When Brian Coleman, Vicar of All Saints Church in Guildford, Surrey, England, reads the liturgy this week, it won't be the same as in other Church of England parishes. This one will speak of sorting hats, Muggle songs, quidditch, and ton-tongue toffees. It's the Harry Potter liturgy, designed to attract youth. "Young folk are all very much into Harry Potter," Coleman tells The Times. "We are using this interest." But the Evangelical Alliance's Paul Harris, also an Anglican clergyman, is dismayed. "We do encourage clergy to connect with contemporary culture," he says. "But it is going too far to use images from Harry Potter. There is a risk that children are going to be very confused by the use of symbols associated with evil."
The summit of religious leaders ended yesterday with a "Commitment to Global Peace" statement, which condemns religious violence, says all religions should be treated equally, promotes gender equality, calls for an end to poverty, takes a strong environmentalist stance, yadda yadda yadda. But according to reports, the meeting itself wasn't all that peaceful. "The public politeness evaporated when, after two days, the four-day summit … moved from the hall of the United Nations General Assembly and into the nearby Waldorf-Astoria Hotel," writes Religion News Service's Chris Herlinger, who notes that "anger … flared during the session." Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Vatican's representative, was "clearly irritated" by other religious leaders' repeated anti-Christian remarks. Meanwhile, other media are still obsessing over the Dalai Lama's absence.
A federal judge declined ...1