As long as man ponders his existence, he will always include the question of which is harder: to be a growing youth or no longer to be a growing youth.

Some 7,300 members of the Christian booksellers industry were confronted with this question—some more consciously than others—as the industry held its thirty-second annual convention at the spacious Anaheim Convention Center in California’s Orange County in late July.

And the facilities must be spacious: the yearly trade show and convention of the Christian Booksellers Association (CBA) is among the 25 largest in the U.S.—too large for the convention facilities of all but a handful of the largest metropolitan areas in this country.

Christian “bookselling” is now an $800 million undertaking, a result of tremendous, and tumultuous, growth—recounted incredulously in our daily newspapers and national magazines—that took place during the early and middle seventies.

The American Booksellers Association’s annual trade show for secular bookstores has always been limited to books. When the CBA held its first shows, however, beginning in 1950, prospects for attendance were wisely bolstered by inclusion of gift, greeting card, calendar, and record producers. (Each of these is a separate trade show for the secular bookseller, except for records, which few stock.) Furthermore, it can be shown that relatively few appropriate books were available to Christian stores in that era (CT, July 17, p. 76).

But what was prudent in the fifties and sixties became something else again in the seventies. Although the number of exhibitors and the number of items they offered continued to grow until 1978, participants commonly pronounced the show “too big” as early as 1978. “Too big,” they said—but always with a way smile of triumph. This “too big” was not a subjective term, either. It had a precise, quantified meaning. A reasonably assiduous bookstore buyer could no longer visit the display booths of all his suppliers and potential suppliers in the time alloted during the four-day convention. While this may have been glorious to some dealers, it was a besetting concern for many exhibitors.

The effect of the convention’s growing size and tumult came home keenly in two experiences the industry shared at the 1978 convention.

Held in Denver so as to bring the industry’s practitioners within visiting distance of the association’s newly constructed headquarters building in Colorado Springs, the convention, with 7,600 registrants, totally overwhelmed Denver’s convention capabilities. Harrassed by breakdowns both mechanical and administrative (air conditioning, elevators, violence spilling out of the seedy joints around the hotels and convention hall) and by the knowledge there wasn’t a single spare hotel room, in the words of one Denver hotel operator, “from Cheyenne to Pueblo,” the booksellers found themselves visiting display booths in the lobbies, mezzanine, and balconies of a convention center too small to house everything on the main floor.

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The second experience in Denver was even more dramatic. For several years, news of the CBA industry’s precipitous growth had attracted purveyors of what came to be known—especially to exhibitors selling the more traditional merchandise—as “the junk.” On the second morning of the convention the Rocky Mountain News hit the stands with the entire front page devoted to a montage of these items: T-shirts (for dogs as well as masters) with a Bible verse to make them religious merchandise, bumper stickers, caps and hats, yo-yos, as well as tasteless Rapture-oriented “art,” and much more. A wave of reaction spread throughout the industry and on into the evangelical press.

The association and its leadership definitely got the message. Such has been the pace of change effected by CBA executive vice-president John T. Bass and the group’s elected officers that problems that harried dealer and exhibitor alike in Denver just three years ago had all but disappeared from the scene played out in Anaheim. And these leaders cannot play Caesar and simply mandate change. Many people have a say, and quiet persuasion has played a large role.

Gone are the lines of buyers in the aisles, queued up to receive free autographed copies of new books, blocking the passage of other buyers, as exhibitors watched helplessly. Gone are music performances in the booths. (Both of these practices were eliminated in the early seventies.) Music, however, plays a larger role in the convention than its approximtely 16 percent of annual store sales volume should warrant, due to a magnificent marriage of the conventioners’ personal tastes and the Christian music industry’s offerings. It is not only the performers in that industry who dress to be seen, although the ubiquitous presence of richly coiffed youth, clad in frilly shirts and part of last summer’s tuxedo, has been meaningfully reduced on the convention floor.

Most recently gone are what seems like most of the junk merchandise and the worst of the wall plaques, plaster of Paris statuary, and the like.

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But an even more significant change has come about in the books being introduced. And on this matter, Bass puts aside his usual diplomacy and leaves no doubt as to his relief. “The touchy-feely days are apparently behind us,” he states enthusiastically. “The frothy and self-centered titles we saw so much of in the recent past are being replaced by more substantial considerations. Marriage and family are now the two largest categories of new books, and there are significantly more good Bible study things coming now.”

