EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.
Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
A. Larry Ross Communications
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays
Morning Star Productions (Chondra Pierce)
WORLD News Service
New study shows older donors now just as likely to give to charities online as younger donors
PLANO, Texas (A. Larry Ross Communications) — Donors 66 and older are now just as likely to make their contributions to charity online as younger donors, according to a Dunham+Company/Campbell Rinker national study.
The percentage of donors 66 and older giving online has increased from 29 percent in 2010, the first year Dunham+Company/Campbell Rinker conducted this study, to 59 percent in 2014. Donors 65 and younger give online at a 60 percent rate – no statistical difference given the study’s margin of error.
“This trend with older donors giving online has definitely accelerated in the last two years,” said Rick Dunham, President and CEO of Dunham+Company. “From our perspective, charities must seriously consider that an older donor is now just as likely to hop on to the charity website to give as a younger donor, which means charities must do all they can to optimize their website for ease of use as well as streamline the giving process to better serve these older donors, as donors over 60 are a prime demographic for giving.”
For the first time since the study began, 3 out of 5 donors (60 percent) of all generations have given a gift online.
There also was a significant jump in the percentage of donors who say they gave online in response to an email. In 2010 and 2012, only 6 percent and 5 percent, respectively, gave a gift to a charity’s website because of an email. In 2014, that percentage jumped to 20 percent, with the most likely to respond to such a communication being donors 66 or older (23 percent). In 2010, no older donors said they responded to an email by giving an online gift, and in 2012 their response barely registered at 7 percent.
“It is especially critical for fundraisers to note that the 66 and older crowd is the most likely demographic to give in response to an email,” Dunham said. “That is a dramatic development in online fundraising and should shift how charities think about who the recipient is of their online communications.”
Social media continue to register a modest impact on online fundraising; 20 percent of donors in 2014 said they have responded with an online gift to a social-media request to give. That’s up from 16 percent in 2010 and 18 percent in 2012.
When asked their preferred way to make a contribution when they receive a letter in the mail, 53 percent of donors said they preferred to give online. This percentage has grown steadily from 38 percent in 2010 and 50 percent in 2012. Of interest, in 2010, the preferred method to give in response to a letter was through the mail with 52 percent saying they preferred this method of giving. The 2014 study shows this has reversed to only 36 percent preferring to respond by mail and 53 percent preferring to give online.
Of the 66 and older generation in 2010, only 15 percent would give an online gift in response to a letter in the mail. That percentage jumped to 39 percent in 2014.
The Dunham+Company study was part of a Campbell Rinker Donor Confidence Survey conducted online June 25-July 9, 2014 among 507 Internet respondents who gave at least $20 in the previous 12 months. Respondents were weighted by age to reflect the general U.S. population per the 2010 census. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.4 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
For more information, visit http://www.dunhamandcompany.com.
Leland House: A Beacon on Capitol Hill
By Doug Carlson for SBC LIFE
WASHINGTON, D.C. (SBC Life) — In the year 1891, much of what we would now recognize as Washington, DC, was just beginning to take shape. The District of Columbia’s transportation hub, Union Station, would not officially open for another seventeen years. Ground-breaking for the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials was still decades away. The cornerstone of the US Supreme Court would not be laid for forty-one years.
As the nation’s capital continued to develop, construction began on a group of rowhouses on Capitol Hill, along the east side of Second Street NE.
Almost 125 years and more than twenty US presidential administrations later, many of these rowhouses still stand, weathered by age and repurposed in function. Notable among them is a two-story with basement at postal address 505.
Today, that grey brick building is home to the Washington, DC, office of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC), the Southern Baptist Convention entity charged to speak to the growing number of social, moral, and religious liberty issues of the twenty-first century. At one time a family residence, the building in the heart of the Capitol Hill Historic District now functions as a beacon of biblical truth in the nation’s capital.
The ERLC, then known as the Christian Life Commission, purchased the property in 1994. After some renovations—reconfiguring the floor plan to accommodate office space, restoring the original oak hardwood floors, and adding ornamental Doric-style columns and vaulted ceilings in the entryway and conference rooms—the century-old building was ready for use.
