NEWS STORY: Bishop Makes Dramatic Plea for Sudanese; U.S. Is Listening

c. 2000 Religion News Service WASHINGTON _ Just a week after a Sudanese military airplane bombed a Catholic primary school, killing 14 students and one teacher, Roman Catholic Bishop Macram Max Gassis, head of the Nuba diocese in which the bombing occurred told a U.S. audience it was an intentional “slaughter of the innocents.” “I have time and time again told the world that the National Islamic Front regime in Khartoum has been, and is, conducting a campaign of genocide aimed at exterminating the Christian, African and non-Arab populations of Sudan in order to establish a uniform Arab-Islamic fundamentalist state in the heart of Africa,” Gassis said. “This terrible, heartbreaking incident is yet another piece of evidence, if more were still needed, that the war in Sudan is a religious and ethnic war launched by Khartoum and aimed at the destruction of my people. We call upon the international community to refuse to stand idly by as the Christian population of Africa and Sudan is exterminated.” Gassis spoke out against the Feb. 8 attack at a public hearing on religious freedom in Sudan held Tuesday (Feb.

NEWS ADVANCE: Pope’s Scheduled Spiritual Journey to Egypt Prompts Mixed Notices

c. 2000 Religion News Service CAIRO _ The bells of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church peal out oddly into a city night more accustomed to the clatter of horns and the wail of the muezzin’s call to prayer. On a recent evening, only about a dozen people are gathered inside the cavernous pink-and-white church in Cairo’s business district awaiting Mass. More than anything else, this smattering of expatriates and Egyptians offers human testimony that Catholics are a minority within a minority in this overwhelmingly Muslim country.

NEWS ADVANCE: Pope’s Scheduled Spiritual Journey to Egypt Prompts Mixed Notices

c. 2000 Religion News Service CAIRO _ The bells of St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church peal out oddly into a city night more accustomed to the clatter of horns and the wail of the muezzin’s call to prayer. On a recent evening, only about a dozen people are gathered inside the cavernous pink-and-white church in Cairo’s business district awaiting Mass. More than anything else, this smattering of expatriates and Egyptians offers human testimony that Catholics are a minority within a minority in this overwhelmingly Muslim country.

NEWS FEATURE: Evangelicals Debate Boundaries of Evangelism

c. 2000 Religion News Service APEX, N.C. _ When Mormons held an open house to celebrate their new temple in this suburb of Raleigh, a group of Southern Baptists stood at the exit ramp and passed out pamphlets titled “Are Mormon Temples Christian?” The answer, according to these Baptists, was no. And they were not shy about saying so. To many North Carolinians, it was just another example of Baptist evangelism, much like the prayer guides the Southern Baptist Convention distributed for its members last fall _ one aimed at Hindus and one at Jews. “Pray that Hindus who celebrate the festival of lights would become aware of the darkness in their hearts that no lamp can dispel,” said the pamphlet targeting Hindus during Divali, a Hindu holiday.

COMMENTARY: What Greed Hath Joined Together

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is publisher of RNS.) (UNDATED) It might be funny if I didn’t have children who have to grow up in this world. Tuesday night’s (Feb. 15) “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire” brought American society to a new low, offering a mix of “The Price Is Right” with “The Dating Game” and a somewhat cheesy beauty contest culminating in a wedding ceremony live onstage. Fox, of course, began to advertise the show last week as rumors circulated about who was hosting or refusing to host a show in which a mystery millionaire auditions women to become his wife and then marries the chosen woman in front of an audience.

COMMENTARY: What Greed Hath Joined Together

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Dale Hanson Bourke is publisher of RNS.) (UNDATED) It might be funny if I didn’t have children who have to grow up in this world. Tuesday night’s (Feb. 15) “Who Wants to Marry a Multi-Millionaire” brought American society to a new low, offering a mix of “The Price Is Right” with “The Dating Game” and a somewhat cheesy beauty contest culminating in a wedding ceremony live onstage. Fox, of course, began to advertise the show last week as rumors circulated about who was hosting or refusing to host a show in which a mystery millionaire auditions women to become his wife and then marries the chosen woman in front of an audience.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Update: Methodist Same-Sex Decision Draws Mixed Reaction (RNS) A decision by a Western regional body of the United Methodist Church to decline formally charging dozens of clergy who participated in a same-sex union ceremony is drawing mixed reaction. And as the Methodists grapple with the latest decision on homosexuality, an Episcopal committee has recommended the Episcopal Church not take a nationwide stand on same-sex unions and gay ordination. The Rev. Gregory Dell, director of In All Things Charity, a Chicago-based ministry that wants the United Methodist Church to be more open to gays, called the decision by an investigative committee of the California-Nevada Annual Conference “a watershed moment in the life of the church as it struggles with issues of sexual orientation.” Dell last year was found guilty of violating Methodist church law for conducting a 1998 union ceremony for two men. The decision in the California-Nevada conference responded to a complaint involving the Jan.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Update: Methodist Same-Sex Decision Draws Mixed Reaction (RNS) A decision by a Western regional body of the United Methodist Church to decline formally charging dozens of clergy who participated in a same-sex union ceremony is drawing mixed reaction. And as the Methodists grapple with the latest decision on homosexuality, an Episcopal committee has recommended the Episcopal Church not take a nationwide stand on same-sex unions and gay ordination. The Rev. Gregory Dell, director of In All Things Charity, a Chicago-based ministry that wants the United Methodist Church to be more open to gays, called the decision by an investigative committee of the California-Nevada Annual Conference “a watershed moment in the life of the church as it struggles with issues of sexual orientation.” Dell last year was found guilty of violating Methodist church law for conducting a 1998 union ceremony for two men. The decision in the California-Nevada conference responded to a complaint involving the Jan.

