Up To 50 Principals Will Be Replaced Next Year at Dallas ISD: New superintendent Mike Miles is planning a leadership overhaul. Many principals have retired or resigned. Trustees will now get a list of an additional 10 to 15 that are being forced out. But Miles has taken some heat from parents who have “ambushed” school administrators at meetings demanding to know why their principals are being let go.
Gov. Perry Preaches From Pulpit at First Baptist: The Texas Governor used the opportunity provided by the church’s dedication of its new buildings to tell the congregation they can’t “condemn certain lifestyles.” The comments raised some eyebrows considering they came from a politician who has been outspoken about issues like supporting a constitution amendment to oppose gay marriage.
Josh Hamilton’s Family Gets Extra Security for Final Game in Angels-Rangers Series: After the boos and the taunting Josh Hamilton took at the ballpark this weekend, the player’s wife requested extra security at the stadium and watched the final game of the series from a luxury box.
Kaufman County DA and Wife Gunned Down: We’re only beginning to scratch the surface on this one. But some, such as Forney Mayor Darren Rozell, are already drawing connections between the killing of Kaufman County District Attorney Mike McLelland and his wife, Cynthia, and the murder of Assistant District Attorney Mark Hasse two months ago on the day the U.S. Department of Justice released a statement saying Hasse was involved in a racketeering case against the Aryan Brotherhood.
DMN Lauds Don Williams’ Speech, Still Mum of Golf Course: Late last week, Glenn was quick to point out that Rudy Bush’s piece (paywall) on former Trammel Crow CEO Don Williams’ chiding of the Dallas elite at the Dallas Country Club was missing some choice words about plans to build a golf club in South Dallas (namely, that Williams at first thought the course was the “worst use of $12 million that the city could possibly spend” before taking a step back and saying that a golf course doesn’t equal jobs or development). Well, over the weekend, this Dallas Morning News editorial offered formal support to Williams’ tough talk, but still nothing about the golf course, which this DMN editorial endorsed back in November, saying that:
We know there will be naysayers and cynics. But when a corporation of AT&T’s size recognizes that it’s time to focus on southern Dallas — and then uses its substantial leadership powers to rally major backing — that’s a marker worth applauding. This golf course plan is a game changer.
So, DMN, tell us: Is Williams a naysayer or a cynic?
First Baptist Opens New $130 Million Campus For Easter: Those chewy, sugary gummy ducks in your kids’ Easter baskets? They weren’t the only tacky treats to arrive in Dallas yesterday morning.
Excellent response to DMN Steve Blow’s column on the reality of hell.tinyurl.com/bxcf69z
— Rick Perry (@GovernorPerry) March 12, 2013
Over the weekend for the Morning News, Steve Blow wrote a rather strange, but introspective, column on hell, its place in modern Christianity, and the reality of it for non-Christians. Aside from being oddly bookended by Tim Tebow/Robert Jeffress anecdotes, I thought it was, let’s say, pretty okay. A taste:
I heard it said a thousand times in Sunday school: Folks of other religions may be wonderful people, but the only way you get to heaven is through faith in Jesus Christ. It boiled down to a two-word theology — “Jesus Saves.” And I knew just what fiery horror Jesus was saving us from.
Ultimately, however, I concluded that most Christians really don’t believe this one-and-only path to salvation. If not, what monsters we must be. There’s no way we could sit complacently in our favorite pew Sunday after Sunday, or devote such energy to building pretty new sanctuaries, when most of humanity faces eternal torment without our intervention.
If we truly believed it, we would quit our jobs and spend every waking moment trying to save people from the flames — just as we would save someone from a burning house. And as it turns out, polls show we really don’t believe it. Not most of us, anyway. One recent survey found that 70 percent of Americans agree with the statement: “Many religions can lead to eternal life.” Even 57 percent of evangelical Christians agreed with that statement.
Highland Park Presbyterian Church senior pastor Ronald Scates took exception to the column:
It’s fitting that the life of Dallas businessman Glenn Simmons, who died March 6 , was celebrated today in the sanctuary of First Baptist Dallas. Church pastor Dr. Robert Jeffress and others noted that Simmons, 85, was a committed church member and a leading figure in the $130 million First Baptist building project, which debuts officially on Easter Sunday. The biggest church construction program in history will include a new 3,000-seat worship center and a towering outdoor water fountain, among other things.
