NEWS STORY: Pentecostal Leader Affirms Women As Pastors, Leaders

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ Pentecostal Bishop Paul S. Morton has called on fellow Pentecostals to ensure their churches’ leadership roles remain open to women. He suggested that Southern Baptists might one day have to apologize for their defense of an all-male clergy, as they did five years ago for the historic racial segregation of their congregations. Hospitality to women was one of several themes Morton evoked Monday (July 10) as the leadership of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship assembled in this city for its seventh annual conference, which began Wednesday. An estimated 18,000 church members from across the South are expected to gather for three days of singing, preaching, workshops and networking.

NEWS STORY: Pentecostal Leader Affirms Women As Pastors, Leaders

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ Pentecostal Bishop Paul S. Morton has called on fellow Pentecostals to ensure their churches’ leadership roles remain open to women. He suggested that Southern Baptists might one day have to apologize for their defense of an all-male clergy, as they did five years ago for the historic racial segregation of their congregations. Hospitality to women was one of several themes Morton evoked Monday (July 10) as the leadership of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship assembled in this city for its seventh annual conference, which began Wednesday. An estimated 18,000 church members from across the South are expected to gather for three days of singing, preaching, workshops and networking.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service AME Church Officials Seek Air Force Racism Investigation (RNS) Officials of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have called for the U.S. Air Force to reinvestigate an alleged racist statement by a brigadier general concerning chaplains. A special resolution concerning the matter was issued July 8 at the denomination’s quadrennial General Conference in Cincinnati. The resolution refers to an alleged statement by Brig. Gen. Lorraine Potter, Air Force deputy chief of the Chaplain Service: “Black chaplains make good pastors and preachers, but are not good staff officers.” A March investigative report by the inspector general of the Air Force determined that a formal complaint against Potter was “unsubstantiated.” The AME Church resolution recommended a new investigation of the matter.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service AME Church Officials Seek Air Force Racism Investigation (RNS) Officials of the African Methodist Episcopal Church have called for the U.S. Air Force to reinvestigate an alleged racist statement by a brigadier general concerning chaplains. A special resolution concerning the matter was issued July 8 at the denomination’s quadrennial General Conference in Cincinnati. The resolution refers to an alleged statement by Brig. Gen. Lorraine Potter, Air Force deputy chief of the Chaplain Service: “Black chaplains make good pastors and preachers, but are not good staff officers.” A March investigative report by the inspector general of the Air Force determined that a formal complaint against Potter was “unsubstantiated.” The AME Church resolution recommended a new investigation of the matter.

NEWS STORY: Harry Potter Casts No Spell on Christian Booksellers

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ With the biggest publishing event in decades unwinding around them, complete with adoring media and unprecedented customer demand for a hot new book, thousands of Christian booksellers are opting out of the Harry Potter whirlwind for reasons of conscience and faith, leaving secular bookstores to reap the profits. Not a trace of author J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular fictional boy-wizard is to be found on the floor of the 13,000-member Christian Booksellers Association convention here, a vast trade fair bringing together owners of Christian bookstores with scores of book publishers, musicians, retailing consultants, and distributors of Christian gifts and software. The once-a-year festival, running July 8-13 this year, features books on every Christian topic and subtopic, from Bibles to Christian humor and how-to, from Christian financial planning to home-schooling. Gifts include backpacks embroidered with “God First” and music labels promoting emerging Christian teen antidotes to Britney Spears and the Back Street Boys.

NEWS STORY: Harry Potter Casts No Spell on Christian Booksellers

c. 2000 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ With the biggest publishing event in decades unwinding around them, complete with adoring media and unprecedented customer demand for a hot new book, thousands of Christian booksellers are opting out of the Harry Potter whirlwind for reasons of conscience and faith, leaving secular bookstores to reap the profits. Not a trace of author J.K. Rowling’s wildly popular fictional boy-wizard is to be found on the floor of the 13,000-member Christian Booksellers Association convention here, a vast trade fair bringing together owners of Christian bookstores with scores of book publishers, musicians, retailing consultants, and distributors of Christian gifts and software. The once-a-year festival, running July 8-13 this year, features books on every Christian topic and subtopic, from Bibles to Christian humor and how-to, from Christian financial planning to home-schooling. Gifts include backpacks embroidered with “God First” and music labels promoting emerging Christian teen antidotes to Britney Spears and the Back Street Boys.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Episcopal House of Deputies Denounces Scouts’ Policy Against Gays (RNS) Even though the Boy Scouts of America can legally bar gay Scouts and leaders from membership, the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies said Monday (July 10) that Scout troops associated with local churches should not discriminate against gays who want to join. The resolution, passed at the church’s General Convention triennial meeting, comes two weeks after a landmark Supreme Court ruling that said the Boy Scouts, as a private organization, can ban gays from membership and leadership posts. The church’s 832-member House of Deputies, comprised of lay members and clergy, passed the resolution 492-283. The measure still needs approval by the 200-member House of Bishops before it becomes official.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Episcopal House of Deputies Denounces Scouts’ Policy Against Gays (RNS) Even though the Boy Scouts of America can legally bar gay Scouts and leaders from membership, the Episcopal Church’s House of Deputies said Monday (July 10) that Scout troops associated with local churches should not discriminate against gays who want to join. The resolution, passed at the church’s General Convention triennial meeting, comes two weeks after a landmark Supreme Court ruling that said the Boy Scouts, as a private organization, can ban gays from membership and leadership posts. The church’s 832-member House of Deputies, comprised of lay members and clergy, passed the resolution 492-283. The measure still needs approval by the 200-member House of Bishops before it becomes official.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Bomb Attack on Church in Southern India (RNS) A bomb exploded outside a Christian church Sunday (July 9) in southern India, the second such attack in less than two days. No one was injured in the attack at St. Peter’s and Paul Church in Bangalore, capital of Karnataka state, but the “low intensity” bomb did damage windows and walls, officials told the Reuters news agency. The attack echoed a bomb explosion a day earlier outside a Christian church in Hubli, about 250 miles north of Bangalore.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Bomb Attack on Church in Southern India (RNS) A bomb exploded outside a Christian church Sunday (July 9) in southern India, the second such attack in less than two days. No one was injured in the attack at St. Peter’s and Paul Church in Bangalore, capital of Karnataka state, but the “low intensity” bomb did damage windows and walls, officials told the Reuters news agency. The attack echoed a bomb explosion a day earlier outside a Christian church in Hubli, about 250 miles north of Bangalore.

