People

March 22, 2005

Doug Wead, an evangelical Christian and former confidant of President Bush, has become an outcast among some conservative Christian leaders after he shared tapes with the New York Times that recorded private conversations with Bush. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, told the Times that he was “shocked” by Wead’s “breach of trust.” The tapes were made when Bush was governor of Texas. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention said the actions by Wead, who has written a book on the parents of presidents, weren’t “all that great a career move if he wants to speak at evangelical events.” The Times reported February 20 that Wead recorded private discussions in which Bush said he had been pressured by some religious conservatives to criticize homosexuals, and apparently alluded to having smoked marijuana.

Dennis L. Rader, 59, president of the church council of Christ Lutheran Church in Wichita, Kansas, has been charged with ten counts of murder in strangulations that terrorized the city. His pastor at the ELCA-affiliated congregation, Michael G. Clark, said information on a computer disk traced back to the church led police to make the arrest last month. Police suspect that Rader was a serial killer who went by the initials BTK (for “bind, torture, kill”) in communications to the public. Rader had used the church’s computer a few weeks before BTK’s final mailing February 16, according to what the pastor said police told him.

Peter Benenson, the founder of the human rights organization Amnesty International, died at age 83 on February 26 in Oxford, England. The British lawyer founded the group in 1961 as a one-year campaign after reading a news article on the jailing of two Portuguese students.