NEWS FEATURE: As millennium nears, even moderate nuns say church must change

c. 1999 Religion News Service SPRINGFIELD, Mass. _ As priests become fewer and farther between, once radical notions of expanding the role of women and the laity in the church _ and even allowing priests to marry _ now have the ring of common sense and spiritual truth to many priests and nuns. “I am not a flaming feminist, and I am not looking for ordination,” says Sister Constance Quinlan, outgoing president of the Sisters of St. Joseph in Holyoke, Mass.

NEWS STORY: Lawmakers again targeting assisted suicide

c. 1999 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ Key members of Congress are preparing to renew their attacks on Oregon’s physician-assisted-suicide law with legislation to be introduced as soon as this week. They have already picked up the support of the National Hospice Organization, one of the groups that led the successful fight against their proposals last session. Like the bills that stalled in the House and Senate last year, the new legislation would outlaw the use of controlled substances for assisted suicide while permitting the aggressive use of pain medication, even when it inadvertently hastens death. The staff of Sen. Don Nickles, R-Okla., said his upcoming legislation succeeded in striking that balance.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 1999 Religion News Service House votes again to bar federal funding of abortion-inducing drugs (RNS) For the second consecutive year, the House of Representatives has voted to ban the government from approving abortion-inducing drugs like the French RU-486 pill. Despite the 217-214 vote Tuesday (June 8) in favor of the ban, the chances for the bill to become law this year are slim. When the House voted on the same prohibition last year, the Senate did not approve it, the Associated Press reported.”Another baby pesticide that kills babies,”said Rep. Christopher Smith, R-N.J., a lawmaker known for his anti-abortion stance.”Come up with drugs that heal.” Rep. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., agreed.”There is something terribly wrong”when the Food and Drug Administration uses taxpayers’ money for”drugs that are designed to kill unborn children,”said Coburn, a sponsor of the bill.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 1999 Religion News Service Bank of Scotland nixes proposed Pat Robertson deal (RNS) The Bank of Scotland plans to end a proposed deal with evangelical Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson because of televised comments in which Robertson called Scotland a”dark land”for its tolerance of homosexuals. A British Broadcasting Corp. Web site report Thursday (June 4), citing an unidentified source, said the Bank of Scotland would cancel a planned launch of a U.S. telephone banking service in cooperation with the evangelist’s financial services company. Robertson, who founded the Christian Coalition, was reported to be paying $50 million for a 25 percent stake in the venture.

COMMENTARY: Why my SAT score was wrong and other injustices of life

c. 1999 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is the publisher of RNS and gets hives when she gets within 100 miles of Princeton, N.J.) UNDATED _ If someone had just asked me, I could have settled the whole thing years ago. But it finally took the U.S. Department of Education to explain what has been apparent to me for decades: The SATs are a crummy way to determine who gets accepted into the best colleges. After all, the test seems to reward people who have the patience to color in little circles with number two pencils for hours on end. These are the same kids who made you crazy in kindergarten by hogging crayons so they could carefully outline the picture and color every inch of it.