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Tuesday_BriefingTHE BRIEFING | Military members ranked the highest in Pew Research’s study of how much various professions contribute to society. Pew found 78% of Americans believe military personnel contribute “a lot,” followed by teachers (72%) and doctors (66%). Clergy members didn’t fare quite as well, with 37% of respondents saying they contribute a lot to society, and 36% that they contribute some. Read more at PewForum.org.

Other news:

‘We all lost’ in George Zimmerman verdict, pastor says
In a Christianity Today essay about Saturday’s verdict, Pastor Victor Montalvo shares his perspective as the leader of a church in Sanford, Fla., the eye of the storm since teenager Trayvon Martin was killed in February 2012. Montalvo writes, “A young man is dead. Another man’s life is ruined. A city struggling with an undercurrent of racial tension for decades has another gaping wound.” Read Montalvo’s essay, including his charge for the Church, at ChristianityToday.com.

Baptist named new president of The King’s College
Greg Thornbury, a vice president and dean at Union University in Jackson, Tenn., has been named the new president of The King’s College in New York City. Located just around the corner from the New York Stock Exchange in Lower Manhattan, the Christian college is in an extremely strategic place, Thornbury said. “There is one freestanding Christian college in that city, and it must succeed… We need an institution of higher education that is articulating the cause of God and truth in the greatest city in the world.” Read the full story at Baptist Press.

Illinois Supreme Court clears way for parental notice law
The Illinois Supreme Court acted on the Parental Notice of Abortion Act last week, breathing new life into a law that is nearly 20 years old, but has never taken effect in the state. The Associated Press reports the court upheld the dismissal of a suit against the law, ending years of legal challenges and requiring doctors to notify the parents of any girl 17 or under 48 hours before she undergoes an abortion. The law is scheduled to go into effect in mid-August. Read the full AP story at sj-r.com.

Churches investigate Boy Scouts alternatives
More churches are investigating Royal Ambassadors, a Southern Baptist missions education program for boys, in the wake of Boy Scouts decision to allow self-identifying gay members. Julie Walters leads corporate communications for Woman’s Missionary Union, the organization that directs RA’s.

“The first week following the [Boy Scout] vote we received more than 25 requests via Facebook and email from churches and individuals interested in beginning an RA program,” Walters told Baptist Press. “This is an increase from the typical number we receive on a weekly basis.” Read more at BPNews.net.

 

THE BRIEFING | Meredith Flynn

Families looking for a break from the holiday hustle and bustle might escape to movie theaters for two faith-themed films, one out now and the other set for a Christmas Day release.

“The Life of Pi,” [PG] is about a shipwrecked Indian boy left with only one friend – a similarly shipwrecked tiger. Critic Phil Boatwright calls it “the most visually stunning film of the year,” and also commends the film’s director, Ang Lee, for making a movie that deals with faith. The movie “doesn’t promote one religion over another,” Boatwright said. “It does, however, what so few films do: It suggests that we become aware of spiritual matters and rely on our faith when the conundrums of the day overwhelm.”

Overwhelming circumstances are also the subject of another, perhaps more clearly Christian, story set for cinemas on Christmas Day. The highly anticipated movie musical “Les Miserables” has A-list stars and a trailer that’s already gotten serious buzz. And the story is a classic redemptive tale: Jean Valjean steals a loaf of bread to feed his family, spends several heart-hardening years in prison, gets out, and spends the rest of his life trying to live up to the kindness shown him by a forgiving minister.

“Les Miserables” is rated PG-13 for grown-up themes and some language, and is likely unsuitable for younger kids. But for adults who choose to see it, the themes of forgiveness, generosity and sacrifice will likely spark many conversations this Christmas season.

Your turn: What movies are you excited to see this Christmas?

Other news:

Economy could make adoption harder for some
From Baptist Press | With Congress embroiled in debate over the so-called fiscal cliff, many in the adoption community are concerned the adoption tax credit set to expire at year’s end could be forgotten, even though immediate action is needed. The tax credit that provided last year a maximum of $13,360 to each adoptive family has helped countless low- and middle-income families afford the costly endeavor. Read more.

How honest is your job?
From Gallup.com | Nurses have the highest ethical standards of any profession, according to Americans surveyed in Gallup’s annual study on the honesty and ethics of various vocations. 85% percent of those surveyed ranked nurses as “high” or “very high” on the ethics scale. “Clergy” ranked 8th on the list, with 52%; journalists were ranked highly by 24% of respondents; and car salespeople were last on the list, with 8%. Full list.