American missionary murdered in Sidon, Lebanon
Christian and Missionary Alliance missionary Bonnie Weatherall, 31, was found murdered this morning at the denomination's health clinic in Sidon, a port city in southern Lebanon. As the Washington state native was opening the clinic at 8 a.m. (midnight EST), an unidentified man knocked on the door, then shot her in the head three times with a 7 mm pistol.
Sami Dagher, director of the Unity Center that houses the clinic and provides aid and medical care to Lebanese and Palestinian refugees, said a motive is still unknown. There have been no threats against the clinic or its workers, but the Associated Press (which has a rather gory video of the aftermath) reports, "Local Muslim clerics have criticized the Unity Center in the past, accusing it of preaching Christianity and trying to indoctrinate Sidon's youth in favor of Christianity."
Reuters notes that "the area where the shooting occurred is a hotbed for Muslim fundamentalist groups such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and Lebanese radical Islamists."
An unnamed police official told the AP, "This was apparently an act committed by a person filled with anti-American feelings in the generally hostile climate toward the U.S., which people here reproach for its desire to carry out a war against Iraq, and for supporting Israel."
But Weatherall's friends and family see it a bit differently. "Bonnie died because she loved the people of Sidon," Sami Dagher told reporters.
In a statement on the C&MA website, the victim's British husband, Gary Weatherall, made a similar statement. "My wife died because of her love for the church and because she loved helping the people of Sidon and Lebanon," he said.
"She loved her work," Asa Bjork, a Swedish friend, told Reuters. "She helped pregnant women. She went with some of them to their deliveries to support them, and she talked to them and helped them. She was happy, full of life, and enjoyed helping people who were not so privileged in life."
Chicago woman killed, allegedly for trying to help man out of homosexuality
Mary Stachowicz, 51, was strangled, stabbed, and beaten last Wednesday, then hidden in an apartment's crawlspace for three days. Why? Because, according to Cook County Assistant State's Attorney Nancy Galassini, she tried to persuade 19-year-old Nicholas Gutierrez to come out of homosexuality.
"Why do you [have sex with] boys instead of girls?" she reportedly asked Gutierrez just before he flew into a rage and killed her. The two worked together at a Chicago funeral home, and Stachowicz had reportedly just come back from a Mass.
"Those of us who knew her immediately hear her soft voice saying something like, 'God wouldn't approve of the way you're living your life,'" friend and neighbor Mary Coleman told the Chicago Tribune. "That's how Mary did things."
Homosexual activist group Soulforce says it was sorry to hear about the murder, but reiterated its stance against what it calls "spiritual violence against sexual minorities"—under which it includes the kinds of efforts Stachowicz was making. "God loves gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people just the way they are," Soulforce spokeswoman Laura Montgomery Rutt told Gay.com. "The Bible is clear that homosexuality is not a sickness and not a sin."
- James Kopp confesses | Says in jail interview that outrage about abortion prompted shooting of doctor (The Buffalo News)
- Can a pregnant woman who kills to protect her unborn children ask a jury to acquit her on a "defense of others" theory? | A recent Michigan case says yes (Shavar D. Jeffries, Findlaw.com)
- Pro-choice and no choice | In 2002, this is what it's all about. The Declaration of Independence, the Gettysburg Address, Normandy Beach—it all comes down to abortion. Nothing else is close. (William Murchison, The Washington Times)
- The real meaning of choice | Dealing, politically, with abortion (Doug Bandow, National Review Online)
- High court to weigh nonprofits' political contributions | N.C. antiabortion group says First Amendment protects its support of candidates (The Washington Post)
- Scientists planning to make new form of life | If the experiment works, the microscopic man-made cell will begin feeding and dividing to create a population of cells unlike any previously known to exist (The Washington Post)
- Also: Scientist to attempt creation of living cell | The Department of Energy has given a $3 million award to Dr. J. Craig Venter of the Institute for Genomic Research to develop the best possible approximation to an artificial living cell (The New York Times)
What Would Jesus Drive
- God drives in mysterious ways | Still the question remains for the Bible Belt's auto owners—what would Jesus drive? (Stefano Hatfield, The Guardian, London)
- Clergy hope drivers heed a call to fuel efficiency | Simply driving a car may be a sin—if the vehicle guzzles more gas and coughs up more pollutants than necessary (Detroit Free Press)
- Religion has little, if any, place in market for automobiles | The next, potentially troublesome, campaign in the guerrilla war being waged against Detroit (but not Japanese or German) SUVs by interest groups—so far unsuccessful in changing public policy—wants to make SUV ownership a moral issue. There are so many nubs to this one it's hard to know where to start. (Daniel Howes, The Detroit News)
- 'What would Jesus drive?' | Religious leaders ask Ford and GM to build more efficient, cleaner cars on 'moral grounds' (The Detroit News)
- Jesus seconded to car campaign (BBC)
- See the light in a blessed Chevrolet | The General Motors Corp. is trying to use Jesus to sell its cars (Jim Shea, The Baltimore Sun)
Politics and law:
- Did Bush blaspheme? | If George Bush was serious about America having a messianic role to play in world affairs, then he and his view must be opposed by every Christian. (Stephen B. Chapman, CounterPunch)
- Kenya's Christians to pray for peaceful elections | The climax of the prayers will be an inter-denominational rally on December 15, at Uhuru Park, Nairobi (The Nation, Nairobi)
- Senate chaplain to quit after 8 years | The Rev. Lloyd J. Ogilvie, will move to Los Angeles and be with his wife as she recovers from a lung ailment (The Washington Times)
- Christian Coalition plans mass rallies in U.S. | Events scheduled in every state (The Jerusalem Post)
- Revised pledge for AmeriCorps draws critics | The executive director of the alumni group of AmeriCorps, Michael J. Meneer, warned of concerns that the new pledge was "militaristic and religious" (The New York Times)
- 'Married' archbishop back to work | Emmanuel Milingo will celebrate Mass at his new headquarters near Rome next week (BBC)
- Archbishop Milingo heads for Zambia | Controversial archbishop will return to home country for two weeks (The Post, Lusaka)
- Controversial cleric to celebrate Mass (BBC)
- Judgment day will come for anti-gay group | Fred Phelps seems to think he has a direct phone link to God (Peter Delevett, Mercury News, San Jose, Calif.)
- Sex and slavery | Just as people once argued that slavery could be good for people, today we have folks who defend prostitution as an "empowering" career option (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)
- Canada TV rapped for saying gays gripped by devil | R.W. Schambach's "Power Today" formally reprimanded (Reuters)
- Study finds steady fall in benevolence | Americans have given less and less of their disposable income to religious charity since the 1960s and now spend more on church buildings and staff and less on helping the needy, a new study shows (The Washington Times)
- Arson at churches an ongoing problem | Vigilance, arrests help prevent some fires (The Washington Post)
- Cathedral entry fee must be abolished, Synod told | A private member's motion tabled by Tom Sutcliffe, a lay member from Southwark, aims to "reinforce the principles of free access and Christian hospitality" in the nation's 43 Anglican cathedrals (The Times, London)
- Displaced church sues to keep its cemetery intact | A five-acre cemetery is threatened by a much publicized $6.6 billion plan to expand O'Hare International Airport's runways (The New York Times)
- Church finds its salvation | Hispanic worshipers revive Reformed congregations (The Bergen [N.J.] Record)
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