—Robert H. Schuller, pastor of the 9,400-member Crystal Cathedral in Garden Grove, California, the largest Reformed Church in America congregation, has been fined $1,100 for disrupting a June 28 United Airlines Los Angeles to New York flight. According to a misdemeanor complaint—which was dropped when Schuller apologized and agreed to pay the fine—the Hour of Power preacher "made numerous negative comments" about the quality of the in-flight service and shook a flight attendant "back and forth a number of times, causing [his] head to move up and down in a vigorous manner." Schuller, 70, apologized August 13 for inconveniencing passengers and crew, but said, "I am a hands-on person." The attendant, Khaled Elabiad, 33, filed a $5 million lawsuit August 22, saying he has suffered neck and back pain, and he has been too traumatized to return to work.
—At its biennial gathering in July, the General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) voted to study whether to allow "the participation of gay and lesbian persons in the full life and ministry of the church." While the Disciples of Christ in the past has affirmed support of civil rights for all regardless of "sexual orientation," the denomination has never reached a consensus on the inclusion of homosexuals in church leadership posts.
—Saint Peter the Apostle Catholic Church and the city of Boerne, Texas, have reached a compromise in a four-year property dispute. The suit became a test case that the U.S. Supreme Court used to invalidate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (CT, Aug. 11, 1997, p. 48). Under an agreement reached August 12, the church will expand its 230-seat, 74-year-old sanctuary by 850 seats but keep 80 percent of the existing structure—which is in a historic district—intact.
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