According to Salon.com, the head of the White House's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives is getting frustrated with his boss for not spelling out what he wants in legislation on the issue. "In the past few weeks, [John] DiIulio has complained … that by not spelling out what he would like to sign into law, the president is ceding the issue to House Republicans—whose bill is far more controversial and is less likely to make it through the Democratic-controlled Senate," reports Jake Tapper.
But while Salon.com was publishing such reports, Bush was out defending his plans. "Those who worry about faith in our society, and government's willingness to stand side-by-side with faith, don't understand the power of faith and the promise of faith and the hope of faith," he said (text | audio) while building a Habitat for Humanity house in Tampa, Florida. He still didn't say whether he preferred the Senate or House bill, or what he felt were non-negotiable parts of his plan, but he seems ready to fight. That may motivate Senate Republicans who, The New York Times and others have reported, have lost enthusiasm for Bush's faith-based initiative.
More on Bush's faith-based initiative:
- Groups wary of applying for faith-based grants | Reasons vary on why few congregations are seeking contracts despite being eligible to compete directly for billions of federal social-service dollars. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- When children relied on faith-based agencies | President Bush should study the history of New York's foster care when considering faith-based antipoverty efforts. (Stephen O'Connor, The New York Times)
- Religious leaders press aid to poor | A religious coalition headed by Call to Renewal directly linked changes to Bush's tax plan to support for his faith-based initiative (The Boston Globe)
- Groups campaign against Bush plan | Jews say "completed Jews" comment is evidence that faith-based initiative will amount to taxpayer-funded conversion. (Associated Press)
- Also: A reference to Jews heats up aid debate | Use of term "completed Jews" by president of the Teen Challenge International may affect faith-based initiative (The New York Times)
- A slander against our sacred institutions | Critics are wrong to say faith-based initiative will "turn back the clock on civil rights." (Nathan J. Diament, The Washington Post)
- Charities decry tax bill setback | Nonprofit groups questioning Bush's commitment to boosting community organizations (The Washington Post)
- Federal officials reverse position on religious-based grant program | Limiting a $4 million program for HIV and drug abuse prevention to only religious groups violates the spirit of its "faith-based initiative," White House decides (Associated Press)
More religion correspondents get their pink slips from ABC News than from any other source
ABC News, which blazed a trail for religion journalism when it hired Peggy Wehmeyer in 1994 as full-time religion correspondent, is now retracing its steps. Wehmeyer was told in late May that her contract, up in October, would not be renewed. Nor would she be replaced as religion correspondent. The Dallas-based reporter says she's "a little stunned" by the news, but is "grateful for the seven years I had to tell stories that are really meaningful."
Peter Jennings, who lobbied both for the religion correspondent position and for Wehmeyer's hiring, says he's sad about the decision. "We're not going to quit covering religion," he tells The Dallas Morning News. "But I don't think we'd have gotten anywhere near the heightened awareness of this subject without Peggy."
Reports of Wehmeyer's dismissal—apparently part of a the 10 percent staff reduction at ABC News mandated by parent company Disney—were quickly followed up by word that ABC News would instead be partnering with multifaith Web site Beliefnet. The organizations will "include joint ABC-Beliefnet branded polling and co-production of pieces for ABC News programs," reported a press release. But The Washington Times notes that the last time ABCNews and Beliefnet partnered—for Peter Jennings Reporting: The Search for Jesus—the product riled up religious conservatives.