NEWS STORY: Charges Dropped Against Methodist Clergy in Lesbian Wedding Case

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED)-A United Methodist investigative committee has decided not to bring formal charges against 68 clergy who participated in a 1999 California same-sex union ceremony for a lesbian couple. The committee of the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church decided not to certify the complaint concerning the Jan. 16, 1999 union of Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton “as a charge proper for trial.” Bishop Melvin G. Talbert released the decision at a news conference Friday (Feb. 11) in West Sacramento, Calif.

NEWS STORY: Charges Dropped Against Methodist Clergy in Lesbian Wedding Case

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED)-A United Methodist investigative committee has decided not to bring formal charges against 68 clergy who participated in a 1999 California same-sex union ceremony for a lesbian couple. The committee of the California-Nevada Conference of the United Methodist Church decided not to certify the complaint concerning the Jan. 16, 1999 union of Jeanne Barnett and Ellie Charlton “as a charge proper for trial.” Bishop Melvin G. Talbert released the decision at a news conference Friday (Feb. 11) in West Sacramento, Calif.

NEWS STORY: Griswold Defends Episcopal Church Against Traditionalist Attacks

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold said Friday (Feb. 4) that denominational leaders are reacting with “extreme displeasure and concern” to the irregular consecrations of two American priests as bishops in a ceremony in Singapore, but he believes his church “is not a community mired down in conflict.” The Rev. Charles H. Murphy III of South Carolina and the Rev. John H. Rodgers Jr. of Pennsylvania, consecrated by a group of Anglican bishops on Jan. 29, are traditionalists who want to reform the Episcopal Church and fear the denomination has grown more open to the ordination of sexually active gays and the blessing of same-sex unions. “There are a number of conversations and a lot of emotion that needs to be sort of set aside so that we can come to clarity and reasonableness,” Griswold told Religion News Service in an interview.

NEWS STORY: Griswold Defends Episcopal Church Against Traditionalist Attacks

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Frank T. Griswold said Friday (Feb. 4) that denominational leaders are reacting with “extreme displeasure and concern” to the irregular consecrations of two American priests as bishops in a ceremony in Singapore, but he believes his church “is not a community mired down in conflict.” The Rev. Charles H. Murphy III of South Carolina and the Rev. John H. Rodgers Jr. of Pennsylvania, consecrated by a group of Anglican bishops on Jan. 29, are traditionalists who want to reform the Episcopal Church and fear the denomination has grown more open to the ordination of sexually active gays and the blessing of same-sex unions. “There are a number of conversations and a lot of emotion that needs to be sort of set aside so that we can come to clarity and reasonableness,” Griswold told Religion News Service in an interview.

NEWS STORY: Pollster Gallup Sees a `Pick-and-Choose’ Religion

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The nation’s premier pollster says the spiritual quest percolating among Americans today might best be described as “religion a la carte.” Although a Canadian sociologist, Reginald Bibby, coined the term, it has been pollster George Gallup Jr. who has most thoroughly researched its application in the United States. At the dawn of a new century, Gallup concludes Americans “pick and choose” what they want to believe, often mixing differing ideas from within one religion or blending two or more different religions into a personal belief system. “Substantial portions of traditional Christians, for instance, subscribe to non-Christian beliefs and practices, such as reincarnation,” he said in a telephone interview. Gallup said this individualistic spiritual questing is most obvious in recent religious history.

NEWS STORY: Pollster Gallup Sees a `Pick-and-Choose’ Religion

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The nation’s premier pollster says the spiritual quest percolating among Americans today might best be described as “religion a la carte.” Although a Canadian sociologist, Reginald Bibby, coined the term, it has been pollster George Gallup Jr. who has most thoroughly researched its application in the United States. At the dawn of a new century, Gallup concludes Americans “pick and choose” what they want to believe, often mixing differing ideas from within one religion or blending two or more different religions into a personal belief system. “Substantial portions of traditional Christians, for instance, subscribe to non-Christian beliefs and practices, such as reincarnation,” he said in a telephone interview. Gallup said this individualistic spiritual questing is most obvious in recent religious history.

COMMENTARY: Speaking Out for Sexual Morality, Healing and Justice

c. 2000 Religion News Service (Pamela K. Brubaker teaches Christian ethics at California Lutheran University.) (UNDATED) “Sexuality is God’s life-giving and life-fulfilling gift,” begins The Religious Declaration on Sexual Morality, Healing and Justice released on Jan. 18. More than 850 religious leaders from diverse religious communities endorsed the statement, which was published as a full-page ad in The New York Times on Jan. 25.