Choice of actor concerns Baptist Press

Quote of the Day: Filmmakers of `End of the Spear’ “We cast Chad Allen because he had the best audition of anyone else by far. We know that the character in the film and the actor are not the same. If as a film company we could only work with people who were completely sanctified, then the film would never have been made.” -Filmmakers of “End of the Spear,” a new movie about American missionaries and tribesmen of Ecuador, responding to concerns that the actor portraying the lead character is gay. They were quoted in Baptist Press, the news service of the Southern Baptist Convention.

COMMENTARY: C.S. Lewis’ `Chronicles of Narnia’ Can Teach Needed Business Ethics

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Ethics scandals at Enron, WorldCom, Adelphia and numerous other corporations challenge the effectiveness of traditional methods of business ethics education. Educators in search of new ways to discuss moral principles and reasoning may find an examination of literature, even children’s fiction, in order. While the newly popularized “Chronicles of Narnia” seems an unusual ethical textbook for college students, the unique approach to traditional virtues found in its pages may be just the ticket to developing “men with chests,” as “Narnia” author C.S. Lewis elsewhere described young people of sincere ethical persuasion. Traditionally, ethics education in business programs has involved scrutiny of select chapters from various business textbooks, examining different schools of thought on the topic.

A Catholic’s tour of Rome; Love letters from a nun

A Roman Catholic explores Rome, sweet Rome, the city of his religious roots. Frank Franzonia writes: As Jerusalem calls to a Jew and Mecca to a Muslim, the Eternal City bid me, a Roman Catholic, to explore my religious roots. St. Peter’s, Catholicism’s grandest basilica, was high on this pilgrim’s list and it induced goosebumps even before entering, as I approached for the first time the famous square. Then again, this is not just any square.

A Catholic’s Rome, Sweet Rome

c. 2006 Religion News Service ROME _ As Jerusalem calls to a Jew and Mecca to a Muslim, the Eternal City bid me, a Roman Catholic, to explore my religious roots. St. Peter’s, Catholicism’s grandest basilica, was high on this pilgrim’s list and it induced goosebumps even before entering, as I approached for the first time the famous square. Then again, this is not just any square.

Did High-Born Nun Pen Bold Love Letters?: `Letters of a Portuguese Nun’ by Myriam Cyr (Miramax

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Who can resist a gorgeous love letter, particularly the throbbing words of a nun whose soldier has returned to duty, leaving her distraught in her convent? Not many, it turns out, when the letters are this frank, intelligent and lush _ both back in 1669, when they first appeared, and now. The five epistles are reprinted in English translation in a new book, “Letters of a Portuguese Nun.” The first edition created a sensation _ selling out immediately, counterfeited within a month and sparking a controversy about their authorship that has divided European scholars to this day. Within two years of their appearance as a slender packet in a Parisian bookstore, French aristocrats were calling a particularly tender love letter “a Portuguese.” And some 80 years after their debut, Jean-Jacques Rousseau penned these crabby words: “Women in general do not like art,” the philosopher opined, “are versed in none and have no genius for them.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Turkish Court: Man Who Shot Pope John Paul II Must Go Back to Jail (RNS) Mehmet Ali Agca, the gunman who shot John Paul II in 1981, was back in custody Friday after a Turkish appeals court ruled that his controversial release from prison for the murder of a journalist had “no legal basis.” The decision to return Agca came amid a torrent of public outrage that followed his Jan. 12 release from prison for the slaying of a well-known Turkish journalist in 1979. Agca was extradited to Turkey in 2000 after serving nearly 20 years in an Italian prison for repeatedly shooting John Paul as he rode through St. Peter’s Square in an open-air jeep.

COMMENTARY: Bush’s Torture Policy Threatens Our Democracy

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Disturbing evidence in recent weeks gives every indication that the Bush administration is essentially planning to ignore the McCain amendment, approved overwhelmingly (90-9 in the Senate, 308-122 in the House) by the Republican-led Congress last month. This amendment banned all U.S. personnel from inflicting “cruel, inhuman or degrading” treatment on any prisoner held by our country here or abroad. If honored, it would stop torture or behavior in the neighborhood of torture, both of which have occurred since the war on terror began. I watched the joint appearance by Bush and McCain in the White House in December.

