Rwanda's archbishop offers protection and support to Canadian Anglicans
Emmanuel Kolini says churches in the West are facing a spiritual genocide. He doesn't use the term lightly—as the Anglican archbishop of Rwanda and bishop of Kigali, Kolini is trying to heal the country from a physical genocide that left 800,000 Tutsis dead.

Two years ago, believing that many Episcopalians in the U.S. were being led astray or persecuted by unorthodox leaders, Kolini (along with Archbishop of Singapore Moses Tay) ordained two Americans as missionary bishops, launching the Anglican Mission in America. But as Tay retired shortly thereafter, Kolini bore the brunt of criticism from other Anglican bishops worldwide, including Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, a self-described evangelical who heads the church.

Now Kolini is reaching out to Canadians as well. Things have heated up in the Diocese of New Westminster since it voted to bless same-sex unions. Bishop Michael Ingham has given an ultimatum to conservatives in the diocese, asking them to inform him in writing by tomorrow whether they'll submit to his authority.

Stand firm, Kolini has told the orthodox Canadians. "We fully understand that this compromise of the Gospel constitutes a serious violation of your firmly-based and deeply-held religious convictions and conscience," he said in a letter to the parishes. "We deeply regret the threats toward you and numerous others concerning your clerical licenses. Please know that we will not recognize any such efforts. We are also willing to share with others the possibility of ecclesiastical protection."

Asked about Kolini's letter by The National Post, Ingham replied, "He has no jurisdiction in Canada." Still, says the Post, the Anglican Mission in America might be seeing several new Canadian members in the next few weeks.

Weblog should also note that the diocese of Sydney, Australia, and other bishops are also supporting conservatives in the New Westminster diocese.

Wrapped up in Vines
Last week's court decisions on school vouchers and the Pledge of Allegiance have likely knocked Southern Baptist leader Jerry Vines's comments on Islam out of the newspapers. But before we leave the topic completely, there are two opinion pieces in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram worth noting.

The first is by longtime Star-Telegram religion reporter Jim Jones, who tries to cool the argument down. Vines's remarks that Muhammad was "a demon-possessed pedophile" were based on legitimate Islamic sources, Jones notes. "They describe Muhammad's fears that he was possessed by an ungodly spirit and provide information that states Muhammad's marriage to one of his 11 wives, Aisha, was consummated when she was 9."

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Other texts offer different stories, and religious historians have been debating about the facts for decades, Jones says. But that's not the point: Vines "wanted to declare that Christianity—not the fast-growing Islamic faith—is the only way to salvation." Muslims, of course, believe the opposite, and both religions are spreading around the world.

"Whether this dueling evangelism is peaceful, or turns ugly, depends on how the two groups treat one another. Let's hope they tone down the harsh rhetoric as they carry out their vastly different visions of how to point people toward God," Jones concludes.

Another comment comes from Star-Telegram senior editorial writer J.R. Labbe, who argues that even if Muhammad had a 9-year-old wife, calling him a pedophile was inappropriate. After all, notes Labbe, Joseph supposedly wedded Mary when she was just a teen—does that make Jesus' earthly father a pedophile as well?

"Modern-day Americans rightfully find the notion of an adult male marrying a young girl repellent, but history is chock-full of examples, some of them not so distant," Labbe says. "One doesn't have to flip back the pages of the American history books very far before finding accounts of teen-age girls routinely marrying men who had reached adulthood."

"No one ever promised that being a Christian would be easy. In fact, Jesus warned that being a disciple would require sacrifice and pain," Labbe concludes. "But Christians shouldn't have to worry about other self-professed Christians being the ones to make things harder."

Coming tomorrow …
Everything you ever wanted to know about those court decisions on vouchers and the Pledge of Allegiance but didn't have time to read.

More articles

Crimes at church:

Other stories of interest:

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  • A congregation's final chapter | Split leads to demise of 118-year-old Pr. George's church (The Washington Post)

  • Putting money where beliefs are | Investors can now choose from several dozen religion-based mutual funds, created with the intent of keeping portfolios morally pure. In the case of one such fund, investors have also turned a handsome profit (The New York Times)

  • Christian films target mainstream | Movies with a moral message try to break out of the bush leagues with upcoming productions (Religion News Service)

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