Los Angeles Times examines Haiti's now-official Voodoo
As Weblog noted in April, Haiti President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, a former Catholic priest, has made Voodoo an officially recognized religion. Now, the Los Angeles Times reports, Voodoo priests or houngans soon will "be authorized to perform any civil service a Roman Catholic priest can, officiating at births, marriages and funerals."
"Voodoo has done everything for Haiti," Adnor Adely, a Voodoo priest, told the Times. "It gave us our independence, while the imported religions held us by the throat. We owe this to Aristide. He can be considered the president of Voodoo."
Voodoo has been legal in Haiti since the 1987 Haitian constitution. Given Voodoo's deep history and standing in Haiti, Aristide's move could be as much about political advantage as about freedoms. He is rumored to be attempting to change the nation's constitution in order to remain in office for a third term. He may now have the necessary support.
"Aristide is the only president in our history who has done something for us," said Adely. "We will stay with him forever and perform every ceremony necessary to keep him in power. We will not negotiate with any country on this, no matter how much pressure they put on us. We will eat rocks if we have to, as long as we can keep him in power."
The Catholic community in Haiti condemned Aristide's decision. In a statement, the bishop of Port-au-Prince, Msgr. Joseph Lafontant, said that giving Voodoo official status was "excessive." He also said that the application of the decree, that Voodoo priests can lead civil ceremonies and baptisms, is "an obvious mistake."
ELCA responds to youth convention rape charges
Yesterday, Weblog noted the arrest of three teens charged with rape an Evangelical Lutheran Church in America youth retreat at Trinity Lutheran College in Issaquah, Washington. Weblog could not find a statement posted at the websites of the ELCA or its regional headquarters, but yesterday afternoon received the following statement via e-mail from ELCA Communication Director Eric C. Shafer:
We were distressed to learn of the crimes that have been charged this week against participants at the "Rainbow of Gifts" event at Trinity Lutheran College, Issaquah, Wash. We are shocked that such behavior could occur at a youth leadership event, and we have taken immediate action to respond to this incident.
The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) takes matters such as these very seriously. ELCA personnel on the scene are cooperating fully with law enforcement authorities investigating this matter.
At the same time, the ELCA is providing pastoral support to those who were hurt, to those who have been accused and to those who are continuing at the conference at Trinity Lutheran College. We offer our concern and prayers for all involved. We pray especially that the healing power of the Holy Spirit will bring comfort to the young people affected, as well as their families and friends.
Earlier articles on Gene Robinson that haven't yet been included in Weblog:
- My love is sacred, gay candidate for bishop tells American church (The Guardian, London)
- Vote on gay bishop a mixed blessing | Robinson's standing isn't even the most emotional issue in the Episcopal Church (Charles W. Bell, New York Daily News)
- Gay bishop says he'll stand by his mandate | Robinson claimed his confirmation as bishop would encourage the disillusioned to return to going to church (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Anglicans on the brink over gay bishop | In the worst scenario, the Anglican Church in Australia could fracture along doctrinal lines (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- U.S. vote threatens Anglican unity | The threat of schism hung over the 70 million-strong worldwide Anglican communion last night as the US Episcopal church moved a giant step closer to electing its first openly gay bishop (The Guardian, London)
- U.S. gay bishop appointment reignites row in Britain | Anglican groups in Britain were split down the middle today as the appointment of an American gay clergyman to the post of bishop moved a step closer (PA, U.K.)
