• Welfare Reform and Teenage Pregnancy — In March, the House of Representatives began to legislate the most comprehensive welfare reforms of this century as part of the “Contract with America.” As a part of the welfare reform package, congress has proposed a welfare plan to reduce the number of out-of-wedlock births without increasing the number of abortions. Currently, 30.1 percent of all births are to unwed mothers. Republicans claim that the current welfare system rewards illegitimacy. They say the new measure would reduce the strain on welfare. The House Ways and Means Committee has promised increased block grants to states that reduce their illegitimacy rate. A state would get a five percent bonus if it showed a drop of one percentage point in its “illegitimacy ratio” – defined as the number of out-of-wedlock births plus any increase in abortions. Simply reducing illegitimacy through abortion would not bring the ratio down. A reduction of two percentage points would reap a ten percent bonus.
  • Religion and Science — Paul Davies, an Australian physicist whose inquires into the nature of the universe have emphasized the compatibility of theology and science, has won the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. The award is reserved for individuals who advance the world’s understanding of matters of religious faith. Mother Theresa, Billy Graham and Alexander Solzhenitsyn have been past recipients. Davies claims that scientific research illuminates theological issues. Says Davies, “Having spent half a lifetime at the forefront of fundamental physics, I have found the use of words like ‘design,’ ‘meaning,’ and ‘purpose’ irresistible. How can one accept a scheme of things so cleverly arranged, so subtle and felicitous, simply as brute fact, as a package of properties that just happens to be?”
  • Liberal Media — House Speaker Newt Gingrich says many newspaper editorial boards contain “socialists” and suggested businesses stop advertising in papers that contain liberal views. According to the Washington Post, Gingrich told business executives at a private dinner that the establishment press was the mortal enemy of GOP reformers. Christian leaders have often lamented the liberalization of media especially since the Christian conservative press dominated the media from the founding of our country throughout the Civil War era.
  • Homosexuality — With the conservative swing in America evidenced by last November’s mid-term elections, “homosexual rights” are under increased scrutiny. School programs that deal with gays and lesbians have become suspect as thinly veiled efforts to recruit new homosexuals. Children’s books used with grade schoolers such as Heather Has Two Mommies have been cited by House Republicans during debates as evidence that schools are going beyond education into promotion of homosexuality.
  • Abortion — Pro-life lobbyist groups are pushing for legislation for the “Second Hundred Days” of the Republican dominated U.S. Congress. Although a majority of pro-life representatives were swept into both houses, legislation to limit or ban abortion has not appeared in the “Contract with America.” On the state level, pro-life legislation is more pronounced. In the state of Kansas, legislation has been introduced to increase regulation of abortion clinics. Supporters of the bill point to cases where women have died on the operating table in the clinics or have left in ambulances headed towards the hospital. Incidences of malpractice, drug abuse and unsafe medical procedures by doctors who perform abortions in Kansas are being used to promote the bill.
  • Death Penalty — For each the past 18 years, the New York Assembly passed a death penalty bill only to have it vetoed by Democratic Governors Hugh Carey and Mario Cuomo. This year, Republican Governor George Pataki signed the bill into law. The new law establishes ten crimes punishable by death by legal injection including intentional murder committed during violent crimes such as rape, robbery or kidnapping. Serial killings, murders of judges, on-duty police officers, prison guards and murders involving torture are also covered. Former Governor Mario Cuomo commented, “One of the things I’m genuinely happy about is my position never changed. I’m so convinced this is the wrong direction.” Death penalty advocates counter that the low ratio of executions to capital crimes now negates the death penalty’s deterrent to violent crime. According to national statistics, about 24,000 homicides are committed annually, and only about 30 are punished by execution each year.
  • School Prayer — Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich has promised to take up a controversial amendment allowing school prayer by July 1995. The measure was shelved earlier in the year after some House members complained that such an amendment might become a distraction from the “Contract with America.” Polls regularly show that over 75 percent of Americans favor prayer in public schools.
  • Myth of the “Radical Right” — As a majority of voters demonstrated last November, the American public agrees with the so-called “radical right agenda” – a balanced budget amendment, tax cuts, welfare reform, and a school prayer amendment. Before the 1994 elections, major news media frequently labeled this reform package as that of the “radical right” and its “radical agenda.” However, the vast majority of Americans, who by definition make up the “mainstream middle,” voted to endorse the Republican “Contract with America.” The message they gave was that the self-proclaimed “moderate Democrat” President Bill Clinton was too far to the Left for the tastes of the American public. – CBN World Watch
  • A.D. 2000 Movement — In what has been called the “greatest prayer movement in history” by Christian leaders, an international movement of millions of intercessors are praying for revival in the Church and a new wave of evangelism throughout the world. A.D. 2000’s goal is to enlist 30 to 50 million people during October 1995 in a focused prayer effort targeting 100 cities in the world’s least evangelized region, sometimes called the “10/40 window.” Christian leaders hope that the effort will result in the church’s obedience of Christ’s commandment to fulfill the Great Commission in the not too distant future. – CBN World Watch
  • Will North Korea Open to Gospel? — Just a few decades ago, the capital of North Korea, Pyongyang, was the center of missionary activity for all Asia. Today, few north Koreans have ever heard the name of Jesus Christ and there are no known Christian missionaries working with North Koreans. According to missions experts, the nation is the most closed of the remaining communist bloc. North Korea is decades behind the West in its economic progress and the people are oppressed by a spiritual emptiness. Although the situation appears to be bleak, doors for missionary work could be opening soon in North Korea. South Korea continues to experience remarkable church growth and economic prosperity. Missions experts say that within a few years, North Korea will be absorbed by South Korea out of sheer economic necessity and that the waves of revival will sweep over one of the last remaining totalitarian communist regimes. – CBN World Watch
  • Turkey: Largest Unreached Nation — Turkey is the largest nation in the world unreached by the Gospel. Although in the first century it was the center for Gospel activities in the whole world, the number of Christians in Turkey has dwindled from 22 percent to 0.2 percent. With a population of 55 million, Turkey has become the target of western missionaries. Several churches have recently begun in Turkey and the nation has been targeted for prayer by intercessors. – CBN World Watch

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