Jesse Ventura accidentally proclaims "Christian Heritage Week"
On Wednesday, the Minnesota governor's office filed a proclamation with the Secretary of State's office declaring a week in October "Christian Heritage Week." Then it tried to take it back. "Somehow it got in the wrong pile," Ventura's spokesman told the Associated Press. "It would not have been approved."

Too bad, says the Secretary of State's spokesman: "There is no deproclamatizing. Once it's filed, it's filed … It's not like every time they send something we call over and ask, 'Did you mean it?'"

There was plenty of reason to think that Gov. Jesse Ventura didn't mean it—he'd already called religion "a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers," and earlier this month drew fire from religious conservatives by granting an atheist group's request to declare July 4 "Indivisible Day."

The governor's office says it will send Christian Heritage Ministries (which campaigned for the Christian Heritage Week declaration) a certificate of recognition—and an apology for accidentally issuing it.

Religious morality, not laws, will change business ethics
In a Washington Post piece Tuesday, Prison Fellowship founder (and Christianity Todaycolumnist) Charles Colson responded to the paper's editorial assertion that "it is naive to suppose that business can be regulated by some kind of national honor code."

"Watergate did not happen for want of laws," said Colson, who served seven months in prison for his involvement in the scandal.

What fools we are when we think we can legislate away human immorality. We certainly need laws, but I stand as living proof that the cure comes not from laws and statutes but from the transforming of the human heart—the embracing of a moral code to which conscience is bound. The real hope for corporate America lies in cultivating conscience, a disposition to know and do what is right. And yet I have surveyed business school curricula and find that hardly any teach ethics.

Rather than enacting new and ineffective laws, Colson says, the answer is "to take a bracing dose of reality, to recognize that the enemy is moral relativism and confusion, to embrace once again a solid code by which morality can be informed and then to go about the business of strengthening the conscience of the nation."

Colson will be heartened to read today's Christian Science Monitor, which reports, "Some faith-based groups are now trying to close that gap [between religious teachings and the business world] and help individuals lead more integrated lives as well as foster greater integrity in the workplace."

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One such group is the Business Leadership and Spirituality Network (BLSN), but don't be scared off by the word spirituality. "A lot of the spirituality movement's basic message is, 'You're a good person, just love yourself more,'" the group's William Messenger tells the Monitor. "I don't think that is going to challenge insider trading or cooking the books." (Messenger is also director of the Mockler Center for Faith and Ethics in the Workplace at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.)

Like Colson, the BLSN thinks Americans need less tolerance, not more. "Our culture has fallen into a kind of moral vertigo - we value tolerance so much that we don't know how to talk to each other about what is right and good," says the group's director, Kevin Phillips (He's also rector of St. Timothy's Episcopal Church in Mountain View, California). Still, while the BLSN currently organizes its meetings of executives around Christian principles, it's talking about starting ones based on Jewish, Muslim, and Buddhist traditions.

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Persecution and crime:


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  • Evolution critics meet to create strategy | Hundreds of evolution critics slipped into a quiet Missouri suburb over the weekend with a single-minded purpose: to shatter the lock Charles Darwin has had on science for 150 years (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  • Blaine is slain | School choice passes a second constitutional test. (Pete Du Pont, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Safe sex: Time to abstain | True abstinence programs help young people build an understanding of commitment, fidelity and intimacy that will serve as the foundations of healthy marital life. Can the same be said for classroom demonstrations involving condoms and cucumbers? (Edwin Feulner, The Washington Times)

Church life:

  • Episcopal equanimity | Episcopal Diocese of Virginia bishop Peter J. Lee's efforts to balance competing interests in a diocese that comprises a liberal south and a conservative north has kept 187 churches up, running, and growing (The Washington Times)

  • A pastor's $23,650 problem | The Rev. Viorel Dumitrescu says he is a God-fearing pastor and former torture victim who only wants to build a home for his immigrant congregation in a former knitting factory. But the city's Department of Buildings says that in pursuing his goal, he authorized construction without a permit and illegally operated single room occupancy apartments. (The New York Times)

  • Theological trustees tend to be older and aren't big givers, study finds | Board members are concerned most with increasing enrollment at their institutions and establishing financial security, says Auburn Theological Seminary's Center for the Study of Theological Education (The Chronicle of Higher Education, subscription required)

  • Main Street evangelism | Young members of Bridge of Promise present their message - and do good deeds (Newsday, Long Island, New York)

  • Church of England in £800m loss as shares fall | The church commissioners invested heavily in telecommunications, hi-tech and pharmaceuticals companies and have taken a particularly heavy hit from the fall of Vodaphone. (The Guardian, London)


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Pope John Paul II:

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