Ruth Bell Graham, 87, evangelist Billy Graham’s independent and strong-willed wife, who had been plagued with ill health in recent years, died June 14 at her home in Montreat, North Carolina. Considered the intellectual of the family, she published several collections of poetry and prose.
As the last U.S. troops in President Bush’s military buildup were deployed in Iraq in mid-June, a number of Shi‘ite and Sunni clerics called for unity among Muslims, with some imams using their sermons to blame the U.S. military presence for sectarian tensions.
In a clear rebuff to conservatives in the global Anglican Communion, Episcopal Church leaders have rejected a September 30 deadline set by overseas Anglicans to roll back their church’s pro-gay policies, arguing that such decisions can be made only at the U.S. church’s triennial conventions—the next one being in 2009.
Massachusetts lawmakers June 14 voted to kill a proposed constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, leaving opponents of such marriages discouraged. The state legislature, meeting in a joint session, voted 151-45 to block the proposed amendment from being placed on the 2008 ballot. The citizens-backed measure needed five more votes, 50 in all, to make the ballot. Governor Deval L.