SMITHSONIAN
Mennonite Exhibit in Limbo

Within a week of tragedies in Waco, Texas, and at New York’s World Trade Center, the Smithsonian Institution canceled a planned exhibit developed by a Kansas Mennonite group. The exhibit is based on a series of panels depicting the imprisonment, torture, and murder of medieval Anabaptists, predecessors of the Mennonites.

Exhibit curator Robert Kreider, professor emeritus at Bethel College in North Newton, Kansas, says Smithsonian officials originally informed him that the Waco and World Trade Center events were the reasons for cancellation of the Mennonite exhibit on religious nonconformism. However, he notes that museum officials soon offered him various reasons, including bureaucratic bungling and questions on the exhibit’s appropriateness for children.

The exhibit was called off one month before its scheduled April 1 opening. Smithsonian Institution spokesperson Madeleine Jacobs denies the timing of the exhibit affected its cancellation. She says the exhibit was “suspended pending review.”

The exhibit is on display at the Lancaster Mennonite Historical Society headquarters in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

PRISON MINISTRY
ACLU Opposes Texas ‘God Pod’

A Texas prison may be put on trial for teaching inmates about Christianity. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed suit last month against Tarrant County Jail officials in Fort Worth over a Christian-education program that houses participating inmates in a separate cellblock. The ACLU claims the arrangement violates the Constitution.

Van Thompson, assistant district attorney, says no one is excluded from the “God Pod” because of religion. The program, which involves 50 inmates in the 1,448-bed facility, is voluntary. However, ACLU Fort Worth ...

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