In today’s News:
Pro-life cases before the Supreme Court
The U.S. Supreme Court is slated to privately discuss two abortion-related cases this week, one concerning a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi, the other concerning the rights of pro-life protesters in Pennsylvania. The first case concerns Mississippi’s HB 1510, which prohibits abortions from being committed past 15 weeks for any reason other than physical medical emergencies or severe fetal abnormalities. The other case concerns a 2005 Pittsburgh “bubble zone” ordinance requiring pro-life activists to stay more than 15 feet away from the entrance to abortion facilities, effectively keeping pro-lifers from communicating with women entering or exiting the building to appeal to them to choose life or offer them assistance with abortion alternatives. These two cases will be an early test of the Supreme Court’s newest member, Justice Amy Coney Barrett, in whom conservatives have placed great hopes for the future of abortion jurisprudence. Last week, she joined a 5-4 majority that blocked New York’s COVID-19 restrictions from discriminating against churches and synagogues.
The Rev. Paul McCain enters Glory
The Rev. Paul Timothy McCain, publisher and executive editor at Concordia Publishing House (CPH), died In Ballwin, Mo., Nov. 25. He was 58. During his time at the publishing house, McCain was general editor of Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions, A Reader’s Edition and also played pivotal roles in the publication of the Lutheran Service Book, The Lutheran Study Bible and Treasury Of Daily Prayer. He was a frequent guest on KFUO and other programs and podcasts and the author of numerous articles. As word of his death spread across the synod on Thanksgiving Day, The Rev. Todd Wilken, host of the radio program “Issues, Etc.,” credited McCain for putting the Book Of Concord “back into the hands of the laity. For that, and for all the other gifts god gave through Paul, every confessional Lutheran should give thanks today.”
Finnish church enters altar and pulpit partnership
On Nov. 14, the Evangelical Lutheran Mission Diocese of Finland (ELMDF) unanimously declared altar and pulpit fellowship with the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). The decision came during the Finnish church’s annual diocesan assembly, held this year online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The LCMS for its part also expressed recognition of fellowship in a letter of greeting presented to the Finnish diocese gathering. In a letter to the diocesan assembly, President Matthew Harrison of the LCMS expressed joy at the prospect of an official declaration of fellowship.
China cracks down on religious discussion
The Chinese Communist Party has drafted strict new rules preventing foreigners in the country from discussing religion with locals, a move that experts say will make practicing belief far more difficult. This week, China’s Ministry of Justice published a list of new restrictions on religious foreigners who are visiting or working in the Communist country to prevent them from spreading so-called “religious extremism,” or use religion “to undermine China’s national or ethnic unity.”