By Caleb Seibert
In a landmark decision Monday entitled Murphy v. NCAA, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Betting Act (PASPA), a law that effectively eliminated legal sports betting in most states around the country for 25 years.
The case pitted the State of New Jersey (Gov. Philip Murphy) against the National Collegiate Athletic Association and three professional sports leagues.
The court found that the law violated the “anti-commandeering” principle drawn from the 10th Amendment to the Constitution. This principle holds that Congress may pass laws that must be upheld by states, but it may not issue direct orders to state governments requiring them to take certain state legislative action.
This decision does not immediately legalize sports betting across the country, but it does allow states to legalize such activity in their state if they wish to do so.
As for the effect in Texas, Rob Kohler, a Christian Life Commission consultant, says, "The recent decision by the Supreme Court regarding gambling on sporting events really has no effect on the current gambling regulations in the State of Texas.” The current leadership of Texas has repeatedly rejected efforts to expand gambling in our state. Kohler concludes: “it will however, energize proponents of this, and other forms of gambling expansion in Texas in the upcoming legislative session in January 2019."
By Caleb Seibert
This month, the Christian Life Commission joined Gov. Greg Abbott and several groups to declare April “Second Chance Month” for formerly incarcerated individuals. Second Chance Month is an opportunity to highlight the challenges of formerly incarcerated individuals and their families and to share stories of redemption for those who have successfully overcome their criminal pasts.
Nearly 70,000 people are released from Texas state prisons every year, but most churches have little to no interaction with them. These people and their families often face a mountain of obstacles to re-entry ranging from work barriers and criminal debt to the deep stigmatization that comes with their past experiences.
Research by Lifeway Publishing in Nashville seems to echo this sentiment. After polling 1,000 Protestant churches, Lifeway found that 31 percent said no former inmates attended their church, 36 percent said one or two former inmates attended, and only 33 percent indicated three or more former inmates attending their church.
Hebrews 13:3 says to “remember those who are in prison, as though you were in prison with them.” How can Christians remember those who are in prison and those who have been released?
Here are four practical suggestions for ministry . . .
By John Litzler
Religious liberty is a bedrock American freedom, but a number of legal issues related to this freedom are being sorted out in the courts and news media today.
In some ways, the Supreme Court’s landmark 2015 Obergefell decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the United States raised more questions than it provided answers. In its opinion the Court concluded that “same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry” and also said “the First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faith.” What happens when these two liberties appear at odds with one another?
One example of this conflict between freedoms occurred in both California and Colorado. In each place, a same-sex couple, exercising their right to marry, sought to hire a baker to create a cake for the couple’s wedding and in each case the baker declined asserting that the baker’s religious beliefs prevented the baker from making a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage.