Ex-Boxing Champion’s Mansion To Become Church

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At one point, it was a spectacle of boxing trophies, lavish parties and even a few tigers roaming around the ground.

Now, the former mansion of legendary boxer Mike Tyson is being turned into a church after the landowner who bought the mansion at auction donated it to a local church.

The building in Southington, Ohio was built with gold-plated furnishings and even a jacuzzi room with mirrored ceilings. The mansion still has many of the extravagant touches but has been abandoned since the boxer went bankrupt and was forced to sell almost all of is possessions.

The mansion was given to Living Word Sanctuary that plans to have the building converted to a ministry center by the end of the year. They’ve even invited Mike Tyson to come and attend the first service in the building when it’s ready to go.

“How was stumbled upon the place was really God’s grace because we had no intentions of looking…,”said Pastor Nick Dejacimo of Living Word. The church plans to have Vacation Bible Schools and nature events at the grounds along with weekly worship services and Bible studies.

The church is currently meeting inside a YMCA in Warren, Ohio.

Atheist Deal With IRS Subject Of Lawsuit

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A legal group has filed suit in federal court concerning a deal the IRS made with an anti-religious organization to monitor churches.

The Alliance Defending Freedom says the IRS has failed to honor a Freedom of Information act request regarding the details of an agreement between the group and the anti-religious Freedom From Religion Foundation.

“As of the date of this complaint, Defendant has failed to: (i) determine whether to comply with the request; (ii) notify Plaintiff of any such determination or the reasons therefor; (iii) advise Plaintiff of the right to appeal any adverse determination; and/or (iv) produce the requested records or otherwise demonstrate that the requested records are exempt from production,” reads the complaint.

“Plaintiff is being irreparably harmed by reason of Defendant’s unlawful withholding of records responsive to Plaintiffs’ FOIA request, and Plaintiff will continue to be irreparably harmed unless Defendant is compelled to conform its conduct to the requirements of the law.”

The anti-religious group demanded in 2012 that the IRS enforce their view of the Johnson Amendment which strips churches of tax exemptions if they are openly involved in political activity.

This is the second suit against the IRS over agreements related to “monitoring of churches and other tax exempt religious organizations.”

Botulism Outbreak at Church Potluck Leaves One Dead

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One person is dead and over 20 sickened after an outbreak of botulism at a Lancaster, Ohio church’s potluck dinner.

The Ohio Department of Health confirmed that each of the victims of the botulism had attended the potluck.

Fairfield Medical Center identified the first case of botulism on Tuesday morning and had several cases soon follow the initial patient. Most of the sick are middle-aged but there were no details released about the person who died from the illness.

Pastor Bill Pitts of Cross Pointe Free Will Baptist church said the potluck was aimed at building fellowship among members. The church provided meat and drink and everyone in attendance was encouraged to bring a covered side dish.

“Our main emphasis, right now, is for everyone to pray,” he said. “These are people that we love and work with. [I'm] just calling out for a lot of people to pray for them if they would.”

Hospital officials say at least five victims are being treated by intensive care units.

Botulism is caused by a nerve toxin produced by certain bacteria. The disease is rare but very life threatening.

Vandals Cause Ten Thousand Dollars In Damage To N.C. Churches

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A group of vandals attacked churches in North Carolina leaving one with ten thousand dollars in damage.

The first church were struck last Saturday. Bales Memorial Wesleyan Church in Jamestown, N.C. had their sign broken, windows smashed and parking signs ripped from the ground. Flower beds were destroyed and the building struck with eggs and silly string.

Messages spray painted on the church included “He hates you!”

Grace Baptist Church in Greensboro found similar damage to their facility on Sunday.

Pastor Carl Pulliam said that Bales Memorial Wesleyan suffered around $10,000 in damages. The other church said it would cost at least $300 to repair a broken window but wouldn’t say how much it would cost to repair the cosmetic damage.

“Why would someone stoop so low to vandalize a church? In a word: Sin! The prophet Jeremiah says that ‘the heart is deceitful and desperately wicked above all things,’” Coward wrote in a post on Facebook. “Yes, it’s true that Satan opposes God and he is probably laughing about this vandalism. But God’s shows us the destructive sin nature found in all mankind—including each one of us!”

Pastor Pulliam said he’s not angry at the vandals and forgives them. Pastor Paul Coward of Grace Baptist Church agreed.

“[W]e need to listen to the words of Jesus from the sermon on the mount, ‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you (Matthew 5:44),’” Coward stated.

New York Mayor Allows Churches To Continue To Meet In Schools

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The mayor of New York said that he is not going to enforce the Supreme Court’s decision that the New York School System could ban Christian organizations from holding meetings in school buildings.

The Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court decision that said the school board could prohibit churches under the Establishment Clause. It was the third time the Court has sided with the city against churches.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said he will allow churches to continue to meet in public schools despite the ruling.

“The administration remains committed to ensuring that religious organizations are able to use space in city schools on the same terms provided to other groups,” said mayoral spokesman Wiley Norvell. “Now that litigation has concluded, the city will develop rules of the road that respect the rights of both religious groups and nonparticipants.”

“While we review and revise the rules, groups currently permitted to use schools for worship will continue to be able to worship on school premises under DOE guidelines,” he said.

