News Briefs From Planet Earth - July 2003


(AgapePress) ...While the Oscars honored the supposed "best" movies of the past year, a movie about the life of Christ has the distinction of being the most watched movie of all time. The Jesus film, released by Warner Brothers in 1979, has been distributed and translated worldwide by Campus Crusade for Christ International (CCCI) since 1980. The movie -- which has been translated into over 800 languages -- has been viewed by an estimated 5.5 billion people. Paul Eshelman, director of the Jesus Film Project for CCCI, says since Campus Crusade began distributing the film, it has been shown in every country of the world. He adds that there are still teams around the world completing additional translations. Eshleman says the film is often shown in the most dangerous places on earth through a massive logistical operation involving hundreds of staff and volunteers.


(AgapePress) ...The director of special projects for the American Family Association says one reason K-mart must keep closing stores is simple. Randy Sharp says K-mart is in bad shape for a simple reason: people are not shopping there -- by choice. He says one very good reason consumers are not going there is that the company has a brazen attitude toward family values. "K-mart has offended many, many moms and dads," Sharp says, "because of their music policy which says that they will sell violent, sexually explicit, and profane-laced music to children." Sharp says that attitude does not align with the philosophies of a lot of parents who care about the way their kids are brought up. And Sharp says K-mart is not making any money right now. He says after closing 283 stores in 2002, at least another 326 will be history this year. The American Family Association has led a national boycott of K-mart for several years because of its retailing policy regarding sexually and violently explicit music and videos.


(AgapePress) ...FBI special agent Robert Wright is a "whistleblower" who has pointed out bureau failures in its terrorism division prior to the 9/11 attacks. But after praising a female agent who came forward with a similar story, FBI director Robert Mueller does not want Wright talking at all -- especially about Muslim agents. Mueller threatened to fire agent Wright just as he was about to walk onto a news production studio at the FOX network. Mueller wanted to talk about Muslim agents who refused to wear a "wire" to record other Muslim suspects in terror investigations. As a former agent, Gary Aldrich, can talk about this because he is no longer under the bureau's thumb of control. Aldrich says, "Well, thankfully, I don't have to ask the FBI for permission to speak on something like this any more and my sense of it is that any agent who, because of his religious beliefs, refuses to conduct a normal kind of investigation, should go ahead and hand in his resignation and go do something else for a living." Wright says Muslim agents refused to wear a listening device in their investigation because, as they put it, "a Muslim does not tape another Muslim." Wright was a special agent in the Bureau's terrorism division prior to 9/11).


(AgapePress) ...Recently, liberals have attacked President Bush and his administration for holding regular, voluntary Bible studies in the White House. Critics say such practices violate the rights of non-Christians. But Concerned Women for America spokesperson Sandy Rios does not see it that way. "I don't know of any country in the entire world," Rios says, "who expects that when other people move there, that suddenly they have to become like those people." Rios says Arab-Americans should not expect that we suddenly become less Christian because they choose to live in the United States. Rios made her comments recently on CNN. [by Allie Martin]


(AgapePress) ...A recent Zogby poll reveals that nearly 80% of parents want an abstinence-based sex education program taught in their public schools. Family Research Council spokesperson Genevieve Wood says the current sex education programs are doing just the opposite with the parents' desires. Wood says, "There is no group that can be more responsible for stemming the tide of sexually-transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy among our nation's youth than parents. I don't think that American parents could agree more." Unfortunately, she adds, what is being taught in our nation's schools under the guise of "sex education programs" is not helping parents at all to communicate the message of abstinence to their children. Wood says this is the main reason why we are experiencing sexually-transmitted diseases at epidemic levels among our teens in America today. Currently, doctors are treating over 20 million teenagers for at least one of the thirty varieties of STD's. [by Bill Fancher]


(AgapePress) ...Taking your kids to church may be one of the best ways to improve their performance in school. A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Notre Dame concluded that students perform better and are less likely to drop out of school when their families regularly attend church. The study, which examined Hispanic families, further revealed that parents who go to church with their kids are more likely to help them with homework, and to become involved in extracurricular school activities. Edwin Hernandez, who heads the university's Center for the Study of Latino Religion, says public schools need to realize there is a "tremendous reservoir of resources in the religious community." The study concluded that one important way churches can be of help to schools is through "concrete activities that are educational, such as parents reading and discussing the Bible ... with children, and children reading and memorizing the Bible, learning to sing in a choir, and so on." Also, many churches provide tutoring for children and organize trips and outings that involve educational activities such as attending museums and cultural events.


