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CULTURE DIGEST: Fan-based Christian music awards slated

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
NASHVILLE (BP) -- The Christian radio network K-LOVE has announced an inaugural fan-voted awards show in Christian music, slated for June 1 at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium.

Organizers of the K-LOVE Fan Awards aim to create a family-friendly fan experience celebrating and promoting artists, athletes, authors and entertainers who exemplify excellence in engaging and impacting popular culture for Jesus Christ, according to K-Love's news release.

"The K-LOVE Fan Awards is an opportunity for us to appreciate and encourage those who are making music and media that impacts our world for Christ," K-LOVE chief creative officer David Pierce said.

K-LOVE will open the voting process to fans in May.

TobyMac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Newsboys and MercyMe are among the fan favorites expected to headline the event, which will issue such awards as female and male vocalists of the year, book of the year, and movie and sports impact.

Amy Grant, Jeremy Camp, Brandon Heath, Francesca Battistelli, Jamie Grace and Plumb were among artists involved in the Feb. 14 press event announcing the awards show. Nashville Mayor Karl Dean also attended.

Phil and Kay Robertson and Jase and Missy Robertson, four stars from A&E TV's popular "Duck Dynasty," will host the awards show.

K-LOVE fans, numbering 14 million listeners a week, will have a chance to participate through the Ultimate Fan Experience May 31-June 2 at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel & Resort. Organizers expect tickets to sell out for the experience, which will include awards show tickets, a two-night stay at Opryland, dinner with the K-LOVE staff and friends and a weekend kick-off concert. To register for tickets to the fan experience, visit


K-LOVE radio has 446 signals in 47 states, billing itself as playing positive, encouraging contemporary Christian music with a message designed to draw people toward an authentic relationship with God.

LES MISERABLES HONORED BY MOVIEGUIDE -- "Les Miserables" was named Most Inspiring Movie of 2012 at the 21st Annual Movieguide Faith and Values Awards Feb. 15. The film received the $100,000 Epiphany Prize supported by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation.

Also winning an Epiphany Prize was GSN's "The American Bible Challenge" for Most Inspiring TV Program of 2012. The Epiphany Prizes, Movieguide said, are given to "the best, most entertaining, most inspiring, and spiritually uplifting movies and TV programs that 'greatly increase man's love or understanding of God.'"

Movieguide, which is "dedicated to redeeming the values of the entertainment industry according to biblical principles," hosted the awards gala at the Universal Hilton Hotel in Universal City, Calif.

Mike Knobloch of Universal Pictures, which distributed Les Miserables, said upon accepting the award that the movie's message, "To love another person is to see the face of God," represents "the spirit of this award." He added that the prize money would be given to charity.

David Schiff of GSN described the American Bible Challenge as a game show "where people of all ways of life come together. Faith crosses all boundaries and all ways of life. Our teams play for charity. So far, they've raised $650,000. That's a legacy that will go far beyond our show."

A list of other winners at the Movieguide Awards is available at


81 BABIES SPARED IN 40 DAYS' FIRST WEEK -- More than 80 unborn children remain alive as a result of the first week of the latest 40 Days for Life campaign.

As of Feb. 20, staff with 40 Days had received reports of 81 babies saved from decisions to abort by their mothers. The 40-day effort -- which focuses on peaceful, pro-life prayer vigils outside abortion clinics -- began Feb. 13 and will conclude March 24. Volunteers are participating at 261 locations in the United States, Canada, Australia, England, Poland, Spain and, for the first time, Russia, Nigeria, South Africa and Wales.

Among reports to 40 Days staff during the first week:

-- Three women decided not to have abortions at a St. Louis site on the first day, leaving a Planned Parenthood clinic during the first hours of the campaign. A 40 Days sidewalk counselor helped one couple after they left the facility and escorted them "to our friends at the mobile medical center right across the street to receive all the help they needed to choose life," reported Brian Westbrook, the 40 Days coordinator in St. Louis.

-- More than 500 people gathered outside a Planned Parenthood center in Orange County, Calif., for the 40 Days kickoff. They saw a mother refuse an abortion. "A woman came out of Planned Parenthood and as we approached her, she told us that she couldn't abort her baby. She had tears in her eyes," a participant told the 40 Days national staff. "We reassured her that this life was precious and wanted by God -- and that we would be there for her and help her." The mother, who was seven weeks pregnant, had four other children and thought her family could not afford to take care of another baby, according to the report.


