Saturday, April 26, 2008

Lawsuit over School Buses

A middle school student in Lake Charles, Louisiana, is suing the Calcasieu Parish School Board over the use of buses. The student is identified only as AW and is a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. But the group is not being allowed to use school buses for a field trip like other school clubs. They want to take members to the Just for Jesus rally taking place May 1 at the Lake Charles Civic Center.

Mel Gibson's Religious Group

▪ Name: Traditionalist Catholicism

▪ Distinctives: Catholicism only true path to salvation, Mass in Latin, no meat on Friday, women cover heads in church, some reject the authority of the Pope

▪ Opposes: Second Vatican Council

▪ Chapels: Independent, no formal connections

Estimated Number: 50,000 Americans

Newspaper: The Remnant

Alice Cooper

Rocker Alice Cooper is planning to put a youth center in Phoenix. His Christian nonprofit organization called Solid Rock Foundation built a 20,000-square-foot facility with basketball courts, a rock climbing wall, game room and a concert hall. Cooper says he became a Christian 16 years ago when he quit drinking. He's the son of a Christian minister and grandson of an evangelist.

Atheist Sues Army

A Specialist is suing the US Army, saying he was harassed and his constitutional rights have been violated because he’s an atheist. Jeremy Hall says he lead a meeting last year at Camp Speicher north of Baghdad when an officer began berating and threatening him because of his beliefs. He was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers. The Defense Department had no comment on the lawsuit.

Injuries at Christian Concert

A lot of people who came to see a Christian rock concert at a church in Abbotsford, British Columbia wound up in the hospital last night. The floor of the Central Heights Church in front of the stage collapsed, injuring 40 of the 1200 people at the sold-out event. A few were seriously hurt. Most of the concert-goers who came to see Starfield were teens, though a warm-up band was playing when the accident happened.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Protest at Planned Parenthood

A major protest is planned today at the nation's largest Planned Parenthood facility. The Pro-Life Action League has been sending people to picket the Aurora, Illinois facility since last fall before it opened. Organizers expect more than 500 people to attend the rally.

Televangelist on Divorce Court

Juanita Bynum will appear on a two-part episode of Divorce Court this coming Thursday and Friday. She says her marriage to Thomas Weeks, the founder of Global Destiny churches, is over. He’s on probation after being convicted of assaulting her. She also admitted to Judge Lynn Toler she considered suicide and offers advice for women in similar situations.

Caspian Ready to Launch

The second of CS Lewis' fantasy books to be made into a film is about to hit the big screen. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is a sequal to the hit film The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe which did more than $300 million in domestic box office sales. Caspian is due out on May 16th. In it, the four Pervensie children return to Narnia to aid the young Prince Caspian in his struggle for the throne against his corrupt uncle King Miraz. It was shot in New Zealand and Eastern Europe. Movie tie-in editions of the books will be published by HarperCollins on May 5.

National Day of Prayer Controversy

A group called Jews on First is challenging the way the National Day of Prayer Task Force is handling the event. Shirley Dobson, wife of Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, heads up the Task Force. Jews on First accuses Evangelicals of “hijacking” the event and are campaigning for an Inclusive National Day of Prayer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Creationists Turned Down

The Institute for Creation Research has been denied its proposed online master's degree in science education. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board unanimously denied the Dallas-based group's request. The institute can appeal or reapply in six months.

The Phantom Bible Verse

In an Earth Day press release, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "The Bible tells us in the Old Testament, 'To minister to the needs of God's creation is an act of worship.’ To ignore those needs is to dishonor the God who made us.'” But the reference is not found in Scripture. Her office has yet to explain where the reference came from.

Protests and Counterprotests

Ken Hutcherson plans a protest at Mount Si High School in Snoqualmie, Washington tomorrow. The pastor of Antioch Bible Church wants to counter students who will take part in a Day of Silence to support gay and lesbian students. Hutcherson spoke at the school on Martin Luther King Day and was booed by students for supporting Black civil rights but not gay rights. Counterprotests against Hutcherson are planned tomorrow as well.

