Robertson wants to take CBN to China
Pat Robertson is in Beijing to try to get more of his Christian Broadcasting Network programs on the country's state-run television. "I hope that something positive will come out of the meeting," he tells the Associated Press. "We are seeking to see more programming for television get on the national broadcaster that would convey positive moral values that Chinese leaders support." He's also trying to expand his charities and other operations in the country—CBN already has 28 staff stationed there. Pat's support of China's one-child policy doesn't seem so out of place now, does it?
Speaking of Christianity's Ted Turner, Robertson has finally responded to Washington Post columnist Colbert I. King's repeated attacks (1 | 2 | 3 | 4) on his dealings in Liberia. "None of it is true," he says. "There is no money to the Liberian government, no money to Charles Taylor, no money for diamonds, or any corollary diamond interests … in fact, nothing except the fantasy of your writer." Robertson does admit, "According to its mining concession, [Robertson's mining operation] Freedom Gold will make available to the government of Liberia sometime in 2004 to 2006 shares which will be illiquid until such time as the company is taken public." Robertson then goes on to declare Liberia a wonderful country: "Freedom Gold has … found freedom of religion, freedom of movement, freedom of expression, and what appears to be a judiciary dedicated to the rule of law. It is clear that the Clinton State Department urged upon the United Nations sanctions against Liberia which will only serve to deepen the poverty and misery of the people." Funny, but the Bush administration agrees with those sanctions, saying in its most recent human rights report, "The Government's human rights record remained poor, and there were numerous, serious abuses in many areas." In fact, just about the only people who are saying there's great freedom in Liberia are Robertson and Taylor.
ACLU offers help to Falwell
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia is offering to help the Baptist minister in his lawsuit against Virginia. The state won't let Falwell's Thomas Road Baptist Church expand into a new sanctuary because no church is allowed to own more than 15 acres in a city, though cities can make an exception for up to 50 acres. No church is allowed to own more than 250 acres in a county. "We agree with your position that such laws discriminate against religion in both purpose and effect, in flagrant violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution," wrote ACLU legal director Rebecca K. Glenberg in a letter to Falwell. The minister and his son have accepted the ACLU's offer to file a friend-of-the-court brief. "We definitely appreciate the offer and we're hoping that other groups will support us, especially church groups," said Jerry Falwell Jr.
Holy Land Experience has yet another battle
Orlando's Holy Land Experience, a Christian theme park, just can't catch a break. Every two months or so, somebody's attacking it. First there were rumors that it was targeting Jews for conversion. Then Jews complained that it was putting Torah scrolls on display in its antiquities museum. Now it's fighting its county on taxes. The county says the park is "predominately a profit-making activity" and "is not being used for religious purposes." Thus, it can't claim nonprofit status and must pay property taxes. Park creator Marvin Rosenthal has enlisted the American Center for Law and Justice in his battle. "We find it terribly inconsistent that the Orlando Science Center charges approximately the same amount for admissions, charges for parking, has a gift shop and it has a tax-exempt status," he tells The New York Times. "If you teach science, you get a tax exemption, but if you teach about God, you don't. That's discrimination." Rosenthal also says the park may not break even this year, as attendance has been down since the September 11 attacks.
Church and state:
- ACLU sues over commandments displays | Four Kentucky counties have displays in courtrooms (Associated Press)
- S.C. 'Choose Life' license plates put on hold | Planned Parenthood of South Carolina won a request in federal court yesterday to prevent the state from producing the plates (Associated Press)
- Good-faith argument for school prayer | Let a thousand flowers bloom (William Raspberry, The Washington Post)
- A creeping theocracy | How the U.S. government uses its power to enforce religious principles (Sherry F. Colb, FindLaw)
- Religious freedom, a casualty of war? | The rhetoric being espoused by the administration, while sounding right, is lacking in actual implementation (Christopher H. Smith, The Washington Times)
- Sudan: the other (and forgotten) religious war | The precedent of direct intervention against the totalitarian regime in Afghanistan may carry hope for the people of southern Sudan that the international community might one day come to their rescue (Tony Parkinson, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- For Christ's sake | Christian broadcasting is being persecuted by a special-interest pressure group (Colin R. Nicholl, The Spectator)
- Gujarat police once again on Christian survey mission | High court admonished similar move two years ago, but police continue to catalogue Christians' assets and sources (The Hindustan Times)
- Bauchi Shari'ah panel bans praise-singing | Offense punishable by year imprisonment, 20 lashings with cane (This Day, Lagos)
- Southern Baptist head urges prayer for Muslims | "Just as they can pray and fast, we want to pray and fast that they will find the true way to heaven, and this is through Jesus Christ," says James Merritt (Associated Press)
- The limits of religious unity | Interfaith services for terrorism victims raise questions for clergy (The Washington Post)
- Christians outraged over All Saints prayer for Mohammed, Buddha | They "led God's people to God's light," says prayer promoted by Episcopal Church, Anglican Communion (The Daily Telegraph)
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