The death threats have lessened over the five years since Episcopalians affirmed V. Gene Robinson’s election as their church’s first openly gay bishop. But the man who symbolizes, for many, a defiance of a traditional understanding of scripture and sexual morality will soon be in a risky spotlight again.
Krister Stendahl, a biblical scholar, one-time Lutheran bishop of his native Stockholm and former dean of Harvard University Divinity School, is being remembered for his pathbreaking efforts in Christian-Jewish understanding and his plainspoken support for women’s ordination and gay rights.
John McCain has a deep and personal Christian commitment despite his reluctance to speak publicly about it, according to the man that the Arizona senator and presumed GOP presidential nominee claims as his pastor.
In a unanimous voice vote, the 90-member Executive Council of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution April 14 supporting Trinity UCC in Chicago and its recently retired senior minister Jeremiah Wright, whose videotaped, politically charged comments stirred sustained criticism of the presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama, a longtime member of the congregation.
Pope Benedict XVI capped a six-day visit to the United States, his first as pontiff, with a public mass at New York’s Yankee Stadium in which he declared the need for U.S. Catholics to be obedient to church authority. To more than 50,000 people, the pope praised the U.S. legacy of freedom but reminded Catholics of their church loyalties.
After weeks of public silence, Jeremiah A. Wright Jr. defended the black church and his preaching in a series of appearances, leading political analysts again to ponder Wright’s effect on the presidential campaign of Illinois senator Barack Obama.
The entire faculty of Seabury-Western Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois, have been notified that their jobs will end in a year, and nine staff jobs will be cut this month as the Episcopal-related school’s trustees face up to an insurmountable multimillion-dollar debt.
Trained in satire: Comedian Al Franken intends to be taken seriously as a Democratic candidate for the Senate in Minnesota. "A satirist looks at a situation and sees the inconsistencies and hypocrisies, and he cuts through the baloney and gets to the truth," he says to those skeptical about his candidacy. "I think that's pretty good training for the Senate, don't you?" (Atlantic, May).
Every ten years bishops of the worldwide Anglican Communion assemble in England for the Lambeth Conference. This summer’s meeting is much awaited in light of the 77-million-member communion’s highly public wrangling over the issue of homosexuality.
Church leaders in Zimbabwe have called on the UN and African regional groups to step in to stem the violence that has been reported following disputed elections, and have warned that without intervention the country will witness genocide.
An independent federal body that monitors religious freedom is urging President Bush not to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing unless there are discernible changes in China’s policy toward Tibet.
A national Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) committee has nominated Gradye Parsons, a former Tennessee pastor and presbytery executive, to succeed Clifton Kirkpatrick as stated clerk, the denomination’s top executive, at the June 17 election during the PCUSA’s biennial General Assembly in San Jose, California.