Signs and Wonders

Signs and Wonders 05.25

Newsworthy

Exorcising heresy. Published in 1971, William Peter Blatty's The Exorcist was on the New York Times bestseller list for months. It led to a 1973 movie that became the first horror film to receive an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Blatty, now 85, is a Georgetown University graduate and a committed and conservative Catholic. He said he plans to sue his alma mater in Church court for-according to Religion News Service-straying "so far from church doctrine that it should no longer call itself Catholic." Blatty graduated from Georgetown in 1950 and said the "last straw" was Georgetown's decision to have Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius as a commencement speaker this year. Sebelius approved the mandate that requires many religious institutions to cover employees' birth control costs, and the Georgetown decision has provoked the ire of many conservative Catholics. In a written statement, Blatty acknowledged Georgetown's contribution to his own development, but he added, "What I owe Georgetown, however, is nothing as compared to what Georgetown owes to its founders and the Christ of faith." Blatty said Georgetown has violated church teaching for decades and should either change its policies or stop calling itself a Catholic institution.

Pro-life nation. America is now more pro-life than at any time in the Roe v. Wade era. According to a recent Gallup poll, the number of people who identify themselves as "pro-choice" is at its lowest point ever: 41 percent, a 10 percent drop since 2006. Republicans are still the most pro-life, but Democrats and independents are moving in a pro-life direction, too. That movement now means that a majority of Americans call the practice "morally wrong."

Same-sex marriage fallout. A new Quinnipiac poll found that if the election were today, President Obama would lose Florida-a key swing state-by six points. The poll shows Mitt Romney ahead there 47 percent to 41 percent. What's more, 25 percent of voters said Obama's position on same-sex marriage made them less likely to vote for him. Only 11 percent said they were more likely to vote for him because of his stand. Among independent voters, the figures were 23 percent less likely and 9 percent more likely. So what do these data mean? According to Gary Bauer: "The radical notion that men should 'marry' other men is a political loser by a 2-to-1 margin." Bauer further said, "That's not surprising given that 62 percent of Florida voters supported a marriage protection amendment in 2008." Bauer believes this issue could be critical in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa, Nevada, and Wisconsin "if the GOP and the Romney campaign don't run away from traditional values in this campaign."

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Is recession inevitable? The Associated Press noted this week that "the Congressional Budget Office report says that the economy would shrink by 1.3 percent in the first half of next year if the government is allowed to fall off [the] so-called 'fiscal cliff' on Jan. 1." The "fiscal cliff" is the combination of automatic spending cuts and tax increases that will go into effect if the Bush tax rates expire. The automatic spending cuts, according to AP, amount to about $100 billion. What AP doesn't report is that the tax increases would be five times the automatic spending cuts. Some economists estimate that the average tax-paying family will cough up about $3,000 more in taxes. And given the logjam in Congress, it appears unlikely that an alternative plan will replace the automatic triggers set to fire at the beginning of next year.

A radio pioneer passes. Christian radio pioneer Rich Buhler passed away at the age of 65 following a nearly two-year battle with pancreatic cancer. Buhler's radio career began as an announcer in Los Angeles when he was 17 years old and included work at Westinghouse (KFWB) and CBS (KNX). He launched his own radio show, Talk From the Heart, in 1981. According to the Christian Examiner, the program ushered in "a new era of Christian talk radio and [became] the most popular program of its kind in the nation." He made appearances on major networks, including CNN, Fox News, and MTV, and created TruthOrFiction.com, a website that researches internet stories and reports whether they are true or false. He also wrote several bestselling books on overcoming emotional trauma, including depression, loss, and divorce. Buhler's family issued a statement saying, "Rich is now face to face with Jesus. We are grieving in our souls but rejoicing in Christ!" He is survived by his wife, Dianne, and their 10 children and 12 grandchildren.

Warren Cole Smith
Warren Cole Smith

Warren, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., is vice president of WORLD News Group and the host of the radio program Listening In. Follow Warren on Twitter @WarrenColeSmith.

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