News Briefs From Planet Earth - November 2002
Christian Educator Sees Increasing Exodus from Public Schools
(AgapePress) ?Parents of all ethnicities are taking their children out of America's public school system, angry over what their kids are being exposed to through liberal curriculums.
Christian education associations are growing at enormous rates as more and more parents opt to remove their kids from the U.S. public education system. Martin Hoyt of the American Association of Christian Schools says despite huge obstacles, parents are fleeing the public education system for Christian schools.
Our association is growing-in fact, I'd say almost all the private school associations are growing tremendously. The barriers for them are simply financial," Hoyt says. "The need is incredible-there's no question in that regard."
Hoyt says the flight from public education is overwhelming, and he thinks it is far from subsiding. "I think we're going to see more and more kids leaving public school simply because of the (schools') inability to educate them," he says. "They can't get a job, they're not literate, they may have counseling difficulties-there's just a wide range (of reasons)."
Despite the flight, critics of public education like Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum say the system is too rich and powerful and has too many of America's children to ever go away. But Christian leaders continue to call for parents to make the sacrifices it will take to get their kids out of the system and into private schools.
Hoyt's organization is pressuring the Bush Administration to get Congress to approve tax credits for parents who have to pay high tuition in order to assure the kind of education they want for their children. Democrats are opposed to allowing that benefit.
Meanwhile, the Department of Education is shuffling personnel to help create a new charter schools division. According to a report from Family News In Focus, there are close to 3,000 charter schools in 36 states. But many believe there would be more if school districts were more accommodating.
Dan Lincoln is a spokesman for Education Secretary Rod Paige. "Charter schools are an important part of the educational landscape in this country," he says, "and we want to make sure that this department gives those programs-as well as other programs that are related to choice and innovation in education-the attention they deserve."
Education experts that favor charter schools believe the new emphasis at the Department of Education is a good thing, and say the new boss of the Office of Innovation and Improvement will bring a fresh perspective on their value.
(AgapePress) ?A pro-family activist says the Coca-Cola Company has signed into a partnership with the nation's leading distributor of hard-core pornographic movies. According to an American Family Association Action Alert, the company has signed on as the exclusive soft drink provider for Movie Gallery, with full knowledge of the video rental chain's policy of renting and selling hardcore pornography. Randy Sharp is special projects director for the American Family Association. He says evidently, Coca-Cola does not take consumer concerns very seriously. Sharp says Coca-Cola is sending a mixed message to consumers. On one hand, he says, the company does not endorse or condone pornography-but on the other hand, they sign a contract with the nation's largest porn-video distributorship. Sharp says the old ad phrase used to be "Have a Coke and a smile" but that now, by partnering with Movie Gallery, he says it is "Have a Coke and a porn video."
Comic Homosexual Isn't Funny
(AgapePress) ?.Just when you thought a comic book was still a relatively safe place for your child to do some reading, there is word that a major comic producer plans to feature a key homosexual issue. DC Comics, the company that created Superman and Batman, is developing a new character plot in its Green Lantern series featuring a homosexual teenager who is the so-called "victim of a hate crime." According to a CNN report, a story set for release this month depicts the homosexual character named Terry Berg. The report says Berg is "walking down a street with his boyfriend when three men start yelling at them and chasing them. Berg is eventually beaten by the trio." The creator of the berg character, Judd Winick, also thinks it is great that young people can see that the Green Lantern hero does not care that Berg is a homosexual. The series also features lesbian supporting characters. DC Comics is a unit of AOL Time Warner, the parent company of CNN. Go figure.
Divorce Rate Down Slightly ? but Commitment Still Missing
by Bill Fancher
(AgapePress) ?The divorce rate in America has doubled since the 1960s, but that rate is declining slowly. After being as high as 22% in 1980, the annual rate is now over 19%-approximately one in every five.
Dr Janice Crouse is senior fellow at the Beverly LaHaye Institute. She says the problem is due to a lack of lasting commitment, or the ability to do so, on behalf of those who get married.
Commitment is the foundation of marriage," Crouse says. "It says 'I am going to love you, I am making a commitment to love you - whether I feel like it or not, whether I appreciate you at this moment or not - I have made a commitment to you that I will love you.'"
Crouse says the kind of relationship two people have - including the passion and lustful aspects - is an important factor, but the bottom line for survival remains the degree of commitment they share.
