Wim van der Valk, pastor of St. Martinus Church in Weert, Netherlands, is angry with police for ticketing 200 members of his 1,400-member church while they attended a special anniversary Mass. "If you call the police at night to tell them about drug addicts or people beating others up, you hardly see anyone," he told De Telegraaf. "But at Sunday morning they want to put everything in order. Mainly for a group of people who never disturb anyone. It's scandalous." Ah, the old "why aren't you catching real criminals" response to a ticket. In the history of law enforcement, has it ever worked? Have the police ever said, "Gee. You're right. Sorry for the hassle"? Anyway, it didn't work for Father van der Valk's congregation, either. So van der Valk is personally paying each 91-guilder fine out of his own pocket—totaling about $7,500. "They may reward me for it in heaven," he says.
Cleansing the stain
About 5,500 miles from Weert, another priest has an unconventional ministry: tattoo removal. But this isn't an outreach effort for Xers. David La Buda's target is the street children of Chamelecon, Honduras. "Our mission is simple: We only say goodbye to the tattoosthat young people have," La Buda, a priest from North Carolina, tells the Associated Press. "The kids get these drawings to identify themselves with gangs and survive a hostile environment. But after [they leave the gangs and want to get jobs], they decide to get rid of them." With the help of cardiologist Richard Tamisiea, La Buda wants to remove more than 90,000 marks through the "Goodbye Tattoos" program—he's already done 6,000.
Istook tries again U.S. Rep. Ernest Istook(R-Okla.) was at the forefront of the Religious Freedom ...1
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