Friday, December 31, 2010

Green Backlash

The New York Times reports on an Evangelical backlash over environmentalism here.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Sign Must Go

A homeowner in northern Virginia is in trouble with his homeowners association for putting a sign in his yard that says, "Happy Birthday Jesus, Come Let Us Adore Him." The New Bristow Village management company told Donald Henderson that he had violated one of the development's covenants and ordered it taken down. Henderson says he won't comply and will use it again next year. The management company says the problem is not the sign's religious message and it was unfortunate that the letter arrived on Christmas Eve. Henderson points out that the association sponsors a Christmas decoration contest. This year's winner had a plastic sign reading 'North Pole.'

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Carlson: Vick Should be Executed

Political analyst Tucker Carlson says Michael Vick should have been executed for his involvment with the mistreatment of dogs. The bow-tie wearing Fox News contributor was filling in for Sean Hannity when he told last night's audience:
"I'm a Christian, I've made mistakes myself, I believe fervently in second chances. But Michael Vick killed dogs, and he did in a cruel, heartless way. Personally, I think he should've been executed for that."
The comment was prompted by a report that Carlson was responding to reports that President Obama praised the Eagles for giving Vick a second chance.

Here's the video:

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pastor Drops Out

A megachurch pastor has withdrawn from Chicago's mayor's race. James Meeks is already a State Senator, but he said the city's black community needed to rally around a single candidate. Meek's withdrawal statement encouraged other black candidates to do the same. There are more than 10 candidates still in the race, including ex-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel.

Obama to Church

President Barack Obama made a rare trip to church this morning. He and the first family visited St. Michael's Chapel while on vacation in Hawaii. The Marine Corps base where the church is located is a favorite stop for Obama while he's in Hawaii. He goes to the gym and golfs there. The White House says the president doesn't often attend church while in Washington to avoid disrupting services.

Leaving the ELCA

North Dakota's Peace Lutheran Church is leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. 87 Members of the church, located in Devil's Lake, voted to move to the more traditional North American Lutheran Church. The denomination has been losing members ever since it decided to allow people in same-gender relationships to serve in the clergy.

Friday, December 24, 2010

$5 Million by Dec 31

Rick Warren is asking his congregation to give $5 million before the end of the year. The megachurch pastor told his Saddleback Church he would jumpstart the giving by pledging $1 million himself. The money will go, among other things, to start 5 church campuses. Warren says he takes no salary from the church, no money for speaking engagements and he supports his family solely from the royalties off his book.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

What Pat Robertson Meant

Since Pat Robertson made his comments about marijuana, a spokesman has come out with a statement to clarify what the 700 Club host meant. Chris Roslan says Robertson did not intend to suggest he now supports the legalization of marijuana, but questions the severity of the punishment for possession of small amounts of the drug. Here is the full statement.
“Dr. Robertson did not call for the decriminalization of marijuana. He was advocating that our government revisit the severity of the existing laws because mandatory drug sentences do harm to many young people who go to prison and come out as hardened criminals. He was also pointing out that these mandatory sentences needlessly cost our government millions of dollars when there are better approaches available. Dr. Robertson’s comments followed a CBN News story about a group of conservatives who have proven that faith-based rehabilitation for criminals has resulted in lower repeat offenders and saved the government millions of dollars. Dr. Robertson unequivocally stated that he is against the use of illegal drugs.”
You can see the video of what Robertson had to say below.

Message Switch at Lincoln Tunnel

A new billboard has replaced the one put up by atheists on the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel. The first one said Christmas was a "myth." The new billboard declares, "God is." The Manhattan-based Times Square Church paid for it. The Catholic League erected its own pro billboard on the New York side of the tunnel that reads, "You Know It's Real: This Season Celebrate Jesus."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Robertson Favors Legalizing Pot

Pat Robertson has come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. The televangelist offers a video on his 700 Club about drug law reformers who run prison outreach ministries. Robertson said,"We're locking up people that have taken a couple puffs of marijuana and next thing you know they've got 10 years with mandatory sentences. I'm not exactly for the use of drugs, don't get me wrong, but I just believe that criminalizing marijuana, criminalizing the possession of a few ounces of pot, that kinda thing is just costing us a fortune and it's ruining young people. Young people go into prisons, they go in as youths and come out as hardened criminals. That's not a good thing. Here's a video showing the full context of what he had to say:

Con Man Posing As Pastor

South Carolina's WCBD-TV has a video report on a man who claims to be a pastor to get money.

Controversial Billboards

Cincinnati Right to Life has put up 5 billboards around the city like the one you see here. They feature an ultrasound image of a haloed fetus. The ad was made by ChurchAds.net, a coalition of Christian churches, including Church of England, Baptist Union, United Reformed Church, Anglican and Methodist churches.

Sign Slashed at Church

Vandals have struck at a church Cleveland-area church. The images of Mary, Joseph and Baby Jesus on a sign at the St. Julie Billiart Catholic Church in North Ridgeville have been sliced with a knife.

Megachurch Pastor Quits, moves to Asia

Read the story at CNN.com here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bible College Warned

Criswell College has received an official warning that its accreditation is in jeopardy. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools cites “institutional effectiveness” in planning and assessment. The Bible college was started 4 decades ago by the First Baptist Church of Dallas and is named for longtime pastor W.A. Criswell. There were 365 students enrolled during the past semester.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Missionary Murdered in Africa

KLTV in Texas tells the story of a family grieving this holiday season because of the loss of a missionary husband and father. Read about it here.

Poll on Evolution

40% of Americans believes in creationism. That's down from 47% in 1993 and 1999. Here are some other findings from a newly released Gallup poll:
  • 38% believe God played a role in the process of evolution.
  • 16% believe humans have evolved with no divine guidance (twice as many as in 1982).
  • 60% of those who attend church on a weekly basis believe in creationism
  • only 2% of those who attend church on a weekly basis believe in secular evolution.
  • among those who rarely or never attend religious services, 24% believe in creationism
  • among those who rarely or never attend religious services, 39% believe in evolution without divine guidance.

Killed in Israel

An American tourist recently murdered in Israel was a staff member at Church's Ministry among Jewish people, a group involved with presenting Jewish people the Christian message. Kristine Luken was stabbed to death while hiking with a professional tour guide and friend who survived by pretending to be dead, and said the pair were attacked by two Arab men with what looked like a bread knife. No one has been arrested so far in the investigation.

Pastor's Past Revealed

A Virginia Congregation is shocked to learn their pastor was convicted.. for murder. Read about it here.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Churches Figtht in New Mexico

KOB-TV in Roswell shows what happens when church groups comes to blows over theological.

Christmas in 3-D

A Dallas megachurch church is offering its Christmas services today in 3-D. Pastor Ed Young says each person attending the service of Fellowship church will be given a pair of 3-D glasses in order to watch the high-tech service. The church has 4 campuses in the Dallas area and one in Miami. The church's website offers a 3-D video with Young and his wife. You can see it here.

Friday, December 17, 2010

New Plates for KY

Kentucky plans to issue In God We Trust auto license plates as an alternative to the Unbridled Spirit already available. Both plates would run $21.

Food Court Flash Mob

Moving Sign Battle in Texas

An atheist group is running ads on public buses in Fort Worth that read, "Millions of people are good without God." Meanwhile, a van, paid for by local businessmen, is driving around those buses with signs reading, "I still love you. -- God," with another line that says, "2.1 billion Christians are good with God." The atheist ads are paid for by the Dallas-Fort Worth Coalition of Reason. Some black ministers have organized a bus boycott while other pastors have asked the Fort Worth Transportation Authority to ban religious advertising on public buses.

