resources to women who otherwise might be at risk for seeking an abortion.

The plans include expanding home visitations and intensive care coordination services for high-risk pregnancies and for children after birth, expanding Medicaid coverage for pregnant women up to 212% of the federal poverty level, increased funding for foster care and a hotline for information on pregnancy, parenting resources and charitable organizations that focus on pregnancy resources: (855) ARK-MOMS (275-6667).

The governor indicated that these services could come online in January. The State of Arkansas also is accepting grant applications from pregnancy help organizations that assist pregnant women. The state is set to award $1 million to these organizations in the coming months.

The governor stated the goal of the Department of Health’s proposals is to reach more women to take advantage of existing home visiting programs and partners through expanded outreach. They also want to increase training for the home visitors, which would give participating families increased support. (familycouncil.org)

Vaping Increases Risk of Marijuana Use

A new study published in JAMA Network Open found that kids who vape with e-cigarettes face an increased risk of marijuana use down the road. The study examined e-cigarette and marijuana use among 9,828 adolescents from 2017 to 2019. Researchers found that youths who used electronic cigarettes but not marijuana were three times more likely to report they had started using marijuana a year later compared with youths who did not use e-cigarettes.

Vaping has increased among young people in recent years. The Centers for Disease Control has found approximately one in nine high school students report that they have vaped within the past 30 days. If e-cigarettes lead to marijuana use among adolescents, then that is deeply concerning.

A growing body of research shows marijuana can have damaging effects on adolescent brains — including a permanent loss in IQ, difficulty thinking and problem-solving, reduced coordination and increased risk of psychosis. All of this underscores what we have said for years: Marijuana may be many things, but “harmless” simply is not one of them. (familycouncil.org)

SBC Leaders Respond To DOJ Investigation

The Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) Executive Committee has been informed that the United States Department of Justice has initiated an investigation into the SBC that will include “multiple SBC entities,” according to an Aug. 12 statement from all SBC entity leaders and SBC President Bart Barber. “Individually and collectively, each SBC entity is resolved to fully and completely cooperate with the investigation,” the statement said.

The announcement comes two months after messengers to the SBC Annual Meeting in Anaheim passed a resolution On Lament and Repentance for Sexual Abuse. Southern Baptists also voted overwhelmingly to adopt a report that approved recommendations toward addressing and preventing sexual abuse in the Convention.

The SBC spent nearly $2 million on an independent investigation conducted by Guidepost Solutions, which submitted its report in May. Send Relief, the compassion ministry of the SBC, has committed $4 million for the implementation of messenger-approved actions and to support survivors of sexual abuse.

In the statement, SBC leaders say they will comply with the DOJ’s request. They asked for prayer and for God’s wisdom as they proceed. (baptistpress.com)

Weapons Used in Destruction Of Second Temple Discovered

Antiquity experts in Israel say they have found archaeological evidence of the destruction of the Second Temple as prophesied by Jesus in the New Testament. The Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA), which is the governmental authority responsible for excavation and conservation in the Holy Land, announced the discovery of stones believed to have been used as projectiles to bring down the walls of Jerusalem during the siege in 70 A.D. 

Based on findings from a 2,000-year-old battleground uncovered in the Russian Compound, one of the city’s oldest districts, IAA archaeologist Kfir Arbiv used computerized ballistic calculations to recreate the ancient battle. So far, the dig has uncovered hundreds of ballista stones of various sizes that were launched from what Arbiv described as “sophisticated bolt-throwing machines” from distances as far as more than 400 yards. Smaller stones used by infantry and catapult machines were also among the Roman arsenal exposed to date, according to Arbiv. Spears, swords and arrowheads — some heavy enough to pierce armor — were also retrieved in the excavations. The stones are believed to have been used in the violent four-month siege that led to the Temple’s destruction and the eventual fall of Jerusalem.