The ERLC’s task of defending religious liberty continues the work that began early in America’s history, in the eighteenth century, when Baptists suffered widespread religious persecution. It was this period of religious dissent that informed the selection of the building’s name: Leland House.
That signature designation, etched in a brass sign on the house’s brick façade, pays homage to John Leland, famed and fiery itinerant Baptist evangelist of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. With a ministry spanning six decades, Leland distinguished himself as one part evangelist and Gospel preacher and another part defender of religious liberty.
It is Leland, champion of the right of conscience for every person, who is largely credited with helping to secure America’s religious liberty protections in the Bill of Rights, ratified in 1791—exactly one hundred years before construction of what would eventually become Leland House.
Now, 260 years after his birth, the Gospel cries of John Leland echo from the building named in his honor. Leland House serves as both an extension of and complement to the ministry of the ERLC’s Nashville office. It is a workspace from which ERLC President Russell D. Moore, who regularly travels to Washington, and DC-based staff sound an amplified voice on issues of Southern Baptist concern to the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of government.
It is a place, moreover, to connect with public policy leaders on key cultural concerns. Within walking distance of the corridors of Congress, Leland House’s strategic location enables ERLC staff to convene meetings with like-minded governmental and religious leaders—advocates for marriage and family, the unborn and the orphaned, the persecuted and the trafficked, and other Gospel issues that Southern Baptists, informed by Scripture, must not ignore.
To be sure, the building at 505 Second Street NE is only an aid to the eternal work that happens within. Leland House stands to help advance a Kingdom that neither a law from Congress nor a ruling from the Supreme Court can thwart. Indeed, not even the gates of hell can prevail against the Gospel hope for which it stands and advocates. Convention messengers are encouraged to stop by while in the area.
Doug Carlson is office manager at Leland House, the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and a member of First Baptist Church in Alexandria, Virginia.
Award-winning journalist fired for writing about his faith
NEWTON, Iowa (Liberty Institute) — Liberty Institute attorneys for Bob Eschliman, the former Newton Daily News editor-in-chief, have filed an official charge of discrimination with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). After terminating Eschliman’s employment, the president of Shaw Media explained in an editorial (“Earning public trust our priority,” May 5, 2014) that, though Eschliman was entitled to his religious beliefs, “his public airing of [his beliefs] compromised the reputation of this newspaper and his ability to lead it.”
“No one should be fired for simply expressing his religious beliefs,” said Matthew Whitaker, a former United States Attorney and partner of Whitaker, Hagenow, & Gustoff, LLP, who also serves as a volunteer Liberty Institute attorney. “In America, it is against the law to fire an employee for expressing a religious belief in public. This kind of religious intolerance by an employer has no place in today’s welcoming workforce.”
Eschliman’s article, written on his private blog, defended his beliefs regarding Scripture and the institution of marriage. Just a few days later, Eschliman was placed on indefinite paid suspension while his employer, Shaw Media, investigated the matter. On May 5, 2014, Eschliman was summarily fired and immediately escorted out of the building without being permitted to gather his personal effects from his office. A copy of Eschliman’s statement in support of his charge of discrimination may be read here: https://libertyinstitute.org/eschliman
The EEOC will begin an independent investigation of Eschliman’s charges of religious discrimination and retaliation. Should the EEOC determine that Shaw Media is guilty of religious discrimination, it may order broad relief, including back pay, front pay and other significant damages for the unlawful conduct of Eschliman’s former employer.
Liberty Institute is a nonprofit legal group dedicated to restoring and defending religious liberty across America – in our schools, for our churches, and throughout the public arena. Liberty Institute’s vision is to reestablish liberty in accordance with the principles of our nation’s founders. Visit www.LibertyInstitute.org for more information.
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays unveils new website to encourage families
RICHMOND, Va. (Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays) — Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays & Gays (PFOX, www.pfox.org), a nonprofit organization serving families and the ex-gay community, has unveiled its new website providing resources for ex-gays, gays and their families and friends who are searching for hope, truth and answers to their desire to leave the homosexual lifestyle.
Online at www.pfox.org, the site provides help, support and information to ex-gays and their families and friends. PFOX believes everyone has the right to hear all sides of this issue, including receiving accurate information regarding misconceptions about ex-gays and same-sex attraction.
