—The Sixth U.S. District Court of Appeals ruled 2 to 1 on November 18 that Ohio's first-in-the-nation ban of partial-birth abortion is unconstitutional because it imposes burdens on a woman's life, health, and right to choose abortion. Abortionist Martin Haskell, who originated the dilation and extraction method (CT, Sept. 16, 1996, p. 114), challenged the ban in a lawsuit.
—Bob Jones, Jr., chancellor and chair of the Greenville, South Carolina, fundamentalist university named after his father, died November 12 at age 86 of abdominal cancer. He became president of the school in 1947, its twentieth year. Under his leadership, the irs ended the school's tax-exempt status because of its ban on interracial dating. His son, Bob Jones III, is now president of the school.
—Fred W. Smith, 88, general superintendent of the Des Moines-based Open Bible Standard Churches from 1936 to 1951, died November 3. Smith was a founding member of the National Association of Evangelicals and the Pentecostal Fellowship of North America.
—By a 178-to-40 vote, the Franconia Conference, which represents 50 Mennonite congregations in Pennsylvania, has expelled the Germantown Mennonite Church—the oldest Mennonite congregation in the country—for its policy of accepting as members homosexuals living in same-sex relationships. The Mennonite policy since 1987 has been to accept only celibate homosexuals as members.
—Heritage USA, the Christian theme park in Fort Mill, South Carolina, founded by Jim Bakker, closed November 30. In the 1980s, Heritage USA attracted 6 million visitors annually and employed more than 2,000 people. Signature Hospitality, a Malaysian corporation that purchased the 600-acre complex in 1992, says it could not find an investor to continue operating the 501-room hotel and resort.
—The Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) has suspended Gospel Rescue Mission of Washington, D.C., from membership. The ECFA says fundraising letters issued by the organization are not in compliance with ECFA's standard of stewardship dealing with truthfulness in communication. Gospel Rescue Mission is working with the ECFA to rectify the problem, and director Edward Eyring says he expects membership to be reinstated.
—Anton LaVey, who founded the Church of Satan in 1966, died of pulmonary edema on October 29 at age 67 in San Francisco. LaVey wrote five books, including the Satanic Bible.
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