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Teen Girls Are Cutting & Legalized Marijuana

Teen girls are cutting themselves in record numbers—and sometimes they are doing it with their friends!

A new study out of New Zealand found that nearly 22% of 13- to 16-year old girls surveyed admitted to cutting.

Dr. Shelly James at Massey University says although the number was shocking, that’s not really what caught her attention.

She says the common perception is that cutters are isolated, unpopular outcasts.  But in reality, the cutters were just as likely to be among the most popular kids in school.

Her study also found that many girls had actually self-harmed in front of other people—or actually that girls had engaged in cutting together.

Dr. James says “Approximately 23% of self-harming kids had harmed in front of other people, and nearly 12% had actually harmed in conjunction with another person, so they had harmed together….that was staggering to me.”

In other news, according to the Pew Research Center’s latest poll, 52% of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal. It marks the first time a majority of those polled have been pro-pot.

Also, fewer and fewer Americans believe that smoking marijuana is a moral issue.

Today, just 32% believe it’s morally wrong, compared with 50% just seven years ago.

So what does the bible say about using marijuana?  Well, although it doesn’t specifically address it, it does command us to show self-control (Titus 1:8) and to “have a clear mind in every situation” (2 Timothy 4:5).

If you’re a parent and would like to get some solid facts on marijuana and your kids, go to drugfree.org.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

Encouraging News In The “War on Christmas”

I’ve got some good news to report on the “War on Christmas.”

The state of Texas is making sure that wishing someone “Merry Christmas” is now protected by law in its public schools.  The new law got national attention when it was approved by the Texas Legislature this past summer.

It removes legal risks from exchanging holiday greetings in classrooms. It also protects symbols such as Christmas trees, menorahs or nativity scenes, as long as more than one religion is represented and a secular symbol such as a snowman is displayed.

The law’s sponsor, Houston Republican Dwayne Bohac said the law is meant to reinforce the religious freedoms of the First Amendment and keep “censorship of Christmas out of public schools.”

Texas legislators are hoping similar measures will gain momentum across America.

Some intriguing signs are showing up in Redmond, Washington.  They say “It’s OK to Say Merry Christmas.”  The signs have been showing up outside places like City Hall, schools, and local churches and they include a Bible verse.

The city says a faith-based message or any other message is permitted to be displayed along city right-of-ways as long as they`re not offensive or discriminatory.

Mayor John Marchione said the signs are “a form of free speech, just like political signs and other signs.”  He also says he’s not going to take them down.

So far, no religious group or church has taken ownership of the signs.

You know, Christmas is a GREAT time to share your faith with non-believers.  I recently interviewed a theologian who’s written a great new book that will help you become more confident in talking about Christianity—especially to atheists and agnostics.  It’s called “How to Talk to a Skeptic,” by Donald Johnson.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Listen to today’s audio here.

A Supercharged Chewing Gum Gets Pulled From The Shelves

A supercharged chewing gum gets yanked from the shelves.

In response to concerns raised by the Food and Drug Administration, the Wrigley company says it’s going to stop making a new caffeinated gum called “Alert.”

According to a story by Emily Bryson in the Chicago Tribune, Wrigley has halted production, sales and marketing of the gum, in order to give the FDA time to develop new regulations on adding caffeine to food and drinks.

Earlier this month the FDA announced an investigation into what effect additional caffeine consumption may have on kids.

The world’s largest gum manufacturer is based in Chicago, and it says that Alert exceeds all guidelines for disclosure and that consumers wouldn’t be buying the product by mistake. Alert was sold away from the gum and candy shelf, and alongside products including 5-Hour Energy Shots.

Each piece of Alert has about 40 milligrams of caffeine, as much as a half a cup of coffee.

The gum targeted consumers between the ages of 25-49, and it carried a higher price tag than regular gum, $2.99 for an 8-piece package.

Wrigley’s move into caffeinated gum was seen as an effort to broaden its core market.  Chewing gum manufacturers have been losing market share since the recession.  Teenagers are the biggest buyers of gum, but they’ve been spending their disposable income on other products.

By the way, Wrigley isn’t the first company to market gum with energizing properties. Mondelez International, which makes Trident, sells a line of gums with ingredients like ginseng, green tea and Vitamin C.  Stride Spark sells gum that has Vitamins B6 and B12 added.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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Shine Family Expert

The Attack On Christianity Continues In Our Culture

The attack on Christianity and Christian symbols continues in our country.

A portrait of Jesus that has hung in a southern Ohio school district’s buildings since 1947 has been taken down.

The superintendent of Jackson City Schools says the decision was made after the district’s insurance company declined to cover litigation expenses.

He says a Christian student club that owns the portrait took it down Wednesday morning at his direction.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Freedom from Religion Foundation had sued on behalf of an atheist student student and two parents, calling the portrait an unconstitutional promotion of religion in a public school.

An ACLU spokesman says the lawsuit remains in effect, but will be dropped if the portrait stays down.

Meanwhile some better news on the faith and culture front.

A federal judge in New York has ruled that the World Trade Center cross can be included in the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

The cross’s intersecting steel beams survived the World Trade Center collapse. But in July the group American Atheists sued the Museum’s operators.  They said including the cross would be an endorsement of Christianity.

