Christian philosophy professor will be new Dutch prime minister
Christian Democrat leader Jan Peter Balkenende "is known for his sharp wit and conservative moral values about which he has written extensively," says The New York Times. And he's about to become the new Dutch prime minister as the Netherlands took a very conservative turn in yesterday's parliamentary elections.
The Washington Post notes that Balkenende "once headed a Christian broadcasting network and has expressed reservations about Holland's drug laws and euthanasia policy." However, notes the Associated Press, Balkenende's reservations won't necessarily translate to reversing those laws. "Although a majority of our party opposed the euthanasia and gay-marriage bills, Balkenende sees it as an irreversible fact," his spokesman, Hans van der Vlies, said.
One practice Balkenende probably will try to change, however, is the sale of marijuana in coffee shops. It's already illegal, but not enforced. "Associates describe Balkenende as a religious family man, but a dedicated worker who habitually makes do with six hours of sleep," says the AP. Christian Democrat official Cees van der Knaap calls him "a walking library."
He sounds great, but one wonders if American Christians will like him. After all, many have noted, he looks just like Harry Potter.
Man accused of shooting priest who allegedly molested him
"New Page In Clergy Scandal," says the Los Angeles Times' headline. But few are saying they're surprised. Dontee Stokes, 26, reportedly went to speak to Maurice Blackwell, a Baltimore priest he'd accused nine years ago of molesting him. Stokes's mother said all he wanted was an apology, but was turned away by Blackwell. Stokes then allegedly shot him three times. Blackwell remains hospitalized in fair condition; Stokes will undergo a mental evaluation, is on suicide watch, and is being held without bail.
"We live every day with the fear that something like this may happen," David Clohessy, director of Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, tells the LA Times. "There is so much pent-up pain that just now is finally beginning to surface."
"Shooting a priest, even one who may be guilty of sex abuse, is an appalling thing," says Rod Dreher in National Review Online. "But another reality, one that hasn't gotten too many headlines, is this: Many victims of abusive priests turn the gun not on their abuser, but on themselves."
- Beautiful buildings without a soul | With news accounts that the Catholic Church is turning predatory legal tactics loose on the victims of known priest/rapists, it is nakedly obvious that the church hierarchy has lost sense of its reason for existing. (Tony Blankley, The Washington Times)
- Once a model, panel on priests now is faulted | Some Catholics and church critics have questioned how vigorously the Archdiocese of Chicago's review board and its counterparts investigate reports of abuse. (The New York Times)
- Prosecutor puts church in the clear | Archdiocese passes check on old abuse cases (Chicago Tribune)
- The abuse that knows no gender | Men aren't the only ones in the church abusing children (Nicole Brodeur, The Seattle Times)
- Gays defending faith and selves | Homosexuals fear 'witch hunt' in backlash of abuse scandal rocking Catholic Church. Some say they've been 'sacrificed' over sexual orientation (The Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio)
- Bay Area priests fear crackdown on gay seminarians (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Church of Scientology pays $8.7 million to ex-member | Lawrence Wollersheim said counseling treatments the Church of Scientology of California put him through caused him to develop bipolar disorder and pushed him to the brink of suicide. (Reuters)
- Scientists find crucial gene that explains cloning failure | Discovery illustrates how vastly problematic it would be to clone a human (Chicago Tribune)
- Stem cell research runs into roadblocks | Nearly three-quarters of the 78 stem cell batches that met Bush's conditions for support remain unavailable to US researchers (The Boston Globe)
- Danforth: U.S. should be facilitator in Sudan | Envoy calls civil war unwinnable (The Washington Post)
- Christians hit theological rift on Mideast policy | As war in the Holy Land rages on, American Christians claim a greater stake in the situation as they strive to understand dynamics behind the news and to take moral stands. But the more informed they get, the more they part company along perennial fault lines of biblical interpretation and the role of politics in faithfulness. (The Christian Science Monitor)
Courts & law:
- When the High Court welcomes messianic Jews | This Supreme Court's ruling has not only set in motion a wave which will flood Israel with non-Jews who actually think they are Jews, but has opened the flood gates to the proselytizing Christians. (S. Alfassa Marks, Arutz Sheva)
- Zimbabwe lawyers seek divine intervention | Sternford Moyo, the president of the Law Society of Zimbabwe, on Friday urged Christians in the legal profession to seek divine intervention for the restoration of sanity in the country's judicial system (The Daily News, Harare)
- School waits for smacking judgment (BBC)
- House prohibits Pentagon Abaya rules | U.S. servicewomen in Saudi Arabia should never be required or encouraged to wear Muslim-style head-to-toe robes, the House unanimously said Tuesday (Associated Press)
- Mexican authorities in Chiapas arrest Catholic official for stockpiling arms (Associated Press)
Missions & ministry:
- Melding faith and hospitality | Giving immigrants help and understanding is the idea behind The Welcome Center, a new multicultural Catholic ministry serving the northern region of the Twin Cities metropolitan area (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minnesota)
- Prayerful preparation | Myrtle Beach readies for Luis Palau (The Sun News)
- God not comfortable in Jamaica, says US preacher | George Otis Jr painted a picture of Jamaica as a God-forsaken country which had little hope for transformation outside of a miracle. (Jamaica Observer)
- Group considers trip to Israel mission of prayer, not politics | Seven Baltimore-area women join about 250 others from Christian organization (The Baltimore Sun)
- Nicholi's believe it or not | For decades, a psychiatrist has asked Harvard students life's hardest questions (The Boston Globe)
- At Yale's divinity school, a need for healing | Interim leader Borsch has credentials to help weather crisis (The Hartford [Conn.] Courant)
- Scotland to approve same-sex weddings | Civil partnership and commitment registers have already been introduced in London, Manchester and Liverpool (The Scotsman)
- Tories and Christian groups fight plan to allow gays to adopt (The Independent, London)
- Western characters raise doubts about age of Dead Sea Scrolls | Some scholars rethink assumption scrolls were written before Christian times (The Dallas Morning News)
- Message aims to be wake-up call for readers | Writer hopes fresh look at scriptures reaches Christians (Deseret News)
- Sermons need a lift, says Carey | "I am not against traditional forms of expression of the Christian faith, but we have to break into a whole generation and a culture which finds institutional religion mysterious," says archbishop of Canterbury (The Times, London)
- Church loses the last word | No more, Cardinal Law has decided, should priests allow family members to deliver eulogies any longer than a passing thought. (Brian McGrory, The Boston Globe)
- If the church rediscovers its Savior, the rest will take care of itself | Rather than bemoaning an absence of truth, churches need to remember why Jesus was relevant (Tim Costello, Sydney Morning Herald)
Defending a heretic:
- Why the final Furlong was just too much (Willie Dillon, Irish Independent)
- It is reason enough to lose the faith | Dean Andrew Furlong's resignation again shows faith and intellect to be most uneasy bedfellows (Emer O'Kelly, Irish Independent)
- Russian Orthodox patriarch accuses Catholic Church of misleading Russians | Patriarch Alexy II says Catholicism isn't a threat, but he sure seems threatened (Associated Press)
- Greek church shows Orthodox exhibit | Existing outside the rules of perspective or line, the earliest images of Christ, Mary and the saints were more evocative than representative, more archetype than art. (The Washington Times)
- A tale of requited love: A man and a pipe organ (The New York Times)
- Glass Harp ready to return to its roots | Phil Keaggy's old band reunites, may release new album (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
Other stories of interest:
- Hindu nationalists are enrolling, and enlisting, India's poor | Patriotic to some, frightening to others, the Sewa Dham school represents a central project of India's increasingly militant and powerful Hindu right. (The New York Times)
- The role of religion in the modern world | It is not just militant Islam that frightens me; it is the 40 million Americans who identify themselves as Christian conservatives (Joan Smith, The Times, London)
- A pilgrim for our age | John Bunyan left an example of personal endurance, of faith in the poor, and of the importance of making relationships (Bob Holman, The Guardian, London)
- Philippine Roman Catholic Church taps SMS to spread gospel | "Catextism" sends prayer guides, Bible verses to text messaging services (Metropolitan Computer Times)
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