Drain in Spain. The economic news in the United States has been pretty good lately. The Dow and the S&P 500 are at five-year highs. This week, the number of new claims for unemployment benefits fell to 330,000, a five-year low. These factoids make it easy to forget that the bigger picture remains grim both here and in Europe. We got a reminder of that this week when Spain’s unemployment rate hit a record 26.02 percent in the fourth quarter of 2012. I was in Spain two years ago. What I saw was a country hanging on by its fingernails to its status as what used to be called a “First World” country. Things are so bad there that this country with neo-Marxist leanings actually elected a relatively conservative party a little over year ago. This party, the Partido Popular (Popular Party) has made major financial and labor reforms and applied severe austerity measures such as cutbacks in wages and spending as well as tax increases. These moves are squeezing the economy in the short term, but are in the long term the only way the country can survive. But expect much more suffering in Spain before things get better.
Scouts’ honor. The Boy Scouts of America are under assault from the political left in this country. The group’s decisions to affirm “duty to God” in its oath and to keep homosexuals out of leadership positions have made the Scouts a target. Now, the Scouts policy of banning “open or avowed homosexuals“ is costing it financial backers. According to an article in the liberal magazine Mother Jones, “UPS, United Way, the Merck Company Foundation and the Intel Foundation have announced they will drop or postpone funding for the Boy Scouts. Verizon Communications could be next: More than 70,000 people have signed a petition asking the corporation to stop funding the Scouts.”
Dollar walks. Megachurch pastor Creflo Dollar avoided a court appearance on charges that he assaulted his 15-year-old daughter last June. Instead, according to The Fayette County (Ga.) Citizen, “State court prosecutors allowed Dollar to enter a pre-trial intervention program, which required him to complete an anger management program and pay $1,072 in fees and court costs.” During the three-month program, Dollar had to meet regularly with a probation officer and to avoid “violent contact” with others. Dollar is the pastor of World Changers Church International and was the subject of an investigation by the Senate Finance Committee several years ago.
Remembering Carl Henry. Jan. 22 would have been the 100th birthday of theologian and journalist Carl F. H. Henry, who was an important figure in 20th century American evangelicalism. He co-founded Christianity Today magazine and was a signer of 1978’s Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed the inerrancy of Scripture. He was also a founding board member of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. His 1947 book The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism is one of the founding documents of the modern evangelical movement. Henry died in 2003 at age 90.