In separate annual programs to give pastors sabbatical time and to reward programs that seek to sustain pastoral excellence, the Lilly Endowment has announced more than $31 million in grants to congregations and religiously affiliated organizations.
The State Department’s annual report on the status of religious freedom worldwide is out, and its chief villains have familiar faces. The report says China, Burma and North Korea remain among the world’s most egregious and systematic violators of religious liberty.
Cheers and criticism have followed a Food and Drug Administration panel recommendation that the so-called morning-after pill be made available over the counter. The panel voted 23-4 that the drug, also known as Plan B, should be made available without a prescription.
President Bush said in a television interview that he could support a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, but also said “whatever legal arrangements people want to make” should be permitted if approved at the state level.
Catholic attendance low in wake of sex abuse scandals
Jan 13, 2004
A higher percentage of Protestants now attend church on a weekly basis than Catholics do, the Gallup Organization has has announced. “Historical Gallup Poll data show that Protestants have now clearly overtaken Catholics in church attendance, for the first time in Gallup polling history,” George H. Gallup Jr. said in a recent commentary.
Florida Governor Jeb Bush has announced the creation of what he calls the nation’s first entirely faith-based prison at a facility in his state. Bush made the announcement in Tampa at a conference sponsored by his brother’s White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives.
At least 11 Episcopal bishops have officially joined a fledgling “network” of conservative dioceses and parishes to oppose their church’s approval of an openly gay bishop. The new Network of Anglican Communion Dioceses and Parishes will be headed by Bishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh and coordinated by the Washington-based American Anglican Council.
Continuing to preview his renamed The Passion of the Christ movie to people expected to praise it, actor-producer Mel Gibson got plaudits from Billy Graham, who was moved to tears, and reportedly secured favor from Pope John Paul II.
Following months of fierce debate in France, President Jacques Chirac has called for a law to ban Islamic headscarves and other “conspicuous” religious symbols from schools run by public authorities. A French Protestant leader promptly declared that such a prohibition would not only be hard to enforce but could also strengthen the cause of Islamic extremists.