Investigation into Yemen missionary attack continues as Baptists turn control of hospital over to Muslim government
Abed Abdul Razak Kamel, the Muslim extremist accused of killing three American missionaries at the Jibla Baptist Hospital December 30, sought help with his wife at the medical center a year ago, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"In a society that prizes large families, Kamel said his wife was plagued with miscarriages."
But the care given by the missionaries did not dissuade him. "Kamel's decision to kill the hospital workers, either because they were Christian, because they were Americans—or both—appears to have been made with care and patience," reports Michael Slackman. "What seems clear … is that the killings were part of an overall plan to attack people viewed as enemies of Islam."
Residents of Jibla and the media are quick to point out that Kamel wasn't a local, and that most area Muslims were outraged by the attack and appreciated the hospital's work. But local Muslim leaders weren't so supportive. "They used to preach against us for hours, especially in Friday prayer," nurse practitioner Kaye Rock tells the Times. Now, says Slackman, "The critical sermons have stopped, at least publicly."
They may not be silent just out of respect for the dead. After all, since the shooting, control of the hospital has passed from the Baptists to the Muslim government. And many Baptists are not happy about it. Some of those killed in the attack had recently tried to stop the handover.
"If the Muslim extremist who attacked Jibla Baptist Hospital Dec. 30 was trying to rid Yemen of that country's most prominent Christian ministry, it might look like he succeeded," begins a dispatch from Associated Baptist Press. "The hospital has been closed since the shooting. Most of the 13 American mission workers and their families have left Jibla, and many won't return. Despite appearances, those leading the hospital through its most difficult period say the Christian ministry of the hospital will survive."
But not everyone is so optimistic. "We have lost so many staff because of all the months of uncertainty that there is no way the place can be kept open," says Australian surgeon Ken Clezy. "My own feeling is that Jibla is finished, but I may be wrong. It will certainly take some time to get going again, with the best will from everybody."
Southern Baptists upset at hometown over gay ordinance
The Southern Baptist Convention says it may withdraw its 2005 annual convention from Nashville, where it is headquartered, over the city's plan to include "sexual orientation" in its employment and housing anti-discrimination laws.
"This alters the nature of Nashville as a convention city for us," SBC vice president Bill Merrell told Nashville tourism officials, according to the Associated Press.
The convention is particularly upset that the proposed ordinance does not exempt churches and religious organizations, though the bill's lead sponsor says he'll include the exemption before the January 21 vote.
Not good enough, says Merell, calling the bill "another attempt by pro-gay activists to secure the approval and affirmation of the broader culture of the homosexual lifestyle" that will turn Nashville into "the San Francisco of the Southeast."
"The Southern Baptists previously have met in Las Vegas and New Orleans," the Associated Press dryly concludes its article.
- Iraq's cultural capital | Iraq is home to some of the most important landmarks of the Judeo-Christian tradition (The New York Times Magazine)
- Religious groups try to defuse war threat | Full-page ad appears in The New York Times (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
Crime and persecution:
- A jury torn and fearful in 2001 terrorism trial | A clearcut example of jurors violating the judge's admonition involved the decisions by two jurors to seek religious guidance as they struggled to weigh the factors for or against execution for Mr. al-'Owhali (The New York Times)
- Vatican warning on danger of 'online confession' | Warns that "ill-intentioned people such as hackers" may intercept confessions for purposes such as blackmail (The Times, London)
- Police prepare to evict rebel monks | Their crime: refusing to acknowledge the authority of the Eastern Orthodox leadership, which they blame for committing the ultimate sin of dealing with Roman Catholics (The Times, London)
- Churches, businesses receive rash of hate mail | FBI: Threatening letters are a federal crime (KMBC, Kansas City)
Sex abuse cases:
- Canada fights church's win in abuse case | Native residential schools: Government appeals Alberta ruling (The National Post)
- Bishop tells of shielding priests | McCormack says aide's plea ignored (The Boston Globe)
- Priest pleads no contest to sex abuse charges | Minister gets probation for touching parishioners (Associated Press)
- Inuit cleansing ceremony creates stir | A decision by Greenland's top civil servant to use an Inuit healer to chase away evil spirits in local government offices drew criticism from the Danish territory's political leaders (Associated Press)
- Free-speech dispute deepens chasm between Mormons and non-Mormons in Salt Lake City (Associated Press)
- Judges ponder kindergartner's role in free speech case | A federal appeals judge expressed frustration Thursday that a 9-year-old boy remains at the center of a lawsuit testing First Amendment issues (Associated Press)