Alluding to the ancient observation that “of the making of books there is no end,” and to the seemingly permanent concern in publishing circles everywhere that too many new books are being published, Bass notes that new titles introduced by CBA houses are down for the year ended August 31—down to 4,500 from 6,000 in the previous 12 months. But he readily agrees that this reduction is likely due in great part to business failures among the less substantial publishers that sprang up during the “go-go era” of 1974–79, and not to severe cutbacks by the older, more established CBA houses.

Bass defines the “go-go era” in store terms, also: “From 1974–77 we had record numbers of stores opening. Then from 1976–79 we saw un-precendented numbers of insolvencies. Now, new Christian bookstores are usually much better capitalized, and we’re seeing far fewer failures.”

But a new set of concerns now confronts the publishers and other exhibitors who gather annually on the CBA convention floor to present their offerings. Since 1972, that convention floor has seen a buyers-to-sellers ratio of four stores represented to one exhibitor. But in 1978 and 1979 the number of buyers plateaued. Barely accustomed to the industry’s new-found maturity, the suppliers have now remembered what it was about its tumultuous youth that they loved so much: it was the growth!

For those who have tasted prolonged, steep growth, ordinary growth can be a bitter pill.

In the go-go years, CBA-member stores as a group (including the effect of new store openings) ran off a string of years of 20 to 22 percent growth in total sales. And it was those same exhibitors who sold them the ever-increasing amounts of goods.

Currently, the association states that growth has averaged 16 percent for the past five years. Since the first of those five years was the last of the 20 percent years, growth today must be closer to 10 or 12 percent. This growth is very likely in the merchandise end rather than in the printed materials end of the dealer’s inventory. Another source indicates that the level of publishers’ sales as a group is essentially flat since 1978.

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And for at least four publishers on that convention floor, growth has become more than a nicety. Four CBA houses have become publicly held in the past five years. Zondervan and Thomas Nelson have floated stock offerings, and Fleming H. Revell and Word have been acquired by Scott, Foresman and Company, and the American Broadcasting Company, respectively. For publicly held business, it is by showing “reasonable” growth that one maintains the enthusiasm of the financial community and thereby gains access to further capital via further stock sale. Without this privilege, things can be tough.

As a result, the Anaheim meeting saw the arrival of an entirely new rhetoric. People with the clout to affect the future were saying, “After all, this great convention each year is really only that, a convention. It’s not a Super Bowl or an Olympics with one big winner decided at the end.” This was well put, for in terms of time spent in preparation, of funds appropriated, and of activities and inducements for dealers offered at the display booths, many exhibitors have behaved in the past as though the convention could literally be won!

Furthermore, with a 36 percent increase in the cost to exhibitors of booth space for 1981, when a 25 percent increase sufficed for the previous four years together, exhibitors could see that industry fathers on the store side are coming to draw satisfaction from a stable and dignified convention. It was not surprising, therefore, to hear exhibitors in Anaheim talking of additional means of contacting the stores en masse. They met, formally and informally, to discuss alternative approaches to trade selling meetings, including series of “trade marts,” “table top” meetings with dealers in successive cities around the country—a method involving much less display expense.

There was even isolated talk of two conventions. But whether the split would be along geographic or product lines, the idea holds too little potential for the smaller houses to make them follow the bigger firms into such a pursuit.

The years immediately ahead will tell whether the CBA publishers and retailers decide to five with slow growth or even no growth, as many American Bookseller Association-related enterprises have done, or to undertake increasing risks in search of the old growth.

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Religious Discrimination or …?
Oru Takes Offensive Over Law School Accreditation

Breaking into tears during a recent Sunday morning radio appeal for funds, Oral Roberts sobbed that if his faith partners didn’t exercise a little more “seed faith,” he would be forced to disobey God’s vision-inspired command to open his City of Faith hospital complex by November 1.

As if cash-flow troubles weren’t enough to weep about, Roberts also faces a legal hassle with the American Bar Association over accreditation of his Oral Roberts University (ORU) law school. And without accreditation, the O. W. Coburn School of Law might just as well close its doors.

The school applied for provisional accreditation in 1980, hosted an ABA site team’s investigation of campus buildings, law library, faculty, and students, and waited for approval.

