Briefly noted

September 9, 2008

A California federal judge has ruled that the University of California had a “rational basis” for rejecting science and history courses taught at Christian high schools. Calvary Chapel Christian School in Murrieta, California, and the Association of Christian Schools International had charged that the university had an unconstitutional admissions process because it refused to certify courses that taught creationism and other beliefs. Private school students are required to meet certain high school requirements before they can be eligible to apply to one of the undergraduate campuses of the University of California. U.S. District Court judge S. James Otero ruled August 8 that concerns about a course whose primary text was called “Biology: God’s Living Creation” was deemed by UC experts to have failed at teaching critical thinking or the theory of evolution in an adequate manner.

The Archdiocese of Chicago has reached a $12.7 million settlement with 16 survivors of sexual abuse by Catholic priests, Cardinal Francis George announced August 12. Fourteen of the cases involve abuse by ten priests between 1962 and 1994, the archdiocese reported. Former priest Daniel J. McCormack, who pleaded guilty in 2007 to abusing five children, is responsible for the remaining two cases. George has apologized for not removing McCormack, who is now serving a five-year prison sentence, from ministry sooner. One case involving McCormack remains to be settled by the archdiocese. The 11 priests whose abuse led to the settlement have resigned, died, been sentenced to prison or otherwise been removed from ministry, according to the archdiocese.

The recent addition of two Baha’i holy places in northern Israel to UNESCO’s World Heritage List affirms the Baha’i belief that the shrines belong to all humanity, a Baha’i spokesperson said. The two shrines, one near Akka on Israel’s northern coast and the other on Mount Carmel in Haifa, are the resting places of Baha’u’llah and the Bab, the founders of the Baha’i faith. The central tenet of the faith is that humanity is one single race and that the day has come for its unification in one global society.