By a 216-214 vote, the House of Representatives has passed a controversial budget-cutting bill opposed vigorously as “immoral” by mainline and ecumenical church leaders late in 2005. The bill, which President Bush said he would sign, trims federal budget programs by nearly $40 billion over the next five years. The February 1 vote by the House included no Democrats in favor.
Pope Benedict XVI has issued the first encyclical of his papacy, dedicating Roman Catholicism’s highest form of writing to a reflection on love and charity that calls for a “purification” of erotic love between men and women.
James Lawson, a retired United Methodist pastor and civil rights leader whose expulsion from Vanderbilt University caused a national furor 46 years ago, will return to the university as a distinguished professor. The Nashville university announced the one-year appointment in mid-January.
Leaders of two worldwide Reformed organizations, following a short meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan, have announced their unanimous recommendation for merger of the 75-million-member World Alliance of Reformed Churches and the 12-million-member Reformed Ecumenical Council.
Conservative critics have claimed victory over the pulling of a fledgling prime-time TV program depicting an Episcopal priest with a host of family problems who held long conversations with a seemingly hip Jesus.