Author-pastor Rick Warren is under fire for failing to discipline media giant Rupert Murdoch for owning and expanding pornographic channels for satellite TV. The Australian-born owner of Fox Broadcasting and cable TV networks isn’t a member of Warren’s 20,000-member Saddleback Church, but Warren is on record as claiming to be Murdoch’s pastor.
Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola, who defied the top bishops of the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion by installing his own bishop on U.S. soil this month, declared that “insulting and condescending” American bishops are to blame for the controversy.
Holy hilarity: The Lorraine Avenue Mennonite Church in Wichita, Kansas, celebrates Holy Humor Sunday the week after Easter because “God played the best practical joke of all on death, on Satan, in raising Jesus.” This year one skit involved a taste test to find the best grape juice for communion. The panelists in the skit were embarrassed to learn they had chosen “Real-Value Artificial Grape Drink from Wal-Mart” (Mennonite Weekly Review, April 23).
A proposed change in the United Methodist Church’s 25-year-old stance on homosexual behavior that would condone same-sex marriage “where legally possible” was tabled by a committee at the Council of Bishops meeting this month near Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
Make no mistake: Take James A. Forbes Jr. away from a pulpit and he is not himself. Forbes’s old friend the late African-American church historian James Melvin Washington used to kid the senior minister of Manhattan’s Riverside Church by saying Forbes “would preach to clear his sinuses.”
Israeli archaeologists believe they have discovered the tomb of king Herod, the Roman-appointed king over the Jews who reigned from 37 BC until his death in 4 BC and was known for his monumental building projects.
Spin zone: The Iraq war was not the first one to be encouraged by sectors of the media. The Spanish-American War was set off when an explosion destroyed a U.S. warship while it was docked in Havana. Publisher William Randolph Hearst was itching for a fight with Spain. He sent hordes of reporters to Cuba to cover the explosion and within days was spinning the news to blame Spain. War against Spain was soon declared (Columbia Journalism Review, March/April).
In upholding a federal ban on a rare kind of late-term abortion procedure, the Supreme Court may have begun undermining its key abortion precedent. Activists on both sides of the abortion issue said the court’s 5-4 decision on “partial-birth” abortion was a possible turning point in the court’s abortion jurisprudence.