- Federal Judge Russell G. Clark on July 9 ordered the town of Republic, Missouri, to remove the ichthus from its municipal seal, which is used on everything from water towers to stationery (CT, Aug. 10, 1998, p. 14). Clark, ruling on a suit brought by a Wicca practitioner represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, said the fish symbol "pervasively invades the daily lives of non-Christians and sends a message that they are outsiders." On July 19, Republic's Board of Aldermen voted 5 to 4 not to appeal the ruling and agreed to remove the symbol from the city seal.
- Resigned National Baptist Convention USA leader Henry J. Lyons has been ordered to pay $5.2 million in restitution for tax evasion and bank fraud. Lyons, who is already serving five and a half years in Florida for grand theft and racketeering of almost $4 million (CT, April 5, 1999, p. 13), has been sentenced to four years and three months of concurrent time in prison. Codefendant Brenda Harris, who had been the denomination's public relations director and Lyons's mistress, received 18 months probation for failure to report the crimes.
- In a case involving 200 mostly elderly, evangelical investors who lost more than $10 million in a phony investment scam (CT, July 13, 1998, p. 24), SunAmerica Securities and former Stanwood, Washington, insurance agent Steve Harmon have agreed to repay $7 million. Harmon's father, Philip, and his brother-in-law Terry Beebe are both serving prison terms for their part in the fraud.
- After four years of arbitration, the Fuller Evangelical Association (FEA) and ex-CEO Carl F. George, 60, have reached a resolution over a bout of blame-shifting and accusations that began with George's 1994 removal from management and the 1995 closing of the financially burdened ministry (CT, Sept. 11, 1995, p. 71). The FEA has agreed to pay damages to George and has issued a statement affirming that George "did not leave FEA because of any immoral conduct, moral turpitude, or violation of laws." George did not file a lawsuit against FEA, but he sought Christian arbitration as his contract allowed.
- John A. Cherry, pastor of one of the largest and fastest-growing churches in the country (CT, April 24, 1995, p. 46), has left the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Temple Hills, Maryland, in a dispute with the denomination. Cherry and many of his 24,000 members who remain have renamed Full Gospel A.M.E. Zion Church to From the Heart Ministries. Cherry had two dozen members when he started as pastor 18 years ago.
- Benny Hinn Ministries will move its headquarters from Orlando to the Dallas region. Hinn's World Outreach Church will remain in Florida, but the World Outreach Center for international evangelism, and some of the center's employees, will relocate to Texas.
- Former Boston mayor Raymond L. Flynn, who served as U.S. ambassador to the Vatican from 1993 to 1997, is the new president of Catholic Alliance, replacing Keith Fournier. Flynn, a 59-year-old pro-life Democrat, will head the 125,000-member political action group based in Oakton, Virginia. The organization, started in 1995, split from the Christian Coalition two years ago.
- The National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families has named Rick Schatz as president. Schatz, 54, will also retain his current responsibilities as chief operating officer for the Cincinnati-based organization. Founder Jerry Kirk will remain as chief executive officer and become board chair.
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September 6 1999
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