Saturday, January 24, 2009

One Year Ago.. Satanism & Coke

A year ago, Coca-Cola was being accused of blasphemy in Russia. Prosecutors the city of Nizhny Novgorod were looking into complaints from hundreds of people that the American company used images of Orthodox churches and crosses in its ads, some of which were even put upside down - which they consider a sign of Satanism. Coca-Cola says the marketing plan only promoted Russia's cultural heritage and in no way insults or is meant to demean Orthodox Christian beliefs. To avoid any further controversy, Coca-Cola decided to remove the ads.

Addicted to Pornography

The pastor of St. James United Methodist Church in New Tampa, Florida resigned a year ago after going public with his addiction to online pornography. At the time that Brian James was pastor, attendance had reached about 1400. Under the direction of Steve Ezra, the church is doing just as well. fter a leave of absence from the ministry for counseling, James has returned to the pulpit to preach part-time of St. Mark United Methodist Church in Lakeland.

Layoffs at Crystal Cathedral

Robert Schuller’s Crystal Cathedral in southern California has fired its executive pastor and director of the children’s ministries. The layoffs come on the heels of the removal of the son of the church's founder from the weekly Hour of Power. The younger Schuller resigned as the Cathedral's senior pastor back in November. Church administrators blame financial problems for the recent departures.

Baptists Hit by Ponsi Schemes

Prosecutors say the Ponsi scheme of accused swindler Bernard Madoff has touched Oklahoma Baptists. The Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma suffered $1.4 million in losses, including $600,000 from Oklahoma Baptist University. Madoff may have duped investors out of as much as $50 billion.

Ten Commandments Judge May Run

The Ten Commandments judge may run for governor. Roy Moore made a bid for the post in 2006. But he lost the Republican primary to incumbent Bill Riley. Rules prevent Riley from running again in 2010 for a third term. Another former governor supported Riley. But Fob James will probably be backing his son, this time around. Tim James is already campaigning.

Moore got his nickname after putting a a two-ton Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the state judicial building when he served as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. He refused a judge’s order to remove it, so the State Court of the Judiciary kicked him out of office in 2003.

Moore runs the Foundation for Moral Law in Montgomery.

Friday, January 23, 2009

School Asks Forgiveness for Win

A Dallas girl's basketball team is trying to forfeit a win. The Christian school says it was a mistake to run up the score in a 100-0 victory against another local team. WFAA-TV has more.

Obama Issues Abortion Order

President for Barack Obama has decided to reverse a Bush administration policy on abortion. Obama is issuing an executive order reversing the so-called Mexico City policy. It prohibits the US Agency for International Development from giving federal money to international family planning groups that promote abortion or make referrals about abortion services. President Ronald Reagan first created the ban during a Mexico City conference. Bill Clinton removed the ban and Bush put it back in place. Ironically, Obama's yesterday was the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That was the Supreme Court decision that legalizing abortion in the US.

Moment of Silence Struck Down

Atheist and talk show host Rob Sherman has won a lawsuit designed to stop Illinois schools from observing a moment of silence. A federal judge in Chicago says an Illinois Silent Reflection and Student Prayer Act is unconstitutional. The ACLU claims it is an attempt to get religion into public schools. Supporters say it doesn't force religion on anyone. It’s uncertain whether there will be an appeal.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

March for Life

President Obama says he’ll continue supporting abortion rights. As tens of thousands gathered at the National Mall to mark the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion in the US, Obama released a statement that said in part:

The high court’s decision “not only protects women’s health and reproductive freedom, but stands for a broader principle: that government should not intrude on our most private family matters.”

Obama was invited to address the annual March for Life rally but declined.

Showing the Super Bowl at Church

In a turnaround from a few years ago, the NFL is allowing churches to show the Super Bowl on big-screen televisions. Many churches cancelled their Super Bowl parties last year after the NFL threatened to sue them for copyright violations if screens larger than 55 inches were used. Several members of Congress then threatened to offer legislation to stop the NFL restrictions. In response, the league commissioner wrote in a letter to Congress last year that it will not object to live showings by religious organizations regardless of screen size. The league already makes an exception for sports bars. Advertising is a different concern. The NFL still intends on making sure no one uses the term "Super Bowl" in any ads or promotional announcements that are not sanctioned by the NFL.

Marking Roe v Wade

A different gathering is underway on the National Mall today. That’s where the inauguration of Barack Obama took place on Tuesday. But today, abortion opponents are gathering to mark the 36th anniversary of the Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion. Here is the text of the decision.

Bible Study Lawsuit

WANE-TV has details on a lawsuit over a Bible studay at a school in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

A Second Time with No Bible

Barack Obama took the oath office a second time from Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts - but this time with no Bible. The oath was administered again because Roberts fumbled the wording of the oath the first time on the steps of the Capitol. The change in wording caused Obama to pause during the ceremony

Roberts said, "I will execute the office of president to the United States faithfully" when he should have said "I will faithfully execute the office of president of the United States."

