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On the Light Side

July 11, 1989

ATLANTA (AP) _ The $3 billion Christian publishing business doesn’t thrive on the Good Book alone.

The 350 exhibitors at Monday’s convention of the Christian Booksellers Association offered everything from T-shirts and videotapes to jigsaw puzzles and computerized Bible programs.

One sale item was a baseball cap bearing the message, ″REPENT 3/8″

″They’re showing the spiritual warfare between the powers of Satan and Christianity, and showing that Christ is supreme ... but in novel form,″ said Bob Hawkins Jr., vice president for marketing for Harvest House Publishers.

The $3 billion industry has grown by leaps and bounds during the last decade, said William R. Anderson, president of the association. ″What was basically just a mom-and-pop industry only a few years ago, now is a serious worldwide industry.″

Book publishers are not limiting themselves to the standard religion shelf items. Available now from Christian-oriented publishers are cookbooks, exercise manuals, financial guides and novels, all with a spiritual bent.

And exhibitor Adeeb Howrani said a lot of people are wearing the good word on their chests.

″People will spend $18 or $20 for a Nike T-shirt,″ he said. ″It’s not unreasonable to ask $12.95 for a T-shirt that expresses a positive message.″

Howrani, who was wearing a shirt reading, ″Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours Lord,″ said he does not incorporate any secular images on his products.

″There’s so much in the Bible, it’s almost ridiculous to take an idea from somewhere else,″ he said.

Dave Bordon, sales manager for Infinity Video of Tulsa, Okla., said his company is offering tapes such as ″Idol Busters,″ a take-off of the ″Ghostbusters″ movies, to capture the teen-age audience.

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GREENFIELD, Mass. (AP) - State District Judge Allan McGuane’s verdict is in on the basic black of the bench: It’s boring.

After 13 years as a judge, he has taken to spicing up his wardrobe with red and gray robes.

Now, he’s considering green and maybe some pastels.

″It’s just to put a little color in my life,″ McGuane said Monday. ″Be a little different. There’s a real monotony to everyone wearing black.″

There’s no rule that a judge must wear black. It’s just a tradition, he said. ″And you should see what some of them wear underneath their robes to express their individuality.″

″Some lawyers think they look good, others think I am out of my gourd,″ McGuane said.

McGuane doesn’t know how judges came to wear black. One story is that Oliver Wendell Holmes began the tradition among American jurists after their British counterparts donned black as a mark of mourning for Queen Victoria.

″I don’t know why,″ McGuane said. ″She wasn’t our queen.″

Lawyers have been trying to figure out whether there is any correlation between McGuane’s mood and the color of his robes. Will he look kindly on their clients when he is wrapped in rosy red?

″There really isn’t, but it keeps them busy and out of mischief,″ McGuane said.

McGuane said the final arbiter of his garb is Assistant Clerk-Magistrate Margaret Palmeri.

″She won’t let me go into the courtroom wearing something that clashes with what’s she’s wearing,″ McGuane said. ″She’s the color coordinator.″

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