News Briefs From Planet Earth


(AgapePress) ...A ten-year old Christian home-schooled lad has won this year's National Geographic Bee. Calvin McCarter of Michigan - the youngest of 55 finalists - is taught at home by his mother Charlotte. According to The Washington Times, McCarter identified China as the home of the Lop Nor nuclear test site, to win the competition. His father said his family decided on home schooling to have their children receive a Christian education in an atmosphere where there is a "love of learning." Alex Trebek, emcee of the event, presented the $25,000 college scholarship prize to the youngest winner of the national competition. Trebek could not say enough about the young man and was dazzled by how great McCarter was during competition. Calvin says he prefers getting home-schooled because he gets more personal attention. In a public school, he says, "You can't make children listen." The Times reported four of the top ten contestants were home schooled. Ellen Siskind, spokeswoman for the Bee, said 12 of the 55 finalists were home schooled.


(AgapePress) ...The threat of legal action convinced officials at one Texas high school to allow a student to wear a shirt with a pro-life message. John Denton - a junior at Canyon High School in Canyon, Texas - was informed by the school principal he could not wear a shirt with the message "Abortion is Homicide" because it might cause controversy. Ed White, associate counsel with the Thomas More Law Center, sent a letter to the principal explaining Denton's constitutional right to wear his pro-life clothing. White said his client has received a letter from the school board's lawyer stating that the principal has rescinded his decision to ban the student from proclaiming his pro-life statement and he is now permitted to wear his "Abortion is Homicide" sweatshirt to Canyon High School." White said it is common for schools to violate the free speech rights of Christian students but only a few of those students and their families want to challenge those violations.


(AgapePress) ...The president of a Virginia college says a current debate over the teaching of creation in British schools is an example of how those who promote evolution also believe in censorship. Scientists and academics in England are divided into two camps on the issue of the origins of man. Pro-evolution scientists are standing firm in their opinion Darwin's theory is the only legitimate approach to the subject. On the other side, some in the academic field say scientific study into the origins of man should not be limited to the theory of evolution. Emmanuel City Technology College in London has come under fire for teaching creation. Mike Farris is president of Patrick Henry College in Virginia. His school was recently denied accreditation for the same reason - the teaching of intelligent design in creation. Farris says evolutionists do not want any theory put forth which disagrees with their own, they do not want the evidence taught on both sides, and they want to shut down all opposing views.


According to American Family Associations, Special Projects Director, Randy Sharp, a Volkswagon public relations spokesman, Tony Fouladpour (foul-ad-pour) said Volkswagon will again consider spending advertising dollars on shows which promote family offensive materials. and contacted Volkswagon in early April about the company's ads, which sponsored controversial shows featuring objectionable material. However, Fouladpour called and a "meaningless organization".


(AgapePress) ...An official with a Texas-based family values group says it is time for Christians to fight against pornography in America. For 17 years, the Dallas-based Center for Decency has worked to educate the public about the harmful effects of pornography. Daniel Panetti, the organization's president and general counsel, says apathy about social and moral issues runs deep in the church. He says generally speaking, the church is not outspoken on these issues because it is not seen as a force in the community as it once was. Panetti says he is often surprised at the lack of concern displayed by a majority of Christians. While acknowledging there is much Christians need to stay aware of - and that it is difficult to keep involved in the process - he says the Christian church today is no more involved than any other citizen. The Center for Decency holds seminars for churches in an effort to equip Christians to make an impact in society. The group also works with lawmakers to promote legislation that protects families from pornography.


(AgapePress) ...A new study has found abortion complications are seriously under reported leaving women who undergo abortion largely unaware of the range of physical and psychological risks they face. The study by a Canadian bioethics institute found breast cancer, pelvic infection, infertility, life-threatening ectopic pregnancy, and subsequent premature births were found to be associated with abortion in a comprehensive review of the world medical literature. Abortion complications were not limited to physical health. While abortion is often regarded as a cure for the depression and stress of a crisis pregnancy, the study found that women are more likely to commit suicide after abortion than after giving birth to a child. Current abortion rates of 114,000 in Canada and 1.4 million in the U.S. underscore the magnitude of this potential public health issue.


