For the week of September 12, 2002
Gifts through the Southern Baptist Cooperative Program totaled
almost $16 million last month, an increase of $1.4 million (9.6 percent) from
the previous August. With just one month remaining in the conventions
fiscal year, overall receipts total $167.9 million, an increase of more than
$7.3 million (4.6 percent) from the same time last year. The total also stands
$4.5 million (2.8 percent) ahead of budget. Meanwhile, designated gifts totaled
almost $4 million last month, a decrease of more than $1.7 million (31 percent)
from the previous August. For the fiscal year, designated gifts total almost
$167 million, an increase of $146,438 (0.1 percent) from the same time last
The atheist who made legal news when he asked an appeals court
to remove “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance is now trying
to have chaplains removed from the U.S. Congress. Michael Newdow of Sacramento,
Calif., has filed suit in federal district court in Washington, claiming that
it is unconstitutional for taxpayer-funded chaplains to minister to lawmakers
and pray in Congress. “If congressmen want to go to church, (then) walk
down the block like other Americans do and go to church,” Newdow said.
“Dont get my government engaged in it.” Newdow wants the court
to stop the House and Senate from employing chaplains, who counsel members,
lead prayers and have other religious duties. Observers predict they will continue
to do so, since the U.S. Supreme Court has examined the issue and found it constitutional.
Newdow made news when a federal court ruled in June that the phrase “one
nation, under God” was unconstitutional, but that ruling is being appealed.
Did you know I?
Almost four in 10 Americans (39 percent of those surveyed in
a Gallup poll) say there are a lot of things taught in their religion that they
do not really believe.
The American Tract Society has introduced a Halloween Rescue
Kit to help Christians spread the gospel during the fall observance. The kit
includes tracts designed with pictures of kids dressed up as American real-life
heroes such as a nurse, a firefighter, a doctor and a businesswoman. In addition,
individually-wrapped taffy candy, colorful stickers and clear sealable bags
– enough for 31 children – are included. For youth and adults, single
tracts also are in each kit. Research shows 85 percent of all Christians make
their commitment to Christ between the ages of 4 and 14, underscoring the importance
of Halloween evangelism tracts as evangelism tools, society officials noted.
In addition to the rescue kits, the tract society also is offering Halloween
e-tracts this year. For information on both features, visit online at www.atstracts.org.
Three pro-life groups have called on the federal government
to rescind its approval of RU 486, a controversial abortion drug. Concerned
Women for America, the Christian Medical Association and the American Association
of Pro-life Obstetricians and Gynecologists have filed a petition with the Food
and Drug Administration calling for immediate revocation of its September 2000
approval of RU 486. The groups charge that the Food and Drug Administration
violated federal law and its own standards in approving the drug. The flawed
process threatened the lives and health of women, resulting in two deaths and
other injuries during a three-and-one-half-year period of use, they say. A spokesperson
for the groups charged the Food and Drug Administration with approving the abortion
drug for political reasons. RU 486 is used with another drug to induce abortion
normally in the first seven weeks of pregnancy.
A 14-year-old boy was shot by police inside a Baptist church
foyer last week and later died from the wounds. Dominic Montoya was not a member
of Taylor Ranch Baptist Church in Albuquerque, but entered the facility after
a choir rehearsal had just ended. The boy was shaken up, pastor Timothy Marrow
noted. At one point, someone noticed the teenager was carrying a gun. The person
slipped away to call police while others talked with the youth. “They gave
him a Bible and tried to minister to him,” Marrow said. “The boy said
something about being demon-possessed.” When police arrived, the teenager
went into the church foyer, where he was told to drop his weapon. Instead, the
teenager reportedly pointed the gun at an officer, who shot him twice. Police
are investigating the incident. No church members were injured during the incident.
Did you know II?
A recent study shows that 64 percent of children on all 119 of last years
television sitcoms and dramas live with their biological fathers, and 83 percent
have father figures. However, the study also found that less than 50 percent
of the children live in traditional households.