- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Year of the Faith-Based Movie is not over yet, and with pet projects, sweeping epics and tear-jerker dramas all finding success at the box office, it’s only fitting that the horror genre gets a shot at audiences.

Enter “The Remaining,” a movie about a group of friends fighting to survive apocalyptic terrors.

AffirmFilms.com — which is also responsible for the family film “Heaven is for Real” — in an online synopsis of the movie describes how friends celebrating a wedding find their happiness shattered by “a series of cataclysmic events and enemies foretold by biblical end-times prophecies.”

The trailer, available on the iO9.com website, is packed with a whirlwind of clips that include crowds of people collapsing where they stand, mysterious noises, individuals being snatched away into the shadows, and everyone hiding in a dark and creepy church basement. The film is scheduled for a Sept. 5 release.

Scarf scandal

A Saudi Arabian television station this week tried to calm tempers after one of its female anchors appeared on a news broadcast without a head covering.

Saleh Al Mughailif, spokesman for the Al Ekhbariya television and radio channel, told the Al Tawasul news site that the female correspondent had been reporting from England and “we do not tolerate any transgression of our values and the country’s systems.”

He added the news channel would be taking measures “to ensure there is no repeat of the incident,” Gulf News reported.

The Saudi government channels do broadcast foreign programs that feature women without head coverings, the Gulf News reported, but some areas of the country still follow the strict practice that requires that women wear veils.

The clip of the broadcast was posted to YouTube last week. Responses to the broadcast ranged from condemnation of the news channel to criticism at making such a big deal about the head covering.

Tech lesson

Pope Francis has called the Internet “a gift from God,” but this week he warned an audience of young people against falling victim to “futile” distractions like cell phones and the web.

Speaking to a crowd of 50,000 German altar servers, Francis said tech toys can distract young people from the important things in life, reported the Tablet, a weekly international Catholic news publication.

“Maybe many young people waste too many hours on futile things, chatting on the Internet or with smart phones, watching TV soap operas, and [using] the products of technological progress, which should simplify and improve the quality of life, but which distract one’s attention away from what is really important,” he said.

But the pontiff himself hasn’t forsaken technology. The pontiff’s Twitter handle @Pontifex has more than 4 million followers.

Family business

The gay son of a United Methodist Church pastor who was temporarily defrocked for officiating his same-sex wedding is planning to go into the ministry.

In a letter to The Huffington Post, Tim Schaefer writes that the very public trial and the ultimate reinstatement of his father “opened my eyes to the need for pastors willing to minister to all and share the true message of the Gospel.”

“I believe that God has been calling me into the ministry all along, and the experiences I’ve had along the way have tested my faith and only made it stronger,” he added.

Rev. Frank Schaefer officiated at Tim Schaefer’s 2007 wedding, but it wasn’t until November that a jury of clergy members defrocked him. Last month he was reinstated by a church appeals committee.

According to the church’s Book of Doctrine and Rules, homosexual acts are “incompatible with Christian teaching,” but in April the church announced its approval of insurance benefits to some employees in same-sex marriages.

Meredith Somers covers faith issues for The Washington Times.

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