Billy Graham won't crusade in London (or, probably, anywhere else)
A press release from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) suggests that Graham's New York evangelistic crusade three weeks ago was his last, but the statement does not say so explicitly.
Graham had repeatedly stated that he hoped to hold a crusade in London in November as a kind of capstone to his ministry. His 12-week 1954 crusade there launched his ministry as an international figure, ending in a Wembley Stadium event attended by 122,000.
But after consulting with doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, the 86-year-old evangelist says he and his wife, Ruth, are getting too ill and too old to travel so far.
"After much prayerful consideration I determined I should not be that far from home," Graham said in a letter to London clergy who had extended the invitation. "This was a difficult decision because London has played such a significant part in the life of my ministry."
The BGEA says the decision was made before London's bombings and the announcement that the city would host the 2012 Olympic Games, but both incidents would surely make a Graham crusade in that city even more complicated.
In a press release, the organization says that Franklin Graham has already planned "an aggressive schedule of crusades" through 2007 and that the BGEA is planning "the most ambitious international broadcasting outreach in its 55-year history."
But the evangelistic ministry of the organization's namesake will be limited to "writing several books and contributing to other special projects he has begun in recent years," says the group.
Organization spokesmen, however, are repeating Billy Graham's frequent statement about future crusades, "Never say never."
"Right now, there are no other crusades in preparation," Billy Graham's publicist, A. Larry Ross, told The Charlotte Observer. But Franklin Graham's publicist, Mark DeMoss, told the paper that Billy has a standing invitation to speak at any of Franklin's scheduled crusades. As to whether Billy's stadium days are over, DeMoss said, "That's one I can't answer."
Today's Washington Post has an update on religious conservatives' opposition to a Supreme Court nomination for Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales. Religious conservatives, Charles Lane reports,
in recent days have switched from arguing that Gonzales is ideologically unreliable to asserting that he would have to disqualify himself whenever issues he worked on in the Bush administration came before the court.
Jan LaRue, chief counsel of Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization, distributed a memo to the group's members yesterday listing six social issues on which Gonzales might have to recuse.
"We don't think it's likely the president will nominate him," LaRue wrote. "It has nothing to do with Gonzales personally, and these recusal concerns are shared by others."
It'd be nice to credit Weblog for the change, since Tuesday's longwinded posting recommended such a change. But National Review Online's Edward Whelan has been hounding this story more than Weblog has.
War & terrorism:
- After bombings, Europe rushes back to moral basics | On Sunday they packed 'em ina circumstance you wouldn't have noted for a long while in English churches (William Murchison, The Dallas Morning News)
- Abu Ghraib tactics were first used at Guantanamo | Techniques were approved by Rumsfeld (The Washington Post)
- Report discredits FBI claims of abuse at Guantánamo Bay | A high-level military investigation into complaints by FBI agents about the abuse of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, concluded in a report released Wednesday that their treatment was sometimes degrading but did not qualify as inhumane or as torture (The New York Times)
- Report cites 'degrading' Guantanamo treatment | Guantanamo Bay interrogators degraded and abused a key prisoner but did not torture him when they told him he was gay, forced him to dance with another man and made him wear a bra and perform dog tricks, military investigators said on Wednesday (Reuters)
- Iraq faith minorities fear being left out under law | A panel representing Chaldo/Assyrian Catholics, Turkmen Muslims, and Mandaeans called on the United States to ensure the constitution benefits them as well as the Shi'ites, Sunnis and Kurds (The Washington Times)
- As many as 80,000 Assyrian Christians have fled Iraq | Representatives of Iraq's minority Assyrian Christian community are charging that their numbers in the country are sharply and rapidly dwindling as many flee to border states to escape persecution (The New York Sun)
Religion & politics:
- Conservative Caucus's choice for top court is cast in stone | Constitution Party founder Howard Phillips's latest group says only one man, really, is qualified for the job: Roy Moore (The Washington Post)
- Senators who averted showdown face new test in court fight | The Gang of 14 is trying to chart a course that would keep them unified in the event of a divisive Supreme Court battle (The New York Times)
- Mr. Bush, pick a genius | Ideas drive history, so President Bush's Supreme Court pick should be the person with the biggest brain. Mike McConnell is a perfect example (David Brooks, The New York Times)
- Clinton, Santorum swap child-rearing views | It may take a village to raise a child. Or it may take a family. But it definitely takes two senators to argue the merits of either (Associated Press)
- People of faith help put budget focus on the needy | If the budget outcome was a little better this session, it's because people of faith got involved (Deborah Locke, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)
Canadian same-sex marriage:
- Same-sex foes risk charges, Cardinal fears | Canada's top Roman Catholic cardinal says vocal opponents of same-sex marriage will risk criminal charges if the institution is legally extended to include gay and lesbian couples (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
- Also: Religious freedom threatened, top cardinal says | Canada's most prominent Roman Catholic clergyman says same-sex marriage threatens religious freedom in this country (Canadian Press)
- Cardinal backs MP sanctions | Canada's top Catholic cleric says MPs who support same-sex marriage should be stripped of their parish leadership roles, but not excommunicated (London Free Press, Ont.)
- Also: Top cardinal backs action against MP | One of Canada's leading Roman Catholic cardinals yesterday endorsed an Ontario bishop's decision to bar NDP MP Joe Comartin from taking part in church marital classes and other duties because he supported same-sex marriage legislation (CanWest)
Episcopal priest, opposed to gay bishops, is removed in Connecticut:
- Episcopal priest stripped of duties | Episcopal Bishop Andrew D. Smith stripped the priest of St. John's Church in Bristol of his duties Wednesday morning, citing concerns about the church's financial condition and the priest's decision to take an unauthorized sabbatical for several months (Hartford Courant, Ct.)
