Koop Joins Medicine Show
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop, an outspoken evangelical during the Reagan administration, has gone to bat for President Clinton’s health-reform plan. The 77-year-old Koop is appearing at forums this fall in various cities as an administration liaison to explain Clinton’s proposed restructured health-care system to physicians, many of whom are skeptical.
Koop, who has actively called for health-care reform since retiring as surgeon general in 1989, said, “The plan is headed and moving in the right direction” in a September 20 White House briefing with Hillary Rodham Clinton.
But prolife groups are worried that insurance plans would be forced to cover abortion services if the Clinton bill passes. “Every American would be forced to foot the bill,” said Wanda Franz, president of the National Right to Life Committee. Koop has been an outspoken opponent of abortion.
Church Loses, Begins Anew
A new organization, the Wesleyan Pentecostal Church, is being organized in the wake of a legal defeat for Paw Creek Ministries in control. Charlotte, North Carolina.
Joseph R. Chambers, senior pastor of Paw Creek, says the new group will be a movement, not a denomination, with autonomy for member churches in matters of local control.
Chambers says his congregation is finding “a lot of classical Pentecostals like us, who still hold to the fundamentals of Scripture.”
The congregation of Paw Creek Church voted to leave the Church of God (Cleveland, Tenn.) last year because the denomination had become “charismatic in the PTL, Benny Hinn mold,” Chambers says. The denomination was awarded ownership of Paw Creek’s church and school property, valued at $3 million.
The majority of the 300-member congregation is building a new church and campus.
ABC Stations Feel ‘NYPD’ Heat
Partly because of pressure from the American Family Association (AFA), a whopping 57 ABC television stations-more than 25 percent of all the network’s affiliates-refused to carry the premiere episode of “NYPD Blue” on September 21.
Although AFA acknowledged that some stations plan to pick up the series later, president Donald Wildmon says at least 45 affiliates are refusing to carry the program ever.
“ABC has taken an unprecedented beating on this,” says Wildmon, citing both affiliate and advertising jitters (CT, Aug. 16, 1993, p. 42). Wildmon has launched a boycott of products that advertised on the first show.
WFAA-TV in Dallas, the nation’s eighth-largest market, pulled “NYPD Blue.” General manager Cathy Creany said the show’s “profanity, sex, and violence went one step beyond our acceptable standards.”
The pilot carried a warning before airing: “This police drama contains adult language and scenes with partial nudity.” Creator Steven Bochco responded to critics by trimming 15 seconds of a sex scene. Despite-and perhaps because of-the publicity, “NYPD Blue” won its time slot and finished eleventh in the weekly Nielsen ratings.
FOCUS ON THE FAMILY
Ministry Opens New Facilities
Focus on the Family dedicated its new $30 million headquarters in Colorado Springs on September 25.
The ministry has moved into two new brick buildings containing 365,000 square feet. One serves as an administration building, the other a distribution center. The project cost less than it might have because of widespread material and labor donations-from free cabinets given by a Pennsylvania family to the use of earthmoving machinery by an Arizona man. The complex is set on 47 acres; a 25,000-square-foot visitor’s center will be constructed next year.
Focus on the Family moved to Colorado Springs two years ago from Pomona, California. The ministry brought 394 employees from California and initially hired 350 in Colorado Springs. Now Focus on the Family has 1,254 full-and part-time employees, with an annual payroll exceeding $24 million. Until the new facilities opened, Focus on the Family had been leasing five buildings in Colorado Springs.
Focus on the Family president and founder James C. Dobson presided over the dedication. Among those speaking were Kay Coles James, Charles Colson, and Steve and Annie Chapman.
Lesbian Mother ‘Unfit’ as Parent
A Richmond judge ruled in September that 23-year-old Sharon Bottoms is an unfit mother because she is a lesbian, marking the first time a court has awarded custody to a third party because of a parent’s homosexuality. The mother had admitted to engaging in oral sex, a felony in Virginia.
