Clinton Speaks to Gay Group, Shies Away from “Ellen” Star “Washington — In a nod to the bud- ding political clout of the gay-rights movement, President Clinton on Saturday addressed a fund-raiser for the nation’s largest gay and lesbian group. ‘We have to broaden the imagination of America,’ he said.
“Clinton’s sold-out dinner speech to the Human Rights Campaign, which was greeted by a sustained standing ovation inside and pickets outside, made him the first sitting president to publicly address a gay and lesbian civil rights organization” (The Indianapolis Star [November 9, 1997], A4).
Benefits of Religious Practice “Andrea Neal — Every Sunday morning, the routine is essentially the same: Wake up, make pancakes and get dressed for church, all the while hearing the kids complain, ‘Don’t we get a day to sleep in?’
“Knowing what Duke University re- searchers have found, I’d be foolish to change our pattern. In the October International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine, they report that those who attend weekly religious services have healthier immune systems than those who don’t.
“‘It’s the first study ever published . . . that has found an association be- tween religious activity and immune functioning,’ says Dr. Harold Koenig, director of Duke’s Center for the Study of Religion/Spirituality and Health.
“. . . Immune systems aren’t the only things that function better when people regularly practice their faith.
“Last year, in an effort to influence political discussion of the role of religion in public life, the Heritage Foundation compiled all the studies it could find on religion’s link to health and social stability. The amount of research conducted over many years, and the overwhelmingly beneficial impact traced to religion, were amazing. For example:
“Regular church attendance is the most critical factor in marital stability, regardless of denomination or doctrinal teaching on divorce. A 1993 survey of 3,300 men found that those who switch partners most are those with no religious convictions. Similarly, the rate of cohabitation before marriage is seven times higher among people who seldom or never attend religious services, a significant finding since couples who live together before marriage experience higher divorce rates.
“Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have found cardiovascular disease significantly reduced by a lifetime of church attendance. Numerous other studies confirm that churchgoers live longer with lower rates of cirrhosis, emphysema and arteriosclerosis.
“Religious involvement greatly decreases drug use, delinquency, premarital sex and increases self-control for all age groups. In a 1985 study of girls, 9 to 17, less than 10 percent of those who attended religious services weekly reported drug or alcohol use, compared to 38 percent of the overall group” (The Indianapolis Star [November 6, 1997], A22).
U.S. Abortion Rate Drops; Experts Credit Prevention Programs
“Barbara Vobejda, The Washington Post — The rate at which American women received abortions dropped significantly in 1995, continuing a steady decline during the 1990s and putting the figure at its lowest level in two decades.
“The figures, released Thursday by the national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, show that the proportion of women of child-bearing age who obtained abortions dropped 5 percent over the previous year and 20 percent since 1980. “But the study, and other research, suggests that the decline is not primarily driven by women choosing to proceed with unintended pregnancies.
“Instead, Americans — particularly teen-agers — are using contraceptives more effectively and avoiding pregnancy in the first place, experts said” (The Indianapolis Star [De- cember 5, 1997], A1).
Emory Oks Gay Marriage Vows With Strict Campus Limitations
“Associated Press, Atlanta — Methodist-affiliated Emory University will allow gay couples to say marriage or commitment vows in its chapels.
“But the new policy sidesteps a conflict with the United Methodist church by effectively excluding most of the school’s homosexual community.
“As approved by the board of trustees, it requires that all such vows be taken before a religious leader from one of the 24 groups on campus, according to Emory chaplain Susan Henry-Crowe. Of those groups, she said, only the Reform-Jewish synagogue and the United Church of Christ perform such ceremonies” (The Indianapolis Star [November 29, 1997], B5).
The Two Covenants
This is the name of a new thirteen lesson workbook written and published by Johnie Edwards, his two sons (C. Titus and Johnie Paul) and his grandson (John Isaac). In light of the recent teaching about “one covenant” that is used to justify unscriptural marriages, this workbook is very timely. The workbook can be ordered from Truth Bookstore (1-800-428-0121). The lessons include questions for students.
Pottery Shard Points to Temple
“A potshard with an inscription of a receipt may contain the earliest extra biblical reference to Solomon’s Temple in ancient Jerusalem.
“Top biblical scholars seem convinced of its authenticity, despite its unknown source. After surfacing on the antiquities market, the shard became part of the collection of London businessman Shlomo Moussaieff. The inscription is translated: ‘Pursuant to the order to you of Ashyahu the king to give by the hand of Zecharyahu silver of Tarshish to the House (or Temple) of Yahweh. Three shekels.’ “Scholars date the inscription from the ninth century to the seventh century B.C., based on the early-Hebrew script that was common before the Babylonian exile.
Ashyahu is not known as one of the kings of Judah. Univer- sity of Chicago scholar Dennis Pardee suggests the name could be Josiah, who ruled Judah from 640 to 609 B.C.
“Frank Moore Cross of Harvard and P. Kyle McCarter of Johns Hopkins believe the inscription is older, dating per- haps to the reign of King Joash, 835 to 796 B.C.” (Gordon Govier, Christianity Today [January 12, 1998], 60).
Poll Reports More People Believe in God’s Existence
“Washington — This Christmas season, the largest percentage of Americans in a decade profess a belief in God and the existence of miracles.
“A poll commissioned by the Pew Research Center, released Sunday, reported 71 percent of respondents say that they never doubt the existence of God. In 1987, the figure was 60 percent.
“The poll also found that 61 percent of Americans believe miracles come from the power of God — an increase of
14 percentage points from a decade ago.
“And 53 percent said prayer is important to daily life. In 1987, it was 41 percent” (The Indianapolis Star [December
22, 1997), A3).
Teen Drug Use Down Slightly
“Teen drug use dropped slightly last year, the first de- crease since 1992, according to a government report to be released Wednesday. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse says nine percent of American teens used drugs in 1996, down from 10.9 percent in 1995, accord- ing to an administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
“Last year’s survey showed that drug used among 12-to-17 years-olds had more than doubled since 1992. That included sharp increases in teen use of LSD, cocaine and marijuana, with usage about the same across ethnic and economic groups. The new report indicates that marijuana use, which accounts for three-fourths of teen drug use, remains statistically unchanged after doubling between 1992 and 1995. Alcohol use among teens dropped from 21.1 percent in 1995 to 18.8 percent last year. Tobacco use remained flat at 18 percent, although use of smokeless tobacco dipped from 1.8 percent to 1.9 percent.
“There was some bad news as well. More teens tried heroin for the first time last year and the number of teens who viewed cocaine as risky dropped. Also, use of hallucinogens edged up. The official speculated that the drop in overall teen drug use might just be cyclical, given how high the rates had reached. The official generally credits private and public sector efforts as contributing to the decline, including the intense focus on hazards of marijuana use. (submitted by Art Adams, IARCCA report of 8/17/97).