Religious conservatives turn on Bill Simon
Bill Simon, California's Republican gubernatorial candidate, has been a darling of religious conservatives throughout the campaign—so much so that the support was seen by some as a liability. As Weblog has noted, several California newspapers have attempted to paint him as an extremist.
But now it's Simon's old allies who say he's capitulating to an extremist agenda. Answering a questionnaire from the Log Cabin Republicans, an organization of homosexual party members, and speaking to the media this week, Simon announced he would continue the tradition of declaring a Gay Pride Day. He also said he wouldn't try to overturn existing laws allowing homosexuals to adopt children, and would even support domestic partnership laws, so long as they're not based on sexual orientation.
"Let's not premise this thing on having the government go in your bedroom," the San Francisco Chronicle quotes him saying on a radio show Tuesday. "What happens if my brother and I … why couldn't we be domestic partners, if we both lost our wives?" (Domestic partnerships that aren't tied to sexual orientation were also supported in a 1999 Christianity Today forum.)
"This is such a shock," says Randy Thomasson, executive director of Campaign for California Families, on his organization's website. "Gray Davis has shown himself to be corrupt on family values, and now Simon has shown himself to be untrustworthy on some of the same vital issues. Bill Simon has put pro-family voters in a very difficult position. It's very sad that voters are left with two candidates for governor, both of whom would undermine marriage and promote the gay agenda."
Also furious is Traditional Values Coalition chairman Lou Sheldon, whose son was hired by the Simon campaign during the primaries. "He has forgotten that he gave us his word on these issues," he said. "He and his advisors should be ashamed of their ploy to trick religious conservatives into voting for their campaign's empty rhetoric and shabby tactics."
Sheldon expresses similar feelings of betrayal to the Associated Press: "I spent months with Bill Simon touring Anglo and Hispanic churches where he vowed support for traditional values. His responses on this questionnaire tell me otherwise."
The Simon campaign, however, insists that the candidate hasn't changed his opinion—he's just made it more explicit. "Bill Simon hasn't changed his position on any of these issues," campaign strategist Sal Russo told the Chronicle. "Perhaps things could have been stated more artfully."
Anti-persecution activist Steve Snyder dies suddenly at 53
Steve Snyder, founder and president of the anti-persecution organization International Christian Concern, died Tuesday from complications from an infection. "Steven labored in this vineyard long before the movement against persecution captured the imagination of evangelicals," the National Association of Evangelicals' Rich Cizik tells The Washington Times. "What a faithful friend he was of the persecuted."
More on persecution:
- Church windows smashed in attack | Damage estimated at thousands of euro has been caused to a Church of Ireland church in the Republic of Ireland (BBC)
- Pakistan fears 9/11 terror attacks | Churches and missions especially at risk (Associated Press)
- Also: Pakistan fears terror attacks on Sept. 11 (Reuters)
- Mob beheads nun in Baghdad | Iraq's Christians under attack, says Chaldean News Agency (UPI)
- They hate Christians, too | But just in case you thought that America's ostensible Arab partners in the war on terror reserved their nastiest vitriol exclusively for the Children of Israel, consider some of the following recent observations they have made about Christians (Michael Freund, Jewish World Review)
- Christians who judge Islam are immature | It appears that some evangelicals just plain don't like it that Islam is now being accorded a measure of attention and respect. (Cary McMullen, The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.)
