As criticism of the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina continues, praise of faith-based groups that have responded is providing new momentum in a campaign to expand federal funding of religious social services.
Birmingham’s Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, the site of a 1963 bombing that killed four girls, has become a national historic landmark. U.S. Secretary of Interior Gale Norton, speaking from the church’s pulpit, said the downtown church now serves as hope for churches destroyed recently in a string of arsons.
The appeals for visible church unity made at the recent World Council of Churches assembly in Brazil were not new, but the longtime obstacles remain a sore point for many—especially limits on celebrating communion in each other’s churches and the lack of a common date for Easter.
The U.S. Air Force has issued revised guidelines on religious expression, reiterating its official neutrality on matters of belief but making subtle changes in language that have drawn both criticism and praise from disparate groups.