Signs and Wonders: Meteorites, megachurches, blacklists, and chemical abortions
Newsworthy | Warren Cole Smith
Close call. A meteorite that became a huge fireball streaked across Russia’s skies above the Ural Mountains early Friday morning. It exploded in the atmosphere and injured as many as 1,000 people. The Associated Press reports that a Russian Interior Ministry spokesman said the fireball brought an explosion and sonic boom big enough that windows broke. Some of the injuries were due to the broken and flying glass. The meteorite exploded at more than 30,000 feet up in the atmosphere. This incident comes just days after NASA made news by reporting on its website that Asteroid 2012 DA14, a 150-foot asteroid will fly by the Earth, but miss us by 17,150 miles. The asteroid is too small to see with the naked eye even at its closest approach around 2:25 p.m. EST today over the Indian Ocean near Sumatra.
Eddie Long redux. Bishop Eddie Long is no stranger to controversy. He was one of the “Grassley Six” investigated by Sen. Charles Grassley back in the 2000s. Allegations of sexual and financial impropriety have dogged him for a decade or more. Now more trouble: Former members of Long’s New Birth Missionary Baptist near Atlanta say the pastor encouraged them to invest money in what they now say is a Ponzi scheme and have filed a lawsuit. The suit says Long allowed Ephren W. Taylor to conduct financial seminars at the church. Some of the seminar attendees and others invested money with Taylor. The 12 former church members in the lawsuit say they lost more than $1 million. New Birth, Long, and Taylor are all named in the suit.
Blacklisting. An evangelical group that digs wells and provides clean water to 11,000 people in Uganda risks losing Canadian government money because it also teaches that homosexuality is a sin. Thomas Mulcair, a leader in Canada’s liberal New Democratic Party, said Crossroads Relief and Development, which received $389,000 from the Canadian government to help fund its relief work, was “completely against” Canadian values and law because of its stand on homosexuality. Crossroads’ water project partner group in Africa, Victory Outreach Ministries, states on its website that while homosexuality is sinful, gays are “created in God’s image, and we condemn the activities of those who are violent towards gays.” Canada has frozen $156,000 in Crossroads funding until it can review the organization’s work.
Chemical abortions. About 5.8 million women aged 15 to 44 who have ever had sexual intercourse have used a “morning after” pill at least once, according to the first federal report on emergency contraception, released Thursday. USA Today reports the women used the pill because they feared their birth control method may have failed, or they had unprotected sex. In other words, they used abortion as a contraceptive. The National Center for Health Statistics analysis is based on responses collected through in-person interviews with 12,279 women from 2006 to 2010. The age breakdowns are even more troubling: 23 percent of sexually experienced women ages 20 to 24 had used emergency contraception, compared with 16 percent ages 25 to 29, 14 percent ages 15 to 19, and 5 percent ages 30 to 44. Emergency contraception was most common among women 20 to 24, the never married, Hispanic and white women, and the college-educated.
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