Thursday, March 13, 2008


Students in a Austin, Texas suburb will not be allowed to vote anymore on whether they want to include prayer in their graduation ceremony. The decision by a federal judge is part of a settlement between Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Round Rock school district. Students at three of four high schools in the district had voted in favor of allowing prayers at their graduations. But the school district is now forbidden to survey the students any further on whether they want prayers or any other religious aspect to their graduations.


A new Texas law may require public high schools in the state to offer elective, neutral Bible classes during the 2009-2010 school year. The state's top educator is asking the Texas Attorney General to clear up confusion over whether offering the classes is mandatory or optional. Texas Education Commissioner Robert also complains that lawmakers provided no funds for training teachers for the new classes.


A lawsuit filed against a California history teacher for criticizing Christianity is going to trial. A judge has refused to dismiss the suit brought by a student against Advanced Placement European history teacher James Corbett at Capistrano Valley High School. Chad Farnan alleges Corbett made repeated disparaging remarks about Christians during class. Some students have put up signs in support of Corbett, saying it’s an issue of free speech.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


The church attended by Bill and Hillary Clinton while he served as President plans to hold same-sex union ceremonies. The Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington changed its policy to recognize same-sex unions. Because the denomination's Book of Discipline includes a sanction against clergy performing such ceremonies, services for same-sex "marriage" ceremonies will be held away from the church and not led by a minister. The pastor says the church is recognizing same-sex unions but not celebrating them. But the Institute on Religion and Democracy says The Foundry is violating church law.


The Ector County Independent School District in West Texas will make changes to it’s Bible course. That will settle a lawsuit filed by the ACLU. The suit alleged the curriculum created by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools promoted Evangelical beliefs. The District says it will switch to material approved by a committee of local educators and will likely use material from the Bible Literacy Project.


A mob of students in the Sudan beat an American couple working with Franklin Graham’s Samaritan’s Purse and then set fire to their office. The students were part of a training program run by the group and were upset over increased costs. The missionaries were taken to a Nairobi hospital and are recovering.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


President Bush told the National Religious Broadcasters convention meeting in Nashville efforts in Congress to revive the FCC’s Fairness Doctrine is really an attempt to shut down conservative voices like James Dobson. He pledged to veto any such bill. The President also reiterated his opposition to abortion and spoke about the global war against terrorism. The text of the President’s full remarks.


Money expert and actor Ben Stein has made a new documentary in support of intelligent design. It’s called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed and will be shown today to Florida lawmakers. Stein supports the discussion of both the pros and cons of evolution and his film discusses how critics of Darwin's theory have run into trouble in higher academics. A bill working its way through the Florida legislature would give educators the right to teach students how to question evidence and analyze scientific theories. Critics say it’s just a cover for bringing religion into the science classroom.


Thomas W. Weeks III (better known as Bishop Weeks) has plead guilty to assaulting his wife, televangelist Juanita Bynum. An Atlanta judge sentenced the founder of Global Destiny churches to three years' probation, counseling and community service. After sentencing, Weeks asked to address his wife. He apologized to her “for all she's had to go through”. They left the court together. Prosecutors say Weeks beat Bynum in the parking lot of hotel this past Summer. Six years ago, they wrote a book called Teach Me How to Love You: The Beginnings.

Monday, March 10, 2008


The pastor of Brethren Church in Sunbury, Ohio is under house arrest after a teenager accused him of raping her last week at a church office. The 15-year-old claims to have come to Brian Williams for help with school work. Local media say Williams had no comment and no prior record. The case now goes to a grand jury.


44 Southern Baptist leaders are signing a statement saying their convention’s stance on global warming is too weak. A Southern Baptist Declaration on the Environment and Climate Change calls for more action and got a nod from president Frank Page along with two past presidents. The climate change statement says, “Our cautious response to these issues in the face of mounting evidence may be seen by the world as uncaring, reckless and ill-informed.” Notably absent from the list of supporters is the head of the convention’s political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission.


Illinois lawmakers have passed a bill that will allow drivers to pick license plates that say In God We Trust. The vote was 105-to-3. Drivers would pay an extra $20 and a part of that fee would go to the Illinois Military Relief Fund for armed forces members.

Sunday, March 9, 2008


Thousands of confessions have posted online at church-run Web sites like and Those anonymous postings have revealed the confessor’s guilty over such issues as abortion, homosexuality, extramarital affairs, addictions and even murder. An Oklahoma megachurch runs Pastor Bobby Gruenewald says the site has gotten more than 7,500 confessions since it began in 2006. is the brainchild of Troy Gramling, pastor of Florida’s Flamingo Road Church. The site went up last Easter and has had a quarter million visitors and more than 100,000 confessions.


Protestants voted strongly for Hillary Clinton in primary voting according to exit polling by Edison/Mitofsky. Here’s how the Protestant vote among Dems breaks out by state. Listed is the Clinton margin over Obama:

Tenn 38

Ohio 34
Ga 27
Wis 22
Mo 20
Fl 18
Mass 16
Cal 15
Texas 12
Ariz 12
Md 11
Ill -11
Va -18


Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas has voted to keep its pastor. Members voted 237 against keeping Brett Younger and 499 voted in favor of it. The moderate Baptist church has been the center of controversy over whether gay couples should be pictured in the church's annual directory. A group called Friends for the Future of Broadway says Younger in an ineffective leadership and has pushedthe church in a liberal direction. Younger is known nationally for his book Who Moved My Pulpit? Broadway’s Website


Washington’s National Community Church is one of a growing number of Evangelical Churches observing Lent – an ancient church practice typically observed by Catholic churches. Other Evangelical churches offer private confession, Quaker-style silence, weekly communion and the lighting of candles at Advent. Supporters say the traditions add a richness to the worship experience while critics reject the movement mystical practices that don't belong in the church.


National Public Radio surprised some listeners a couple of weeks ago with a series on Morning Edition called a Conversations with Conservatives. Guests include Southern Baptist leader Richard Land, the founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist, talk-radio and TV host Glenn Beck along with David Keene of the American Conservative Union. More than 60 angry email and phone calls chided the radio network.


"Contemporary Christian music was created in the late 1950s by a guitar-strumming, long-haired Jesus freak named Larry Norman, who sang hymns about venereal disease to astonished parishioners in California churches. Sometimes Norman was invited back. Mostly he wasn't." - from the New York Times obituary of Larry Norman