Legislation Gains Ground

Every year since 1975, a homosexual-rights bill has been introduced into the United States Congress. And yearly, with little fanfare, the legislation gains more cosponsors, says Gary Bauer, president of the Family Research Council, the Washington, D.C., arm of Focus on the Family.

“Already this year the legislation has nine Senate cosponsors and 81 House cosponsors,” Bauer says. “While this is far short of what is needed for passage, it is close to what is needed to be taken seriously as a legislative initiative.”

Bauer says the homosexual community believes the bill should get enough backing to justify its first congressional hearings by late 1992. According to Bauer, Peri Jude Radecic, a lobbyist for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, says the group’s ultimate strategy is to have “a moderate Republican President at some point in the future, who embraces and endorses nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation,” adding that that “will be what puts us over the edge for passage of the gay and lesbian civil-rights bill.”

Qur’An Into English

A group of Muslim scholars in the U.S. will translate the Qur’an into English and include extensive commentary notes. Other English translations exist, but all were produced by single individuals whose “efforts have fallen far short,” said Ahmad Zaki Hammad of Bridgeview, Illinois, president of the Islamic Society of North America. His five-year Qur’an Project is aimed at producing the first “official” version of the Qur’an in English.

The growing need for a relevant translation for American Muslims, the growing emphasis on making American converts, and the fact that this translation has the backing of the mainline American Islamic leadership make this effort noteworthy, says Robert Douglas, executive director of the California-based Zwemer Institute of Muslim Studies. Because Muslims believe the Qur’an was dictated word for word to Muhammad, the matter of translation becomes peculiarly sensitive and makes such efforts less frequent. “This needs to be taken very seriously,” Douglas said.

Advertisers Won’T Change

Despite getting thousands of letters of protest from advocates of a CLeaR-TV boycott call, spokesmen for the S. C. Johnson and Pfizer companies have said they will not change the programs they advertise around.

CLeaR-TV, a coalition of about 1,600 Christian leaders, in mid-March declared a boycott of S. C. Johnson, maker of Johnson Wax products, and Pfizer, which produces, among other things, Barbasol shaving cream, Lady Stetson cologne, and Ben Gay rub. The group claims both companies advertise on television shows that include “sex, violence and profanity.”

Pfizer admitted to Religious News Service in mid-May that it had received between 13,000 and 15,000 pieces of boycott-related mail, over 95 percent of which were mass-produced protest cards. However, some pastors have promised to buy Pfizer’s products to counteract CLeaR-TV. “Quasi-Christian groups such as this one have demands bordering on fascism,” Marlin Bowman, vicar of Saint James of Jerusalem Episcopal Church in Long Island, New York, told Pfizer.

Paul Rees

Paul Rees, a founding board member of CHRISTIANITY TODAY and former president of the National Association of Evangelicals, died of heart failure on May 20 at his Florida home. He was 90.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Rees served many Christian organizations throughout his lifetime, including World Vision, as vice-president, board member, and editor of World Vision magazine; Asbury College; William Penn College; and Bread for the World. In addition, Rees pastored several churches, beginning in 1920 in Pasadena, California. He also served as a minister for Billy Graham Crusades in London, Glasgow, and Australia.

Rees is survived by his wife, Edith; a son and a daughter; eight grandchildren; and one great-grandchild.

Briefly Noted

Resigned: Richard Gross, 60, as president of Gordon College, a position he held since 1976.

Sam Ericsson, as chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Christian Legal Society, “in order to pursue other opportunities for ministry,” he said.

Appointed: Thomas H. Englund, as president of the Christian College Consortium. Englund most recently served as vice-president and dean of the college at Franklin Pierce College in Rindge, New Hampshire.

Celebrated: The one-hundred-seventy-fifth anniversary of the American Bible Society, on May 9 in New York City, at which the society introduced its new translation, the Contemporary English Version of the New Testament.

Closed: An “unfinished chapter” in the life of black United Methodist Bishop Woodie White, of Detroit, who preached in April in Jackson, Mississippi’s Saint Luke’s Methodist Church. Almost three decades ago, White was arrested and fined $1,000 for trying to worship there.

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