Money, Baby. The movie October Baby continues to surprise at the box office. The micro-budget film could hardly be called a hit, but it exceeded the $5 million mark in total box office ticket sales this week, a number that-even with Hollywood accounting-means everyone involved will likely make money. Brothers Jon and Andy Erwin, the filmmakers, have until now been known primarily for music videos for contemporary Christian artists. The success of October Baby will likely take their careers to a new level. (See "Art imitating life," by Megan Basham, March 23.)
Swing states. The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Thursday showed President Obama earning 47 percent of the vote and Mitt Romney attracting 45 percent. Three percent said they would vote for a third-party candidate, while 4 percent were undecided. Daily tracking polls move around a good bit, but for us political junkies, they're interesting. According to Rasmussen, in the Four Core states of Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Virginia, the president had a three-point edge over Romney. "These states have 75 Electoral College votes," pollster Scott Rasmussen said, "and Romney probably needs to carry all four to win the election."
United Methodists united. Delegates to the governing body of the global 12 million-member United Methodist Church this week voted 685 to 246 to reject divestment from three companies doing business with Israel. The move followed a high profile lobbying campaign by pro-divestment activists. United Methodist Kairos Response (UMKR) said that the United Methodist General Conference should instruct the denomination's pension board to sell investments in Caterpillar, Hewlett Packard, and Motorola Solutions. UMKR argued that the three companies profit from Israel's military presence in the West Bank. Mark Tooley of the Institute for Religion and Democracy praised the Methodists, calling divestment "simplistic" and "anti-Israel." The Presbyterian Church (USA) will vote on a similar measure in June. Referring to that vote, Tooley said, "Hopefully other churches will follow United Methodists in resisting calls to pressure Israel alone into making concessions."
Protecting life. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal signed into law bills that ban late-term abortions and make it a felony to assist in suicides. Perhaps the most significant of the new laws is The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Act, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2013. It will move Georgia from having one of the most liberal abortion policies in the country to becoming a state with one of the strictest. Currently, abortions may be obtained in the state for almost any reason throughout the entire pregnancy. Under the new law, abortions cannot be performed after the 20th week of pregnancy. The National Right to Life Committee estimates that change will save as many as 1,500 babies annually.