Warren Makes Top 20

Rick Warren and the Dalai Lama were the only religious figures to make Forbe's list of the top 20 most influential Twitter celebrities. Topping the list was 16-year-old singer Justin Bieber with more than 6.3 million followers. Warren, author of The Purpose Driven Life , has more than 209,000 followers, putting him at number 20. Along with some personal tweets, Warren mostly offers challenges, Scripture verses, mentoring advice and encouragement to his Twitter followers. You can follow him here.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pastors flock to Facebook, Twitter

A story from USA Today about the impact of social networks on the church. Read it here.

Bank Told to Get Rid of Bible References

Federal Reserve examiners are demanding a small bank in Oklahoma get rid of a Bible verse of the day, crosses on the teller’s counter and buttons that say Merry Christmas, God With Us. With the help of local Congressmen and the Oklahoma Bankers Association, the bank hopes to be able to continue its use of Scripture.

Cultural Trends in Books

The word “God” peaked in usage in the world’s books about 1830. That's according to Harvard researchers from a survey of Google's 5.2 million digitized book library. Preachers wrote a greater percentage of books in the early 1800s which may explain why “God” peaked that year, when it represented 12.5 of every 10,000 words. By the year 2000, its prevalence had dropped to just 2.6 times out of 10,000 words. Details are in the journal Science where the researchers conclude, "'God’ is not dead, but needs a new publicist."

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Carol of the Bed Intruder

Antoine Dodson became an internet sensation when a video of him giving a interview to a local TV station showed up on YouTube. The reporter spoke to him after he chased a rapist from his sister's bedroom.

An Auto-Tune remix, a political ad, and a dog's Halloween costume have all followed. Now, students at Liberty University in Virginia (founded by Jerry Falwell) have come up with their own version of Dodson's rant.

Silent Night Ritual

Indiana's Taylor University has a basketball ritual known as Silent Night. Around Christmastime, students at the Christian college pack the school's gym dressed in pajamas and remain quiet until Taylor scores its 10th point of the game. Watch what happens.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Church Promoted Alleged Scam

Atlanta megchurch pastor Bishop Eddie Long is being linked to a questionable mortgage venture that is being investigated by the feds. Matrix Capital promised to cut mortgage payments of its customers, but investigators say most of them ended up in bankruptcy and losing their homes. It was at Long's church where church members were told in seminars to pay Matrix instead of their mortgage holders. Long has issued a written statement saying he no longer allows Matrix to hold seminars at the church, but he is also not planning to do anything to help people who the feds say were swindled.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christians Flee Iraq

The New York Times takes a look at Christians leaving Iraq here.

Jones No Longer Welcome

The Florida pastor who threatened to burn copies of the Koran has been dis-invited to a UK rally. The English Defence League now says Terry Jones is no longer welcome because it has "reservations" about his views that appear "homophobic and racist." Jones says the group has bowed to government and media pressure. Jones says he'll still come to the UK in February as planned.

Prof Sues School over Views on Evolution

An astronomer claims the University of Kentucky refused to hire him because of his Christian views related to evolution. Martin Gaskell is suing the school after he was denied a job as director of an observatory even though he was the leading candidate for the post. Gaskell is now a research fellow and lecturer in astronomy at the University of Texas at Austin who says he believes evolution can be reconciled with the Bible but the theory has major flaws. The university admits his views and willingness to express them to religious groups played a role in the hiring decision and tried to get the suit dismissed. A judge denied the motion. The case goes to trial in February.

Billy Graham & Richard Nixon

A piece of audio released by the Richard Nixon Library this past week revealed a conversation the former president had with Billy Graham. The previously unheard 8 minute phone conversation that took place April 11, 1973 showed that Graham predicted the investigation into the Watergate scandal would blow over. Graham assuring Nixon of his support. He also asked Nixon to consider a particular candidate to lead the Postal Service. Here's part of what Graham said:
“I really just wanted to reassure you of my support and prayers and love and backing and just tell you if there’s anything I can ever do, I want you to consider me a member of your team. We don’t know everything, but we know you, and that’s enough for us, and that’s what I intend to say publicly.”
It was later reported that Nixon said, “Don’t let Billy Graham near me, I don’t want him tarred with Watergate.”

Oral Roberts

One year ago, Evangelist Oral Roberts died at the age of 91. He had been hospitalized after a fall at his California home. He died of complications from pneumonia. He founded Oral Roberts University in 1963.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

#1 on the Big Screen

The new Chronicles of Narnia movie took the top slot in box office charts. The third installment in the series, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, sold about $24.5 million in its first weekend, enough for No. 1 but on the low end of expectations. Unless it picks up, the series based on the CS Lewis books could end here.

TIME's Top Religious Stories of 2010

1. The "Ground Zero Mosque"
2. The Vatican and the Child Abuse Scandal
3. The Bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral
4. Franklin Graham vs. the Muslims
5. The Rev. Terry Jones Threatens to Burn Korans
6. Women Priests, In Spite of the Vatican
7. The Pope Doesn't Quite Endorse Condoms
8. Christians Under Attack in the Middle East
9. Obama Decides Not to Visit the Golden Temple
10. The Vatican and Homer Simpson

Read more at TIME

Preacher May Get UK Ban

A Koran-burning American pastor may not be allowed in England. Terry Jones backed off his threat to burn the Koran, but not before the Florida pastor gained worldwide attention. Now, he wants to speak to activists in Britain but the Home Secretary says she is considering whether to ban him from entering the country. Jones is scheduled to speak at an English Defence League rally "against the evils and destructiveness of Islam" on February 5th in Luton, an area which has a large Muslim minority.

A Christmas Quiz

1. What did the angels sing to the shepherds?
2. In what direction did the Wise Men see the star in the sky?
3. Where did the wise men go to see the baby?
4. How many wise men were there?
5. In which season of the year was Jesus born?
6. What did Mary ride on to Bethlehem?
7. What did the wise men ride on?
8. In what country did the Christmas tree originate?
9. In what century did Christmas celebrations begin?
10. Was there ever an original, real Santa Claus?
11. What Christmas tradition commemorating the birth of Jesus
did St. Francis of Assisi begin?
12. Did Jesus tell us to remember his birth?

Answers Here

Saturday, December 11, 2010

KJV: 400th Birthday in May

The King James Version of the Bible will celebrate its 400th anniversary on May 2, 2011. More than 70 events are planned around Britain to mark the date. Ohio State University is planning a conference on the influence of the King James Bible.

Camel Falls in Church Program

Things didn't go right for a Florida church that used a camel in its Christmas program. Watch what happened during a rehearsal at First Baptist Church in West Palm Beach.

Jewish Speaker

An effort is underway to oust Republican Joe Straus from his position as speaker of the Texas House. Some in the Texas Tea Party wants a Christian speaker and Straus is Jewish. Emails are going around that say his rabbi is affiliated with Planned Parenthood. Joe Cook told supports, "We elected a house with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it." Cook insists, "My e-mail said nothing about Jewish people. I just want Christian conservatives in office."

Friday, December 10, 2010

iPad Band

Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta features a band that uses iPads as instruments. Here's a video sample.

North Point's iBand from North Point Web on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Palin & Graham

Sarah Palin and Franklin Graham are heading to Haiti this weekend. The former governor and evangelist will visit a clinic where people are being treated for cholera. The disease has killed more than 2000 people in the country as it still is recovering from a devastating earthquake earlier this year. Graham's Samaritan's Purse has treated thousands of people in Haiti, building a cholera clinic and bringing in plane loads of medical aid into the country.

