Former president Jimmy Carter has called on the U.S. to shut down its prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and two dozen other secret detention centers to demonstrate the nation’s commitment to human rights. Carter made his comments to reporters June 7 in Atlanta—about a week after the Pentagon reported five confirmed incidents of intentional mishandling of the Qur’an at the Guantánamo prison.
Acknowledging that a religious bias favoring evangelical Christianity has been pervasive at the U.S. Air Force Academy, the school’s superintendent told a Jewish audience this month that “it’s going to take a while to fix,” perhaps a half-dozen years, despite an official investigation of mounting complaints.
After receiving a $5 million gift from the family of its longest-serving president, Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary will dramatically cut tuition costs and be renamed Palmer Theological Seminary on July 1.
Sad character: In an address at Yale Divinity School, former secretary of state Madeleine Albright reported that soon after 9/11 she was on a panel with Elie Wiesel, writer and Holocaust survivor. Wiesel asked the panelists to suggest who was the unhappiest character in the Bible.
EugeneB.Habecker, president of the American Bible Society, is leaving the New York–based organization to become the 30th president of his alma mater, Taylor University in Indiana. Describing his departure as “bittersweet,” Habecker, 58, said his return to Taylor, an evangelical Christian school, was “not about a diminished passion for the Bible cause, it’s about a calling.”
A controversial study suggesting that the abortion rate has increased since President Bush took office was off the mark, its author now admits. But he also says new figures vindicate some of his contentions.
In an appeal to American Baptists last November, the denomination’s top official said he suffered “many sleepless nights” worrying whether controversies over homosexuality would shatter the fragile unity of the denomination. “I agonize over the fact that many feel a split is inevitable,” wrote A. Roy Medley, general secretary of American Baptist Churches in the U.S.A.
The launching of a new group that aims to bring Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant Christians in the U.S. together for the first time has been postponed because the effort has received little interest from black churches, leaders said.
A “faith-based economy,” argues Frederick H. Borsch, is based not so much on a “preferential option for the poor” as on a concern for the well-being of a community in which no one is left behind or left out or deprived of dignity. This is a goal that can never be achieved, yet should not be surrendered. says Borsch (Anglican Theological Review, Winter).
If a Qur’an is accidentally dropped on the floor, the person who dropped it makes a contribution to charity in atonement. Copies are never placed at the bottom of a pile of books. And because the toilet is considered an impure place, the Qur’an is never taken into the bathroom.