Obama is the third president to retake the oath because of concerns over the initial swearing-in. The other two re-takers were Chester Arthur and Calvin Coolidge.

Arthur took over after the assassination James Garfield. He took the oath the first time in a private ceremony but that was followed later by a public one at the Supreme Court.

Coolidge took the oath after Warren Harding died. His father, a justice of the peace, administered it at his home Vermont home. There were questions about whether Coolidge's father was authorized to administer the oath, so Coolidge took it a second time later in Washington.

NFL Celebrations

With the Super Bowl only days away, you may be wondering what kind of end-zone celebrations will be allowed. Some players like to say a prayer when they score. Here’s the NFL’s outgoing head of officials explaining (earlier this year) what’s allowed.

Resignations at Troubled University

The chairman of the board and Interim President Wayne Kraiss at Vanguard University in Southern, California have both resigned. The chief academic officer has taken over as acting president.

The Assemblies of God-associated school is facing both accreditation and financial problems:

  • The Christian university is more than $40 million in debt.
  • The Western Association of Schools and Colleges has threatened to remove its accreditation after a fall inspection.
Vanguard has some 2000 students.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Restaurant Wins Bible Study Case

It took seven years, but Serrano's Mexican Restaurants, based in Arizona, won a case involving an after-hours Bible study. Former manager Terra Naeve sued the chain with the help of the EEOC because it tried to stop her from holding the study with several workers. The company says its policy manual prohibits supervisors from socializing with subordinates outside of work Three years ago a jury sided with the business and now an appeals court has upheld that ruling. Serrano says it offered Naeve a transfer.

Supreme Court Rejects Exorcism Appeal

The Supreme Court has declined to hear the case of an exorcism gone wrong. Laura Schubert Pearson sued the Pleasant Glade Assembly of God in Colleyville, Texas after members held her down and made two attempts to exorcise demons from her. Pearson claims the 1996 event amounted to assault and false imprisonment, leading her to attempt suicide.

A divided Texas Supreme Court had tossed the case out, ruling that the church was protected by the First Amendment because the case involved religious conduct. Pearson then appealed to the US Supreme Court.

Since the suit was filed the congregation has merged with another Colleyville church.

Jakes Mixes up Sci-Fi Franchises

Dallas megachurch pastor T.D. Jakes says his teenage son straightened him out after Jakes made a mistake at a private church service attended by Barack Obama and his wife before the inauguration. Jakes associated May the force be with you with Star Trek instead of Star Wars. Jakes’ 14-year-old son later corrected his dad.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

An Obama BBQ

A Tucson church held an Obama-Inspired BBQ for the Homeless. KGUN-TV reports.

A Catholic First

Joe Biden made history today by becoming the first Catholic to hold the office of vice president of the United States. Edmund Muskie would have become the first Catholic vice president if his running mate, Hubert Humphrey had beaten Nixon. Nixon had been defeated a few years earlier by the first, and only, Catholic president in history, John F. Kennedy.

George McGovern’s running mate was also Catholic. But Thomas Eagleton dropped out of the race after it became public knowledge that he had been hospitalized for mental health problems. Another Catholic took his place, Sargent Shriver. But McGovern and Shriver lost to Nixon as well.

Geraldine Ferraro ran along side Walter Mondale a few years later. While she was the first woman to run on a major party national ticket, the pair was defeated by Ronald Reagan.

Finally, the last Catholic to appear on the national ticket was John Kerry. He ran unsuccessfully for president in 2004.

A First for a President

Barack Obama became the first president to acknowledge non-believers in his inauguration speech. He said:

"...we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus — and non-believers."

Religion in Obama Speech

"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness."

Inaugural Benediction

Joseph Lowery delivers the closing prayer at Barack Obama's inauguration ceremony.

Rick Warren's Inauguaral Prayer

"Almighty God, our father, everything we see and everything we can’t see exists because of you alone. It all comes form you, it all belongs to you, it all exists for your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us, ‘Hear, oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one’ and you are the compassionate and merciful one and you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 43rd time, we celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African American president of the united states. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where a a son of an African Immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King and a great cloud of witnesses are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice President Biden, the Cabinet and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans. United not by race or religion or by blood, but to our commitment to freedom and justice for all. When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us.

When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. when we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us. And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches and civility in our attitudes—even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy and a more prosperous nation and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day, all nations, all people will stand accountable before You. We now commit our new president and his wife Michelle and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life—Yeshua, Esa, Jesus, Jesus—who taught us to pray:

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be they name. They kingdom come, they will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen."

Rally Against Abortion

KXMB-TV in Bismarck North Dakota reports on a rally against abortion that brought together many church-goers.

The Real Story Of The Lincoln Bible

CBS has this video look at the Bible that will be used when Supreme Court chief justice John Roberts swears in Barack Obama as President today.

