An Oklahoma court cleared former Southern Baptist pastor Lonnie Latham of misdemeanor charges for offering to engage in sex with a male undercover officer. Latham's lawyer cited the Supreme Court's 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision and argued that the charges were based on an unconstitutional law prohibiting lewd acts. The judge did not address the law's constitutionality in announcing her verdict. After his arrest in January 2006, Latham resigned from his positions as senior pastor of Tulsa Baptist Church and as a member of both the executive committee of the Southern Baptist Convention and the board of directors of the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma.

Opportunity International received a substantial gift and loan from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and grants from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). Opportunity plans to use the $5.4 million grant and $10 million loan from the Gates Foundation to start up microfinance banks to serve the poor in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The USAID money, totaling more than $1.35 million, will fund microfinance services in Malawi and Mozambique.

Two members and former employees of Earl Paulk's Georgia church have dropped their lawsuit against him and Chapel Hill Harvester Church. Bobby and Mona Brewer sued Paulk for allegedly coercing Mona Brewer into a 14-year affair and abusing his role as a spiritual leader. The Brewers' lawyer cited difficulty in getting witnesses to testify and delays in the case as reasons for dropping the suit.

A California court's three-judge panel has dismissed Christian Research Institute president Hank Hanegraaff's defamation suit against former employee William Alnor. The court determined that Hanegraaff did not prove "actual malice" regarding Alnor's 2005 statement that Hanegraaff was being investigated for mail fraud.

Related Elsewhere:

"Weblog: Pastors Off the Hook in Sex Cases" has analysis and links to other articles about Latham, Paulk, and Hanegraaff's cases.

"Making Radio Waves" mentions some of Hanegraaff's legal troubles.

Hanegraaff is president of the Christian Research Institute International. He is also host of the Bible Answer Man radio program

"Small Loans, Big Goals" discusses the impact of Yunus' Nobel Prize on organizations like Opportunity International.

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation's contribution to Opportunity International is its second.

John and Jacque Weberg's record-breaking $50 million pledge to Opportunity International also drew attention to the organization.

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