Pentagon drops abayah requirement
Lt. Col. Martha McSally, the Air Force's highest-ranking female fighter pilot, has won her fight against a military rule requiring her to wear a head-to-toe Muslim robe whenever she leaves the U.S. base in Saudi Arabia. "Wear of the abaya in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged," the new policy says. McSally had argued that the old requirement violated her religious freedom as a Christian, and filed suit with the help of the Rutherford Institute. U.S. Central Command says the lawsuit had nothing to do with the policy change and that the policy had been under review even before the suit was filed.
The case isn't over yet, however. McSally and other female soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia are still prohibited from driving—or even sitting in the front seat of a vehicle. And they can't leave the military base without a male soldier accompanying them. "I think the mountain has moved, but I don't know how far," Rutherford Institute president John Whitehead tells The Washington Post. He was a bit more negative when talking to the USA Today: "What it says to us is that [the rule has] not been rescinded. It's like saying, 'You're equal to us but you can't eat in the same restaurant because you're strongly encouraged to eat at one more fitting with your lower class.'"
DeMoss Foundation won't go to court to overturn German ban on PowerforLiving ads
Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation President Mark DeMoss flew to Hamburg this week to straighten people out about his organization and the evangelistic book it's famous for distributing, Power for Living. Two weeks ago, Germany banned ads for the book at the request of liberal German church leaders who opposed the group's conservative evangelical stances. The Lutheran Church's Thomas Gandow, for example, attacked the book as an "attempt to establish American religious culture in Germany." Rumors have been flying about the group, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, including one that it "advocated depriving non-believers of their voting rights." DeMoss insisted that the foundation is nothing like a sect or a cult. "You cannot join us, we have no followers. All we do is write checks and pass them out," he said. He appealed to the broadcast regulators to overturn their ban, but said the foundation would not go to court to challenge it. According to Operation World, Germany is 69 percent Christian, but only 3 percent evangelical. (National Public Radio's All Things Considered also has a report, but you'll need RealPlayer to listen to it.)
The Weekly Standard on "the Christian Taliban"
- The Taliban smear | Four months after September 11, some liberals are still smearing conservatives by equating them with the Taliban. (Terry Eastland, The Weekly Standard)
- On evangelicals and theocrats | The example of James Madison shows why liberals who continue to conflate the Taliban with religious conservatives are wrong. (Claudia Winkler, The Weekly Standard)
- You mean Hitler wasn't a priest? | The truth is, in fact, out there. (Dave Shiflett, National Review Online)
- Goldhagen to Christianity: Whatever you're doing, stop it! | Why is Nazism Christian? Um, well, because Nazism occurred in Germany, which was a mainly Christian country. … And the Pope—he's the boss of all the Christians, isn't he? (Sam Schulman, Jewish World Review; link courtesy RelapsedCatholic.com)
- When faith becomes the enemy | We treat Christianity's past as something to recover from, not to celebrate. (Sue O'Brien, The Denver Post)
- Restored ancient Roman house opens | Third-century home belonged to wealthy Christian (Associated Press)
- Churches sell parts of history to protect the present | Three silver beakers crafted in 1753 by a teenage Paul Revere were sacrificed to the bricks-and-mortar necessities of the 21st century (The Boston Globe)
- Clergymen get hot under the collar in Anglican turf war | The launch of a new church on Australia's Central Coast has opened up old wounds in opposing factions of the Anglican Church (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Church's leaders ask flock for faith | Child molestation cases become focus of Sunday sermons (Boston Herald)
- Foreign churches get no say on leader | Thirty-seven of the 38 self-governing churches that comprise the worldwide Anglican community will have no voting rights in the appointment of their next spiritual leader (The Times)
Politics and religion:
- Bush policies push 'healthy' marriage | "We should not seek to simply be neutral about marriage," says official (The Washington Times)
- Christians encouraged to pray for Blair daily | Britain's Premier Christian Radio starts Prime Minister's Prayer Time (The Times, London)
- Nurse fired by hospital fires back | Jill Stanek is now running for state office (The Washington Times)
- Theologian says altering genes can fit God's plan | In some cases, changing our genes actually may be good stewardship—the best way of reflecting God's image while we transform the world for the better, says James C. Peterson at Calvin College (The Grand Rapids Press)
- Experts urge ban on cloned babies | But panel backs embryo research (The Washington Post)
- Opinion journalism at the Post | The Washington Post confuses an editorial with a news story, and takes a shot at the president's new Bioethics Council. (J. Bottum, The Weekly Standard)
- Trial reignites Portugal abortion debate (BBC)
- Philadelphia cardinal plans aggressive pro-life campaign | Advertising campaign, which ran in the Philadelphia area last year, encourages people to re-evaluate their thinking (Associated Press)
- Spirituality linked to better health in arthritis | "Spirituality may be a type of psychological resource that allows individuals to adjust better to living with a chronic illness," says researcher (Reuters)
- Where scientists are looking for God | Lourdes, France, has a reputation for miracles but are these `inexplicable' cures evidence of divine intervention? (The Daily Telegraph)
- Praise for Vatican paper on Jews | But it will take time for most observers to read and digest the lengthy book (Associated Press)
- Christians at odds over sermon on 'Evils of Islam' | A Nashville minister's sermon on the ''evils of Islam'' has drawn both supporters and those opposed to his message, which also includes a call to convert the city's Muslims to Christianity (The Tennessean)
- Between cross and crescent | The controversy over construction of a mosque next to Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation has become an international issue that is tearing apart this Muslim/Christian town of Nazareth (The Jerusalem Post)
- Date for church bombing trial picked | Bobby Frank Cherry will stand trial April 29 (Associated Press)
- Facing sin in the ranks | Secrets breed suspicion (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)
- Church members urged to be more vigilant after sex attack | Denver's Grace United Methodist Church has tightened security to keep better track of who's entering the building after a Jan. 3 sex assault there (The Denver Post)
Other stories of interest:
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