CULTURE DIGEST: Faith-based movie to warn about online predators
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- A faith-based movie warning parents and children about online dangers will be filmed in part at Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., and is set to debut in theaters this fall.
Thomas Road, founded by the late Jerry Falwell, will serve as the host church for the production, which centers on the work of a Virginia sheriff, Mike Brown of Bedford, and the Department of Justice task forces around the nation that have led in protecting children from Internet predators.
Jonathan Falwell, the church's pastor, said, "Mike Brown and his team have done an incredible job of prosecuting predators and making families aware of this danger. We are eager to support their efforts."
The full-length narrative motion picture is projected to open in 135 theaters nationwide in November. Among its goals: giving teenagers "a comprehensive and realistic understanding of Internet safety, cyber bullying and 'sexting'" and to challenge teens to live "dynamically and purposefully."
For more information, visit findingfaithfilm.com.
'BLUE LIKE JAZZ' A BOX OFFICE DUD -- "Blue Like Jazz," the film based on the popular book of the same name by Donald Miller, has struggled at the box office during the three weeks since its release, pulling in just over a half-million dollars, according to Box Office Mojo.
The revenue "barely covers the film's production budget, to say nothing of distribution and local theatre costs," WORLD magazine's Warren Cole Smith wrote. "The movie could still break even on DVD sales, but it's pretty obvious that -- from a financial point of view, anyway -- the movie will not be a success.
"'Blue' had used the crowd-sourcing site Kickstarter to fund production, and the mediocre performance of the movie could put a damper on the plans of other Christian artists who had hoped to use Kickstarter to fund their projects," Smith wrote.
When the book came out several years ago, Christian commentators including Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Mark Coppenger critiqued it as a dangerous attack on inerrancy.
"It's the autobiographical musings of a young man who found his way from the 'fever swamps' of 'fundamentalism' to the 'high country' of non-judgmental relationism. It disarms with a tone of candor and self-deprecation," Coppenger wrote. "There are nuggets of insight and gratifying quotes here and there, and your heart goes out to a fellow in his struggles. Up to a point, that is. In the end, I found the book to be a dreadful (though canny) mess."
DELIVERY SERVICE BEGINS FOR 'MORNING-AFTER' PILL -- Women in London now are able to have the abortion-causing "morning-after" pill delivered to their homes or offices.
A courier service planned to begin delivering the drug, also known as emergency contraception, before the end of April, the London Evening Standard reported. A woman does not need to see a doctor to receive the pill, although a physician is to review a form she fills out on the Internet, according to the report.
The "morning-after" pill, marketed under the name Plan B in the United States, is basically a heavier dose of birth control pills. Under the regimen, a woman takes a pill within 72 hours of sexual intercourse and another dose 12 hours later. Another "morning-after" pill, Plan B One-step, can be taken in a single dose within 72 hours.
The drug can restrict ovulation in a woman or prevent fertilization, but it also can block implantation of the early embryo in the uterine wall. The latter effect would cause an abortion.
LOW BIRTHRATE EXPECTED TO CONTINUE IN CHINA -- China, the world's most populous country, expects to keep its low birthrate and maintain a population of fewer than 1.4 billion through 2015, according to its latest five-year plan.
China had more than 1.34 billion people at the close of 2011, according to China Daily.
The communist giant has prevented a larger population with the aid of a coercive population control program for more than 30 years. The one-child policy, as it is known, has resulted in many reports of forced abortions and sterilizations as well as infanticide. It also has helped produce a gender imbalance because of the Chinese preference for sons.
The State Council's report, issued April 10, said in five years there will be more than 200 million people 60 years of age and older. Meanwhile, the labor force will begin declining steadily after it peaks during the next five years, the China Daily reported. That could result in massive government spending on pensions and health by about 2028, said Lu Jiehua, a sociology professor at Peking University.
China Daily reported April 11 that police in Hubei province broke up a ring believed to have conducted an illegal ultrasound operation. The group used ultrasound machines in cars, charging for the tests in order to identify the sex for mothers who wanted to abort girls.
MISS. LAW BOLSTERS RULES FOR ABORTION DOCTORS -- Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has signed into law a bill that requires abortion doctors to be certified in obstetrics and gynecology and to have hospital admitting privileges.
Abortion rights advocates have said the motive of the measure is to ban abortions, not protect women's health. They have charged supporters of the new law with seeking to shut down the state's only abortion clinic, Jackson Women's Health Organization.
After signing the bill April 16, Bryant, a Republican, seemed to acknowledge it has both goals.
"This is a historic day to begin the process of ending abortion in Mississippi," Bryant said, according to The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
The new law is "something that I would think would be common sense and that everyone that is concerned about the health care of women should be in favor of," he said.
PA. SHUTTERS ALLENTOWN ABORTION CLINIC -- The Pennsylvania Department of Health has shut down an abortion clinic in Allentown, Pa.
The department rescinded the registration of Allentown Medical Services April 10 after it learned the clinic had lost its lease, thereby violating the terms of registration, The Morning Call reported. In revoking the registration, a state official said Steven Brigham, who had been the owner until recently, and clinic staffers had shown a "chronic inability ... to comply with the most fundamental statutory and regulatory requirements," according to the Allentown newspaper.
Brigham -- who operates abortion clinics in at least four states -- has encountered problems with various jurisdictions. The state's attorney in Maryland's Cecil County dropped first-degree murder charges against Brigham in March because he said his office lacked clear proof the killing of late-term unborn babies took place in the state. Brigham had been starting late-term abortion procedures at a New Jersey clinic and completing them at a Maryland clinic.
Compiled by Baptist Press assistant editor Erin Roach and Washington bureau chief Tom Strode. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress) and in your email (baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).