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Church Culture Politics Weekly Review

Weekly Review

Court Victories For Churches, Trouble in Ethiopia, MinistryWatch Database Updates

Court Victories For Churches. On Tuesday afternoon, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit unanimously ruled that Nevada COVID-19 restrictions holding churches to a different standard than casinos and other entertainment venues are unconstitutional.  Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak’s regulations limit houses of worship to either 25 percent capacity or 50 people, whichever is fewer. In contrast, the regulations only apply the 25 percent capacity limit to casinos and other entertainment venues, without the 50-person max.  The U.S. Supreme Court also took action in two similar cases Tuesday, throwing out a pair of lower court rulings in Colorado and New Jersey that held churches to more restrictive standards than other commercial venues.

Trouble in Ethiopia. Voice of the Martyrs reports that accounts from Ethiopia’s military that say they’ve had no civilian deaths since hostilities began in the Tigray region last month are not true.  Ethiopian doctors tell BBC News a different story. Two physicians who escaped the war zone report multiple civilian casualties. Voice of the Martyrs’ Todd Nettleton says communication has been a problem from the start.  Read more here.

On Today’s MinistryWatch Podcast.  Each week, MinistryWatch brings you news about Christian ministries, as well as the latest in charity and philanthropy, news that we examine from a Christian worldview perspective.  Our goal is to help us become better stewards of the resources God has entrusted to us. On today’s program, a new development with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries, Christian Finance Guru Dave Ramsey is throwing a big staff Christmas party that is drawing national attention, and in this age of celebrity flame-outs, we highlight the lives of two men who served God and their neighbors quietly and faithfully for decades.  We begin today’s episode with an investigation of possible abuses of the Payroll Protection Program.  You can hear the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast apps, or you can simply click here.

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MinistryWatch Extra with Religion Unplugged’s Paul Glader.  On this week’s MinistryWatch Extra episode:  Paul Glader.  Paul is the editor-in-chief at Religion Unplugged and the director of the journalism program at The King’s College in New York City.  His journalism experience includes a long tenure with the Wall Street Journal.  Today we discuss The Jericho March that took place in Washington, DC, a Charlie Brown Christmas, and Prison Fellowship’s Angel Tree ministry.  You can hear that conversation here.

ECFA Changes.  The following organizations have had membership status changes in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.  ADDITIONS: Bethany International (Bloomington, Minn.), World Horizons USA (Richmond, Va.), Grow Church (Naples, Fla.), CrossTalk Global (Yorba Linda, Calif.), HEED Uganda (Edmonds, Wash.)    REMOVALS:  Southland City Church (Rosemount, Minn.), Missio Nexus (St. Cloud, Fla.),

MinistryWatch Database Changes.  MinistryWatch now has more than 725 ministries in its database.  These ministries represent more than $29-billion in total revenue, most of that donor revenue from evangelicals. The following ministries have their profiles updated with the most recent year’s financial data.  The Financial Efficiency rating of each ministry is in parenthesis. If this rating represents a change from the previous year, that change is noted: World Emergency Relief / Children’s Food Fund (Up from 4 to 5 Stars, Transparency Grade: C), Youth Dynamics (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), LifeWord Broadcast Ministries (2 Stars, Transparency Grade: C), Educational Resources and Referrals China (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: C), Christ in Youth (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Rutherford Institute (5 Stars, Transparency Grade: C), Abilene Christianity University (1 Star, Transparency Grade: C), Missionary Athletes International (2 Stars, Transparency Grade: A), Ethnos 360 (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: C). The following ministries have been added to the MinistryWatch database with the most recent year’s financial data: Bethel University, Indiana (3 Stars, Transparency Grade: C), Concordia University, Seward (4 Stars, Transparency Grade: C)

Warren Cole Smith

Warren previously served as Vice President of WORLD News Group, publisher of WORLD Magazine, and Vice President of The Colson Center for Christian Worldview. He has more than 30 years of experience as a writer, editor, marketing professional, and entrepreneur. Before launching a career in Christian journalism 25 years ago, Smith spent more than seven years as the Marketing Director at PricewaterhouseCoopers.