"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.
"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."
Politics and law:
- Salvation Army still under attack | Portland, Maine, forced the Salvation Army to drop its Meals on Wheels contract with the city rather than accept the municipal requirement that it provide health insurance benefits for the partners of gay and lesbian employees (Al Knight, The Denver Post)
- Is Europe a Christian continent? | Question becomes important as churches lobby for a mention of the continent's Christian heritage in a key document on the future of the European Union (Associated Press)
- Pastor to challenge Rutherford as write-in candidate for mayor | A.J. Pointer submitted the second-highest number of signatures but failed to qualify for the Aug. 6 ballot (The Flint [Mich.] Journal)
- House panel OKs rewritten 'virtual' child-porn ban | Supreme Court struck down broader ban in April (Reuters)
- House GOP again tries to stop partial-birth abortion | Bush says he'll sign ban bill (The Washington Times)
- Supreme Court again finds itself on side of Jehovah's Witnesses | Ruling in Ohio case strongly affirms value of anonymous, unregulated and unpopular speech. (Tony Mauro, Freedom Forum)
- Black coalition: repeal gay-rights section | 1998 amendment to the county's human rights ordinance extended protections to gay men and lesbians (The Miami Herald)
- Higher immorality? | For some religious groups, drug laws do more harm than drugs themselves (ABCNews.com)
- Ohio judge gets go-ahead to rehang commandments poster | Meanwhile, ministers urge county school board to appeal order to remove stone tablets from public schools. (Associated Press)
- Earlier: Grace period is denied in Commandments case | A federal judge yesterday told a Mansfield judge to take down the Ten Commandments from his courtroom by 9 a.m. Monday or face penalties (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- Conservatives angered by environmental provision | Tax break for environmental groups added to faith-based initiative bill (The Washington Times)
- Religion and tax dollars in the mix | Faith-based groups have ready access to funds, study finds. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- Senate panel closes tax loophole | Faith-based initiative measure allowing more deductions for charitable donations moves along (Associated Press)
- Also: Panel okays charity part of Bush's faith-based initiative (The Washington Times)
- Faith-based bill may be windfall for universities | Version of legislation the Senate Finance Committee approved earlier this week would provide a $2.9 billion tax break to people who make donations from Individual Retirement Accounts to nonprofit institutions—a benefit potentially so large, college officials say they have been seeking it for more than five years (The Boston Globe)
- The new civil rights struggle | Inner-city ministries have a religious discrimination case against the federal government (John J. Diiulio Jr, The Wall Street Journal)
- '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)
- Study revives sex ed debate | A new study published by the British Medical Journal finds that sex ed classes, even those that teach abstinence, are having almost no impact. (Fox News)
- Also: Teenage pregnancy prevention strategies are ineffective (British Medical Journal)
- Also: Sex education does not change behavior (British Medical Journal)
- Teenagers and sex education | Why are the young failing to heed warnings about sexually transmitted diseases? (The Times, London)
- 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)
- Liberal would be 'disaster' for church | Reform's David Holloway says schism likely (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- The vital days of tea and secrecy | More on Archbishop of Wales Rowan Williams (The Times, London)
- Evangelicals warn that Williams in Canterbury would split the Church | "Rowan Williams would not have the confidence of the vast majority of Anglicans in the world," say prominent conservatives. "His appointment would lead to a major split in the Anglican Communion." (The Times, London)
- 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)
- 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:
- Africans now missionaries to U.S. | A Nigeria-based Pentecostal church is spreading its evangelistic form of Christianity to America (Chicago Tribune)
- A brush with God | Carwash cleanses souls, too (The Miami Herald)
- Presbyterian debate: Is Jesus the savior? | Pastors, elders convene to draft crucial statement (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Presbyterians affirm Jesus as savior, sidestep debate on homosexuality (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Hold the fire and brimstone | Mention of hell from pulpits is at an all-time low. The downplaying of damnation shows the influence of secularism on Christian theology. (Los Angeles Times)
- Not a real story: Youth pastor forced to break out 'Hell is not Disneyland' speech | This is satire, people. (The Onion)
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)
- Nickelodeon special draws high ratings (Knight Ridder)
Southern Baptist Convention:
- New Baptist leader greeted by home church | As national president, local pastor doesn't shy away from conviction (The Dallas Morning News)
- Disney boycott remains among SBC priorities | 1997 vote still in effect (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- God's pragmatist | A review of Charles Taylor's Varieties of Religion Today: William James Revisited (New Republic)
- Findings of fiction | Stephen Carter is easy to pin down on his legal views. His novel is another case. (The Washington Post)
- Tracing a nonbeliever's journey from conversion to disillusionment | Another review of Carolyn Briggs's This Dark World (Los Angeles Times)
- Church of England deal on mobile masts | The Church of England is today heading for a massive row after clearing the way for phone masts to be installed in the spires and towers of thousands of churches. (London Evening Standard)
- At Seattle Pacific University, love is no longer blind, but envisioned by computer | After one too many Friday nights hanging out with his five roommates, J.R. Willett decided there had to be a better way to enjoy the prime of his life. And get class credit. And maybe a job. (Seattle Times)
Crime and justice:
- Bible student arrested in net sex sting | Jonathan Kolmorgen was interim youth pastor too (WLWT, Cincinnati)
- Teenager guilty of killing vicar who befriended him | Court told how clergyman was drowned and corpse dismembered (The Guardian, London)
- Police say girl missing from church a runaway | Rebecca Aleman, a 14-year-old home-schooler, called to say she was okay (Houston Chronicle)
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)
- Also: Principal accuses pastor | Suit alleges misuse of funds, harassment (Newsday)
Other stories of interest:
- Please God, deliver us a clever atheist | Church looking for real debate (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- The faith of our fathers is sometimes a tight fit | Forlorn teenagers seek desperately to claim their parents' faith for themselves, yet they somehow fall short of the mark, time and time again. (Randall Balmer, The Dallas Morning News)
- Son lives to further father's legacy | Allan Streett saw his father gunned down. Now he follows in his footsteps (Associated Press)
- Muse's flock to buy, return to church | Two congregations estranged in Pr. George's (The Washington Post)
- Recession vs. Sept. 11 | Terror attacks prompt flood of donations, but economic woes take a toll (ABCNews.com)
- Stadium from time of Jesus uncovered | Romans may have used Jewish-built structure as arena and prison, archaeologist says (Associated Press)
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