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More than 63,000 people died in the U.S. from drug overdose in 2016, according to a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released on Dec. 21, 2017. This is an 11,000-death increase from 2015 and continues a 17-year trend that has now reached levels more than three times those seen in […] Read More

Nursing is seen as the most honest and ethical profession in the U.S., according to a recent Gallup survey, while highly positive views of clergy reached an all-time low. The survey asked U.S. adults to answer the following question about 22 professions: “Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of […] Read More

Feelings of “American exceptionalism” remain strong in the U.S., but the nation has become exceptional in “problematic ways,” according to Philip Alston, United Nations special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. “Instead of realizing its founders’ admirable commitments, today’s United States has proved itself to be exceptional in far more problematic ways that are […] Read More

Ferrell Foster is director of ethics and justice for the Baptist General Convention of Texas’ Christian Life Commission. 1. Where did you grow up? The Pleasant Grove section of southeast Dallas. 2. What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why? Luke 10:27. I keep it on a chain around my neck […] Read More

More than 130 million people needed humanitarian aid assistance in 2016 (up from 125 million in 2015), according to the 2017 edition of the United Nations’ Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) “World Humanitarian Data and Trends” annual report. Conflicts and natural disasters were the key drivers of this increase. “Thirty-eight extremely violent […] Read More

Giving to religious organizations declined to 52 percent of U.S. adults in 2017, according to a Gallup report published on Dec. 21. This continues a 12-year trend. In 2005, a high of 64 percent of adults gave to religious charities, which declined to 59 percent by 2008, 55 percent by 2013 and 52 percent by […] Read More

Candy Phillips, board member of the Baptist Center for Ethics, died Friday, Dec. 22 in Nashville. Candy Cheri Poole Phillips, 70, passed away after complications from cancer. (Read the obituary in the Tennessean.) “Her genteel manner, coupled with her keen insight, were invaluable in helping to lead the BCE through its most important transition in […] Read More

Rick Bennett is field coordinator of the Tennessee Cooperative Baptist Fellowship. 1. Where did you grow up? West Palm Beach, Florida, and Ellerbe, North Carolina. 2. What is your favorite verse, book or story in the Bible? Why? Luke 2:52. It reveals the faithfully human Jesus. 3. What is your favorite movie? Why? The Bourne […] Read More

A strong majority (90 percent) of U.S. adults will celebrate Christmas this year, down 2 percent from 2013, according to a Pew Research Center report released on Dec. 12. Forty-six percent of celebrants view the observance as “more of a religious holiday,” while 33 percent see it as “more of a cultural holiday” and 9 […] Read More

Intense religious expressions in the U.S. remain stable, while moderate expressions are in decline, according to sociologists Landon Schnabel of Indiana University Bloomington and Sean Bock of Harvard University. Their report, “The Persistent and Exceptional Intensity of American Religion: A Response to Recent Research,” published on Nov. 27, seeks to counter a widely held secularization […] Read More