It never came. Instead, in May 1981 the ABA accreditation committee recommended accreditation be denied on four counts:

1. ORU practiced religious discrimination in admitting as students only those who signed a Code of Honor pledge. This was direct violation of ABA’s standard 211 prohibiting accreditation of any school that discriminates on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex.

2. ORU practiced religious discrimination in the hiring of faculty.

3. ORU’s faculty salary structure was inadequate, “insufficient to attract and retain persons of high ability.”

4. Cobum’s class size was too small, indicating “demand for admission has fallen far below the school’s estimate.” The ABA said, “The school has not demonstrated that there exists sufficient demand for admission to the school to permit it to maintain a student body in sufficient numbers to support the school financially and educationally.”

The ABA concluded, “The school does not now substantially comply nor has it provided assurance it will fully comply within three years to ABA accreditation standards.”

Although ABA lawyers insisted the accreditation process was far from complete and a final decision would be announced at the August meeting of its house of delegates, ORU’s receipt of a first negative report was enough to bring their legal team out charging. Contending the ABA action was “primarily on religious grounds,” ORU general counsel Robert Skolrood threatened to file suit. “The ABA’s reasons for denying accreditation are baseless,” he said. “Its action violates rights guaranteed to ORU by the U.S. Constitution and federal statutes.”

The ABA refused to knuckle under to ORU’s suit threat, however, emphasizing that no final decision had been made.

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ORU proceeded to file suit against the ABA on June 8 in the U.S. District Court of Chicago, “challenging as unlawful the ABA rejection of ORU’s application for provisional accreditation” and speculating the court could force the legal association to yield what they were withholding.

Skolrood contends the ABA made accreditation difficult for ORU right from the start. Requests for application forms were frustrated by months of delay because the ABA said it was revising its forms. “It does seem coincidental with ORU’s application that the ABA decided to revise their forms,” said Skolrood, “but finally we took the old forms and filled those out figuring they couldn’t change every question.”

Skolrood said the ABA site team that investigated O. W. Coburn “made the longest report in the history of the ABA. Most reports are 30 pages, double-spaced, but ours was 100 pages, single-spaced.

“Nothing was left unturned.” He added that the report glowed in its appraisal of ORU’s law facilities, library, and students.

“But we refused to back down on the ABA’s standard 211,” he said, “and that’s what got us into trouble.”

ABA general counsel Eugene Heine thinks things have gotten out of hand with ORU. “This case is bizarre,” he said.

Accreditation is a lengthy process, he explained. “That’s what makes it so difficult. We have a totally appellate process which starts with the site team. They make a recommendation to the accreditation committee. The accreditation committee to the council, the council to the house of delegates.

“So until all of that is done and everyone has had their say,” he emphasized, “we have no final decision.”

He added that when the council met, they invited ORU to come to Erie, Pennsylvania. “Please bring some more information so that the accreditation committee can learn more about the school,” they said. But instead of providing additional information, “the school sent two lawyers who said they refused to provide additional information. So the committee recommended to the council that accreditation be denied.” He said ORU was about to be invited to “yet another accreditation committee meeting” and “hoped the school would come this time to share the information that was requested.”

Heine added, “I can’t imagine that anyone genuinely interested in an accreditation process that’s been in place since 1923, and which is looked to by 43 supreme courts, should say when the accreditation process should stop and when it should end.”

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On the ABA ruling of ORU’s violation of standard 211 Heine said, “It is a matter of concern to our section that this school prohibits anyone from entering as student or faculty unless they subscribe in writing to a religious statement. That is absolute, total discrimination.”

He added, “Of the 171 law schools which we accredit, over 90 are now private. Many of those have religious affiliations and they have never had any difficulty with our standards. None of them require total discrimination of unbelievers in their particular dogma.”

Heine said the ABA was still trying to keep the whole ORU matter low-key. “We’re not attempting to try this in the newspapers or the court,” he said. “We’d rather let our ordinary processes work.”

Phil Goodwin, president of the hospital association in Tulsa, thinks ORU has “made a big issue out of this temporary lack of accreditation.” Speaking from experience with a number of hospital accreditations he said, “It’s not unusual for people who go through this accreditation process to get a preliminary report that asks for additional information. That happens all the time in schools, hospitals, or educational programs.

“So for this to be made such a big, big issue at ORU, big enough to sue the ABA,” he said, “one would wonder if there is not something that’s not being made public right now.…”

He added, “Of course, ORU’s standard technique is that if things don’t fall just the way they want them to, they use any clout they’ve got, legal or political, to get exactly what Oral wants.”