Today’s celebrants—a who’s who of prominent Dallasites including Gene and Jerry Jones—learned that Simmons, the brother of local billionaire Harold Simmons, was a particular fan of the water fountains at the Bellagio hotel-casino in Las Vegas. So, as a member of the First Baptist planning and development committee, Simmons urged a tall fountain be built at the church on St. Paul Street as well. Jeffress also disclosed, for the first time, that a prominent foyer in the revamped church would be named for Simmons and his widow, Dee.
Too bad the Fuel City owner knuckled under to outside pressure and gave up the white buffalo (sub. req.) Haven’t we seen this rodeo before—like last year, for instance? First, we all thought the rare animal up in Greenville was heralding the world’s end; then we were instructed that no, it was a symbol of “rebirth” and that, in any event, it required special treatment. And you know the sordid way that story ended up.
Doesn’t Fuel City, a private business, have the right to conduct its own affairs? Plus: if the protestors considered the store’s display to be “insensitive” and irreligious because of the excessively commercial locale, isn’t that just a tad bit narrow-minded? If Jesus came back today, for example, who’s to say he wouldn’t be walking around in the guise of an insurance broker or—wild guess—a union carpenter? Or a guy selling chips and beer nuts at a gas station?
Is the Dallas Police and Fire Pension System Overinvested in Real Estate? There are so many questions raised by this lengthy report on how the pension fund that owns Museum Tower ended up managing the luxury proprieties it propped-up with large cash infusions after the real estate bubble burst. For example: What are the properties really worth now? Should the pension fund be managing Hawaiian estates and Napa Valley resorts? Is fund administrator Richard Tettamant having too much fun hobnobbing on the taxpayer’s dime? If speculative land plays don’t pan out, is it really accurate to report them as investments in “natural resources?” Is Tettamant cutting sweetheart deals for developer buddies? Are his efforts to beat market returns putting the future of the our city’s finest – not to mention the pocketbooks of Dallas taxpayers – at considerable risk? Lots of questions. But here’s the one I want to ask: did the fund really need to pay to move a piano from Hawaii to the lobby of Museum Tower? I mean, they sell pianos in Dallas, right? Really nice ones, I bet.
As American Swallows U.S. Airways, Airline Field Thins: There was a time when airports were packed with brands like Pan Am, TWA, Eastern, Braniff — all of which have gone the way of the Concorde. Now the “extraordinarily complex” merger between American and U.S. Air leaves just four major carriers: American, United, Delta and Southwest.
Tim Tebow to Speak at First Baptist: The announcement that the incredibly meh quarterback will speak at Robert Jeffress’ First Baptist Church raises all the expected questions about whether or not Tebow endorses statements Jeffress has made in the past about homosexuality, Mormonism, Islam, and on and on. And I suppose those are pertinent questions to ask, even if I wish the only question surrounding anything regarding Tim Tebow was “who cares?”
Plano native Lance Armstrong is currently a 10,000-1 underdog to become the next pope, trailing literally every single person OddsChecker.com cares to list. In slightly less offensive news, the cardinal of the Galveston-Houston diocese, Daniel DiNardo, is going off at 50-to-1 to 100-to-1, depending on the house. It’s also worth noting that he’ll be one of 11 United States cardinals choosing Pope Benedict XVI’s replacement; the United States has the second-highest number of cardinals (19) behind Italy (29). Only 11 will make the trip to the Vatican, since cardinals need to be younger than 80 to vote.
Catholic Bishop Kevin Farrell of Dallas seems unconvinced that President Obama is truly compromising with religious groups over Obamacare’s contraception mandate. And, he’s “not so sure” the Boy Scouts’ possible move to admit gay scoutmasters and members is “the correct course of action to take.”
During a charity event at Dallas’ Hilton Anatole Saturday, the Irish-born prelate agreed to answer questions about these two controversial topics. The first dealt with last week’s “accommodation” with religious groups on the free birth-control-part of the Affordable Care Act. Does he like what the administration proposed?
