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."
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.
- 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)
- Church minister facing long odds against Harper | Bill Phipps running in Alliance territory (The National Post, Canada)
Church & State:
- Lord's Prayer can't be sung at Iowa high school graduation | Federal judge says 30-year tradition violates First Amendment, whether or not most students, choir members and parents want it (Associated Press)
- Christianity approves of smacking, says head (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- High court won't get involved in clergy malpractice case | Meanwhile, justices refuse to consider Massachusetts town's crÈche ban or to hear case involving Nashville, Tenn., adult-entertainment law. (Associated Press)
- Commandments tablet challenged | A letter from a high school senior challenging the constitutionality of a Ten Commandments monument in Frederick's Memorial Park has sent shock waves through City Hall that could ultimately topple the monument. (The Frederick [Md.] News-Post)
- Court lacks last word in aid to religious schools | Whatever the ruling on vouchers, constitutional policy will change little because the government already supports religious schools (The New York Times)
- 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)
- 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)
- 'Church of presidents' legacy lives | Every president since James Madison has worshiped at St. John's Episcopal Church (Associated Press)
- Sermons after Sept. 11 | Some ministers support calls for repentance, but agree that such a tack may anger congregants. (Los Angeles Times)
- Clergy bypass sabbaticals for various reasons | Some find it hard to take off one day a week. So it's no surprise that a biblically based sabbatical leave, or extended period of rest every seven years, is out of the question for most. (Abilene Reporter-News)
- Scotland needs its spiritual kernel most | While evangelicals are being shut out of important church positions, others are being advertised as not requiring Christian faith. (Robert Anderson, The Scotsman)
- Shrinking Kirk must search its soul for a mission to fill pews and secure future | Problems of falling congregations and claims of a narrow-left alignment have left the Church of Scotland with a crisis of identity and estrangement from people. (George Kerevan, The Scotsman)
- Church of Scotland must adapt to the needs of today's youth | Panel calls for more flexibility with regards to worship, suggesting additional events on weeknights and celebrating festivals with a local significance, or celebrating a saint's day (The Scotsman)
- In ancient monastery, a stunning library | The nearly 1,500 year-old monastery, near Egypt's Mount Sinai, is opening its virtually unparalleled book collection. (The Christian Science Monitor)
- 'The next Christendom': The coming religious havoc | The bloody religious wars of the 16th century will look like calisthenics. (R. Scott Appleby, The New York Times)
- Seeking a higher authority, readers flock to spiritual books | What's happening apparently is that many of these books, no matter how airy they seem, are anchoring people to a new sort of spirituality without making them face the intellectual challenge of the liturgical (The New York Times)
- 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)
- 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 (ABCNews.com )
Other stories of interest:
- Matters of belief, matters of business | Firms take a chance when they allow personal causes to intrude at the office (Amy Joyce, The Washington Post)
- Getting religion | Adolescents seeking spirituality look to books, radio and the Web (Time)
- Progress 'undermines African cultures' | Two African scientists say the Christian churches bear some responsibility for the growing consumption of bush meat. (BBC)
- Protestants making inroads in Brazil, world's most populous Catholic country | Protestants now at 15.4 percent of population, up from 9 percent in 1991. (Associated Press)
- Fear of criticism has made Christians silent instead of significant | What is lacking is a comprehensive and profound and recognisable theology able to be explored and used in order to challenge, enlighten and guide the thinking of the churches; able also to intersect with, challenge and illumine the thinking of the world (Peter Jensen, Sydney Morning Herald)
- Rev. Moon finds shadow of probes cast over 'Eden' | Federal police in Brazil seized records and computers in a broad investigation into allegations of tax evasion and immigration violations (Chicago Tribune)
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