The Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, plans to turn over political power to the elected prime minister of the Tibetan government in exile. This move is designed to ensure that there isn't a political vacuum after the Dalai Lama dies and that there is an effective response to Chinese crackdowns against the Tibetans. A spokesperson for the Chinese government said the move is designed to fool the international community. The Chinese fear that the Dalai Lama will return to Tibet, which one Chinese official said would be a greater threat than a "vast army" (Los Angeles Times, March 10).
Mar 25, 2011
The University of California at Davis has decided that Christians may not be oppressors after all. A university policy document, "The Principles of Community," defined religious and spiritual discrimination as "the loss of power and privilege to those who do not practice the dominant culture's religion." It claimed that in the U.S. there is institutionalized oppression of those who aren't Christian. When the pro-Christian law firm Alliance Defense Fund objected to this claim, a university executive said the definition would be removed from the document (beliefnet.com).
Mar 24, 2011
A blogger at the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America pointed out that some lines of Paul-Gordon Chandler's article on events in Egypt are unusually close to lines in a February 19 article in the New York Times—and charges that Chandler lifted them from the Times. However, reporters often make use of the frequent informal e-mail updates from Cairo that Chandler sends to friends and churches—which is what appears to have happened in this case. Says Chandler, an Anglican priest in Cairo: "We are happy to help all those trying to get information out."
Mar 23, 2011
More than two dozen Houston-area churches sponsored a "Bring Your Gay Teen to Church Day." Organized by the Houston Clergy Council, the event was a response to an area teenager's suicide after years of being bullied. Meanwhile, megachurch pastor Joel Osteen of Houston told CNN that he believes homosexuality is a sin. Osteen acknowledged that some gays attend his church but said he doesn't preach on the subject (Houston Chronicle, February 19).
Mar 22, 2011
Brandon Davies, a star on Brigham Young University's nationally ranked basketball team, was suspended for the remainder of the season because he violated the Mormon-run school's honor code which prohibits premarital sex. BYU, ranked third at the time, had been expected to gain a top seed in the annual NCAA tournament. Davies was allowed to remain in school while his situation was reviewed by the Honor Code Office. According to a source close to the program, Davies was "extremely remorseful, heartbroken," but has accepted the school's punishment (Salt Lake Tribune, March 3).