Church and state:
- ACLU appeals ruling on Mormon park | Church security guards may throw people out of former public street for "offensive, indecent, obscene, vulgar, lewd or disorderly speech, dress or conduct" (Associated Press)
- VMI answers lawsuit attacking prayer | "No cadet is compelled to participate," says superintendent (Associated Press)
- Also: Outgoing Virginia attorney general backs VMI prayers (The Washington Times)
- Florida pastor sues county over church-building denial | Local spiritualists argued that they would be targets for conversion by church members (Associated Press)
- Federal lawsuits accuse Navy of religious discrimination | Evangelical chaplains say there's a bias toward liturgical faiths (Associated Press)
- Earlier: More Navy Chaplains Allege Discrimination | "We're not on the same ground as the high church group or the Catholics," say evangelicals. (Christianity Today, Apr. 18, 2001)
- Civil rights group sues Indiana over grants to religious organizations | Lottery funds went to churches, parochial schools and parachurch groups (Associated Press)
- Khor Virab Journal: Armenians mark birth of national Christianity | St. Gregory was imprisoned for 13 years in Khor Virab, Armenia, before helping make the country the world's first officially Christian nation. (The New York Times)
- Breaking law can be Christian duty, concludes Evangelical Fellowship of Canada | "Breaking the law of the land is always serious, but it is not always wrong" (The National Post)
- Christians threatens to sue Borno over Sharia | But concerns are being ignored, says organization leader (The Nigerian Guardian, Lagos)
- Also: Borno State adopts Sharia (The Nigerian Guardian)
- Church can be built, not expanded | Centerpiece in Seattle-area fight over proposed size limits for schools and places of worship can still be built, but cannot grow as large as church leaders want, judge rules. (The Seattle Times)
- Also: Washington judge OKs construction of megachurch | Timberlake Christian Fellowship may build its megachurch to the size already planned — but no bigger for now (Associated Press)
Religion and politics:
- Mugabe's men on the run from witchcraft | Zimbabwe's embattled president is facing a new crisis: a growing belief among his followers that he and his government have become the victims of black magic, and that bad luck follows them at every turn. (The Sunday Times, London)
- U.S. clerics: End Iraq sanctions | 10 religious groups and 30 leaders, including nine Roman Catholic bishops, say U.S.-British plan to amend embargo would do little to alleviate the Iraqi people's suffering (Associated Press)
- Billy Graham's son endorses execution for McVeigh | "No question," says Franklin Graham. "The Bible is very clear in how we are to deal with those who take life in the case of murder." (WYFF, Greenville, South Carolina)
- Roe and Doe: 'abortion harmful' | Plaintiffs in the two companion Supreme Court cases filed amicus briefs telling the federal court why their cases should be overturned. (UPI)
- Jesus Run hits bump in road | Organizers of world's largest Christian walking and running event cry religious discrimination as permits are denied (The Denver Post)
- How L.A.'s mayoral rivals keep the faith (Los Angeles Times)
James Hahn sees politics as a way to live out Christian principles, but backs separation of church, state.
Antonio Villaraigosa cites Catholicism as a formative influence, but its tenets do not dictate his views.
- Dissident MPs just as religious as leader, Alliance House leader says | Fearing that Stockwell Day is being painted as a dangerous reactionary, senior loyalists are strongly denying he is relying on social conservatives to prop up his fractured leadership. (The National Post)
- U.N. assembly votes to condemn attacks on religious sites | Resolution, sponsored by 115 nations and adopted by consensus, carries no force of law (The New York Times)
- Say a prayer for the Christian Coalition | 'It's on life support at the moment' (U.S. News & World Report)
- Bush is actively courting Catholic voters for 2004 | Catholics, who cast 26 percent of the votes in 2000, represent probably the largest swing constituency in the nation. (The New York Times)
- Saving the 7-year-old | A missionary group devoted to small children fights to gain access to public elementary schools (Time)
- The impact of religion on education issues separates four officials from their positions | After a minority of school board members opposed adoption of a controversial social studies textbook, some residents accused the board of promoting a right-wing Christian agenda. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Thou shalt not act on thy beliefs | Trinity Western is cheering the Supreme Court's affirmation of its right to teach its creed. But what good is a creed if you can't act on it? (Ian Hunger, The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
- 1,000 hear rabbi address Cobb seniors | Rabbi, barred from delivering baccalaureate address at Methodist church, calls pastor who made decision one of his "heroes of democracy." (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Graduates skirt prayer ban | For the first time in an Illinois school's 80-year history, no prayer was heard publicly during graduation services. But graduates who supported an invocation and benediction did what they could to bring God into the services. (Chicago Tribune)
- Churches join truancy program | Volunteers call regarding kids who have missed one or two days of class in the previous week. (Associated Press)
- Schools that kept the faith | Robert Benne's Quality with Soul looks at why colleges lose or keep religious distinctions (UPI)
- Cleveland voucher decision appealed to Supreme Court | But justices have passed on similar issues recently (Education Week)
Copyright © 2001 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
See our past Weblog updates:
June 5 | 4
June 1 | May 31 | 30
May 18 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14
May 11 | 10 | 9 | 8 | 7
May 4 | 3 | 2 | 1 | April 30
April 27 | 26 | 25 | 24 | 23
April 20 | 19 | 18 | 17 | 16
April 12 | 11 | 10 | 9
April 6 | 5 | 4 | 3 | 2
Subscribe to Christianity Today and get access to this article plus 65+ years of archives.
- Home delivery of CT magazine
- Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com
- Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives
- Learn more
Read These Next
- TrendingRussell Moore: I Already Miss Tim Keller’s Wise VoiceThe late pastor theologian gave strong counsel to me and so many others in ministry.
- From the MagazineOur Worship Is Turning Praise into Secular ProfitWith corporate consolidation in worship music, more entities are invested in the songs sung on Sunday mornings. How will their financial incentives shape the church?español
- Editor's PickWorship Music Is Emotionally Manipulative. Do You Trust the Leader Plucking the Strings?The Spirit is at work, but so are the mechanisms around high-production sets.