RNS Religion Calendar

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Here is the RNS calendar of religious holidays, events and meetings for October and November. It is updated monthly. Sept. 30-Oct.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Sex Abuse Victims Group Urges Southern Baptist Attention (RNS) A group that has drawn attention to the issue of sexual abuse by Catholic priests has asked leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention to “make Southern Baptist churches safer.” The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) wrote a Sept. 26 letter to Southern Baptist Convention President Frank Page and other leaders in an effort to “continue a dialogue” about how they can work together to address reports of abuse that may occur in Southern Baptist congregations. SNAP National Director David Clohessy and three other signatories noted that the denomination’s autonomous churches have worked cooperatively on programs related to international missions and clergy financial investment services. “Given that congregational autonomy does not preclude a cooperative denomination-wide effort for these other endeavors, why should it preclude a denomination-wide effort at protecting kids against clergy predators?” they asked.

Trucker Church Offers Gospel at the Gas Pump

c. 2006 Religion News Service ROBERTSDALE, Ala. _ It was 9:15 a.m. on a Sunday at the Oasis Truck Center near the Alabama-Florida state line when the cashier handed Donavan Fowler the microphone. A recent graduate of Pensacola Bible Institute, Fowler announced that church services were beginning in 15 minutes in the red semi-truck out in the parking lot. As the service time neared, seats in the semi-truck remained empty.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Civil Rights Group Cautiously Backs Muslim Charity (UNDATED) A national Muslim civil rights group is giving a cautious seal of approval to a Detroit-area charity that was raided by federal agents. Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said Muslims wishing to help the less fortunate should not shy away from LIFE for Relief and Development _ at least not yet. FBI agents from a Joint Terrorism Task Force in Michigan last week raided the nonprofit agency’s headquarters in Southfield, Mich., seizing computers and files. In recent days, task force members have served search warrants at the homes and businesses of several people connected to the charity.

Danforth Says Religion, Politics a Volatile Mix

c. 2006 Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly (UNDATED) Former Sen. John Danforth is no stranger to the idea of religion playing a role in politics. After all, during his three terms as a Republican senator from Missouri, and then a diplomat, he remained an active Episcopal priest. But now, Danforth believes that religion has become a divisive force in American political life. He puts the blame squarely on the conservative religious influence in his own Republican party.

Tattoo Ministry Offers a Clean Slate, One Scar at a Time

c. Religion News Service LOS ANGELES _ A tattoo of Korean characters spelling “trouble” snaked down Miles Carrington’s neck. The markings were remnants of a former life, of drugs and alcohol, gangs and jail. They did not belong on the cleaned-up Carrington, a 36-year-old father of two with a respectable job selling stocks and bonds. So, on a recent evening, Carrington walked into a run-down white building in Culver City, in west Los Angeles County.

COMMENTARY: Anglican-Jewish Agreement a Sign of Hope

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) This month, the religious “bad news” story was the violent reaction of Muslims to the pope’s speech in which he invoked a 14th-century emperor who called the prophet Muhammad’s teachings “evil and inhuman.” Some Muslim leaders even issued bizarre calls for the pope to convert to Islam. Unfortunately, during the same month, an interreligious “good news” story was overwhelmed by the papal-Islamic controversy. Meeting at London’s Lambeth Palace on Sept. 5, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion’s 77 million members, joined Israel’s two chief rabbis, Shlomo Amar and Yonah Metzger, in signing an historic agreement that breaks new ground in the continuing struggle to forge a new constructive relationship Christianity and Judaism.

Forgiveness and ‘Spin Sorrow’

For Jews, Forgiveness Isn’t Always Cut and Dried Ansley Roan compares the Jewish concept of forgiveness with the spate of recent public apologies from such headliners as Mel Gibson and Senator George Allen, in this week’s full text RNS article, linked above. Quote: Public apologies by public figures are often driven by public opinion, said L. Gregory Jones, dean of Duke University’s Divinity School. “It’s what I call `spin sorrow,'” he said. “It’s a public relations spin to construct a carefully worded apology that often says something like ‘I’m sorry people’s feelings were hurt.'”