(AgapePress)...Even a little second-hand smoke adversely affects children. Research indicates even small amounts of second-hand smoke can cause measurable damage to a child's learning ability - affecting reading, math, and reasoning abilities. Reuters News reports more than 13 million children breathe enough second-hand smoke to be affected in this harmful way. Kimberly Yolton of the Children's Environmental Health Center at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital said 43% of U.S. children are exposed to environmental tobacco smoke in their homes, and 85% of kids have detectable levels of tobacco smoke byproducts in their blood systems.


(AgapePress) ...Pro-cloning forces have begun a huge TV ad campaign to promote the idea cloning will cure diseases and an embryo is not really a human being - but rather, a "potential" human being. As the Senate debate on cloning nears, the media debate is in full swing. Dr. David Stevens, author of Jesus, M.D., and Executive Director of the Christian Medical and Dental Society, says an honest assessment of the pro-cloning arguments people read in the press just does not make sense. Stevens finds it interesting because the press quotes cloning advocates as saying they have a profound respect for embryos, but at the same time they are willing to cannibalize embryos for their parts - and Stevens says those two ideas are incoherent. Stevens says in the cloning debate, pro-lifers must be able to debunk the idea that an embryo is just "a potential human being." He insists all cloning must be banned or, for the first time in American law, society will have designated a class of human beings it has the duty to destroy.


(AgapePress) ...In Chicago, Roman Catholic Cardinal Francis E. George is recommending the church sell the $15-million mansion he has been living in. The New York Times quotes the cardinal as saying the money could be better used to keep the deficit-laden archdiocese from closing more schools, or help pay sexual-abuse settlements. Meanwhile, Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston - a key figure in the current crisis facing the denomination - has been pressured to sell the chancery's 15-acre compound, including his residence. The Times report says in several other jurisdictions - including Dallas, Denver, Rhode Island, and Stockton, California - lawyers have struggled to gain access to the church's real estate assets which, in most cases, are shielded by separate corporate entities.


(AgapePress) ...A former AT&T employee is taking the company to court after he was fired for refusing to demonstrate support for homosexuality. The Rutherford Institute filed the lawsuit against the telecommunications giant, claiming religious discrimination. Albert Binanno says AT&T left him little choice. He said the company told him he had to either "sign [the policy] or be gone." Binanno says signing the document would have caused him to contradict his deeply held religious convictions. He explained as a Christian, he is supposed to love his neighbor - regardless of what their sexual orientation is - but he is not supposed to value the lifestyle of any person that contradicts the word of God. AT&T confirmed the handbook was given to all 50,000 of its employees.


It's obvious Pastor Orlando Bethel is not one to water down the gospel - and he has the bruises to show for it. At a recent funeral in Alabama, Bethel described the deceased as a "drunkard and fornicator" who was in hell. Apparently those in attendance did not take kindly to his warning they would suffer the same fate, because several allegedly attacked Bethel and dragged him from the church. As his wife put it: "The fornicators didn't like what he said so they got up and beat him." Associated Press reports the pastor and his wife are taking out warrants on the alleged attackers, who may have inflicted a broken nose on Bethel.


Many of today's religious denominations embrace homosexuals and even accept them among their leadership - and the Catholic Church, for one, is currently experiencing a scandal which stems from the practice. Former homosexual Stephen Bennett, now a Christian singer, does not believe that is the way things should be. Although Bennett says the church needs to love homosexuals and treat them as Jesus Christ would, at the same time, he says, homosexuality within the church is a serious problem and must be addressed. Pro-family activists point out homosexual priests and ministers are unable to counsel someone struggling with the sinful lifestyle - which is condemned by God in scripture - when they are part of it themselves. Bennett points out the homosexual lifestyle is an abusive, desperate, and hopeless kind of life which attempts to cover up its despair with drugs, sex, and alcohol. Bennett believes his home church deals with the issue correctly. "We open the church to anybody," Bennett says.

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