A choir had 15 of their credit and debit cards stolen Thursday while they performed at a Washington, D.C. Christmas concert to raise money for the homeless.
The Thomas Circle Singers, a chamber choral ensemble that performs in order to raise money for lower-income Washington, D.C. residents, was performing at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in front of 500 spectators, when someone sneaked into the basement where they had stored their belongings and took the cards.
Once he or she obtained the cards, the thief made a beeline to the store. Before the end of the concert, a $600 purchase had been made at an REI and $150 at a Toys R Us on one card alone, reports The Washington Post. Thousands more dollars were reportedly spent and another person's identification card was stolen. Six people were affected by the crime. more >>
CNN hosts Brooke Baldwin, Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper were stoking the fires on their respective shows Thursday night, amid accusations by the NAACP that "Duck Dynasty" patriarch Phil Robertson isn't only anti-gay, but that he must also be a racist.
Amid the media spin cycle surrounding A&E's decision to indefinitely suspend the senior duck commander from its highest-rated reality TV show because gay activist groups, such as GLAAD, have deemed his views on homosexuality to be far too controversial, the NAACP and Human Rights Campaign (HRC) also sent a joint letter to A&E on Wednesday, accusing Robertson of making "racist, homophobic and ill-informed remarks."
In his now controversial interview with GQ magazine for an article in its January edition, Robertson not only shared his thoughts about various sinful acts, including homosexuality, but he also spoke about his upbringing in Dixie, La., where his family was the racial minority in the community. more >>
The Los Angeles Dream Center is currently gathering signatures to object to a possible ban on publicly feeding the city's homeless, with an online petition directed at the city's mayor.
City councilman Tom LaBonge introduced a motion recently that has sparked controversy and initiated conversation about the lack of solutions for L.A.'s homeless population. If passed, the bill would prohibit organizations from providing outdoor food services to the needy because such actions get in the public's right of way and sometimes they have "negative impacts to the surrounding community," according to LaBonge's official motion document.
"If feeding were to be banned or restricted, it would cut off our lifeline to not only feed the homeless but families," said Pastor Matthew Barnett to The Christian Post on Thursday. "Tens of thousands of people would be impacted. Mobile trucks are the only way to reach people. We've been doing this for nearly twenty years. Mobile outreach meets people in their world and that's where the impacts are made." more >>
While Bible scholars agreed that income inequality is not in itself wrong, they attacked the distribution of wealth in modern America as unfair and proposed solutions to it.
"The level of inequality is unjust and economically counter-productive," Ron Sider, distinguished professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry & Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. Sider argued that economic and political power are "enormously centralized" in modern America, so that "both parties are essentially controlled by the richest one percent."
In light of this, Sider supported higher taxes on the rich and a combination of tax breaks and education reforms to help the poor. He supported an upper income tax rate of 50 percent for those making over $5 million per year. He also called for the federal government to "tax dividends and capital gains at the same rate as other income," which would target the rich and raise more money to reduce the deficit. more >>
Christian scholars agree that the unequal distribution of income is not inherently unChristian or unjust, so long as the poor can produce enough wealth to sustain themselves.
"I think that a good, short statement of a biblical definition of economic justice is that God wants every person and every family to have access to the productive resources, so that if they act responsibly they can earn their own way and be productive members of society," Ron Sider, distinguished professor of Theology, Holistic Ministry & Public Policy at Palmer Theological Seminary, told The Christian Post on Wednesday. "I am not arguing for equality of income and wealth," Sider stated, bluntly.
Jordan Ballor, research fellow at the Acton Institute and executive editor of the Journal of Markets & Morality, agreed with Sider that income inequality is not inherently unbiblical. "The challenge is distinguishing natural inequalities, which arise out of the variety of human gifts and talents, from unrighteous and unjust inequality," Ballor explained. more >>
Pope Francis condemned the increasing inequality between the rich and the poor as well as society's exploitation and manipulation of nature in a lengthy message released ahead of World Peace Day on Jan. 1, 2014.
"It is a truly pressing duty to use the earth's resources in such a way that all may be free from hunger," Francis wrote in his message.
"It is well known that present production is sufficient, and yet millions of persons continue to suffer and die from hunger, and this is a real scandal. We need, then, to find ways by which all may benefit from the fruits of the earth, not only to avoid the widening gap between those who have more and those who must be content with the crumbs, but above all because it is a question of justice, equality and respect for every human being." more >>