NEWS STORY: NCC unveils interfaith effort to combat global warming

c. 1998 Religion News Service UNDATED _ The National Council of Churches, in an attempt to bring a”religious and moral consensus”to an international effort aimed at decreasing the effects of global warming, has unveiled an interfaith initiative urging the United States to adopt a controversial treaty designed to reduce the greenhouse gas emission levels of developed nations.”The issues of the environment do not come as new issues but are long thought of as the work of the churches,”NCC General Secretary Joan Brown Campbell said Tuesday (Aug. 18) in announcing the effort. Campbell, noting the NCC has worked on environmental issues for the past 20 years, said the council is”taking the lead”against global warming because it is a”moral issue”involving Christian concepts of justice.”It is often the poor, often people of color … often the developing nations who pay a greater price for environmental waste …

NEWS FEATURE: Catholic social action: thinking globally, acting locally

c. 1998 Religion News Service CLEVELAND _ Earlier this summer, in urging passage of a statement calling on Roman Catholic schools to aggressively promote social concerns, Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane, Wash., told U.S. bishops that Catholic social teaching is “unfortunately our best-kept secret.” But not in some churches in Northeast Ohio, says Gerard Powers, the new director of the Office of International Justice and Peace of the U.S. Catholic Conference. Take St. Jude’s in Elyria, Ohio, which helped build a church center in El Salvador.

COMMENTARY: Leaks from the grand jury in the sky

c. 1998 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is publisher of Religion News Service.) UNDATED _ The following transcript of tape recordings was leaked by an unnamed angel close to the Special Prosecutor’s office. We cannot confirm its authenticity. God: You’re still ticked off about Job, aren’t you? Satan: Nah.

COMMENTARY: Human pain has no half life

c. 1998 Religion News Service (Eugene Kennedy, a longtime observer of the Roman Catholic Church, is professor emeritus of psychology at Loyola University in Chicago and author most recently of”My Brother Joseph, published by St. Martin Press.) UNDATED _ In an old photograph, the first president of this century, Theodore Roosevelt, sits with his favorite son, Quentin, in his lap looking down the years to us. Quentin’s death in World War I that broke TR’s heart and his glory in war is outside their focus. Yet their eyes suggest that hints of future sorrow had already invaded them, and that the poignancy of this so vulnerable relationship of father and son remains undiminished 100 years later.

NEWS FEATURE: Sacred Dance Guild melds prayer with movement

c. 1998 Religion News Service SALT LAKE CITY _ Annette Kearl’s face has a look of rapturous abandon as she joyously beats a large taiko drum with sticks representing greed, anger and ignorance. Carla DeSola drapes herself in a blood-red coverlet, suggesting the flames that engulfed a medieval mystic burned for heresy. Rebecca Wright Phillips crouches in the posture of agonized death until her pioneer dress is violently ripped away to reveal a white-robed evanescence. Danny Hinds pounds out African beats that swell into a crescendo of feet-stomping, hand-twisting, pelvis-shaking ecstasy.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 1998 Religion News Service Researchers link elderly religious activity to lower blood pressure (RNS) Researchers have found that elderly people who study the Bible, attend religious services or pray every week were 40 percent less likely to have high blood pressure than those who did not take part in such religious activities. The study, authored by professors at Duke University in Durham, N.C., is reported in the August edition of the International Journal of Psychiatry in Medicine. The study of 4,000 North Carolinians ages 65 and older found that those who participate in weekly religious activities were 40 percent less likely to have diastolic hypertension or high diastolic pressure, which is often linked to heart attacks and strokes. Religious participants also had smaller increases in blood pressure over the years than nonreligious counterparts in the study, researchers learned.”The likelihood of this finding happening randomly is less than one in 10,000,”said Harold Koenig, co-author of the study and a Duke associate professor of psychiatry.”That finding holds up even after you take age, sex, race, smoking history, and a number of chronic illnesses into account.”