Blackmail Investigation Dropped

A police investigation into the Daystar TV network has ended. Marcus Lamb, who founded the network, says 3 former employees tried to extort money from him about an affair. But authorities say there does not appear to be any criminal conduct under the Texas Law. One of the former employees has filed a lawsuit again Lamb.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

School Controversy over Gay Soccer oach

Belmont University is catching flack for the departure of its women's soccer coach. Some players, students and alumi believe Lisa Howe is no longer at the Tennessee school because she is a lesbian and expecting a child with her same sex partner. Belmont issued a statement insisting the decision was a mutual and the school doesn't consider sexual orientation in its hiring or dismissals. However, former players turned out to protest yesterday and about 50 showed up for a sit-in at the office of the school's president last Sunday. Belmont was affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention until 2007.

Elizabeth Edwards' Faith

An article from Politics Daily about why Elizabeth Edwards left God out of her last goodbye here.

Looking for a Leader

The Economist takes a look at leadership among Evangelicals here.

More on Megachurch Pastor Mediation Talks

Megachurch Pastor in Settlement Talks

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Mediation for Long

Atlanta pastor Eddie Long has agreed to mediation with those who have accused him of multiple counts of sexual coercion when they were teenagers. Long hopes to avoid a trial, though he first said he would go to court to clear his name.

Grinch Alert

The 1st Baptist Church of Dallas has launched a website to indicate which North Texas businesses show outward support for Christmas through marketing, advertising and community relations. Consumers can visit GrinchAlert.com to suggest businesses or organizations that don't acknowledge Christmas which can land a group on the "Naughty List." Those celebrating Christmas get on the a "Nice List."

Watching over Baby Jesus

An article about Baby Jesus and GPS in USA Today here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Most Muslims want Islam in politics

A majority of Muslims around the world want Islam to play a big role in their countries' political life. Here are some of the other findings of a new poll from the Pew Research Center:

Pakistani Muslims said they would support laws that would separate men and women at work.

Most Muslims in Pakistan, Egypt, Jordan and Nigeria want to change the law to allow stoning for adultery, hand amputation for theft and death for those who convert from Islam to another religion.

Even in Turkey, where 74% of Muslims say they are not fundamentalists, more than half are in favor of combining Islam and politics.

In Lebanon 84% say they are moderates.

59% in Egypt identify with fundamentalists.

58% in Nigeria identify with the fundamentalists.

Hamas and Hezbollah are supported in Jordon and Lebanon.

Al Qaeda was rejected by strong majorities in every Muslim country. Nigeria was the exception. Muslims there gave the group a 49% approval rating.

The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points for Pakistan and 4 percentage points for the other countries.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Build an Ark

The New York Times looks at plans in Kentucky to build a Noah's Ark Theme park in an article here.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Pastor Accused of being "Of the Devil"

A jury has awarded $4.6 million to the former pastor of a Torrance, California church. Nancy Johnson claimed to have been slandered by the current pastor of the Prairie Avenue Foursquare Church, Erik Kirk, said she was "of the devil." Kirk also said she misappropriating building project funds. Johnson's husband, the late George Johnson, was fired during the 1990's when his two daughters accused him of sexual abuse. He was later reinstated, and the church agreed to pay back salary. The trial got off to an disturbing start when the first witness was murdered before she could take the stand on behalf of Johnson.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Tops Stories... One Year Ago

A survey of more than 100 religion journalists found these to be the top stories of 2009:

1. Barack Obama's June speech in which he pledged a new beginning in Muslim-U.S. relations during a visit to Cairo.

2. Health care reform and the role of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and other faith groups played in shaping the debate.

3. Because Maj. Nidal Hasan, the accused gunman in the Fort Hood massacre, was considered a devout Muslim, the role of that faith in terrorism again comes under review; some fear a backlash.

4. Dr. Carl Tiller, regarded as the country’s leading abortion doctor, is gunned down while ushering in his Wichita Lutheran church. Scott Roeder, charged with his murder, is described as a man suffering from delusions and professing radical religious beliefs.

5. Mormons in California come under attack from some supporters of gay rights because of their lobbying efforts in the November 2008 election on behalf of Prop. 8, which outlawed gay marriage. Later in the year, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire approve gay marriage, but it is overturned by voters in Maine.

6. President Obama receives an honorary degree and gives the commencement speech at Notre Dame after fierce debates at the Roman Catholic university over Obama's views on abortion.

7. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America votes to ordain gay and lesbian clergy who are in a committed monogamous relationship, leading a number of conservative churches -- known as the Coalition for Renewal -- to move toward forming a new denomination.

8. The recession forces cutbacks at a great variety of faith-related organizations -- houses of worship, relief agencies, colleges and seminaries, publishing houses.

9. The Episcopal Church Triennial Convention votes to end a moratorium on installing gay bishops, ignoring a request from the archbishop of Canterbury. At year’s end Los Angeles chooses a lesbian, Mary Glasspool, as assistant bishop. Earlier, an elected bishop in Upper Michigan, Kevin Thew Forrester, is rejected because of his extreme liberal views.

10. President Obama’s inauguration includes a controversial invocation by Rick Warren and a controversial benediction by Joseph Lowery, as well as a pre-ceremony prayer by gay Bishop Gene Robinson.

Source: Religion Newswriters Association

McCartney Apologizes

Bill McCartney is apologizing for referring to homosexuality as "an abomination against almighty God." The Former University of Colorado coach and founder of Promise Keepers is once again up for the head football position. Some have opposed hiring him because of his comments. The 70-year-old McCartney announced that he would like to return to the job he held from 1982 to 1994. McCartney now says:
"The Bible says the whole gospel is found in the first two commandments, and those commandments are love God and love your neighbor as yourself. What I regret is that I did not communicate that. I didn't communicate that well that day, and I regret that. I ask the forgiveness of anyone who thinks I judged them or look down on them. I don't."
School administrators fired Dan Hawkins from the coaching position last month.

Japanese Poster

This Tokyo subway poster shows Jesus and his disciples at the Last Supper confronted by umbrellas forgotten on the train. It's part of a larger series designed to get riders to gather their belongings before leaving the subway car.

Penalized for thanking God

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Star of David Discovery

Google Earth has revealed there is a Star of David on the roof of the Teheran airport. Iranian government officials are reportedly incensed at the discovered at the headquarters of Iran Air, Al- Arabiya. More than 30 years ago, the building that houses the national airline of the Islamic Republic was constructed by Israeli engineers. Before 1979, there were regular flights between the Shah’s Iran Teheran and Tel Aviv. A few months ago, it was discovered that there was a Star of David on the roof of a building in Teheran’s Revolution Square.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blaming God for Dropped Pass

Buffalo Bills wide receiver Stevie Johnson is blaming God for dropping a game-winning touchdown in the end zone Sunday. After the overtime game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Johnson tweeted:

I PRAISE YOU 24/7!!!!!! AND THIS HOW YOU DO ME!!!!! YOU EXPECT ME TO LEARN FROM THIS??? HOW???!!! ILL NEVER FORGET THIS!! EVER!!! THX THO...

The NFL fined Johnson $5,000 last week for wearing a t-shirt under his jersey that had a Batman-inspired quote from the Joker, "Why so serious?" He showed the shirt after scoring a touchdown. He praised God on Twitter for helping him to make that catch.

Televangelist Admits Affair

The founder of the Daystar Television Network had told his TV audience that he had an affair. Marcus Lamb says he was forced to go public with the matter after several people allegedly tried to blackmail him. Lamb's wife appeared with him when he made the announcement during the his Celebration TV program. Daystar operates more than 70 television stations. The organization claims an audience of 80 million homes.

