Saturday, December 19, 2009

Decade's #1

MercyMe is the #1 Christian Songs Artist of the Decade, according to Billboard. The group's song Word Of God Speak is also the #1 Song of The Decade for Christian music. The group is also earns an additional #1 in the Christian AC Song Artist of The Decade category. MercyMe has 22 #1 songs.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Osteen on CNN

Larry King talks to mega-preacher Joel Osteen on whether prosperity gospel played a role in the economic collapse.

Scandal Down Under

Mercy Ministries has closed its doors in Australia following a recent scandal. Seven former Mercy Australia leaders admitted to deceiving young women who came to them for help at two homes there, agreeing to pay some $100,000 to them for saying the program was free and then requiring government support checks. Mercy Australia also told the women they would be provided counseling which failed to materialize. The songwriter penned Shout to the Lord, Darlene Zschech, started Mercy Australia. The group operates similar homes, where care is free, in Sacramento, California and Monroe, Louisiana, Nashville, Tennessee, and St. Louis, Missouri. The U.S. organization is based in Nashville which was not involved in the recent agreement.

Athletes & Religion

A new book called Onward Christian Athletes explores religion on the athletic field. Religion writer Tom Krattenmaker especially focuses on the influence of evangelical Christian groups in locker rooms. Krattenmaker goes back to the days of baseball pioneer Branch Rickey who helped to found the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He includes information on Athletes in Action as well and writes, "The conservative Christians got their upper hand in the sports world the old fashioned way. They earned it.'' However, he does encourage pro athletes to be more sensitive in their tone and timing of when they discuss their faith.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sex Offender Can Go to Church

A North Carolina judge says a sex offender can't be stopped from attending church as part of his punishment. A state law limits their ability to be in places where there are children present. The issue went to court after police arrested registered sex offender James Nichols this year for attending a Baptist church near Raleigh.

Bible Manuscript: Forgery

A copy of the Gospel of Mark thought to be some 700 years old is a complete fake. The University of Chicago bought the handwritten, hand-illustrated manuscript of the during the 1930s. Scholars say the forgery was revealed by advanced dating techniques.

$30 Million for Center

St. Louis' Washington University will create a religion and politics center with a $30 million donation. The gift comes from the Danforth Foundation. The private school has no religious affiliation.

Pageant Death

A Cincinnati church will continue it's Christmas pageant despite a woman's death in the show last year. WLWT-TV reports.

Ministry in Trouble

The ministry of evangelist Rod Parsley is "in jeopardy" according to a Web post on the site of World Harvest Church. However, officials at the Ohio-based ministry say there are no plans to shut down any time soon. Parsley is pleading for money, saying there is a "demonically inspired financial attack" and that he faces an "unavoidable deadline" at the end of the year. World Harvest Church says there is a $3 million short fall despite cutting nearly a third out of the budget .

The church recently paid a family $3 million because a toddler was left with welts and abrasions from a spanking at the church day-care. The family is accusing Parsley of refusing to meet with them and complains the church did not apologize.

High-Efficiency Evangelism

USA Today's front page story is titled Multi-site churches: A new variety of religious experience. Read it here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Secular Display Approved

A winter solstice display must be placed on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol alongside a nativity scene. That's the ruling of a federal judge. The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers took the issue to court when its tribute to Albert Einstein and Bill Gates was rejected.

Bible Reading Nixed

A New Jersey teacher told a student not to read her Bible during "quiet time" when other reading materials are acceptable. WNYW-TV reports.

Put Away the Bible

A New Jersey elementary student was told to quit reading the Bible during the class "quiet time." Michelle Jordat of Old Bridge says her third-grader cried but later the principal apologized. Jordat says she was told the teacher at Madison Park Elementary School was wrong because school policy allows children to read any material of their choosing during quiet time.

Toys But No Manger

One Indiana courthouse doesn't have a nativity scene on it's lawn but you will find marching soldiers, a dinosaur and even the Loch Ness monster. Howard County Commissioners decided to let anyone put items on the lawn to avoid complains from civil liberties groups about religious displays on public property. A request has been made to put a nativity scene on the courthouse grounds but so far no one has done so.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Oral Roberts Dies

Evangelist Oral Roberts has died at the age of 91. He had been hospitalized after a fall over the weekend at his California home. He died of complications from pneumonia. He founded Oral Roberts University in 1963.

Kicked Out for Jesus' Drawing

An elementary school student was sent home from school for drawing an image of Jesus on the cross. School officials in Tauton, Massachusetts required the eight-year-old to undergo a psychological evaluation before returning. His teacher at Maxham Elementary School had told the class to draw something that reminded them of Christmas. His father says the the incident so upset the boy that he has requested a transfer to another school.

Atheist Bus Signs

Freedom From Religion has started a holiday campaign in Seattle, putting signs on the sides of city buses that read, "Yes, Virginia ... There is no God."

Poster Called Blasphemous

A census poster is stirring controversy. It's part of a campaign linking the government count to events surrounding the birth of Jesus. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials is giving the posters to thousands of churches and pastors. It reads, "This is how Jesus was born. Joseph and Mary participated in the Census." Most of the posters are in Spanish to target Latino evangelicals. The National Coalition of Latino Clergy is encouraging a boycott of the Census - unless Congress changes immigration laws. Miguel Rivera, chairman of the group, calls the poster "blasphemous."

Monday, December 14, 2009

Roberts Hospitalized

Oral Roberts is in a California hospital after a fall on Saturday. The 91-year-old televangelist is in stable condition, suffering from broken bones and pneumonia. He founded Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His son, Richard, resigned as president after a financial scandal in which he denied any wrongdoing.

Abortion Video

An activist group is accusing Planned Parenthood of lying about what it does - and the group claims to have a video to support the claim. WTMJ-TV in Milwaukee reports.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obama Shirt

Custon t-shirt and clothing seller Zazzle has taken down shirts that were being sold that say, Pray for Obama Psalm 109:8. The t-shirt sounds innocent enough until you look up the verse.
"May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership."

The online company says it has a policy not to sell merchandise that threatens the president.

Looking Back... Top Religion Stories of 2008

1. The Evangelical Role in Election 2008

2. California’s Same-sex Marriage Ban

3. Christians Killed in India

4. Episcopalian and Anglican Schisms

5. Christians Flee Iraq and Gaza

6. The Pastors of Presidential Candidates

7. Global Economic Woes

8. Muslim and Christian Dialogues

9. Charismatic Divisions over Todd Bentley’s Florida Revival

10. Issues Raised by Raids at Texas Polygamist Compound

Source: Christianity Today