"Whether it's martryrdom or any other means, we are part of it," says Orthodox priest
Attallah Hana, a priest CNN calls "a leading Greek Orthodox figure in Jerusalem," has always been a vocal and adamant spokesman for the Palestinian cause. He's even been the subject of major controversy before, and the Jerusalem Post says he's a loose cannon the church wants to rein in.

They'll really want to rein him in now. Gulf News, a newspaper in the United Arab Emirates, isn't exactly a paragon of unbiased journalism, but if even half of the comments it quotes Hana as saying are true it's amazing:

As you know, political parties in Palestine agree to the continuation of the intifada, which includes different approaches of struggle. Some freedom fighters adopt martyrdom or suicide bombing, while others opt for other measures. But all these struggles serve the continued intifada for freedom. Therefore, we support all these causes. … It is the Israeli Zionist regime that is committing genocide in Palestine by killing innocent women and children. Palestinian people have the right to defend themselves from the Israeli barbarism and atrocities. … We are part of the intifada, so you don't expect us to keep distance and watch. We are in the struggle, whether it's martyrdom or any other means, we are part of it.

Expect not a few calls for the Greek Orthodox Church to distance itself from this call for more suicide bombers. In a New York Times column today, Nicholas D. Kristof (who recently called evangelicals "the new internationalists") remarked that "nobody so distorts, denigrates and defames Islam as radical Muslims themselves." Indeed, when clerics like Hana use their religious platform to support suicide bombers, the same may be said for Christians.

Contrast, then, Hana's remarks with those of Fahed Abu-Akel, the new head of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). One of the Palestinian American's first acts as moderator was to condemn suicide bombings.

The Christian Right's latest target: John Ashcroft
Yesterday, President Bush. Today, Attorney General Ashcroft. The Christian Right is attacking the Washington leaders it once saw as defenders of the faith as traitors. As The Washington Post, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, and Fox News all report today, groups like Concerned Women for America and the American Family Association are furious that the AG asked Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson to speak to a rally of homosexual Justice Department employees Wednesday night, which was held at Justice headquarters.

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"After all the work we did to stand up to the liberal mudslinging during Ashcroft's confirmation fight, this is what we get?" said Robert Knight of Concerned Women for America's Culture and Family Institute. "I have to ask: Why is Mr. Ashcroft, a committed Christian, using his official capacity to celebrate sin?"

Similarly, says CWA president Sandy Rios, "If the Bush administration cannot uphold the most basic of family values and virtues, it risks losing pivotal support from those who have been most loyal in the past."

Abu Sayyaf leader killed
Thought you'd like to know that the Muslim guerrilla leader who had held American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham captive for more than a year was reportedly killed today in what authorities are calling a "high seas shootout."

More articles

Politics and law:

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Faith-based initiative:

Life ethics:

  • 'Stem cell' studies may end embryo research | Cells from adult bone marrow could provide an alternative to embryo cells to make brain, heart, muscle or any other type of cell for new treatments, according to a study published yesterday (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Abortion protester surprised to get ACLU backing in suit | Though often opposing prolife activists, civil liberties group says Cuyahoga Falls police stepped over the line when they confiscated Operation Rescue's placard (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

Sex education:


  • Keeping mum | Ohio voters want to know Gov. Bob Taft's thoughts on teaching evolution in public school science classes. (Education Week)

  • Fight looms over Bible plan | Lessons proposed for Dade County schools (The Miami Herald)

The next Archbishop of Canterbury:

  • The Lambeth challenge | The Archbishop of Wales is an eloquent spokesman for all those Christians who inwardly revolt against the materialism and cynicism of our age. (Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, London)

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Interfaith relations:

  • Bush disagrees with pastor's remarks | "Islam is a religion of peace, that's what the president believes," says Air Fleischer (Associated Press)

  • Also: See the full text of Fleischer's exchange with the reporter here.

  • Testing Christian patience | Christians and Jews, standing together? (David Klinghoffer, National Review Online)

  • Religion news in brief | Episcopalians, American Baptists respond to Jerry Vines's comments, Yale names new dean of divinity school, and other stories (Associated Press)

Jerry Falwell:

  • City part of Falwell suit again | Lawsuit is the second filed by Falwell since November and seeks to free Thomas Road Baptist Church from state land limitations and court oversight of land transactions (The News & Advance, Lynchburg, Va.)

  • Falwell building Christian community | Vision for his 4,300 acres includes golf courses, recreation centers and apartments, where members of his flock can live from "birth to antiquity." (Associated Press)

Missions and ministry:


Sexuality and gender:

  • Conflict over church weddings for divorcees | Evangelicals, who are growing in influence in the Church, fear that if the ban is lifted the sacrament of marriage will be taken for granted, the marriage vows devalued and the principle that "marriage is for life" ignored. (The Times, London)

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Southern Baptist Convention:



Crime and justice:

Sex abuse scandal:

  • Job isn't over yet for bishops | They must now attend to the difficult task of tying down the many loose ends in their new reform policy (Associated Press)

  • Suit's sordid saga of gay Rev. & go-go teen | Among other allegations, the suit says the Rev. John Thompson looted $14,000 from a candy drive - and bragged he was untouchable because "he could bring down half the [Brooklyn] diocese with what he knew" about other gay priests. (New York Post)

  • Also: Gay Rev. denies rectory romps (New York Post)

  • Also: Rev. backs principal in lawsuit | A Queens parochial school principal who angered Catholic Church leaders by accusing a priest of looting school coffers to pay for a gay lover has won the backing of a prominent local Catholic educator (New York Daily News)

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Other stories of interest:

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