The Vatican, in a sharp retort to Israeli criticism of Pope Benedict XVI, said it could not protest every act of Palestinian terrorism because Israel’s responses are “not always compatible with the norms of international law.”
Church and political leaders are urging Sudanese to stay on the peace path after the death in a helicopter crash of John Garang de Mabior, the guerrilla leader who steered the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement into a government of national unity with the dominant Arab-Islamic government of Sudan after 21 years of civil war.
President Bush has endorsed the teaching of “intelligent design” along with natural selection in a roundtable interview with reporters from Texas newspapers. Bush said public school students should be exposed to the former theory, which posits that biological evidence suggests life is too complex to have evolved without an intelligent designer, presumably a divine Creator.
Habitat for Humanity International has named Jonathan T. M. Reckford, a businessman and current executive pastor of a large Minnesota church, as the chief executive officer of the Georgia-based homebuilding ministry.
“America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior,” argues Bill McKibben (Harper’s Magazine, August). Americans have hijacked the teachings of Jesus that call for "a radical, voluntary, and effective reordering of power relationships, based on the principle of love.” The dominant American theologies of end-times obsession and consumer-oriented religiosity “undercut Jesus, . . . deaden his call, and . . . silence him.”
The Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America plans to leave the National Council of Churches, saying it is unhappy with policies and statements some member denominations have made supporting gay and lesbian church members.
Despite lobbying pleas from a noted Jewish organization, delegates to the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) General Assembly have passed a resolution calling on Israel to stop construction of a security barrier intended to stop suicide bombers.
The World Baptist Alliance, holding its 100th anniversary congress in Great Britain amid public anxiety over suicide bombings, failed bombing attempts and manhunts, topped its own attendance prediction with more than 13,000 participants.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada has turned down a proposed resolution that would have given congregations a “local option” to conduct blessings for same-sex unions.
The motion—drafted by the ELCIC’s Church Council and needing a two-thirds majority to pass—received only 183 votes in favor while 220 delegates voted against it during the July 21-24 convention in Winnipeg.
Despite Muslim denunciations of the July 7 bomb attacks in London, a number of British towns and cities have been targeted in an apparent backlash. Mosques in two areas of London as well as in Leeds, Telford, Bristol, Birkenhead and Norwich were attacked in the aftermath.
JohnC. Green, an often-quoted expert on the intersection of religion and politics, will be a senior fellow with the nonpartisan Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life for the 2005-2006 academic year. Green teaches political science and heads the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron.
David L. Miller has resigned as editor of The Lutheran, the magazine of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, to take an academic post. Miller will accept a five-year position as dean of the chapel and director of spiritual formation at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, the ELCA announced recently. Miller has been on the magazine’s staff since 1987.
Some of the CEOs accused of unethical business practices are also “born-again” Christians: Richard Scrushy of HealthSouth, Ken Lay of Enron and Bernard Ebbers of WorldCom. How did they justify actions that are unethical, if not criminal? Robert S. McElvaine (Chicago Tribune, July 17) explains that while Hindus believe in karma—what one does in this life matters for the next life, some Christians believe all you need to do is "accept Jesus and then you can do whatever the hell you want."