Hoye was originally sentenced to 30 days in jail, a $1,130 fine and three years probation. A further sentence, scheduled for March 20 because of a legality, however, could increase that to up to two years in prison and $4,000 in fines.
If the teens in your church don't seem to care what you have to say, here's a possible reason why: A survey from Junior Achievement and pollster Deloitte found that a mere 3 percent see pastors and members of the clergy as role models. A slight majority of the under-18 crowd (54 percent) looks up to parents as role models, yet pastors were ranked lower than friends, teachers, coaches and siblings as those deemed worthy of emulating.The survey, which provides a fascinating look at the current teen generation's moral compass, also found that although 80 percent feel equipped to make moral decisions in the business world, 40 percent believe they'll have to "break the rules" to succeed in life. Another 46 percent think lying to a parent is sometimes acceptable. In addition, a staggering 86 percent feel more accountable to themselves than to parents or guardians (52 percent), friends (41 percent) or society (33 percent).
"I believe it would disturb the sanctity and tranquility of church," said John Phillips, a pastor who was shot 23 years ago as he concluded a service at his Little Rock church. "Do you want ushers to stop you at the door and frisk you? ... People are not going to react the way they think they're going to react in the heat of the moment. It was utter chaos when I was shot."
Current Arkansas law allows those with concealed weapons permits to carry their guns anywhere except houses of worship and bars. The current bill, proposed by Rep. Beverly Pyle in response to the numerous church shootings around the country in recent years, would give churches the final decision on whether to allow members to carry arms into their sanctuaries.
"It is time we changed our concealed-handgun law to allow law-abiding citizens of the state of Arkansas the right to defend themselves and others should a situation happen in one of our churches," Pyle argued.
For many pastors and government watchdog groups alike, however, the main issue isn't one of churches protecting themselves against guns but instead against government infringement.
"It's not about gun rights, it's about church rights," said Nathan Petty, who leads Beech Grove Baptist Church in Fordyce. "Is it right for the state to make that decision for the church?"Added Grant Exton, executive director of the Arkansas Concealed Carry Association: "It's a problem of (the government) telling churches what to do in an area of moral issue, where that should be none of their business." According to Exton, of the 48 states that currently allow concealed weapons to be carried, 42 place the decision with individual churches. "We have the government in an area that it shouldn't be." [AP, 2/12/09, 2/14/09]
"What we are witnessing on a monthly, if not weekly basis here in the U.K. is a strategic, highly politicized marginalization of Christianity in the public arena," said Paul Eddy, a member of the diocese in Winchester.
Leaders from various sectors of the Anglican church met last week in London to discuss, among other things, the rapidly changing culture that is suppressing religious liberties among Christians. After admonishing the group not to "allow ourselves to be marginalized," Nezlin Sterling, the general secretary of the New Testament Assembly, warned, "I am of the belief that we in the church are so anxious to be politically correct that we on occasions forget to reflect on whether our actions are Christ-correct."
The survey comes on the heels of two high-profile cases in England in which a community nurse and a school receptionist both faced disciplinary action for involving prayer while on the job. Late last year, veteran nurse Caroline Petrie was suspended for offering to pray for an elderly patient. After almost two months, hospital officials reinstated Petrie two weeks ago, adding that nurses did not have to "set aside their faith" in the workplace.That hasn't been the case for Jennie Cain, however. A receptionist at her daughter's elementary school, Cain sent a personal e-mail to 10 friends asking for prayer after her 5-year-old daughter was reprimanded for talking to a classmate about God and heaven during class. When the e-mail found its way to the school's headmaster, Cain was promptly suspended while officials launched an investigation into her actions. [telegraph.co.uk, 2/13-15/09; timesonline.co.uk, 2/7/09]