FARRELL: First off, I will preface what I’m going to say, with the fact that I have not read the regulations, and I haven’t had time to study the question at the moment. But it would appear to me that it is –I’m not so sure that it’s so much of a change. I think there’s a lot of, I guess it’s just covering up, or a change of language, the same plan as before, just changing words. I’m not so sure the substance has really truly changed. That’s my first reading of it. I’ve only looked at this I’d say for 30 minutes. I have not studied it.
Today, in a piece by the Associated PressÂ on evangelicals and their shifting views on homosexuality, First Baptist Church’s Robert Jeffress is quoted as saying he now preaches aboutÂ homosexualityÂ in “a bigger context of God’s plan for sex between one man and one woman in a lifetime relationship called marriage…Â It would be the height of hypocrisy to condemn homosexuality and not adultery or unbiblical divorce.”
The AP and other sources picked this up and ran with it, splaying the headline “Evangelical Churches Refine Message On Gay Issues” above the piece. Problem is, what Jeffress is saying isn’t new. From our own Michael J. Mooney’s story on Jeffress, printed in January 2012:
I mentioned to him that I had spoken with Mel White, the man who wrote Dr. Criswell’s autobiography. (He did the same for Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, and Billy Graham.) In 1994, White announced to the world that he is gay. Jeffress said he’d heard of White, but that they’d never met or spoken. I told Jeffress that White says that when pastors like Jeffress tell people that gay is not okay, it fuels discrimination and can drive some gay kids into dangerous depressions. Jeffress reminded me that his, Jeffress’, is the message of hope–that homosexuals can change through the power of Christ. He generally equates being gay with alcoholism or a genetic proclivity toward violence. He always points out that no one sin is any worse than the others.
And even his 2008 “Gay is not OK” sermon featured lines of compassion. From Mooney’s piece:
In 2008, when he gave his two-part “Gay Is Not OK” sermon, he told his church: “What they [homosexuals] do is filthy. It is so degrading that it is beyond description. And it is their filthy behavior that explains why they are so much more prone to disease.” But seconds later he reminded the flock to “demonstrate compassion,” noting that “cutting off your children is the biggest mistake you will ever make. You don’t have to approve of what they’re doing. You don’t have to invite their homosexual lover into your home. But let your son or daughter always know that you love them.”
Jeffress’ position may have shifted slightly – “He said he is open to the possibility that sexual orientation has a genetic basis that cannot be cured or prayed away,” the AP story reads – but to say that he’s changed his belief is disingenuous.
Not So Sweet Sixteen: A 16-year-old’s birthday party in Grapevine didn’t quite go as planned Saturday night. Towards the end of the evening, the girl’s father got in an argument with her mother, shot the woman in the doorway to their house, and then killed himself on the front lawn.
Gun Buyback Event Turns Into Gun Auction: First Presbyterian Church of Dallas and The Stewpot want to do their part to help take guns off the street, so on Saturday they hosted a gun buyback event in downtown Dallas, just as they have for years. But this year, isn’t like other years. A protest group set up across the street from the church and began selling guns from the back of a truck.
With Second “Calatrava” Bridge, Dallas Reaffirms Superficiality: Writing about the revised design for the new I-30 bridge, critic Scott Cantrell argues we are not getting a second Santiago Calatrava, more Â like a TxDOT bridge with Calatrava “decals.” That’s typical of a city that likes to drop big bucks on name brands not just because they offer quality, he says, but because they offer bragging rights:
Calatrava is a Rolex watch among Seikos. The Seikos keep time just as well, and can be quite handsome, but the Rolex has snob appeal. Dallas loves snob appeal, especially with a foreign accent.
The video above is a sample of what it’s like to learn about the Bible in Duncanville public schools. It’s from a Hanna-Barbera cartoon series,”The Greatest Adventure: Stories From the Bible,” that’s reportedly used by the ISD.
Texas allows electives on the “Bible’s Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament” in public schools. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that such courses are constitutional, so long as they are taught in a purely academic manner without bias towards a particular sectarian presentation of the material.
