NEWS FEATURE: Bible Study in a Tattoo Shop? Minister Asks Why Not

c. 2000 Religion News Service ST. LOUIS _ The cigarette smoke was thick and two electric tattoo needles buzzed in the background as Randy Windham read from the biblical book of Acts to a group of about 12. The needles were surprisingly loud and the soft-spoken Windham had to make an effort to be heard above them during his regular Bible study at Custom Design Tattoo in St. Louis.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service U.S. House Sides With Boy Scouts Over Federal Charter (RNS) The Boy Scouts of America received a major show of support in the U.S. House of Representatives when members voted 362-12 Wednesday (Sept. 13) to oppose revoking the organization’s federal charter because of its policy to not allow gays as Scouts or Scout leaders. Eleven Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill, offered by U.S. Rep. Lynne Woolsey, D-Calif. Republican leaders brought the bill to the floor to showcase widespread support for the Scouts, and 50 Democrats refused to vote because they were upset with how Republicans handled the bill.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service U.S. House Sides With Boy Scouts Over Federal Charter (RNS) The Boy Scouts of America received a major show of support in the U.S. House of Representatives when members voted 362-12 Wednesday (Sept. 13) to oppose revoking the organization’s federal charter because of its policy to not allow gays as Scouts or Scout leaders. Eleven Democrats and one Republican voted for the bill, offered by U.S. Rep. Lynne Woolsey, D-Calif. Republican leaders brought the bill to the floor to showcase widespread support for the Scouts, and 50 Democrats refused to vote because they were upset with how Republicans handled the bill.

NEWS STORY: Church Leaders Urge Students to Gather for Legal School Prayer

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) As students prepare to gather around school flagpoles for an annual prayer event, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and a prominent law firm have reminded pastors and school officials that “See You at the Pole” remains legal. In the wake of a Supreme Court decision finding a Texas school policy permitting student-led prayer before football games unconstitutional, organizations and individuals continue to plan a variety of prayer-related events that are permitted. Some are advocating prayers before and after the flagpole events that will occur at the start of the school day on Sept. 20.

NEWS STORY: Church Leaders Urge Students to Gather for Legal School Prayer

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) As students prepare to gather around school flagpoles for an annual prayer event, leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention and a prominent law firm have reminded pastors and school officials that “See You at the Pole” remains legal. In the wake of a Supreme Court decision finding a Texas school policy permitting student-led prayer before football games unconstitutional, organizations and individuals continue to plan a variety of prayer-related events that are permitted. Some are advocating prayers before and after the flagpole events that will occur at the start of the school day on Sept. 20.

NEWS STORY: Jewish Leaders Affirm Common Roots With Christians in Historic Statement

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Just days after the Vatican released a declaration saying the salvation of non-Catholics is “gravely deficient,” a group of Jewish scholars released a landmark statement Thursday (Sept. 7) calling on Jews to affirm their shared roots with Christians while acknowledging a “humanly irreconcilable difference” between the two religions. More than 160 Jewish leaders and theologians signed the eight-point statement, which was drafted by the Baltimore-based Institute for Jewish and Christian Studies. Supporters heralded it as the first major response to overtures by Roman Catholic and Protestant churches to improve relations with Jewish groups.

NEWS STORY: Jewish Leaders Affirm Common Roots With Christians in Historic Statement

