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Trump Claims More Christian Leaders Would Support Him if They Couldn’t Lose Tax-Exempt Status

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has relentlessly pursued the support of Christian evangelicals throughout his campaign. Now, the controversial business mogul is speaking out against an antiquated rule that forbids Christian leaders from endorsing him.

According to The Washington Post, Trump recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network that more prominent faith leaders would publicly endorse him if their churches could not be penalized by losing their tax-exempt status.

“I know people who want to endorse me, but they’re afraid to endorse anybody because they don’t want to get political. So essentially, they’ve taken a lot of the power away from the church,” Trump told CBN’s “Brody File.”

Since churches in the U.S. are exempt from taxes, their leaders are forbidden from endorsing political candidates. Trump may be bluffing when he says that numerous Christian leaders are afraid to support him, but his brutal honesty has led many to reconsider the relationship between religion and politics.

“I see churches where they’re afraid to be outspoken because they don’t want to lose their tax-exempt status, and I realize that is one of the problems,” Trump added. “I want to give power back to the church because the church has to have more power. Christianity is really being chopped; little by little it’s being taken away.”

Donald Trump is no stranger to taxes, which does qualify him to speak out on this type of issue. In the past several decades, he has moved much of his business to Florida from New York, which can save someone in a high income tax bracket thousands or even millions of dollars.

However, many Christian Americans are still questioning Trump’s commitment to religion, with some claiming he is merely tugging at the heartstrings of evangelicals to bolster his poll numbers. It’s part of the reason that he finished second in the Iowa caucuses to Ted Cruz, who has a much better reputation among social conservatives.

According to Time, the uneasiness that many Christians feel towards Trump is likely warranted. Since 2002, the brash businessman has flip-flopped on several key issues, including abortion, a ban on assault weapons, and the invasion of Iraq.

Trump did clarify his views on abortion during a recent debate, stating that, “As long as they do the abortion, I am not for funding Planned Parenthood.”

Despite Trump’s arrogance and willingness to reverse his stance on important issues, he hasn’t suffered at all in the polls. If anything, his recent comments on churches losing their tax-exempt status will only add to his momentum.

Domestic Abuse of Christian Women More Prevalent Than Previously Thought

A well landscaped yard may reduce allergens, such as ragweed, and a clean and decorated home can send a certain message to neighbors and visitors. But maintaining a perfect religious practice can be challenging — especially when subject to domestic abuse. Unfortunately, a “silent epidemic” of abuse of Christian women, including pastor’s and minister’s wives, is occurring every day.

Since domestic violence is rarely discussed in the Christian community, awareness and prevention has not been easily accessible or offered.

In a study conducted by Sojourners, called “I Believe You: Sexual Violence and the Church,” it was found that 65% of pastors have only spoken one time or fewer about domestic or sexual violence.

The study showed that 22% of pastors had addressed the issue annually, and 33% mentioned it “rarely.” One in ten said they had never taught on it.

Despite the infrequency with which abuse is discussed, every nine seconds in the U.S., a woman is assaulted or beaten, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Dr. Benjamin Keyes of Regent University’s Center for Trauma Studies commented that the reason for the high rate of abuse in Christian homes might be because of the traditional role structures, in which women are often subservient to men.

Yet the epidemic is not only limited to physical abuse. Many women suffer emotional, verbal and sexual abuse at the hands of their husbands or partners.

Keyes said that women are not speaking up for a variety of reasons. “It’ll bring on that shadow of shame and a lot of guilt and ‘I’m not going to do anything to rock the boat so I’ll keep the secret in the context of the family,'” he said.

He also said that women might stay in abusive relationships because of finances and for the sake of their children.

Product Placement In Popular Media Isn’t Going Anywhere Anytime Soon

Product placement in television and movies is certainly no secret. In fact, it seems pretty clear that product placement has infiltrated every aspect of media, from behind the scenes interviews to gossip magazines.

Peyton Manning’s post-Super Bowl 50 interview left no doubt in viewers minds that Budweiser was definitely what they should be drinking to celebrate the victory.