The Manhattan Declaration

Apple has removed an app called the Manhattan Declaration from its iTunes store. Some 7000 people had signed a petition to get it deleted, saying it is anti-gay. Launched in October, the 4000 word statement has been signed by more than 400,000 people and is described as 'a call to Christian conscience.' Read the Manhattan declaration here.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Woman Burned Alive

The UK's Daily Mail is reporting that five men are behind bars in Ghana for burning to death a 72-year-old woman. Authorities say they accused Ama Hemmah being a witch before drenching the grandmother with kerosene and setting her on fire. One of the men is believed to be an evangelical pastor. He claims they were anointing her body with oil when it caught fire.

Controversial Billboard

A large billboard outside the New Jersey side of the Lincoln Tunnel shows a manger scene with the caption “You KNOW it’s a Myth." The ad is sponsored by a group called American Atheists.

Is Sarah Palin Right?

Sarah Palin says that most college professors are unbelievers. She writes in her new book America By Heart, "Most of those who write for the mainstream media and teach at universities and law schools don’t share the religious faith of their fellow Americans." But a survey published last year in the journal Sociology of Religion found less than 10% are atheists. Here is a breakdown of the survey.
  • I don’t believe in God: 9.8
  • I don’t know whether there is a God: 13.1
  • I do believe in a higher power: 19.2
  • I find myself believing in God some of the time: 4.3
  • While I have doubts, I feel that I do believe in God: 16.6
  • I know God really exists and I have no doubts about it: 34.9
  • No answer: 2.2

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Show Must Go On

Bankruptcy apparently won't stop Robert Schuller's church from trying to put on it's annual Christmas program. The Crystal Cathedral is known for the elaborate production, but will need court approval to do it this time. Church officials had earlier announced it was canceled, while with admitting it owned creditors as much as $100 million. There is a question as to whether there is enough time to pull it off, even if the court agrees.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Blue Like Jazz: The Movie

Looks like Donald Miller's Blue Like Jazz will become a movie after all. Plans to turn the popular Christian book into a film were stalled for a time, after the production ran out of funding. But it appears to be back on track. An online campaign generated enough funds to keep it going. It only took 10 days to raise $125,000, making it one of the largest crowd-sourced projects ever funded. Filming began last month in Nashville and will also take place in Portland and possibly Houston and Los Angeles. It should be in theaters by next fall.

Baptist Historian Dies

A longtime professor at many Southern Baptist seminaries has died. Morgan Patterson died at the age of 85 in his home in Novato, California. Besides teaching at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisiana College, Oklahoma Baptist University, Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Campbellsville University and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Patterson served as president of Kentucky's Georgetown College and as an interim pastor of numerous churches in California, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana and Mississippi.

Megachurch Pastor Retiring

The pastor of North Carolina's largest Southern Baptist church is stepping down. Joe Brown is retiring after 26 years in the pulpit of the Charlotte church. Instead of telling the Hickory Grove congregation in person, the 62-year-old Brown made the announcement by video, saying he would not speak again to them as pastor. Clint Pressley was tapped as co-pastor earlier this year, and he'll take over. He spent six years as pastor at Dauphin Way Baptist Church in Mobile, Alabama.

Valedictorian Wins Case

It was unconstitutional for school officials to force a Montana High School valedictorian to remove the words "God" and "Christ" from her speech, according to the state's highest court. The court ruled Renee Griffith's rights to free speech and to freedom of religion were violated by Butte High School in 2008 she was told she had to removed the sentence, "I didn't let fear keep me from sharing Christ and His joy with those around me" by school district superintendent Charles Uggetti. That overturns a lower court ruling. Ironically, Griffith first approached the Montana Human Rights Bureau, but was told there had been no discrimination.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Largest Statue of Jesus

The western Polish town of Swiebodzin now boasts the world’s tallest statue of Jesus. A retired local Roman Catholic priest, Sylwester Zawadzki, came up with the idea and used the donations of parishioners along with private gifts to build the fibreglass and plaster Jesus. Zawadzki says he wanted the statue to be 33 meters to symbolize the 33 years Jesus lived on earth. The figure also has a three meter gold crown to symbolize the three years of Christ's ministry. That makes it 108 feet or three meters taller than Brazil’s statue of Christ the Redeemer in Rio de Janeiro. Here's a video of it.

Ten Commandments Bill

A bill in the Texas state legislature would prevent school boards from stopping the posting of the Ten Commandments in classrooms. Representative Dan Flynn filed the measure. He is a Republican from the East Texas town of Van. If it passes, the bill would likely wind up before a federal court which would rule on whether violates the First Amendment establishment clause.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Complaint Over Vet Day Video

A student has filed a complaint about a public high school principal over two videos he showed students during a Veterans Day rally. In one video slideshow, images were shown to the tune of country musician Jo Dee Messina’s Heaven Was Needing a Hero. It ended with an image of Jesus embracing a man. Tigard High School principal Mark Neffendorf says he didn't know the videos would be shown at the assembly, which was organized by the school’s student leadership.

Friday, November 19, 2010

The T-NIVB

Zondervan has put out a new Bible translation. It's available online now and will be in print next year. Today's New International Bible flopped last year, so the Bible publisher promised an update to avoid the controversy over the gender neutral Bible.In an interview with the Tennessean, Wheaton College Bible scholar Doug Moo said, "We tried to be careful about not bowing to any cultural or ecclesiastical agenda."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Facebook Theology

A look at Facebook theology at CNN.

Baptists Drop Church Over Woman Pastor

Georgia Southern Baptists are cutting ties with another church because it has a woman as co-pastor. Delegates at the annual state meeting approved a recommendation made from the convention's executive committee to declare the Druid Hills Baptist Church in Atlanta "not a cooperating church." The group separated from the First Baptist Church of Decatur last year over the same issue.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pastor Bans Facebook

A pastor at a New Jersey church is giving his staff an ultimatum: Give up Facebook or give up their position. Cedric Miller at Living Word Christian Fellowship Church says Facebook is breaking up marriages at his Asbury Park evangelical congregation because people can reconnect through the social network.

Megachurch Salaries Questioned

Objections are being raised over the large salaries enjoyed by members of Robert Schuller's family by the Trustee handling the bankruptcy of the Crystal Chathedral. CFO Fred Southard is given a $132,019 housing allowance while the youngest of Robert H. Schuller's daughters gets $70,000 for producing the Hour of Power broadcasts. Another family member gets $55,000 just for scheduling musical guests. There is a question as to why Southard gets any salary at all, since the church also has an accounting staff. Court documents show that the Schuller family members made more than $1 million in salaries even as the Southern California church owes more than $7 million to creditors.

Monday, November 15, 2010

NH Pledge Law Stands

An appeals court says a Pledge of Allegiance law in New Hampshire is constitutional. It requires schools to authorize a time each day for students to voluntarily recite the pledge. The court found the oath's reference to God doesn't violate students' rights, upholding a lower court ruling. The Freedom From Religion Foundation had filed a lawsuit on behalf of parents who identified themselves and their children as atheist and agnostic. Under the new law, students who choose not to recite the pledge may stand silently or remain seated.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baptist Gathering

Southern Baptists will gather in Corpus Christi this Monday and Tuesday for their annual convention. Some 2250 representatives are expected.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Late-term Abortion Clinics to Open

An abortion doctor who performs late pregnancy abortions says he's going to open clinics around Washington, DC and Iowa. LeRoy Carhart already runs an abortion facility in Nebraska, but the station passed a measure outlawing abortions later than the 20th week of a pregnancy. Carhart isn't saying where the clinics will be located, does say they will be open for business by December 6.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Megachurch Numbers

More than 60% of the nation's megachurches are in the Sunbelt. Texas has the most, followed by California, Georgia and Florida, according to the Hartford Institute for Religion Research in Connecticut. However, Church Growth Today says 95% of the Christian, non-Catholic churches in the US have a weekly attendance of 350 or fewer people.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Discrimination Case Dropped

The Michigan Department of Civil Rights has dismissed a case against a 31-year-old Grand Rapids woman who was accused of violating the fair housing law. A private group called the Fair Housing Center of West Michigan first filed the complaint against her for posting a notice for a Christian roommate on her church bulletin board for a 900 square feet with one bathroom.

