Republicans agree to remove foreign aid restrictions against abortions
Private family planning groups that receive U.S. support in foreign countries may soon be able to provide abortions and promote abortion rights. Congressional representatives agreed to increase the amount of money going to such groups and said they would not insist on maintaining current restrictions against abortion, with a clause that only allows the increase to go into effect after Feb. 15, 2001. That means that the next president will decide whether to reinstate the restrictions or do away with them entirely. According to The New York Times, abortion opponents are gambling that "if Gov. George W. Bush wins the presidency, he will reinstate the restrictions. Abortion-rights advocates anticipate that should Vice President Al Gore win, he will do nothing."
What Would Jesus Buy?
A new business feature on Salon.com examines the world of Christian merchandising and finds it rife with product imitations and poor business ethics. The editor of Wittenburg Door criticizes Christians for reducing faith to buying a $10 T-shirt. "Christians are quick to point out pornography and drunkenness and a lot of other sins, but they are slow to recognize ... the sin of consumerism." The grandson of Charles Sheldon (author of the non-copyrighted In His Steps, which first posed the question, "What would Jesus do?") tells Salon that the real problem is not Christian consumers, but business people who promote fads and mimicry. "It's ironic to see that either they aren't asking the question 'What would Jesus do?'" says Sheldon. But Jeffrey Lambert of Zondervan Publishing says, "I think Jesus would be extremely pleased that these products are having such an impact on the world." Christianity Today has covered several related stories: the "I Believe in God" merchandising blitz, Christian kitsch at CBA, and essays on consumerism.
Lutherans unbending about homosexual clergy
Lutheran bishops have decided to make no exemptions to allow homosexual clergy to be ordained. A church in St. Paul, Minnesota asked that their lesbian lay minister, who has served as the church's unofficial pastor for years, be fully instated. The bishops said they had no authority to change ordination requirements or amend the church law. The Division for Ministry will soon issue a final ruling on the case.
Site worth highlighting
"Related Elsewhere" at the end of each Christianity Today story often links to books and poems from the Christian Classics Ethereal Library. A professor of computer science at Calvin College has created a one-stop wonder of a site where you can read everything from the Bible to Aquinas, Calvin, and Dante. The Christian Classics Ethereal Library even hosts some classics in other languages (St. John of the Cross's writing in Spanish, A Czech Bible, etc.) Harry Plantinga says he was inspired to offer Christian materials on the Web after finding a HyperCard stack of Thomas a Kempis' The Imitation of Christ on the Internet.
Majority of Americans believe the Bible "answers all or most of the basic question of life"
A Gallup poll has found that six in 10 Americans say they read the Bible at least occasionally and 65 percent believe the holy book "answers all or most of the basic questions of life." But overall Bible reading has dropped and the percentage of those who read the Bible once a week has dropped from 40 to 37 percent. About 15 percent of Americans say they read the Bible every day.
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