Italians Reclaim Crucifixes, Germans Defy Sex Ed, Baylor Diversifies Board
Parents jailed for objecting to sex ed
GERMANY A couple and two fathers are the latest Christians to be jailed for not complying with state school regulations for their children. The parents, Heinrich and Irene Wiens and unrelated fathers Arthur and Edward Wiens, were sentenced to six-week jail sentences after refusing to send their children to four-day sex education programs that promote a "very liberal view of sex," according to the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF). Five families are protesting the sex program, and the German government has been sentencing them to jail sentences repeatedly, according to the ADF, which is appealing the issue to the European Court of Human Rights.
Prominent pastor murdered
HONDURAS A high-profile pastor who was shot, likely for either his cell phone or the two schnauzers he was walking, has drawn attention to the high murder rate in Honduras. Friends of Carlos Roberto Marroquín say he had received death threats, which are common for Christian leaders in the increasingly violent country. Marroquín, who was the founding pastor of the Pentecostal Church of God in the country's second largest city, San Pedro Sula, is the second pastor to be murdered this year; Raymond Fuentes, pastor of the New Jerusalem Temple, was shot in January. There have been 18,500 homicides in the past five years in Honduras.
Pastor and soccer star husband leave church
BRAZIL Caroline Celico, a former pastor of Renascer (Reborn in Christ), and her husband, Brazilian soccer player Kaká, left the 2-million-member denomination in December. Renascer's founding couple was arrested in Miami in 2007, charged with money laundering and tax evasion, pled guilty to smuggling, and were sentenced to five months in jail and five months under house arrest. Brazilian publications speculate that Celico and Kaká left because of that scandal. Kaká, the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year, reportedly tithed more than $1.3 million to the church; the couple now lives in Spain.
Seminaries re-approved by United Methodists
Two evangelical seminaries that were removed last fall from the United Methodist Church's list of approved seminaries regained denominational approval in March. Evangelical Theological Seminary had been cut from the list for its lack of ethnic diversity and absence of any full-time United Methodist professors, while Palmer Theological Seminary never found out why it was cut. Palmer officials, speculating that the school was cut to drive students to official United Methodist schools, appeared at a UMC University Senate meeting to present information from alumni and students who said they would not have traveled the distance to UMC schools if Palmer were unaffiliated with the denomination, according to Randall Frame, communications director at Eastern University, Palmer's umbrella school.
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