February 6, 2007

The National Association of Evangelicals has chosen a former top official of the Salvation Army to serve as its new executive director. W. Todd Bassett, the former national commander of the Salvation Army, has been a member of the NAE’s executive committee for four years. “We’re thrilled to have him do this,” said interim NAE president Leith Anderson, a Minnesota pastor. Officials of the umbrella organization explained that Bassett is not succeeding Ted Haggard, who resigned last November as president amid a sex and drug scandal. This is a role “we used to have in years gone by” and have restored, said Richard Cizik, vice president for governmental affairs. Bassett was national commander from 2002 through April of 2006 in the Salvation Army.

The 2007 Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion has been awarded to a North Carolina scholar for writing a memoir that explores themes of social and spiritual tension in the wake of a racially motivated murder. Timothy Tyson, author of Blood Done Sign My Name and a senior scholar of documentary studies at Duke University, will be awarded $200,000 by the University of Louisville and the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary as part of the prestigious prize. Tyson was 11 when two white men murdered a black man in Oxford, North Carolina. The two men were later acquitted—an event that heightened racial discord and sparked riots.

Former U.S. senator Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania was defeated in the November election, but he hopes that his new job will allow him to combat U.S. foes. Santorum, a Republican, will lead the America’s Enemies program at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, a conservative Washington think tank. He plans to continue speaking about the threats posed by “Islamic fascism” and such unfriendly nations as Venezuela, North Korea and Iran—an issue he focused on in the final months of his campaign.