Preachers behaving badly. This has not been a good week for megachurch pastor Steven Furtick, of Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C. We have previously reported on his $1.7 million mansion. But lots of his supporters are willing to excuse his extravagant lifestyle because he has done so much good. They point to the thousands of baptisms the church has done over the past few years. But an investigative report by WCNC, the Charlotte NBC affiliate, casts doubt on the legitimacy of the baptisms. What Furtick calls “spontaneous baptisms” appear to be manipulated baptisms. Furtick has even published a guide to pulling off the baptism events at the website for his book Sun Stand Still. Also surfacing this week is a children’s coloring book that Elevation reportedly uses in its Sunday school classes. One page on “Unity” features a smiling Furtick with the caption: “Elevation Church is built on the vision God gave Pastor Steven. We will protect our unity in supporting his vision.” My repeated calls and emails to Elevation’s spokesperson, Tonia Bendickson, asking for comment on these new developments have gone unanswered.
Hoosier hang-up. Indiana already has a marriage protection law, but a new provision introduced in the Indiana legislature would have put a marriage protection amendment to the state Constitution on the fall ballot. However, the measure passed by the Indiana Senate on Tuesday would not place the amendment before voters before 2016. Conservative and pro-family activists considered the measure a defeat because of the delay. They fear the current law will be overturned by the courts and that Indiana will be forced to accept homosexual marriage before the constitutional amendment could go into effect.
Minimum wage blues. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that raising the minimum wage to just over $10 per hour would cost the economy about 500,000 jobs. The CBO report also says a hike in the minimum wage will raise about 900,000 above the poverty line by edict. What the report doesn’t assess is how getting experience at a minimum wage job qualifies a worker for better jobs, without killing the job in the process. So keeping the minimum wage where it is provides experience for those currently with those jobs, and doesn’t kill opportunities for those looking to reach that first rung on the economic ladder.
House of Cards. I must confess that I have watched the first two seasons of House of Cards, the Netflix series on politics from a decidedly Machiavellian perspective. There’s much in the show to prompt warnings: the language, drug use, and sexuality make it decidedly R-rated. That said, there is a moral center to the program, and those who violate it are almost all Democrats. Republicans are almost wholly absent from the program, but the Democrats are almost to a person completely despicable. It’s these qualities that are promoting The Daily Caller to call it the “most tea party show ever.”