PHILADELPHIA (CNN) — Many Americans say they attend church because it helps them stay grounded and gives them spiritual guidance. A new study suggests that regular attendance may also help increase their lifespan. Researchers looked at data on nearly 75,000 middle-age female nurses in the United States as part of the Nurses’ Health Study. The participants answered questions about whether they attended religious services regularly every four years between 1992 and 2012, and about other aspects of their lives over the years. The researchers found that women who went to church more than once a week had a 33% lower risk of dying during the study period compared with those who said they never went. Less-frequent attendance was also associated with a lower risk of death, as women who attended once a week or less than weekly had 26% and 13% lower risk of death, respectively. Women who regularly attended religious services also had higher rates of social support and optimism, had lower rates of depression and were less likely to smoke. However, the researchers took into account these differences between churchgoers and non-churchgoers when they calculated the decrease in death rates of 13% to 33%. Going to church could have a … [Read more...]
Trump’s Indiana win draws support; Cruz, Kasich exit GOP presidential run
By Tom Strode, Baptist Press WASHINGTON (BP) -- Donald Trump's striking victory in Indiana May 3 apparently settled the race for the Republican presidential nomination, but it did little to resolve the divisiveness among conservatives and evangelical Christians over his controversial candidacy. The brash billionaire triumphed easily in the latest primary over both of his rivals for the GOP nomination, leaving him seemingly with no opponents and an open path to the nomination barring a stunningly dramatic development. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas announced Tuesday night he was suspending his campaign, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced he was dropping out of the race Wednesday afternoon late. Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont upset Hillary Clinton in the Democrats' Indiana primary but still faces an overwhelming challenge to win his party's nomination. Trump's candidacy has produced strong resistance from some conservatives and evangelicals -- resistance that apparently will continue in the general election. Using the hashtag #NeverTrump on Twitter, objectors have made no-vote promises based on his inconsistent and even harsh policy positions on such issues as abortion, religious liberty and immigration; autocratic inclinations; … [Read more...]
On medical marijuana, should we trust ‘sense’ over science?
By Will Hall BATON ROUGE – The Louisiana Senate is considering a bill that would expand the list of diseases which would qualify for treatment with medical marijuana in Louisiana. Unfortunately, the Senate Health and Welfare Committee which moved the bill out of committee without objection April 13 did so largely on the basis of Sen. Fred Mills' call for good "sense" – which argued against the prevailing body of scientific research that overwhelmingly does not support his position. Mills, who chairs this committee and authored SB 271, is a pharmacist who owns a pharmacy in Marks, Louisiana. But despite coming from a medical background, he seemed to eschew the science which should have contributed more heavily to the decision. It's fair to say his position can be represented in part by comments from his opening statement in support of his own bill. Talking about the "memory lane" of how this bill came to the committee in its present form, Mills talked about the various constituents who had some say in the process. "We would expand on disease states," Mills said they promised each other. "We would find an opportunity that we would not open the door for every single solid disease state that didn't 'make sense' – which is not … [Read more...]
IMB baptisms hit lowest level since 1969
By Will Hall, Baptist Message Editor ALEXANDRIA – Overseas baptisms for 2015 dropped to 54,762 from the 190,957 reported for 2014, according to information submitted by the International Mission Board in response to a request by the Southern Baptist Convention Executive Committee. Likewise, the number of new churches fell from 13,824 to 3,842 over the same one-year period. The baptism figure represents the lowest level reported in 46 years. A note explaining the declines states the decrease is “due to one large CPM no longer reported” (CPM refers to “church planting movement”). Since 2009, the IMB has changed data gathering procedures to “no longer include reports from partner conventions and unions,” but to report information about “work related to IMB personnel only,” according to annotations in the SBC Annual. A table provided by IMB, in item 22 of 25 replies to “Ministry Inquiries,” shows an even larger four-year downturn. Baptisms fell by 211,689 since 2012 and the number of new churches declined 20,231 during the same time frame. For perspective about the drop to 54,762 annual baptisms, according to data in SBC Annuals and information posted on the IMB’s website, the 50,003 baptisms for 1969 were achieved with … [Read more...]