Are the Crouches thieves?
Christian apocalyptic fiction has been controversial for decades, but now it's spawning lawsuits. Tim LaHaye's lawsuit against the makers of Left Behind: The Movie is already old news. Now, reports the Los Angeles Times, Paul, Jan, and Matt Crouch and the whole Trinity Broadcasting Network are being sued for $40 million by the author of The Omega Syndrome. Sylvia Fleener, who the paper says "is on her deathbed and wants justice served before she passes," claims the Crouches stole from her book in the creation of their 1999 film The Omega Code.

The lawsuit itself isn't new, but Weblog hasn't heard about the "smoking gun" before. Jan Crouch's former assistant, Kelly Whitmore, says her former employer used to carry around a copy of The Omega Syndrome and referred to it as the manuscript for an end-times film project. Whitmore was even asked to include it when packing Jan Crouch's bags ("One can only hope Jan's cosmetics bag had wheels," jokes Times columnist Steve Lopez.) "I recall Paul Crouch complaining about the title of the project several times," Whitmore says in court records, "and he would usually refer to it as The Omega because he said he did not care for the working title, especially the word Syndrome." The Crouches' lawyer says Whitmore is just a disgruntled ex-employee, and that any similarities between the book and the film are simply due to both drawing upon the same eschatology.

Jesus continues to rock
"Christian rock normally makes the record-buying public think of Johnny Cash and his dark love of the Old Testament," begins an article in London's The Observer. If only it were true. The article gets more accurate later on in the story, noting that "Christian rock remains tainted by memories of the Osmonds and, of course, Stryper." And it quotes eminent rock critic Steve Turner who argues that in "writing songs which are more spiritual than religious," new bands like Creed are taking the easy way out. "'It's easier to write around the subject in a more obtuse way than to tackle it head on." Still, he says, the old Christian rock lyrics may be gone forever. "You can't really release manifesto recordings now," he says. "You invariably put off your fan base and horrify people." Then the article goes wacky again. "As far back as the late Eighties, however, sections of the U.S. straight-edge movement—groups that vowed never to drink or take drugs—aligned themselves with a Christian fundamentalist sect, the Promise Keepers, which advocated celibacy before marriage." Wow. Talk about uninformed reporting. That Newsweek cover story looks better all the time.

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