Four Baptist Americans dead in Iraq drive-by shooting, fifth in critical condition
FiveSouthern Baptist aid workers from North Carolina, California, and Texas were in Mosul, Iraq, to provide clean water to the city. One of them, Larry Elliott, of Cary, North Carolina, had reportedly designed a water purification system that has been used elsewhere in the country.
While driving on the east side of the city yesterday afternoon, the Baptists' car came under attack by automatic weapons fire and rocket-propelled grenades. When an off-duty Iraqi policeman found the car moments later, three of the missionaries, including Elliott and his wife, Jean, were already dead. The two wounded— another husband-and-wife team, David and Carrie McDonnall of the Dallas suburb of Rowlett—were taken to a nearby hospital. There, David McDonnall died of his wounds. His wife remains in critical condition with four gunshot wounds.
The Elliotts were new to the mission field. David had just graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2002, Carrie was still officially a student there.
In contrast, the Elliotts were longtime missionary veterans, having worked most of the last 25 years in Honduras. They were scheduled to leave Iraq later this month to close their Honduran headquarters and permanently relocate to Iraq.
Larry Kingsley, a church deacon at the Elliotts' stateside church, told the Associated Press that the Iraq mission was more about ministering to physical needs than proclamation evangelism.
"They knew going into Iraq, they couldn't really share their Christian faith unless somebody asked them," he said. "They were there in a humanitarian situation. … They were people who just had a great heart for helping people out."
Also killed in the attack was Karen Watson of Bakersfield, California, a single woman who converted to Christianity in 1997 and had recently quit her job as a detention officer to work full-time in missions.
In February, an Iraq taxi carrying several Independent Baptist church planters (not Southern Baptists) was attacked as it returned from Babylon to Baghdad. John Kelley, pastor of Curtis Corner Baptist Church in Wakefield, Rhode Island, was killed in the shooting. Three others were injured.
For more on this most recent attack, keep monitoring the International Missions Board web site, which already has a tribute video, and Baptist Press.
Unitarian Universalist ministers arrested for performing gay marriages:
- Two ministers are charged in gay nuptials | The Ulster County district attorney filed criminal charges yesterday against two Unitarian ministers who performed same-sex marriage ceremonies in New Paltz, N.Y., after a court had barred the mayor from doing so (The New York Times)
- Charges in same-sex nuptials | N.Y. clergy protest, vow to wed more (The Washington Post)
- N.Y. ministers charged for marrying gays (Associated Press)
Methodist church trial over lesbian pastor:
- Gay pastor's church trial to start tomorrow | Last week, Karen Dammann got married in Portland (The Seattle Times)
- Lesbian minister faces a church trial | Proceeding could presage a split in Methodism (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
- City braces for church trial | Bothell hearing expected to draw hundreds (King County Journal, Wash.)
- Karen Dammann trial: questions and answers | Minister is charged with "practices declared by the United Methodist Church to be incompatible with Christian teachings" (United Methodist News Service)
- Church to put lesbian minister on trial | The very teachings of the church will be on trial as well (KING, Seattle, video)
- Soulforce to 'shut down' church trial in an act of nonviolent civil disobedience | Trial near Seattle is "blatant hypocrisy" and an "act of spiritual violence" against all GLBT people (Press release)
Homosexuality and the United Nations:
- Spousal benefits for gays at U.N. challenged | A bloc of more than 50 Islamic states, backed by the Vatican, sought today to halt U.N. efforts to extend spousal benefits to partners of some gay employees (The Washington Post)
- Vatican, Muslims oppose gay benefits | Representatives of the Vatican and dozens of Islamic nations formally objected yesterday to a U.N. Secretariat decision to extend family benefits to some staffers in same-sex unions, raising the prospect of a General Assembly vote on the issue (The Washington Times)
- Islamic nations object to Annan directive (Associated Press)
Head of Christian Civic League of Maine suspended over "outing" legislators plan:
- Heath suspended for a month | Michael Heath must step down as head of the Christian Civic League of Maine for one month for his attempt to solicit information about which state lawmakers and officials might be homosexual (Portland Press Herald, Me.)
- Hunt for gay Maine legislators backfires (The Boston Globe)
- Earlier: Heath enrages Augusta | Civic League head apologizes as political leaders denounce attempt to 'out' legislators (Portland Press Herald, Me.)
- Mainers pan plan to 'out' state leaders | While Michael Heath's apology made national news Thursday, his earlier proposal to "out" state leaders continued to stir local reaction (Portland Press Herald, Me.)
- Opponents agree: Heath's idea is a flop | National leaders in the debate over same-sex marriage glanced at Maine with dismay Wednesday as the leader of the state's Christian Civic League apologized for soliciting information about the sexual orientation of political leaders here (Portland Press Herald, Me.)
- Political buzz comes back to sting Heath | Like the drunk who awakes the next morning wondering how the heck this lamp shade got on his head, Heath finds his reputation in shambles (Bill Nemitz, Portland Press Herald, Me.)
- Flurry of e-mail to Heath on sexual orientation list not what he had in mind (Associated Press)
- League born of Prohibition | Gay rights became religious group's focus in 1980s (Kennebec Journal, Me.)
- 'Blacklist' could be Heath's downfall | I feel sorry for him (J.P. Devine, Kennebec Journal, Me.)
Christian ministry, porn director team up:
- Unlikely bedfellows in the crusade against pornography | Adult filmmaker helps a Christian group seeking to keep children away from explicit material (Los Angeles Times)
- Porn director, church make PSA for kids | Just because he makes his living directing pornographic films doesn't mean James DiGiorgio wants children watching them (Associated Press)
- Meet Pete, the porno puppet (XXXChurch.com)
California public school district refuses transsexual law:
- Beliefs imperil funding | Three of five on an O.C. school board reject a state gender definition on religious grounds (Los Angeles Times)
- Calif. board rejects discrimination code | A small California school district has refused to recognize a state law banning discrimination against transsexuals, a decision that could cost it millions of dollars in state and federal funding (Associated Press)
- Trustees ignore the public's trust | There's nothing particularly heroic about the Three Unwise Women of Westminster who seem to have forgotten that the only master they've been elected to serve is the electorate of a public school district (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)
Christian broadcaster lawsuit over public TV station sale:
- Obstacle to KOCE sale may be gone | Unresolved, though, is a lawsuit filed by a religious broadcaster based in Texas, angry over the rejection of its cash-rich bid to buy the station (Los Angeles Times)
- KOCE Foundation reworks terms | In an effort to make the public television station's sale more attractive to Coast college district trustees, a secondary loan agreement was removed from the deal (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
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