Saturday, June 13, 2009

College OKs Jesus

UCLA has reversed itself and will no longer try to stop a student from thanking Jesus in a statement planned for graduation ceremonies this weekend. Christina Popa has wanted to have read while she crossed the stage, "I want to thank my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." A student affairs advisor told her to change it to "I want to thank God" or make no religious reference at all. But after legal action was threatened, the California school decided not to challenge her request.

Underage Drinking at Church

Police have arrested nine youth on charges of underage drinking at a church in Bismarck, North Dakota. KXMC-TV has the story.

Dobson’s Successor

Here’s a rundown of Jim Daly’s background. He’s taking the place of James Dobson at Focus on the Family which has an audience of 230 million people on radio.

  • Age: 47

  • Childhood: Southern California

  • Father: An alcoholic who abandoned him at age 5

  • Mother: Died of Cancer when he was 9

  • Stepfather: Took the family belongings while Daly and his siblings attended their mom’s funeral including the last present given to him by his mother (a new bike)

  • High School: lived alone in a trailer by the time he was a senior

  • College: Studied business at California State University and Waseda University in Tokyo, earned a master's in business from Regis University

  • Sports: Played football in high school

  • Career at Focus: Led five large Focus departments

  • Writing: Penned his story in the 2007 book Finding Home

  • Wife: Marriage at age 25

  • Children: Two sons: Trent (8) and Troy (6)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Court Sides with Diocese

A California appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling that sided with the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles over a conservative congregation. St. Luke's Anglican Church in La Crescenta broke away to join with Anglicans overseas. The LA Diocese wants to hang on to the church’s property. St. Luke's leaders object to the denomination’s move toward accepting gay clergy.

Wright Backtracks

Jeremiah Wright is clarifying his remark that "them Jews'' are preventing him from talking with President Obama. WFLD-TV has the story in this video report.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Sabbath Ruling

Ultra-orthodox Jews will be permitted to use their mobile phones on the Sabbath – provided they use their teeth. The Scientific Technology Halacha Institute says the ruling allows emergency workers in Israel to use the GPS devices to shorten response times even on Sabbaths.

Million $ Lawsuit

A middle school teacher wants a million dollars from Ohio’s Mount Vernon school board for discrimination. John Freshwater was fired for allegedly promoting Christianity in his classroom and burning the image of a cross onto a student's arm as part of a science demonstration. But in his lawsuit, Freshwater says he was the one who was wronged and harassed, having to work in a environment hostile to his religion.

Schuller's Daughter Takes Over

Robert Schuller is turning the Crystal Cathedral over to his eldest daughter. Sheila Schuller Coleman has a doctorate in administration and leadership. She’ll take the place of interim senior pastor Juan Carlos Ortiz. Her brother, Robert Anthony Schuller, resigned and is now part of the leadership of AmericanLife TV. Sheila Coleman’s husband, Jim Coleman, is president of Crystal Cathedral Ministries. She wrote the book Mommy Grace: Erasing Your Mommy Guilt. She was the principal of a private Christian school on the Crystal Cathedral campus.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Miss Cali is Out

Carrie Prejean is losing her Miss California crown. She will reportedly be fired from her position for failing to fulfill her duties to the pageant. First runner-up Tami Farrell will assume the role. Prejean stirred controversy when she was asked whether she supports same-sex marriage.

Wright: Them Jews

"Them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me," explains Jeremiah Wright when asked why President Obama hasn't spoken to him since they parted ways. Wright made the remark in an interview with the Daily Press based out of Newport News, Virginia. Obama left Wright's Chicago church last year. The full interview is here.

Charitable Giving

2008 - $307 billion
2007 - $314 billion

This is only the second drop since the survey first came out 54 years ago.

Religious organizations saw a 5.5% increase in giving for 2008 to $106 billion.

