Does Colorado's no-protest, no-counseling bubble zone around clinics limit free speech? The Court could go either way, says the New York Times.
As the Federal Communications Commission faces controversy over a recent ruling critics say limits the rights of religious broadcasters, it is moving to allow educational, religious and community groups to operate low-power FM radio stations (which are relatively inexpensive). The National Association of Broadcasters is furious, but religious groups are thrilled.
"I have felt the force of the cardinal's strong advocacy on the subject of abortion, but I also know about his equally vigorous efforts on behalf of the rest of the Catholic agenda," the former governor of New York writes in yesterday's New York Times. "Over the last decade and a half, his New York Archdiocese has educated, housed, cared for, comforted and counseled hundreds of thousands of Catholics and non-Catholics. None of the great American philanthropies have done more for the most vulnerable among us. And in some cases the archdiocese has led the way for the rest of the private charities."
The British radio station that launched Cliff Richard's "Millennium Prayer" into stardom launched what it calls the first online confessional today. Well, it might be one of the first real ones—fake and joke ones have abounded on the Web for years.
Three members of the Society of Friends refused to pay a portion of their federal tax—a percentage equal to that which would go to the U.S. military. When the IRS charged them fees and interest for the lack of payment, the Quakers argued that their religious freedom was being violated. Lower courts rejected their argument, and on Tuesday the Supreme Court refused to hear their case.
The same day, the court refused to hear a Maryland teacher's charge that public school closings on Good Friday constitute a violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause. A lower court ruled that the the school closing has a "secular purpose:" if school were held, many students (and teachers) would be absent. Hmmm. Would they really? In states that do have school on Good Friday, how many Christians stay home? (If the first link doesn't work, try here. Also, see the Washington Times coverage for a different slant.)
Fifty clergy and religious workers, mainly from liberal groups, issued a declaration on morality Tuesday. Notes Richard Ostling of the Associated Press, "The paper got slim backing among Roman Catholics—two nuns, no priests and a handful of lay activists—and none from major Evangelical, black Protestant, Eastern Orthodox, Mormon, Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim organizations." (See also coverage in the Dallas Morning News.)
Martin Luther King, Jr. "did not die as a direct result of his faith but of his politics—that is to say the work he was killed for cannot strictly be regarded as Christian work," Andrews writes in the Canadian paper. "His works, however, were a direct result of his faith in, and commitment to, the Gospel of Christ. Did he, then, choose death? Not strictly; he was never given the choice. He was simply shot."
Shiu Sin-por, executive director of the One Country, Two Systems Research Institute, calls the Vatican's struggle with China over the ordination of five bishops a mistake. "The Vatican should be sensitive to this feeling [of suspicion between China and the Vatican] and take steps to eliminate fears and regain China's trust," he writes.
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