By Christy Barritt
Church Donations Down
While charitable donations have increased over the past three years, church giving has declined.
That’s the summary of a new report found in the Atlas of Giving, an economic intelligence tool recognized as the most precise measure of charitable giving in the United States.
“Overall, 2012 was a very solid year for giving,” said Atlas of Giving CEO Rob Mitchell. “Robust stock market performance, an improving economy, and a few very large individual contributions were significant factors.”
Their newest report shows that total giving to nonprofits rose by 6.7 percent in 2013, an increase of $23.32 billion from last year. However, giving to churches is declining. In 2002, churches accounted for 50 percent of charitable donations. In 2012, churches only accounted for 35 percent.
The greatest increase is in donations to natural and environmental causes, human services, and disaster relief, a continued trend from 2012.
Some say this trend is because younger generations are more interested in giving to causes than institutions.
Guns Allowed in Arkansas Churches
The Arkansas state Senate approved a measure that will allow concealed handguns to be carried in churches and other places of worship within the state.
The Church Protection Act of 2013 passed the state Senate with a 28-4 vote. This proposal lifts the current ban on concealed weapons in places of worship.
Despite the bill, only those with a permit will be allowed to carry guns into places of worship, and individual churches have the right to set their own boundaries if they’re uncomfortable with the practice.
The bill still must pass in the House of Representatives and be signed by the governor into law before taking effect.
God Influences Sporting Events, According to Some
One in four Americans believes God influences the outcome of sporting events. That’s the result of a new study released by the Public Religion Research Institute.
Robert P. Jones, CEO of PRRI, said in a statement, “In an era where professional sports are driven by dollars and statistics, significant numbers of Americans see a divine hand at play.”
Results showed that these beliefs could be broken down by geographical location. Southerners (at 36 percent) were the most likely to believe God influences which team wins, followed by the Midwest at 28 percent, the Northeast at 20 percent, and the West at 15 percent.
Fifty-three percent of those surveyed believe God rewards faithful athletes.
For the survey, 1,033 adults were interviewed.
Christian School Faces Legal Battle
A Christian school in Thousand Oaks, California is facing a legal battle after firing two teachers who refused to sign a form affirming their faith.
Little Oaks Elementary School was purchased by Calvary Chapel of Thousand Oaks in 2009. Just last year, they required all teachers to affirm their faith in an effort to move to a religiously-based curriculum. Two teachers refused, were fired, and are now threatening to sue the school. The school, however, has filed its own lawsuit in a preemptive move against its former employees.
Legal experts say the issue at hand is that the school is not registered as a not-for-profit entity. The teachers say that, under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, employees can’t be dismissed because of their beliefs. Lawyers for the school and church say the constitution grants religious entities the free exercise of religion.
The outcome of the lawsuit is pending.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.