State funding under fire for Wisconsin's Faith Works
One of George W. Bush's favorite programs to promote as an example of successful religious and governmental cooperation is under scrutiny from the Freedom from Religion Foundation, a group dedicated to maintaining the separation between church and state. The group alleges that Faith Works, a Christian-based addiction recovery program largely supported by the state of Wisconsin violates the establishment clause of the First Amendment. The suit states that, "because funds are given directly to a pervasively sectarian organization and the funds are used directly to pay for explicitly Christian programs designed to indoctrinate clients in the Christian faith," Wisconsin should withdraw its almost $450,000 of tax support. Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson insists that the program has proven to work, and that it meets state and federal requirements. "The governor believes we need more programs like this and fewer lawsuits," Thompson's press secretary said.

In all things moderation
Almost 20 Baptist leaders in Alabama have withdrawn from the Southern Baptist Convention to form the more moderate Mainstream Alabama Baptists. This move is supposed to counter what the leaders are calling the "domination of fundamentalism" in the SBC. Basically it's about the usual two hot topics: women's ordination and whether doctrinal authority is widely interpreted from Jesus' teachings or founded on a more literal reading of the Bible. The group is hoping that the Alabama Baptist Convention will not adopt the new Baptist Faith and Message statement, and fears that it is being used "as a creed and a litmus test for people who work for Baptist agencies and seminaries."

The church of MTV
A new Detroit-area church has decided to take the mountain to Mohammed, planting a new congregation in a youth-heavy part of the city when members realized that their own congregation was—well—fairly homogenous when it came to age. Now Genesis, an outgrowth of the nondenominational Kensington Community Church in Troy is using spoofs of E! network television shows and language like "Jesus hooked up with his scholars" to draw the disenfranchised. Melissa Terrell, a 20-year-old who hasn't attended church in 5-years told The Detroit Free Press that Genesis was "awesome." Terrell said, "You wouldn't think you would go to church and hear a band play or watch videos."

The Christian Coalition recommends ...
Actually the Christian Coalition voting guide doesn't make any direct recommendations, but Pat Robertson had no qualms about revealing his candidate of preference while distributing the guides in Pennsylvania. It's Bush. "Hopefully the right guy is going to win," Robertson said in reference to George W. Bush at a small rally. Americans United for the Separation of Church and State went on the offensive before the guides were even released. Director Barry W. Lynn said his organization mailed letters to 285,000 churches across the country asking them not to distribute the guides.

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WoW, those are some massive CD sales statistics!
Integrity has issued a press release saying its wowed by the success of its latest two WoW Worship CDs. WoW Orange and WoW Blue have generated $6 million dollars for the company in the past nine months. (Yesterday we linked to a U.S. News story also mentioning that Christian music sales are up 75 percent.) Integrity says it is working to broaden the praise and worship market even farther with different styles of music aimed at nontraditional audiences. Entertainment News Daily also reports that Integrity's cash flow has allowed the company's PAX television network to begin to pull out of debt.

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