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Hollywood Gets It Wrong . . . Again
College Friends Share Anonymous "Dad"
America's "War on Poverty"
Which US Cities Are "Bible-Minded"?

Hollywood Gets It Wrong . . . Again

Hollywood Gets It Wrong . . . Again

© istockphoto.com/kilukilu

The success of The Bible miniseries has motivated others in the entertainment industry to produce religion-themed shows, the Parents Television Council reports. Unfortunately, as often happens when Hollywood tries to attract a Christian audience, they get it all wrong. Such is the case with NBC's Salvation, a new prime-time series described as a "provocative drama set against the backdrop of a prominent Texas church where faith, family, and corruption are explored in equal measure," and Conception, a "supernatural mystery drama" about a large-scale conception of children without human fathers who are "destined to change the world." Oddly enough, NBC has tapped David Janollari, former executive vice-president of MTV, to produce both. During his tenure at MTV, Janollari was known for producing shows that were focused on drugs and sex. Perhaps the best-known was Skins, which the Washington Post described as "a repugnant, irredeemably nihilistic viewing experience [and] a new frontier in phoniness and filth." The History Channel has announced it will produce its own The Bible series, but this one will be in the horror genre and will portray Jesus as a wandering exorcist.

"MTV Sex Show Boss Producing Church-Themed Drama,” parentstv.org, 1/22/14

College Friends Share Anonymous "Dad"

College Friends Share Anonymous 'Dad'

© istockphoto.com/pojoslaw

"What are the chances that two California teens would meet online in a roommate hunt, cross the country to attend Louisiana’s Tulane University and learn a semester later they were half-sisters, the daughters of the same Colombian sperm donor?" CNN.com asked. Indeed. What are the chances? It took Mikayla Stern-Ellis, 19, of San Diego, and Emily Nappi, 18, of San Francisco, a semester to deduce that their many shared interests and common traits could be traced to one anonymous man who sold his sperm to the California Cryobank two decades ago. While the girls, both daughters of lesbian couples, have discovered yet another half-sibling and are reveling in their newfound family, there is one thing they disagree on: whether or not to pursue more information about their "father." "The press is caught up in the novelty of the story and has not bothered to explore the many possible complications," observed C. Ben Mitchell, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy at Union University in Jackson, Tennessee. "This situation illustrates vividly part of what's wrong with anonymous sperm donation. Who knows how many genetic half-siblings are out there from this single sperm donor? I suppose it could be worse: These two might have been a married man and woman who only later discovered they were brother and sister. Children have a right to know the identity of their parents."

"Sudden sisters: Tulane pals learn they share sperm-donor dad," cnn.com, 1/24/14

America's "War on Poverty"

With 2014 marking the fiftieth anniversary of the "War on Poverty," Joe Carter of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission noted five facts about the unprecedented and far-reaching effort to help America's poor.

1. The phrase "war on poverty" came from Lyndon Johnson's 1964 State of the Union speech, in which the president said, "This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in America. . . . It will not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall not rest until that war is won."

2. Within four years, the Johnson administration had enacted a broad range of programs, including the Economic Opportunity Act, the Job Corps, Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), Upward Bound, Head Start, Legal Services, the Neighborhood Youth Corps, the Community Action Program, the college Work-Study program, Neighborhood Development Centers, small business loan programs, rural programs, migrant worker programs, remedial education projects, and local health care centers.

Other antipoverty measures included an $11 billion tax cut, the Civil Rights Act, the Food Stamp Act, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, Social Security amendments creating Medicare/Medicaid, the creation of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Voting Rights Act, the Model Cities Act, the Fair Housing Act, and several job-training programs and urban renewal-related projects.

3. From 1964 to 2012, government spending on welfare programs totaled $15 trillion. Currently, the US spends nearly $1 trillion every year to fight poverty—$20,610 for every poor person.

4. In 1964, the poverty rate was 19 percent. Today, the poverty rate is 15 percent.

5. The poverty rate for married couples is only 6 percent. Among married couples who both have full-time jobs the poverty rate is practically zero (0.001 percent). The poverty rate for single parents is much higher: 25 percent for single fathers and 31 percent for single mothers.

"5 Facts About the 'War on Poverty,'" erlc.com, 1/7/14

Which US Cities are "Bible-Minded"?

Have you ever wondered how your city compares spiritually to other US cities? Where are America's Christians most densely congregated? After surveying to determine how many people believe in the Bible's accuracy and read it regularly, the Barna Group and the American Bible Society rated the "Bible-mindedness" of America's top 100 metropolitan areas. The ABS observed that only three of the top twenty-five have a population over one million, and Christianity Today noted that nineteen of the top twenty are home to at least one Christian college.