Source: Giving USA Foundation

Megachurch Survey

Each week 5 million Americans attend some 1300 US megachurches. Here’s what a large recent survey found out about megachurch attenders:
  • Average age is 40 years old (it’s 53 at smaller Protestant churches)
  • two-thirds of are under 45
  • The vast majority are between 18 and 44.
  • A third are single (only 10% at smaller Protestant church)
  • They make more money and are better educated than those who attend typical Protestant churches
  • 45% never volunteer at the church
  • 32% give little or no money to the congregation

    Source: Hartford Institute for Religion Research

Mel's Rant

Mel Gibson reportedly told parishioners at his Holy Family Chapel in Agoura Hills, California he would not stand by and be judged and scrutinised. Gibson ordered those in attendance to stop gossiping about him. There have been reports about the end of his marriage to the mother of his seven children, and Gibson's relationship with a Russian musician who is said to be pregnant with his child.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eminem's Religion

Singer Eminem says, "I definately pray a lot more than I used to. I don't feel like I'm crazy wacky religious. But I do believe in God, and I do pray." The rapper tells Vibe magazine he's stopped taking drugs for the last year after he nearly died from an methadone overdose.

Tiller's Clinic Shutting Down

George Tiller’s family says it will permanently close his Wichita abortion clinic. Tiller was shot dead at his church 9 days ago. Tiller was shot in both arms 16 years ago by a woman who was later convicted of attempted murder. The closing of Women's Health Care Services means Wichita will have no clinic in the area performing late-term abortions.

Bible Study Banned

The Tulsa Housing Authority has told Child Evangelism Fellowship to stop holding Bible studies in public housing projects. The Youth at Heart organization, a non-profit that administers recreational programs for the Housing Authority says there is a prohibition on religious instruction on public housing property. The meetings have been a part of CEF's summer outreach for the past two decades.

The Bible in Idaho Schools

KBCI-TV has a video report on an Idaho group working to bring the Bible into Idaho public high school classrooms by getting the issue put on a ballot initiative.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Commandments Ruling

A Ten Commandments monument outside an Oklahoma courthouse is an endorsement of religion and must go. That’s the decision of a federal appeals court in Denver. Even though the Haskell County monument is part of a historical display, it still is an a religious expression, according to the appeals court. That overturns a judge’s decision that would have allowed the monument to stay.

Explosion at Home of Megachurch Pastor

An explosion rocked the 15,000-square-foot home of TD Jakes this weekend. The natural gas explosion in the Dallas suburb heavily damaged a sunroom but no one was injured. The gas line feeds a barbecue grill and pool heater. The megachurch pastor was in another part of the house at the time. His Potter’s House church has more than 28,000 members.

Racial Slurs Painted on Church

A Memphis church found racial slurs and profanity spray painted all over the sanctuary this weekend. WHBQ-TV has a video report.

Unholy Rampage

A naked man broke through a church window this weekend in Seattle, spattering HIV-positive blood inside the sanctuary. He left a trail of the tainted blood and destruction throughout the church. The Unity Church of God in Christ moved its services outside because health officials declared the church interior a bio-hazard. It turns out his brother killed himself on the church’s property on the same Sunday 29 years ago. KOMO-TV has this video report.

Abortion at Religious Schools

Women attending at private, religious schools are more likely to have an abortion than their counterparts at public schools. That’s according to a new study detailed in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior. The work is from an assistant professor at the City University of New York. Sociologist Amy Adamczyk suggests shame may be a motivation for not acting from personal religious values and insteadopting for an abortion during an unexpected pregnancy at a private school. She points out that simply attending a religious school is not necessarily an indication of a conservative religious view. Other findings:
  • The type of religious school (Catholic or otherwise) was not a factor.
  • Conservative Protestants were the least likely to report having an abortion (less likely than mainline Protestants, Catholics and women with non-Christian religious affiliations)
  • The religious involvement of a woman's peers made no overall difference
  • Woman attending schools with conservative Protestants were more likely to decide to keep their baby if the pregnancy occurred in their 20s than during their teen years.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A 1st for Rabbis

Alyssa Stanton became the African-American woman to be ordained as a rabbi by a mainstream Jewish seminary yesterday. The ceremony took place at the Cincinnati campus of Hebrew Union College. She will take leadership of an mostly synagogue in Greenville, North Carolina later this summer. Here's more on her background from a New York Times article.

Shot While Bible Reading

A Nashville man has pled guilty to shooting a convenience store clerk who was reading his Bible. Prosecutors say Joshua Bond killed Shop-N-Save Market clerk Gene Kim after they argued over whether Bond had shoplifted some items from the store. Bond left the store and returned with a gun, shooting Kim as he read his Bible.