Patrick Henry College denied accreditation because of creationism
The American Academy of Liberal Education has denied accreditation to Patrick Henry College, a two-year-old college in Purcellville, Virginia, designed for home-schooled students. In a letter to the school, AALE President Jeffrey D. Wallin took issue with the school's Statement of Biblical Worldview, especially its mandate that "any biology, Bible or other courses at PHC dealing with creation will teach creationism from the understanding of Scripture that God's creative work, as described in Genesis 1:2-31, was completed in six 24-hour days." (All faculty must adhere to the statement.) The order "appears to restrict curriculum content and teaching to a degree that inhibits the acquisition of basic knowledge," Wallin said, and AALE accreditation depends on assurances that "liberty of thought and freedom of speech are supported and protected, bound only by such rules of civility and order as to facilitate intellectual inquiry and the search for truth."

"AALE's decision was shocking in several respects," college president Michael Farris said in a press release. "They claim we violate their standards on freedom of thought, yet … they are denying PHC its freedom to think, believe, and speak differently from the norm of academia. … AALE has engaged in blatant viewpoint discrimination."

The school will both appeal the decision and pursue accreditation with another group, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Meanwhile, the debate over academic freedom continues. "Voluntary groups [such as the academy] can make up guidelines however they want," Wheaton College's Mark Noll told The Washington Post. "But the question about academic freedom is a tricky one. It's fair to say that academic freedom has always been relative; it's never been absolute. … What I wish people who champion academic freedom would realize is that they do not believe in it absolutely."

Pat Robertson is selling his racehorses
"I am sorry that my fondness for the performance of equine athletes has caused you an offense," broadcaster Pat Robertson said in a letter to those who opposed his ownership of racehorses. "Therefore, for your sake and the sake of others like you, I have set in motion the necessary plans to dispose of all my thoroughbred racing and breeding stock between now and the breeding sale in Kentucky in November."

Letters poured in after The New York Times noted Robertson's racing interests earlier this month. He still says there's nothing wrong with owning and racing horses but Christian Broadcasting spokeswoman Angell Watts explains, "He wants to be above reproach, so he'll do whatever he has to do."

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Articles in The New York Times, Associated Press, and The Virginian-Pilot don't say if Robertson has been receiving any letters about his partnerships with dictators, gold and diamond-mining operations, oil refining, or other controversial business interests.

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Mideast conflict:

  • The power of prophecy | Why Israel means so much to evangelical Christians. (Edith Blumhofer, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Protestant clerics form axis of anti-Americanism | If the terrorists America is currently fighting were to employ a public relations agency, they could hardly do better than the statements of Protestant clerics and religious bureaucrats. (Kenneth Lloyd Billingsley, The Washington Times)

  • 'Greedy monsters' ruled church | The Palestinian gunmen holed up in the Church of the Nativity and later deported by Israel seized church stockpiles of food and "ate like greedy monsters" until the food ran out, while more than 150 civilians went hungry. (The Washington Times)

  • Haredim clash with police over Christian conference | Hasidic Jews protest a conference of British healing evangelist David Hathaway. (The Jerusalem Post)


  • GOP seeks pulpit political leeway | The House Ways and Means oversight subcommittee held a hearing on two measures that would alter tax law to increase the amount of political activity churches can engage in. (The Washington Times)

  • Also: Religious groups divided over bill to permit increased political activity | In the past 25 years, he said, only two churches and five religious organizations have lost their tax-exempt status over political issues. (Associated Press)

  • Faith, politics and one eye on Heaven | In the Fortune 500 corporation that is the second Bush White House, James Towey stands out like an odd little mom-and-pop store across the street. (The New York Times)

  • Bush speeches laced with religious references | More so than any other president since Jimmy Carter, Bush regularly professes his personal faith and relationship with God. (Corpus Christi [Tex.] Caller-Times)

  • Christians plot political infiltration | A powerful network of right-wing Christian campaigners is attempting to infiltrate Scotland's mainstream political parties. (The Scostman)

  • God on their side? | Religious groups are among the most influential of a growing number of lobbyists infiltrating corridors of power. (The Scotsman)

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Church & State:

Life ethics:

  • Abortion foes cite dubious health risk | Antiabortion activists, stymied in their efforts to restrict abortions through federal legislation and the courts, have turned their attention to the patients, issuing a medically suspect warning to women that terminating a pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer (The Boston Globe)

  • Growing sex imbalance shocks China | An alarming rise in the sex ratio of newborn infants in China suggests that increasing numbers of females are being aborted by parents intent on having a male child. (The Guardian)

  • Clergy insist not all faiths anti-abortion | Tom Davis, chairman for the Planned Parenthood Federation of American Clergy Advisory Board, says antiabortion activists are driven by desire for control, not religion (The Saratogian, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)

  • Canadian House braces for stem-cell debate | Question brings politicians awfully close to another debate, never really put to rest in Canada (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

  • Research cloning? No. | Proponents of research cloning would love to turn the cloning debate into a Scopes monkey trial, a struggle between religion and science. It is not. (Charles Krauthammer, The Washington Post)

Church life:

  • Seattle church wants high-rise on its site | Seattle First United Methodist Church, a 94-year-old stone structure surrounded by high-rises in the heart of the financial district, want to tear it down and replace it with an office tower, but permits, financing, designs and tenants are not yet in hand (The Seattle Times)

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Pop culture:

  • Movie 'Joshua' brings alternative view of Jesus here | Suppose a stranger moved into your town and with little fanfare began to bring the community together by empowering the rejected and downtrodden and by quietly performing miracles. (Kalamazoo [Mich.] Gazette)

  • Also: 'Joshua' lacks real mystery | Watching Joshua, a faith-based drama that evangelizes for a simplified version of Chris tianity, is like reading a book someone has already underlined. (Scripps Howard News Service)

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  • London rally calls for TV clean-up | Organizers say TV executives needed to take urgent action to improve standards following a damning report this week by the Broadcasting Standards Commission (Ananova)

  • Reaching a flock through TV program | Father Ricardo Castellanos is known throughout the Archdiocese of Miami as the charismatic host of the cable television show In the Word with Father Ricardo (The Miami Herald)

  • Bible-based superhero hangs up cape | Funding pulled for Bibleman's popular live-action tours (Charisma News Service)

  • Indian slur or Satan? | Utah town puts 'red devil' school mascot to a vote ( )

Other stories of interest:

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