- The Washington Times - Friday, May 22, 2009

On a mission

Donations by religious groups to developing nations jumped from 57 percent in 2006 to 74 percent in 2007, according to a report by the Hudson Institute’s Center for Global Prosperity.

The report found that Latin America and the Caribbean as well as Asia and the Pacific received the highest percentages of the faithfuls’ largesse, 36 percent and 29 percent, respectively. Sub-Saharan African received 21 percent; Europe and Central Asia, 9 percent; and the Middle East, 5 percent.

“Together, religious organizations and [private and voluntary organizations] gave more in aid to developing countries than the U.S. government did in 2007,” said Carol Adelman, director of the center. “Religious congregations - like Saddleback Church in California - are becoming major players in the world of international development, bringing new ideas, dollars and people to the table to help the world’s poor.”

Saddleback, which was founded in 1980 by evangelical Rick Warren, who delivered the invocation at Barack Obama’s inauguration - has a program called P.E.A.C.E. that mobilizes Christians around the globe. Saddleback has sent nearly 8,000 volunteers on missions in 70 nations, contributed nearly 2.5 million hours in volunteer time and raised an estimated $9 million, according to the report.

New home for Ten Commandments

The Rev. Rob Schenck of D.C.-based Faith and Action joined Republican Rep. Jean Schmidt and other Ohio leaders over the weekend to help relocate a Ten Commandments sculpture.

The 3-foot by 3-foot granite sculpture, which weighs 850 pounds, is one of four monuments removed by federal court order from the fronts of public schools in rural Adams County, Ohio. A family donated a site on their private property.

The site includes the monument, a garden and a flagpole. The flag was flown above the U.S. Capitol, and the monument is identical to the one in front of the Faith and Action ministry center on Capitol Hill.

Megachurches and the economy

Only 7 percent of executive church leaders say the economic downturn has had a “very negative” effect on their church, according to a survey of mostly megachurches.

The Leadership Network, which is based in Dallas, surveyed 555 primarily megachurch pastors.

Christianpost.com also said the survey, conducted in January, found that:

c Forty-nine percent said the economic downturn had no impact, down slightly from 56 percent in June.

c Fifty-three percent expect their income to rise this year, compared with 74 percent in June.

c Sixty-three percent said their church will meet its 2009 budget.

c Ninety-six percent of churches with congregations larger than 3,000 members are growing, compared with 70 percent with fewer than 3,000 members.

Now hear this

Blogger LaShawn Barber on President Obama’s Notre Dame speech:

“I LOVE it. As pro-infanticide Barack Obama talked around his support for abortion, you can hear a baby crying in the audience. … Obama appears rattled by the crying at some point. I hope conviction shot through his soul like a cannon blast. Perhaps he only winced. Whatever. Every little bit helps.”

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