COMMENTARY: Bush Should Withdraw His Evangelical Nominee

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) It is highly unlikely that Harriet Miers will be confirmed to the Supreme Court. So it would be best for all concerned for President Bush to withdraw her nomination and try again with someone better qualified. Otherwise, Miers is likely to face a scalding public humiliation during her confirmation hearings, and Bush is going to endure even more serious political damage than he already has. What went wrong here?

God quotes on coffee cups?

Quote of the Day: Author and Pastor Rick Warren “You are not an accident. Your parents may not have planned you, but God did. He wanted you alive and created you for a purpose. … Only in God do we discover our origin, our identity, our meaning, our purpose, our significance, and our destiny.”

Openly Gay Priest Says Catholic Church Ready to Accept Gay Clergy

c. 2005 Religion News Service UTICA, N.Y. _ It wasn’t until two years after his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest that the Rev. Fred Daley acknowledged he might be gay. “I was coming down the stairs for morning Mass, and I felt this real deep ache and pain in the pit of my stomach,” he said. “It was the first time I was recognizing an ache within that my activity and work and ministry was covering up, and avoiding something.” A light went on, he said. “I began to become aware of my sexual feelings and desires,” he said.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Groups Blast Voter Registration Provision in Housing Bill WASHINGTON (RNS) A provision to deny affordable housing funds to churches and nonprofit groups that have engaged in voter registration efforts is coming under fire from Democratic members of Congress and religious groups. A Republican-backed amendment to the Federal Housing Finance Reform Act would disqualify any nonprofit group for receiving money from a new Affordable Housing Fund if it had engaged in voter registration, voter identification, get-out-the-vote or other voter programs in the past 12 months. The bill is scheduled to come up for a vote in the House on Wednesday (Oct. 26).

A gay Catholic priest; and a pastor who collects ghost stories

Friday’s RNS report starts with a story about an openly gay Catholic priest considering the anticipated Vatican document on gays in the church. Renee K. Gadoua writes: It wasn’t until two years after his ordination as a Roman Catholic priest that the Rev. Fred Daley of Utica, N.Y., acknowledged he might be gay. … A light went on, he said. “I began to become aware of my sexual feelings and desires,” he said.

To split or not to split?

Quote of the Day: The Rev. David Carrico of West Virginia “I see (the vote) as a message that the homosexual issue deserves careful and continued consideration. It is a deep concern for our denomination.” -The Rev. David Carrico, executive minister of the West Virginia Baptist Convention, commenting about a 391-325 vote at his group’s annual meeting on Thursday (Oct. 19) that rejected a proposal to split from the American Baptist Churches USA over its stance on homosexuality. He was quoted by the Associated Press.

Overcoming Suspicion, Islamic Charities Mobilize for Earthquake Victims

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When Qurat Mir, a Kansas City, Mo., teacher and observant Muslim, wanted to help victims of hurricane Katrina, she says, she donated money to the American Red Cross “because it was one of the first organizations working on the ground.” But when a 7.6-magnitude earthquake struck the Kashmir region straddling Pakistan and India, an area her parents once called home, Mir gave money through Islamic charities based in the United States. “It wasn’t an emotional decision _ it was a practical one,” said Mir, 30. The Muslim charities had a long history of involvement in the region and would be quick to disburse aid. Across the country, Muslim charities have been leveraging their perceived competence in South Asia and pulling in donations as fast, and sometimes faster, than much larger non-Muslim relief organizations.

In Bid to Return to Pulpit, Lesbian Pastor Cites Supreme Court Sodomy Ruling

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) A United Methodist pastor is hoping a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned sodomy laws will help her return to the pulpit after a lesbian relationship caused her to be expelled from the clergy. The Rev. Irene Elizabeth “Beth” Stroud will get her final appeal next week (Oct. 27) when her case reaches the church’s highest court, the Judicial Council, at a hearing in Houston. Stroud, 35, was initially convicted last December of violating a church ban against “self-avowed practicing” gay clergy.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Church Groups Declare Victory in Preserving Food Stamp Funding WASHINGTON (RNS) Religious groups are claiming victory in the fight to preserve funding for food stamps after a key Senate panel voted to keep $574 million for the program. The Senate Agriculture Committee rejected proposed cuts that Bread for the World, an ecumenical anti-hunger group, said would have removed 300,000 people from the program. The victory may only be partial, however, because a similar $1 billion measure to cut funding is pending before the House. Church groups hope the Senate action pushes House leaders to maintain the funding in their proposals.

RELIGION BEST-SELLERS

(Editor’s note: This October list is compiled by Publishers Weekly magazine from data received from general independent bookstores, chain stores and wholesalers within the month of September. Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly. Distributed by Religion News Service.) HARDCOVER 1. Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen. (Warner Faith, $19.95) 2.

Lesbian UM pastor appeals; Islamic charities help quake victims

In Thursday’s RNS report Kevin Eckstrom writes about the Rev. Irene Elizabeth “Beth” Stroud, a United Methodist pastor who was ousted because she is in a lesbian relationship, and who is now fighting back with a 2003 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that overturned sodomy laws. Stroud will face the church’s highest court at a hearing in Houston on Oct. 27: Stroud, 35, was initially convicted last December of violating a church ban against “self-avowed, practicing” gay clergy. An appeals court threw out the verdict in April, citing legal and procedural errors. Conservatives have longworried that the Lawrence v. Texas decision that overturned a Texas sodomy law would have unforeseen consequences, and now it appears the ruling has found its way into a prominent church dispute.

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson on black leaders

Quote of the Day: The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson of Brotherhood Organization of New Destiny “Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan, the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, most of the black preachers who are not called by God, but by their mama, represent evil. And so those people who are on the side of good have to stand up and let the light shine on that evil so that the people can see and see the right way to go.” -The Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, founder and president of the Los Angeles-based Brotherhood Organization of New Destiny. He was quoted by Citizen Link, the e-newsletter of Focus on the Family.

No Concrete Changes Expected From Bishop’s Synod

No Major Changes Expected on Communion, Politicians RNS’s article of the week (linked above), by Vatican correspondent Stacy Miechtry, analyzes the expected recommendations from the synod of bishops advising Pope Benedict XVI. Quote: “Ultimately, the majority view will be presented” to the pope, Cardinal Peter Turkson of Ghana told reporters on Tuesday. But, he added that “a consensus is not easy to fashion” in a synod of more than 250 bishops representing a “diversity of backgrounds.”