Is the Big Lie No Big Deal?

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) It’s official. Fibbing is OK if it serves a higher purpose. Oprah said so. The queen of all media tossed this ethical grenade recently when she called CNN’s Larry King to defend his guest, James Frey, author of mega-best-seller “A Million Little Pieces.” Frey’s memoir of addiction and recovery was featured on the “Oprah Winfrey Show” when it was anointed the October selection of the world’s most powerful book club.

Sharon Championed Values of Israel’s Pioneering Generation

c. 2006 Religion News Service TEL AVIV, Israel _ On most afternoons, veterans from Israel’s War of Independence in 1948 can be found around a table at a cafe in central Tel Aviv. They are contemporaries of Ariel Sharon, the lionized Israeli prime minister who suffered a massive stroke Jan. 4. For them, the likely end of Sharon’s political career also signals something of a swan song for their generation _ a group that came to Israel in the shadow of two world wars and then fought for the country’s survival.

Lying: no big deal?; Sharon’s generation

In Friday’s RNS report Andrea Simakis questions if lying has become acceptable, judging by reactions to incidents such as author James Frey’s embellishments, Martha Stewart’s stock dumping and Bill Clinton’s activities with Monica Lewinsky: It’s official. Fibbing is OK if it serves a higher purpose. Oprah said so. The queen of all media tossed this ethical grenade recently when she called CNN’s Larry King to defend his guest, James Frey, author of mega-bestseller “A Million Little Pieces.” Frey’s memoir of addiction and recovery was featured on her show when it was anointed the October selection of the world’s most powerful book club.

Boiling point taken

Quote of the Day: Ken Smitherman of Association of Christian Schools International “We’re not teaching that water boils at a different temperature.” -Ken Smitherman, president of the Association of Christian Schools International, who says the Constitution prevents state universities from denying applicants credit for courses that add a religious viewpoint to “standard material.” He was quoted by USA Today.

Fast Growth of Germany’s Jewish Population Creates New Hope, Tensions

c. 2006 Religion News Service BERLIN _ By almost any benchmark, Boris Rosenthal is a German success story. Fifteen years after arriving here with his family and a few suitcases, the native Ukrainian juggles a teaching job with a blossoming musical career, and speaks proudly in his adopted language of having a “German” mentality. But Rosenthal’s is no ordinary immigrant’s rags-to-riches tale. Sixty years after the fall of Nazi Germany, he is among an estimated 200,000 Jews from former Communist states who have flocked here in recent years, reviving a once-minute postwar community.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Human Rights Watch: `War on Terror’ Has Hampered Religious Freedom NEW YORK (RNS) The governments of a number of countries, including China and Uzbekistan, are branding political opponents as Islamic terrorists and using the “war on terror” as a way to stifle dissent, Human Rights Watch said in its annual global survey of human rights conditions. The report by the New York-based human rights watchdog and advocacy group, covering the year 2005, was issued Wednesday (Jan. 18). It said that counterterrorism policies are having a harmful effect on the global defense of human rights.

Vatican Newspaper Rejects Science Behind Intelligent Design

c. 2006 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY _ The Vatican has moved to clarify its position in the intelligent design debate, publishing an article in its official newspaper that dismisses the theory on scientific grounds and embraces a recent court ruling in Pennsylvania keeping the theory out of classrooms. After months of mixed messages from Pope Benedict XVI and his aides, the Vatican directly addressed the issue in the Tuesday (Jan. 17) edition of L’Osservatore Romano by reaffirming Catholic support for the science behind Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. In an editorial by Fiorenzo Facchini, a professor of evolutionary biology at the University of Bologna, Italy, the newspaper said proponents of intelligent design improperly blurred the lines between science and faith to make their case that certain forms of biological life are too complex to have evolved through Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution. “If the model proposed by Darwin is held to be inadequate, one should look for another model.

Albert Brooks’ Supposedly Edgy Film on Islamic Humor Plays It Safe

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) “Looking for Comedy in the Muslim World” doesn’t. Albert Brooks’ new, supposedly edgy film begins with the government asking him to head up a fictitious mission to explore what makes people laugh. Perhaps if we really knew the people we were fighting, goes the theory, we’d find a way not to fight at all. So, says the State Department, we’d like you to go to India.