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Weekly Review

COVID Affects Faith, Habitat Lays Off Staff, Dot Org Domain Names, Christian Post Exec Sentencing Delayed

COVID Has Strengthened Faith.  A new Pew study found that about quarter of Americans say the coronavirus has deepened their religious faith.  The poll,released Thursday, found that only 2 percent said the virus has weakened their faith.  Pew Research said the those who had their faith strengthened were mostly those who were already religious.  About half of Americans (47 percent) said their faith has not been affected, and another quarter (26 percent) said, “I am not a religious person and this hasn’t changed.” 

Habitat Lays Off Staff.  Habitat for Humanity International announced it will reduce staff and other expenses in the face of COVID-19 economic impacts.  Approximately 10 percent of staff at the organization will be laid off, and others will have their work hours reduced.  “Habitat for Humanity is a ministry of people who share a vision of a world where everyone has a decent place to live,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “For so many of our team, Habitat is not merely a job — it is a cause. It breaks our hearts to take these significant, but necessary, actions.  Habitat for Humanity International brought in approximately $300 million in revenue in fiscal year 2019 The NonProfit Times reported: “Habitat has suspended the vast majority of its construction activities throughout the United States and around the world. The more than 900 home improvement Habitat ReStores in the U.S. and Canada are closed to the public. 

Dot Org Domain Names Debated.  The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) has rejected a proposed $1.135-billion sale of the Public Interest Registry (PIR), four days before an agreed-upon deadline, the NonProfit Times is reporting.  “After completing extensive due diligence, the ICANN Board finds that withholding consent of the transfer of PIR from the Internet Society (ISOC) to Ethos Capital is reasonable, and the right thing to do,” ICANN said in a blog post late Thursday night  PIR is responsible for the .org assignment.  The sale of PIR would have converted the organization from a non-profit to a limited liability corporation.  The proposed sale also would have forced PIR to service $360 million in debt and provide returns to shareholders, which ICANN said raised questions about how .org registrants would be protected or benefit.  The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and NTEN, which launched the SaveDotOrg effort, applauded the decision. 

Sentencing Delayed.  MinistryWatch has been covering the criminal proceedings of several former Christian Post executives.  (You can read Steve Rabey’s coverage here.)  A sentencing hearing for Willam Anderson, the former chief executive at The Christian Post, was supposed to take place April 20, but the COVID crisis has caused that hearing to be re-scheduled for June 1.  We will keep you posted.

On Today’s Podcast.  On today’s MinistryWatch Podcast, Ohio’s Cedarville University fires a professor for alleged sexual abuse, abuse the school has known about for years. Also on today’s program:  Alliance Defending Freedom, The Becket Fund, and other religious liberty law firms are finding the current Covid Crisis to be a busy time indeed.  Plus, COVID could be fatal for some Christian colleges and summer camps.  Finally:  if you can’t go on a mission trip, what about a virtual mission trip?  You can hear the podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and other podcast apps, or you can simply click here.

ECFA Changes.  The following organizations have had membership status changes in the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.  ADDITIONS:  Northwest Baptist Foundation (Vancouver, Wash.), New Life for Haiti (Plainfield, Ill.), Providence Road Church of Christ (Charlotte, N.C.), Compassionate Hope Foundation (Antioch, Tenn.)  REMOVALS:  Christ Community Church of St. Charles (St. Charles, Ill.), City Impact (Lincoln, Neb.), 

MinistryWatch Rating Changes.  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:  Kingsway Charities (5 Stars, Transparency Grade:  C), Literacy and Evangelism International (4 Stars, Transparency Grade:  A), Living Free (2 Stars, Transparency Grade:  A), Luis Palau Evangelistic Association (4 Stars, Transparency Grade:  A), The Luke Society (Up from 3 Stars to 4 Stars, Transparency Grade:  A), Marketplace Ministries (Up from 2 Stars to 3 Stars, Transparency Grade:  A), Mars Hill Productions (1 Star, Transparency Grade:  A)

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.