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News Briefs: November 07, 2007

IRS investigation fallout, Muslim convert goes into hiding, and Gordon College receives gift.
2007This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Investigators cleared Focus on the Family of violating IRS rules that prohibit tax-exempt groups from endorsing specific candidates. In November 2005, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, a political watchdog group, sent the IRS a 99-page report accusing James Dobson of publicly backing Republican candidates, and requested the revocation of Focus's tax-free status. The IRS concluded, "Dobson's reported remarks did not occur in publications of Focus on the Family, did not occur at functions of Focus on the Family, and did not involve Dr. Dobson suggesting that he was speaking as a representative of Focus on the Family."

In a related case, All Saints Episcopal Church in Pasadena, California, a leading liberal congregation, is seeking an apology from the IRS for an investigation into its politicking. The IRS concluded that an All Saints sermon had included prohibited political speech, but decided against revoking the church's tax-exempt status.

An Egyptian convert to Christianity has gone into hiding following calls for his execution. Mohammed Hegazy, the first Muslim-background believer to seek to have his religion changed on his national ID card, has been threatened by clerics and, he claims, tortured by police. Though conversion is legal according to Egyptian law, many Muslims uphold an Islamic law that proscribes death for apostates.

A California couple has bequeathed $60 million to Gordon College, the largest gift in the institution's 118-year history. In response, the nondenominational liberal arts college will rename its Wenham, Massachusetts, campus after Dale E. and Sarah Ann Fowler. The Fowlers' undesignated gift triples Gordon's endowment of $33 million.

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