Is Richard Land the new leader of the religious right?
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptists' Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, "considered trading preaching for politics, until he found a way to blend them as one mission," reports the Associated Press. "Land's ability to mix preaching and politics is what pushed him to the forefront of the Southern Baptist Convention—and the religious right."
But he's a new kind of religious right leader, says David Key, director of Baptist studies at Emory University's Candler School of Theology. His "low-key, contemplative approach" appeals to conservatives tired of "charismatic, inflammatory" figures "such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson." "He's not flashy," Key tells the AP. "He uses his educational background [which includes a D.Phil. from Oxford] to project a very thoughtful perspective on his agenda, and yet he represents a group that is not thoughtful at all when it comes to their positions on certain issues. He's a great person to represent them in Washington because of that." The Southern Baptist Convention is "not thoughtful at all when it comes to their positions on certain issues"? Weblog is sure the SBC isn't pleased about that description.
Karl Rove tells Family Research Council Bush will continue to nominate conservative judges
Presidential adviser Karl Rove says the Senate Judiciary Committee made a mistake in rejecting the nomination of Charles Pickering for an appellate court position. "This is not about a good man, Charles Pickering," he told 250 so people at the Family Research Council (FRC). "This is about the future. This is about the U.S. Supreme Court. And this is about sending George W. Bush a message that 'You send us somebody that is a strong conservative, you're not going to get him.' Guess what? They sent the wrong message to the wrong guy."
According to The Washington Post, Rove told the FRC that Bush would continue to nominate conservatives to federal benches, as well as promote marriage in welfare reform plans, support crisis pregnancy centers, and oppose human cloning. "There'll be some times you in this room and we over at the White House will find ourselves in agreement, and there'll be the occasion when we don't," he said. "But we will share a heck of a lot more in common than we don't. And we'll win if we work together far more often than the other side wants us to."
What a week it has been for honesty in the pulpit. First, Edward Mullins was accused of plagiarizing sermons and was suspended from his duties as rector of Christ Church Cranbrook, an Episcopal church outside Detroit. "Along with other questionable actions he has taken during the past five years, the plagiarism of his spiritual messages causes us seriously to doubt his fitness for the ordained ministry," said a letter from parishioners. "How can a priest of the church lay claim to a defense of such dubious morality as 'everybody does it' and 'I paid to use those materials?'" Mullins has his defenders in the congregation—and at The New York Times. "A congregation doesn't come to church on Sunday morning needing to believe that what they hear will be authentically delivered from the original pen of their minister," writes Verlyn Klinkenborg. "They need to believe that whatever he or she has to say to them will be true and full of solace, applicable to the days and weeks ahead." Besides, notes the Associated Press, "The point where research becomes plagiarism is murky for ministers and rabbis." Others disagree. See past articles on sermon stealing from Christianity Today, our sister publication Leadership Journal (which also gave tips on how to credit sources) and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
But some preachers aren't just padding their sermons—they're also padding their rÉsumÉs. William Taylor was forced to resign as the Dean of Portsmouth's Anglican Cathedral in the U.K. after someone notified the bishop that he'd never earned the doctorate from Cambridge University he said he had. "This has been a difficult time for all concerned but I would like to pay tribute to William's integrity in dealing honorably with this situation," said Bishop Kenneth Stevenson. "I wish him well in his future ministry. This matter is now closed." Taylor reportedly claimed a Ph.D. in Arabic churches even though all he had completed was a Master of Theology degree. The diocese says it will now demand proof of academic qualifications.
Church attack in Pakistan:
- Americans in Pakistan reel after church attack | Police officials fired, investigation continues (Chicago Tribune)
- Return to bloodied church | Jim Killgore had left Protestant International Church in June after pastoring there for five years (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- TEAM missionary recounts chaos of church attack | He was wounded, and five were killed when grenades exploded in Pakistan. (The Orange County [Calif.] Register)
- YWAM missionaries hurt in Pakistan attack | Mission agency sticks to no-comment policy (The Denver Post)
- Broader campaign suspected in church attack | Banned Pakistani militant groups may be working together, authorities say (The Washington Post)
- Pakistani congregation will 'keep going,' minister predicts | Danny Mulkey worshiped for more than two months at the Protestant International Church in Islamabad, Pakistan, while waiting for Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer to be set free in neighboring Afghanistan. (Baptist Press)
- Pakistan's 'war on extremism' stalled | More than 25 people have been killed in sectarian attacks in Pakistan over the last three weeks. (BBC)
- For diverse community, a valued sanctuary | Protestant International Church was small but diverse, with diplomats, teachers, missionaries and professionals from a dozen countries. (The Washington Post)
- Scots survivor tells how Bible saved his life in church attack | Pulpit, Bible served as shields (The Scotsman)
- Also: Capital aid worker tells of bloodbath (The Scotsman)
Church & state:
- Agencies quietly pair church, government | Bill languishes in Senate, but states and federal agencies are moving the faith-based initiative forward (Newhouse News Service)
- Group tells IRS of sheriff collecting at church | Congregation could lose tax-exempt status (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
- Judge mulls allegations of more jury misconduct | Murder verdict may be thrown out because juror referred to the Bible during deliberations (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Calif.)