"I don't care what kind of relationship you have, how much passion is involved, how much infatuation, how much lust and any other adjective you want to throw at the relationship - ultimately it comes down to a matter of commitment," she says. "Am I bound to you by bonds that cannot be broken? That's the important thing when it comes to marriage."
Crouse says the problems and entanglements of life are tough enough to require a solid commitment to hold marriage together. She believes we need to emphasize that commitment in order to help marriages last.
The Importance of Fasting
(AgapePress) ?A Christian author says churches in the United States need to teach believers the importance of fasting. In his new book, Fasting for Financial Breakthrough, Dr. Elmer Towns says a majority of churches in America today overlook the Biblical discipline of fasting. According to Towns, Jesus said when you fast, do not "put on a face," but wash your face"? so that your fasting will not be noticed by men but by the Father who is in secret?" But, Towns says, Jesus did use the words "when you fast." The author says fasting from food - or other luxuries in life - are ways to develop a closer, more intimate walk with the Lord.
Psychotherapist Debunks Psychology
(AgapePress) ?A former psychotherapist says the religion of psychology has become a dangerous threat to Christianity. In her new book Psychology Debunked, Lisa Bazler encourages Christians to seek victory over their problems in the Bible and through prayer, rather than from a therapist. According to Bazler, "Self pity has replaced prayer and petition, and support groups have replaced trust in God's Power." After becoming a Christian, Bazler says she began to doubt her profession and realized that scripture often contradicted the methods she was using. Now Bazler and her husband, Chris, are warning Christians not to cheat themselves out of God's blessings by "throwing up their hands" and surrendering to the claims of psychology.
Good News Clubs Get Good News in Golden State
by Allie Martin
(AgapePress) ?The Los Angeles Public School District has been permanently barred by a federal court from discriminating against after-school Christian clubs.
This past summer, a California district court granted a preliminary injunction to Child Evangelism Fellowship, organizer of the Good News Club - a religious, after-school club for elementary children. In the ruling, the court found the school's policy of limiting access for Good News Clubs to schools in the L.A. Unified School District was unconstitutional.
Mat Staver, president of Liberty Counsel, says a court has now ruled that the preliminary injunction will stand.
"This is really good news - no pun intended - for the Good News Club and for other Christian organizations because now the doors to the Los Angeles Unified School District have been blown wide open for Christian after-school clubs," Staver says. "The Good News Club is a great opportunity to meet on elementary school campuses as an outreach to elementary-age students."
Staver says the victory is especially important in California, where it could have a wide impact.
"It is great to essentially have the opportunity now to transport what would be the equivalent of a Sunday school program to the public school for after-school use," he says. "This (ruling) allows this high-powered Christian organization to be able to go into the public schools to allow the young people of those schools to walk from their last bell to the actual classroom where a private, outside individual instructs these (children) in morals, right-and-wrong, character development, and the Biblical issues of the gospel."
Staver says because of the ruling, 370,000 students attending the 426 district elementary schools in Los Angeles will now be able to attend Good News Club meetings after school on their campuses. The attorney adds that the Supreme Court has removed the barriers religious clubs once encountered.
Leaders Need God's Guidance
(AgapePress) ?A Barna Research poll found that 95% of pastors do not feel they have leadership gifts. That statistic has prompted a book on Biblical leadership. In the book entitled The Five Secrets to Becoming a Leader, authors Stan Toler and Alan Nelson aim to provide practical and Biblical leadership advice. Noting that too many leaders have inadequate people skills, Nelson says successful leaders will be able to motivate others and remove "blockages" that impede leadership from happening. He also says recent corporate scandals prove that integrity is essential in the business world - and that business leaders need to look to the Lord for direction. Those leaders, he says, need to understand they need God's guidance, and they need to understand that people have a spiritual need as well. As he puts it: "It's not leading from your head, it's also leading from your heart (and) from your soul." Nelson is the lead pastor at Scottsdale Family Church in Arizona.
IS Pakistan Forsaking Christians
(Connection Magazine)?According to Nazir Bhatti, President of the Pakistan Christian Congress, the response of the Pakistan Government to the September murder of seven Christians by Muslims, was to arrest the only witness. Bhatti claims that the witness, Robin Piranditta, is in the custody of the police without visitor privileges and undergoing torture. Bhatti believes that the government plans to kill Piranditta so that they can close the case. At the Christian funeral services for the slain Christians, the Karachi police tear gassed the peaceful mourners and charged 55 Christians, claiming the funeral was an illegal assembly and breach of peace. Please pray for the Christians in Pakistan.