Christians Divorcing

Although traditional Christian teaching rejects divorce and stresses marital fidelity and family values, recent data show divorce strikes born-again Christians at about the same rate as those who don't profess a born-again experience.

The Barna Research Group even found those who characterize themselves as "fundamentalist" had a slightly higher divorce rate than the general public.

Research by Philadelphia counselor Tom Whiteman found the main reason given for divorce among the general public was incompatibility, but that Christians rarely cited this as grounds for divorce.

"In the Christian population, the reasons are adultery, abuse (including substance, physical, and verbal abuse), and abandonment," Whiteman said.

Source: Religious News Service, Feb. 11, 1997




Doctors Pray for Themselves

Forty-two percent of family doctors have not read about nor attended lectures/courses on using spirituality in healing. However, large majorities of doctors have used prayer or meditation in treating themselves.

Source: USA Today, March 28, 1997

Amazing Grace

More Americans say "grace" before meals today than fifty years ago, according to a CNN/USA TODAY poll. Of those surveyed, almost two out of three Americans with children (63%) indicated that they give thanks out loud before meals. A similar poll in 1947 showed less than half, 43%, said grace.

Source: USA Today, April 21, 1997



Sleaze is Big Business!

U.S. pornographic video rentals has increased 36% in just three years, according to information from retired FBI obscenity agent Bill Kelly According to his findings:

• Video rental sales climbed from $2.5 billion in 1994 to $3.9 billion in 1996;

• The number of new pornographic video titles rose from 5,575 in 1995 to 7,852 in 1996;

• 13.1% of the video rental market is pornographic. In other words, at least one of every eight video rentals is porn.

Psychologist Victor Klein, says approximately 70% of all pornographic material ends up in the hands of minors.

Source: Entertainment Today, April 8, 1997



Danish Ministers Can't Recall the Ten Commandments

When a Danish newspaper phoned more than 100 ministers in the Lutheran State Church of Denmark to learn if they could recite the commandments, 80 percent could not remember them all or recited them out of order. Three clergymen broke one of the Commandments by yelling to their wives to tell the reporters they were not at home.

Source: Religious News Service, Feb. 11, 1997

Editorial note: Before scorning our Danish counterparts, ask yourself how you would do in such a survey.



Double Death

A study published in the British Medical Journal reported that women who have had abortions are more likely to commit suicide, according to a Reuter's news report. Finland's National Research and Development Center for Welfare and Health researchers said their findings were important to officials who want to prevent suicides. They used national records to check the rate of suicides up to one year after the end of a pregnancy, whether it ended in birth, miscarriage, or abortion. "The suicide rate after abortion was three times the
general suicide rate and six times that associated with birth," they wrote.

They noted that women are frequently depressed after having a baby but this rarely translated into suicide. "Short-term postnatal 'blues' are experienced by 45 to 70 percent of women," they said. "The initial stress effect if having a child, however, is transitional, and overall having a child has positive effects on women's health."

From The Lifesaver, as reprinted in The Baptist Banner, Feb., '97



Teen Pregnancy Down Worldwide, Up in United States

The rate of young women who become pregnant before the age of 20 is down in many parts if the world compared to twenty years ago, according to a recently released report. But of all the industrialized nations, the United States has the highest rate of teen pregnancy.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, the nonprofit research group that released the report, 14 percent of U.S. girls between the ages of 15 and 19 gave birth in 1996; double that of Britain, which had the next highest teen birth rate. The report said that 73 percent of the U.S. pregnancies were unplanned.

Source: Religious News Service, Feb. 18, 1997



Homosexual Rights Pressure

Volunteer leaders of 4-H clubs throughout Minnesota were shocked to learn that, before being certified to lead local 4-H chapters, they must now sign a pledge saying they will help enforce gay rights. Compliance is mandated by the state's human rights statute in discrimination, which includes sexual discrimination.

Source: EP News Service, as reported in The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, March 14, 1997



"Theology never changes. Man's heart stays the same. There have been no additions to the gospel that was preached in the first century, and there is no difference in the reading of the events of the first century; morally, they're still the same. The same old sins, the same old problems that they face in Egypt, we face today in America."

Billy Graham, in an interview with John F. Kennedy Jr., for George magazine



Crime Deterrent

Harvard University economist Richard Freeman says that regular church attendance is a better predictor of whether an African-American urban youth will fall to drugs or crime than family structure or income. In most inner cities, church programs "leverage ten times their own weight and solve social problems for the poor."