The "Devious" Media

Jeremiah Wright says the media is "devious” for telling people what he’s said in his sermons. Barack Obama's former pastor make the remark during an interview that will air Friday night on PBS. Wright say airing snippets of his sermons was an attempt to paint him as "some sort of fanatic."

Advice to Wormwood

A stage version of the CS Lewis’ book The Screwtape Letters is playing at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington. It’s the advice of a senior devil to a younger tempter. It’s a product of the New Jersey-based Fellowship for the Performing Arts, a group that comes up with theater from a Christian worldview. The Washington Post calls it “handsomely produced” and the show will run through May 18th.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Dove Winners

Last night in Nashville the Christian Music industry handed out its biggest awards. Here are the winners from this year's 39th annual Dove awards:

Artist of the Year: TobyMac

Singer of the Year: Mark Hall of Casting Crowns

Rock/contemporary album: TobyMac for Portable Sounds

Song of the Year: East to West by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns and Bernie Herms.

Pop/contemporary recorded song of the year: East to West by Mark Hall of Casting Crowns and Bernie Herms.

Group of the Year: Casting Crowns

Best pop/contemporary album of the year: The Altar and the Door by Casting Crowns

Male vocalist of the year: Chris Tomlin

Female vocalist of the year: Natalie Grant

New artist of the year: Brandon Heath

Songwriter of the year award : Cindy Morgan

Bluegrass recorded song: Ricky Skaggs and the Whites for Salt of the Earth

Contemporary gospel album award: A Deeper Level by Israel & New Breed

More Winners

Pennsylvania Vote Breakdown

Vote By Religion and Attendance

Protestant/Weekly (9%)
Clinton - 50%
Obama - 50%

Prot./Less Often (15%)
Clinton - 57%
Obama - 43%

Catholic/Weekly (18%)
Clinton - 74%
Obama - 26%

Catholic/Less Often (18%)
Clinton - 65%
Obama - 35%

All Others (39%)
Clinton - 41%
Obama - 59%

Source: CNN Exit Polling

Over objections from John McCain, the North Carolina Republican party has released a TV ad focused on Barak Obama's former pastor. In response, Obama says, "My understanding is that the Republican National Committee and John McCain have both said that the ad’s inappropriate. I assume that if John McCain thinks that it’s an inappropriate ad, that he can get them to pull it down since he’s their nominee and standard-bearer." It's probably the first attempt by the GOP to win votes based on Obama's religious connections. Here's the ad:

Church Vandalized

Police are trying to figure out who vandalized a Port Arthur, Texas church with satanic markings. The racially mixed congregation of the Stonegate Missionary Baptist Church also found racial slurs, ketchup poured on furniture, and slashed pews. An American flag was thrown on the floor. Sinks were left running, flooding many rooms.

Wright to Speak in DC

Look for Obama’s former pastor to make more headlines soon. Jeremiah Wright will speak the National Press Club in Washington on Monday. The one-time leader of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago will talk about the role of faith in the public square and issues of “social justice and inequities” that have shaped his faith.

Robocop Director

The man behind Basic Instinct and Robocop is taking on Jesus. Filmmaker Paul Verhoeven has written a bio of Jesus that will be printed this fall by an Amsterdam publishing house. Besides directing several Hollywood bockbusters, he’s a member of the Jesus Seminar, a group that says it tries to separate the facts about Jesus from the religious myth. The book Jezus van Nazareth: A Realistic Portrait will suggest that Jesus real father is a Roman soldier who raped Mary. Verhoeven is hoping to turn the story into a movie.

Southern Baptists Losing Members

Membership for the Southern Baptist Convention is the lowest in more than 20 years. Here’s how the numbers shape up for the largest Protestant denomination:

▪ 2007 - 16,266,920
▪ That’s down some 40,000 from the year before
▪ It’s the third year in a row that the number of members has fallen

▪ 2007 – down 5.5% to 345,941

On the up side:
▪ The SBC added 473 new churches, growing by 1.1% to 44,696
▪ Worship attendance is up slightly to 6.15 million
▪ Support for mission activities – more than $1.3 billion

Source: LifeWay Christian Resources

Religion Test

A test of your knowledge of religious by the Houston Chronicle.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Prison for Box of Ammo

A South Carolina pastor is facing a sentence of more than three years in prison for trying to bring a $25 box of hunting rounds into Russia. Phillip Miles of Christ Community Church in Conway has been in a Moscow jail since February. He was bringing the .300-caliber cartridges to a fellow pastor who had recently bought a new rifle. Miles says he didn't know bringing ammunition into Russia was illegal and that he had asked US airline officials before boarding his plane and was assured there would not be a problem.

