NEWS STORY: Seventh-day Adventist Who Objected to Combat Training Sentenced by Marines

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) A Seventh-day Adventist U.S. Marine was sentenced to seven months in the brig at Camp Lejeune, N.C., Tuesday (Dec. 14) for his refusal to take part in combat-related activities. According to Adventist church officials, military leaders rejected religious reasons cited by Joel David Klimkewicz _ who also was demoted from his rank of corporal to private. But a spokeswoman for his Marine division said he was imprisoned for disobeying an order.

COMMENTARY: Religion Scholar Picks Top 10 Stories of 2004

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Here are my picks for the top ten religion stories of 2004: 1.This year’s American presidential election is the easy winner for first place. The three Gs of God, guns and gays were shorthand for the politically potent package of “moral values” that included stem cell research, abortion, creationism vs. evolution, church-state separation and same sex marriages. John Kerry’s Catholicism was a central feature of the campaign along with George W. Bush’s born-again Christianity.

NEWS STORY: In Peace Message, Pope Urges the World to `Overcome Evil With Good’

c. 2004 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY _ In his message for the World Day of Peace, Pope John Paul II on Thursday (Dec. 16) condemned the evils of conflict and poverty in Africa, violence between Israelis and Palestinians, terrorism and the war in Iraq. He also called on all men and women of goodwill to “overcome evil with good.” The 84-year-old Roman Catholic pontiff emphasized the role of individuals as well as states and international organizations in fighting “social and political manifestations of evil” in the world. “Evil is not some impersonal, deterministic force at work in the world.

COMMENTARY: Christian Revival Shakes the Big Apple, With More to Come

c. 2004 Religion News Service NEW YORK _ They are patriotic, hard-working, mostly Democratic and mainly from immigrant families. They are also born-again Christians. Their faith is increasingly typical of this city. On Sunday mornings about 1.5 million out of 8 million New Yorkers now attend an evangelical, charismatic or Pentecostal church, according to a recent religious census.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service Instructor to Be Investigated for Alleged Comments on Religious Voters LOUISVILLE, Ky. (RNS) A University of Louisville sociology instructor has had his contract to teach withheld pending an investigation into comments he allegedly made in class saying President Bush was re-elected by “religious zealots” who should be shot with automatic rifles. In a statement released Sunday (Dec. 12), U of L President James Ramsey said the contract for John McTighe, a part-time sociology instructor who has been employed at the school on a semester-by-semester basis, had been withdrawn for at least the spring semester while university officials investigate comments attributed to McTighe in a conservative student publication.

NEWS STORY: 2004: When Religion Glowed Red Hot

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Red, color experts tell us, is a serious color. It denotes passion, heat, importance, even danger. Power ties, celebrity carpets and stop signs are all red. Red says, “Stop what you’re doing and pay attention.” So it was with 2004.

NEWS ANALYSIS: Religious Issues Shape Turkey’s Bid for EU Membership

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In early December, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan presided over the opening of a new synagogue, mosque and church _ the last partitioned into Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox sections _ in the Mediterranean resort area of Belek. It was a rather flamboyant gesture on Erdogan’s part, designed to convince skeptical Europeans that the secular but largely Muslim nation of nearly 70 million people practices a religious tolerance that makes it a worthy candidate for membership in the European Union. “Beyond its symbolic importance, this project gives the message of peace and brotherhood to the whole world,” Erdogan said at the ceremony. On Wednesday (Dec.

NEWS STORY: Alabama Judge Dons Robe Bearing Ten Commandments

c. 2004 Religion News Service ANDALUSIA, Ala. _ A rural Alabama judge began wearing a robe embroidered with the Ten Commandments to court this week, in his own way echoing the statement made by the state Supreme Court chief justice ousted over a Ten Commandments display. Covington County Presiding Circuit Court Judge Ashley McKathan said he ordered the robe and had it embroidered using his own money. He said he was standing up for his own personal religious convictions.

