Dispatches > The Buzz

The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "News of the Year," Jan. 2, 2010

New Jersey

The New Jersey state Senate indefinitely postponed a vote to allow same-sex ­marriage, originally slated for Dec. 10, when a preliminary count revealed there were not enough votes for it to pass. Supporters will push the bill in the General Assembly where it is supposed to have more support, although traditional marriage advocates say the vote will be tight there, too. Len Deo, president of the New Jersey Family Policy Council (NJFPC), said he believes that constituents' calls helped strike the "tremendous blow" to the hopes of gay marriage advocates. State lawmakers reported that the ratio of calls received was 4-to-1 against the bill. Gay marriage proponents are trying to push the legislation through before Jan. 19, when Republican Chris Christie (who has promised to veto the bill) becomes governor.

Churches

The church that 2009 American Idol winner Kris Allen attends has been named the fastest-growing church in America, based on an annual report by Outreach magazine and LifeWay Research on the 100 fastest-growing U.S. churches.

Top 5 Fastest-Growing U.S. Churches
(attendance growth by number and percentage)
1. New Life Church, Conway, Ark.; pastor Rick Bezet
2. Calvary Temple Worship Center, Modesto, Calif.; pastor Glen Berteau
3. Cornerstone Church of San Diego, National City, Calif.; pastor Sergio De La Mora
4. Elevation Church, Charlotte, N.C.; pastor Steven Furtick
5. Faith Church of St. Louis, Fenton, Mo.; pastor David Crank

Top 5 Largest U.S. Churches
1. Lakewood Church, Houston, Texas; pastor Joel Osteen, 43,500 attendees
2. LifeChurch.tv, Edmond, Okla.; pastor Craig Groeschel 26,776 attendees
3. Willow Creek Community Church, South Barrington, Ill.; pastor Bill Hybels, 23,400 attendees
4. North Point Community Church, Alpharetta, Ga.; pastor Andy Stanley, 23,377 attendees
5. Second Baptist Church, Houston, Texas; pastor Ed Young Sr., 22,723 attendees

Googling it

Those who most know what most Americans were thinking about in 2009 are the data miners at Google.

Top 10 Headline News searches:
1. swine flu
2. inauguration
3. rush limbaugh
4. rod blagojevich
5. henry louis gates
6. h1b
7. california budget
8. al franken
9. sonia sotomayor
10. mark sanford

Fastest rising Google searches:
1. twitter
2. michael jackson
3. facebook
4. hulu
5. hi5
6. glee
7. paranormal activity
8. natasha richardson
9. farrah fawcett
10. lady gaga

Fastest falling Google searches:
1. john mccain
2. olympics
3. heath ledger
4. barack obama
5. sarah palin
6. circuit city
7. ron paul
8. iron man
9. spore
10. wii fit

Man knows not his time

He died Dec. 15 in quiet decline surrounded by family in wealthy Newport Beach, Calif., but at the height of his career evangelist Oral Roberts, 91, mounted global healing crusades and was the most well-known of prime-time television evangelists. "I was trying to play golf with Oral Roberts the other day," comedian Bob Hope used to joke, "but the holes kept healing up."

If it had not been for Roberts, "the entire charismatic movement might not have occurred," said pastor Jack Hayford, president of the International Foursquare Gospel, in a statement. But the soaring highs of an often controversial ministry based on faith healing and prosperity gospel teaching-which got its start when Roberts himself was miraculously healed of tuberculosis at age 17-were accompanied by dramatic and at times scandalous lows. In 1987 Roberts warned supporters that God would "call Oral Roberts home" unless they sent $8 million to his strapped ministry. He later claimed he raised over $9 million, but two years later closed his expansive City of Faith Medical Center anyway. In 2007 his son Richard, who had taken over Oral Roberts University (ORU) and its extended ministries from the elder Roberts, stepped down from ORU over allegations that he and his family had misused millions in ministry funds. That led to formal separation of Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association from ORU and an overhaul of school management at the behest of Hobby Lobby founder and ORU supporter Mart Green.

Fort Hood

Army officials have not said whether they will seek the death penalty in the court martial of Maj. Nidal Hasan, the gunman behind the Fort Hood killings. They have said that doctors will evaluate Hasan by mid-January to determine his competency to stand trial as well as his mental state at the time of the shooting. Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted premeditated murder in the Nov. 5 shooting on the Texas Army post. He remains hospitalized in San Antonio, recovering from gunshot wounds that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

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