Over thirty studies show a connection between religious participation and avoidance of crime and substance abuse. Federal prisoners who got leadership training from Prison Fellowship were 11 percent less likely to be arrested after fourteen years. Religion obviously provides a set of values and moral beliefs, and churches provide an important supportive community. But belief seems to work at a more redeeming level; a knowledge of God's acceptance, sins and all, seems to be a powerful tonic.

Source: "Can Churches Save America?", U.S. News &World Report, Sept. 9, 1996, as reported by Weiner, Edrich, Brown, Inc.



Cooperative Program Receipts Up!

Southern Baptist Convention Cooperative Program receipts for April jumped more than 9 percent over the previous year's month and nearly $5 million year-to-date over the previous year, according to Morris H. Chapman, president and chief executive officer of the SBC Executive Committee.

April CP gifts totaled $14,299,668 compared to April 1996 of $13,117,325, a 9.01 percent increase or $1,182,342.

At the end of seven months of the SBC 1996-97 fiscal year, total CP receipts were $90,819,060 compared to the same year-to-date period in 1995-96 of $86,089,231, an increase of $4,729,828 or 5.49 percent. The SBC fiscal year is Oct. 1 through Sept. 30.

Designated gifts for April also topped the previous year's April: $10,046,351 compared to $9,449,413, an increase of $596,938 or 6.32 percent. For the year to date, designated gifts total $97,944,314 compared to the previous year of $96,536,903, an increase of $1,407,410 or 1.46 percent.

For the SBC's CP Allocation Budget, the April receipts were $2,211,876 above the required monthly figure of $12,087,791, or 18.3 percent. For the year to date, the required budget figure of $84,614,541 has been surpassed by $6,204,519 or 7.33 percent.

"These figures are a further, and wonderful, testimony of the mission giving spirit of Southern Baptists," Chapman said.

The SBC Cooperative Program total includes receipts from individuals, churches, state conventions and fellowships for distribution according to the 1996-97 Cooperative Program Allocation Budget.

The Cooperative Program is Southern Baptists' method of supporting missions and ministry efforts of state and regional conventions and the Southern Baptist Convention. Designated contributions include the Lottie Moon Christmas Offering for foreign missions, the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering for home missions, world hunger and other special gifts.



More Lies

Sandra Cano is the personality behind the name Mary Doe, the plaintiff in the infamous Doe vs. Bolton court case which, along with Roe vs. Wade, helped make abortion on demand an American reality. However, according to Mrs. Cano, the case was built on lies, and she's coming forward to set the record straight.

"I'm just now learning a lot of the details, and I'm really shocked," Mrs. Cano announced in the March 29, 1997 issue of World magazine. "Abortion is against every belief I have. I've never been for an abortion. I was not the person they say I was. This case was built on lies."

Mrs. Cano was pregnant at the time, and says she sought legal help for a divorce, no-t an abortion. The ACLU lawyer who offered to assist her asked what she thought about abortion. "I said I was against it," Mrs. Cano said. When the attorney pressured her to have an abortion, Mrs. Cano fled Atlanta and sought refuge with her mother, until she was assured that she wouldn't be forced into an abortion. She later gave birth to a girl in 1970 who was placed for adoption.

However, the attorney's account stated that Mary Doe (Sandra Cano) sought an abortion from a public hospital, but was denied. It then reported that Mary Doe was approved by a private physician at a private hospital, but could not afford the fee. These facts, now denied by Cano, served as the basis for the legal decision which made abortion legal up to the time of birth.

The public hospital named in the case has no record of any such request.

Mrs. Cano eventually sought council from Christian attorneys who attempted to have the case reopened. Their motion, however, was denied.

Mrs. Cano has carried a deep sense of guilt since the decision and has wanted to speak out, but has been wary of lawyers and the media. Recently she has been befriended by Sybil Lash, an aide to a Georgia state legislator, who is collecting data to verify her story.

"Sandra wants to do the right thing," says Mrs. Lash. "But its hard for her to trust people. It's even harder for her to understand that the Supreme Court decision can still stand, after the case is proven to be based on lies. I guess it's hard for us to understand that, too."



Pro-Life Discrimination

Two New York nurses have filed a lawsuit against the Albany Medical Center, claiming they were fired for refusing to assist with abortions. Deborah Larson and Christine Thornton say they gave written notice in October that they would not help with abortions because of their religious beliefs. However, according to their attorney, they were later cited for insubordination and fired.

Source: The EP News Service, as reported in The Pastor's Weekly Briefing, March 14, 1997.

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