Massachusetts and Connecticut choose life, Kirbyjon Caldwell charged in fraud, Cosmopolitan Magazine curtailed, and Christian movie bonanza

Weekly Review

Pro-Life Victory. Massachusetts and Connecticut have killed bills that would have legalized assisted suicide. This pro-life victory is particularly significant because states have heavily Democratic majorities. However, individual doctors in both states lobbied lawmakers, and that apparently made the difference. Mark Rollo, a primary care doctor and Air Force veteran, told the Washington Free Beacon, “I think the most important message in our victory is the reality that PAS would have become a cheap medical procedure that would have steered the vulnerable toward suicide and favored the white, wealthy, and well insured,” Rollo said. “The poor, people of color, and people with disabilities would have received the all too familiar denial of care letters from insurance companies and from Medicaid, refusing to cover expensive care but offering to pay for suicide pills. We the people say no thanks.”

Faith-Based Fraud. The pastor of one of the country’s largest churches has been charged with financial fraud. Kirbyjon Caldwell is pastor of Houston’s Windsor Village United Methodist Church. He has been accused of six counts of wire fraud and five counts of money laundering, among other charges. Also charged was a financial planner, Gregory Alan Smith, who had previously been barred from the securities industry. They’re accused of selling worthless Chinese bonds to 29 mostly elderly investors. The bonds were issued before the Chinese revolution of 1949, and – according to CNN and court documents – Kirbyjohn and Smith told investors they were worth “worth tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars.” However, the bonds had “no investment value.” The maximum punishment for such a fraud could include 20 years in prison. Caldwell rose to prominence in the 1980s when he led his church to purchase an abandoned K-Mart and converted it into a community center. Success there led to national attention, and he became an advisor to George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Corralling Cosmo. Walmart said it would no longer sell “Cosmopolitan” at its checkout aisles. The decision is a victory for The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE). The group has worked for years to get retailers to remove the magazine or keep it covered. Cosmopolitan often has photos of scantily clad women, as well as salacious headlines related to sex. The NCOSE issued a statement saying, “While the editors of Cosmo unconvincingly claim to help women achieve happiness and satisfaction in life, they really only help women achieve status as second-class citizens in our society, and as objects for men’s pleasure, rather than as whole, independent, and respected persons. We applaud Walmart for their leadership and encourage other corporations to follow their lead.”

Box-Office Bonanza. The Christian-themed movie “I Can Only Imagine” continues to be the surprise box-office hit of the year. It brought in another $10-million last weekend, bring its box-office total to $55-million against a $7-million budget. It is now the 11th top-grossing Christian movie of all time and seems likely to move into the top 10 this week. I should add, though, that other Christian themed movies are not faring as well. “Paul, An Apostle of Christ” has pulled in a relatively measly $11-milion in its first two weeks, despite the star power of Jim Caviezel. Given the film’s modest $5-million production budget, and what will likely be strong international ticket sales, the film is headed for profitability, but has to be considered something of a disappointment. The latest installment of the “God’s Not Dead” franchise, “A Light in Darkness,” did an even more paltry $3-million its first week, far underperforming the first two movies in the series, despite decent reviews – especially when compared to the well-deserved thrashing the first two movies got. Still, despite the mixed performance and the widely varying quality of these movies, it’s worth noting that we currently have at least three Christian-themed movies in wide release now (four if you count the fading “Samson”) and they all appear to be headed toward profitability.


Comment Policy: Commenters are welcome to argue all points of view, but they are asked to do it civilly and respectfully. Comments that call names, insult other people or groups, use profanity or obscenity, repeat the same points over and over, or make personal remarks about other commenters will be deleted. After multiple infractions, commenters may be banned.