c. 2005 Religion News Service HARRISBURG, Pa. _ Days after the six-week intelligent design trial ended last month, U.S. Middle District Judge John E. Jones III, relaxing in his chambers, promised to weigh the evidence and “rule as I see fit.” Jones would not comment on whether he would limit his ruling to the Dover Area School District’s policy or broaden his decision to take on the issue of whether intelligent design is science or a religious proposition. But he hinted where he was headed when he said he “welcomed the opportunity” to make a ruling in “one of the most important trials on the First Amendment and the Establishment Clause.” In a sweeping 139-page opinion handed down Tuesday (Dec. 20), Jones saw fit to eviscerate the intelligent design movement and give evolutionary science the legal respect and status that leading scientists said it deserves.
c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) In the movie “End of the Spear,” 8-year-old Steve Saint watches as his missionary pilot father, Nate Saint, builds a miniature yellow airplane such as the one Nate flew into the jungles of the Amazon. Nate promised his son he would teach him how to fly and repair planes like that one day. “I wanted to grow up and be like him,” Steve Saint, 54, said during a preview of the movie in Grand Rapids, Mich. “That was what the future held for me.” But what the future really held for the boy was sorrow.
c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Tawfik Hamid stood with 200 other students for afternoon prayers inside a mosque at the University of Cairo. It was important for them to stand with their feet touching, as the Quran teaches, so that even in prayer they were prepared for war: “Truly Allah loves those who fight in his cause … as if they were a solid cemented structure.” The mosque was the religious home of a burgeoning radical Islamic movement, Al-Gama Al-Islamiyya. After prayers that day in 1978, Hamid stepped into the courtyard and saw a slightly older, bearded man who was deep in thought.
c. 2005 Religion News Service Pope Calls for `Unity’ With Church of England, Accepts Ambassador VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Friday (Dec. 23) accredited the first Catholic in centuries to serve as Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See and called for Rome and the Church of England to work toward “full visible unity.” “The wounds resulting from more than four centuries of separation cannot be healed without determined efforts, perseverance and above all, prayer,” Benedict told Francis Campbell, the first Catholic British ambassador to the Vatican since Henry VIII broke with Rome in the 16th century to found the Church of England. “I encourage all those involved in this work never to rest content with partial solutions but to keep firmly in view the goal of full visible unity among Christians,” he said. Henry VIII’s schism generated centuries of violence and hostility between Anglicans and Catholics, which set the stage for an armed resistance led by the Irish Republican Army (IRA) in the 20th century.
(Editor’s note: This December list is compiled by Publishers Weekly magazine from data received from general independent bookstores, chain stores and wholesalers within the month of November. Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly. Distributed by Religion News Service.) HARDCOVER 1. Light From Heaven, by Jan Karon. (Viking, $26.95) 2.
c. 2005 The Joyful Noiseletter (UNDATED) “Love is what’s in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and listen.” _ Ginger, age 7 X X X Uses for fruitcakes _ Use as a cornerstone for a new church or synagogue under construction. _ Use instead of sandbags during flood. _ Use as railroad ties. _ Use as speed bumps to foil neighborhood speeders.
c. 2005 Religion News Service New Jersey Attorney General Bans Religion as Sole Profiling Factor (RNS) New Jersey authorities cannot use “ethnicity, religious affiliation, or religious practice” as the sole factor in determining whether to investigate someone for possible terrorist activity, according to an order by state Attorney General Peter Harvey. The written order, released Tuesday (Dec. 20), is a response to allegations raised this fall that New Jersey’s Office of Counter-Terrorism targeted suspects in terrorism investigations solely because of their Muslim faith or Arab heritage. “The citizens of New Jersey rightfully expect that all lawful and appropriate means will be used to thwart terrorists,” Harvey noted.
Quote of the Day: `NunBun’ Owner Bob Bernstein “They went right for the bun. What the heck they are going to do with it, I can’t imagine. It’s sure not something anyone would eat. I hope they do eat it. It will teach them a lesson.”
c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Advocacy groups say plans of cable television companies to offer family-friendly programming packages are flawed and designed to thwart consumers from getting what they really want: a la carte sales, in which subscribers pick and choose their channels. The marketing model traditionally used by cable companies and the two leading satellite TV services requires consumers to subscribe to channels in various pre-packaged “tiers.” For most consumers, it has been impossible, for example, to subscribe to Nickelodeon without also subscribing to MTV or to get Discovery Channel without also getting FX. That means to get Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants” and his hijinks in Bikini Bottom, you might also have to take the bikinied bottoms running wild on MTV’s “Spring Break.” “Right now, to get the good channels, you have to buy the raunchy channels,” complained Jim Metrock, head of the Birmingham, Ala.-based child advocacy organization Obligation Inc. Portions of the cable industry _ under pressure from the federal government _ have come forward with a new willingness to package family-friendly channels into a special programming tier to help parents keep at bay programming with sex, violence and rough language. Time Warner Cable, the nation’s second-largest operator, announced in mid-December the specifics of its family tier package.
c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When Elvis Presley shook hands with Richard Nixon in 1970, it wasn’t much more than a fleeting photo op. When Bono got together with President Bush for lunch at the White House in October, however, they spoke for nearly two hours about debt relief, AIDS and other issues. Bono fronts the mega-popular Irish rock band U2. But these days the singer is just as famous for his spiritual declarations and extracurricular activism.
c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Well, I feel thoroughly manipulated. How about you? In 2005, we skirmished in supposed controversy over “separation of Church and State.” I realize now that the point wasn’t to separate religion and politics, but to separate liberals and conservatives, with liberals being tagged as religion’s enemy. Some of us worried about what Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito would do to Roe vs.
c. 2005 Religion News Service Thief Takes Collection from Altar After Christmas Eve Mass EDISON, N.J. (RNS) The Grinch stole Christmas _ at least in one Catholic church. Someone stole close to $8,000 in cash and checks from the collection basket at The Church of the Guardian Angels just after a crowded Christmas Eve Mass on Saturday (Dec. 24) afternoon, according to police and church officials. “I don’t know how someone does this and lives with their own conscience,” Monsignor James Moran said.
Quote of the Day: Mormon Scholar Richard Lyman Bushman “I do think there is a growing willingness to respect Joseph Smith because of the success of the Mormon Church. With so many sensible, likable people who are Mormons and who believe in him, it’s not as easy to dismiss him as it was in the 19th century.” -Richard Lyman Bushman, author of “Joseph Smith: Rough Stone Rolling,” a new scholarly biography of the founder of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Bushman was quoted by Beliefnet in an interview timed to the observance of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Smith on Dec. 23, 1805.
The Grinch didn’t steal Christmas, but he may have made off with the NunBun. Friends and fans of the famous “NunBun” at Bongo Java cafe in Nashville have posted a $1,000 reward for the safe (and uneaten) return of the famed cinnamon bun that bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Mother Teresa of Calcutta. The bun was the only item stolen from Bongo Java in a Christmas morning break-in. The bun made worldwide news when it was discovered in 1996. Its story can be found here.
Quote of the Day: Religion Expert Huston Smith “Christianity has always been my meal. I only receive vitamins from other faiths.” -Huston Smith, author of “The World’s Religions” and a member of Trinity United Methodist Church in Berkeley, Calif. He was quoted by United Methodist News Service.