Church janitor beaten, apparently because pastor preached against Episcopal Church's gay bishop
It's a rather silly convention of news reporting that three similar incidents make a trend. Slate.com has been doing some fine deflating of trend stories lately, including a debunking of Newsweek's report on suburban teen prostitution.
But normally the media are pretty quick to jump on certain trend stories, especially where hate crimes are concerned. Witness, for example, the media blitz on anti-Muslim hate crimes after 9/11—something that wasn't as epidemic as Muslim advocacy groups would like you to think.
But Weblog still isn't seeing mainstream coverage of the attacks against orthodox clergy who opposed the confirmation of gay Episcopal bishop Gene Robinson.
This week saw story number three, which gives the green light to a possible trend story. Richard Bilski, the part-time janitor of the nondenominational Church on the Rise in Westlake, Ohio, was taking out the trash when three men came up and demanded to know when Pastor Paul Endrei was arriving.
"I'm the janitor, not the timekeeper," he responded.
At that, reports The Plain Dealer of Cleveland, "One man berated him with obscenities and another struck him in the face with a tennis racket. Bilski said the trio also punched him and tore off his shirt as a fourth man looked on. He suffered cuts and bruises to his face, arms, hands and ribs." Another report said the men used lead gloves.
As his attackers left, one shouted, "This is a message for Pastor Paul."
Both Bilski and Endrei are convinced that the attack was retaliation for Endrei's August 10 sermon in which he opposed Robinson's confirmation. "I told the congregation, 'The Gospel according to Gene Robinson is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ,'" he told The Plain Dealer. "We love the homosexual, but we hate the sin."
Then it should be no surprise that he was beaten, gay-themed radio talk show host Buck Harris told the paper. "If they don't preach tolerance, they are preaching violence," he said.
That's right. According to Harris, it's all Endrei's fault that Bilski was beaten up. Gotta love these culture wars.
More on the aftermath of Episcopal gay bishop confirmation:
- Schism proponents could lose Episcopal property | Opposed to the church's approval of an openly gay bishop, conservative leaders of the Episcopal Church have threatened to form their own splinter group. But by doing so, conservatives risk losing their churches, which are owned by the dioceses, not the individual congregations (All Things Considered, NPR)
- The debate goes on | Episcopal votes on gays send shock waves across Christendom (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.)
- How will Episcopal church weather controversy? | Episcopal leaders and congregations consider options after turbulent convention (The Dallas Morning News)
- Episcopal policies don't play well in Peoria | For the Episcopal bishop of Quincy, the church's national convention in Minneapolis this month capped what he considers a gradual takeover of the American church by the champions of political correctness, in spite of bedrock Scripture (Chicago Tribune)
- Religious leaders divided on appointment of openly gay bishop |The Episcopal Church confirmed its first openly gay bishop last week. What are your thoughts on this? (Daily Pilot)
- Pastors in quandary over pro-gay stand | The choice: Follow your conscience and leave the church (and along with it free lodging and a good chunk of your retirement account) or remain pastor and live in a state of protest (The Cincinnati Post)
- Episcopal diocese to weigh options | Gay bishop vote prompts meeting (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)
- Episcopal angst: Vote on gay bishop divides the ranks | The past week has seen religious leaders and secular pundits alike have much to say about the elevation of an openly gay clergyman (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- ELCA maintains ties to Episcopalians | Assembly sticking to plan for '05 vote on sexuality issues (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- A divided Episcopal Church? | A great many Episcopalians are apparently willing to leave doctrinal questions unresolved as long as the effort to grapple with them is rooted in traditional forms of Anglican worship and prayer, and produces a stronger spiritual community engaged in effective local outreach and good works (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)
- Open and shut | Episcopalian and Catholic churches take different road to reach policy decisions on gay issues (Robert McClory, Chicago Tribune)
- The pink posse takes on America | Gay is the word in living rooms, churches and political chambers across the States this season (The Observer, London)
- The Anglican Mainstream | It's not where Americans might think (Diane Knippers, The Weekly Standard)
Reaction from Africa to Anglicanism's first openly gay bishop:
- Campaign to merge churches | Retired Anglican Church of Kenya bishop urges three to unite against Western influence (The Nation, Nairobi)
- Reject homosexuals and lesbians, Anglican Church urges | The Church of Uganda has asked Ugandans to condemn homosexuality and lesbianism, which are slowly taking root in the country (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)
- An issue angering Anglican Africans | The election of an openly gay bishop by the U.S. Episcopal Church has revealed conflicts in the worldwide denomination (The Baltimore Sun)
- Devil's advocate? | Secretary of the Anglican Diocese of Maseno South says there must be loopholes being exploited by the Church of England and, unless these are sealed, even the protests by the Kenyan Church may just be in vain (The East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)
- 'We are disgusted' | Kenyan public reacts to newly appointed gay bishop (The East African Standard, Nairobi)
- When the archbishop calls | What is it about Anglicans and sex? (Colbert I. King, The Washington Post)
Judge Moore's Ten Commandment battle:
- Richard Land 'dismayed' at Moore's defiance of federal court order | "However much sympathy I may have for Judge Moore's beliefs and convictions about the Ten Commandments and the role they have played in Western civilization and American jurisprudence, I am dismayed at the prospect of a judge defying a court order," said president of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (Baptist Press)
- Moore appeals to 11th Circuit | On Monday, U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson denied a request by Moore to stay the injunction that orders Moore's Ten Commandments monument removed by midnight on Wednesday (Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.)