- Anglicans unite in condemnation | In a rare show of public agreement, the Anglican archbishops of Sydney and Melbourne have condemned the Episcopal Church for its decision (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Also: Archbishop angry over U.S. gay move | Melbourne's Anglican Archbishop, Peter Watson, said Episcopal Church had separated itself from the worldwide church (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- Gay bishop-elect struggled with his homosexuality | The 56-year-old clergyman spent half his life suppressing or ignoring his homosexuality, and even now refuses to use his position as a platform for gay rights (AFP)
- 'I'm Gene. I'm gay and aim to be bishop' | A risk of schism is hanging over the worldwide communion as the Episcopal church moves to elect an openly homosexual bishop (The Guardian, London)
- Episcopal gay priest wins vote | He is one step away from becoming a bishop, a move that threatens to divide the church (Los Angeles Times)
- U.S. Episcopal body approves first openly gay bishop (Reuters)
- Gay bishop-elect awaits final vote | A final vote Monday will decide if a New Hampshire clergyman will become the first openly gay elected bishop in the Episcopal Church (Associated Press)
- Episcopalians debate blessing same-sex unions (The Dallas Morning News)
- Gay bishop-elect gains ground | One of two legislative bodies of the Episcopal Church, this one made up of clergy and laity, confirmed the election of the Rev. Gene Robinson as a bishop in New Hampshire (The Dallas Morning News)
- A church's choice | The nomination of the first openly gay bishop, the Reverend V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, has sparked a debate over homosexuality in the Episcopal Church — even prompting threats of schism in the church (NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, PBS)
Other stories on the Episcopal Church:
- All God's children | As Episcopal leaders debate gays and the church, one Washington parish already has its answer (The Washington Post)
- Episcopalians are latest to square off over gay rights | Why the debate should matter to the 99 percent of Americans who are not Episcopalians (The Dallas Morning News)
- Episcopalians recall last great debate, over women | Anglican Communion held together after schism threats 27 years ago (The Boston Globe)
- Episcopalians' debate on gay issues may be pivotal | The national convention is debating whether a homosexual priest can be a bishop and whether to have rituals drafted for same-sex unions (Los Angeles Times)
- Episcopal conference puts Christianity's future on display | Look at who's saying what in the Episcopalian debate. That will tell you which way Christianity is heading (William McKenzie, The Dallas Morning News)
- Sodomy ruling spurs challenges to military's policy on gays | The first aftershocks of the Supreme Court's landmark decision striking down a Texas sodomy law have reached the U.S. military, where the ruling is sparking new court challenges to the armed forces' ban on openly gay personnel and other rules affecting sexuality (The Washington Post)
- The decriminalization of sodomy | For millennia, every human culture has recognized the bond linking sex, marriage and the generation of human life and frowned on begetting children out of wedlock (William E. May, The Washington Times)
- Bush plays pope on marriage issue | If homosexual sex is legal, it doesn't matter if our born-again president believes it's a sin on the grounds that it offends his or anyone else's interpretation of Christian Scripture (Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times)
- High schools best intentions could breed intolerance | Segregating students according to sexuality is precisely the sort of thinking you'd expect gay rights activists to oppose. But they don't. (Kerry Dougherty, The Virginian-Pilot)
- Reject gay practices, not people: church council | That, in essence, is the position towards homosexuality taken by the mainstream National Council of Churches of Singapore, following objections by some Christians to a change in the Government's hiring policy (The Straits Times, Singapore)
- Poll shows backlash on gay issues | Support hasn't been this low since 1996 (USA Today)
- Homosexuality seen as accepted by media | A month after the Supreme Court decision legalizing sodomy and Canada's recognition of same-sex "/marriage," analysts say an almost casual acceptance of homosexuality pervades the media (The Washington Times)
- Gays struggle in evangelical Christian world | Members of Evangelicals Concerned feel invisible (The Seattle Times)
- Spiritual war over gay clergy escalates | The battle between pro and anti-gay forces in the Uniting Church intensified over the weekend, with conservatives rallying across the country to protest the recent approval of homosexual clergy (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Most U.S. religious groups bar gay clergy | Though they usually accept those committed to celibacy (Associated Press)
- U.S. religious groups vary in views on homosexuality | The two biggest Christian denominations in the United States teach that homosexual behavior is a sin. But that doesn't mean all Christian denominations are as condemning, or as clear, on the issue (Voice of America)
- The evangelical view on same-sex marriage | The law is more than preventative; it instructs (Brian C. Stiller, The Toronto Star)
- Marriage more than the procreation of children | Marriage is about the union of two persons, bound together by the ties of love and of mutual commitment (Tom Harpur, Toronto Star)
- The new American idolatry | President Bush said on Wednesday what so many, many people feel and think inside the closet but are afraid to say in the public arena (Deborah Simmons, The Washington Times)
- Earlier: Bush vows no 'compromise' on gay 'marriage' (The Washington Times)
- Earlier: Bush weighs marriage amendment (The Washington Times)
- Ashcroft rules out gay 'marriage,' but not civil unions | Says Justice Department is researching issue (The Washington Times)
- Gay-union debate intensifies in churches | Many major religious groups are actively wrestling over unions and ordination of clergy (The Christian Science Monitor)
- Baylor president is given a warm reception in Dallas | After weeks of dealing with tragedy and turmoil, Baylor University President Robert Sloan received choruses of warm applause Wednesday night from Baylor alumni and students (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Baylor president faces prospect of lost dream | To some, it seems incredible that the events of the past two months could have unfolded at a private, faith-based institution that seeks the academic and moral high ground (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
- Baylor struggles with growing pains | How did something like this happen at Baylor, of all places? How did it happen during the watch of a God-fearing, well-liked coach such as Dave Bliss? (Gil Lebreton, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)
- Baylor alumni, faculty resisting new direction | President's Vision 2012 sees restored Christian university (Austin American-Statesman, Tex.)
