By Christy Barritt
Domain .church Grows in Popularity
More congregations across the country are adopting .church domain names that were made available in September for Internet addresses. Since released, .church has steadily grown in popularity. Hover.com reported that .church is now in the number 8 spot of its Top 20 gTLD (generic top-level domains) list.
“We’ve had a lot of requests from people eager to get their hands on a ‘.church’ TLD,” Michael Keshen of Hover.com reported. “People wasted no time grabbing their domains when the TLD finally launched.” The most popular domains are .com, .org, .net, .link, .co, .me, and .info.
Many ministers have called this new domain a great branding opportunity and have indicated that having a strong web presence is a must in today’s technology-centered culture.
Millionaire Atheist Plans to Change Minds
A new anti-atheist discrimination campaign is being launched. Todd Stiefel, a millionaire atheist, is trying to raise $500,000 through the Stiefel Freethought Foundation to help fund Openly Secular, a new initiative aimed at creating a more positive image of nonbelievers in American society.
Stiefel feels there’s a lot of bias against atheists, and he believes that prejudices against those who don’t believe in God are deemed socially acceptable. He’d like to see a world where atheists can be honest about their beliefs without being shunned or ruining relationships or being treated differently. One of his goals is to help people realize that they don’t have to agree on theology in order to love and accept others.
The campaign includes a massive social media blitz. The organization has created more than 150 videos to help spread the word about this effort.
Mental Illness Stigma Still Exists in Church
A new poll by LifeWay Research revealed that mental illness still remains a taboo subject in churches.
“One in four Americans has suffered from some kind of mental illness,” said LifeWay’s Facts & Trends magazine senior writer Bob Smietana. “Many look to their church for spiritual guidance in times of distress. But they’re unlikely to find much help on Sunday mornings.”
The study found that ministers want to help but feel they need more guidance and preparation for dealing with mental health crises.
Ed Stetzer, executive director of LifeWay Research, said that sermons addressing mental illness can help break stigmas. Chuck Hannaford, a clinical psychologist in Germantown, Tennessee agrees. “Just an openness from the pulpit that people struggle with these issues and it’s not an easy answer.”
Anti-Jihadist Ads to Run on NYC Buses
Six controversial ads are set to run on 100 New York City buses. The ads are sponsored by the American Defense Initiative (ADI), which describes itself as a group acting against global jihad and “Islamic supremacism.”
According to the ADI, the ads seek to “tell the truth” about Islam and jihad. One of the marketing pieces referred to the beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands of ISIS militants; it reads, “Yesterday’s Moderate is Today’s Headline.” Another says, “Christians are becoming extinct everywhere in the Middle East except Israel.” The advertisement called on the U.S. to stop sending international aid to Islamic countries involved in the persecution of Christians.
Al Jazeera reported that some Muslim groups strongly oppose the ads, calling them “hateful and vitriolic.” The ADI said it plans to roll out the ads in other cities and states across the U.S.
Christy Barritt is an award-winning author, freelance writer, and speaker living in Chesapeake, Virginia. She and her husband Scott have two sons.