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."
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.
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.
- Powell criticizes Falwell, Robertson | "This kind of hatred must be rejected," says Secretary of State (Associated Press)
- Franklin Graham says terror war not 'against Islam' | "Any comments I have made on this subject were shaped by years of relief and development work in Islamic regimes around the world," says evangelist (Reuters)
- Religion promoted to unite, not divide | Interfaith summit time to talk, heal (Chicago Tribune)
- Scouts' honor shouldn't have to be faith based | Because the way I see it, the Scouts have every right to be as narrow-minded and foolish as they want. And boy do they want. (Paul Lukas, Newsday)
- 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)
- 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)
Pope speaks to Italian parliament:
- Pope crosses town and makes history | Speech to Italian Parliament a first. (The Washington Post)
- Pope emphasizes Italy's birth-rate crisis in speech | He also focuses on peace, values in address to country's lawmakers (Associated Press)
- John Paul makes first papal address to Italy's parliament (The New York Times)
- Visit to Italian parliament signals new era in Vatican relations (The Guardian, London)
- Inspired by pope, mob boss surrenders | Says he was inspired by speech. (CBS News)
Sex, gender, and marriage:
- Civil unions in Vt. easier to enter than exit (The Boston Globe)
- Divorcees allowed church weddings | The Church of England has lifted its ban on divorcees remarrying in church. (BBC)
- Sexuality issue divides Anglicans | He has not even been enthroned as leader of the Church of England yet, but the next archbishop of Canterbury already is caught in a conflict—between what he believes and what the Anglican Communion teaches on homosexuality. (The Honolulu Advertiser)
- Woman: Group unfair to gays | Ex-Salvation Army worker tells of mistreatment, bias (The Flint [Mich.] Journal)
- Old church takes new look at gender | Unitarian Universalist Association has four transgendered ministers, but none as pioneering as Laurie Jean Auffant (The Boston Globe)
- Clerics condemn draft constitution | National Council of Churches of Kenya complains that document provides for abortion, homosexuality, and lesbianism among other immoral practices (Kenya Broadcasting Corporation)
- Anglican priest in B.C. resigns over same-sex blessing issue | Timothy Cooke expressed dissatisfaction with the House of Bishops and the way it dealt with the same-sex blessing issue during a meeting last month in Mississauga, Ont. (Canadian Press)
- Turin shroud said from Middle Ages | Russian scientists say 1988 study was skewed (AFP)
- Rise in antiquities theft vexes Israel's 'Indiana Joneses' | Looting in the West Bank is a new concern. But the 'James ossuary' reveals a need for continued vigilance at home (The Christian Science Monitor)
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)
- Jubilee 2000 breaks with Holocaust lawyer | "The way Ed Fagan presents the lawsuit gives the impression that the victims are just trying to get rich," said spokesman Neville Gabriel. "That is not the aim of Jubilee 2000." (Swissinfo)
- Victorian Supreme Court asked 'what is a Christian?' | At issue is whether non-churchgoer and Shell director John Simpson should be on the council of the 150-year-old Presbyterian school, Scotch College (AAP)
- A bigoted rule on school aid | The pedigree of this measure against ''sectarian'' influences is revealing (George F. Will)
- Schools must have right to ban gay staff, says Queensland Nationals | New anti-discrimination laws restrict teaching of religion, party complains (ABC News, Australia)
- Mom outraged over reading assignment | "It's Playboy without the pictures," said Liz McCall about the book Sarum: The Novel of England (Daily Journal/Messenger, Seneca, S.C.)