Back in June, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that ABA committee members had expressed concern that ORU’s financial health was too dependent on the personal fund-raising activities of Oral Roberts. “Without Oral’s involvement,” said Henry Ramsey, chairman of the ABA committee, “the giving to this school would go down to zilch.”

But ORU’s Skolrood staunchly maintains the ABA is withholding accreditation solely on the basis of religious discrimination. Rumors of financial instability were groundless. “We have more than $400 million worth of buildings here that are debt-free. And a very sizable endowment that is continuing to grow.”

But financial problems aside, could ORU exert enough pressure of its own by means of newspapers and the court to coerce the ABA board of governors into revising its standard 211? Would such a revision force the ABA to grant provisional accreditation to ORU despite its absolute refusal to admit students or hire faculty who would not subscribe to its Code of Honor? Could a district court judge really force the ABA to accredit ORU’s law school? Said ABA’s Heine, “You can ask many lawyers, but because that issue has never been litigated, you’ll get a variety of answers. We contend that he cannot.”

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Urban Church Gets Special Attention
Young Life Reaches Out To Church It Once Bypassed

Young Life is taking giant steps toward reconciliation with local church leaders, who had labeled the youth organization in times past as “irreverent, shameful shams, and harmful to the minds of youth.” The steps were taken in July at a pastors’ consultation, called by William Starr, Young Life’s former head and director of Young Life’s foundation, and held in Trail West, one of the organization’s resorts near Buena Vista, Colorado. It invited 40 pastors and their wives to attend the five days of sessions.

In addition to the emphasis on reconciliation with local churches, the pastors also noted with approval the increasing attention being given by Young Life to inner-city youth ministries and to educating seminarians for careers as full-time youth ministers as opposed to regarding such positions as mere steppingstones to top pulpit posts and ministries to adults. The main thrust of the consultation, however, was directed at the enmity of church leaders incurred in Young Life’s early years, beginning in the 1940s when it was launched by an ordained Presbyterian minister, the late James C. Rayburn.

According to Young Life’s biographer, Char Meredith, the criticisms always caught Rayburn “full blast.” According to his wife, Maxine, quoted in Meredith’s book, It’s a Sin to Bore a Kid (Word, 1977), “Jim didn’t mean to be irreverent. He just saw the church as a colossal failure.… He wanted Christians everywhere to face the reality of people being turned off to Christ … to care about the fact that as an organization, the church was boring people.”

In a keynote talk to the pastors assembled at the consultation, Starr declared that it is a goal of Young Life to give itself away to the churches, to turn over its techniques to the churches and carry them on without competition.

He noted, however, that very few church programs carry out youth ministries under the guidance of trained youth ministers who have resolved to treat their work as their life career and not as a step toward ministries to adults. “They do this,” he noted, “in secular public schools, but you can’t commit your life to a ministry of youth in churches.” And in seminars he challenged ministers to this calling.

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What the churches are saying to young people, Starr said, is that “you’re really not important.” “We take the most inexperienced leaders and put them with the most important members of the church,” he said.

Jack Fortin, one of Young Life’s four field directors, was even more forceful in his plea for the churches to accept Young Life as an instrument working within the churches. Conceding that Young Life in the past has been hostile toward the church, Fortin said, “Many of us have had a judgmental attitude towards the church. We tend to make assessments of churches after only a few contacts.” He conceded, too, that the local church in the past has been seen as an obstacle, “so we’re fearful. We don’t have that sense of Christian community around us.”

Fortin said, however, that “we’re really looking for church leaders to reach out to us.… I feel a tremendous need to be held accountable and wish we could find ways to a solidarity.” He said emphatically, “No young person who comes through our program and does not connect up with the church can survive.”

Significantly, the gathering was interracial in its representation for the first time. Through the initiative of Verlie Sangster, director of urban ministries for Young Life, and with the help of the Lily Endowment, a significant body of black and Hispanic urban Christian leaders was also in attendance.

Three of the black pastors were representatives of the National Council of Black Churches (which involves top officials in seven major black denominations). According to one of the three, Manse Jackson, professor at the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, his purpose for attending the conference was to explore the feasibility of black churches developing linkages with Young Life through the assistance of the Lily Endowment.

