c. 2003 Religion News Service Keating Chides Mahony for Move to Block Release of Documents (RNS) The chairman of a review board that is charged with implementing Catholic sex abuse reforms criticized Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony for trying to delay the release of abuse-related church documents. Frank Keating, the former governor of Oklahoma and head of a National Review Board established by Catholic bishops last summer, said Mahony sets a bad example for other bishops. “I’m very concerned about what this suggests to other dioceses and the Catholic lay community at large,” Keating told The Boston Globe. “Transparency, the clear light of day, a fresh breeze, open windows _ that’s the policy of the board and the bishops.
c. 2003 Religion News Service Faith Groups Lobby to Expand Health Insurance Coverage WASHINGTON (RNS) An unusually broad coalition of religious groups says expanding coverage for 41 million uninsured Americans must be a priority for people of all faiths in the 2004 elections. A group of Jewish, Muslim, Protestant and Catholic leaders who rarely agree on theological or political issues said Tuesday (March 11) that care for the poor and sick transcends religious labels. “In America, the wealthiest, most bountiful country in the history of the world, with the best doctors, the best hospitals, the best health care available, it’s a moral shame that we have 41 million people uninsured,” said Rabbi David Saperstein, director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. In a conference call hosted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of Cover the Uninsured Week, the religious leaders called on churches, mosques and synagogues to force political candidates to address the issue.
c. 2003 Religion News Service Court to Decide if Presbyterian Leader Interfered with Petition Drive (RNS) The highest court in the Presbyterian Church (USA) will decide whether a top official broke the rules when he refused to convene a special assembly to debate church policy toward gay pastors. The church’s Permanent Judicial Commission will meet on March 17 to determine if the church’s moderator, the Rev. Fahed Abu-Akel, improperly interfered with a petition drive to recall delegates from last summer’s General Assembly meeting. Westminster Presbyterian Church in Canton, Ohio, charged that Abu-Akel “acted unconstitutionally” in trying to convince petitioners to change their minds. When enough petitioners dropped out, Abu-Akel said he was no longer mandated to call the assembly.
c. 2003 Religion News Service With Potential War Looming, Religious Leaders Call for Prayer (RNS) As a potential war with Iraq looms, religious leaders are calling for prayer in early March. Noting the symbolism of March 3 _ 03/03/2003 _ the World Prayer Center in Colorado Springs, Colo., has asked Christians worldwide to consider that day a “Worldwide Day of Prayer.” Other leaders have urged that Ash Wednesday and the beginning of the Christian reflective period of Lent be a special time for prayer. That day will be observed Wednesday (March 5) by many Protestant and Roman Catholic traditions and March 10 by many Orthodox traditions. Ted Haggard, president of the World Prayer Center, said some Christians think the numerical sequence in the March 3 date is a reminder of the Trinity.