John Burnett http://wgcu.org en Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community http://wgcu.org/post/statue-homeless-jesus-startles-wealthy-community A new religious statue in the town of Davidson, N.C., is unlike anything you might see in church.<p>The statue depicts Jesus as a vagrant sleeping on a park bench. St. Alban's Episcopal Church installed the homeless Jesus statue on its property in the middle of an upscale neighborhood filled with well-kept townhomes.<p>Jesus is huddled under a blanket with his face and hands obscured; only the crucifixion wounds on his uncovered feet give him away.<p>The reaction was immediate. Sun, 13 Apr 2014 08:43:00 +0000 John Burnett 9261 at http://wgcu.org Statue Of A Homeless Jesus Startles A Wealthy Community Obama Honors Victims Of Fort Hood Shooting http://wgcu.org/post/obama-honors-victims-fort-hood-shooting President Obama is traveling to Fort Hood, Texas, on Wednesday to attend the memorial service for those killed in last week's shooting. Wed, 09 Apr 2014 20:08:00 +0000 John Burnett 9144 at http://wgcu.org Onscreen But Out Of Sight, TV Preachers Avoid Tax Scrutiny http://wgcu.org/post/onscreen-out-sight-tv-preachers-avoid-tax-scrutiny Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel in Washington.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>And I'm Melissa Block, coming to you this week from member station KERA in Dallas.<p>This week, we're bringing you two special reports that delve into the hidden finances of televangelists. Yesterday, we featured an investigation into Daystar Television, headquartered in Dallas-Fort Worth. Daystar describes itself as the fastest growing Christian TV network in the world. Wed, 02 Apr 2014 20:28:00 +0000 John Burnett 8931 at http://wgcu.org Can A Television Network Be A Church? The IRS Says Yes http://wgcu.org/post/can-television-network-be-church-irs-says-yes Flip on <a href="http://www.daystar.com">Daystar</a> television at any hour of the day and you'll likely see the elements of modern televangelism: a stylish set, an emotional spiritual message and a phone number on the screen soliciting donations.<p>Based in a studio complex between Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, and broadcasting to a potential audience of 2 billion people around the globe, Daystar calls itself the fastest growing Christian television network in the world.<p>The Internal Revenue Service considers Daystar something else: a church.<p>Televangelists have a choice when they deal wi Tue, 01 Apr 2014 20:41:00 +0000 John Burnett 8891 at http://wgcu.org Can A Television Network Be A Church? The IRS Says Yes Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits http://wgcu.org/post/awash-cash-drug-cartels-rely-big-banks-launder-profits The Sinaloa Cartel, headquartered on Mexico's northern Pacific Coast, is constantly exploring new ways to launder its gargantuan profits. The<a href="http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/2013/vol2/204066.htm" target="_blank"> State Department</a> reports that Mexican trafficking organizations earn between $19 and $29 billion every year from selling marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamines on the streets of American cities. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 19:39:00 +0000 John Burnett 8467 at http://wgcu.org Awash In Cash, Drug Cartels Rely On Big Banks To Launder Profits At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South http://wgcu.org/post/border-drugs-go-north-and-cash-goes-south The international drug trade goes in two directions: Narcotics go north and money goes south. All the drug profits made on the streets of U.S. cities like Chicago and Atlanta and Dallas are funneled down to ports of entry on the U.S.-Mexico border where they're smuggled back into Mexico. In 2012, one federal agency alone, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, seized $411 million in cash hidden in vehicles, mostly heading south.<p>Once the bundles of U.S. banknotes are delivered to the cartel, the money flows in many directions. Thu, 20 Mar 2014 09:02:00 +0000 John Burnett 8447 at http://wgcu.org At The Border, The Drugs Go North And The Cash Goes South 'Saint Death' Now Revered On Both Sides Of U.S.-Mexico Frontier http://wgcu.org/post/saint-death-now-revered-both-sides-us-mexico-frontier The intrepid tourist who visits the market in the border city of Matamoros will find her between the onyx chess sets and Yucateca hammocks. She looks like a statue of the Grim Reaper dressed in a flowing gown. Wed, 19 Mar 2014 12:56:00 +0000 John Burnett 8417 at http://wgcu.org 'Saint Death' Now Revered On Both Sides Of U.S.-Mexico Frontier SpaceX Could Give Struggling Texas City A Boost http://wgcu.org/post/spacex-could-give-struggling-texas-city-boost The space company SpaceX has identified a remote spot on the southern tip of Texas as its finalist for construction of the world's newest commercial orbital launch site.