Saturday, March 7, 2009

Texas Baptists Struggle for $

Some Texas Baptists may tap their emergency reserve fund. The Baptist General Convention of Texas saw income drop 12% in January and is paving the way to get to the extra money if the trend continues. Staff and budgets have already been cut. The group of about 5500 congregations is also battling against the more conservative Southern Baptists of Texas Convention for members.

Snoop Dog Goes N.O.I.

Rapper Snoop Dogg has joined Louis s Farrakhan's Nation of Islam. He attended the radical group's annual Saviors’ Day event in Chicago. Farrakhan has a history of making anit-Jewish and Anit-American comments.

Prof Calls Student "Fascist Bastard"

Jonathan Lopez says his speech professor called him a "fascist bastard" after Lopez read two Bible verses about marriage during a presentation offering his views on God and the miracles he believed he had experienced in his life. Lopez is now suing Los Angeles City College and John Matteson, who refused to give Lopez a grade. Instead, Matteson told Lopez he ought to "ask God what your grade is." The suit claims Lopez had to put up with ridicule the rest of the semester. However, Lopez did receive an “A’ for the class even though his religion speech never received a grade.

Kathy Ireland

“(My) best friend is my Rock, Anchor, Lord, and Savior Jesus Christ… All things are possible with God.”

Former supermodel and now outspoken Christian Kathy Ireland as quoted by Christian Today (Australia). She has a new book coming out in April called Real Solutions for Busy Moms: Your Guide to Success and Sanity.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Economy Hits Christian Media

  • Salem Communications has cut 10% of its jobs and 5% off salaries. Salem runs about 100 Christians stations and has seen its stock price drop 74% this past year.
  • Moody Radio with more than 700 outlets has moved to 80% talk.
  • The nation’s largest Christian TV network, TBN, has had an uncertain number of lay offs. The network has debuted a dozen new shows recently - an unusually high number.
  • James Dobson’s Focus on the Family has slashed 30% of its workforce in the last five years – that about 450 jobs.
  • Megachurches with radio ministries has gone from 44% in 2000 to 24% in 2008.
  • Megachurches with TV ministries has gone from 38% in 2000 to 23% in 2008.

Faking Dead Sea Scrolls Info

New York prosecutors say the son of Dead Sea Scrolls expert pretended to be someone he’s not in order to promote his dad’s views on the ancient documents. Raphael Haim Golb went online to create fake profiles of influential scholars. He apparently believed his father, University of Chicago professor Norman Golb, wasn’t being taken seriously enough by the antiquities community. The younger Golb could get four years behind bars if convicted.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Battle Over Feed the Children

The courts will decide who gets control of one of the nation’s biggest antipoverty charities. A battle for Feed the Children is being waged between the organization’s founder, Larry Jones and his daughter, Larri Sue Jones. They are fighting over what role Jones’ son should have in the operations. The Oklahoma City-based charity raised more than $932-million in 2007. Five members of the Board of Directors, all of whom are pastors, planned to give Jones a leave of absence. But they were fired at the end of last year before that can happen, along with Jones’ daughter. The five have gone to court, claiming their removal was improper. Jones claims it was a move to satisfy outside auditors.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

College Sued Over Speech Restrictions

A Christian evangelist is suing Southeastern Louisiana University for threatening to arrest him if he didn’t stop speaking on campus. A federal judge refused to give evangelist Jeremy Sonnier a preliminary injunction that would temporarily block the public school from enforcing its speech policy while the lawsuit proceeded. The school is some 50 miles north of New Orleans in Hammond, Louisiana requires visitors to get permission to speak on campus a week in advance and limits them to two hours a week. Displays are only allowed in three locations on campus. The judge referred to an Appeals court ruling that said the University of Arkansas was within its right to limit public speakers to five visits per semester.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Bibles in Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Lawmakers have spend nearly $14,000 on more than 200 Bibles and other religious books for legislators for taking oaths. The most popular choice was the New American Catholic Bible. 72 picked it.

Two of them got a Quran instead of a Christian Bible. Chris Ross of Chester (a Republican) took his oath using his own Bible but says he ordered a Quran because he had always wanted to read the Muslim holy book. Dan Frankel also got a Quran but that was a mistake in the order. He traded it in for another copy of the Torah.

College Backs Down on Banned Group

A public University in Dayton, Ohio has agreed to allow the Campus Bible Fellowship back on campus. The Christian group was banned for refusing to adopt university-mandated nondiscrimination language. Group leaders say that doing so would have meant the organization could not require voting members to be practicing Christians who adhere to religious and behavioral standards.

Calling God.. in the Netherlands

A Dutch artist is asking people to leave messages for God on his answering machine. If you call Johan van der Dong at 06-4424-4901 (or +316-4424-4901 if calling from outside the Netherlands) you’ll hear, "Hi, you are speaking to God. I'm not in right now so leave a message after the beep."

PTL Club Tapes

You can buy every episode of the Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker's show The PTL Club. The episodes that ran between 1974 and 1987 will be auctioned off. Most of the all 15,000 shows were taped just south of Charlotte. The tapes came into the possession of a Charlotte church, the a cable company and now Ben Dyer of Gospel Properties owns them. The auction takes place in San Francisco at the end of March. Jim Bakker says he believes the tapes are worth around $8 million.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pope Retreats on Bishop Promotion

The Vatican has done an about face and stopped the promotion of a priest to Bishop who has said God punished New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of "spiritual pollution". Pope Benedict formally rescinded the offer to Gerhard Maria Wagner. He also described the Harry Potter novels as “satanic”.

Amazing Race: Episode Three

This season's edition of The Amazing Race has a connection to the Evangelical community. Mel White is a one-time speechwriter for Pat Robertson and Billy Graham who has now turned to gay-rights activism. He’s teamed with his son, Mike White who wrote the screen play for the films School of Rock and Nacho Libre.

Episode three of the Amazing Race 14 took teams to Dracula’s homeland. During last night’s show, one team member from each group was required to perform a series of moves at the gym where Olympian Nadia Comaneci trained. Mel worried it might be too physical for an old guy, so Mike good-naturedly makes his way through the routines.

They won a trip to Costa Rica by ending the show in first place.

Recession & Church Attendance

A Texas State University study finds evangelical churches see attendance figures balloon 50% during recessions between 1968 and 2004. However, Gallup Polls taken over the past year suggest church attendance has remained about the same level during this recession.

Faith & the Recession

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Governor Tapped as New Health Secretary

President Barack Obama has named Kansas governor Kathleen Sebelius as his choice for secretary of health and human services. Although the Democratic governor is a Catholic, she supports abortion rights. She has had confrontations in the past with the archbishop of Kansas City.

More than One Million Stolen from Church

Columbus, Ohio prosecutors says the former pastor of World of Pentecost Church stole more than one million dollars from the congregation. A jury indicted David Thompson on charges of money laundering, theft and filing false tax returns. They say he spent the money on a home, expensive vehicles and other personal items. He even sold church property to the city and kept the $900,000 payment. Thompson has not entered a plea yet but faces up to 87 years in prison.

Catholics Ask Mormons to Halt Plans

The Mormon church has agreed to stop plans to build a temple in the capital of Honduras that would overshadow a nearby Catholic church. The Baiclica of the Virgin of Sayupa objected to the effort, along with city leaders. The Church of Latter-day Saints claims to have some 120,000 members in Honduras.