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In brief: Megachurch files bankruptcy plan

Sat., May 28, 2011, midnight

Garden Grove, Calif. – The Southern California megachurch founded by one of the nation’s pioneering televangelists, the Rev. Robert H. Schuller, on Friday filed a bankruptcy plan that would pull the Crystal Cathedral out of crushing debt by selling its sprawling campus and famous, glass-covered sanctuary to a local real estate investment group for $47 million.

The church would lease back most of its core buildings under the plan, which must be approved by a bankruptcy judge, so worshippers and visitors won’t notice any changes in services or outreach. The church’s popular, decades-old televangelist program “Hour of Power” broadcasts would also continue, the church said.

The plan would allow the ministry to lease the church buildings back for a guaranteed 15-year period, with the additional option of buying the core campus back at a fixed price within four years, said Marc Winthrop, the church’s bankruptcy attorney.

Spoken-word musician dies

New York – Musician Gil Scott-Heron, who helped lay the groundwork for rap by fusing minimalistic percussion, political expression and spoken-word poetry on songs such as “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” died Friday at age 62.

A friend, Doris C. Nolan, said he died at St. Luke’s Hospital after becoming sick upon returning from a European trip.

“We’re all sort of shattered,” she said.

Scott-Heron’s influence on rap was such that he sometimes was referred to as the Godfather of Rap, a title he rejected.

He referred to his signature mix of percussion, politics and performed poetry as bluesology or Third World music. But then he said it was simply “black music or black American music.”

Scott-Heron recorded the song that would make him famous, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised,” in the 1970s in Harlem. He followed up that recording with more than a dozen albums, initially collaborating with musician Brian Jackson.

Group challenges strict abortion law

Pierre, S.D. – Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit in federal court Friday seeking to block a South Dakota law that would require women seeking abortions to face the nation’s longest waiting period – three days – and undergo counseling at pregnancy help centers that discourage abortion.

The lawsuit asks a federal judge to suspend the law from taking effect until a final ruling on whether the new law, set to take effect July 1, violates a woman’s constitutional right to abortion established under the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 ruling in Roe v. Wade.

The legal challenge was filed in Sioux Falls, where Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota operates South Dakota’s only abortion clinic.

State Rep. Roger Hunt, the chief sponsor of the bill in this year’s legislative session, said the lawsuit was expected.

The lawsuit contends the law violates a woman’s legal right to abortion by imposing “the most extreme mandatory delay in the country.” The measure also interferes with a woman’s right to privacy and violates the free-speech rights of women and their doctors, the lawsuit says.


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