Singer Regains Hearing

Southern Gospel singer Bobbie Jean White got a special Christmas gift. The 79-year-old has struggled with significant hearing loss for more than a decade. Hearing aid didn’t seem to help. But in November she received a cochlear implant and it was turned on shortly before Christmas. White says the devise has put her back into dinner conversations and returned her to a nearly normal life.

Best known for songs like Beulah Land, White has recorded 21 albums. The Grand Ole Gospel Reunion has given her two Living Legend Awards.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Christian Musician Dies on Cruise Ship

The bass player for the Christian rock band Storyside: B has died. Ron McClelland was on the Carnival cruise ship Fascination when he collapsed while playing basketball. The trip was sponsored by a Florida Christian radio station and was just a few miles away from returning to port in Jacksonville. The ship’s doctor speculated that McClelland suffered from an enlarged heart.

Kennedy Church Taps Billy Graham's Grandson

The meagchurch founded by the late D. James Kennedy in Fort Lauderdale will soon have a Graham in the pulpit. Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church has tapped William Graham Tullian Tchividjian, grandson of Billy Graham to become the new senior pastor. He’s the son of Billy and Ruth Graham’s eldest daughter, Gigi. Tchividjian has been the senior pastor of another Florida congregation, New City Church in Margate. The two churches are located close together and plan to merge, though Tchividjian has not formally accepted the offer.

Protests at Rick Warren MLK Speech

Protesters interrupted Rick Warren’s speech today at Atlanta's Ebenezer Baptist Church. Warren was part of the Martin Luther King Day celebration at the church that King pastored. Two members of the Revolutionary Communist Party tried to shout Warren down but members of security escorted them out as the packed house cheered. Warren quipped, "Can't we all just get along?" Warren asked. He’ll next head to Washington to deliver the invocation at tomorrow’s inauguration of president-elect Barak Obama. Others gathered outside the church to protest Warren's stand against gay marriage.

Obama May Move on Abortion

One of the first acts as President for Barack Obama may be to reverse a Bush administration policy on abortion. There are reports that Obama will issue an executive order reversing the so-called Mexico City policy. It prohibits the US Agency for International Development from giving federal money to international family planning groups that promote abortion or make referrals about abortion services. President Ronald Reagan first created the ban during a Mexico City conference. Bill Clinton removed the ban and Bush put it back in place. Ironically, Obama's second full day as president falls on the 36th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. That was the Supreme Court decision that legalizing abortion in the US.

Terror Ties at Inaugural Prayer Service?

One of the people scheduled to speak at an inaugural prayer service taking place Wednesday in Washington has ties to a terrorist group, according to federal prosecutors. Ingrid Mattson leads the Islamic Society of North American and spoke at a prayer service at the Democratic National Convention this past year. But Associated Press is reporting that law enforcement officials in Dallas have filed court documents that tie the Islamic Society to the terrorist organization Hamas, though no charges have been filed. The Islamic Society of North American denies it has connections to Hamas and says it does not condone terrorism.

HBO Skips Gay Bishop's Prayer

HBO decided not to air the prayer of Gene Robinson yesterday prior to the pre-inaugural concert at the Lincoln Memorial. It’s not clear whether the move was designed to snub the first openly Episcopal gay bishop or just an oversight. Gay activists have begun sending complaints to the cable network. There are reports his microphone was not turned on when he started but see for yourself. Here's a video of Robinson's prayer. He prayed for God to "bless this nation with anger.. anger at discrimination, at home and abroad, against refugees and immigrants, women, people of color, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people."

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Prop 8 Supporters File Lawsuit

Supporters of the measure that outlawed same-sex marriage in California have filed a lawsuit in California with the help of the Alliance Defense Fund. They want to make changes to the Political Reform Act of 1974. It requires state officials to disclose personal information including their names, addresses, and ccupations and if they gave more than $100. Gay activists have put up websites that include map showing the homes of donors, encouraging people to go after Prop 8 supporters. They’ve been harassed with threatening e-mail and boycotts of their businesses. A Mormon temple and a Catholic group have been sent white power through the mail. Los Angeles Film Festival director Richard Raddon has been forced to quite because the organization backed the measure. Meanwhile, California's Supreme Court is reviewing the constitutionality of Prop 8.

Obama Family visits DC Chruch

Barack Obama and his family attended 19th Street Baptist Church this morning. It’s not known which church he will decide to attend regularly after he is swore into office. His office says the first family will likely visit a number of Washington churches.

Obama received a standing ovation from the congregation. He sat in the second row. The sermon titled For Such a Time as This included a message about God preparing people for challenges ahead. A prayer was offered after the sermon that concluded “yes we can.. in the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.” Yes, We Can was an Obama campaign theme. Obama is not a member of any church at the moment. He resigned from the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago this past year following the Jeremiah Wright controversy.

The Vatican's Google Channel

The Vatican has found Google. Catholic leaders say Pope Benedict XVI will soon get his own Google channel in an effort to reach more young people. The Vatican TV and Radio Center is working with the search engine giant on the webcasting project. The channel will feature video of the pope's speeches and news about the pontiff.