RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Dalai Lama Asks for U.S. Help in Talks With China (RNS) The Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, said Tuesday (June 20) he is willing to discuss the future of Tibet with Chinese leaders and wants the U.S. Congress to help create a dialogue. The Dalai Lama was in Washington for meetings with President Clinton and Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Clinton and National Security Adviser Sandy Berger reiterated their support for the Dalai Lama and political and religious freedom in Tibet. Relations between the Dalai Lama and Chinese officials have been frosty for decades, ever since the Dalai Lama fled Tibet in 1959 following a failed revolt against Chinese rule.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Graham Hospitalized, Treated for Brain Fluid Buildup (RNS) Evangelist Billy Graham has been hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic and is being treated to relieve a buildup of fluid around his brain. Graham, 81, entered the hospital in Rochester, Minn., “at least a week” ago, his spokesman A. Larry Ross said Tuesday (June 20). He said the evangelist is stable and his condition is not life-threatening. Ross said Graham was “very exhausted” after leading a crusade June 1-4 in Nashville, Tenn.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Graham Hospitalized, Treated for Brain Fluid Buildup (RNS) Evangelist Billy Graham has been hospitalized at the Mayo Clinic and is being treated to relieve a buildup of fluid around his brain. Graham, 81, entered the hospital in Rochester, Minn., “at least a week” ago, his spokesman A. Larry Ross said Tuesday (June 20). He said the evangelist is stable and his condition is not life-threatening. Ross said Graham was “very exhausted” after leading a crusade June 1-4 in Nashville, Tenn.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Canadian Government Mulls Aid to Churches in Sex Abuse Suits (RNS) Canada’s three largest Christian denominations are welcoming reports that the federal government may help them pay the rocketing costs of more than 6,000 native Indian lawsuits alleging abuse at federally funded, church-run residential schools. Catholic, United and Anglican church officials said Friday (June 16) they don’t expect a “bail-out” from the federal government. But the churches would like to come to a fair agreement with Ottawa that would help them avoid bankruptcy. “We really don’t like the word `bailout’ because we’re quite willing to meet our responsibilities,” said United Church of Canada residential school spokesman Brian Thorpe.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Canadian Government Mulls Aid to Churches in Sex Abuse Suits (RNS) Canada’s three largest Christian denominations are welcoming reports that the federal government may help them pay the rocketing costs of more than 6,000 native Indian lawsuits alleging abuse at federally funded, church-run residential schools. Catholic, United and Anglican church officials said Friday (June 16) they don’t expect a “bail-out” from the federal government. But the churches would like to come to a fair agreement with Ottawa that would help them avoid bankruptcy. “We really don’t like the word `bailout’ because we’re quite willing to meet our responsibilities,” said United Church of Canada residential school spokesman Brian Thorpe.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service UCC Sets Up Scholarship Fund for Gay, Lesbian Seminarians (RNS) The United Church of Christ on Friday (June 16) announced a new scholarship fund specifically for gays and lesbians who want to enter the ministry, the first time a Christian denomination has actively promoted and financially supported the ordination of gays and lesbians. The progressive denomination, which has long supported the inclusion of gays and lesbians in church life, named the fund after the Rev. William R. Johnson, the first openly gay man ordained in the UCC. The fund will be endowed with $500,000 from the United Church Board for Homeland Missions. No offering contributions will be used, and a capital campaign will be conducted to raise money.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service UCC Sets Up Scholarship Fund for Gay, Lesbian Seminarians (RNS) The United Church of Christ on Friday (June 16) announced a new scholarship fund specifically for gays and lesbians who want to enter the ministry, the first time a Christian denomination has actively promoted and financially supported the ordination of gays and lesbians. The progressive denomination, which has long supported the inclusion of gays and lesbians in church life, named the fund after the Rev. William R. Johnson, the first openly gay man ordained in the UCC. The fund will be endowed with $500,000 from the United Church Board for Homeland Missions. No offering contributions will be used, and a capital campaign will be conducted to raise money.

Thursday News Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Gore’s Invite to Catholic Hospital Revoked by Local Bishop (RNS) The Roman Catholic bishop of Scranton, Pa., revoked an invitation to Vice President Gore to speak at a Catholic hospital on Wednesday (June 14) because of Gore’s support for legal abortion. Bishop James C. Timlin rescinded the invitation for Gore to speak at Mercy Hospital because he wanted to be clear about where the Catholic Church stands on abortion, according to the Associated Press.”The Mercy Hospital has decided not to give Vice President Gore a platform, lest there be any misunderstanding about the hospital’s Catholic identity and its commitment to the sanctity of life,”Timlin said Wednesday. Gore instead delivered a speech on health care at the corporate offices of Allied Services, a health care company. The vice president brushed off the snub, saying in his speech,”It was not by accident that I chose this place for the second of my series of speeches.”

