Holy Traders! Saints Get a Life

Holy Traders, a line of trading cards based on the lives of Catholic saints, soon will be going head-to-head with cards featuring baseball players, motorcyclists, and even criminals. Jim Shanley of Aziriah Company in Boynton Beach, Florida, was inspired to develop the cards after he heard about serial-killer trading cards.

Shanley, a Roman Catholic, says the project has relevance for all denominations. “The purpose is to move children to Christ. Here is an opportunity for a series of cards that will have really positive, solid role models and spiritual guides for the children.”

The cards, produced by Champs in Ohio, feature pictures and information about the lives and accomplishments of saints such as Mother Cabrini, Saint Francis of Assisi, and Mary the mother of Jesus. The first set was released in January and includes 40 cards for $7. Shanley hopes to have the second set available by Easter.

Baptists, Lesbian Campers Clash

The lesbian founders of a feminist education retreat—dedicated to fighting “homophobia, ableism, [and] fat oppression”—in rural Ovett, Mississippi, claim residents are harassing them. Locally, Baptists claim that the women intend to change their conservative community radically.

In July 1993, Wanda and Brenda Henson bought 120 acres in Ovett to start Camp Sister Spirit. In December, the Hensons and three critics faced off on the Oprah WinfreyTV program.

John S. Allen, pastor of nearby First Baptist Church and a participant on Oprah, says the show hurt the Hensons because they embraced a radical homosexual-rights agenda before a national audience. He says a compromise is unlikely. “The idea that there is some middle ground that we can accept that includes them going forward with their agenda in some way is just not there.”

Bible Reading Ends Years After Ban

For nearly 40 years, students in Pennsylvania’s Warrior Run School District began classes with Bible reading over the intercom system. In December, the practice stopped.

Since 1955, the 1,200-student district permitted public Bible reading and excused students who did not want to listen. Even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1963 such Bible reading was “indirect coercive pressure,” the recitation continued unabated until teacher Jay Nixon condemned it recently and the Silver Spring, Maryland-based Americans United for Separation of Church and State warned school officials that “your continuance with this practice will open the school district to a lawsuit and resulting attorney’s fees.”

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Senior Janelle Smith read the last passage from Luke 1 in December. “It should have been ‘Jesus wept,’ ” says school board president David Hunter. He has received dozens of letters of support and is optimistic. “Now we have to see what’s possible within the law.”

By Michael R. Smith in Turbotville, Pennsylvania.

Christians Protest Anchorman Firing

A grassroots, citywide boycott against Jacksonville, Florida’s WTLV-TV is in the works to protest the firing of popular news coanchor Lee Webb—ostensively because of his Christianity. Webb, a fundamentalist Christian and an eight-year veteran of the NBC affiliate, says the decision not to renew his contract comes as no shock.

As a result of the firing, Ken Dyal, pastor of Argyle Baptist Church, is calling for a boycott of TV-12 and is distributing copies of a petition asking other Christians to join. Several churches in the area as well as the Jacksonville Ministerial Association are lining up behind Dyal and Webb.

Sources inside TV-12 say there were many editorial disagreements between the station and Webb leading to his dismissal. One such incident involved Webb’s reporting on a lesbian film festival in which he questioned its relevance. The station refused to air the piece. In another altercation, the station was reportedly angered at Webb’s stand against a local theater showing simulated sex acts.

By Perucci Ferraiuolo.

Judge Rejects Amendment 2

Colorado’s Amendment 2 is unconstitutional, Denver District Judge Jeffrey Bayless has ruled.

Amendment 2, passed by 53 percent of voters in November 1992, prohibits laws that grant extra civil-rights protection on the basis of sexual preference or practice.

It was never in force because Bayless placed a temporary injunction on it in January 1993.

In his 17-page decision in December, Bayless ruled that homosexuals do not need special protections from discrimination, but that Amendment 2 was written too broadly.

Bayless declined to address whether homosexuals can change their orientation, writing that “is a decision for another forum, not this court.” Tony Marco of Colorado Springs, who drafted Amendment 2, predicted the U.S. Supreme Court eventually will overturn the decision.

“Judge Bayless has tried to protect one cheek of his hide from gay militant scourging, and the other cheek from scourging by the electorate,” Marco said, “and in the process has bent over backwards too far, and bitten himself on both cheeks.”

