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CULTURE DIGEST: Baylor pulls controversial Starbucks cup; overseas adoptions present extra challenges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–A controversial Starbucks cup that promotes the homosexual agenda has been pulled from a Baylor University coffee shop after someone commented that such a cup is inappropriate for a Baptist-affiliated university.

The Associated Press reported Sept. 20 that Aramark, the dining contractor at Baylor in charge of the Starbucks coffee shop, removed the cups to avoid offending others.

“My understanding is it was a decision made by Baylor dining services staff, and I’ve not yet been able to trace it back to any Baylor administrators telling them point-blank to pull the cup,” Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley told AP. “I think they were trying to be sensitive. Obviously, Baylor is a Baptist-affiliated institution, and Baptists as a denomination have been pretty outspoken on the record about the denomination’s views about the homosexual lifestyle.”

The cup is part of a Starbucks program called “The Way I See It,” which is a collection of thoughts, opinions and expressions provided by notable figures that now appear on the chain’s coffee cups.

But cup #43 blatantly pushes the homosexual agenda. It’s by Armistead Maupin, who wrote “Tales of the City,” a bestseller-turned-PBS drama advocating the homosexual lifestyle, and it reads:

“My only regret about being gay is that I repressed it for so long. I surrendered my youth to the people I feared when I could have been out there loving someone. Don’t make that mistake yourself. Life’s too [expletive] short.”

Concerned Women for America, one of the nation’s leading conservative public policy organizations, first sounded the alarm about the cups in August after one of its employees received one when she purchased coffee from one of the stores.

OVERSEAS ADOPTIONS SOMETIMES MORE CHALLENGING — For years, Russia has been one of the most popular countries for American parents who choose to adopt children from outside the United States. Last year, Americans brought home 5,865 Russian children, which is about 25 percent of all children adopted abroad, according to a Sept. 13 report by USA Today.

But many parents have found that children from Eastern Europe often have behavioral problems beyond those of other children, mostly because of the tough conditions the children faced in the months or years before they were adopted.

“We say there are three groups of children: about 20 percent whom we call the ‘resilient rascals’ because they come over and thrive right away, about 60 percent who we call ‘wounded warriors’ because they have serious problems but they get better after the first year or so, and another 20 percent who are challenged children who may require lifelong help,” Victor Groza, a social work professor at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, told USA Today.

In one particular case, the parent of an adopted Russian boy reported that the 3-year-old was crying uncontrollably, striking his older sister, breaking furniture and deliberately urinating around the house, USA Today said. He also seemed unwilling or unable to learn even a small amount of English.

Experts say many of the problems can be attributed to the children having spent long periods of time in orphanages or homes where they were denied basic needs like attention, nourishment, hygiene and education. What results, they say, is “reactive attachment disorder,” which means the child is unable to bond with his new parents. Also, the children often have developmental delays typical of fetal alcohol syndrome, USA Today reported.

“The problem sometimes can be that families believe what they want to believe and think that a lot of love and just bringing this child home will work a miracle,” Ron Stoddard, executive director of Nightlight Christian Adoptions in Fullerton, Calif., told USA Today. “We now tell our families that unless there is definitive information to the contrary, you have to assume the parents [in Russia] abused alcohol.”

But Gregg Hoskins from Georgetown, Texas, wrote a letter to the editor in response to the USA Today article, saying it paints a negative view of overseas adoption that is overstated. Hoskins and his wife have adopted two children from the Ukraine and are in the process of adopting again.

“Yes, our children’s behavior at times is less than desirable, but as I watch other families at Chuck E. Cheese’s or the grocery store, I see many of the same mannerisms from kids raised here in the USA,” he wrote Sept. 20.

“Yes, some of the children I know who were adopted from Russia have significant health issues. A few will be affected for the rest of their lives by mental or physical difficulties due to fetal alcohol syndrome or orphanage conditions. Prospective adoptive parents should be told of the potential issues,” he added. “But these children are now in homes with parents who will love and nurture them to the best of their ability. At least two of these children would have died had they stayed in orphanages. Now, they have the freedom to run outside and play every day.”

LOS ANGELES HOME TO MOST EVANGELICALS — Contrary to its stereotypical labels like “Godless Hollywood” and “Lost Angeles,” Los Angeles is the metropolitan area with the greatest number of evangelical adults. Its one million faithful Christians are more than those in the New York, Chicago and Boston metropolitan areas combined, according to a study by The Barna Group.

But George Barna was quick to put the statistics in perspective.

“Keep in mind that the metropolitan L.A. market is huge; it contains more than 10 million adults,” he said in an Aug. 23 news release. “Even though its percentage of Christians is below the national average, its population is so massive that it emerged as the largest accumulation of believers. However, looking at its aggregate score as a Christian place, L.A. is 13 percent below the national average.

“It is not exactly a Christian commune,” Barna added, “but like many metropolitan areas, Los Angeles has a significant remnant of believers who can exert tremendous, positive influence on their culture if they so choose.”

Barna’s “Faith By Market” report also found that Little Rock, Ark., has the highest percentage of evangelicals with 22 percent, which means more than one out of every five adults there are evangelical Christians. Of the 86 largest metro areas in the nation, those with the lowest portion of evangelicals were Salt Lake City, Utah; Hartford, Conn.; and Providence, R.I., Barna said.

For more information on the report, visit www.barna.org.

RELIGIOUS SCREENWRITERS CONTEST OPENS — Aspiring screenwriters who create movies with storylines that help increase man’s love for and understanding of God are encouraged to enter their work in a new contest where the top three winners will receive prizes totaling $50,000 and the chance to have Hollywood executives notice their scripts.

The Templeton Foundation and the Christian Film & Television Commission announced the contest Sept. 20 and have set an early entry deadline for Nov. 25 and a late deadline Jan. 6.

Ted Baehr, chairman of the commission and founder of Movieguide, said several of the top movie studios have promised to give a first look at the three winning scripts.

First place for the John Templeton Foundation Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays is worth $25,000, and runner-up awards will be $15,000 and $10,000 each.

“We hope the establishment of the Kairos Prize will encourage talented young screenwriters with new ideas and a great respect for the biblical faith to move forward on that project they have in their mind and to inundate Hollywood with moral, inspirational movies,” Jack Templeton, son of John Templeton, said in a Sept. 20 news release.

For more information, visit www.kairosprize.com.

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  • Erin Curry