During a weeklong visit to Africa in March, Pope Benedict XVI told journalists accompanying him on the papal plane to Cameroon that making condoms widely available “increased the problem” of AIDS. The remark, similar to the Vatican’s longstanding emphasis on sexual abstinence, revived controversy over how best to stem the global AIDS epidemic that has devastated sub-Saharan Africa.
Members of the Baptist World Alliance’s executive committee, after hearing a sobering financial report detailing investment losses over the last year, agreed to slash the group’s 2009 budget by $900,000, or nearly 30 percent.
Complaining about earmarks is a staple of U.S. politics. The specific projects that members of Congress tack on to spending bills have long sparked public outrage. For most Americans, the idea of building a $320 million bridge from Ketchikan, Alaska (population 7,368), to the island of Gravina (population 50)—the so-called Bridge to Nowhere—is laughable.
The White House has an oft-overlooked religious ally for solving the country’s social problems through greatly expanded government programs, if a new survey of senior pastors in mainline Protestant churches is a good indication.
Bishops of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America have joined African religious leaders in publicly undergoing testing to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS and to end a legacy of church stigma and silence on the subject. “We in the U.S.