For Jews, Forgiveness Isn’t Always Cut and Dried

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Mel Gibson. New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. Sen. George Allen. Each has made headlines this year with public apologies _ Gibson for offending Jews, Nagin for calling the World Trade Center a “hole in the ground” and Allen for calling an Indian man “macaca.” Those apologies came in the months and weeks before Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, which begins at sundown on Sunday (Oct.

Jason Berry: This Far by Faith

c. 2006 Religion News Service NEW ORLEANS _ In a long and distinguished career spanning three decades, journalist Jason Berry has been there, done that and written about it. His books range from dispatches from the front lines of the civil rights movement to the rise of contemporary New Orleans music to the crisis in the Catholic Church. He’s also written about Louisiana politics and culture and New Orleans’ unique spiritual traditions. In 2002, he made his debut as a playwright with “Earl Long in Purgatory.” Now, add “novelist” to that list of writerly identities.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Religion Scholars Criticize Muslim Professor’s Visa Denial WASHINGTON (RNS) An organization of religion scholars is among several groups criticizing the State Department for denying a visa for a prominent Muslim professor. Swiss scholar Tariq Ramadan was denied a visa even though the government has dropped a previous allegation that he endorsed terrorism, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Monday (Sept. 25). The American Academy of Religion had joined the ACLU and other groups in suing the government for thwarting efforts by their members to meet with Ramadan.

COMMENTARY/ANALYSIS: The Return of Pope Ratzinger

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Pope Benedict XVI has had a bad couple of weeks, really the first bad weeks of his relatively young and surprisingly uncontroversial pontificate. The fury in many Muslim quarters over his academic lecture on religion and violence during a homecoming tour to Bavaria continued to spread, and he was twice left publicly explaining _ “apologizing” would be too strong a word _ that he didn’t mean to insult Islam, that he regretted the “reaction” his words caused, and that he does in fact have great respect for Muslims. Benedict’s original comments themselves were puzzling in that they were from an obscure source that was used as an anecdote to introduce a characteristically erudite lecture on faith and reason at the University of Regensburg, where he once taught theology. The pope began by citing a dialogue between Manuel II Paleologus, a 14th-century Christian emperor, and a Persian scholar over the concept of violence in Islam. “Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,” Benedict quoted the emperor as saying.

Vatican Excommunicates Rogue African Archbishop

c. 2006 Religion News Service VATICAN CITY _ The Vatican on Tuesday (Sept. 26) announced the excommunication of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the African cleric who scandalized the Catholic Church by marrying in 2001, as a penalty for consecrating a group of married men as bishops. A statement from the Holy See press office cited church law that regards the naming of bishops without papal approval as a schismatic act that results in a self-imposed excommunication for those participating in the consecration. “For this public act Archbishop Milingo and the four consecrated (bishops) have incurred excommunication latae sententiae,” the statement said, using the Latin term for “automatic excommunication.” The Vatican said the four married men that Milingo consecrated during a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on Sunday were also excommunicated.

COMMENTARY: Playing by Everyone Else’s Rules

c. 2006 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The unfolding ethical drama at Hewlett-Packard _ top officers using questionable and perhaps illegal methods to spy on directors, employees and reporters _ raises an obvious question: “What were they thinking?” Could plugging a leak in board secrecy be so important as to warrant undermining morale and future ethical conduct throughout the company, and to court possible criminal charges? Plus lost jobs? Plus lost trust within top leadership? The answer, it seems from afar, is they were tacitly relying on the speeding motorist’s defense: “I was just keeping up with traffic.” In a business environment guided by maxims such as “business is war” and “buyer beware,” why not push the boundaries of ethical behavior?

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2006 Religion News Service Gay Priest Loses Bid to Be Newark Bishop NEWARK, N.J. (RNS) The Episcopal Diocese of Newark on Saturday (Sept. 23) elected a Massachusetts priest as its 10th bishop, passing over a gay candidate whose election could have further roiled the global Anglican Communion. The Rev. Mark Beckwith of Worcester, Mass., was elected on the third ballot, beating out five other candidates. “I look forward to our next steps together and living among you as your bishop,” Beckwith told his new diocese by speaker phone.