—The Tupelo, Mississippi-based American Family Association (AFA) is organizing a boycott of the top sponsors of programs rated TV-14 and TV-M under the six-tiered age-based rating system introduced by the television industry in January. "The only thing this rating system will do is to absolve the networks of any responsibility for the content of their programs," says afa president Donald Wildmon. "The only way to stop this self-serving move by the networks is to hold advertisers responsible." A TV-14 show may contain strong sexual content, profanity, and intense violence. A TV-M program may contain profanity, graphic violence, and explicit sexual content.
—A civil jury ruled January 17 that defrocked United Methodist Church of Fort Worth pastor Barry Bailey, 70, must pay $3.7 million in punitive and compensatory sexual-misconduct damages. Most of the complainants belonged to or worked at the 10,500-member church, the third largest in the denomination. The jury decided that Bailey, who left the church after 18 years as pastor in 1994, had inflicted emotional distress on the women, invaded their privacy, and exploited a counseling relationship.
—Because of increasing financial pressures, regents of Ambassador College voted December 29 to place the school in Big Sandy, Texas, up for sale. Regents cited the end of subsidies from the Worldwide Church of God and declining enrollment due to decreased membership in the denomination (ct, July 15, 1996, p. 27). If Ambassador cannot be sold during the spring semester, the 634-student school will be closed in May.
—Quebec Superior Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed by Christopher Bowen, a United Church of Canada minister removed after he posed nude for a homosexual ...1