Stories of interest to Arkansas Baptists ...


Skeptical high court casts doubt on 'Obamacare'

Tom Strode
Baptist Press

WASHINGTON (BP) – Congress has the authority to require Americans to buy health insurance, the Obama administration told the U.S. Supreme Court, but it undoubtedly left the second day of oral arguments over its controversial health care law with fresh concerns about whether the mandate at the heart of the measure would survive.

The conservative members of the high court – and, most tellingly, swing vote Anthony Kennedy – expressed reservations about the constitutionality of the "individual mandate," as it is known, during the two-hour arguments Tuesday, March 27.

If the court strikes down the mandate, also referred to as the "minimum coverage" provision, it will be faced with the question of whether to declare the entire 2010 law unconstitutional. The justices will hear oral arguments Wednesday (March 28) about whether they could sever an invalidated mandate from the rest of the measure or would need to nullify the measure in its entirety absent that provision.

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Study shows giving rebounding for majority of churches

DENVER – Churches suffered from plummeting donations after the recession began in 2008. But in the past year, a majority of congregations experienced giving increases because of a better economy, higher attendance and more church teaching on giving.

Trends in 2011 included higher budgets, which brought more church spending on staff salaries, missions, facilities and benevolence. Trends also included greater attention to fiscal transparency and board governance and a rise in electronic giving through technological tools, such as cell phone applications and automatic bank withdrawals.

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Q&A: Provident Films' Kris Fuhr on October Baby's opening & why faith movies are succeeding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) – When "October Baby" rolled to a Top 10 finish on its opening weekend, it further demonstrated that faith-based movies can be successful in theaters on a regular basis - and that Provident Films, which marketed the film to Christian audiences, knows the formula.

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Turkey added to watchdog's list of religious liberty violators 

WASHINGTON (BP) – Two more countries -- Turkey and Tajikistan -- are worthy of inclusion on a list of the world's worst violators of religious liberty, a congressionally approved watchdog on the issue has recommended. In its annual report, the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) urged the State Department to designate the two governments as "countries of particular concern" (CPCs), which is reserved for regimes that participate in or tolerate "particularly severe" violations of religious liberty. If added by the State Department, Turkey and Tajikistan would increase the number of CPCs to 10.

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Group urges Starbucks boycott due to gay 'marriage' support

SEATTLE (BP) – One of the nation's leading traditional groups is calling for a boycott of Starbucks because of the company's support of a gay "marriage" bill and its legal opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act. The "Dump Starbucks" protest by the National Organization for Marriage was announced Wednesday (March 21), the same day the organization launched a DumpStarbucks.com website where supporters could sign a petition to Starbucks, tell their friends via social media about the boycott, and even enter their zip code to learn of alternatives to Starbucks.

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