Updates on YSK articles and other TGC features from the past six months.
The Story: An atheist who had threatened to sue a Texas county over the display of a nativity scene says he is “completely flabbergasted” that Christians from that same county provided him financial assistance for a medical problem. “My wife and I had never had a Christian do anything nice for us,” Patrick Greene said. “Just the opposite.”
The Update: After the incident Greene said had become a believer in Christ and expressed interest in becoming a pastor. But the conversion didn’t take, and the activist is once again an atheist and opposing Christians who participate in public life. “I got all caught up in the excitement,” Greene told the San Antonio Express-News. “It’s easy to do when you get ostracized and treated like garbage. When you’re an atheist, you’re public enemy No. 1.”
The Article: What’s Next for New York Churches
The Story: More than 60 churches in New York meet in public schools for their Sunday services. When the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal this week, the churches learned they needed to find a new location before February 12.
The Update: In June a district court judge issued a permanent injunction, which allowed congregations to continue to meet in public schools. New York City has been fighting the case for 17 years, so the injunction will likely be appealed to a higher court. But for now, churches in the city have more options for where they can meet.
The Story: A federal appeals court ruled that Julea Ward, a counseling student who declined to advise a homosexual client, might have been expelled from her university because of her faith. The court found that “a reasonable jury could conclude that Ward’s professors ejected her from the counseling program because of hostility toward her speech and faith.”
The Update: In June the the Michigan House of Representatives passed HB 5040, named the “Julea Ward Freedom of Conscience Act.” This legislation affirms a counseling student’s “freedom of conscience” from providing mental health services that contradict and/or conflict with personal religious beliefs, including affirmative gay therapy.
The Article: Faith and Basketball: The Sudden Rise of Jeremy Lin
The Story: Seemingly out of nowhere, New York Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin has sent shockwaves through the sports world after mounting a series of stellar performances against some of the NBA’s top talent. The league’s first American-born player of Chinese or Taiwanese descent, the undrafted Lin, 23, is an evangelical Christian whom some have dubbed “the Taiwanese Tebow.”
The Update: Although his on-court performance and off-court popularity—-Lin is now also famous in China—-led to a $25 million contract with the Houston Rockets, Lin remains humble and focused on what is really important. “For me, I try to focus on playing for God and try not to get too into other people’s expectations,” Lin recently told USA Today.
The Story: Bubba Watson, one of the most untraditional golfers on the PGA Tour, was the surprise winner of the 2012 Masters Tournament. But golf isn’t Watson’s top priority. What he considers most important can be gleaned from the description on his Twitter account:”@bubbawatson: Christian. Husband. Daddy. Pro Golfer. Owner of General Lee 1.”
The Update: Since winning the Masters, Watson has played in only three tournaments, missing the cut in the last two. He notes that other responsibilities have taken priority. Watson and his wife, Angie, adopted a baby in March just a few days before he left for the Masters. “I needed to be a dad,” Watson said about his professional setback. “I needed to be a better husband and all these things. Golf was down the list.”
The Story: The Supreme Court heard arguments about who counts as a “child” for the purposes of inheritance law and Social Security benefits. Since 1930 the Social Security Act has offered benefits to the survivors of a deceased wage earner, including dependent children. But when Karen Capato applied for survivors benefits for her twins, a Social Security official said she had a “very sympathetic case,” but turned down the request because the children were conceived after the father had died. Capato is a New Jersey mother who gave birth to twins through in vitro fertilization 18 months after her husband, Robert, had died of cancer.
The Update: In May the Supreme Court issued a unanimous ruling that children conceived with a dead father’s frozen sperm are not entitled to Social Security benefits if they were not eligible to inherit property from him under state law.