Through the PFOX blog, experts and those with firsthand experience share regularly updated commentary that gives voice to ex-gays and their parents, family members and friends on current events and issues affecting the ex-gay community. Through the blog, PFOX will strengthen the ex-gay community’s voice to better educate the public and foster open and honest discussion.
“Ex-gays who have struggled with same-sex attraction are sometimes treated in a hostile manner by the gay community, which may not understand their intentions or reasoning,” said Regina Griggs, executive director of PFOX. “Those who choose to leave the homosexual lifestyle, through counseling or other means, are often also misunderstood by their family and friends, who want to support them but don’t know how. For more than 15 years, PFOX has been that support for both ex-gays and their family and friends, and we will continue to help thousands more in the future, as we have in the past.”
The new PFOX site also shares resources for those struggling with same-sex attraction and transgender/gender identity as well as information geared toward parents and friends, pastors and churches, students and schools, and policy makers and government officials.
PFOX is a national nonprofit organization that supports families and educates the public on sexual orientation and the ex-gay community. PFOX is for every person seeking the support of family, friends, the community and church. PFOX supports an inclusive environment for the ex-gay community and works to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against former homosexuals by conducting public education and outreach to further individual self-determination and respect for all Americans, regardless of sexual orientation. PFOX believes that every person seeking positive life change needs and deserves the love and support of family, friends, the community and the church and offers a place for help, a place for truth, and a place for ex-gays to participate in the conversation about same-sex attraction.
The organization works to ensure that ex-gays and their families and friends are free to be open, safe and respected in a diverse society. Therefore, PFOX supports an inclusive environment for the ex-gay community and strives to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against former homosexuals by filing sexual orientation discrimination complaints on behalf of the ex-gay community, opposing anti-ex-gay legislation, submitting friend-of-the-court briefs with the Supreme Court on ex-gay discrimination, advocating shareholder resolutions with Fortune 500 public corporations to prohibit corporate discrimination based on ex-gay status and drafting comments to the State Department to be considered for the Universal Periodic Review of human rights concerning the status of former homosexuals in the United States.
PFOX has also won lawsuits to secure the right to distribute ex-gay information to public high schools just as gay groups have freely distributed information to students for over a decade. Securing this equal access enables concerned citizens to provide an alternative to the perception that change is not possible.
Founded in May 1998, PFOX was created specifically to be an alternative to the misinformed gay family groups that insist that parents can prove their love for their gay child only by supporting gay rights and affirming their child’s self-proclaimed gay identity. PFOX teaches parents that it’s ok to love their children without placing any conditions on that love.
From 2005 to 2011, a representative of PFOX served on the Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development of the Montgomery County, Md., Board of Education. As a member of the Committee, PFOX reviewed and made the recommendations regarding the student health and sex education curriculum for the 17th largest school system in the United States.
Through public awareness campaigns, PFOX has a long and proud history of educating society on the facts about sexual orientation in order to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against ex-gays and those trying to overcome same-sex attraction. The thousands of real people who have made a decision to change their lives benefit from their parents, friends and loved ones being equipped with the truth about their struggle.
Executive Director Regina Griggs has been interviewed by numerous television, radio and print outlets, including TIME Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, and the Washington Times.
PFOX families love their homosexual children unconditionally, believing that true love is granted in spite of our differences by treating each other with kindness and respect. Each year, thousands of men and women with unwanted same-sex attractions make the personal decision to leave a gay identity through gender-affirming programs, including counseling, support groups, faith-based ministries and other non-judgmental environments.
For more information on PFOX, visit www.PFOX.org.
Christian community, industry, fans & friends join Chonda Pierce in “Celebration of Life” for her husband, David w. Pierce
NASHVILLE (Morning Star Productions) — David W. Pierce, husband of Christian comedian Chonda Pierce, is being remembered as a devoted and loving husband and father, gifted teacher, accomplished writer and creative storyteller who passionately loved the pursuit of God and the sharing of the spiritual values he discovered in living everyday life.
A community of family and friends — both close — and those connected worldwide through Chonda’s ongoing series over the past several weeks of heartfelt updates through social media were saddened by the news of David’s passing on Tuesday, July 22, after suffering the complications of hemophragic bleeding of the brain that followed both a major stroke and heart attack earlier this month.