<p>The 50-acre site really is at the end of the road. Texas Highway 4 abruptly ends at the warm waves of the Gulf surrounded by cactus, Spanish dagger and sand dunes.<p>"Welcome to Boca Chica beach, Brownsville, Texas. It's where the U.S. really begins," says Gilberto Salinas, executive vice president of the Brownsville Economic Development Council. Thu, 30 Jan 2014 22:09:00 +0000 John Burnett 6884 at http://wgcu.org SpaceX Could Give Struggling Texas City A Boost To Stave Off Decline, Churches Attract New Members With Beer http://wgcu.org/post/stave-decline-churches-attract-new-members-beer With mainline religious congregations dwindling across America, a scattering of churches is trying to attract new members by creating a different sort of Christian community. They are gathering around craft beer.<p>Some church groups are brewing it themselves, while others are bring the Holy Mysteries to a taproom. Sun, 03 Nov 2013 09:25:00 +0000 John Burnett 4143 at http://wgcu.org To Stave Off Decline, Churches Attract New Members With Beer Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling http://wgcu.org/post/serpent-experts-try-demystify-pentecostal-snake-handling Two weeks ago, NPR <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/10/04/226838383/snake-handling-preachers-open-up-about-takin-up-serpents" target="_blank">reported on a group</a> of Pentecostals in Appalachia who handle snakes in church to prove their faith in God. Fri, 18 Oct 2013 20:24:00 +0000 John Burnett 3627 at http://wgcu.org Serpent Experts Try To Demystify Pentecostal Snake Handling Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents' http://wgcu.org/post/snake-handling-preachers-open-about-takin-serpents Snake handlers dwell at the edge of the spiritual frontier — a community of people who are willing to die for their faith three times a week in church. Members of the Pentecostal Holiness Church take up venomous serpents to prove their faith in God. The practice is still widespread in Appalachia, though mostly hidden.<p>Pastor Jamie Coots warns about the scent in the snake room behind his house in Middlesboro, Ky.<p>"It's strong, so I'll go ahead and tell you that," he says as he unlocks the squeaky door. We're greeted by the rattles of dark-complexioned pit vipers lying about in glass cages. Fri, 04 Oct 2013 20:45:00 +0000 John Burnett 3190 at http://wgcu.org Snake-Handling Preachers Open Up About 'Takin' Up Serpents' Deep-Fry Chefs Keep It Hot And Poppin' In Texas http://wgcu.org/post/deep-fry-chefs-keep-it-hot-and-poppin-texas Every year, the State Fair of Texas awards the most original food that is battered and plunged into a vat of boiling oil.<p>And it gets weirder every year. The obvious choices came and went in previous competitions — concoctions such as fried ice cream, fried cookie dough and chicken-fried bacon. Mon, 02 Sep 2013 20:12:00 +0000 John Burnett 2093 at http://wgcu.org Deep-Fry Chefs Keep It Hot And Poppin' In Texas Cowboy Church: With Rodeo Arena, They 'Do Church Different' http://wgcu.org/post/cowboy-church-rodeo-arena-they-do-church-different It's Sunday morning at the Cowboy Church of Santa Fe County, N.M. You know you're there because of the chuck wagon parked by the highway.<p>You couldn't find a more nonreligious-looking building. The church is a charmless metal warehouse on a concrete slab. Sun, 01 Sep 2013 21:04:00 +0000 John Burnett 2079 at http://wgcu.org Cowboy Church: With Rodeo Arena, They 'Do Church Different' Should Military Chaplains Have To Believe In God? http://wgcu.org/post/should-military-chaplains-have-believe-god The United States military chaplaincy program has a proud heritage that stretches all the way back to the Continental Army during the American Revolution.<p>"They are rabbis, ministers, imams and priests who serve our nation's heroes and their families as committed members of the U.S. Army," according to <a href="http://www.dvidshub.net/video/283830/us-army-chaplain-corps-spiritual-leadership-army-family#.UflLt9Kcc3M">one video</a> produced by the U.S. Wed, 31 Jul 2013 20:47:00 +0000 John Burnett 992 at http://wgcu.org Should Military Chaplains Have To Believe In God? Abortion Rights Activists Plan Challenge To Texas Measure http://wgcu.org/post/abortion-rights-activists-plan-challnge-texas-measure In a major victory for the anti-abortion movement, the Texas state Senate passed a sweeping bill early Saturday that has become a flashpoint in the national abortion debate. Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign it in short order.<p>But the fight is not over. Abortion rights supporters say that the new law attempts to overturn <em>Roe vs. Sat, 13 Jul 2013 04:49:00 +0000 John Burnett 290 at http://wgcu.org Abortion Rights Activists Plan Challenge To Texas Measure