The Second Temple period spanned from 516 B.C. and 70 A.D., when, in a historic battle, the Roman army led by General Titus captured the Holy City and destroyed the temple following a four-month effort to suppress a revolt by the Jewish people that had begun four years earlier.

Jesus foretold the destruction of the Second Temple in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark and Luke. The Scriptures record a conversation as Jesus was leaving the temple, when His disciples “came up to him to call his attention to its buildings.” Jesus’ response in Matt. 24:2 (NIV) reads: “Do you see all these things? … Truly I tell you, not one stone here will be left on another; every one will be thrown down.”

Eli Eskosido, director of IAA, said the stones and other physical evidence that were used by the Roman army “reflect the extremely harsh battles that eventually led to the destruction of the Second Temple.” 

The findings were released to coincide with the fast of the 9th of Av (Tisha B’Av), which commemorates the day of the destruction of the Second Temple. In addition to earlier findings of arrowheads and stone ballista balls on the main street that led to the Temple, other artifacts from the Second Temple period have also been recovered in recent years, including a 2,000-year-old Jewish ritual bath, and a road running from the city’s gates and the Pool of Siloam to the Temple, where Jesus is believed to have walked. (christianpost.com)

Safe Haven Baby Boxes Are Saving More Babies from Abortion

The US has experienced a boost in the use of ‘safe haven baby boxes.’ Known as ‘baby boxes’ for babies to be anonymously dropped off for adoption. More than 12 states have passed laws permitting their use in the US. Baby boxes have been promoted by certain sections of the pro-life movement in the US, the majority of which are in Indiana, where the movement was started by Monica Kelsey, who discovered that she had been abandoned two hours after she had been born.

The baby boxes provide a safe location where a parent giving up their baby for adoption pulls open a metal bin containing a temperature-controlled bassinet. Once shut, the box locks and an alarm is triggered to alert staff. Babies typically spend less than two minutes in the drop boxes before being rescued.

While the boxes have existed in Indiana for a number of years, a box at a fire station in Carmel has received three babies this year after being unused for three years previously. Over the summer, three more babies have been left at drop boxes elsewhere in the state.

Kelsey started the Safe Haven movement, which promotes the use of these boxes. She is lobbying for the boxes to be introduced across the country and expects they will be installed in all 50 states within five years. (lifenews.com)

Canadian Doctors are Killing Disabled Patients to Cut Costs

Doctors in Canada are reportedly killing disabled patients to cut costs. The accusation is not surprising given that Canada recently reported more than 10,000 people killed in euthanasia deaths for the first time in the country’s history.

Alan Nichols had a history of depression and other medical issues, but none were life-threatening. When the 61-year-old Canadian was hospitalized in June 2019 over fears he might be suicidal, he asked his brother to “bust him out” as soon as possible. Within a month, Nichols submitted a request to be euthanized and he was killed, despite concerns raised by his family and a nurse practitioner. His application for euthanasia listed only one health condition as the reason for his request to die: hearing loss.

Nichols’ family reported the case to police and health authorities, arguing that he lacked the capacity to understand the process and was not suffering unbearably — among the requirements for euthanasia. They say he was not taking needed medication, wasn’t using the cochlear implant that helped him hear, and that hospital staffers improperly helped him request euthanasia.

Disability experts say the story is not unique in Canada, which arguably has the world’s most permissive euthanasia rules — allowing people with serious disabilities to choose to be killed in the absence of any other medical issue. The report is not surprising given the statistics showing more and more patients are killed in Canada as the years go by.

