Education reform may mean more teaching of intelligent design theory
U.S. Reps. John A. Boehner and Steve Chabot, both Republicans from Ohio, have told the Ohio Board of Education that the recently passed education reform legislation may solve the board's debate over teaching evolution and competing theories like intelligent design. The congressmen quote from conference report language that says, "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist."
"Many officials from science and education groups, most of whom back teaching only evolution, call the language part of a wider campaign to force intelligent-design theory into the nation's science classrooms," reports The Washington Post. "They fear that the congressional language will be used to challenge the teaching of evolution across the country."
The conference report isn't actual law, but the Post notes that "it has in the past been used as the basis for regulations that guide how laws are enforced."
For now, however, it's unclear whether the congressmen's letter will lead to more discussions of intelligent design in the classrooms, "teaching the controversy" about evolutionary theory without getting into intelligent design, or whether it will actually have any effect at all.
U.S. offers $5 million reward for Burnhams' kidnappers
The U.S. Embassy in Manila yesterday announced rewards of up to $5 million for the capture of the Abu Sayyaf terrorists holding American missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. "No one hide[s] from everyone," Ambassador Francis J. Ricciardone said. "We hope that this Rewards for Justice program, now active in the Philippines, will support Philippine government efforts to bring to justice the terrorists responsible for the murder of Filipinos and Americans." (The Associated Press notes that it is unclear whether the $5 million is for each of the five Abu Sayyaf leaders named or for all five.)
The Philippine government welcomed the bounty. "It's okay with the government. It does not really impinge on our political situation," acting Press Secretary Silvestre Afable told reporters. "Giving rewards is not really uncommon. This is one way of speeding up the arrest of the people and engaging public involvement and participation (in putting an end to terrorism)." The BBC notes that the Philippine government has been offering a reward of $100,000 for a year without success.
In related news, the Philippine military says Ediborah Yap, the other person the Abu Sayyaf is holding, is still a hostage even though she married one of the guerrilla leaders. They also said the report of the marriageYap was reportedly given the choice between marriage or gang rapeis months old.
- The intellectual advantages of a Roman Catholic education | At its best, respect for natural law gives one the self-confidence that makes possible the passion and curiosity that fuel intellectual inquiry. It inoculates us against postmodernism. (Alan Wolfe, The Chronicle of Higher Education)
- Public schools need religious studies, paper says | Former university dean argues fears of indoctrination are unwarranted (The National Post, Canada)
- Conflict between educators, church | Acting on instructions from the Vatican, U.S. bishops have ordered Catholics who teach their faith's doctrine, morality, Scripture, law or history at Catholic schools to obtain a "mandatum" from the bishop of the diocese where the college is located. (Associated Press)
Sex abuse scandal:
- Can a church go broke? | Probably not. But the cascade of sexual-abuse lawsuits is moving Catholic officials to devise innovative ways to shield their vast assets (Time)
- What will they do? | The bishops: looking for salvation (U.S. News & World Report)
- Price of broken vows | Four years ago, Paul Marcoux accepted $450,000 in exchange for his silence about what he says was sexual misconduct by Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland of Milwaukee decades earlier. On Thursday, he was on national television discussing his claims and the settlement itself. Legal experts say the archbishop is entitled to get his money back. Yet as a practical matter, they say, that will never happen (The New York Times)
- Clergy exchange plan stirs security worries | A State Department-sponsored exchange program to bring foreign Muslim clerics to the United States and send American clerics to Muslim communities overseas has some Middle East experts worrying that terrorist groups could use the program to slip into the country. (The Washington Post)
- Church seeking scapegoat, gays say | Officially, the church's hierarchy has avoided blaming homosexuality for the scandal, but it has been unsuccessful in preventing some of its members from doing so. (The Washington Times)
- Don't end celibacy for priests | Catholic priests have a dual devotion to God and parishioners there simply isn't room in their lives for families of their own. (Joel Mowbray, The Washington Times)
- More coverups, more shame | This time, the American church's liberal stalwart falls from grace (U.S. News & World Report)
- Can lawsuits dismantle church? | Before the courts move in for the kill, we ought to ask whether a legal system devised to punish and deter evildoing corporations was ever meant to bring a religious institution to its knees. (Tony Mauro, USA Today)
- A gay culture in the church | Maybe celibacy will be changed some day, but if you make a vow to stay celibate, you ought to keep your word. (John Leo, U.S. News & World Report)
- Pay the victims, protect the church | Exacting punishment for criminal acts ought not lead to the bankruptcy of institutions on which so many communities still depend (Dirk Olin, The New York Times)
Bush discusses scandal with Pope:
- Bush raises scandal with Pope | President voices concern about Catholic Church's standing in U.S. (The Washington Post)
- Also: Bush voices concerns to Pope about U.S. Catholic Church | The president, in a 'gentlemanly' way, raises the issue of the institution's standing in the aftermath of a pedophilia scandal. (Los Angeles Times)
- Also: Bush tells Pope church scandal worries him (USA Today)
- Also: Bush wraps up meeting with Pope | "God bless America," pontiff says at end of meeting (Associated Press)
Pope John Paul II:
- John Paul, hemmed in at twilight of his papacy | John Paul has not given up the keys of St. Peter, but his is beginning to look like an emeritus papacy (The New York Times)
- Ailments may force pope to cut trip to Latin America | Only Toronto trip is certain for planned Canada and Latin America visit, says papal spokesman (The New York Times)
- Pope donates a fragment of forerunner | Mutilating a corpse and discreetly packing a piece in your luggage before boarding a plane is the sort of thing that gets people arrested. But not if you are the Pope. (The Guardian, London)
- Researcher dismisses 'crisis' in shortage of priests | Catholic University sociologist says Catholics attend Mass less often, so priests aren't needed as much (Religion News Service)
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