It's bad enough when religious leaders endorse candidates in their own country. But according to The Post of Zambia, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) president Paul Crouch is getting involved in the messy world of Zambian politics. Even more shocking, he's apparently backing a third term for Zambia president Frederick Chiluba. The Evangelical Fellowship of Zambia, the Christian Council of Zambia, the Zambia (Roman Catholic) Episcopal Conference, and other religious leaders and organizations, and churches are organizing to oppose Chiluba's bid—which would require a change to the country's fledgling constitution. No matter to Crouch, who reportedly mentioned none of the concerns of Zambia's church leadership when he told his viewers around the world to pray for Chiluba's success. According to The Post of Zambia, here's how it happened: President Chiluba himself contacted televangelist Benny Hinn for prayer, saying he "had great forces of opposition against his bid." Hinn contacted Crouch, who also enlisted John Hagee in the prayers for Chiluba's success over the citizens of Zambia. Nobody, apparently, thought to pick up a newspaper.
In related news, the Evangelical Bishops for Peace in Africa (EBPA) is telling church leaders in Zambia that they're being too active in their opposition to a Chiluba third term. Secretary-general Lesego Kebonyemodisa led a delegation of bishops on a fact-finding mission through the country, and found that some churches were so zeaous in their protection of the Zambian Constitution that they were actively partnering with opposition parties. "Allow the true and genuine democratic process in Zambia take its course," Kebonyemodisa said. "There is no need to insult and call each other names." Moreover, he said, if the churches are too play the role of nonpartisan mediators, they must remain neutral on political questions.
Even stranger than the Oscar-night Britney Spears/Bob Dole ad …
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia is on a major campaign to recruit new priests. The $125,000 campaign includes billboards, ads in college and metropolitan newspapers, and radio and TV spots. But exactly what kind of priest are they looking for? The Philadelphia Daily News reports that one of the latest "Philadelphia Priest Call" ads aired on none other than The Howard Stern Show. "If a spot ran during 'Howard Stern,' it was in error, not anything we purchased," archdiocese director of communications Cathy Rossi assures the paper. "We do not think Howard Stern is appropriate programming for the priest-call ad." In fact, she said, the radio station was under strict instruction not to play the ad during the shock radio show.
- Churches confront sex addiction | More evangelical and Pentecostal congregations are facing the reality of obsessions with porn or prostitutes—and offering programs to help. (Los Angeles Times)
- Netherlands sees world's first legal gay marriages | Four couples marry at midnight as new law takes effect (Associated Press)
- Seattle-area "Meditation station" a front for prostitution | Has ties to similar "Ultimate Life Church" sham (The Seattle Times)
- Activists put dent in porn for rent | Two women buy $3,000 in XXX tapes from store and have a smashing good time. (The Indianapolis Star)
- Peter Singer's latest take on animal rights: You can have sex with them, but don't eat them | Princeton University ethics professor who once promoted killing of disabled infants is advocating bestality. (Debra J. Saunders, San Francisco Chronicle)
- Also: Animal Crackers | An Ivy League professor defends bestiality. (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)
- 'Piltdown' bird fake explained (BBC)
- Scientists testify on human cloning plans | Some House members vow to seek a legislative ban on controversial procedure (The Washington Post)
- Choir singing may have a noteworthy effect on health | Researchers at University of California at Irvine found increased levels of disease-fighting proteins in the mouths of choir members after they sang Beethoven's choral masterwork, the Missa Solemnis. (The Orange County Register/Houston Chronicle)
- Mainstream Christianity drive doesn't go smoothly for LDS Church | Mormons and mainstreamers wary of church's push to be seen as part of larger body of Christ. (The Salt Lake Tribune)
- Some Key Disagreements Between LDS, Other Christians (The Salt Lake Tribune)
- Earlier: The Mormon-Evangelical Divide | Beliefs that set Mormons apart, and evangelicals' response. (CT, Feb. 9, 2000)
- Earlier: With a Grain of Salt | Assessing a Mormon-evangelical dialogue. (CT, Nov. 17, 1997)
- Earlier: A Peacemaker in Provo | How one Pentecostal pastor taught his congregation to love Mormons (CT, Feb. 9, 2000)
- Earlier: Mere Mormonism | Journalist Richard Ostling explores LDS culture, theology, and fans of 'crypto-Mormon' C.S. Lewis (CT, Feb. 9, 2000)
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