- Episcopal priest is removed in Connecticut | In the first step toward defrocking, one of the six Episcopal priests who has opposed the Connecticut bishop's support for the ordination of gay bishops was temporarily removed from his duties as rector of a church in Bristol on Wednesday because he had taken an unauthorized sabbatical (The New York Times)
- Episcopal bishop suspends one of six embattled priests | Clergyman ousted from lead role at church in Bristol (The Day, New London, Ct.)
- Episcopal bishop in Conn. suspends priest (Associated Press)
- The last best hope for religious continuity: Gays | If the stereotyping of us as selfish hedonists has even the tiniest grain of truth, then it logically follows that gays of faith are the most righteous people on earth (Aaron Hamburger, Forward, Jewish newspaper)
- Answering hostility with amazing grace | An awful lot of assumptions in this column (Connie Schultz, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- Panel finds misinformation in White House web site on teenagers | Negative messages about gays, sex, single parents criticized, as well as lack of information on alcohol (The Washington Post)
- Sex ed program again draws protests | The Waco Convention Center is an unlikely battleground for the nation's culture wars, but the lines are drawn every summer at the onset of the local Planned Parenthood's sexual education program for youths (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)
- Clinton defends wife's abortion remarks | Former President Clinton, defending his senator-wife's statements on abortion, said Wednesday that Democrats are held to a double standard (Associated Press)
- Healey backs bill for 'morning after' pill | Breaking the administration's silence on emergency contraception, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey said yesterday that she would push Governor Mitt Romney to sign a bill broadening access to the ''morning after" pill (The Boston Globe)
- Anti-abortion activists say "Wanted" posters not a threat | Anti-abortion activists who were ordered by a federal jury to pay $108.5 million in damages after creating a set of "Wanted" posters listing the names and addresses of a dozen doctors are asking a federal court to revisit the case (Associated Press)
- Abortion clinic may lose license | An abortion clinic faces charges after two former patients picked separate unlicensed abortion 'doctors' out of police photo lineups (The Herald, Bradenton, Fla.)
- Curb abortions, help rape victims | Oregon lawmakers can round out their commitment to rape victims and prevent abortions by passing SB849 (Editorial, The Oregonian)
Santorum links Boston abuse scandal to 'liberalism':
- Santorum's slur | Senator Rick Santorum can't be serious when he says that localized liberalism has something to do with the sexual abuse scandal that convulsed the Archdiocese of Boston (Editorial, The Boston Globe)
- Kennedy rips Santorum comments | Says senator owes victims apology (The Boston Globe)
- Kennedy rebukes Santorum for comments | Republican repeats remark linking scandal to Boston 'liberalism' (The Washington Post)
- Kennedy rips Santorum for 2002 column (Associated Press)
- Priest abuse lawsuit barred | Court leaves door ajar for other suits (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
- Court: Man can't sue Wis. archdiocese | A man who claims he was abused by a priest in the 1960s cannot sue the Archdiocese of Milwaukee because there is no proof church leaders knew the priest was a child molester at the time, the state Supreme Court ruled Wednesday (Associated Press)
- Paedophile who abused girl sues employer for unfair dismissal | After court hearing where he admitted indecency, Geoffrey Moore was sacked by Kevin Mayhew Publishers, which specializes in hymn books and religious music. He is now claiming unfair dismissal and is demanding £2,000 compensation after losing his £12,000-a-year job as a music setter (The Telegraph, London)
- Christians oppose Archbishop's mini-skirt ban | Senior Christian community leader Richard Peter today opposed the ban imposed by the Mumbai Archbishop Ivan Dias banning people from wearing jeans, T-shirts and mini-skirts for Sunday service in churches across Mumbai Archbishop area (PTI, India)
- Initiative would poll on church closings | Councilor seeks ballot question on archdiocese moves (The Boston Globe)
- The pope and the pussycats | New leader of the Catholic Church loves felines (MSNBC)
Harry Potter & Benedict XVI:
- Harry Potter and the Vatican enforcer | Pope condemned 'subtle seduction' of tales of wizardry (The Times, London)
- Harry Potter distorts the soul, says Pope | The Vatican had previously given the books an apparent seal of approval (The Telegraph, London)
- Pope disapproves of Harry Potter, letters suggest | Pope Benedict believes the Harry Potter books subtly seduce young readers and "distort Christianity in the soul" before it can develop properly, according to comments attributed to him by a German writer (Reuters)
- Why this story is bogus | LifeSiteNews.com, best known for reporting pro-life issues, has just performed a disservice to both the Catholic community and the newsreading community in general (Jimmy Akin, blogger)
Missions & ministry:
- Christian group seeks local gang truce | Add Victory Outreach to the list of faith-based non-profits stepping up with creative ideas to combat gangs in San Jose (Mercury News, San Jose, Ca.)
- A prayer for an end to world's 'worst' crisis | From July 15 to 17, thousands of Christian, Jewish, and Muslim congregations will hold worship services, offer sermons and homilies, and engage in prayer for the people of Darfur, in western Sudan (The Christian Science Monitor)
- In journey to health, he never ran alone | Dal Woodruff admits it's hard not to get preachy. After all, he is a pastor. And at a dinner Saturday night, as he told about 50 members of Faith Baptist Church in Mesquite about losing 100 pounds in a year and finishing a marathon, he turned to a spiritual message (The Dallas Morning News)
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