Bob Cornuke of the Bible Archaeology Search and Exploration Institute isn't a typical biblical archaeologist. A former police officer and SWAT team member who very consciously models himself on Indiana Jones, he claims to have discovered the "real Mt. Sinai," the "real Mt. Ararat," and has gone searching for the Ark of the Covenant and Pharoah's chariots in the Red Sea.
According to a lawsuit, Cornuke found a Maltese fisherman with ancient lead anchors that the explorer/archaeologist believed were from the apostle's ship. But the fisherman wouldn't talk; confessing to owning the anchors could land him in prison under Malta's antiquities laws.
That's when Cornuke turned to Kathryn Proffitt, the former U.S. ambassador to the country. She arranged for the Maltese government to pardon the fisherman, but there were strings attached. Cornuke couldn't reveal the pardon arrangement, and he would have to allow Proffitt and the Maltese government to edit the book. He would also be required to encourage tourists to visit ancient temples.
"I felt duty bound to make sure these promises were kept," she testified, according to Reuters. Cornuke denied that he handed over editorial control of the book.
Yesterday, however, a federal judge ruled against Proffitt, noting that the book is already on shelves and that her agreement with Coruke was only an oral contract.
What the Maltese government is apparently upset about, however, isn't that Coruke's book was published without its permission, but that it claims that the shipwreck never happened in the traditional site on the northeastern tip of the island, now known as St. Paul's Bay. The bay is a popular and lucrative tourist attraction. Coruke says the anchors were found on the opposite end of the island.
Abuse and crime:
- Wesleyan Church official charged in sex case | Thomas David James is the superintendent of the church's Northwest district (The Oregonian)
- Baptist church fires minister accused of sex crime | Cliff Brian Stokes was athletic director, girls volleyball coach and youth pastor for six years at Tabernacle Baptist Church and Christian School in Conover, N.C. (The Charlotte Observer)
- Evangelist arrested on child sex charges | J.Wesley McCoy was an up-and-coming talent among young evangelists, says pastor (The Greenville [S.C.] News)
- Methodist minister discovered with throat slashed | Mike Tabb is expected to plead guilty in wife's death (Associated Press)
- It was no set-up, church tells Governor-General | Anglican Church dismisses his assertion that he was denied natural justice by an inquiry into his handling of child sex complaints (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Judge probes juror contact in Peterson murder trial | Victoria Peterson, president of Christians for Morality in Government, spoke with a female juror candidate in the hallway of the courthouse (The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.)
- Parting souls | Disagreement on the war illustrates the gap between America's left-leaning clergy and its right-leaning laity (Joel Kotkin and Karen Speicher, Los Angeles Times)
- New life breathed into Church | The world's first inflatable church opened its Gothic doors to worshippers yesterday to reveal a blow-up organ, a polyvinyl pulpit, altar, pews and fake stained glass windows (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Also: Church rises to occasion (The Times, London)
- Also: Inflatable church welcomes worshippers (Associated Press)
Other stories of interest:
- When do-gooders don't know what they're doing | Yes, Amina Lawal has been sentenced to death. But don't believe every e-mail you read (The New York Times)
- Faith & the face | Here's a quick look at what six faiths believe about beards and letting one's hair grow (The Oregonian)
- Let it be | The greatest development in modern religion is not a religion at all—it's an attitude best described as "apatheism" (Jonathan Rauch, The Atlantic Monthly)
- 'Lost Boys' make grade | Former refugees from Sudan reach dreams in Charlotte (The Charlotte Observer)
- SARS fears fester over travel plans to China | Southern Baptist leaders won't stop trip by members (Springfield News-Leader)
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