According to CNN, U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts ruled that the display of the beams is permissible because they bear historical importance. She wrote that the cross “helps demonstrate how those at ground zero coped with the devastation they witnessed during the rescue and recovery effort.”

Many New Yorkers consider the cross as a beacon of hope that came out of the tragedy.  The National September 11 Memorial & Museum is scheduled to open next year.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

Click here for the audio version of this article.

Faith & Culture: Hobby Lobby

Here’s a couple of faith and culture-related stories in the news this week.

The head of the Hobby Lobby chain has received a special award.  Steve Green, CEO of Hobby Lobby, is this year’s recipient of the John M. Templeton Biblical Values Award.

The award is sponsored by the National Bible Association, and it is given to an individual who “literally lives the Bible.”

As you may have heard, Hobby Lobby has stood by its Christian standards in the face of mounting pressure from the federal government.  It has refused to accept the government’s new mandate requiring businesses to offer employees health care coverage for abortion-inducing drugs.

The Oklahoma City-based Hobby Lobby has 525 arts and crafts retail stores with more than 20,000 employees in the U. S.  A decision to close stores on Sunday cost the company over $100 million in product sales annually.

By the way, nearly half of Hobby Lobby’s annual profits are donated to causes that reflect Biblical principles.  In the future, the company plans to open a fifty-thousand square foot Bible museum in Washington, D.C.

In other faith news, The American Bible Society has ranked the nation’s most and least “Bible-Minded Cities.”

The rankings are based on the percentage of citizens who read the Bible at least once a week and believe in the accuracy of the Scriptures.  Based on those criteria, the nation’s most Bible-minded city is Knoxville, Tennessee, followed by Shreveport, Louisiana; Chattanooga, Tennessee; Birmingham, Alabama; and Jackson, Mississippi;

The survey found the LEAST Bible-minded city to be Providence, Rhode Island.  Interestingly, the founder of Rhode Island, Roger Williams, named that city in in honor of “God’s merciful providence.”  How far we’ve come!

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM.

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Praising the Giver of Life

40 years ago Roe vs. Wade changed to course of our nation. I’m praying this afternoon and PRAISING the one who GIVES us life!! Maybe you feel that because of a decision regarding life that you maybe have made, that God can’t forgive you or use you. I sure have. BUT….that’s not how God works. He loves you and wants you to know that, and He has a GREAT purpose for your life. ~ Garrett

North Carolina Students Can’t Say Christmas

A North Carolina community college has been accused of violating the First Amendment rights of students. That’s because they told a school club they couldn’t use the word “Christmas” to promote a Christmas tree sale.

The student club, called the BEST Society, was planning to sell the Christmas trees to raise money for Angel Tree, an organization that provides Christmas presents to children.

Club members followed the college rules and submitted forms to promote the sale. The proposed text read, “The BEST Society will be selling Christmas Trees…”

But when the announcement appeared on the college’s website and in other places – it had been altered. All the references to “Christmas Trees” had been replaced with “holiday trees.”

The students immediately contacted the college’s community relations director to find out what happened.

The director allegedly told them, “We cannot market your trees in association solely with a Christian event.”

As a result of the change, the club began receiving complaints from the community. In fact, some customers told the students they wouldn’t purchase the trees because the word “Christmas” had been excised.

Matt Sharp is an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom. He says “It’s ridiculous that anyone would have to think twice about using the word ‘Christmas’ as part of a Christmas tree sale.”

ADF sent a letter to officials at Western Piedmont Community urging them to reconsider their decision to censor the word “Christmas” – or face a possible lawsuit.

So far, college officials have refused to comment on the controversy.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM

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Big Sugary Drinks

As you may have heard, New York City has approved a ban on big sugary drinks.

According to USA Today, the measure could go into effect as early as March. It places a 16-ounce limit on bottled drinks and fountain beverages sold at city restaurants, movie theaters, sports venues and street carts.

It applies to sugary drinks that have more than 25 calories per 8 ounces. It would not affect 100% juice or beverages with more than 50% milk or milk substitute.

In New York, hundreds of soft drink makers and sellers, trade groups and community organizations banded together to fight the ban.

The New York State Restaurant Association and the theater owners’ group also spoke out against the controversial ban.

Andrew Moesel, spokesman for the restaurant association, says “Proposals like the soda ban discourage new business and hurt our reputation as the dining capital of the world,” said “Reducing obesity is an important goal, but we want to partner with government to come up with effective ways to confront the problem.

“What we don’t need is more burdensome regulation making it harder for businesses to function and skewing the competitive landscape.”

But the ban does have its supporters.

Steven Safyer, president of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, says “The Board of Health did the right thing for New York,” “For the past several years, I’ve seen the number of children and adults struggling with obesity skyrocket, putting them at early risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer.”

Personally, I don’t think the ban is going to make a significant impact on childhood obesity. That won’t happen until PARENTS start taking more responsibility for their children’s nutrition—and model healthy behaviors themselves.

I’m Bill Maier for Shine.FM

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