College Loses Provost

The provost at The King's College has quit a short time after the arrival of a new president. Marvin Olasky announced his resignation as provost of just months after the college chose Dinesh D'Souza as president. Olasky will become the school's "presidential scholar" which means he will be doing no more than handling the college's guest speaker series. He'll be putting his effort behind World magazine, a publication for which he serves as editor in chief. The evangelical college is located in the Empire State Building.

Exit Polls and Religion

A review of exit polling from this week's election by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life found Protestants, Catholics, and the unaffiliated followed their usual patterns, with a few critical variations that made the difference for Republicans. Read about it here.

Megachurch Pastor: I'm Gay

A Georgia megachurch pastor says he's gay. Jim Swilley is pastor of Church in the Now in Conyers. He's twice been married and has four children.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Pastor Denies Charges

Megachurch pastor Eddie Long is finally speaking about about accusations of sexual misconduct. The Atlanta pastor categorically denied the allegations in a court filing, saying he never coerced 4 teens into sexual relationships. Long had not directly addressed the accusations in a September lawsuit until now.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Suit over Print in Jail

The ACLU is going to court to stop a South Carolina jail from only allow inmates access to Bibles and no other printed materials. The Sheriff of the Berkeley County Detention Center denies the allegation. The lawsuit involves two publications - the Human Rights Defense Center and Prison Legal News. The ACLU says these items were returned with notes like "no magazines allowed."

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Message to Thieves

A Jacksonville, Florida church has a message for whoever stole three air conditioning units from it. In fact, it's posted on a sign out front: "To whoever stole my air conditioners, you are going to need them, - God." The Normandy Park Baptist Church is a small congregation and it will cost around $4000 to replace the equipment that was stolen last weekend.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Gets a Bible

Lindsay Lohan’s father handed her a Bible at her hearing this morning over her probation violation hearing. She accepted the Bible, but didn't speak to him. Michael Lohan clapped when the judge ordered her back to rehab rather than putting the troubled actress in jail. She had failed two drug tests last month. It has also come to light that Michael Lohan was attacked by a man and cut in a parking lot the night before.

Teacher Quits Suit

An Ohio school teacher has dropped his million dollar lawsuit over his firing. John Freshwater was dismissed from Mount Vernon Middle School for burning the image of a cross on a student's arm. He has been on suspension for last 2 years. The entire school board agreed to fire him for teaching Christian beliefs in his classroom. But Freshwater claimed a hostile work environment and harassment over his beliefs.

Brett Favre's Wife

The wife of quarterback Brett Favre says she's relying on verses from Isaiah to keep her going during the scandal involving her husband reportedly sending sexually explicit emails. Deanna Favre has a new book out called The Cure for the Chronic Life. She told Good Morning America, "I'm a woman of faith And faith has gotten me through many difficult struggles. It will get me through this one." She has put the versese from Isaiah 41:9-14 on her refrigerator, which reminds her not to be afraid. Her book is co-authored Florida megachurch pastor Shane Stanford and talks about Deanna Favre's struggle with breast cancer, her husband's prescription drug addiction and marriage problems. She says:
I think we always see the way out. Our strength obviously comes from God. We see the better way. People who don't have faith, I think they just get stuck; they don't see a way out. In the book, I hope we can lead those people maybe to Christ. They'll realize there's more to life. There's a better life, and God has a purpose and a plan for them and (can) provide hope.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Blogger Suit Settled

An agreement has been reached over a lawsuit involving a blogger critical of Mac Brunson, pastor of Jacksonville, Florida's First Baptist Church. The blogger, former First Baptist member Tom Rich, will reportedly get $50,000 for being "outed" by the local sheriff's office and then being issued warnings not to come back to the church or else he would be arrested. Brunson also made derogatory public remarks about Rich. The investigation of Rich's website was conducted by a police detective who was also a member of the minister’s security detail.

Jerk Billboard

A Beaumont, Texas church has put up this billboard that says they are "a bunch of jerks." The Christ Covenant Church put the sign up to acknowledge its failures to the local community. The billboard is meant to direct people to a website about a new sermon series.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Clink Eastwood's Spirituality

Clink Eastwood's new film called Hereafter offers a story from which he says was "was his chance to deal with one of life's and religion's biggest question ereafter explores the afterlife through the interconnected actions of three people across the globe. Christianity Today says the film "stacks the deck too heavily in one direction" and "other than the priest at the funeral, God is absent." Here is the trailer.

Megachurch Bankruptcy

A Southern California megachurch is filing for bankruptcy. Crystal Cathedral Ministries, founded by Robert Schuller, owes creditors nearly $100 million. Best known around the country for the weekly TV show The Hour of Power, the ministry based in Garden Grove, California, is being sued by some of its creditors.

Donations down, Churches face Foreclosure

Here's a video from CNN about financial issues facing churches.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The New Calvinists

An article from The Economist about Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention can be found here.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Suit against Eddie Long

Georgia megachurch pastor Eddie Long is facing a bank lawsuit. The New Birth Missionary Baptist Church is also being sued by 4 men who are charging him with coercing them into sexual relationships as teenagers. The latest legal action against Long comes form the State Bank and Trust and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. The company says Bishop and two others owe nearly two million on a loan for a gym.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Bible College Murder

A North Carolina man is behind bars in connection with the shooting death of a Bible college student. Christopher Amyx faces murder charges in the death of Jonathan Schipper at Mid-Atlantic Christian University in Elizabeth City. Amyz not only attended the school, he served as a part-time police officer. He says it was a case of self-defense.

Religious License Plate Ruling

A Vermont law banning religious expression on license plates has been overturned. A federal appeals court overruled a judge who had upheld the law which prohibited any combination of letters or numbers that referred to a religion or deity. The issue went to court after Vermont officials refused to allow Shawn Byrne to put John 3:16 on his tag.

Pastor Vies for Mayor

A megachurch pastor is running for mayor Chicago. James Meeks not only serves as pastor of Salem Baptist Church, but he is a state senator as well. He has told his congregation he has no plans to leave the church if he is elected.

Albertina Walker Dies

Gospel singer Albertina Walker died today in Chicago. She was 81 years old and had been battling emphysema. Here's a video of her singing.

Yoga a Threat to Christianity?

A leader in the Southern Baptist Convention is telling Christians to avoid yoga. Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler says it comes out of Eastern religions and Christians should avoid it. Mohler says messages have been coming in at a rate of about 100 an hour since his September article titled Should Christians Practice Yoga began receiving attention from the national news media.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pastor Dies in Church Van Accident

A Georgia pastor and three others died in a church van accident yesterday. The van flipped over when a tire blew out near the south Georgia town of Blakely, ejecting 19 people. R.D. Williams, pastor of the Tabernacle of Prayer and Deliverance in Columbus, was among the four killed. The group was traveling to a Florida revival.

Shooting at Christian School

A student was killed yesterday at a small North Carolina Christian university. Jonathan Schipper was fatally shot in a dorm room at Mid-Atlantic Christian University. Police say the suspected shooter later surrendered. The Elizabeth City school was formerly known as Roanoke Bible College.

