- J. Christy Wilson, Jr., 77, professor emeritus of world missions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, died of cancer February 8, in Duarte, California. A Presbyterian pastor, the Iranian-born Wilson helped establish the Urbana conventions and served as a missionary in Afghanistan for 23 years before joining Gordon-Conwell in 1975.
- Federal Judge Lowell A. Reed of Philadelphia in February granted a preliminary injunction that blocked implementation of the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) passed by Congress last fall (CT, Dec. 7, 1998, p. 19). Reed, acting on a suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and 16 other plaintiffs, said the law, designed to require commercial operators of pornographic Web sites to keep "harmful to minors" material from children, "could result in the censoring of constitutionally protected speech." Pro-family groups, such as the National Center for Children and Families and Enough Is Enough, say the law is constitutionally sound. They expect the Justice Department to request a jury trial in the case.
- Pat Robertson, 69, returned as president of the Christian Coalition in February after the retirement of former Reagan administration official Donald P. Hodel. Hodel, 63, had replaced Robertson in 1997, at the same time that Randy Tate replaced executive director Ralph Reed (CT, July 14, 1997, p. 60). Tate remains in his post with the Chesapeake, Virginia-based organization. Robertson had been a senior adviser to the coalition since stepping down. Hodel did not take a salary in the post.
- Retired Assemblies of God (AG) general superintendent G. Raymond Carlson, 80, died January 29 in Springfield, Missouri. Carlson led the denomination from 1986 to 1993 during a period when the worldwide AG constituency grew to 15 million from 10 million and the number of U.S. AG churches increased by more than 1,100 to 11,689.
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