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Briefs

  • State District Court Judge Kent Sullivan of Texas has ordered a $136 million libel suit against Harvest House Publishers and authors John Ankerberg and John Weldon to proceed. Living Stream Ministry and the Local Church are suing the three for libel over statements in the out-of-print Encyclopedia of Cults and New Religions, first published in 1999. The book included an article critical of the Local Church, founded by Watchman Nee. In June Sullivan dismissed a motion for summary judgment filed by the defendants. A trial date of January 12, 2004, has been set.
  • Chief Justice Roy Moore of the Alabama Supreme Court defied a federal court order to remove a 5,300-pound granite monument featuring the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building. Last November District Judge Myron H. Thompson ruled the display unconstitutional and ordered its removal. Workers removed the monument on August 27. There may be hundreds, if not thousands, of Ten Commandments displays in public buildings. "The courts are issuing confusing and conflicting opinions," Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice told The Washington Post. "The Supreme Court is going to have to weigh in on this."
  • The city of Evanston, Illinois, agreed in July to pay $350,000 to the Evanston Vineyard Christian Fellowship to settle the church's lawsuit against the city for blocking the use of its property for worship services.
  • Canada's federal Court of Appeal ruled in June that Chosen People Ministries may not use a stylized menorah as its "official mark" in the country. The court said the group, based in New York, is not a "public authority," which the government would control through tax rules and other measures.

Deaths

  • Former CT editor at large J(ames) D(ixon) Douglas, who edited and contributed to some of the most significant biblical and church historical reference works of the last 50 years, died after a heart attack on August 9 in Scotland. He was 81. Among the volumes Douglas worked on were The New Bible Dictionary, The New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, Dictionary of 20th Century Christian Biography, and the Expositor's Bible Commentary series.
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