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."
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.
Persecution and crime:
- Suspects in church massacre are killed | Four accused of Bahawalpur attack killed in escape attempt (The Washington Times)
- Man gets death, fine for blasphemy | Wajih-ul-Hassan latest target of Pakistan's controversial law. (The News International, Pakistan)
- Also: Pak court orders death for blasphemy | Second such sentence in nine days (The Independent, Bangladesh)
- Top Indonesian Islamic group against Shari'ah law | Nahdlatul Ulama wants religious freedom untouched (AFP)
- China sentences Catholic priests to labor camp | China has sentenced three Catholic priests to three years in a labor camp for "cult" activities it says threaten social stability (Reuters)
- Also: Catholic priests jailed in China (BBC)
- Houses for dislodged Christians demanded | 25 Pakistani families homeless after government destroys church (Dawn, Karachi)
- Christian rebels kill 42 in Uganda | Members of the Lord's Resistance Army attacked a village near the northern town of Kitgum Wednesday and killed the victims with machetes and clubs, Radio Uganda reported. (UPI)
- Evangelical leaders ask Bush to adopt balanced Mideast policy | "The American evangelical community is not a monolithic bloc in full and firm support of present Israeli policy," say 59 theologians, community activists, pastors and college professors (The Washington Post)
- Religious Right makes headway in Bush policy | Influence especially evident in recent foreign policy decisions (Fox News)
- James Meeks kicks off race for Senate | Residents fill park Sunday in support of Baptist pastor's bid for 15th District (The Times, Munster, Indiana)
- In Texas, churchgoers are integral to campaigning | Demos support moment of silence in schools; GOP pledges to dispel myth of separation of church, state (Associated Press)
- 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)
- 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)
- Pax looking more like a real network | Subtract wrestling, and Pax has more hours of original prime-time programs than UPN and almost as many as the WB (Tom Jicha, South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
- On Family, bit o' s-e-x | ABC Family's prime-time summer programming is about to get a little steamy (New York Daily News)
- HBO'S gay series stops shooting after a letter | HBO apparently didn't think scenes were racy enough (The New York Observer)
Pope John Paul II:
- Protestant growth and the Pope | The astonishing growth of evangelical Protestantism in Guatemala was said to have been one reason for the pope's visit to that Central American nation. But John Paul II may have had something else in mind, too-the resurgence of ancient Maya spirituality (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)
- Resurrecting the message of Jesus | The Pope may be ailing, but his latest foreign trip shows how well he still manages the media—and his skill at setting a religious agenda (Newsweek)
- Guatemala non-Catholics have mixed views on Pope | At a faster rate than almost anywhere else in Latin America, Guatemalans have abandoned the Catholic Church to join fundamentalist Christian groups (Associated Press)
- Pope stresses peace in face of threats to Guatemalan church | Despite war's end, rights activists feel beset (The Washington Post)
- On Mexico visit, Pope will find divided Catholic country | The divide comes clear in surveys that show Mexicans in favor of birth control, opposed to religious education and open to abortion (The New York Times)
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