  1. Chattanooga, Tennessee
  2. Birmingham/Anniston/Tuscaloosa, Alabama
  3. Roanoke/Lynchburg, Virginia
  4. Springfield, Missouri
  5. Shreveport, Louisiana
  6. Charlotte, North Carolina
  7. Greenville/Spartanburg/Anderson, South Carolina; Asheville, North Carolina
  8. Little Rock/Pine Bluff, Arkansas
  9. Jackson, Mississippi
  10. Knoxville, Tennessee
  11. Charleston/Huntington, West Virginia
  12. Huntsville/Decatur, Alabama
  13. Nashville, Tennessee
  14. Lexington, Kentucky
  15. Wichita/Hutchinson, Kansas
  16. Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
  17. Louisville, Kentucky
  18. Jacksonville, Florida
  19. Paducah, Kentucky; Cape Girardeau, Missouri; Harrisburg/Mount Vernon, Illinois
  20. Greensboro/High Point/Winston-Salem, North Carolina
  21. Bakersfield, California
  22. Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas
  23. Mobile, Alabama; Pensacola/Fort Walton, Florida
  24. Columbia, South Carolina
  25. Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  26. Memphis, Tennessee
  27. Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, North Carolina
  28. Indianapolis, Indiana
  29. Atlanta, Georgia
  30. Grand Rapids/Kalamazoo/Battle Creek, Michigan
  31. Norfolk/Portsmouth/Newport News, Virginia
  32. Tulsa, Oklahoma
  33. Greenville/New Bern/Washington, North Carolina
  34. San Antonio, Texas
  35. New Orleans, Louisiana
  36. Richmond/Petersburg, Virginia
  37. Dayton, Ohio
  38. Charleston, South Carolina
  39. South Bend/Elkhart, Indiana
  40. Johnstown/Altoona, Pennsylvania
  41. Houston, Texas
  42. Kansas City, Kansas-Missouri
  43. Waco/Temple/Bryan, Texas
  44. Davenport, Iowa; Rock Island/Moline, Illinois
  45. Cincinnati, Ohio
  46. Harlingen/Weslaco/McAllen/Brownsville, Texas
  47. Columbus, Ohio
  48. Austin, Texas
  49. Detroit, Michigan
  50. Cleveland/Akron/Canton, Ohio
  51. Albuquerque/Santa Fe, New Mexico
  52. Flint/Saginaw/Bay City, Michigan
  53. Des Moines/Ames, Iowa
  54. Spokane, Washington
  55. Omaha, Nebraska
  56. Colorado Springs/Pueblo, Colorado
  57. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  58. Saint Louis, Missouri
  59. West Palm Beach/Fort Pierce, Florida
  60. Champaign/Springfield/Decatur, Illinois
  61. Portland, Oregon
  62. El Paso, Texas; Las Cruces, New Mexico
  63. Tampa/Saint Petersburg/Sarasota, Florida
  64. Miami/Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  65. Orlando/Daytona Beach/Melbourne, Florida
  66. Sacramento/Stockton/Modesto, California
  67. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  68. Baltimore, Maryland
  69. Harrisburg/Lancaster/Lebanon/York, Pennsylvania
  70. Fresno/Visalia, California
  71. Seattle/Tacoma, Washington
  72. San Diego, California
  73. Los Angeles, California
  74. Chicago, Illinois
  75. Minneapolis/Saint Paul, Minnesota
  76. Milwaukee, Wisconsin
  77. Fort Myers/Naples, Florida
  78. Honolulu, Hawaii
  79. Madison, Wisconsin
  80. Washington, DC/Hagerstown, Maryland
  81. Denver, Colorado
  82. Tucson/Sierra Vista, Arizona
  83. Rochester, New York
  84. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania
  85. Green Bay/Appleton, Wisconsin
  86. Syracuse, New York
  87. Salt Lake City, Utah
  88. Toledo, Ohio
  89. New York, New York
  90. Las Vegas, Nevada
  91. Portland/Auburn, Maine
  92. Burlington/Plattsburgh, Vermont
  93. Phoenix/Prescott, Arizona
  94. Hartford/New Haven, Connecticut
  95. Buffalo, New York
  96. Cedar Rapids/Waterloo, Iowa
  97. San Francisco/Oakland/San Jose, California
  98. Boston, Massachusetts; Manchester, New Hampshire
  99. Albany/Schenectady/Troy, New York
  100. Providence, Rhode Island; New Bedford, Massachusetts

"The Most and Least Bible-Minded Cities in the U.S. in 2014," 1/23/14, barna.org

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