In today’s News:
Storms slam Lutherans in upper Midwest
Last Monday, a massive “derecho” wind storm tore through the Midwest, hitting thousands of square miles with winds of up to 112 mph. The storm took down trees and power lines, leveled corn crops, and cut off power and phone signal throughout a massive region spanning much of Iowa, and parts of Nebraska and Illinois. Unlike a tornado, the hurricane-force winds that hit the region, did not just devastate a mile-wide path, but a swath of the Midwest that stretched for miles and miles in every direction. In an area of hundreds of miles through eastern Iowa, nearly every standing tree was damaged. Countless homes were hit by trees or sustained wind damage. Central Lutheran School in Newhall, Iowa, lost the roof to its gymnasium completely. Power and phone signal were cut off to the whole region for days, including major cities such as Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Iowa City and The Quad Cities. St. John’s and Central Lutheran sustained damage that will need repairs, as did many other homes and businesses. One elderly member of St. John’s completely lost her home’s roof, which caved in on the kitchen and the living room, though she was unharmed. Last Thursday morning, The Rev. Dr. Ross Johnson, Director of LCMS World Relief and Human Care Disaster Response, traveled to the affected area and met with local LCMS disaster response coordinators to help organize response plans.
Wedding photographer wins in court
A federal district court issued an order Friday that halts enforcement of a Louisville, Ky., law against a photographer and blogger while her artistic freedom lawsuit moves forward in court. Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys represent Chelsey Nelson — an entrepreneur who specializes in photographing, editing, and blogging about weddings — in a legal challenge to a city law that forces her to use her artistic talents to promote same-sex wedding ceremonies if she photographs and blogs about weddings between one man and one woman. The court also denied the city’s request to throw out the lawsuit. The Louisville law also forbids Nelson and her studio, Chelsey Nelson Photography, from publicly explaining on her studio’s own website or social media sites the religious reasons why she only celebrates wedding ceremonies between one man and one woman. Louisville considers such “communications” as indicating that services will be denied because of sexual orientation. The court’s order halts enforcement of that part of the law against Nelson as well.
Lawmakers urge end tax breaks for abortion
More than 100 U.S. senators and representatives have written to the Department of the Treasury to end tax breaks in the IRS code for abortion. Presently, the IRS allows abortion expenses to be tax-deductible as a “medical expense.” They urged the IRS not to consider abortions except when the mother’s life is physically endangered to be medical care. The IRS should not treat premiums for health insurance that covers such abortions as medical care, unless in compliance with the law’s separate accounting requirements for coverage of non-medical care the lawmakers say.