- Earlier: 2012: A School Odyssey | Baylor strives to go where no Christian university has gone before—in ten years (Christianity Today, Nov. 22, 2002)
- Showdown at Baylor | School's president faces off against critics this week amid multiple controversies (Weblog, Christianity Today, July 18, 2003)
- Also: Showdown at Baylor, Continued | Sports troubles leak into school's religion debate (Weblog, July 29, 2003)
Mel Gibson's The Passion:
- A passion for censorship | If we are empowered to edit Christian doctrine, then why are they not empowered to edit ours? (David Klinghoffer, Forward)
- Controversy is covenant for religion-themed films | "Passion's" future is more problematic than that of "The Magdalene Sisters," (Hollywood Reporter)
- Months before debut, movie on death of Jesus causes stir | Seven months before its scheduled release on Ash Wednesday, the film has set off an uproar that both sides warn could undermine years of bridge building between Christians and Jews (The New York Times)
- Mel Gibson's martyrdom complex | These days American Jews don't have to fret too much about the charge of deicide — or didn't, until Mel Gibson started directing a privately financed movie called "The Passion," about Jesus' final 12 hours (Frank Rich, The New York Times)
- Bloodthirsty or a classic? Gibson's film of Christ's last days alarms Jewish groups | Star claims Holy Ghost helped him make film but threatens legal action after academics criticize script of The Passion (The Guardian, London)
- Cardinal gets preview of controversial film | "For people who think that the passion narratives are themselves anti-Semitic, [Mel Gibson's The Passion is] a presentation of those narratives," says Cardinal Francis George. "For those of us who don't believe they're anti-Semitic, that Christ died for our sins, all of us, and so therefore we all caused his death, it's a way to portray, very graphically, the brutality of that execution in a Roman style." (Chicago Sun-Times)
Deaths and obituaries:
- Marshall Lon Freeman, 82, gospel singer, dies | Was the last surviving member of the Oak Ridge Quartet, which became the gospel-singing Oak Ridge Boys (Associated Press)
- D.C. service spotlights Bob Hope's spiritual side | More than 800 people gathered at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception yesterday to pay tribute to comedian Bob Hope, a longtime benefactor of Catholic causes who was baptized into the faith in his mid-nineties (The Washington Post)
- Rev. Harold C. Bennett, 78, Baptist leader, dies | Led the Southern Baptist Convention when conservatives took control from moderates (Associated Press)
Copyright © 2003 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
Christianity Today's updated full coverage of the continuing Roy Moore Ten Commandments controversy includes:
Weblog: Roy Moore Given August 20 Ultimatum on Monument | Moore's Ten Commandments ordered to be removed by August 20. (August 6, 2003)
Weblog: 'Ten Commandments Judge' Loses Appeal | Alabama Supreme Court Ten Commandments display ruled unconstitutional. (June 2, 2003)
Weblog: In Alabama Supreme Court Decision, Chief Justice Roy Moore Rants Against Homosexuality | Moore: "Homosexual conduct is … considered abhorrent, immoral, detestable, a crime against nature, and a violation of the laws of nature." (Feb. 22, 2002)
Weblog: U.S. District Court Orders Removal of Ten Commandments | Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore loses Ten Commandments case (Nov. 19, 2002)
Weblog: Letter Calling Ala. Chief Justice Roy Moore a 'Lone Religious Nut' Becomes Focus of Trial | Ten Commandments battle gets personal and ugly. (Oct. 3, 2002)
Ten Commandments Judge Praised and Panned | Roy Moore fulfills a campaign promise with a 5,280-pound granite monument. (November 29, 2001)
Alabama Justice Unveils 5,280 Pounds of Godliness | Moore doesn't hang the commandments—he hauls them in (August 16, 2001)
Ten-Commandments Judge Aims for High Post | After taking on the ACLU, Moore is now a nominee for the Alabama Supreme Court. (August 1, 2000)
Hang Ten? | Thou shalt avoid Ten Commandments tokenism. (Mar. 3, 2000)
Ten Commandments Judge Cleared | Roy Moore's integrity confirmed regarding legal fund. (Oct. 25, 1999)
Ten Commandments Judge Looking for Federal Fight | Does courtroom display defy separation of church and state? (Dec. 12, 1997)
Also, CT ran a story in November 2000, on the role churches played in opposing the Alabama lottery initiative, and a Chuck Colson column called Beating the Odds in January.
CT's sister publication Christian Reader published an interview with Moore entitled Are the Ten Commandments Unconstitutional?
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