*Lawyers for churches facing eviction from being allowed to meet in New York schools have won at least a temporary reprieve.
Alliance Defense Fund says the temporary restraining order is in effect for 10 days while the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York more fully considers constitutional arguments about the city’s unique-in-the-nation prohibition on worship services in vacant public school buildings on weekends.
As ADF senior counsel Jordan Lorence puts it, “Churches help communities; evicting churches hurts communities. Empty buildings offer nothing to communities that need hope.”
*The recession was a double-barrel blow to American congregations: directly hurting their budgets while also stretching them thin due to increased needs for counseling, emergency housing and other social services.
But the worst seems to be over, according to a report released today that found that one in 10 have begun to recover from the loss, and more than 40 percent are now stable or increasing financially.
The “Holy Toll” report, based on the 2010 Faith Communities Today national survey of more than 20 religious groups, found that more than half (57%) of U.S. congregations reported their income had declined due to the recession.
Researcher David A. Roozen, director of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research, said larger congregations seem to be recovering more easily as endowments and investment income rebound, and more members who can help them grow their way out of deficits.
His theory echoes last month’s State of the Plate report by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability and Christianity Today International’s church management team, which found smaller churches had suffered a disproportionate drop in giving last year.
Roozen’s survey, based on data from more than 11,000 congregations, found the recession had hurt congregations across the spectrum, surprising researchers who “almost always find differences” between evangelical and mainline Protestant churches.
Nine percent of congregations said the recession had prompted layoffs or furloughs, and just over a quarter of congregations reported salary freezes or reductions.
*So many things we are seeing turned upside down in the stratosphere is exemplary of biblical references. The lamb will be able to lie down beside the lion, the ocean will die, and the wealthy of the world will become its poor.
The last one is the scariest.
No one more ruthless than the rich man made poor. He will stop at nothing to keep what he had (look at Dan Gilbert and the letter he wrote to the fans).
Yes, a lot of the wealthy got that way because they were willing to do whatever it takes to gain their fortune. But now these fortunes are drying up and mansions are left all over the place like a trail of children’s toys littering the house. (more…)
*On his July 2 radio show, right wing host Rush Limbaugh said he believes President Obama ruined the economy on purpose as “payback” for 230 years of racial oppression.
He railed: “Who is Obama? Why is he doing this? Why? Why is he doing it? Is he stupid? Is it an accident? Is he doing it on purpose or what have you? … I think we face something we’ve never faced before in the country — and that is, we’re now governed by people who do not like the country, who do not have the same reverence for it that we do. Our greatest threat (and this is saying something) is internal.”
To make his point, Rush compared Obama to the Black Panthers:
“So in this interview with J. Christian Adams yesterday talking about [how] he and his line attorneys were told to just drop the case against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation in Philadelphia, he said that there were people in the office, DOJ, who said, ‘Well, you know, those people suffered the indignity of slavery, discrimination, segregation and so forth.’
He said somebody else said, ‘This is payback,’ meaning, ‘All right, look. We don’t care if it’s the New Black Panthers or whoever it is. Black people in this country have never, ever had a fair shake. This is payback. O.J. Simpson was payback. How does it feel?’ That word ‘payback’ is not mine, [but] it is exactly how I think Obama looks at the country: It’s payback time… There’s no question that payback is what this administration is all about, presiding over the decline of the United States of America, and doing so happily.”
And finally, Limbaugh drove his point home by citing a Huffington Post story about a woman whose unemployment benefits expired as evidence for Obama’s racial revenge plot: “[HuffPost is] using this as an indictment of the Republicans and the Democrats for not extending unemployment benefits. This needs to be looked at in a different light…. Payback time. This woman’s going to find out what it was like, in Obama’s view, for other Americans to live as they did in this unfair and immoral country for the 230 years we’ve been around.”
On “MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” Tuesday night, Limbaugh was named Worst Person in the World for another batch of outrageous comments made on his radio show earlier in the day, including the suggestiong that Obama and talk show host Oprah Winfrey only succeeded because of their race.
[Obama] wouldn’t have been voted president if he weren’t black. Somebody asked me over the weekend why does somebody earn a lot of money have a lot of money, because she’s black. It was Oprah. No, it can’t be. Yes, it is. There’s a lot of guilt out there, show we’re not racists, we’ll make this person wealthy and big and famous and so forth…. If Obama weren’t black he’d be a tour guide in Honolulu or he’d be teaching Saul Alinsky constitutional law or lecturing on it in Chicago.
“These quotes speak for themselves and for a diseased and failing mind,” Olbermann said of Limbaugh’s comments. “It’s naked ugly racism, it is the distillation of Rush Limbaugh’s ugly view of our country.”
Olbermann ended with a plea to the queen of daytime talk: “Oprah, please crush this schmuck!” [Watch clip below.]