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Should churches be training people to shoot guns?
In an effort to reach out to men and increase membership, some U.S. churches have started offering concealed weapons training.
“Church has done a good job with coffee klatsches or whatever, but we haven’t really reached out to guys,” said Jeff Copley, a preacher at the church. “And guys in Morrow Country, they shoot and they hunt.”
Hundreds of students have enrolled in the 10-hour course, which meets the state requirements for earning a concealed weapons permit. The training includes two hours on a church member’s private shooting range.
The students, known as the Painted Posse, attend every home game painted in the school’s purple and gold colors. Taking away the cross was like taking away part of him, Cooke told an NBC affiliate in Baton Rouge, NBC33TV.
The university’s spokesman, Herb Vincent, acknowledged that the crosses had been removed and said the university was within its rights to doctor the photo. “LSU Athletics attempts not to imply any particular religious or political message in any of its correspondence with fans,” Vincent told Campus Reform.
Rise of the atheists: U.S. Protestants lose majority status as church attendance falls
For the first time in its history, the United States does not have a Protestant majority, according to a new study.
One reason: The number of Americans with no religious affiliation is on the rise.
The percentage of Protestant adults in the U.S. has reached a low of 48 per cent, the first time that Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life has reported with certainty that the number has fallen below 50 per cent. The drop has long been anticipated and comes at a time when no Protestants are on the U.S. Supreme Court and the Republicans have their first presidential ticket with no Protestant nominees.
The Lord giveth, apparently. A new study found that the most religious states are also the most generous in charitable giving.
The study released yesterday by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, based on 2008 IRS data, found that residents in states where religious participation is higher than the rest of the nation, particularly in the South, gave the greatest percentage of their discretionary income to charity.
The Northeast, with lower religious participation, was the least generous to charities.
These eleven images were chosen from more than 12,000 entries submitted by 6,615 photographers from 152 countries. National Geographic was kind enough to allow me to share the winning photographs with you here, from four categories: Travel Portraits, Outdoor Scenes, Sense of Place, and Spontaneous Moments.
See more. [Images: Michelle Schantz, Vo Anh Kiet, Lucia Griggi, Camila Massu]
Life-size Noah’s arks are popping up all over the world. So if real deluge comes, don’t worry: There will probably be an ark somewhere nearby to save you.
In Kentucky, the operators of a creationist theme park are taking advantage of state tax incentives to build a second life-sized biblical vessel in the heartland. After a series of delays, they intend to break ground at the end of 2012, provided they can raise $5 million to $10 million in private donations.
In the Netherlands, an ambitious carpenter built a half-sized ark in 2004, and has nearly completed a full-sized, seaworthy wooden ark — stocked with live rabbits and peacocks — that is expected to open later this year.
A flotilla of smaller arks has also been launched across the map in the last several years.
Former devoted volunteers at The Kabbalah Centre claim they were abused, exploited and required to beg for medical care. Sarah Ryley has the scoop:
The Kabbalah Centre prospered because of its army of cheap labor, but the former members, who helped do the work, said they were treated like chattel — verbally abused, moved around the world at Karen Berg’s whim, crammed into tiny apartments, made to beg for medical care, even kept from taking a lunch break during their 16-hour workdays…
“They took advantage of a great many people, emotionally, spiritually and financially,” said [a] former member. “I hope that they are shut down and that the chevre are set free.”
More than a dozen former disciples, staff and students have accused The Kabbalah Centre — favorite of celebs like Madonna, Demi Moore and Mick Jagger — of abuse and fraud in dealings with devotees known as “chevre”.
The sources accused the center and the chevre of engaging in immigration and Medicaid fraud, and its founding family, the Bergs, of using the chevre as personal servants, and claimed they have discussed the abuse with FBI and IRS special agents. For more than a year, the agencies have been reportedly investigating the Kabbalah Centre and the Bergs for income tax evasion and misuse of funds…
“Breaking the law became habit in every possible direction,” said Shaul Youdkevitch, who served with his wife, Osnat, as chevre for 28 years before leaving in 2008 after raising concerns about what they claim was widespread corruption. “Everything was for the purpose of making money and power.”