Signs and Wonders
A sign at the entrance to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries Eagle Mountain Church in Newark, Texas.
Associated Press/Photo by LM Otero
A sign at the entrance to the Kenneth Copeland Ministries Eagle Mountain Church in Newark, Texas.

Signs and Wonders: Measles outbreak plagues Texas megachurch

Newsworthy

Megachurch measles. Measles is making a comeback in the United States, and anti-vaccine Christians could be part of the problem. Measles had been eradicated from the Western Hemisphere, but the U.S. has seen 135 documented cases this year. At least 25 of them are in Texas, and more than half of these came from a single Texas church led by the daughter of televangelist Kenneth Copeland. According to Religion News Service, “Fifteen of the measles cases are centered around Eagle Mountain International Church in Newark, Texas, whose senior pastor, Terri Pearsons, has previously been critical of measles vaccinations.” New York City also had a measles outbreak this year. The city has reported at least 58 cases so far, most of them in the Orthodox Jewish communities. Health officials notified Eagle Mountain International Church of the measles outbreak Aug. 14, and the church sponsored a vaccination clinic Aug. 18. Kenneth Copeland issued a statement encouraging church members to get the measles vaccines.

NPR changes. The president and CEO of National Public Radio is stepping down after less than two years on the job. Gary Knell will take the top job at the National Geographic Society. He plans to stay on the job at NPR until November to give the board a chance to find a replacement. Knell took over NPR in December 2011 when Vivian Schiller resigned under pressure after a former NPR fundraiser got caught on camera calling the Tea Party racist. The episode caused conservatives to increase their attempts to end government funding for NPR. The massive and often blatantly liberal radio network receives tens of millions from government sources, including the federally funded Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Member stations also get CPB funding. In addition, most member stations get state or local government funding.

From another planet? Lee Daniels’ The Butler won the weekend box-office two weeks in a row, but allies of former President Ronald Reagan, as well as historians, criticize the film for historical inaccuracies and an unfair portrayal of the conservative president. Reagan biographer Paul Kengor told The Hollywood Reporter the movie is “ideologically driven fiction.” Michael Reagan, the former president’s son, called the movie “The Butler from Another Planet.” The Butler, starring Forest Whitaker and Oprah Winfrey, is based on Eugene Allen, a White House butler who served eight presidents from 1952 to 1986. Much of the film, though, has been fictionalized, including his name (which was changed to Cecil Gaines) and childhood background. The film also gives the butler a son who is a civil-rights activist, and who, in real life, did not exist. The movie’s producer, Lee Daniels, is openly homosexual and a strong supporter of liberal political causes.

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Not over yet. On Aug. 19, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie signed a law banning therapy that attempts to help minors overcome their same-sex attractions. But several Christian counselors are suing to practice according to the dictates of their consciences. They’ve filed a federal lawsuit saying the new law violates a licensed therapist’s obligation to “respect the rights of clients to make decisions.” The current law bars any licensed therapist, psychologist, social worker or counselor from using therapies to change sexual orientation of children younger than 18. Offenders jeopardize their state license. The law does not apply to clergy. Liberty Counsel represents Tara King, a therapist in Brick, N.J., Ronald Newman, a therapist in Linwood, N.J., the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality, and the American Association of Christian Counselors. Garden State Equality, a pro-homosexual group, says it will defend the law.

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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