- Judge: Monument must go | Says Moore wants 'direct confrontation' (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
- Pryor commitment | Attorney general, justices must move quickly against Commandments display (Editorial, The Birmingham News, Ala.)
- Moore and Moses | Alabama's chief justice challenges federal authority (Editorial, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Justices must ensure order in Alabama | Refusing to obey an order from a higher court is not only willful neglect of duty, but also an impeachable offense under the state constitution (Editorial, Tuscaloosa News, Ala.)
- Monument must go, and Moore along with it |If the Alabama Legislature operated on courage and moral conviction, it would lose little time in drawing up articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Roy Moore (Editorial, Tuscaloosa News, Ala.)
Alabama tax reform:
- It's the Christian thing to do | It's got to be at least a little humiliating when the president of an organization you're a part of and whose policies you ostensibly follow shows up to thumb her nose at you (Katherine Lee, Tuscaloosa News, Ala.)
- 'Salt and light' | Former Alabama Baptist presidents endorse Riley plan (Editorial, The Birmingham News, Ala.)
- Pastors cautious on tax plan stand | Don't expect any endorsements or condemnations from the pulpit (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
- Baptist leaders uphold faith | Gov. Bob Riley's call for people of faith to support his tax and accountability package got a big boost this week when eight former presidents of the Alabama Baptist State Convention urged voters to approve the package on Sept. 9 (Editorial, Montgomery Advertiser)
- Alabama tied in knots by tax vote | Riley stuns GOP by stumping for hike (The Washington Post)
Teens and sex:
- Is virtue becoming sexy? | Dare we hope that wholesomeness might be "cool"? (Editorial, Mobile Register, Ala.)
- Teen idols emphasize apple-pie image | The next generation of rising young stars may be tossing out the "sex sells" image in favor of apple pie (Fox News)
- Sex-ed group faces new review | Government plans a third look at Advocates for Youth (The Washington Post)
- For Ugandan girls, delaying sex has economic cost | Uganda's highly praised anti-AIDS approach emphasizes abstinence; but for young women mired in poverty, the pressures to yield are great (The New York Times)
- Citadel drops pre-meal prayer | Virginia Attorney General Jerry Kilgore said he would appeal last week's ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court (Associated Press)
- Evolution teaching unlikely to change | Biology teachers who understand evolution generally teach about it; creationist teachers generally do not (John Richard Schrock, The Wichita Eagle)
- G-G wants more religion in schools | Governor-General Michael Jeffery has called for a greater emphasis on religious education in schools to improve the nation's ethics and values (The West Australian)
- Conference highlights home-school benefits | Children home-schooled by devout parents academically outperform their public school peers and reveal better character development, according to home-education leaders who gathered during the weekend (The Washington Times)
- Urban seminary expands, develops | Originally created for black pastors, Center for Urban Theological Studies teaches others (Philadelphia Daily News)
- Also: Center prepares students using a Christian perspective (Philadelphia Daily News)
- Guiding light | New television shows take more spiritual tack (The Christian Science Monitor)
- Big Brother Africa ban overturned | Malawi court said parliament—which voted for the ban because of concerns about sexual content—went beyond its powers (BBC)
- Also: Court lifts Big Brother ban | The High Court in Malawi argued that Parliament acted outside its powers when it banned the show on August 5 (The Monitor, Kampala, Uganda)
- An improbable dream | Baylor's athletic problems point to a greater academic challenge (Marvin Olasky, World)
- Forgiving Bliss tests one's faith | In disgracing himself, he has also disgraced a proud school built on the foundation of religious belief (Randy Galloway, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- 'Difficult circumstances' | Baylor President Robert Sloan talks online about Bliss cover-up (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- New Braves ace puts faith, family first | Russ Ortiz exudes confidence on the mound. That's what comes with winning more games (58) than any pitcher except Curt Schilling since the 2000 All-Star break. But it also comes from meaning he's found in his personal life (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Rockets aide stays put, cites prayer | Melvin Hunt had no idea where his career was headed when Baylor, his alma mater, offered a job as an assistant coach (Houston Chronicle)
- The chaplains who kick goals for God | The clergy is reaching out to a flock usually more interested in goals than souls (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
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