Monday, July 28, 2003

Thou Shalt Not Steal

We all know this quote, and those of us of a spiritual bent try to take it seriously. Then why are Christian songs (which account for seven percent of all music sales, more than Latin, jazz, or classical) pirated just as often as other kinds of music. This pirated includes online file-sharing, as well as the more traditional taping for a friend. If you consider music a ministry, then sharing is a reasonable activity -- we pass on tapes of sermons, right? But when music becomes an industry and not a ministry and if money means more than touching lives, then it's stealing. It should be different, but I'm not sure if it is.

Friday, July 18, 2003

An Interesting Case

This one might be going to court in the next few years, so consider this a sneak preview. In 2000, Congress passed and President Clinton signed the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA), which bars governments from enforcing zoning codes that impose "a substantial burden" on religious assembly. This law is being challenged in Los Angeles, where a group of Hassidic Orthodox Jews has torn down a 70-year-old house to build a synagogue in the heart of pricey Hancock Hill. A citizens group has been established to protest the construction, while the congreagation argues that the law is on their side. The RLUIPA is new law, and this may be one of the eraly cases to test the constitutionality of the law. This one has so many issues that it can't help but get ugly.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

Translation Issues

The Wall Street Journal strikes again! This time, it is a fascinating article about the battle over Bible translations in the Zondervan company. Bought out by HarperCollins recently, Zondervan is the publisher of the wildly popular (45% market share) New International Version (NIV) of the Bible. Not content to dominate the evangelical market, Zondervan has annonuced plans to publish the Today's NIV (TNIV) in 2005. The TNIV is a gender-inclusive translltion, targeted at the more liberla-minded of denominations. The interesting thing to watch is if the NIV suffers among its constituencies as a result of the TNIV coming out from the same publisher. This move seems to make perfect business sense, but that assumes that conservatives will understand the business sense that HC and Zondervan are using.