By his side literally every moment during his hospitalization, Chonda posted earlier this week: “He is in God’s hands completely now. I have loved him since I was 16 years old. He is one of the greatest men I have ever known and I have begged God to allow him to stay here — whole and healthy. Thank you for praying with me and believing for me even when my faith was tired and weak.”
On his passing, the three poignant words chosen for her post spoke volumes: “David is home.”
David W. Pierce grew up in Ashland City, Tenn., and lived in Rutherford Country more than 25 years. As re-told by her to the thousands of concert-goers entertained by Chonda’s comedy over the years, she found the love of her life in David, married her high school sweetheart and became the mother of two children long before becoming one of the most celebrated women in Christian comedy.
David earned an MA in English from Middle Tennessee State University, where he later served as an adjunct professor of English. He also taught at Western Kentucky University and Taylor University in Fort Wayne, Ind. He is the author of several books including most notably “Don’t Let Me Go: What My Daughter Taught Me About The Journey Every Parent Must Make” and two children’s books authored with Chonda, “Tales From The Ark” and “Tales From The Manger.”
Canadian lawyers rally against Christian law school grads
By J.C. Derrick
LANGLEY, British Columbia, Canada (WORLD News Service) — By a 3-to-1 margin, member lawyers of the Law Society of British Columbia voted June 10 to reverse a previous decision to recognize future graduates from the planned Trinity Western University School of Law.
Although thousands of lawyers participated in the nonbinding vote, it was a purely symbolic measure: The ultimate decision to approve Trinity Western’s law school lies in the hands of the society’s governing “benchers,” who are similar to a board of directors. In April, the benchers voted 20-6 to authorize the country’s first Christian law school, even though the university requires all students, faculty and staff to sign a community covenant restricting sexual activity to traditional marriages.
In response, British Columbia attorney Michael Mulligan, who claims Trinity Western’s policy is discriminatory, led an effort to gather signatures that would force a special general meeting of the province’s 11,000 lawyers. The general meeting took place in more than a dozen locations around British Columbia, and Tuesday night the society announced members voted 3,210 to 968 to direct the benchers to reconsider.
“We won!” Mulligan tweeted after the vote.
Jan Lindsay, president of the Law Society of British Columbia, in a statement said she and other benchers would give the matter “serious and thoughtful consideration,” but she made no promises: “The decision regarding whether to admit graduates from the proposed law school at TWU is a Bencher decision.”
Bob Kuhn, Trinity Western University president, said a vocal group of lawyers organizing a general meeting should not undermine the benchers’ April ruling. “Difficult decisions involving fundamental rights and freedoms should not be decided by popular opinion,” Kuhn said in a statement. “In a free and democratic society, the faith of TWU graduates cannot preclude them from practicing law.”
Trinity Western first submitted its proposal for an accredited law program in 2012. In December 2013, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and the British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education issued back-to-back approvals, citing “no public interest reason” not to grant preliminary permission. Provincial law societies, including Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland, and Prince Edward Island, all followed with votes to accept Trinity Western graduates, but societies in Ontario and Nova Scotia narrowly voted not to recognize them.
Although the school has secured mobility agreements—meaning its graduates could pass the bar in one province then move to another—last month Trinity Western announced it would pursue legal action to ensure its future graduates are recognized in every province. The university believes the controversy over its community covenant was sufficiently settled in 2001, when the Supreme Court of Canada ruled 8 to 1 that Trinity Western could have an accredited teaching program and leave its Christian beliefs intact.
“We feel that landmark decision needs to be respected,” said Kuhn, an attorney who led Trinity Western’s legal team in 2001. He noted Canada’s 2005 same-sex marriage law “recognizes that it is not against public interest to hold and publicly express diverse views on marriage.”
Opponents say the 2001 court decision addressed teachers’ ability to teach fairly, whereas the current complaint claims the school policy excludes homosexual applicants. In April, a gay activist in Vancouver sued Amrik Virk, the British Columbia Minister of Advanced Education, saying he should not have approved the Trinity Western law school because its admissions policy is discriminatory.
Religious liberty advocates in the United States and Canada believe the fate of Trinity Western’s law school is a bellwether for religious freedom in North America.