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VOLUME 1 • ISSUE 8   |   Release date: January 15, 2004

In This Issue
No Grace on Moon, Mars
Black Family Flees Emergent Church
THO Guide to Christian Capitalization
Benefits of Abstinence After Marriage
Bible Study Divided for Sex Talk
Survey Results
January Church Sign of the Month

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Bush's Long-Range Space Initiative May Place Communities Millions of Miles from Earth… and Grace
Focus on the Family fears no salvation for permanent residents of Moon, Mars
No Grace on Moon, Mars

PASADENA, CA – President Bush's announcement this week regarding the United States' long-range goal of establishing permanent residence on the moon and then Mars has the scientific community elated, but it also has many groups worried that individuals may not be able to attain salvation living so far from Earth. Most notably, Focus on the Family is promoting a formal petition to the administration with hopes that it will reconsider its objectives.

Bush's announcement comes in the wake of NASA's huge achievement in its successful deployment of Spirit—a golf cart sized robot equipped to gather rocks and soil on Mars. Spirit's goal is to determine if liquid water could have persisted in the supposed ancient lakebed long enough for life to develop on the now desolate planet. Hopes are high right now—mostly because last spring before launch Spirit successfully gathered rocks and soil on Earth. Water and life were also found.

Kenneth Erff, public relations director for Focus on the Family, asserted, "Whether or not Spirit ever finds life there, I definitely think we should consider Mars an enemy planet!" In response to some confusion from THO, Erff continued, "At the very least it's one of Satan's playgrounds, which he'll use to lure humans away from God's plan and salvation. I mean a trip to the Moon or Mars is one thing, but living there is a recipe for damnation. I can't advocate a plan that would place children born in these locations in a position where they cannot receive God's gift of eternal life!"

Proponents of the movement against permanent residence on the Moon and Mars cite Scripture in their defense. "How could 'For God so loved the world' be any clearer?" explains Penny Draught, president of the newly formed Christians Against Extra-Earth Residence (CAEER). "John speaks so plainly when he says 'Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!' (John 1:29)." Scripture reeks of the concept that Jesus only came to save the world—not the Moon or Mars!"

Don Claymont, secretary of petitions for CAEER, agrees and added, "Even if you could be saved while living permanently on the Moon—which I highly doubt—how pleasing would your life be to God when you can't even begin to carry out your portion of the great commission? You can ignore your calling to spread the gospel to the ends of the Earth, but God certainly won't ignore your ignoring when it comes time for the world's final judgment! That is, if He even realizes you're out there."

This morning, Focus on the Family, CAEER, the Christian student group 9.8 4-Ever, and others released a joint statement in opposition to permanent residence away from Earth. The document also clarifies that crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) remain within the physical boundaries of God's current offer of salvation because "they can still see the Earth really well." It adds, "But God knows if their hearts are living outside our atmosphere."

Media have not received an official response from the Bush administration regarding the petition. Although, as news of this was released to aides after Bush's address on Wednesday THO reporters believe they overheard one aide mutter "They can permanently reside in my…"

Surprisingly, Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, had little to say when asked what he thought of the theological basis for the petition. "You know, I really don't know. This must have been the board's decision," Dobson responded.

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