c. 2000 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Just days after the Vatican released a declaration saying the salvation of non-Catholics is “gravely deficient,” a group of Jewish scholars released a landmark statement Thursday (Sept. 7) calling on Jews to affirm their shared roots with Christians while acknowledging a “humanly irreconcilable difference” between the two religions. More than 160 Jewish leaders and theologians signed the eight-point statement, which was drafted by the Baltimore-based Institute for Jewish and Christian Studies. Supporters heralded it as the first major response to overtures by Roman Catholic and Protestant churches to improve relations with Jewish groups.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Appeals Court Rejects Request to Halt Minute of Silence (RNS) On the same day when many Virginia students paused for a minute of silence for the first time, a federal appeals court refused to stop the new law from being observed. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond decided Tuesday (Sept. 5) to uphold a district judge’s ruling refusing the request of the American Civil Liberties Union to grant an emergency injunction preventing the observance. The appellate decision, by a vote of 2-1, means the law will stay in effect at least until Friday, when U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton has scheduled a hearing to determine its constitutionality, The Washington Times reported.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Appeals Court Rejects Request to Halt Minute of Silence (RNS) On the same day when many Virginia students paused for a minute of silence for the first time, a federal appeals court refused to stop the new law from being observed. The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond decided Tuesday (Sept. 5) to uphold a district judge’s ruling refusing the request of the American Civil Liberties Union to grant an emergency injunction preventing the observance. The appellate decision, by a vote of 2-1, means the law will stay in effect at least until Friday, when U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton has scheduled a hearing to determine its constitutionality, The Washington Times reported.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Survey: Presbyterian Ministers, Members Differ on Morality of Gambling (RNS) Presbyterian ministers and members have sharp disagreements on the morality of gambling, a Presbyterian Church (USA) survey shows. And whether they consider it moral or not, many Presbyterians take part in legal gambling, the Presbyterian Panel survey found. Of ministers responding to the survey, 52 percent agreed and 36 percent disagreed that “all gambling is immoral,” the Presbyterian News Service reported. Findings among church members were just the opposite: 35 percent agreed and 51 percent disagreed that gambling is immoral.

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c. 2000 Religion News Service Survey: Presbyterian Ministers, Members Differ on Morality of Gambling (RNS) Presbyterian ministers and members have sharp disagreements on the morality of gambling, a Presbyterian Church (USA) survey shows. And whether they consider it moral or not, many Presbyterians take part in legal gambling, the Presbyterian Panel survey found. Of ministers responding to the survey, 52 percent agreed and 36 percent disagreed that “all gambling is immoral,” the Presbyterian News Service reported. Findings among church members were just the opposite: 35 percent agreed and 51 percent disagreed that gambling is immoral.

NEWS STORY: Prayer Protests Planned at High School Football Games

c. 2000 Religion News Service UNDATED _ As the high school football season kicks off, some fans plan to pray in the stands in protest of the Supreme Court’s decision in June that declared a Texas policy permitting student-led prayer before games unconstitutional. From “No Pray! No Play!,” an effort at the Santa Fe, Texas, high school where the policy was banned, to calls for a special weekend of prayer in October, activists are galvanizing grass-roots support to have prayers at football games anyway. Church-state separationists aren’t thrilled with the end run but say the prayerful protests are legal if school officials remain neutral.

NEWS STORY: Prayer Protests Planned at High School Football Games

c. 2000 Religion News Service UNDATED _ As the high school football season kicks off, some fans plan to pray in the stands in protest of the Supreme Court’s decision in June that declared a Texas policy permitting student-led prayer before games unconstitutional. From “No Pray! No Play!,” an effort at the Santa Fe, Texas, high school where the policy was banned, to calls for a special weekend of prayer in October, activists are galvanizing grass-roots support to have prayers at football games anyway. Church-state separationists aren’t thrilled with the end run but say the prayerful protests are legal if school officials remain neutral.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service German Catholics to Pay $4.6 Million to Nazi-Forced Slave Laborers (RNS) The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has agreed to set up a $4.6 million fund to compensate for the church’s use of Nazi-forced slave labor during World War II, but Jewish groups and the German government criticized the church for not donating to a larger, government-sponsored fund. The German government set up a $4.7 billion fund to compensate people who were forced into Nazi-sponsored labor programs before and during World War II. More than 2,000 businesses and the country’s Protestant church have already agreed to donate. Catholic leaders initially refused to donate to the fund, saying there was no evidence laborers were used in church-run businesses or on church property.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2000 Religion News Service German Catholics to Pay $4.6 Million to Nazi-Forced Slave Laborers (RNS) The Roman Catholic Church in Germany has agreed to set up a $4.6 million fund to compensate for the church’s use of Nazi-forced slave labor during World War II, but Jewish groups and the German government criticized the church for not donating to a larger, government-sponsored fund. The German government set up a $4.7 billion fund to compensate people who were forced into Nazi-sponsored labor programs before and during World War II. More than 2,000 businesses and the country’s Protestant church have already agreed to donate. Catholic leaders initially refused to donate to the fund, saying there was no evidence laborers were used in church-run businesses or on church property.