(AgapePress) ...Democrats in the Senate have finally agreed to one of President Bush’s judicial nominees. Jeffrey Sutton, a former Ohio solicitor general, was approved for a seat on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. The vote was 52-42. Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist says he will try to force a confirmation vote on Priscilla Owen, a Texas judge that Bush has nominated for the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Opponents says she has pro-life views – and so, in their eyes, that disqualifies her for such a position.


(AgapePress) ...The American Family Association's Center for Law & Policy (CLP) is representing a California Highway patrolman who is being sued by a fellow officer for displaying a "Straight Pride" sticker on his personal vehicle. Several years ago, Mike Edwards, an 11-year veteran of the California Highway Patrol, put the sticker on his personal car. A fellow officer objected, and Edwards' supervisor gave him two choices: remove the sticker, or park his personal vehicle off of state property. Edwards chose the second option, but has recently been sued by the homosexual officer. But CLP attorney Mike DePrimo says Edwards has a constitutional right to express his opinion. DePrimo points out that Supreme Court cases are uniform in stating that people have to tolerate what they might consider to be "offensive and objectionable" speech. The attorney adds that there is no prohibition in having a bumper sticker on a car, and that Edwards' supervisor had no right to tell him that he had to remove it. DePrimo points out that Edwards has received excellent reviews during his 11 years on the Highway Patrol.


(AgapePress) ...A spokeswoman for the pro-life group Rock for Life says public schools claim to promote “tolerance” and “diversity,” but are very intolerant of beliefs that are not politically correct. In May, thousands of young people across America participated in the first-ever “National Pro-Life T-shirt Day.” Students wore shirts with pro-life messages in a show of support for the sanctity of human life. But being pro-life in today’s public school environment is not politically correct. Rock for Life’s Sara McKalips says despite the fact that students have a constitutional right to wear pro-life shirts, some school officials continue to harass them. She says it is amazing how quickly those who preach tolerance become very intolerant when the viewpoint is not what they believe in. According to McKalips, the only group that school officials are not worried about offending is pro-lifers. She says when pro-life t-shirts are worn, “intolerance then becomes acceptable to …school officials.” For example, in one New Hampshire school, a student was told her pro-life shirt was “offensive” to some students. Yet at the same high school, students recently displayed their pro-homosexual views by wearing rainbow ribbons during school.


(AgapePress) ...A best-selling author and end-times scholar believes the continued efforts by the European Union are fulfilling biblical prophecy. The EU recently unveiled its proposed constitution, which calls for an elected president, a foreign minister to represent the Union internationally, and a bill of rights. But even though the EU is not being renamed the "United States of Europe," Dr. Hal Lindsey says it is clearly moving toward world domination. He believes current efforts are targeted to replace the United States as the power of the West -- and then the power of the world. Lindsey says one of the most important predictions about events that lead to the Second Coming of Christ is the establishment of a unified European state, setting the stage for the revived Roman empire.


(AgapePress) ...Religious persecution is getting worse in the world, based on a report from the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. Commissioner Richard Land says in many cases, it is America's allies that are committing most of the atrocities. Land says one of the worst persecutors is Saudi Arabia where, according to the State Department, religious freedom does not exist. Land adds that persecution is particularly bad in the Muslim African nation of Sudan. He points out the persecution there involves other elements than just faith. He says it is a racial issue as well. He explains that Sudanese in the north, who tend to be more Semitic and Arab, are attacking black African Christians in the south -- to the point where it has reached the level of genocide. Land points out that more than two million Christians have been killed over the past 15 years because they will not convert to Islam. Land would like to see more pressure brought to bear on all the countries that deny people religious freedom. He says if it were not for the United States, religious persecution would be much worse and more widespread than it is today.


(AgapePress) …An expert on Asia who lived in communist China for several years says Americans need to be skeptical about any Chinese efforts to defuse tensions on the Korean Peninsula. He says China has propped up the North Korean regime for years. When China recently hosted talks between the U.S. and North Korea, the New York Times reported that some diplomats and analysts believed the Pyongyang regime alienated its only significant ally by declaring that it had already become a nuclear power. The newspaper suggested that China might put more pressure on North Korea to back off from its nuclear program. But Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute says if it was not for China supplying food and fuel, the North Korean regime would have collapsed years ago. According to Mosher, China is “the dragon lurking in the shadows behind the dictator Kim Jong il.” Mosher adds that it should not be forgotten that most of the North Korean missile technology that could eventually threaten the U.S. was supplied by the Chinese.

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