Religion at the High Court

The Supreme Court begins a new term today and on the docket are two high profile cases involving religious issues. The justices will look at an Arizona program that directs state money to religious schools through an income tax credit scholarship program. The high court will also consider anti-gay protests by a church group at military funerals. The court must decide whether the public rants against homosexuality by the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas are protected by the First Amendment.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Atlanta Pastor Blasts Eddie Long

An Atlanta pastor is urging Eddie Long to "tell the truth." Dennis Meredith, pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, says in a YouTube video that he plans to address Long's controversy Sunday. Four young men are suing the Long, accusing him of coercing them into sexual relations. Long says he'll defend himself against the allegations. Most of Meredith's congregation is gay, lesbian and bisexual. Here's the video:

The Vote and the Pulpit

About 100 pastors joined a yearly campaign last Sunday where they endorse political candidates. Sponsored by the Alliance Defense Fund, the pastors hope to start a legal battle that will overturn prohibitions against churches endorsing candidates.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Obama Defends Religious Views

President Barack Obama defended his Christianity today during a stop today in Albuquerque, New Mexico. When asked, "Why are you a Christian" he told the audience:

"I'm a Christian by choice. My family didn't — frankly, they weren't folks who went to church every week. And my mother was one of the most spiritual people I knew, but she didn't raise me in the church. So I came to my Christian faith later in life, and it was because the precepts of Jesus Christ spoke to me in terms of the kind of life that I would want to lead — being my brothers' and sisters' keeper, treating others as they would treat me. And I think also understanding that Jesus Christ dying for my sins spoke to the humility we all have to have as human beings, that we're sinful and we're flawed and we make mistakes, and that we achieve salvation through the grace of God. But what we can do, as flawed as we are, is still see God in other people and do our best to help them find their own grace."

"That's what I strive to do. That's what I pray to do every day. I think my public service is part of that effort to express my Christian faith. One thing I want to emphasize, having spoken about something that obviously relates to me very personally, as president of the United States I'm also somebody who deeply believes that part of the bedrock strength of this country is that it embraces people of many faiths and no faith. That this is a country that is still predominantly Christian, but we have Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, agnostics, Buddhists, and that their own path to grace is one that we have to revere and respect as much as our own."

Who Knows More about Religion: Atheists or Christians?

A survey about religion finds that atheists and agnostics knew more, on average, than followers of most major faiths. A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation. The survey was conducted by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics incorrectly said that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ as Baptists believe, not actually become them. The question that elicited the most correct responses overall was about whether public school teachers are allowed to lead their classes in prayer.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Atheist Chaplain

Tufts University near Boston is seriously considering hiring an atheist chaplain. The "Humanist chaplain" would serve "non−religious Tufts students." The Tufts Freethought Society made the request of the school, pointing out that when its 2012 class was asked about religious affiliation, nearly a third who responded marked none.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Joni and Friends

PBS profiles Joni Eareckson Tada here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bart Simpson Sued

The woman who provides the voice of Bart Simpson is being sued for money that was given to the Church of Scientology. Nancy Cartwright has voiced the character since Fox started airing The Simpson's cartoon in 1989. Now, two insurance companies are suing her, claiming her late fiancé, Stephen Brackett, took money from a Hollywood restaurant before he committing suicide and gave it to the cult. Brackett's construction company was supposed to be renovating the restaurant, but never completed the project. His company filed for bankruptcy shortly after his death. Both Brackett and Cartwright have been active members of the church.

Sexual Accusations Against MegaChurch Pastor

A megachurch pastor is denying a lawsuit in which he is accused of coercing two teenagers into a sexual relationship. They say Eddie Long, pastor of the 25,000 member New Birth Missionary Baptist in Atlanta, seduced them at the ages of 17 and 18 (they are now in their 20s). Long denies the accusations and his lawyers point to a burglary at Long's office over the summer. One of the accusers is facing charges in relation to the break-in.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Search Engines

A number of new Internet search engines promise to filter out queries related to potentially offensive or tempting topics like alcohol and pornography. The Muslim-oriented search engine I'mHalal offers no results at all for terms like pornography. Type in alchol and it give results explaining the Islamic view of drinking. A similar Christian search engine is SeekFind, operated from Colorado Springs, Colorado and the Jewish community has Jewogle.

Religious Speech Case Tossed Out

An Appeals Court has thrown out a lawsuit by a student whose professor shouted him down while he was giving a presentation about his Christian faith and called him a "fascist bastard" in the speech class. Jonathan Lopez sued the Los Angeles Community College District over the incident last year involving professor John Matteson. A judge agreed but a panel unanimously found that Lopez failed to show he was harmed and that he lacked standing to bring the case. He plans an appeal.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Muslims Repair Church

Muslims have repainted and repaired a Catholic church attacked in the Punjab region of India. The damage was done by a mob of more than 100 Sunday night. They stormed the Protestant Church of North India in Malerkotla, reportedly because of rumors that the Quran was being burned in the U.S. Several police officers were injured trying to prevent the burning of Bibles during the attack. The Jalandhar diocese says the Muslims who offered help replaced doors, ceiling fans and bought new benches for the church. Malerkotla is the only Muslim majority town in Punjab, which is dominated by a Sikh majority.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Salaries at Megachurches

The average salary for the head pastor at a megachurch is $147,000 - ranging from up to $400,000 to as low as $40,000. Leadership Network defined megachurches as congregations with weekly attendance of 2000 or more. The typical megachurch has a budget of more than $5 million and more than 50 full-time staff. The median age for the senior pastor in surveyed churches is 49.

Biggest & Fastest Growing Churches

Here are the 5 biggest U.S. churches according to Outreach magazine:
1. Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas, Joel Osteen, (43,500)
2. North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Ga., Andy Stanley (24,325)
3. Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas, Ed Young Sr. (24,041)
4. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill., Bill Hybels (24,000)
5. Southeast Christian Church, Louisville, Ky., Dave Stone (19,230)

Here are the top 5 fastest-growing churches:e:
1. 12Stone Church, Lawrenceville, Ga., Kevin Myers (30% growth of 2,226)
2. Experience Life Church, Lubbock, Texas, Chris Galanos (60% growth of 1,061)
3. The Rock Church and World Outreach Center, San Bernardino, Calif., Jim Cobrae (25% growth of 2,646)
4. People's Church, Oklahoma City, Okla., Herbert Cooper (58% growth, of 1,085)
5. Faith Church of St. Louis, Fenton, Mo., David Crank (36% growth of 1,200)

Texas has 17 of the largest and 16 of the 100 fastest-growing churches. California has 16 churches. Florida and Illinois each has 8 of the fastest-growing 100 churches.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peter Marshall Dies

Author Peter Marshall has died at the age of 70, two days after he had a heart attack in Massachusetts. He wrote The Light and the Glory, From Sea to Shining Sea, and Sounding Forth the Trumpet. His father, the senior Peter Marshall, was twice Senate Chaplain and his mother, Catherine, wrote the best-selling novel Christy.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Suit Over Vaccinations

A New York couple has filed a lawsuit in an attempt to avoid vaccinating their son. Andrea and Paul Polydor object to a Catholic high school insisting their 14-year-old to get state-required vaccinations in order for him to enroll. The couple says it is a "violation of God's supreme authority" and are suing Kellenberg Memorial High School. Experts say the suit is unlikely to succeed because Kellenberg is a private institution.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Singer's Wife Dies

The wife of gospel singer Marvin Sapp died yesterday at the age of 43. MaLinda Sapp had a long battle with colon cancer. She leaves behind three children from her 15 year marriage. Marvin Sapp is a pastor of the Lighthouse Full Life Center Church in Grand Rapids. His song Never Would Have Made It set a number of sales records and he recently had a #1 hit with the song The Best in Me.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Pastor Loses Granddaughter

Megachurch pastor Joel Hunter lost his 5-year-old granddaughter to cancer this past weekend. Ava Hunter is the daughter of Hunter's oldest son, Josh. She had a rare form of brain cancer. Joel Hunter is pastor of Central Florida's Northland Church.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Praying Stops Straying

Researchers at Florida State University set up an experiment to explore prayer and fidelity. Their findings are published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. The conclusion: people worried about potentially cheating spouses may find praying together a better safeguard against adultery than constant vigilance. The researchers believe that the act of praying about romantic partners leads people to view their relationship as something sacred and not to be damaged.

