On the heels of a rally on the National Mall by advocates of immigration reform, religious leaders met at the White House on March 22 to plot strategy, despite a packed election-year political calendar.
Baylor University has announced the largest gift in the Baptist school’s history—an estate provision estimated at $200 million from an anonymous donor. Much of the gift will benefit the Baylor School of Social Work.
Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has called the confirmation of a second openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church “regrettable” and said it will have “important implications” for the U.S. church’s role in the wider Anglican Communion.
State of poverty: Bread for the World has an online resource providing state-by-state information on hunger and poverty (see “State Hunger Facts” in the resources section at offeringofletters.org)—a great comparative tool. In Illinois, 11.1 percent of households struggle to put food on their table, compared to 17.4 in Mississippi and 14.6 nationally; 12.2 percent of households in Illinois live below the poverty line compared to 21.2 in Mississippi and 13.2 nationally.
American victims of clerical sexual abuse protested at the Vatican after a New York Times article detailed letters and documents suggesting that Pope Benedict XVI, before becoming pope, personally mishandled the case of a Wisconsin priest who molested up to 200 deaf boys more than 35 years ago.
Gene Stoltzfus, 69, the founding director of Christian Peacemaker Teams, which inspired thousands to personally resist violence and support peaceful alternatives, died March 10 of a heart attack while bicycling in Fort Frances, Ontario, Canada. Stoltzfus, a Mennonite, served as CPT director from its inception in 1988 until 2004. He went to Iraq just before the Gulf War in 1991.
About 2,000 Canadian members of a breakaway Anglican group and a small group of U.S. Anglican dissidents said in March that they have accepted the offer made by Pope Benedict XVI last October that permits disaffected congregations to defect to Rome while keeping many Anglican traditions, including married priests.
Beck's world: Fox News TV host Glenn Beck urged his audience to leave congregations that refer to social justice or economic justice. “Look for the words ‘social justice’ or ‘economic justice’ on your church Web site,” he said. “If you find it, run as fast as you can.” Bread for the World has invited people to sign an online petition to Beck that reads: “Economic and social justice are central to the gospel of Jesus Christ. Quit using your bully pulpit to spread misinformation and fear by comparing faithful Christians who care ‘for the least of these’ to Nazis and communists” (Bread for the World).
The United Methodist Church is withholding funds from two of its seminaries until they submit updated financial reports, and one campus—Claremont School of Theology in southern California—will also have to defend its proposed reconfiguration into a multireligious university.
In a battle over the content of public school textbooks that is widely thought to have national implications, religious conservatives on the Texas Board of Education succeeded in adopting curriculum guidelines that reflect their views on U.S. history and economics.
The archdiocese of Washington’s social service branch will stop offering benefits to spouses of new employees in a bid to balance the District of Columbia’s new same-sex marriage law with Catholic opposition to homosexuality.