President Bush’s nomination of White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales to succeed John Ashcroft as attorney general will almost certainly intensify the focus on the use of torture in U.S. policy in the war on terror and the war against Iraq.
“Hostility toward America has reached shocking levels.” —Advisory group on public diplomacy appointed by the White House
“It is unlikely that Iraq could have destroyed, hidden or sent out of the country the hundreds of tons of chemical and biological weapons . . . that officials claim were present without the United States detecting some sign of this activity.”
A fifth Methodist body has joined an ongoing effort to foster cooperation among black and white Methodists. The little-known Union American Methodist Episcopal Church joined the Commission on Pan-Methodist Cooperation and Union during the commission’s November 19-21 meeting in Dallas, the United Methodist News Service reported.
The United Church of Christ, a budget-struggling mainline denomination often confused with a similarly named church, felt that only a bold regional and national TV ad campaign costing $1.7 million might rescue it from public anonymity.
Canadian religious groups that oppose gay marriage are trying to make the best of a Supreme Court ruling that paves the way for Canada to become the third nation besides Belgium and the Netherlands to allow nationwide recognition of gay nuptials.
GeorgeMarsden, a Notre Dame professor who wrote a biography of 18th-century colonial preacher Jonathan Edwards, has won the prestigious 2005 Grawemeyer Award in Religion. Marsden, who has also written about fundamentalism in America and the culture of U.S. universities, won the $200,000 prize for his 2003 biography titled Jonathan Edwards: A Life.
After escaping an ouster a year ago by the Evangelical Theological Society, a leading proponent of “open theism” theology is being shown the door by trustees at Huntington (Indiana) College for his “notoriety” among evangelical pastors.
It’s commonly observed that converts to a faith are the most ardent defenders of it. That seems to be the case with American converts to Orthodoxy. The large number of converts attending Orthodox seminaries prompted Alexey D. Krindatch, a sociologist of religion, to wonder whether an “Americanization” of Eastern Orthodoxy might lie ahead. His conclusion: “Probably not.”
Molly Marshall has been elected president of Central Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, becoming the first female president of an accredited Baptist seminary. She succeeds Thomas Clifton, who retired at the end of 2003 after ten years as president.
Zero tolerance for torture: In 1989 Sister Dianna Ortiz, a missionary teacher among the Mayan people, was abducted and tortured by Guatemalan security forces whose boss was an American. After he raped her, a policeman said to her: “Your God is dead.” But more than God died, she says—both she and her ministry died.
In the midst of tense debates with Jewish leaders, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has fired two employees who were part of a controversial delegation that met with Hezbollah officials in Lebanon. Church officials, however, did not say immediately if the firings of Kathy Lueckert and clergyman Peter Sulyok were related to the Middle East visit.