Abstinence in China

The Washington Post looks at an abstinence program in China involving Focus on the Family in this story.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Singer's Bus in Accident

The tour bus of Christian singer Karen Peck collided with a pickup truck in Georgia, sending two people to the hospital. The Southern Gospel singer was among those treated for injuries. An elderly man turned in front of the bus on Georgia 400. He was flown to a local hospital in critical condition. Peck and her group New River were nominated for a 2009 Grammy for their album Ephesians One.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pastor: Islam Promotes Pedophilia

A Texas pastor has created a firestorm by saying Islam promotes pedophilia. Here is a video from KSLA-TV of the controversial remarks made by Baptist pastor Robert Jeffress.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Minister Censured

A Presbyterian, USA court has found a retired minister guilty of violating the denomination's constitution and her vows by officiating at more than a dozen same-sex marriages. At the church trial of Jane Adams Spahr, a panel found voted 4-2 to censure her. They also voted 6-0 that the lesbian's actions did not disrupt the "peace, unity and purity of the church" and praised her ministry to gays and lesbians.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Giving Research

Poor people are naturally more charitable than the rich, according to researchers at the University of California at Berkeley. They gave subjects credits, worth actual money, and the choice of keeping them or sharing them with an anonymous partner in another room. People who were ranked at the upper end of the socioeconomic scale gave away nearly 50% less than did those at the bottom.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Guns in Churches

A federal judge in Georgia has refused to stop the new state law from going into effect that makes it a crime to carry a gun into church. District Judge Ashley Royal will reveal his decision about the constitutionality of the law later. A lawsuit was filed by GeorgiaCarry.Org and Thomaston's Baptist Tabernacle challenging the law as a violation of the Second Amendment.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Calls for Televangelist to Testify

Activists are calling on Pat Robertson to testify at the Charles Taylor war crimes trial. The founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network has connection with former Liberian president and held mining interests in Liberia when Mr. Taylor was president. Robertson's name has come up at the trial in the Hague. Taylor has denied the charges against him. One of the prosecutors says Robertson sunk millions of dollars into the mine that went directly to Taylor. A Virginia paper has suggested airplanes from Robertson's Operation Blessing were used to bring supplies to his diamond mine rather than for humanitarian aid.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Burning the Quran

A Gainesville church wanting to burn copies of the Quran has been denied a burn permit by city officials. The Dove World Outreach Center planned the bonfire to take place on the anniversary of 9/11 terrorist attacks. Senior pastor Terry Jones has written a book called Islam is of the Devil and email from him suggests his congregation will still hold the book burning. The church faces a fine if it goes ahead with the event.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Troops: Punished for Missing Concert

A group of soldiers at the U.S. Army's Newport News base say they were kept in their barracks because they refused to attend the concert of a Christian band called BarlowGirl. The group of nearly 100 soldiers say they were also made to clean the living quarters. The event was part of the Commanding General's Spiritual Fitness Concerts.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Obama's Religious Affiliation

A new poll suggesting that nearly one in five Americans incorrectly believes that President Obama is a Muslim. The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life conducted the survey. 18% of the people responding said Obama was a Muslim. That's up from 11% a year and a half ago. 43% of Americans reported that they don't know what Obama's religion is at all. 34% of conservative Republicans believe Obama is Muslim.

Franklin Graham told CNN he thinks the confusion is the result of the fact the president was "born a Muslim, his father was a Muslim. The seed of Islam is passed through the father like the seed of Judaism is passed through the mother. He was born a Muslim, his father gave him an Islamic name. Now it's obvious that the president has renounced the prophet Mohammed, and he has renounced Islam, and he has accepted Jesus Christ. That's what he says he has done. I cannot say that he hasn't." The evangelist prayed with the president earlier this year, along with his father, Billy Graham.

Pat Robertson's Mosque Comment

After a story aired on CBN about "mega mosques being built all around the country" Pat Robertson told his audience that small towns might be bribed by Muslims trying to build mosques. The statement came after an interview with the mayor of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, who said the comment was ridiculous. A spokesman for Robertson's organization says the broadcaster was not making a specific reference to the Tennessee town, but speaking hypothetically. The County Regional Planning Commission voted unanimously to approve the site plan for the future Islamic Center of Murfreesboro.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Graphic T-Shirt Suit Settled

A California school district will pay $50k to end a lawsuit filed by a 6th grader. Tiffany Amador sued after school officials at Merced's McSwain Union Elementary School refused to let her wear a shirt that showed pictures of a fetus and the words.. "ABORTION: growing... growing... gone." A new policy implemented this year prohibits most graphic t-shirts at the school.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Pay Cut at Megachurch

Robert H. Schuller will take a 50% pay cut from the founder of the Crystal Cathedral.
Businesses have sued the southern California megachurch for more than $2 million in unpaid bills. The church has been trying to sell off property and has laid off workers and cut "Hour of Power" from some broadcast TV stations to close a $55 to $70 million budget deficit.

ELCA Numbers Fall Dramatically

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America lost nearly 91,000 members in 2009, along with and 48 congregations. The denomination now has only 4.5 million members and around 10,300 congregations.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Arrest Over Demon Protest

A Georgia pastor was arrested yesterday while protesting local high school's nickname, the Screamin' Demons. Warner Robins Police say Donald Crosby of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ didn't have a protest permit for the opening day of classes. A couple of dozen people joined him with signs reading, "Home games will have to be played in hell" and "Demons don't like me, because I'm Christian." Another group has started a petition drive in favor of keeping the nickname. The mascot was adopted right after World War II in honor of the 7th fighter squadron based at Robins Air Force Base for repairs which had the nickname Screamin' Demons.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Burn the Koran Day

A Florida church is planning a "burn the Koran day" to commemorate the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida offers a list of reasons to burn the Koran on its Facebook page here. Pastor Terry Jones say Islam is satanic in nature. The nondenominational church also stirred controversy when it put up a large sign stating that “Islam is of the Devil.”

Gospel Music Legend on her Personal Battles

CNN reports on Sandi Patty's new autobiography here.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cuts at Focus

Focus on the Family is laying off 110 people. The ministry, founded by James Dobson, now has 750 employees, about half of the workforce it had in 2002. Two senior executive positions were among the cuts. The current budget for the ministry is $105 million. That's a $27 million drop from the last fiscal budget.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Benny Hinn Money Plea

Benny Hinn is asking followers for $2 million to help with his ministry's debt. Donations dropped following a scandal reported about his in the National Enquirer. Read more about that here. Hinn, however, blames poor offerings at international appearances that did not cover his expenses in Indonesia.

The video below of the televangelist has been making the rounds on the Internet. Shot in 2006 it shows Hinn using what he calls "God's Jacket" to attempt to heal blind, deaf, people with cancer and AIDS. Benny Hinn Ministries reportedly rakes in more than $200 million each year.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Anne Rice Quits Christianity

Anne Rice says she's no longer a Christian. She wrote on her Facebook page this week, "I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I quit Christianity and being Christian." Rice is author of Interview With a Vampire and has recently written several Christian books. She says the priest sexual abuse scandals in the Catholic church have also bothered her.