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By Doug LeBlanc in Colorado Springs.

Condom Ads Air After Delay

Pressure from Christian and family-advocacy groups merely delayed the start of a much-publicized condom ad campaign created by the Clinton administration.

Touted as an effort to promote “safe sex” and AIDS prevention, the campaign was scheduled to start December 21, but was put off until January 4 due, in part, to pressure from Christian and family groups.

Donald Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, told CHRISTIANITY TODAY that condoms are unreliable 15 percent of the time and the government should not be in the business of promoting them.

ABC and CBS, however, both insisted that abstinence be mentioned somewhere in the condom ads before their networks would air the commercials, and ABC said it would not air them until after 9 P.M.

In one ad, a couple is kissing passionately when the woman asks the man, “Did you bring it?” When he replies, “Uh-oh. I forgot it,” she says, “Then forget it.”

By Joe Maxwell.

Presidential Prayer by the Book

Southern Baptists throughout the United States are using a specially designed prayer pamphlet to intercede for President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore this year.

SBC president H. Edwin Young and executive committee chairman Morris Chapman got the idea for a 40-day season of prayer pamphlet after a meeting in September with the President and Vice President—both Southern Baptists.

The pamphlet outlines 40 days of Scripture readings and suggested areas of prayer for Clinton and Gore. It was produced by the SBC’s Brotherhood Commission and is being mailed out to SBC churches that want to participate.

Suggested prayers for the two leaders include petitions that they be a “model of Christian leadership” and “sensitive to the Holy Spirit,” and that they have “wisdom,” “faithfulness to Christ,” “love of liberty,” and the “peace of God.”

In Brief

A state investigator has ruled that a November fire (CT, Dec. 13, 1993, p. 65) that destroyed a dormitory and left 18 Lee College students injured in Cleveland, Tennessee, was caused by arson. The college is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of the arsonist.

• The U.S. Supreme Court in December denied a request from Hinsdale, Illinois, youth Mark Welsh, who bad sued the Boy Scouts of America claiming a required promise “to love God” amounted to religious discrimination. Welsh, now 11, and his agnostic father, Elliott, sued the Scouts in 1990. But an appeals court ruled that the Scouts is a private club and could exclude boys who did not subscribe to its pledge.

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• Paul D. Nelson became president of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability in Washington, D.C., on February 1, succeeding Clarence Reimer, who will continue in a management role. Nelson had been executive vice-president and chief operating officer of Focus on the Family for nine years.

• Dennis N. Baker is the new general director of the Conservative Baptist Association of America (CBA), headquartered in Wheaton, Illinois. He was previously responsible for overseeing 150 CBA churches in Southern California.

Paul F. Robinson, 83, founder in 1946 of the Missionary Aviation Training Program of Moody Bible Institute, died December 31 in Carol Stream, Illinois.

• The Christian Broadcasting Network has expanded The 700 Club to a 90-minute format from one hour. The beginning of the revamped show contains 30 minutes focusing on news events of the day.

• Worldwide Evangelical Crusade (WEC) missionary and author Norman Grubb died December 15 at age 98. Under Grubb’s leadership, WEC grew from 30 members in 1931 to 800 members on 20 fields in 1965.

• David A. Grubbs has been appointed the new president of Cincinnati Bible College and Seminary. He served as a medical missionary in Africa for 15 years and had been director of Fellowship of Associates of Medical Evangelism.

• In an effort to attract viewers, the round-the-clock VISN/ACTS channel on 1,450 cable television systems, has been renamed the Faith and Values Channel.VISN (Vision Interfaith Satellite Network) is a consortium of 59 Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Jewish groups, ACTS (American Christian Television System) is operated by the Radio and Television Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention.

• William M. Alnor has been appointed executive director of the Evangelical Ministries to New Religions, an umbrella organization that serves evangelical cult-watching and apologetics ministries.

• Robert Bollar has become executive director of the St. Paul, Minnesota-based Christians for Biblical Equality, an organization founded in 1987 “dedicated to the goal of equality for all believers.”


The January 1994 news article “Homosexual Ordinations Cause Parish to Leave” (p. 44), incorrectly reported an action by the Episcopal Diocesan Convention in Rhode Island. The convention voted to ask the Episcopal General Convention to approve the blessing of same-sex unions and did not address homosexual ordinations. CT regrets the error.

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