CULTURE DIGEST: NASCAR sponsor is pro-Israel

Baptist Press
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Posted: Feb 17, 2012 5:52 PM
CULTURE DIGEST: NASCAR sponsor is pro-Israel
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- One of the cars in this year's Daytona 500 will bear an unmistakable message of support for American-Israeli relations, thanks to a couple of NASCAR fans in Charlotte, N.C.

The No. 49 "America Israel Racing" car will have an American flag and an Israeli flag along with an eagle on the hood when it takes to the track Feb. 26 in Florida.

Rich Shirey and Mark MacCaull want to educate the public about the relationship between the United States and the Middle Eastern nation steeped in biblical history, so they funded the car for the marquis race at a cost of around $10 million, according to WCNC-TV in Charlotte.

"NASCAR is the only sport televised where they pray before every race," MacCaull said. "They are aligned with racing, religion and patriotism."

Shirey admitted the sponsorship is expensive, but "being brought up Southern Baptist, I was always taught we stand behind Israel. This is a way I felt I could give back to society. It's something I believe in."

The two men hope to sponsor the car in races past Daytona but will have to raise additional funds. Their fan base is growing, with more than 400 followers on Facebook.

ABORTION-CAUSING DRUG SOLD IN VENDING MACHINE -- One American university is selling from a vending machine a contraceptive drug that can cause an abortion.

Shippensburg University, a state school in south-central Pennsylvania, stocks a vending machine in its health center with Plan B One-step, known as the "morning-after" pill or "emergency contraception." While the method works to restrict ovulation or prevent fertilization, it also has a back-up chemistry that can operate after fertilization, blocking implantation of a tiny embryo in the uterine wall, thereby causing an abortion.

While other universities sell the "morning-after" pill, Shippensburg's vending machine is reportedly the only one in the country to stock the drug, according to the Associated Press. It has been sold by means of the vending machine for two years and costs $25. Between 350 and 400 doses are purchased each year, AP reported Feb. 10.

Kristan Hawkins, president of Students for Life of America, decried the availability of the drug in a vending machine.

"Pretty clearly, not only have universities become so immune to abortive medication that they allow the sale of it on their campuses, but they do so with a machine located in a back room of their health center -- without the bat of an eye and with the expectation that those watching you cram crumpled bills into a Coke machine in order to kill your child wouldn't think twice about it, either," Hawkins said, according to LifeNews.com.

"Shippensburg University's decision to sell Plan B -- an emergency contraception that results in the murder of pre-born children and one that touts a slew of harmful effects on women -- in a vending machine on campus is reflective of how dangerous the disease of abortion has become."

Under federal regulations, women 17 and older do not need a prescription to buy the "morning-after" pill, but they must request the drug from pharmacists, who stock it behind their counters. Girls 16 and under must have prescriptions to buy the drug.

University officials defended providing the drug in the vending machine. None of Shippensburg's students are under 17, and no public funds or student fees are used to pay for the drug, a school official said. Other items stocked in the machine are condoms, pregnancy tests and cough drops, according to AP.

STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN MARKS 25 YEARS OF MUSIC -- Steven Curtis Chapman is marking 25 years in the Christian music industry by presenting a new acoustic, one-take performance of one of his songs and the story behind it every other Thursday this year at stevencurtischapman.com/scc25.

Each video in the "Twenty Five" series will be available for viewing for only 25 days, and a greatest hits package titled "#1s Vol. 1" will be available April 3. The spring leg of Chapman's "Songs & Stories" tour launched in February with Andrew Peterson and Josh Wilson.

In his 25 years of music, Chapman has amassed 46 No. 1 singles, 56 Dove Awards, five Grammy awards and more than 200 songs on 17 original albums. He has sold more than 10 million records, and his Show HOPE ministry to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption has provided grants to more than 2,700 families since 2001.

CROWN FINANCIAL LAUNCHES CROWN.TV -- Crown Financial Ministries, which has been transforming individuals' finances, careers and businesses with biblical values for more than 35 years, has launched Crown.tv, a forum for broadcasts from the ministry.

Available at crown.org, Crown.tv is a series of videos updated regularly with news from the ministry's global offices, the latest products and available training as well as testimonies from people who have been aided by Crown resources.

In a recent Crown.tv installment, viewers tour the Crown Training Center in Malawi, where practical farming skills are taught in order to improve crop yields. Students also learn to be good stewards of the land, combined with principles of biblical financial management.

Crown this year announced a new logo as part of its corporate rebranding initiative to better reflect the organization's mission and connect to a broader audience.

"Our new logo's crown-shaped water splash signifies the life-transforming impact our ministry is having with our constituents," Chuck Bentley, Crown's CEO, said. "The outward-flowing ripples in our new logo illustrate the ongoing influence Christians exert in the world around them as they live out God's unique design for their lives."

PRECEPT MINISTRIES CHANGES LEADERSHIP -- David Arthur, son of Jack and Kay Arthur, is assuming the role of CEO of Precept Ministries International, the organization his parents founded.

Jack Arthur recently was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and his wife, a renowned Bible teacher, expressed a desire to focus on his health in the coming years. Through Precept Ministries, Kay Arthur has been establishing people in God's Word for more than 40 years.

The Arthurs had been co-CEOs of Precept Ministries, and their son has been transitioning to the role for five years. They believe the best days for the ministry are ahead, according to a news release, and they will continue to serve in other roles.

GINSBURG: COURT WENT 'TOO FAR TOO FAST' ON ABORTION -- The Roe v. Wade opinion legalizing abortion nationwide went "too far too fast," Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said recently.

Of the 1973 ruling that struck down all state abortion restrictions, Ginsburg said Feb. 10, "It's not that the judgment was wrong, but it moved too far too fast."

Some states already had liberalized their laws against abortion, and the justices at that time could have postponed reviewing any decision similar to that of Roe while the situation in the states evolved, she said, according to AP. Or the high court could have invalidated the Texas ban in the Roe case without supporting a right to privacy that legalized abortion throughout the country, she said.

"The court made a decision that made every abortion law in the country invalid, even the most liberal," Ginsburg said, AP reported. "We'll never know whether I'm right or wrong ... things might have turned out differently if the court had been more restrained."

Ginsburg, who supports abortion rights, made her comments at a symposium at New York's Columbia Law School. The event celebrated the 40th anniversary of her addition to the faculty as its first tenure-track female professor.

VIRGINIA HOUSE APPROVES PRO-LIFE BILLS -- The Virginia House of Delegates passed Feb. 14 two pro-life measures.

The House voted 63-36 for a bill requiring women to have ultrasounds before undergoing abortions, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. The Senate approved a similar piece of legislation Feb. 1. Gov. Bob McDonnell has said he would sign such a measure into law.

Delegates also approved a bill establishing "personhood" as beginning at conception. The vote was 66-32.

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).

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