The custody of 2-year-old Tyler Doustou was awarded to 42-year-old Kay Bottoms, Sharon’s mother. In 1985, the Virginia Supreme Court said, ruling in another case, that a parent’s homosexuality is grounds for losing custody.
Kay Bottoms said she feared Tyler would not be able to distinguish gender differences, noting that he called her daughter’s 27-year-old live-in partner “Da Da.”
Three days after the Virginia decision, the Massachusetts Supreme Court voted four to three that Harvard Medical School surgeons Helen Cooksey and Susan Love could jointly adopt “Tammy,” a 5-year-old girl they have raised since Love gave birth to her five years ago through artificial insemination. It was the first time an openly homosexual couple in Massachusetts has been allowed to adopt.
Korean Churches Split with CRC
In a move one denominational leader calls a “tragedy,” more than a dozen Korean congregations are leaving the Christian Reformed Church (CRC), dismayed by what they consider liberal trends in the denomination.
“I am not some militant,” says John E. Kim, pastor of the 1,440-member Los Angeles Korean Christian Reformed Church, a defecting church. “I am simply leaving the denomination because the denomination changed from what it was when I first contacted it.”
One of the concerns of the Korean churches is the CRC’s move earlier this year toward allowing women to serve as pastors and elders. Kim says 15 of the CRC’s 47 Korean congregations are withdrawing to form a new denomination, tentatively, the “Korean Reformed Presbyterian Church in America.”
John Rozeboom, director of CRC home missions, says the defections “may have been a tragedy that was unavoidable, but it’s a tragedy nonetheless.”
PEOPLE AND EVENTS
Mississippi College has filed a $3 million lawsuit against its former president, Lewis Nobles, who was forced to resign August 3 (CT, Sept. 13, 1993, p. 59) amid allegations that he embezzled $3 million from the Southern Baptist-owned school during the past 15 years. The suit claims the 67-year-old Nobles, who was president of the 4,200-student college for 25 years, channeled funds through a labyrinth of bank accounts and gave phony receipts to donors.
• Two Canadian denominations, one from an Anabaptist tradition and the other from a Wesleyan tradition, merged August 6 to form the Evangelical Missionary Church of Canada. The Missionary Church of Canada (MCC) had 99 churches and the Evangelical Church of Canada 46 churches before the merger. David Crouse, MCC Western District superintendent, was elected president of the denomination.
• O. S. Hawkins, 46, became pastor of the 28,000-member First Baptist Church in Dallas on October 3. Hawkins succeeds Joel Gregory, who left the church in September 1992 after less than two years, citing leadership conflicts with 83-year-old senior pastor W. A. Criswell. Hawkins, who had been at First Baptist Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, since 1978, says he has no problem with Criswell’s desire to stay at the church until his fiftieth anniversary there next year.
• First-year students who began classes last month at Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio, had to agree with the school’s policy of step-by-step mutual verbal consent before any act of intimacy—from kissing to sexual intercourse. The independent, nonsectarian liberal arts college instituted the policy as a way to ward off sexual harassment and date rape. The policy states, “Asking, ‘Do you want to have sex with me?’ is not enough. The request for consent must be specific for each act.” Violators are subject to expulsion.
• Three middle schools in New Haven, Connecticut, became the first in the nation last month to make condoms available to students as young as fifth graders. The school board approved the measure because of AIDS and pregnancy concerns after a Yale University survey showed 28 percent of the city’s sixth graders are sexually active.
• A Travis County Grand Jury in Austin, Texas, returned criminal indictments of obscenity and making harmful material available to minors against the host and the producer of a public-access program on August 26. The live show “Infosex” featured a video showing graphic homosexual acts between two men.
• The Boston Police Department has joined the police forces in New York and San Francisco in actively recruiting homosexual officers. The drive will include posting job openings in homosexual neighborhoods and sending recruiters to homosexual bars.
• Walt Disney has replaced “Arabian Nights” lyrics in the home video version of Aladdin released October 1 due to complaints from the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee. Lyrics about a desert climate and geography were substituted for “Where they cut off your ear if they don’t like your face.”
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