In the aftermath of evidence that the IRS has been targeting conservative non-profit groups for hostile and intrusive scrutiny, congressional hearings have focused on possible "political bias" inside that tax agency, to borrow a phrase from Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) in Tuesday's hearing. While that is a valid question, there is an even larger threat at play here – one that strikes at the heart of religious freedom: IRS harassment of Christian ministries.The problem stretches back to an IRS letter in 2007 and its aftermath.
Amidst the flurry of recent reports that a large number of Tea Party non-profits had been mercilessly grilled by IRS agents as part of a mine sweep for conservative organizations, news has also surfaced that National Religious Broadcaster member groups had also been caught up in this dragnet.
Franklin Graham, head of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan's Purse, says that his groups were also investigated during that same time period, and he has suggested this may be, in his words, a government attempt at "intimidating us." Likewise, Dr. James Dobson's Family Talk Action non-profit group, when it applied for tax-exempt status, was advised by the IRS that it might not qualify, because it was a "partisan right wing group" that had "criticized President Obama." more >>
After some harsh online criticism, Christian author and college chancellor John Piper deleted two tweets quoting scripture from the Book of Job in the Bible posted late Monday evening, the same day that a devastating tornado flattened an Oklahoma City suburb, resulting in at least 24 deaths.
"The reason I pulled my tweets from Job is that it became clear that what I feel as comfort was not affecting others the same," Piper was quoted as saying to members of Desiring God, a ministry he founded. His explanation was posted in a blog by Desiring God content strategist Tony Reinke.
"When tragedy strikes my life, I find it stabilizing and hope-giving to see the stories of the sheer factuality of other's losses, especially when they endured them the way Job did. Job really grieved. He really agonized. He collapsed to the ground. He wept. He shaved his head. This was, in my mind, a pattern of what must surely happen in Oklahoma. I thought it would help. But when I saw how so many were not experiencing it that way, I took them down," said Piper, who recently retired as lead pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minn. more >>
An estimated 83 percent, or 9.2 million, of the 11.1 million people living in the United States illegally are Christians from Latin America and the Caribbean, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center's Forum on Religion & Public Life.
The study highlights this and other findings in an examination of recent trends in the geographic origins and religious affiliation of immigrants to the United States.
It also reveals that the share of Christians among undocumented immigrants is slightly higher than the percentage of Christians in the U.S. population as a whole. As of 2010, Christians were estimated to make up just under 80 percent of U.S. residents of all ages. more >>
Soon-to-be-college graduates worried about starting a career in a tough economic climate can find encouragement from how President Ronald Reagan overcame many obstacles when he graduated college in 1932 at the height of the Great Depression when the unemployment rate was 24 percent.
Lessons on leadership and Reagan's life told by best-selling author and speaker Margot Morrell in Reagan's Journey, highlights the fact that, "even storied careers have ups and downs. Ronald Reagan's was no exception. Throughout his career, Reagan used timeless strategies to coach himself through economic slumps, industry upheavals, and personal challenges. With determination and effort, he climbed to the top of five professions – sportscaster, Hollywood star, union leader, public speaker, and statesman."
How did he do it? Morrell wondered. Over time she found that Reagan's success started when he identified his own talents and strengths. "Through a conversation with his mentor, he focused in on who he wanted to be and who he was," she explains. His mentor, Sid Altschuler, a successful Jewish businessman from Kansas City, Mo., asked Reagan a life-transforming, and quite simple question – "What would you like to do?" His question and attention opened up a new way of thinking for Reagan, who spent a "couple of days and sleepless nights" figuring out his answer. He narrowed down his response to three areas. He discovered that he wanted to "entertain people," he was interested in sports, and he loved politics. He found that these were his God-given strengths and interests. more >>
With the convictions in in the case against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell – three counts of murdering live babies and one count of involuntary manslaughter – abortion is back in the national discussion.
It's pretty clear from the Grand Jury report that, during Gosnell's thirty plus year career, he likely murdered hundreds, if not thousands of babies. But because of the difficulty in documenting it all, he was just convicted of three.
Reports now are coming in from around the nation indicating that more Gosnell's are out there. more >>
Carman Domenic Licciardello, the popular recording artist and Christian evangelist who revealed a cancer diagnosis earlier this year, shared with fans that he has surpassed the $200,000 goal for his Kickstarter campaign to launch a new record, music video and tour.
"Christian music pioneer Carman launched a Kickstarter campaign April 19 with the goal to raise $200,000 for his first new album and music video in over 10 years. Remarkably, Carman not only reached his goal in 25 days, but also exceeded that goal, raising over $233,000 so far," reads a statement from his media team.
The statement went on to claim that Carman's fundraising campaign was "the second most funded music project ever on Kickstarter," although a member of Kickstarter's communications team was unable to verify the apparent feat. Kickstarter is a funding platform for creative projects. more >>