Patrick Henry rewrites Statement of Biblical Worldview
After denying preliminary accreditation to Patrick Henry College in April, the American Academy of Liberal Education (AALE) announced this week that it has approved the 150-student school for pre-accreditation.

The Purcellville, Virginia, college, designed for homeschooled students, previously was denied accreditation because of its teaching of world origins.

Patrick Henry's Statement of Biblical Worldview said that all professors had to believe that "God's creative work … was completed in six twenty-four hour days." The AALE ruled that the position disqualified the school from pre-accreditation because it limited "liberty of thought."

After appealing the decision and rewriting a portion of the Statement of Biblical Worldview, the school was notified Wednesday of its pre-accreditation status. (A school given pre-accreditation is reviewed again after five years for full accreditation.)

In its appeal, Patrick Henry stressed that the language of its Statement of Biblical Worldview did not ban discussion of other theories. The school contended that while it upholds the ultimate truth of six-day creationism, it encourages full discussion of opposing views. According to The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription required), administrators showed accreditors the school's biology curriculum. The same textbook is reportedly used by numerous other universities and colleges.

The school also provided AALE with a rewritten Statement of Biblical Worldview. Patrick Henry says the rewrite is a further clarification of its stance, the AALE says it was a policy change.

"This is a great example of accreditation at work," said AALE president Jeffrey D. Wallin. "They didn't meet our academic standards, so they changed their policies and submitted evidence of the change. Now, we are comfortable giving them pre-accreditation status."

Patrick Henry says the new wording only makes its original position more clear. According to a press release, the school says it "amended its Statement of Biblical Worldview to clarify that the college truly intends for all viewpoints to be discussed adequately."

The original statement said the school "does not intend to limit biblically-based discussion of this issue; provided, however, that evolution, 'theistic' or otherwise, will not be treated as an acceptable theory."

A footnote to the section further explained that professors are expected to believe in six-day creationism "while being able to teach an academically excellent science course covering all the knowledge and theories expected in the typical undergraduate course."

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The new statement is more explicit:

PHC … expects its biology faculty to provide full exposition of the claims of the theory of Darwinian evolution, intelligent design, and other major theories while, in the end, teach[ing] creationism as both biblically true and as the best fit to observed data.

The Chronicle of Higher Education quoted Patrick Henry's president, Michael P. Farris, saying, "Our belief in creationism has not changed. We feel that we can comply with their beliefs of what a liberal-arts education is, without abandoning our religious principles."

Faith-based initiative bill officially dies
In the Senate yesterday, Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.), and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) tried to add amendments to the CARE Act, the Senate's version of the faith-based initiative bill. That killed it, says The Washington Times.

"A couple of senators stood in the way," James Towey, director of the White House Office on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives, told the paper. "The agenda of some of these interest groups blinds them to the needs of the poor. This battle's not over."

The senators wanted to add amendments that would explicitly prohibit federally funded religious organizations from hiring decisions based on religious beliefs.

"The object here was not to kill the bill," said Durbin. "I'm sure we'll pick it up again at the first of the year. That is the only realistic timetable."

The Republican sponsor of the bill, Rick Santorum (Penn.), says he'll "get on it right away" in the new session, but an unnamed administration official said that "resurrecting the legislation still will need strong bipartisan support," even with a Republican majority.

Still, CARE wasn't that significant a bill, especially compared with the House's version. Perhaps next session the Senate might actually consider expanding the range of ministries eligible to compete for government funds.

Saint Mickey
Restoration work on a 700-year-old fresco in a Malta, Austria, church produced an astounding finding: Mickey Mouse. Or at least Mickey Weasel. The image shows the creature—who looks almost exactly like the Walt Disney character—kneeling by St. Christopher, who is often depicted surrounded by animals.

"The similarity to Mickey Mouse is so astounding that Disney could lose its world-wide copyright," the manager of the city's tourism office tells The Daily Telegraph newspaper.

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Interfaith relations:


  • Bishops question grounds for war | Prelates fear scandal drowning out voice. (The Washington Post)

  • Would this be a "just war"? | The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' statement on Iraq. (Salon)

  • Moral jousting over war and peace | In weighing the morality of a possible attack on Iraq, both hawks and doves are saying they have all the support they need in the thought of a 4th-century African bishop. (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Leader of England's Catholics warns against Iraq war | "The need to avoid war is a cornerstone of Christian teaching," says Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster (BBC)

  • Bishops on Iraq: No one's listening | There are those who might then ask how can bishops who turned the other way when confronted with an unspeakable evil right under their noses, right in their very parishes, be trusted to give advice on a matter dealing with an unspeakably evil tyrant halfway around the world (Editorial, Boston Herald)

Life ethics:

  • NIH chief sidesteps stem-cell furor | Bush appointee in S.F. for convention of medical colleges (The San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Embryo transfers for `adoption' give rise to controversy | Advocates for people dealing with infertility say embryo donation should be an option, but they worry that terming the process an adoption confers the same status to a microscopic one-to-eight-cell organism as that of a child already born, and that may lead to restrictions on certain infertility treatments (Knight Ridder Tribune)

  • When life begins | A new story in Time bolsters the pro-life case—and points to why President Bush should press for a partial-birth abortion ban (Lee Bockhorn, The Weekly Standard)

  • House passes revised bankruptcy bill | Abortion-related provision dropped after earlier bill is scuttled (The Washington Post)
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Pope speaks to Italian parliament:

Sex, gender, and marriage:


Politics and law:

  • Backers of cross dealt setback | A federal appeals court has refused to reconsider a ruling that could force the city to tear down a cross atop Mt. Soledad overlooking La Jolla. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Top court to review online-porn law | The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to review the constitutionality of a federal law that punishes public libraries that don't block Internet access to more than 100,000 pornography sites (The Washington Times)
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Crime and violence:

  • Accused snipers may be followers | Federal authorities are investigating whether accused snipers John Allen Muhammad and John Lee Malvo had ties to a growing sect of militant American Muslims committed to waging holy war against the United States (The Washington Times)

  • FBI agents named employees of year for work on 1968 church bombing | Bill Fleming and Ben Herren spent six years reviewing dusty evidence volumes and barely audible tapes to secure the convictions of two men (Associated Press)

  • Colombia ponders hostage exchange | President Alvaro Uribe said Wednesday he was willing to exchange captured rebels for guerrilla hostages, marking an about-face in policy after the kidnapping of one of Latin America's leading Roman Catholic bishops (Associated Press)

  • Body in trunk pastor's son? | The body discovered in the boot of a south coast priest's car could be that of his son who was buried on Saturday (The Natal Witness, South Africa)


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Missions and ministry:

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Church of England votes down causal dress:

Church life:

Denominational meetings:

  • "Who on earth do these Anglicans think they are?" | Dispute over what a bishop is leads to rejection of Church in Wales scheme for "ecumenical bishop" (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Episcopal leaders OK resolution | Clergy and laity of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh voted overwhelmingly to reject the blessing of same-sex unions, gender-neutral liturgical language for the Trinity and any efforts by the national church to force bishops and priests to violate traditional Christian beliefs (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Baptists convene and note contrast | Moderates approve small donation to national group (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Baptists urged to transcend splits | "If we are fussing, we are not fishing," says Jerry Pereira, newly re-elected president of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina. "Our job is not to throw rocks, but to throw ropes." (Associated Press)
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