- Sanitizing Islam | Nowadays, the liberal desire to "understand" is often confused with the politically correct need to finesse and sanitize (Editorial, The Jerusalem Post)
- Can Islam be reformed? | Can Islam ever be reformed in the way Christianity was in the 16th century? Or would such an attempt simply produce a different religion? (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)
UNC Qur'an assignment:
- UNC official defends Qu'ran talks | Student discussions were uneventful (Associated Press)
- Reading of Approaching the Qur'an stirs controversy at U.S. university (Voice of America)
- Cuckoo in Carolina | The ruckus being raised by conservative Christians over the University of North Carolina's decision to ask incoming students to read a book about the Koran exhibits such profound lack of understanding of what America is about (Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times)
- Instructed, not converted | North Carolina manages to avoid establishing Islam as the state religion. (Terry Eastland, The Wall Street Journal)
Sex and marriage:
- Catholic church refuses to marry couple | Bride works for Planned Parenthood (Canadian Press)
- Also: Bishop defends canceling wedding over bride's politics | Planned Parenthood employee 'is in a conflicted position and something has got to give,' he says (Canadian Press)
- If holy rumpy-pumpy had taken another route | If the Carpocratians, Amaurians, and others had their way, extramarital sex wouldn't be a sin (Andrew Masterson, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- Mike inks law recognizing gay marriages | New York City is the first municipality in the United States to recognize gay marriages performed in other jurisdictions (New York Post)
Orlando gay-rights proposal:
- Area churches lead charge against plan for protecting gays | An Orlando proposal to ban discrimination against gays has prompted some Central Florida churches to launch a letter-writing campaign in an outcry within the local religious community not seen in years (The Orlando Sentinel)
- Gay-rights issue draws threat | A conservative Christian group is playing hardball politics over Orlando's gay-rights proposal, privately threatening to trash a City Council member's reputation if he doesn't abstain from voting on the initiative (The Orlando Sentinel)
- Shock jocks give Viacom a black eye | Opie and Anthony stunt gives radio parent a PR nightmare but won't have big impact on company's advertising revenue (Jane Weaver, MSNBC)
- Serve society, journalists advised | Christianity Today International veep Harold Smith speaks to Ugandans (New Vision, Kampala)
- Faithful wear religion on their sleeves | Forget Nike, the Gap, and the usual brand names. At this weekend's Inland Northwest Festival 2002, the fashions centered on God (The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.)
- Vicar attempts six world records | Clive Southerton plans the largest street party in Wales, which will aim for big food, big crowds, and other feats (BBC)
- Apocalyptic — and atop the bestseller lists | Author Tim LaHaye takes on the final battle between good and evil (The Christian Science Monitor)
- Networks push family fare in bid to attract fall viewers (The Wall Street Journal)
Star Warsas religion:
- Census Jedis not 'true believers': fans | The Australian Star Wars Appreciation Society says most of the people who listed their religion as Jedi on the 2001 census were probably not 'true believers' (ABC News, Australia)
- May the farce be with you | More than 70,000 Australians identified their religion as Jedi, Jedi Knight or Jedi-related in last year's national census (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Couples asked to donate to embryo bank | Stem cells from thousands of human embryos are to be stored for use by medical researchers (The Times, London)
- A Christian role in stem cell research | To place God on one side in the debate is misleading, as we all stand to benefit from this research (John Yeo, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Churches condemn stem cell bank | Couples undergoing IVF treatment could feel forced into donating unused embryos for research following the creation of Britain's first stem cell bank, critics claimed yesterday (The Scotsman)
- Scientists deny 'burying' news of stem cell bank | The medical research council yesterday denied accusations in a tabloid newspaper that it had chosen the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks to announce the setting up of a stem cell bank, in the hope of "burying" the news (The Guardian, London)
Politics and law:
- Candidates see eye to eye on issues | About the only measurable difference between Republicans Jerre Wilson and John Stargel is their age (The Ledger, Lakeland, Fla.)
- Candidates walking theological tightrope | A bloc of candidates in a Collier County School Board election is suspected of being — gasp — Christians (Brent Batten, Naples [Fla.] Daily News)
- House needs to reject bill on church politics | Americans should be outraged by the religious right's latest attempt to divert federal tax dollars into political campaigns (Editorial, Florida Today, Melbourne)
Sex abuse cases:
- Means found to prosecute decades-old abuse cases | Prosecutors in several states are finding an important loophole in the statutes of limitations that stops them from charging priests with sexual abuse that occurred decades ago. (The New York Times)
- Breach of faith | So far in the storm of allegations about the Catholic Church and sexual abuse, the offenders have been priests and brothers. But now the victims of abuse by nuns want the story of their dreadful experiences to be heard. (The Bulletin, Australia)
- Nuns accused in orphanage abuse claim | More allegations of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church have been raised, this time involving a Brisbane orphanage operated by nuns (ABC News, Australia, also video and audio)
- Also: Nuns allegedly raped orphans: report | Nuns at a Brisbane orphanage allegedly raped children and forced them to eat faeces, rotting food and their own vomit. (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Also: Abuse spotlight on Australian nuns (BBC)
- Also: Horror tales as women sue church and nuns (The Sydney Morning Herald)
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