-- A first-time volunteer in Kalamazoo, Mich., said an encounter with a post-abortive father confirmed she should be outside an abortion clinic. A man stepped from a large truck after it stopped near the prayer vigil. "He thanked us for being there and for praying," she said. "He explained that his oldest child was aborted. All these years later he still carried that pain and loss. He lived the tragedy."

INQUIRY REVEALS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST DISABLED UNBORN -- Disabled, unborn children and their parents face widespread discrimination and coercion, witnesses said at a Feb. 11 hearing convened by the British Parliament.

Parents of babies born with disabilities, advocates for disability rights and support groups for families with disabled members provided testimony at the Parliamentary "Inquiry Into Abortion on the Grounds of Disability."

In a blog post, Peter Saunders, chief executive officer of the Christian Medical Fellowship, said three "strong themes" appeared during the inquiry:

-- "First, there seemed to be very little support or information available for families who wanted to keep their babies, as opposed to having them aborted.

-- "Second, there was a strong presumption from doctors that parents with disabled children would choose to have them aborted.

-- "Third, there was a huge amount of subtle or direct pressure placed on parents who decided not to abort. They were repeatedly asked to reconsider their decisions and treated like pariahs -- in short they were discriminated against."

British law permits abortion until birth (or about 40 weeks) if prenatal screening indicates a "substantial risk" the baby will be "seriously handicapped," Saunders wrote. The limit on other abortions is 24 weeks. British law, however, also bars discrimination against the disabled.


The abortion law's difference in time limits discriminates against unborn disabled babies in violation of the law, Saunders said.

JUDGE REJECTS ARIZ. BAN ON MEDICAID FOR ABORTION PROVIDERS -- Federal Judge Neil Wake has invalidated an Arizona law that bars state funding of Planned Parenthood and other organizations that perform abortions.

The law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer in May, prohibits any health care provider that does abortions from receiving Medicaid funds. Wake, who had issued in July a temporary order halting implementation of the ban, said the law "violates the freedom of choice provision of the Medicaid Act precisely because every Medicaid beneficiary has the right to select any qualified health care provider," The Arizona Republic reported.

The state government is appealing Judge Wake's Feb. 8 decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, according to The Republic.

Mary Spaulding Balch of the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) predicted Wake's ruling "will ultimately be overturned."

"The state is not required to subsidize abortion, directly or indirectly, and is totally within its right when it passes laws to prevent taxpayer dollars from going to the abortion industry," Balch, NRLC's director of state legislation, told NRL News Today.

PLANNED PARENTHOOD TO CLOSE FOUR CENTERS IN WISCONSIN -- Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin announced Feb. 18 it would close four of its family planning centers in 2013 because of state government cuts to its funding.

The announcement is "excellent news," said Barbara Lyons, executive director of Wisconsin Right to Life.


Although the four centers do not perform abortions, they make referrals to the state's three Planned Parenthood abortion clinics, she said.

"It is far past time for Wisconsin citizens to recognize that Planned Parenthood, through its local clinics, refers the overwhelming majority of pregnant women it sees to abortion clinics, most probably one of its own abortion clinics, where a fee is extracted from the women," Lyons said in a written statement. "It is a good outcome for women and children that the four abortion clinic feeders are closing."

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin performed 4,827 abortions in 2010 but reported no adoption referrals and no prenatal care recipients, she said.

Nationally, Planned Parenthood reported in January a record number of abortions -- 333,964 -- in its clinics during 2010-11, the most recent year for which statistics are available. It also established a record for funds received from federal, state and local governments at $542.4 million in grants and reimbursements during the latest fiscal year.

GINSBURG: ROE NOT WAY 'COURT ORDINARILY OPERATES' -- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg agrees with the result of the controversial Roe v. Wade decision, just not its expansiveness.

Ginsburg, considered one of the high court's leading liberal members, told a Feb. 4 audience at Harvard University Law School she supports the 1973 opinion's judgment that dealt "with what was the most extreme law in the country, where a woman could get an abortion only if was necessary to save her life."

She would have preferred to proceed by "slow degrees," said Ginsburg, 79, according to the Harvard Gazette. The opinion made "every law in the country ... unconstitutional in one fell swoop," she said regarding abortion bans.


"That's not the way the court ordinarily operates," she told the audience.

Roe and Doe v. Bolton, a companion ruling also issued Jan. 22, 1973, had the effect of legalizing abortion throughout the country for any reason at any point in pregnancy. One of the results has been an estimated 55 million legal abortions during the last 40 years.

Compiled by Tom Strode, Erin Roach and Diana Chandler of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook ( ) and in your email (

Copyright (c) 2013 Southern Baptist Convention, Baptist Press


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