- Civil rights group sues library, claiming policy violates 1st Amendment | Liberty Counsel says it was denied access to the public meeting room when it asked on two occasions to use it for a public discussion of "America's Christian heritage" (Tampa Tribune)
- Bible club v. school district | Virginia group files lawsuit on behalf of Monarch High students (Boulder [Colo.] Daily Camera)
- Cedar Rapids may lift fortune telling ban | City staff decided it would be best to repeal the law because a court challenge based on freedom of religion might win (Associated Press)
- Amish preparing for battle over town's ban on horses | Families arguing that curbs deny them means of travel (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Also: Pa. Amish complain about zoning laws | Two Amish men cited for keeping horses on their properties (Associated Press)
- Why some teens are putting off sex until marriage | The percentage of U.S. high school students who say they have had sexual intercourse has fallen from 54.1 percent in 1991 to 45.6 percent in 2001 (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)
- The secret war on condoms | Conservative groups in President Bush's support base have declared war on condoms, in a campaign that, if successful, could lead to millions of deaths from AIDS around the world (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)
- Archbishop faces new threat over gay clergy | The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, faced a fresh threat to his authority yesterday after one of Australia's senior Church leaders joined critics of his liberal stance on homosexuality (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Vatican to reinforce Catholic orthodoxy | Pope's advisors plan to crack down especially hard on homosexuality in the Church (BBC)
Missions and ministry:
- Tony Campolo: Point of life is not to get more stuff | Americans are sacrificing family, intimacy to get more material goods (The Holland [Mich.] Sentinel)
- Evangelist Billy Graham schedules mission at San Diego stadium despite frail health | "To be honest, I never expected to continue receiving invitations into my 80s," he says (Associated Press)
- The inside story on giving love the hard cell | A group of Christians from different denominations spend a week in prisons with a selected group of inmates, talking to them about love, acceptance and how to learn to forgive others and yourself (Julia Baird, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Egyptian lawyer sues over Christmas holiday | Saber Rashed said in his court papers that Muslims already celebrate with Christians on their religious holidays and there was no need for a new public holiday (Ananova)
- Looking for God in the details at Ground Zero | Does God have a place at ground zero? If so, which god? Or, whose god? Or, what god? (The New York Times)
- I found Christ but may lose my Muslim family | My family felt betrayed and I was rejected by his father—a deeply religious man who calls Al-Qaeda "martyrs" (Ahmer Khokhar, The Times, London)
- Kuwait religious edict bans killing non-Muslims | Reinforces existing laws after recent attacks on U.S. troops in which one Marine was killed (Reuters)
- Liberian religious leaders charged | Two members of a group trying to improve relations between Christians and Muslims have been charged with treason (BBC)
- U.S. firms linked to extremist Indian cause | India Development and Relief Fund is funding radical Hindu activity, says Campaign to Stop Funding Hate (Asia Times)
- Tamil Nadu dalits seek permission to convert | Unclear what they're converting to (Rediff.com)
- Also: Low castes reject conversion law | A group of low-caste Hindus in the south Indian state of Tamil Nadu has converted to Christianity and Buddhism to protest against a new law that outlaws religious conversion (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)
- Fun and fellowship at church | Family can play and pray together on Wednesday nights (The State, Columbia, SC)
- Activist sues church over housing project for seniors | John WorldPeace says the Presbyterian church made a secret deal to build the 63 apartments without consulting members (Houston Chronicle)
- Church concerts exempted from new license rules | The Bill as it stands says churches that are used for more than five performances a year will have to have a license (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- 'Where worship is going' | 'Contemporary' services welcome casual dress and joyful music (The State, Columbia, SC)
- Superchurch plans to be unveiled | Scottish congregation will merge the four main branches of Protestantism (BBC)
- Play, Win, Give | God hits the Powerball jackpot (Brian McGuire, The Wall Street Journal)
- Former Anglican is new Catholic bishop | A vicar who left the Church of England in protest at the ordination of women has become the first Anglican since then to become a Roman Catholic bishop (The Times, London)
- As scum surfaces, the church sinks lower | The Catholic Church looks shabby and the leadership sounds stale. Time to let in some fresh air (Amy Pagnozzi, The Hartford [Conn.] Courant)
- His Holiness was not amused | The bizarre career of Zambia's Archbishop Milingo has embarrassed the Vatican—and it isn't over yet (Hugh Russell, The Spectator, U.K.)
