Signs and Wonders
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta
Associated Press/Photo by Jacquelyn Martin (file)
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta

Signs and Wonders: PKs on reality TV, pastor scandal in Orlando ...

Newsworthy

Soldier dies rescuing doctor. The Pentagon said Sunday evening that a special operations raid freed Dr. Dilip Joseph from Taliban captors. Joseph worked in Afghanistan for the Colorado Springs Christian ministry Morning Star Development. “The special operators who conducted this raid knew they were putting their lives on the line to free a fellow American from the enemy’s grip,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a statement. “They put the safety of another American ahead of their own, as so many of our brave warriors do every day and every night.” Morning Star Development confirmed on its website that Joseph was among three of the charity’s workers kidnapped on Dec. 5 in Kabul. According to the Colorado Springs Gazette, the other two staff members were freed after negotiations.

This can’t be good. A reality show focusing on preachers’ kids will air on the Lifetime Television Network in 2013. Preachers’ Daughters will be a “profound and hard-hitting, but often humorous, look at the daily pressures typical teenagers face,” according to publicity from the show. If other reality shows are any indication, it will show these girls on their worst behavior and appeal to the lowest forms of voyeurism. This is the second reality program focusing on the lives of preachers. TLC recently unveiled a program called The Sisterhood, debuting in January, which will look at the lives of five preachers’ wives from Atlanta.

Shocked! Shocked! It should be no surprise to discover that a federal grand jury is investigating the 2009 award of a $38 million contract to run the District of Columbia lottery. According to the Associated Press, “[A]uthorities are looking for evidence of crimes including bribery and illegal steering of contracts.” The investigation highlights what AP calls “systemic problems that open the door for elected officials to play politics with the contracting process and influence who wins.” The city government of the District of Columbia is already tainted by other scandals. Three aides to Mayor Vincent Gray’s 2010 campaign have pleaded guilty to federal crimes, and the mayor’s campaign remains under investigation. Meanwhile, two council members have resigned in the past year after pleading guilty to felonies—one of which involved stealing city money earmarked for youth sports.

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Tragedy in Orlando. It’s become as predictable as the change in seasons: A hot young pastor grows an independent megachurch to national prominence—and then gets brought down in scandal. This is the familiar story unfolding in Orlando, Fla., where Isaac Hunter of Summit Church has resigned from a church that claims 5,000 in regular attendance. His wife, Rhonda, is accusing him of alcohol abuse and adultery, as well as erratic and violent behavior. Hunter, 35, founded Summit Church in 2002. He is the son of Joel Hunter, a prominent preacher in his own right and an adviser to and supporter of President Barack Obama. The elder Hunter addressed his son’s situation in his own Sunday sermon, calling it a tragedy and the “worst week of our family’s life.”

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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