Signs and Wonders
Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, campaign in Florida on Sunday.
Associated Press/Photo by Lynne Sladky
Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, campaign in Florida on Sunday.

Signs and Wonders 10.08

Newsworthy

Did Wall Street get Romney bounce? The major stock markets were up last Thursday, and some analysts said it was a Romney bounce. The consensus is that Gov. Mitt Romney did well in the debate last Wednesday night, and his performance may have been a shot in the arm for Wall Street. Most analysts say they think a Romney presidency would be good for the financial markets. A more likely reason for Thursday’s upward tick in the market was a September Retail Sales report. According to Retail Metrics, retail sales for last month were up 3.9 percent over the previous year.

Don’t force church on children? The moderator of the Church of Scotland has warned parents not to “force” church on their children. According to the newspaper The Scotsman, the Rt. Rev. Albert Bogle “­believes it may be counter-productive for the iPod generation to have to sit on pews and be made to listen to ministers ‘rabbiting on.’” It’s no surprise that the 63-year-old minister’s stand won praise from the National Secular Society. On the other hand, Rev. David Robertson of St Peter’s Free Church in Dundee said the problem in Scotland is not ministers “rabbiting on” but a “famine” in preaching and hearing “the Word of the Lord.” The Church of Scotland, once dominant in Scottish life, now claims less than 10 percent of the population as adherents and regular attenders. Officially, membership stands at about a half-million, down by more than half since the 1960s.

The business casual brigade. During the Revolutionary War period, pastors were instrumental in helping the colonists stand up to tyranny. These pastors became known as the “black robed brigade.” Today, attire is less formal, but the principle remained intact yesterday when nearly 1,500 pastors across the country intentionally broke the law on Sunday in a public stand of civil disobedience. They did so by publicly endorsing candidates or engaging in other speech that is currently a violation of the tax-exempt status of their organizations. Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) launched Pulpit Freedom Sunday in 2008. They did so because it has been illegal for pastors to endorse candidates from the pulpit since Congress passed the Johnson Amendment in 1954. ADF legal counsel Erik Stanley said pastors should be able to apply “biblical teachings to all areas of life, including candidates and elections. The purpose [of this event] is to make sure that the pastor, and not the IRS, decides what is said from the pulpit.” The Internal Revenue Service has never taken action against any churches or pastors participating in Pulpit Freedom Sunday. ADF is hoping it will, so a lawsuit can be brought that eventually results in the Johnson Amendment’s repeal.

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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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