by Fred Jackson and Jim Brown
(AgapePress) - The Christian son of atheist Madalyn Murray O'Hair says he hopes his mother and two other family members accepted Christ as their savior before they were killed. Bill Murray made the comment recently in response to news that Texas authorities believe they have found the remains of his mother, his daughter, and a brother on a ranch 125 miles west of San Antonio.
America's best-known atheist, along with her two family members, have not been seen since September 1995. Last week, a former O'Hair aide who recently plea-bargained in connection with other charges related to O'Hair agreed to lead investigators to the burial site.
Murray says he hopes this puts an end to the mystery surrounding the deaths of his family members, and says "its just time for people to move on."
In 1960, his mother took his public school to court seeking to end prayer and Bible reading in his classes. The case went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in 1963 made its landmark ruling in O'Hair's favor.
In later years, Murray turned against his mother's anti-Christian views and went into full time ministry. He is now chairman of the Maryland-based Religious Freedom Coalition, which promotes abstinence, adoption, and other conservative causes aimed at strengthening families.
Murray says that during his childhood, his mother told him it was better to be a homosexual than to be a Christian. She also taught him that the most important things in life were the physical pleasures of drink, food and sex. According to Murray, he lived that life he was taught for many years. "I drank a quart of vodka a day and by the time I was thirty, I had been married twice. I lived only to eat, drink, and have what I thought were sexual pleasures," Murray says.
When he was 30, he began to realize how empty his life had been. In a novel, Murray read the story of the great physician, Luke, and he longed to have that same relationship and love of God the New Testament figure had, but did not know how to reach God.
Shortly after reading that novel, Murray says he turned to "the one place I had never looked for the nature of God" - the Bible. He then "found the truth about Jesus Christ." As Murray puts it, "That truth is that Jesus had paid the price for my sin so I could be reborn and be a new man and have the gift of eternal life."
Survey Shows U.S. Tithing Down to One-Quarter of What 'Tithe' Is
by Fred Jackson and Jody Brown
(AgapePress) - The latest report on the tithing habits of America's churchgoers is in. The survey by an Illinois group called Empty Tomb indicates the trend of people giving less to their churches is continuing.
Religion Today reports the group looked at tithing levels in 29 mainline Protestant and evangelical denominations, and found that in 1998 the average fell to just 2.5% of the giver's income - down from 3.1% in 1968. The Empty Tomb survey concluded that if people had followed the biblical teaching of giving 10% of their income, churches would have had an extra $131 billion in 1998.
Various analyses of giving trends have been done in recent years. Some blame the decline on pastors who are afraid to preach about tithing. Others note that despite a booming economy, which has raised salaries to all-time highs, people have also become more selfish and self-sufficient and feel less of a burden to obey God's Word.
Abortion Is Manslaughter
(AgapePress)...A new Zogby poll shows that 51% of Americans equate abortion with manslaughter while 35% do not. When political party affiliation was factored in, the survey found that 67% of Republicans agreed that abortion was the taking of human life. However, among Democrats, 47% said they did not believe abortion was manslaughter. The 1,005 respondents to the poll were asked to choose between two statements: "Abortion destroys a human life and is manslaughter" and "Abortion does not destroy life and is not manslaughter."
(AgapePress)...A new Barna Research poll has found that almost nine out of ten Hispanics, the fastest growing ethnic group in America, consider themselves Christian, and more than four out of five say their religious faith is very important in their life. But only one in four Hispanic adults claim to be "absolutely committed" to the Christian faith. The survey also revealed that more Hispanics are attending Protestant churches, tending to favor charismatic and Pentecostal churches to evangelical ones. Among other findings from the survey, Hispanics in a typical week are just as likely to attend church, volunteer at their church, pray, and attend a Sunday school class as are non-Hispanic adults. But they are less likely to read the Bible during the week.
Review gives vote gain to Bush
A review of 10,600 previously uncounted ballots in Miami-Dade County showed George W. Bush gaining six more votes than Al Gore, the Palm Beach Post reported Sunday. The newspaper counted votes that were not registered by ballot machines, or undervotes. The review concluded that President-elect Bush would have gained 251 votes and Vice President Gore would have gained 245 votes. The review also showed that 7,600 of the more than 10,000 undervotes had no mark at all in the presidential column. Bush won Florida by a 537-vote margin of about 6 million votes cast in the state.
Wal-Mart Takes a Stand
Wal-Mart refuses to sell the drug Preven.
Preven is being called the "day after contraceptive". It is not a contraceptive.
This pill is taken after conception has already taken place. This is a chemical abortion device, which acts by preventing the newly conceived baby from implantation in its mother's womb. Because of this Wal-Mart refuses to sell it.
Planned Parenthood is launching a campaign asking all women and men to boycott Wal-Mart and to write them letting them know that it is because they refuse to sell this abortifacient device.
Wal-Mart officials gave an e-mail address for us to write. Please let them know you appreciate this courageous stand. We must not let them down. We really need to support businesses that take the moral high road on the vital issue of the right to life.
The address is: firstname.lastname@example.org In the subject line write: Preven.
Noah's Amazing Ark
BRUNSWICK, Germany (EP) - Noah's ark was designed as an ocean-going vessel, according to an analysis by Werner Gitt, director of the Federal Institute for Physics and Technology in Brunswick, Germany. According to the IDEA news service, Gitt found that the measurements of the ark meet two important shipbuilding requirements: "high floating stability and the least possible use of materials." Gitt, a computer scientist, converted the ark's measurements from cubits to meters, then analyzed his results. According to his article in the Swiss magazine Fundamentum, he found that the gross tonnage of the ark was 13,250 GRT. The three decks were as large as 1.2 soccer fields. Until 1850, no larger vessels were constructed. Gitt said Noah was able to build such a large ship without modern engineering knowledge because God provided the construction plans.
Mr. Switzerland Rejects Promiscuity
BASEL, Switzerland (EP) - The man named most handsome in Switzerland says he plans to abstain from sex until marriage. Claudio Minder, a 20-year-old pastor's son named "Mr. Switzerland," said that as a teen he decided "to take Jesus Christ 100 percent seriously." He shared his views on premarital sex with the Christian Chrischona Magazine. "When I get married I am looking forward to an apple that has not been bitten into," he said.