Several black pastors indicated they had not heard of Young Life prior to receiving their invitation. Others viewed Young Life as a mission interested only in upper-middle-class white suburban youth. However, the week provided opportunity for intense dialogue and personal sharing across denominational, racial, and cultural lines. The urban Christian leaders participated fully in both plenary sessions and led a black, Latino-style worship service—one of the highlights of the conference, according to many.

Presentations by Young Life staff leaders were both appreciated and challenged during the week. Lloyd Lindo, pastor of Keystone Baptist Church on Chicago’s west side, observed that Darrell Guder’s presentation on the theology of evangelism lacked significant reference to the relationship of evangelism to reconciliation, an observation that sparked fruitful discussion.

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After a presentation of urban ministry in Young Life by Verlie Sangster, Manny Ortiz, the Hispanic pastor of Spirit and Truth Fellowship in Chicago, drew attention to the conspicuous absence of Hispanic staff leadership in Young Life (there is currently no full-time Young Life staff leader from the Latino community).

Sangster and Robert Mitchell, Young Life’s executive director, jointly announced recent action by the board of directors to develop a plan for urban growth and outreach in Young Life at a national level. While final figures had not been attached to this proposed development, the plan will involve progressive recruitment and training of a minority Christian leadership, especially female minority leadership, and the development of urban ministry partnerships between “advantaged and disadvantaged people.”

Bill Starr candidly expressed a need for other urban leaders to help find ways to provide an authentic witness of the gospel to youth in the city. Young Life’s desire, Starr noted, was to be a catalyst and a facilitator of ministry rather than owner.

At the end of the week, several urban Christian leaders expressed appreciation for the conference. Yvonne Abatso, a black professor of psychology at Fisk University, eloquently expressed a reaffirmation of the possibility of advising and working with a white evangelical organization that had a spirit of servanthood.

One other observation shared by almost all of the participants at the conference was that youth work must begin to have a higher priority among Christian ministries both inside and outside the church parish. Youth in the cities need a compassionate and relational witness of the gospel by both lay and professional Christian workers.

Competition between parachurch organizations and “mainline” churches is a myth. There are simply too many hurting kids out there.


Draft Now Ready for Next Year’s Votes
Merger Plan Sweetened For Southern Presbyterians

A final reunion plan that contains concessions to the more conservative southern church was drafted in July by representatives of the two major U.S. Presbyterian denominations meeting in Memphis, Tennessee.

The plan by the Joint Committee on Presbyterian Union would result in a merger between the largely northern United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A., and the southern-based Presbyterian Church in the U.S. The two churches have remained apart since the beginning of the Civil War.

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The reunion plan must be approved by general assemblies of each denomination next year, then ratified by the regional governing units, called presbyteries, in February 1983. The plan is expected to win the approval of the requisite two-thirds of the 150 UPCUSA presbyteries. But it may run into more difficulty in the PCUS, which requires a three-quarters majority of its 60 presbyteries.

In an attempt to make the plan more attractive to some of the more conservative southerners, the committee approved key exemptions for former PCUS churches that object to the more rigorous discipline the northern church imposes on such issues as the election of women officers and ownership of congregational property. At present, the UPCUSA mandates the election of women to local church governing boards called sessions; the PCUS does not.

The proposed united church would adopt the UPCUSA requirement, but former PCUS churches that object to it could obtain a series of year-long exemptions if a simple majority of the congregation votes for them in secret ballots not taken during the annual election of session members. The presbytery will be required to consult with the congregation on this issue, but it could not force the election of women officers.

Former UPCUSA congregations would be bound by present UPCUSA rules under which exemptions must be approved by three-quarters of the presbytery each year. Even with a temporary exemption, a dissenting UPCUSA congregation must demonstrate that it is “moving toward compliance” with the rule.

In order to protect these concessions from later revision by the far more numerous United Presbyterians, the exemption procedures for former PCUS churches would be immune to amendment for 15 years after reunion is accomplished.

The exemption rules represent a significant attempt to accommodate some of the more reluctant southern churches. Under a preliminary draft issued last October, congregations from both denominations would have had to apply annually to the presbytery for an exemption after the first year.

For women’s groups in the PCUS, where there is no mandate on women officers, the secret ballot and the consultation with the presbytery represent a slight gain. The PCUS committee on women’s concerns has long been an advocate of women officers for every congregation. But it has never called for a flat mandate to accomplish that goal.