The Alliance Defending Freedom, who represented the church in their case, said that while they welcome the Mayor’s decision, the rules need to be changed to allow equal access to all groups.

Most Americans Believe Church is Dying

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Most Americans say that there is value in attending church while at the same time saying they believe the church is dying.

The survey from Lifeway Research showed that nearly 9 in 10 Americans say attendance at church is acceptable and almost two-thirds think it’s admirable. Even non-religious people said by an 80% rating that church attendance was acceptable and 43% called it admirable.

However, most of those believe the church is declining in attendance and influence.

“Americans have a much more optimistic view of the people and practice of attending church than they do of the health of the church,” said Scott McConnell vice president of LifeWay Research. “Church attendance is much like regular exercise and driving the speed limit. People do not live out everything they admire.”

The survey found that the biggest groups who consider church attendance unusual or not important were those of younger ages. The survey says that those attending church are now more likely to do it out of choice rather than feeling pressure to attend by society.

“The longevity of the Christian church proves it is not a fad,” said McConnell. “Some Americans feel cultural expectations to attend church, but our recent research shows that those who actually do attend hold more closely to the teachings of Jesus Christ.”

Pastor Jailed Over Pro-Life Outreach Exonerated

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A Mississippi pastor who took a stand for the unborn and was arrested for it 4 years ago has been exonerated on all the charges against him.

Pastor Steven Joiner of Columbus Church of the Nazarene came upon a protest by Pro-Life Mississippi in his city. He parked at a nearby business and walked over to thank them for their standing up for life. Joiner joined the group’s protest.

A police officer then approached the group and told them to leave saying they were blocking traffic. Pastor Joiner said he had a First Amendment right to stand on a public sidewalk. The pastor was arrested for “failure to obey a police officer.”

The pastor was initially convicted on charges of violating the city’s Parade and Handbill ordinance. An appeals court overturned that verdict. The pastor then sued for his right to protest.

The court ruled that the pastor’s rights were violated, ordered the city to pay $10,000 in damages and attorney fees. The city was also ordered to amend their law to protect free speech.

“The notion that one man can constitute a parade and that small groups of individuals need to seek permission and a permit from the government before they can open their mouths on a public sidewalk is repugnant to the Constitution and undermines the foundation of this nation,” Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, said in a statement on Tuesday.

ISIS Destroys Christian Artifacts In Historic Churches

The Islamic terrorist group ISIS is continuing their campaign to eradicate any religious historic emblems by destroying historic Christian churches in Iraq.

The Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor says they have obtainted pictuers of terrorists using sledgehammers and other tools to destroy crosses and other Christian iconography. Statues were torn down and then smashed to pieces.

“The images show ISIS men engaged in the destruction of various Christian symbols, which ISIS perceives as being polytheistic and idolatrous,” JTTM reports.

“They don’t care what it’s called; they are just following their ideology and that means getting rid of churches and minorities. It is the Islamic State, and there’s no room for anyone else,” MEMRI Director Steven Stalinsky said, according to The Daily Mail.

The United Nations calls the actions of ISIS a “war crime.”

“This is yet another attack against the Iraqi people, reminding us that nothing is safe from the cultural cleansing under way in the country: it targets human lives, minorities, and is marked by the systematic destruction of humanity’s ancient heritage,” UNESCO’s Irina Bokova said.

Terrorists Target Christian Churches; 14 Dead

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At least 14 people were killed when terrorists attacked their churches.

Officlals in Lahore, Pakistan said that at least 70 were wounded in the twin attacks. One church was Catholic, the other was Protestant.

Geo TV reported that police stopped one of the bombers outside the church, forcing him to detonate outside killing one officer and wounding others. The second bomber was able to enter the church and detonate in the middle of services.

“Islamist militants in Pakistan have attacked Christians and other religious minorities often over the last decade or more. Many Christians, who make up less than two percent of Pakistan’s population of more than 180 million, accuse the government of doing little to protect them, saying politicians are quick to offer condolences after an attack but slow to act to improve security,” Retuers reported.

The Pakistani Taliban, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, claimed responsibility for the attacks and said they are planning to attack more churches.

Florida City Removes Tax-Exempt Status From Church Hosting Nude Parties

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Officials in Panama City Beach, Florida have revoked the local tax-exempt status of a “church” that has been running a sexually-themed nightclub during Spring Break.

“It’s very disturbing, especially inside our city limits here in Bay County,” Panama City Beach Police Chief Drew Whitman told reporters this week. “I think we’re better than that.”

The group calling itself “Life Center Church” has been hosting an event called “Spring Break Amnesia” since February that featured items local officials called “shocking” for a place of worship.

“A bottle club, charging $20 at the door and selling obscene T-shirts is not being used as a church,” Property Appraiser Dan Sowell told the Panama City News Herald. “A God-fearing, God-honoring church in January does not sponsor this type of debauchery in March.”

The “church” had been advertising events on their website that were anything but Christian.

“‘Slumber’ is a pajama and lingerie party hosted by the sexiest ladies on the beach,” the site’s event description read just three days ago. “‘Anything But Clothes’ showcases your artistic side, featuring your mind and body. How creative can you be? Bare as you dare to attend in anything but clothes (toga, body paint, etc.).”

The church’s “pastor” once had another church in the area called Faith Christian Family Church. He was arrested and placed on probation for giving pot to teens.