Barney Frank says bill will lead to discrimination and racism.
Supporters of President Bush's faith-based initiative have worried that the legislation eventually passed may be a weak shadow of its original intent. Some were concerned it would do little good for faith-based charities. Now it could actually hurt them.

The Boston Globe reported yesterday that House democrats and civil-rights groups are campaigning against the current bill in the Senate because it "would not expressly bar religious charities that receive federal funds from proselytizing or practicing discrimination in hiring."

In other words, it would allow faith-based groups to practice their faith and hire those who share it. But Democrat Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts says the bill would lead to racism and discrimination against homosexuals because organizations will hire on the basis of their religion or culture.

He has met with several senators and senatorial aides, The Boston Globe reports, to encourage blocking the bill unless it is amended to "explicitly prohibit hiring discrimination."

The bipartisan bill's supporters are frustrated that such arguments are delaying action. Some are nervous that it won't be passed before midterm elections. Rick Santorum, Republican senator from Pennsylvania, was unable this week to get Democrats' approval to move the bill to the Senate floor with attached limits on debate and amendments. It was the fourth attempt.

''Time is slipping away,'' Democrat Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut told The Boston Globe. ''This is a good bill. But, for reasons that are sometimes clear and sometimes not so clear, some of our colleagues are holding up action.''

Pakistan president blames India for attack
Pakistani Christians this week are keeping their institutions closed for three days to mourn the death of seven employees of the Institution for Peace and Justice in Karachi. Two gunmen executed them in their office. There are no suspects.

Institution employee Robin Piranditta was the only survivor of the attack. While the other workers were killed, he was beaten. Police hope he can shed light on the attack. Authorities say he has given conflicting statements but is not considered a suspect.

Meanwhile, the event is not only increasing the fears of Christians in Pakistan, but adding intensity to the struggle between Pakistan and India. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf told The Boston Globe last night that he suspects that Indian intelligence agencies carried out the attack to destabilize the country's religious unity. A spate of recent attacks on Christians suggests that if religious unity exists, it is fragile at best.

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Musharraf's claim follows India's allegation that Pakistan was behind the attack on a Gujarat Hindu temple this week that has left 30 worshippers dead.

Christian school students leave Ivory Coast
The 191 Americans pinned down in the Ivory Coast's International Christian Academy are now on their way to Ghana. French military secured the school yesterday after days of fighting between the government and rebels trapped them in the Bouaké school.

Approximately 300 Americans live in the city, the second largest in the Ivory Coast, which has been cut off from water, electricity, and food since an attempted coup began on September 19. Authorities say rebels still hold the city.

Approximately 800 ex-soldiers rebelled against the government after being dismissed for allegiance to a former leader. The Associated Press says the fighting has "sparked off deadly rivalries between the mainly Muslim north and the predominantly Christian south."

More articles

Attacking Iraq:

  • A just war? | That Christians could be marshaled to oppose war is hardly news (David Davenport, Naples Daily News, Fla.)

  • Protesters urge Dodd to oppose Iraq attack | More than 100 people participated in the prayer vigil, and 10 clergy members had a 45-minute meeting with members of Dodd's staff (The Hartford [Conn.] Courant)

  • What makes a war 'just'? | Three Christian ethicists yesterday opposed a "pre-emptive war on Iraq," echoing a statement signed by 100 Christian thinkers who wanted to heat up the Washington debate on "just war." (The Washington Times)

Sex and marriage:


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Missions and ministry:

  • Freeing wild hearts | John Eldredge's ministry seems to have touched a nerve (The Washington Times)

  • What would Jesus do? | Maybe, if he couldn't lure the modern masses to church, he would build a place to enjoy a basketball game, a yoga stretch, a play or a meal. That's Pasadena Community Church's $3.8-million idea (St. Petersburg [Fla.] Times)

  • Missionaries carry on regardless of harassment | Despite the challenges they face from the government, the Russian Orthodox Church and even skinhead groups, Moscow's missionaries are quietly going about their business and say the Russian people are receptive to their work (The Moscow Times)

  • Vicar takes a plunge for charity | Simon Foster has raised more than £1,000 for his parish by parachuting from 13,000 feet over a Nottinghamshire airfield (BBC)

  • Adventure just part of pastor's job | Paul Winslow's lifestyle of service, generosity never lacks excitement (The Spokesman-Review, Spokane, Wash.)

  • Taking their message to the world | Assignment for 35 Baptist college students: Spend nine weeks as a missionary in West Africa (The Courier, South Louisiana)

  • Missionary finds grace to forgive | 1956 slaying of missionaries in Ecuador was a generational event for the mid-20th century (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Mission to forgive | More than a year after two missionaries were shot by the people they thought they were helping, they return to Uganda (Wilmington [N.C.] Star)

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Sex abuse scandals:

Pop culture:

  • A religious but not preachy 'Joshua' | Billed as a 'spiritual western,' this tale of compassion from a do-gooder stranger avoids cloying overtones (Los Angeles Times)

  • Onward Christian bikinis | The Miss America pageant is too uniformly Christian (Christine Craft, San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Evangelical Culture | Evangelical media, from videos for children to adult contemporary music, is growing in popularity and profit (Odyssey, WBEZ, Chicago)

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