Thursday News Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Gore’s Invite to Catholic Hospital Revoked by Local Bishop (RNS) The Roman Catholic bishop of Scranton, Pa., revoked an invitation to Vice President Gore to speak at a Catholic hospital on Wednesday (June 14) because of Gore’s support for legal abortion. Bishop James C. Timlin rescinded the invitation for Gore to speak at Mercy Hospital because he wanted to be clear about where the Catholic Church stands on abortion, according to the Associated Press.”The Mercy Hospital has decided not to give Vice President Gore a platform, lest there be any misunderstanding about the hospital’s Catholic identity and its commitment to the sanctity of life,”Timlin said Wednesday. Gore instead delivered a speech on health care at the corporate offices of Allied Services, a health care company. The vice president brushed off the snub, saying in his speech,”It was not by accident that I chose this place for the second of my series of speeches.”

NEWS STORY: Southern Baptist Conservatives Tighten Hold on Beliefs, Practices

c. 2000 Religion News Service ORLANDO, Fla. _ The Southern Baptist Convention, with the conservative resurgence that wrested control of the denomination now more than two decades old, shored up its traditional reputation during its annual meeting this past week and even took it one step further. As expected, Southern Baptists at the June 13-14 gathering adopted a revised statement of faith that clearly delineates what drafters say most Southern Baptists already believe: women aren’t qualified by Scripture to be pastors; homosexuality, abortion and pornography should be opposed; and Jesus Christ paves the only way to salvation. But Baptists also took a stand on an issue rarely addressed at an annual meeting: capital punishment.

NEWS STORY: Southern Baptist Conservatives Tighten Hold on Beliefs, Practices

c. 2000 Religion News Service ORLANDO, Fla. _ The Southern Baptist Convention, with the conservative resurgence that wrested control of the denomination now more than two decades old, shored up its traditional reputation during its annual meeting this past week and even took it one step further. As expected, Southern Baptists at the June 13-14 gathering adopted a revised statement of faith that clearly delineates what drafters say most Southern Baptists already believe: women aren’t qualified by Scripture to be pastors; homosexuality, abortion and pornography should be opposed; and Jesus Christ paves the only way to salvation. But Baptists also took a stand on an issue rarely addressed at an annual meeting: capital punishment.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Arrest of Russian Media Mogul, Jewish Leader Stirs Concern MOSCOW _ The Tuesday (June 13) evening arrest of Vladimir Gusinsky, a media mogul and longtime leader of the Russian Jewish Congress, is provoking indignation among Russia’s business elite, a protest from at least one U.S.-based Jewish group and worry among Jewish leaders here. “I have worked in the synagogue for 28 years already and I can say that he is the first to take such a lively interest in the Jewish communities in Russia,” said Adolf Shayevich, one of Russia’s two rival chief rabbis, in a Wednesday statement. “The Jewish community very much depends on (Gusinsky’s) help.” Gusinsky, 47, who holds dual Israeli-Russian citizenship, is one of Russia’s oligarchs, a small group of politically powerful businessmen who have gained control of much of the country’s resources _ often through sweetheart deals with the government. Although he has not been formally charged, Gusinsky was arrested in connection with the theft of $10 million during the privatization of a St.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Arrest of Russian Media Mogul, Jewish Leader Stirs Concern MOSCOW _ The Tuesday (June 13) evening arrest of Vladimir Gusinsky, a media mogul and longtime leader of the Russian Jewish Congress, is provoking indignation among Russia’s business elite, a protest from at least one U.S.-based Jewish group and worry among Jewish leaders here. “I have worked in the synagogue for 28 years already and I can say that he is the first to take such a lively interest in the Jewish communities in Russia,” said Adolf Shayevich, one of Russia’s two rival chief rabbis, in a Wednesday statement. “The Jewish community very much depends on (Gusinsky’s) help.” Gusinsky, 47, who holds dual Israeli-Russian citizenship, is one of Russia’s oligarchs, a small group of politically powerful businessmen who have gained control of much of the country’s resources _ often through sweetheart deals with the government. Although he has not been formally charged, Gusinsky was arrested in connection with the theft of $10 million during the privatization of a St.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Boy Scouts Want to Be Back on Charitable Donation List (RNS) The Boy Scouts of America are fighting a Connecticut decision that prohibits state employees from donating a portion of their paychecks to the Scouts because state officials say the group violates the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Last month, Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities removed the Scouts from a list of organizations that could receive United Way donations because of the Scouts’ position against gays. The Scouts are trying to get back on that list. A hearing is expected on June 19, according to the Associated Press.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Boy Scouts Want to Be Back on Charitable Donation List (RNS) The Boy Scouts of America are fighting a Connecticut decision that prohibits state employees from donating a portion of their paychecks to the Scouts because state officials say the group violates the state’s anti-discrimination laws. Last month, Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities removed the Scouts from a list of organizations that could receive United Way donations because of the Scouts’ position against gays. The Scouts are trying to get back on that list. A hearing is expected on June 19, according to the Associated Press.