- Nuns as sexual victims get little notice | A national survey, completed in 1996 but intentionally never publicized, estimates that a "minimum" of 34,000 Catholic nuns, or about 40 percent of all nuns in the United States, have suffered some form of sexual trauma (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
- Religions oppose cloning | The Raelian movement may or may not prove it produced the first cloned human, but the sect can already claim another distinction: It is virtually the only religious group that says this type of reproduction is a good idea (Associated Press)
- Did respect for religion cloud 'clone' coverage? | The Raelian component, however "out there" the belief system might be even on cursory examination, seemed to be an obstacle in the reporting of the story for many reporters (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)
- Professor finds faith along rural highways with theme parks and sites inspired by God | Timothy Beal examines "Roadside Religion" in forthcoming book (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- Religion, and lives, reinvented during spiritual journeys | I've noticed a rise in the kinds of religious books where people craft their own fluid paths, insisting that when it comes to all things spiritual, one size doesn't fit all (Caroline Leavitt, The Boston Globe)
Television and film:
- Video firm in 'The Zone' | Christian programming foundation for growth (Cincinnati Business Courier)
- Faith's message squiggles from series | Bugs, people used to tell stories from the Bible (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Regent U. film students will get ''artistic guidelines'' | According to an article in The Regent Times campus newspaper, Pat Robertson was upset by certain student-made movies (The Virginian-Pilot)
- Museum exhibits biblical relics | Dead Sea Scrolls make rare U.S. appearance in Grand Rapids show (The Detroit News)
- 1,500 years of Bibles on display at library | "From Papyri to King James: The Evolution of the English Bible" ends Saturday (Michigan Daily, Ann Arbor)
Other stories of interest:
- Monks insist on high-alcohol beer | A French Government drive against alcoholism has incurred the wrath of Belgium's famous Trappists (BBC)
- Woman finds Jesus, discovers Buddha missing | Someone apparently swapped the two figurines (Advance Newspapers, Michigan)
- Cardinal offers rare detail of his polio fight | In a move quite out of character, Cardinal Francis George spoke publicly and at length Wednesday about the childhood battle with polio that left him with a permanent limp and an ongoing struggle with resentment about his physical limitations (Chicago Sun-Times)
- Losing faith in God's strategy | When things pick up again, should companies contemplating a makeover learn something from God's brand strategy? (Richard Tomkins, Financial Times)
- At Bob Jones, grief over plane crash softened by beliefs | The first day back from winter break, students learned about the unexpected deaths of two classmates—one in Florida and the other in Wednesday's plane crash at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport (The State, Columbia, SC)
- Also: Bob Jones students turn to Bibles instead of counselors after student dies in crash (Associated Press)
- Religion News in Brief | Oversight of Episcopal dispute over David Moyer moves to Africa, Epiphany, Union Seminary's woes, and other stories (Associated Press)
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