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In a further sweetener for hesitant southern churches, the reunion committee expanded the period in which dissident former PCUS congregations could withdraw from the proposed union church with their property intact.

Under the preliminary draft, a former PCUS church could secede no sooner than two years and no later than five years after reunion. Under the final version, these churches could start withdrawal proceedings after 18 months and take as long as eight years to do it. Two-thirds of the congregation would have to approve the action beforehand.

As with the rule on women officers, former UPCUSA churches would remain subject to the present UPCUSA discipline, which gives the presbytery control over congregational property.

North American Scene

Sun Myung Moon’s Unification Church has agreed to remove a fleet of fishing boats from its estate in Tarry-town, N.Y., because they violate a local zoning ordinance. Nearly 100 of the sport-fishing boats were stored on the spacious property, known as Belvidere Estates. The boats were made at a church-owned factory and were to be used in a new spiritual training program for members.

United Methodists have decided that six seminaries are not suitable for training their future ministers. Until last year, the denomination’s university senate routinely approved all seminaries accredited by the Association for Theological Schools, but it has begun reviewing each accredited school to determine which non-United Methodist seminaries are not suitable for training Methodist ministers. So far these six have been ruled out: Ashland Theological Seminary (Church of the Brethren); Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (American Baptist); Erskine Theological Seminary (Associate Reformed Presbyterian); Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Evangelical Free Church); and two Lutheran Church in America schools: Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., and Lutheran Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. Two independent evangelical schools were approved: Fuller and Asbury theological seminaries.

Federal lawsuits have been filed in Mississippi and Arkansas to strike down requirements that make belief in God a prerequisite to holding any state office. Atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair and her American Atheist Center in Austin, Texas, are behind the move. According to the center, the constitutions of Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, North Carolina, and South Carolina have such provisions. The Arkansas constitution reads: “No person who denies the being of a God shall hold any office in the civil departments of this state nor be competent to testify as a witness in any court.” The Mississippi constitution reads: “No person who denies the existence of a Supreme Being shall hold any office in this state.”

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The Senate has voted some charitable deductions for taxpayers who do not itemize their tax returns. Although the provisions could be changed before final passage by the House and Senate, the tax law amendment would allow taxpayers to deduct 25 percent of total charitable contributions, up to a maximum of $100, starting in 1982. In 1984, the $100 limit would be removed, in 1985, the percentage would rise to 50 percent, and in 1986, all charitable contributions could be deducted.


Penthouse magazine says the furor over publication in its March issue of the Jerry Falwell interview boosted sales by $500,000. Robert Castardi, Penthouse’s newsstand sales director, said the issue sold an extra 200,000 copies on newsstands at $2.50 each. Cal Thomas, Moral Majority’s vice-president for communications, said he wasn’t surprised: “That’s why they did it.” Falwell still has a $50 million suit pending based on the fact that he did not know the two interviewers he talked to intended to sell the interview to Penthouse.

Donald Wildmon, head of the Coalition for Better Television, called CBS plans to make a TV drama about the Atlanta youth murders “absolutely deplorable.” Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson described the plans as “rank, avaricious exploitation,” and Wildmon said he agrees. Wildmon’s organization cancelled plans for a planned sponsor boycott this summer (CT, Aug. 7, p. 46), but will resume monitoring TV shows this fall. It intends to recruit additional organizations for coalition membership.

Facing a financial crunch, evangelist Billy Graham has sent out urgent appeals for funds, and may have to reduce further the number of radio stations on which his “Hour of Decision” program is heard. The number of stations once totaled 900, is now down to 700, and may have to be reduced to 500, said George Wilson, executive vice-president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. For the first time, the August and September issues of Decision magazine would have to be combined, Wilson said.

George K. Brushaber has been elected president of Bethel College and Seminary in Saint Paul, succeeding Carl Lundquist, who is retiring after 28 years in the position. Brushaber has been vice-president and dean of the college, and his election follows a year’s search for a new president.

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The son of the nation’s best-known atheist will release a book about his conversion to Christianity. William J. Murray, son of Madalyn Murray O’Hair, signed a contract to publish the book with Thomas Nelson, Inc. As a 14-year-old plaintiff, Murray played a central role in the case that led the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 to ban prayer from public schools. In the book, Murray describes his mother’s involvement in Marxist political parlies and her unsuccessful attempt to defect to the Soviet Union with her two sons.

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