Wednesday, 21 February 2018 12:04

Top 10 Picks of 2017

Written by  Bob Crittendon
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Each year on The Meeting House program, I list and explore the “Top 10 Topics” impacting the Christian community from the previous year.  Here are the “Top 10 Topics of 2017.”


10 – Boy Scouts of America announce acceptance of transgender “boys” and female members.

Not too long ago, the Boy Scouts of America had announced the acceptance of homosexual boys into membership and allowance of gay Scout leaders. The organization went further this year, announcing it would accept biological girls who identify as “boys” and that girls would be admitted as members into the BSA.


9 – Court rules City of Atlanta erred in the handling of the firing of former Fire Chief.

Former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran had been removed from his position as the result of his writing a book offering Biblical principles on manhood.  A Federal district court determined that the city’s actions in terminating the former chief were unconstitutional.


8 – U.S. Supreme Court upholds church’s right to participate in state playground funding program.

A major religious freedom case heard by the high court resulted in a 7-2 decision in favor of a Missouri church wishing to participate in a grant program offering playground resurfacing materials, which was told it could not because it was a religious organization.


7 – Developments regarding the transgender agenda including revision of North Carolina policy and revised stance by Federal departments.

Issues concerning transgender issues continued to arise.  The North Carolina Legislature revised its law requiring people to use the restroom corresponding to their biological gender.  The U.S. Department of Justice and Education, under the new Administration, revised a previous directive to schools implying a loss of Federal funding if transgender students were not allowed to use the restroom or locker room corresponding to their “gender identity.”


6 - U.S. Senate special election in Alabama yields unexpected result.

Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a Republican who had been removed from that position twice due to a stance based on his religious convictions, lost in a narrow contest to Democrat Doug Jones in a race that forced Christians to weigh Moore’s religious reputation against allegations of sexual misconduct.


5 – Museum of the Bible opens in the Nation’s capital.

Eight stories high with 430,000 square feet of space, the Museum of the Bible, founded in association with the Green family of the Hobby Lobby craft store chain, opened just blocks from the National Mall in Washington.


4 – In light of racial issues, including visibility of “alt-right” and violence in Charlottesville, Christian leaders respond.

The Church has the unique opportunity to respond in matters of race relations and racial reconciliation, speaking strongly in denouncing racism.  The Charlottesville tragedy, in which white supremacists and nationalists squared off against counter-protestors, resulting in one death, gave Christian leaders another opportunity to address racial concerns.  The Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution against racism, specifically philosophies associated with the “alt-right.”  A number of state conventions passed similar resolutions.


3 – Dozens perish in Texas church shooting.

A gunman walked into a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, and took the lives of 26 individuals, including an unborn child, as well as the pastor’s daughter.  The shooter was chased down and took his own life. The incident was a motivation to churches to examine their own security plans.


2 – A tough year for nation’s largest abortion provider, Planned Parenthood, including investigation by Justice Department and charges by Congressional committees.

The nation’s largest abortion provider continued to face the fallout from the undercover videos exposing its trafficking of body parts from unborn children.  By year’s end, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it was investigating Planned Parenthood’s activities; two Congressional committees had already issued referrals for criminal prosecution of the organization.


1 – Trump acts on issues relevant to Christians, including the Supreme Court, pro-life policy, and religious freedom.

Even before the election of Donald Trump, Christians had been divided over various facets of his personality and activities. But, from a policy standpoint, in his campaign, he had made a variety of promises, including the nomination of what would be termed a “strict constructionist” justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.  He had also touched on themes of religious liberty. 


Trump fulfilled one promise in his appointment of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court, and appointed Federal appeals court judges with a similar judicial philosophy.  The President issued a number of pro-life executive orders, including the reinstatement of the policy preventing tax dollars from funding abortions in foreign countries.  He issued an executive order at the White House on the National Day of Prayer dealing with religious liberty, illustrating his Administration’s commitment to it.  Later in the year, Federal agencies developed guidelines in accordance with the principles of the order.


Many of these issues will continue to be watched during 2018.


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