ORU Lawsuit

Two former Oral Roberts University professors say they’ll drop their lawsuit against the school for two-and-a-half million dollars, according to the Associated Press. They claim the school forced them out after they blew the whistle on financial and ethical wrongdoing. The school has already made an out of court with a third professor.

Former ORU president Richard Roberts is accused of illegal involvement in a local mayoral race. His wife, Lindsay, are accused of spending school funds on shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses. The lawsuit also claims she spent the night in a school guest house with an underage male several times. Roberts resigned last year after the allegations became public. Both he and his wife have denied any wrongdoing.

A "Control Freak"

The former head of New York State’s Charities Bureau says televangelist Kenneth Copeland is a “control freak”. That’s because, according to CBS News, ministry bylaws allow Copeland to veto any resolution of his church board. It’s unlikely there would ever be a conflict though. Copeland's wife is vice president while his son-in-law is Senior Pastor, Secretary and Treasurer. His son, John, is the Operations Vice President and CEO. In most churches, authority comes from the congregation and they get to decide who becomes pastor. But in Copeland's set up, he has all the power. He recently gained national attention for refusing to give Senate investigators details of his ministry's finances. The church spent $28 million on salaries of the $100 million it took in during 2006.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Expelled Debut

A movie critical of evolution has cracked the box office top ten. Ben Stein’s Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, debuted at number nine by pulling in more than $3 million. That makes it on track to become one of the most commercially successful documentaries. Expelled shows interviews with academics who say their views on evolution have led to threats and intimidation. The film had been criticized by scientists who say it is inaccurate and misleading.

Christian TV Host "Comes Out"

The host of a syndicated Christian TV show says he’s gay. Azariah Southworth is seen on the NRB and JCTV networks on The Remix. It goes behind the scenes to see what life is like for popular Christian groups and averages more than 200,000 viewers each week. Southworth says he had a Pentecostal upbringing but was inspired to reveal his homosexuality by last year’s controversial documentary For the Bible Tells Me So. He expects The Remix will be canceled but hasn’t heard yet about its fate.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Obama.. Osama

A sign outside a church is stirring controversy in a little South Carolina town. Pastor Roger Byrd of the Jonesville Church of God that reads: Obama Osama. Humm Are They Brothers? Byrd says the sign is not racist or an attempt to make a political statement, just to make people think. But Obama has made it clear his is not a Muslim and has attended the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago for many years. Byrd says members voted unanimously to keep the sign up. Jonesville Church of God does not have any members who are Black.

Stadium Packed for Pope's Appearance

Pope Benedict spoke to a crowd of nearly 60,000 people at Yankee Stadium today. The outdoor Mass was the largest public event during his six-day visit to the US. Earlier in the day, he blessed the World Trade Center site at ground zero and spoke to a small group of survivors and families of the victims of the 9/11 attack.

Pastor Donating Kidney

The pastor of a Denver area church is giving a member of his church one of his kidneys a week from Tuesday. Jeremy Jacoby of Family of Christ Lutheran Church in Frederick is making the donation to Jon Adams who was born with a medical condition that eventually will shut down his kidneys. Jacoby started his mission church just a year ago. Jon was his first hospital call.

Maher Apologizes

Bill Maher has apologized for accusing the pope of being a Nazi during his HBO show. Maher then said that if a CEO were in charge of an institution that housed molesters, he would be fired. And now Maher’s admits that Joseph Ratzinger was forced to join a German youth organization (from which he fled at the first instance).


Betrothals are rising in popularity among conservative Christians. For some, that means a prearranged marriage. For others it’s more of a chaste courtship. One of its advocates is Jonathan Lindvall who runs Bold Christian Living. He’s written several pamphlets on what he calls Spiritual Romance.