Saturday, March 24, 2012

Church Stages Kidnapping

A mother of a teenager has filed a complaint with the police in Middletown, Pennsylvania against the Glad Tidings Assembly of God for putting her - and the church's entire youth group through a mock kidnapping - without telling the students or their parents that it was all pretend. The mother says the girl was traumatized by it. The two men burst into the meeting with guns, covered the heads of 17 students, put them in a van and interrogated them. There's a video report from WHTM-TV here.

2010 Membership & Giving

Giving to churches was down more than $1 billion in 2010. That's according to the latest Yearbook of American & Canadian Churches which is published by the National Council of Churches. Some of the findings:

  •  The Roman Catholic Church is still the largest religious group in the US with 68.2 million members, but its growth was under one percent in 2010. 
  • Membership in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America fell nearly 6% to 4.3 million members. 
  • The Southern Baptist Convention, the second-largest religious group in the US, reported a membership decline of less than 1 percent - the 4th consecutive drop. Their 2010 membership is at 16.1 million people. 
  • The Mormon church rose 1.6% and the Assemblies of God rose 4%.

Accusations Fly at TBN

Members of the family that started the TBN Christian TV network are accusing the organization of financial corruption. Many of the claims come from the granddaughter of Paul and Jan Crouch who founded the network. Brittany Koper took over last year as chief financial officer and has now filed a lawsuit claiming she was fired and forced to turn over her house and car after complaining about "illegal financial schemes" involving tens of millions of dollars. A TBN lawyer blames Koper herself, saying she and her husband stole money from the network and she is making up false claims to distract from what's she done. Joseph McVeigh, another family member, says the family uses 13 homes owned by the network. He claims TBN bought a $50 million jet through a "sham loan" and owns another $8 million jet that's used by Jan Crouch. McVeigh says a $100,000 recreational vehicle is used just for transporting Jan Crouch's dogs. TBN owns more than half a dozen TV networks, runs Trinity Music City USA in Nashville and an amusement park in Florida.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tebow's Church

New York magazine takes a look at where new Jets quarterback Tim Tebow could attend church in New York here.

Bible Game Show

Jeff Foxworthy will host a new cable show called The American Bible Challenge. Foxworthy already hosts Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? which also appears on the GSN network (which once stood for Game Show Network).

What Brought Down a Megachurch?

Did sibling rivalry led to the downfall of Robert Schuller's Crystal Cathedral here.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Hunger Games

There's a new movie opening tomorrow based on a best-selling series of books for teens. The Washington Post looks at the religious aspect of The Hunger Games here.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Reason Rally

Atheists will gather on the National Mall this Saturday for the Reason Rally. Comedian Eddie Izzard, author and biologist Richard Dawkins, MythBusters cohost Adam Savage and comedian Bill Maher will be among the speakers. The punk band Bad Religion will perform. Organizers expect more than 10,000 people. Thier annual conference will take place afterward in the DC suburb of Bethesda, Maryland. The group was founded by Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who led the drive to the Supreme Court that pushed prayer and Bible reading out of the public schools.

7 year Trial Ends

The Jerusalem District Court has acquitted an Israeli antiquities collector. Oded Golan was accused of being part of an international forgery ring and forging dozens of priceless archaeological artifacts, including an inscription on the burial box, or ossuary, of James, brother of Jesus. The trial lasted seven years and the judge's verdict ran 475 pages. In it, he made a point of recognizing the disputes between scholars over the matter, commenting at one point, "If you, the world's leading experts in this field, cannot agree with each other on the authenticity or otherwise of these items, how do you expect me, a mere judge, to reach a conclusion?" Despite the acquittal, one of the prosecution experts says the verdict only indicates there was no legal way to prove the fraud, but doesn't change the minds of those who believed the items were faked.