- Florida town may ban beachside preaching | Evangelists say act would be unconstitutional (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
- ATHEIST tag wins reprieve | The brouhaha over the tag has provoked the agency to form a committee to review all potentially banned tags. (St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times)
- Group criticizes Sept. 12 prayers in Statehouse | Freedom from Religion Foundation asks inspector general to investigate whether governor and several other state leaders proselytized state employees (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- Ohio village pleads its case for a no-pitch zone | An Ohio town's wariness of door-to-door solicitors has drawn the scrutiny of the United States Supreme Court. (The New York Times)
- Houses of worship need time to pay fire fee, town says | Council members last week were torn between leaving the fee, reducing it or removing it completely (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
- New York attorney general weighs aid to church schools | Eliot Spitzer is exploring whether it's possible to provide taxpayer-funded remedial services to parochial-school students (New York Post)
- Earlier: N.Y. Prolifers See Partial Victory | New York attorney general withdraws subpoenas targeting crisis pregnancy centers. (Christianity Today, Mar. 1, 2002)
- Bakersfield to put its trust in God | After a spirited church-state debate, council votes to post the U.S. motto. (Los Angeles Times)
- Another Tennessee county votes to display Commandments (The Tennessean)
- Whose commandments? | Nurturing individual autonomy and the rights of groups that reject the autonomy principle is a difficult balancing act. (E. J. Dionne Jr, The Washington Post)
- State-imposed faith won't make U.S. stronger | Keeping the government from promoting religion is actually good for religion. (Charles Haynes, Freedom Forum)
- No permission required | Government must avoid infringing on the right of citizens to express peaceably their religious or political views, even when one person's peaceful expression happens to be another person's pain in the neck. (Editorial, Chicago Tribune)
- Bus driver's removal explained | She was removed for swearing and violating rules, not praying, say administrators (Carroll County Times, Westminster, Md.)
- It's easy to forget how Christian Canada is | Canada would be better served by church leaders openly admitting that when it comes to the relationship between politics and religion, they occupy a position not of victimhood but conspicuous and long-standing privilege. (Andy Lamey, National Post)
- Cleric wants assembly to enact prayer day law | As the country prepares for elections billed for next year, the National Assembly has been enjoined to enact a law making it mandatory for Nigerians to observe a yearly three-day national prayer to avert any impending disaster. (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)
- Gov. Bush's judicial pick raises brows | "It's obvious the opposition against Judge Aleman is solely because she's a Christian," says Christian Legal Society leader (The Washington Times)
- Religious leaders protest plan to proceed with tax cut | Clergy occupy House panel room for 30 minutes (The Baltimore Sun)
- Blair wears his faith on his shirt cuff | The new faith schools policy will require state-approved religions (Roy Hattersley, The Guardian)
- Christian leaders condemn RSS resolution | Hindu group is sowing the "seeds of great future tragedy," says All India Christian Council (The Times of India)
- Also: RSS, Christian leaders to meet on March 22 | Will discuss conversion, Indianisation of the church, reinterpretation of scriptures and violence against Christians. (The Times of India)
- Billy Graham, anti-Semitic? | If he returns his ADL award, so will I. (William F. Buckley Jr, National Review Online)
- Graham's journey gives all of us hope | I'm going to choose to remember not just the man but the journey that led him from one road to the other. (Ken Garfield, The Charlotte Observer)
- Billy Graham still coming despite boycott | Evangelist will address racism during June mission (The Cincinnati Post)
- Also: Baptist leader opposes boycott | "Cincinnati is not a Birmingham or a Selma," says L. Venchael Booth (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- British aid workers accused of sex abuse | Staff from more than 40 aid agencies and UN peacekeepers are also named (The Times, London)
- Abuse allegation offers a view of issues in scandal | Cases like a dispute at a Harlem church raise the question over whether priests should be defrocked because of an allegation of sexual misconduct. (The New York Times)
- Portrayal of the church causes unease | Catholics young and old, at school and at church, expressed a mix of support, dismay and frustration (The New York Times)
- Mass. attorney general gets victims' names | Church records cover 50 years of alleged abuse (The Boston Globe)
- Boston's Cardinal Law faces calls to resign from prominent conservative Catholics | Bill Bennett, William F. Buckley add to criticism (Associated Press)
- Egan breaks silence | Calls pedophilia an `abomination,' but critics say statement lacks substance (The Hartford [Conn.] Courant)
- Also: Egan defends his handling of abuse cases | More detailed response promised soon (The New York Times)
- Earlier: For a second day, Egan keeps silent on an issue roiling the church | Cardinal Edward M. Egan remained silent on Monday on the public disclosure of court records related to his handling of sexual abuse allegations against priests. (The New York Times)
- Earlier: Connecticut report revisits Egan's role in settling abuse cases (The New York Times)
- Church scandal resurrects old hurts in Louisiana bayou | The case of a pedophile priest in Louisiana offers insight into the kind of lasting effects that such episodes can have on the victims, and on whole communities. (The New York Times)
- A tragic crisis for the church | One thing the church must be willing to render to Caesar is priests who exploit their office to molest innocent children. (Editorial, The New York Times)
- Snakebitten church needs redemption | Patrick drove the snakes out of Ireland, and now we need someone to drive the snakes out of the Catholic Church in America. (Bill O'Reilly, Boston Herald)
- Father knows worst | We have turned a light on these cloistered, arrogant fraternities and they can no longer justify themselves. (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times)
- The systematic corruption of the Catholic Church | This is about a massively powerful institution using its power to conceal and effectively perpetuate crimes (and sins) of the most evil nature against the most innocent and vulnerable of the souls who trusted the church. (Michael Kelly, The Washington Post)
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