Health Canada recently released the Third Annual Report on Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada (2021). The data is gathered from the reports submitted by the medical or nurse practitioners who carried out the euthanasia death. There is no requirement that a third party or neutral person submit the reports to ensure their accuracy. Comparing the Third Annual report (2021) to the Second Annual Report (2020), the report states that there were: 10,064 assisted deaths in 2021 up from 7,603 in 2020; 5,661 in 2019; 4,480 in 2018; 2,838 in 2017; and 1,018 in 2016. The report indicates that the number of assisted deaths increased by 32.4%, representing 3.3% of all deaths in 2021. (lifenews.com)

Boy Dies After Doctors Yanked His Life Support

Archie Battersbee, the boy whose parents fought a widely-followed legal battle to stop a British hospital from removing his life support, died Saturday. The Catholic News Agency reports the 12-year-old’s parents recently lost their legal fight, and the Royal London Hospital removed Archie’s life support last week.

Archie had been unconscious since April 7 when he was found at home in Southend, Essex, England, with a ligature over his head, ITV News reported. Archie’s mom said she thinks her son was trying an online challenge. Archie suffered extensive brain damage and doctors believed he was brain dead, but the hospital never conducted a final test to determine if his brain stem was dead, CNA reports. His parents presented a video to the courts showing the boy grabbing his mother’s hand and crying, the report continues.

Archie’s doctors at Royal London Hospital had maintained that the boy, whose heart was still beating, was “very likely” brain-stem dead, but a conclusive test was never performed. A UK High Court judge granted the doctors’ request to perform the test, but the test — required by the UK’s Code of Practice — was not carried out because doctors determined there was a danger it could produce a false negative result.

His family, which opposed the brain stem test because they believed it to be too dangerous, argued that Archie needed more time to recover to whatever extent possible. In June, the judge agreed that the hospital could remove Archie’s life support. His parents appealed, but neither a British appeals court nor the European Court of Human Rights granted their request to stop the hospital.

Archie’s case has renewed calls for reform in the government-run British health system, especially regarding parents’ rights. Archie’s story is the latest in a growing list of legal battles between families and hospitals involving medical treatment for patients with brain damage. In 2017, Charlie Gard’s case made international headlines after a London hospital acted to and later succeeded in removing the baby boy’s life support against his parents’ wishes. Gard’s parents wanted to transfer him to another hospital that was willing to continue his care. (lifenews.org)

Churches’ Freedom Affirmed Again by Federal Court

The freedom of churches and other religious organizations to make employment decisions based on their beliefs has again gained support in the federal court system. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago dismissed a former guidance counselor’s lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and a Catholic high school on July 28. Roncalli High School had refused to renew Lynn Starkey’s contract after she admitted being in a same-sex marriage in violation of Catholic doctrine.

In a unanimous decision, a three-judge panel of the Seventh Circuit Court ruled the “ministerial exception” based on the First Amendment’s religion clauses protects the right of the archdiocese and the school to decide who will fulfill their religious mission. The First Amendment prohibits government establishment of religion and guarantees the free exercise of religion.

Luke Goodrich, vice president and senior counsel at the religious liberty organization Becket, said the Seventh Circuit’s ruling “ensures that religious schools can remain faithful to their mission.” The Seventh Circuit decision followed two U.S. Supreme Court opinions and multiple federal appeals court rulings affirming the “ministerial exception.”

In 2012, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled a “ministerial exception” exists that enables churches and other religious groups to hire and fire based on their beliefs. That opinion, which protected churches from government interference in their “internal governance,” came in Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The justices affirmed the Hosanna-Tabor decision in 2020 in a 7-2 ruling in Our Lady of Guadalupe School v. Morrissey-Berru.

In her suit, Starkey — who had served in various roles, most recently as co-director of guidance and a member of the school’s administrative council — contended she “should not be considered a minister because she never engaged in religious matters or held a formal religious title,” Judge Michael Brennan wrote in the Seventh Circuit opinion. Her argument “misunderstands the ministerial exception,” Brennan wrote. “What an employee does involves what an employee is entrusted to do, not simply what acts an employee chooses to perform. “Starkey was a minister because she was entrusted with communicating the Catholic faith to the school’s students and guiding the school’s religious mission,” Brennan wrote in affirming a federal judge’s decision. (baptistpress.com)

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