But SMU religious studies professor Mark Chancey released a study on Wednesday, in conjunction with the education watchdog Texas Freedom Network, that points to troubling ways in which these courses are being taught. In general, there is a tendency in many of the courses towards a conservative, Protestant interpretation of the material and a literal reading of the scriptures. He is especially critical of 21 of the 57 districts in which Biblical courses are taught, including Duncanville and Prosper ISDs in North Texas.
In Duncanville, Chancey’s study states, the course is taught by a retired minister with a doctorate in theology from Orthodox Baptist Institute. (more…)
Brad’s been at home sick the last couple days, which is why you’ve heard relatively little from him on FrontBurner. He did manage to crawl out of bed long enough yesterday to post about a fellow who’s been calling the Perot Museum’s exhibits “fairy tale propaganda.”
Brad sent this fellow, a “street preacher” named Jesse Morrell, several follow-up questions. Morrell has taken it upon himself to post his responses on his own website, soÂ I’d like to address a couple of the highlights. He writes:
And for the Big Bang to be promoted as an argument against God, as the Perot Museum present it is itself a fallacious argument. Even if all of the universe existed in a single molecule that exploded, this does not necessarily exclude the existence of a Creator and Designer at all. They are trying to explain the “how” but the “how” does not necessarily exclude the “who” that was behind the “how.”
I don’t believe the museum is arguing against God’s existence by explaining the Big Bang theory, but other than that, I agree with this point. And I say that as someone who knows that evolution is as much a fact (not a theory)Â as anything in the realm of scientific knowledge is fact, and someone who doesn’t doubt that something along the lines of the Big Bang correctly explains the development of our universe.
But the “how” doesn’tÂ necessarily exclude the “who.” I’d bet many of the people responsible for the creation of the Perot’s exhibits would agree with that sentiment as well. Â If Morrell would only listen to his own point, he might not consider his religious faith so terribly under attack by the museum’s presentation of scientific knowledge and wouldn’t wrongly accuse them of pushing a purely atheistic agenda.
Southlake Carroll Students Dead After Night of Drugs, Alcohol: Two Southlake Carroll students may have survived Friday night had Cullen Marino, a 22-year-old who found them unconscious after drinking and taking drugs, sought immediate assistance. Instead he moved the boy’s bodies from the living room of his house to the bedroom, where they were found dead the following morning by Marino’s father.
Families Settle Suit Over Violent, Explicit Highland Park Fiction: Remember that seventh grade kid who wrote the book about all his classmates involved in all sorts of nefarious activities (drugs, rape, and the rest)? It’s all been put to rest with a quiet settlement. In short, you’re never going to see that book.
Cleburne Pastor Admits Prior Life as Porn Star: That was the startling revelation New Heart Family Worship Center’s Senior Pastor Claude Gilliland III told his congregation Sunday.
Share your ownÂ Ghosts of Dallas.
MegaFest, the 100,00-attendee religious conference spearheaded by Dallas evangelical T.D. Jakes, will take root in Dallas for the first time in 2013.
The move was announced in late October at theÂ Dallas Convention and Visitors Bureau’s annual meeting; a press conference today helped flesh out some of the details, including:
- guests will “fill every square inch” of the Dallas Convention Center and American Airlines Center Aug. 28-30, said Phillip Jones,Â president/CEO of theÂ DallasÂ Convention & Visitors Bureau
- the city expects $41 million in economic impact
- 77 percent of MegaFest’s attendees – at its most recent Atlanta iteration – came from out of town (read: full hotels, restaurants, shops)
Jakes had always shipped more than 1,000 volunteers and employees to Atlanta for the event, because Dallas’ infrastructure – hotels, transportation, convention halls – was substandard, he said. The festival’s contracted to Dallas for 2013, 2015, and 2017, but the latter events could be moved if next year’s event doesn’t meet Jakes’ standards, Jones said.
While the event is a Christian event, the economic impact is what has city officials salivating.
“In Atlanta, a retailer told me he sold more shoes, hats, and dresses when I was in town than for any other event,” Jakes said.
For more information, head to the MegaFest website.