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service Former Bishops’ President Named to Lead Archdiocese of Atlanta (RNS) The Illinois bishop who guided the U.S. Catholic Church through a bruising clergy sexual abuse scandal received a major promotion from Pope John Paul II on Thursday (Dec. 9) when he was named the archbishop of Atlanta. Bishop Wilton Gregory of Belleville, Ill., was tapped to lead the Archdiocese of Atlanta, succeeding Archbishop John Donoghue, 76, who was required to submit his resignation last year when he turned 75. “Thank you is not sufficient to express my gratitude for your acceptance and countless acts of kindness,” Gregory said in a letter to his flock in southern Illinois, where he has served since 1993.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service Biology Curriculum Evolves Into `Intelligent Design’ Court Fight (RNS) Civil liberties groups and 11 parents filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday (Dec. 14) aimed at blocking a Pennsylvania school board’s decision to teach “intelligent design” in a ninth-grade biology course. The Dover School Board voted 6-3 in October to require teachers to present intelligent-design theory as an alternative to evolution, which must be taught under state academic standards. Two of the dissenting board members, Carol Brown and her husband, Jeff Brown, resigned in protest after the vote.

COMMENTARY: A Time to Be With Family and Fellow Exiles on the Highway of Life

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) With Windham Hill’s haunting “Celtic Christmas III” filling the living room, my 13-year-old son and I string lights on our Christmas tree, while my wife hangs the stockings with care. I remember my father doing this duty in what seems another lifetime, in that childhood when my images of Christmas were formed. He was fatigued by Christmas business then, as I am now, but he dug deep, as fathers do, and gave a Christmas gift to his family. I do so tonight, because it was done to me.

NEWS FEATURE: Muslim Writers in Europe Test Limits of Expression

c. 2004 Religion News Service PARIS _ The letter arrived just a week after Aziz Chouaki spoke about his writing on a French Jewish radio show. “Aren’t you ashamed of speaking to Jewish people?” asked the chilling missive, which threatened to unleash an “Islamic revolution” against the 53-year-old playwright. “Are you with the Jews?” Sent to his Paris-area office a few years ago, the warning counts among a handful of death threats _ along with mountains of praise _ Chouaki has received for writings that explore depravity, despair and Muslim radicalism coursing through gritty French housing projects and through his native Algeria. Chouaki, who grew up listening to the music of Jimi Hendrix and to the call to prayer in a sun-washed, increasingly intolerant Algiers, is no stranger to the clash between religion and art.

NEWS STORY: As Catholic Sex Abuse Scandal Wanes, Reform Group Presses On

c. 2004 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The reform group Voice of the Faithful was created by lay Catholics in response to the clergy sex abuse scandal amid revelations that some bishops protected priests from prosecution. The group, whose mission is to increase roles for laity in church governance, quickly drew thousands of people, its membership reaching 30,000 by June 2003 after less than 18 months of existence. Yet even as it has mushroomed to 200 chapters nationwide, the growth of the group has slowed dramatically over the last 18 months as public attention to the crisis has decreased. Voice of the Faithful members say the group remains relevant, raising awareness of what the group claims are continued problems with bishops’ response to the scandal, and recently drawing more than 1,000 people to a conference.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2004 Religion News Service United Church of Christ Files FCC Complaint Over Rejection of TV Ads (RNS) The United Church of Christ has asked the Federal Communications Commission to deny licenses to two Miami television stations after church ads were rejected as “too controversial” by the NBC and CBS networks. The church accused the two stations _ WFOR, a CBS-owned affiliate, and WTVJ, an NBC-owned station, of denying fair access to the airwaves when the networks rejected a 30-second spot that highlighted the church’s inclusive welcome of all people, including homosexuals. The church filed its petition Thursday (Dec. 9) with the FCC because the two network-owned stations’ licenses are up for renewal.