Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is the top religion newsmaker of 2010, say USA Today readers.
In a poll featured in USA Today’s Religion and Reason blog, readers selected the Tea Party leader as the top religious newsmaker out of six other choices. Palin, who spent most of the year campaigning for GOP candidates such as Delaware’s Christine O’Donnell, received 26 percent of the vote. The poll’s results upset Religion Newswriters Association’s pick for newsmaker of the year – Imam Abdul Feisal Rauf.
Rauf, who is the force behind the effort to build an Islamic center blocks from New York City’s Ground Zero, tied for second place with Pope Benedict XVI. Benedict spent most of the year trying to dissolve troubles stemming from molestation charges against Catholic priests. Both religious leaders took 23 percent of the vote. more >>
A TV special that began airing online Monday follows award-winning Christian music artists Matthew West and BarlowGirl to Latin America where they participate in an Operation Christmas Child program for needy children.
West and BarlowGirl go to Colombia and Belize, respectively, to distribute shoe boxes and see how a thoughtful gift can be used to help a child begin a relationship with Jesus Christ. The program focuses on a Bible study program, developed by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. The program is used to disciple children who receive a shoe box filled with gifts through the Samaritan’s Purse program Operation Christmas Child.
“We want to disciple every child that gets a box, every child that makes a decision for Jesus Christ,” says Franklin Graham, president and CEO of both BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, in the program. more >>
Haiti’s devastating earthquake in January has turned the world’s attention to the poverty-stricken country and its myriad of problems. But a small village up in the mountainous region of Haiti offers hope for the troubled country to experience remarkable transformation spiritually and economically.
Willem Charles, the founder and leader of Mountain Top Ministries (MTM), has dared to challenge voodoo and the status quo. In the process, he has built schools, a medical clinic, a water line system, a church, and homes for residents of Gramothe village, about an hour drive from Port-au-Prince.
Ten years ago, there was no church; only five voodoo temples. There was also no school, no clean water, barely any jobs, and no hope in the village. more >>
Franklin Graham expressed alarm over the rapid spread of cholera in Haiti Saturday and called on the international community to increase its response.
More than 1,110 people have died in Haiti from cholera as of Friday, since it first broke out in October. Another 18,000 people have become sick because of the intestinal disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Cholera is easily treated but can be fatal if not detected early.
“I am alarmed at the rapid spread of cholera in Haiti and the lack of capacity and supplies to properly prevent and treat this life-threatening disease,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the relief and development organization Samaritan’s Purse. more >>
The death toll for Haiti’s cholera outbreak has reached 544, health officials said Monday.
Thousands more are being treated in hospitals for the intestinal disease that causes severe diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain. Cholera can be fatal even though it can be easily treated through rehydration and antibiotics. But in a country that lacked access to clean water even before the January earthquake, treatment is not always within reach.
Hurricane Tomas, which brought heavy rains last week, raised fear that the disease could worsen. Cholera spreads through contaminated water and the hurricane triggered flooding and mudslides in some areas. more >>
The standard of living in Haiti had not progressed much for decades and the earthquake just made life “exponentially worse,” said a mission leader who had lived in Port-au-Prince for two years.
“It is one of those nations where the level of human suffering and deprivation is just constant,” said John Boyd, president of Mission Aviation Fellowship. “Let me put it for you this way, the average Haitian who lived in a shack before the earthquake, now lives under plastic sheeting. It is not even a tent.”
MAF has served in Haiti since 1986 and is the sole operator that offers flights within the country. After the Jan. 12 earthquake, MAF was the first to provide flights to transport emergency responders, medical teams, supplies, and victims. more >>