Media News Briefs

• In what is being called the first move of its kind, a Pentecostal pastor and his congregation have joined the Catholic Church. In 1998, Alex Jones, pastor of Detroit's Maranatha Christian Church, was asked to teach a class about ancient Christianity. Jones discovered that early church members had a passionate love for Christ and a desire to help the poor. He soon began incorporating Catholic teachings at his then 200-member church. However, some members became upset at the changes and the church membership dropped to 64 people who began Catholic studies last year. Jones is now preparing to be ordained as a Catholic deacon, which will allow him to preach at mass. All 64 members of his church have given up their Pentecostal affiliation to become lay members of a local Catholic church.

• The heart and soul of the Walt Disney Company is dealing with some serious financial problems. Due to shrinking profits, Disney's feature animation operation plans to cut scores of jobs and slash salaries by 30% to 50%. It is estimated that as many as 300 positions out of more than 1,000 in Burbank could be lost. Disney is already cutting 4,000 jobs companywide. Meanwhile, the company's stock price continues to lag behind that of its competitors. A top animation source at Disney told The Orlando Sentinel, “It's a bad time at the Mouse Factory … it's very, very depressing, and there's a pall hanging over the department right now.” Various pro-family groups, as well as the Southern Baptist Convention, are still involved in a boycott of the Disney Company.

• Columnist George Will is speaking out against abortion. In an interview today with Focus on the Family president James Dobson, Will condemned those who say unborn babies are not human beings. He also said he has personal reasons for supporting the sanctity of all life, particularly those who are deemed to be handicapped. Will talked about his 27-year-old son, Jonathan, who was born with Down's syndrome. “He works in downtown Washington … takes public transportation to and from a sheltered apartment in a high-rise in Rockville, Maryland … [and] he's a season-ticket holder to the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals, and Baltimore Orioles,” Will said. “He's a functioning, tax-paying American worker, and just the kind of people that some people using amniocentesis and abortion like to conduct 'search-and-destroy missions' against.” Will also had harsh words for those in Congress who have fought against banning partial-birth abortion.

• According to Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, radical feminists have a different goal than what they express in press conferences. “Radical feminists are devoting their lives to gaining more money and power for themselves, many times at the expense of other women who are not part of their elite crowd,” she says. Wright charges that the term “reproductive rights” has nothing to do with what the radical feminists are really fighting for — which she says is the right to end the reproductive process through abortion. Wright says these feminists are a mere fraction of society.

(This update courtesy of Agape Press.)

• It appears journalism experience is no longer a key factor when it comes to getting an anchor job at CNN. USA Today reports that actress Andrea Thompson, who played a detective on NYPD Blue, has been hired by the left-leaning cable news network. After leaving the show last May to take a reporter job at a local station in New Mexico, Thompson will now anchor newscasts on CNN Headline News. Earlier this week, the head of AOL-Time Warner television networks, Jamie Kellner, told USA Today that he would go after stars to try to boost CNN’s sagging ratings.

• The city council in Peoria, Illinois, has rejected a proposal to rename a street after well-known comedian Richard Pryor, who was born there. Mayor Bud Grieves says he understands why people would object to honoring a former drug-user who frequently used profanity in his act. Council member Camille Gibson says calls to her office have run 50-1 against the Pryor renaming, arguing drugs and profanity should not be glorified.

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