Jun 9, 2014 7:00 am

Southern Baptists confront a ‘third way’ on homosexuality and sin

FT_14.06.06_homosexualsBaptistsAs the Southern Baptist Convention begins its annual meeting Tuesday in Baltimore, the country’s largest Protestant body will confront an issue agitating many conservative evangelical Christian churches: How to navigate the rapidly shifting landscape of same-sex marriage and homosexuality.

The denomination, which claims 16 million members but also has been struggling with declining membership, defines God’s plan for marriage and sexual intimacy as between “one man and one woman,” and teaches that homosexuality is “not a ‘valid alternative lifestyle.’” According to its constitution, if a congregation decides to “affirm, approve or endorse homosexual behavior,” it is considered no longer “in cooperation with” the wider body.

But in February, a California pastor told his Southern Baptist congregation that he no longer believed the traditional teachings of the church regarding homosexuality. The Rev. Danny Cortez said members of New Heart Community Church and his own son, who had recently come out as gay, had helped convince him that homosexuality is not a sin. Read More

Topics: Evangelical Protestants and Evangelicalism, Gay Marriage and Homosexuality

Jun 6, 2014 1:45 pm

Chart of the Week: How U.S. regained all its lost jobs, but still fell behind


jobs_gapAccording to today’s employment report, the U.S. finally — after six and a half years — has more jobs than it did before the housing crash and subsequent global financial crisis cratered the economy. After adjusting for seasonal variation, there were 138,463,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in May — surpassing the pre-recession peak of 138,365,000 in January 2008.

But while the country may have climbed out of the deepest jobs hole since the Depression, that hardly means everything is peachy. There are about 15 million more working-age people now than there were in January 2008, but essentially the same number of jobs. Only 58.9% of the adult population is employed, four percentage points below the level in January 2008.  Read More

Category: Chart of the Week

Topics: Economic Recession, National Economy

Jun 6, 2014 12:15 pm

Where World Cup footballers play during the regular season

Some of the world’s best soccer players are gathered in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup, which begins next week. But during the rest of the year, the 736 players who are members of national teams play on club teams around the world in 53 different countries.

Pew Research analyzed the final rosters for each of the 32 qualifying nations posted to FIFA’s official website and found a total of 476 players (65%) who currently play for clubs in countries outside of their World Cup nation. Think of them as “elite labor migrants,” many of whom cross borders to play for higher salaries in front of bigger audiences.  Read More

Topics: Migration

Jun 6, 2014 7:00 am

On D-Day anniversary, only 1 million World War II veterans still alive

U.S. WW II veteran Arden C. Earll, right, from Erie, Pennsylvania, landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, with the 116th infantry regiment, salutes along with other WW II veterans as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary, Credit: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere
U.S. WW II veteran Arden C. Earll, right, from Erie, Pennsylvania, who landed on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944, with the 116th infantry regiment, salutes along with other WWII veterans as part of the commemoration of the 70th D-Day anniversary. Credit: AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

FT_14.06.05_D-Day-anniversaryPresident Obama marks the 70th anniversary of the pivotal invasion of Europe at a ceremony in Normandy, France, today to pay tribute to the 16 million Americans who served in World War II. The moment is a particularly special one, given the dwindling ranks of the “greatest generation” whose members fought in that costly battle.

Just over one million World War II veterans survive today, according to Veterans Administration figures collected by The National WWII Museum.

When Ronald Reagan made his presidential pilgrimage to the battle site of Pointe du Hoc in 1984 on the invasion’s 40th anniversary, paying tribute to the American Ranger team that took heavy casualties capturing a German-occupied cliff, there were still 10.7 million World War II veterans alive.

By the next decennial anniversary, the VA estimates that their numbers will be down to 81,117.

Topics: Military and Veterans, Wars and International Conflicts

Jun 5, 2014 3:59 pm

Time Inc. spinoff reflects a troubled magazine business

Credit: Getty Images

FT_Magazine.Print.AdsOn Friday, Time Inc. will officially become a separate company, completing a spinoff from parent Time Warner that has been in the works for over a year. With a portfolio of more than 70 overseas and 23 domestic magazines — including Time, People and Sports Illustrated — Time Inc. has created a widely renowned publishing brand. But over the past decade, it has also suffered from an economic decline that reduced its revenues by 34% and cut its operating profit by 59%.

Time Inc.’s troubles are emblematic of the economic challenges facing the consumer magazine industry. While the digital side of the business has been making some gains, overall magazine print circulation (including single-copy sales, subscriptions and even digital replicas) has been down each of the past six years, while the number of print ad pages fell for the eighth year in a row in 2013. Read More

Topics: Magazines

Jun 5, 2014 1:14 pm

On TV, few amateur journalists get credit for their contributions to the news

Several television news organizations are relying on a significant amount of amateur news footage in their broadcasts, but a new report reveals that they rarely credit the citizen journalists who actually produce it.