NEWS STORY: Episcopalians Reject Sin of “Heterosexism’’

c. 2000 Religion News Service DENVER _ Most Episcopalians readily acknowledge that their church can do more to accommodate gays and lesbians, but calling their shortcomings a “sin” is further than the church is willing to go. Delegates to the church’s triennial General Convention, meeting here through July 13, rejected a resolution on Friday (July 7) night asking for guidance on the “sin of heterosexism” _ the preference and power given to straight people at the expense of gays and lesbians. The measure failed in the church’s House of Deputies, comprised of more than 800 church lay members and clergy, and will not go for a vote in the 200-member House of Bishops. The Rev. Gayle Harris, pastor of St.

NEWS STORY: Episcopalians Reject Sin of “Heterosexism’’

c. 2000 Religion News Service DENVER _ Most Episcopalians readily acknowledge that their church can do more to accommodate gays and lesbians, but calling their shortcomings a “sin” is further than the church is willing to go. Delegates to the church’s triennial General Convention, meeting here through July 13, rejected a resolution on Friday (July 7) night asking for guidance on the “sin of heterosexism” _ the preference and power given to straight people at the expense of gays and lesbians. The measure failed in the church’s House of Deputies, comprised of more than 800 church lay members and clergy, and will not go for a vote in the 200-member House of Bishops. The Rev. Gayle Harris, pastor of St.

NEWS SIDEBAR: Rabbis’ Ban on the Internet Heeded _ Sometimes

c. 2000 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ When the rebbe of the Hassidic Belz ultra-Orthodox sect recently ordered his followers to stop using the Internet as a leisure-time recreational outlet, Eliezer Ram took his brand new home computer out of the house and gave it away. “It was kind of tough to swallow,” recalled the 33-year-old ultra-Orthodox Israeli who is himself a computer buff and works for a Jerusalem high-tech firm. “But we believe that the community elders know what they are doing.” In most ultra-Orthodox circles today, use of the computer and the Internet is widely tolerated for work purposes, particularly because more and more men and women are depending on the high-tech industry for their livelihood. But over the past few months, recreational computer use has been subjected to curbs of varying degrees by ultra-Orthodox rabbis who fear that ultra-Orthodox youngsters will gain unsupervised access to the Internet and the world of computer games.

NEWS SIDEBAR: Rabbis’ Ban on the Internet Heeded _ Sometimes

c. 2000 Religion News Service JERUSALEM _ When the rebbe of the Hassidic Belz ultra-Orthodox sect recently ordered his followers to stop using the Internet as a leisure-time recreational outlet, Eliezer Ram took his brand new home computer out of the house and gave it away. “It was kind of tough to swallow,” recalled the 33-year-old ultra-Orthodox Israeli who is himself a computer buff and works for a Jerusalem high-tech firm. “But we believe that the community elders know what they are doing.” In most ultra-Orthodox circles today, use of the computer and the Internet is widely tolerated for work purposes, particularly because more and more men and women are depending on the high-tech industry for their livelihood. But over the past few months, recreational computer use has been subjected to curbs of varying degrees by ultra-Orthodox rabbis who fear that ultra-Orthodox youngsters will gain unsupervised access to the Internet and the world of computer games.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service Survey: Muslim Voters Follow Issues, Not Party (RNS) A “major block” of American Muslim voters say they have no particular allegiance to either the Democratic or Republican presidential contenders, and are more concerned with a candidate’s track record on social policy issues than party affiliation, according to a new survey released by a Washington-based Islamic advocacy group. “We don’t see any particular affinity to a party,” said Ibrahim Hooper, communications director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “The Muslim vote is split along issue lines.” Forty-three percent of the 755 voters polled by the council said they either believed the two major political parties did not best represent the American Muslim community’s interests, or were undecided about the matter. Of respondents who had decided, 31 percent supported the Democratic Party and 17 percent supported the Republican Party.