- As textbook decision nears, conservatives' influence assailed | Freedom Network rips 'far-right groups'; rivals say critics out of touch (Associated Press)
- Cults on campus | Cults prey on new students' feelings of alienation, experts say (KGTV, San Diego)
- Cover to cover, Bibles catching fans' eyes | Publisher offers 5 popular college colors (The Tennessean)
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)
- A pair of unlikely magazines have a friend in Jesus | Wired, Popular Mechanics both have religion covers in December (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
- The sin of media ignorance | The misinformation about the bishops' conference is intolerable (Andrew M. Greeley, Los Angeles Times)
- Religious broadcasting 'safe' | Fears for the demise of religious broadcasting at the BBC have been allayed by Alan Bookbinder's promise of hours and money for the next year. (The Church of England Newspaper)
- Controversial comedian now accused of blasphemy | Otto Jespersen's blistering brand of satire earned him death threats and now a politician says he spreads blasphemy on TV airwaves. (Aftenposten)
- 'What would Jesus drive?' gas-guzzling Americans are asked | TV commercials air in Midwest. (The Guardian, London)
- Author of Jabez updates image of heaven | Heaven may not be equally heavenly for everyone, but deeds done on Earth add amenities to the heavenly home, says Bruce Wilkinson (The Washington Times)
- Apocalyptic book series stirring debate, study among Christians | But some oppose Left Behind series (The Tennessean)
- Holocaust writer in storm over role of Roman Catholic Church (The New York Times)
- It's not Jesus' Jerusalem, but as a stand-in it's safer | Matera, Italy, is a regular location for movies about the life of Christ (The New York Times)
- Bishop lauds 'Potter' and 'Rings' | Jim Thompson, the former Bishop of Bath and Wells, said the films' success was partly due to "the re-creation of what has been lost to so many modern minds, namely the eternal dimension central to most religions, especially the Christian faith." (Associated Press)
- Minister sees devil in 'Harry Potter' (The Boston Globe)
- A show that looks at religion through a camera's lens | An exhibition in Paris offers a fascinating overview of how photographers have addressed Jesus' place in Western civilization (The New York Times)
- Exhibit led free speech controversy | Universities rethink policies after abortion exhibit (Houston Chronicle)
- Some question Chevy backing of Christian tour | GM stops commenting (The Dallas Morning News)
- Rockin' the ages | Music of new, veteran artists alike taking on more spiritual tone (The Grand Rapids [Mich.] Press)
Missions and ministry:
- Girls of Grace national Christian conference hosted in Grand Rapids | Music group Point of Grace started the conference this year to answer questions young girls might have about cultural issues (Advance Newspapers, Michigan)
- Religion on the half-pipe | Two reformed skate punks plant seeds while offering youths in Carroll County a good, free environment for skateboarding (The Baltimore Sun)
- Golden rule of law | Advocates International's mission: to defend religious freedoms and human rights for people of all faiths (The Washington Times)
Church of England votes down causal dress:
- Habits die hard as Synod rejects dressing down | An attempt to introduce "dress down Sundays" for clergy in the Church of England was thrown out by the General Synod yesterday after clergy and bishops were warned not to give in to secular forces (The Times, London)
- Bishops veto T-shirts and jeans in place of vestments (The Guardian, London)
- Earlier: Dress-down Sundays | The General Synod will debate a motion to allow clergy to dispense with their robes and go casual. But will we really be able to relate better to the church if vicars wear jeans and T-shirts? (BBC)
- Congregation dedicates Orthodox cathedral | St. George Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral—the only cathedral of the Antiochian Archdiocese in the Southeastern United States—was dedicated Sunday during a three-hour ceremony rooted deep in Orthodox ritual (The Miami Herald)
- Church property rezoned for business | The church wants to develop the site into a 70,300-square-foot commercial center with eight buildings (The Modesto Bee)
- Odd-couple bid has charitable side | Catholic Relief Services hopes to get choice city lot near O's stadium for free (The Baltimore Sun)
- Rival Christian groups moving toward détente | 'Positive signals' could reopen dialogue (The Daily Star, Lebanon)
- Short of land, Christians cremate their dead | Christians in densely populated areas are increasingly turning to the Hindu tradition of cremation as cemeteries get more crowded. (Sify News, Patna, India)
- More churches are adding cushions | Some denominations are increasingly moving away from rigid, wooden pews that have been around for centuries (Associated Press)
- "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)
Other stories of interest:
- Pastor sees West Nile ordeal as test of faith' | The "blessings" Benjamin Boerkoel experienced though his ordeal included the absence of spinal meningitis and encephalitis, which can accompany the virus (Advance Newspapers, Michigan)
- Sinful eating? Not with scripture diet | Maimonidean Diet is straight from the pages of Mishneh Torah (The Miami Herald)
- Logocentrism | "Let's roll!" is itself taking on an increasingly curious afterlife as the specifics of 9/11 recede from public memory (Reason)
- Modern horrors on a fundamentalist fright night | Each Halloween, the parishioners of the Trinity Assembly of God Church near Dallas put on an unusual kind of haunted house (The New York Times)
- Disgraced Ablett told to grow up | Evangelical football star's nickname is "God." Yesterday he was convicted on drug charges (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Bishops' policy on abuse: enough to restore trust? | This week's conference did not mitigate criticism that Catholic reforms fall short. (The Christian Science Monitor)
- Praise be for the new heretics of all faiths | Without controversy institutions die and without institutions there is no democracy, just the vote (Simon Jenkins, The Times, London)
- Usury: The biblical ban is mostly ignored in modern times | The biblical prohibition against the charging of usury, or interest on loans, is an interesting example of how many modern Christians have dismissed a biblical commandment to suit the needs of modern times (Gregory Elder, The Redlands Daily Facts, San Bernardino, California)
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