Bus Driver Suit

A former bus driver is suing his former employer for firing him earlier this year when he refused to drive passengers to Planned Parenthood. Edwin Graning wants Capital Area Rural Transportation System to give him his job back and pay unspecified damages. Graning, an ordained Christian minister, concerned that he might be transporting a client to undergo an abortion. The company denies that it discriminated against him because of his religion.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Christian Music Pioneer Passes

The man behind the 70s Christian group Sweet Comfort band, Kevin Thomas, died in May at the age of 57. Thomson played bass and managed the group. He suffered from several health problems. The group sprung in Southern California in 1972 and retired in 1984 after producing six albums.

Free Christian Music

Websites with free Christian songs and lyrics.

Sharesong.org

Christian Sheet Music Lyrics

Christian Gospel Music Lyrics

Christian Lyrics Online

a-z music lyrics

Psalmisty

All Gospel Lyrics

Getting to Know Rod Parsley


• Preaches prosperity gospel at World Harvest Church in Columbus, Ohio

• His $40 million-a-year Breakthrough TV ministry is on 1,400 TV stations and cable affiliates

• Dropped out of Circleville Bible College in his second year

• Lives on a 21-acre compound in a $1 million home

Clerk Talks about Jesus, Robber Leaves

A robber leaves empty-handed after the store clerk talked about Jesus and her Christian faith. WSVN-TV reports.

International Burn a Quran Day

A pastor is hosting what's being called International Burn a Quran Day on September 11.

Screamin' Demons

A Georgia pastor is trying to get his local high school to drop its mascot. Donald Crosby of Kingdom Builders Church of Jesus Christ says teams at Warner Robins High School shouldn't be called the Demons. Crosby is tring to get his son transferred from the school to avoid having him shout, "Go Demons!" at games. In the meantime, he started a petition drive. The mascot was adopted right after World War II in honor of the 7th fighter squadron based at Robins Air Force Base for repairs which had the nickname Screamin' Demons.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Suit Over Views on Homosexuality

A student is suing Augusta State University because she was told she must undergo a remediation program over her beliefs about homosexuality and transgendered persons. Jennifer Keeton is working on a master's degree in school counseling, but school officials say she'll be dismissed from the program unless she alters her "central religious beliefs on human nature and conduct." because "she holds to Christian ethical convictions on matters of human sexuality and gender identity. Augusta State University had no comment on the lawsuit, but maintains there is no discriminate on the basis of students' religious beliefs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Benny Hinn Accused of Affair

Benny Hinn is denying reports he has had an affair with Without Walls International Church senior pastor Paula White. Both have statements on their websites objecting to a National Enquirer report that they've become romantically involved. It includes photos of the two holding hands on what the paper calls a "romantic trip to Rome." White is twice divorced and Hinn's wife filed for divorce earlier this year. The Hinns have been married for 30 years. Both of their ministries are being investigated by Iowa Republican Senator Charles Grassley for possible violations of rules set down by the IRS about nonprofit organizations.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Doug Oldham Dies

Christian singer Doug Oldham has died at the age of 79. An associate of Jerry Falwell, he passed away at the University of Virginia Medical Center while awaiting surgery for a recent back injury. Oldham was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 2006. He recorded more than 64 albums and sang with the Billy Graham and for five presidents.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Focus Going Social

Focus on the Family say it is going to do "everything Facebook lets a company do." The ministry founded by James Dobson plans to use social media and extensively even though it didn't have a Facebook page until last year. Even then, it was a supporter and not an employee who started it. The site now has 51,000 fans. Facebook says it has surpassed 500 million active users, making it the largest social network in the world.

Megachurch Pastor Injured

Rick Warren is recovering from accident that severely burned his eyes. He was pruning in his garden Monday when he inadvertently wiped the toxic sap of a firestick plant in his eyes. Warren was hospitalized and released the next day. The California pastor has been on a leave from preaching at his church to write the church's fall curriculum on Christian service.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

CS Lewis off-Broadway

Two different plays are running off-Broadway right now about CS Lewis. There is a stage adaptation of his Screwtape Letters while Freud's Last Session is based on a book by Armand Nicholi called The Question of God which contrasts the views of Freud and Lewis. The play turns into a lively debate about God, sex, and politics. Neither show is marketed to a specifically Christian audience.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

OK Law on Hold

An Oklahoma abortion law will not go into affect because a judge has issued an injunction to block it. This extends an order issued in May. The law would require women seeking abortions to have an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus. It's is being challenged by the Center for Reproductive Rights.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Millions to Study Character

Wake Forest University has been given $3.67 million to study the nature of character. Three professors from the Winston-Salem, North Carolina school - one in philosophy and two in psychology will lead the study. The funding comes from the John Templeton Foundation for The Character Project.

The Legend of Caine

Will Smith may star in re-telling of the biblical story of Cain and Abel. Smith will reportedly be the producer of The Legend Of Caine which will be brought up to date with the inclusion of a Vampire-like twist. The script was written by Caleeb Pinket, Will Smith's brother-in-law.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gospel Album Called Sick Joke

A record label executive says Tom Jones new Gospel album is a "sick joke." Island records vice president David Sharpe has since apologized for the remark after Jones demanded one. Jones left EMI last year and signed with Island Records. The 70-year-old's decision to release an album of blues-flavored gospels and spirituals called Praise & Blame came as a surprise.

Prayers for Gulf Families

Evangelical groups are promoting today as a National Day of Prayer for the Gulf. The National Association of Evangelicals and the Evangelical Environmental Network are asking Christians to pray for Gulf Coast residents affected by the BP oil spill. Congregations across the U.S. and as far away as New Zealand will observe the National Day of Prayer for the Gulf from their own church location. Churches in Gulf Shores, Alabama took part in an inter-denominational sunrise service Sunday on the beach at Gulf State Park this morning.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Christianity in Africa

The Economist has a report on the rise of Christianity in the Horn of African here.

The False Gospel of Glenn Beck

A new radio ad accuses Glenn Beck of preaching a false gospel. Produced by an online Christian social-justice group called Faithful America, the ad will be aired in cities in which Beck is speaking this summer. The ad says:
Would you support a leader who said Jesus' teachings can lead to Naziism? Or who attacks Christian pastors for preaching the full gospel? Then why do so many Christians tune into Glenn Beck? By deriding pastors who preach the justice taught by Jesus and the prophets, Glenn Beck has urged listeners to follow his piecemeal gospel. Scripture teaches that the tongue can be like a small fire that sets a whole forest ablaze, and Christians are cautioned not to praise God in one breath while cursing those made in God's likeness in the next....
Beck has told listeners to leave their churches if the pastor supports social-justice views associated with liberal theology. Beck says he was an alcoholic who converted to Mormonism at age 35.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

College Closing

Mississippi's Wesley College is shutting down at the end of the month. The Florance-based school is $2.7 million debt. The Congregational Methodist Church started the facility in 1972 as Westminster College. It changed the name to Wesley College in 1976. There were 140 students enrolled last semester.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bible Translator Dies

The man who put together the Good News Bible has died. Robert Bratcher passed away Saturday in Chapel Hill, North Carolina at the age of 90. The New Testament translator was the son of a Southern Baptist missionary and worked with the American Bible Society. First issued in 1966 as Good News for Modern Man, the complete Bible was published in 1976 under the name the Good News Bible, also known as Today's English Version.