The study from Columbia University’s Tow Center for Digital Journalism examined the handling of user-generated content (UGC) at eight international television networks and their websites. And at a time when ordinary citizens are increasingly functioning as on-scene reporters, nearly three-quarters (72%) of that amateur content that aired on these television outlets was not identified as such. An even higher proportion of on-air footage from amateur journalists—84%—did not have an on-screen credit identifying the source of the material.

FT_14.06.05_UGCcreditsThis analysis of how news organizations use footage gathered by amateur journalists examined more than 1,100 hours of TV news footage and more than 2,200 Web pages on the eight major global TV networks over a 21-day period in November-December 2013. They included Al Jazeera (Arabic and English), BBC World, CNN International, euronews, France 24, NHK World and Telesur. Unlabeled content was identified as such by researchers through cross-referencing on social media and news agencies, as well as on-screen indicators such as camera skill and production values.

In the period studied, the practice of crediting amateur news content—naming the person who produced the footage—differed significantly by outlet. Researchers said CNN International credited 53% of these outside contributions on its air, the highest percentage of any outlet. Conversely, only 9% of the citizen content on BBC World was credited while that number dipped to 1% on France 24.  Read More

Topics: Foreign News, News Content Analysis, News Media Ethics and Practices, News Media Trends, Social Media, Television

Jun 5, 2014 7:00 am

Generation X: America’s neglected ‘middle child’

Generation X has a gripe with pulse takers, zeitgeist keepers and population counters. We keep squeezing them out of the frame.

This overlooked generation currently ranges in age from 34 to 49, which may be one reason they’re so often missing from stories about demographic, social and political change. They’re smack in the middle innings of life, which tend to be short on drama and scant of theme.

But there are other explanations that have nothing to do with their stage of the life cycle.

Gen Xers are bookended by two much larger generations – the Baby Boomers ahead and the Millennials behind – that are strikingly different from one another. And in most of the ways we take stock of generations – their racial and ethnic makeup; their political, social and religious values; their economic and educational circumstances; their technology usage – Gen Xers are a low-slung, straight-line bridge between two noisy behemoths.

The charts below tell the tale.  Read More

Topics: Demographics, Generations and Age, Political Attitudes and Values

Jun 4, 2014 4:17 pm

Want a three-car garage? You’re more likely to find it in the Midwest

FT_14.06.04_NewHousesbyRegionThe Census Bureau’s recent report on characteristics of newly built housing reveals lots of interesting regional variations, beyond the widely reported fact that median square footage of single-family homes has resumed its pre-housing crash climb.

For one, housing hasn’t grown evenly in all regions of the country. New homes are largest in the South, where the median floor area last year was 2,469 square feet; they’re smallest in the Midwest, at a median 2,177 square feet. (The median for the whole country is 2,384 square feet.) But over the past four decades, home size has grown the most in the Northeast: The median floor area of a new home there was 61% above the corresponding median in 1973.

Last year, according to the Census data, fully a third of all newly completed houses in the South were 3,000 square feet or more; in 1999, which is as far back as the report goes, just 18% of new Southern homes were that big. Read More

Topics: Homeownership, U.S. Census

Jun 4, 2014 1:29 pm

Are minority births the majority yet?

Credit: Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa/Corbis
Credit: Waltraud Grubitzsch/dpa/Corbis

FT_14.06.03_birthsUSTwo years ago, the Census Bureau announced the nation had reached a new demographic tipping point: The share of U.S. babies who were a racial or ethnic minority had edged past the 50% mark for the first time. The finding was widely covered as a dramatic illustration of the agency’s projections that the U.S. will become a majority-minority nation within three decades.

But that tipping point may not have arrived yet, according to preliminary 2013 birth data released last week by the National Center for Health Statistics. The center’s numbers indicate that non-Hispanic white mothers still account for 54% of births—as they had in 2012 and 2011. Read More

Topics: Birth Rate and Fertility, Demographics, U.S. Census

Jun 3, 2014 11:25 am

Less than half of Ukrainians support economic aid from the West

Less than half of Ukrainians support economic aid from the WestUkraine will be at the top of the agenda when the leaders of the G7 advanced economies meet later this week in Brussels. Their deliberations are likely to focus on what their governments – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States – can do to bolster the newly elected Ukrainian government in the face of continued violence by pro-Russian sympathizers within the country. But the effectiveness of any such Western aid may depend on fundamental reform of the Ukrainian economy, which is mired in recession. Read More

Topics: Eastern Europe, Foreign Affairs and Policy