The blatant use of Apple products in films, an actor’s casual sip of Coke — these subtle advertisements, also known as embedded marketing or brand integration, can be traced down to the earliest moving pictures.

Arun Jain, a Samuel P. Capen professor of marketing research at the University of Buffalo, cites James Dean’s seeming affinity for Levi’s jeans on screen. A classic example of the success of product placement, Levi’s solidified the iconic image of their jeans.

Today, the same technique is used and is just as effective. Whether it’s Beats by Dre headphones in a music video or a bag of Doritos in a sitcom, the marriage of a product with the mere idea of a specific lifestyle, icon or personality does wonders for sales. Jain points to the whooping $45 million Heineken is said to have paid for Daniel Craig’s James Bond to sip a beer in “Skyfall.”

The “Entourage” movie, a film adaptation of the hit HBO show, has been noted recently for its particularly high rates of product placement. With an impressive 65 products placed, Entourage beat “Spectre,” another James bond flick, and last year’s “Jurassic World.”

With online purchases only a click away and global e-commerce sales generating $1.2 million every 30 seconds, product placement can influence buyer’s to do a quick search on Amazon and click just once to place an order.

However, experts note that another field might soon fall prey to the lure of the funding provided by corporations for the strategic placing of their products: podcasts.

As this new media form gains more and more popularity, services and companies will pay for an on-air mention.

MailChimp, the email marketing service, won attention when it was mentioned on the hit podcast “Serial” and will be mentioned in three separate episodes of “Fruit,” which airs exclusively on Howl.

It is first mentioned in the second episode — a character says to her agent: “Can you go over the mailing list from MailChimp for next month’s fundraiser?” The small mention is designed not to interrupt the flow of conversation.

This classic, sneaky, suggestive marketing method looks like it will be adapting with the times.

Why Are International Chinese Students Filling Up Christian Churches?

It’s not at all uncommon for international students to come to America for an education. But according to the Christian Examiner, in recent years there has been a substantial influx of Chinese students flocking to America’s top universities and graduate schools in record numbers.

In fact, as many as 300,000 Chinese students are currently enrolled in American colleges. What is most strange about the increase in Chinese students is that the vast majority are transferring to Christian schools.

Foreign Policy magazine stated that besides the rush of new students, what is “less widely known is that at the secondary level, most Chinese attend Christian schools — even though they come from the world’s largest atheist state.”

The large numbers of incoming Chinese students enrolling in secondary schools has long been a point of controversy with some residents objecting that public funds are being used to educate students whose families are paying no school taxes.

However, principals often want the students regardless of their citizenship status because they often raise a school’s academic profile and test scores.

Because many Christian schools are technically private institutions that depend solely on independent tuition, any international students who can afford the $25,000 to $35,000 yearly tuition can attend without controversy over the source of funding required to support their education.

“According to data obtained by Foreign Policy from the Department of Homeland Security via the Freedom of Information Act, 58% of the F-1 visas issued for Chinese high school students in 2014 and the first three months of 2015 were for Catholic or Christian schools,” Foreign Policy claimed.

In order to facilitate the move across seas, Chinese parents typically purchase homes in their children’s school districts, where the students often live with adult relatives or a “house mother” while they complete their education. And considering that around 92% of people now use the internet when searching for new homes, it is much easier for Chinese parents to find suitable housing for their children.

As it would appear, Christian Today reports, these Chinese students are picking up much more than an American education after attending school in the U.S., with a growing number of them converting to Christianity while attending college.

While there are no definite figures of how many Chinese students have converted, Gregory Jao, the national director of campus engagement for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship/USA, claims his organization works with 1,800 overseas Chinese out of the total 5,000 international students involved with the organization.

“One day I was walking on campus, I just felt like there are waves of Chinese students walking past me,” said Duncan Szeto, a volunteer at the Mandarin-speaking fellowship at Columbia. “It just hit me that there are so many Chinese students. I know each of them has a soul that God values.”

Part of what initially attracts Chinese students to the Christian community is a desire to feel that they belong and simply to socialize in American culture.