Amish not immune to high fuel prices

c. 2008 Religion News Service FREDERICKSBURG, Ohio _ As sawdust mixed with sweat on his brow, mill owner Isaac Stutzman laughed at the thought of outsiders assuming his horse-and-buggy Amish community is immune to skyrocketing fuel prices. Stutzman then turned serious as he spoke about ripping timber into boards for pallets and furniture with an 80-year-old band saw that each day gulps 140 gallons of pricey diesel fuel. “I remember when it was 60 cents a gallon,” he said on a recent Friday afternoon. “Now it costs $4 a gallon or more.

Death of evangelist Laurie’s son prompts online support

The son of evangelist Greg Laurie died Thursday in a car accident in Riverside County, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported. As the investigation continues into the cause of the crash – police said Christopher Laurie was driving alone “at a high rate of speed” – there has been an outpouring of support online for the family of the pastor who leads Harvest Christian Fellowship, the Riverside megachurch where Chris Laurie was art director. At this writing, there were more than 17,000 responses on the Web site announcing Chris Laurie’s death.

Minister crusades for clean language

The Rev. Sandra Butler-Truesdale, of the District, has heard enough cussing to last her a lifetime, so she’s doing something about it. “I came from a generation in which people respected themselves, their elders and their children. Cussing has almost become a language of the norm,” said Mrs. Butler-Truesdale, who last week began her quest for civility at 14th and U streets Northwest, one of the city’s most hardscrabble corners.

Citing need for unity, Baylor University fires President John Lilley

“The reality is that the board lost confidence in John’s ability to unite the various Baylor constituencies,” Dr. Batson said. “A lot of the faculty members were upset, and our faculty is important to us.” This spring, Dr. Lilley overruled faculty recommendations and denied tenure to 12 of 30 candidates at the Baptist university in Waco.

Obama wins young evangelical voters in battleground-state push

Sophomore Michelle Miller is the head of her university’s Obama for America chapter, and she’s doing everything she can to get him elected. That isn’t surprising, considering the 46-year-old senator’s popularity among college voters. What is surprising is Miller’s college: Liberty University, the Christian school in Lynchburg, Virginia, started by Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell. It’s an unlikely place for fans of a Democrat who defends abortion rights and gay civil unions.

Muslim Day at Six Flags a time to relax and connect with others

For the fourth time since 2004, Six Flags in Gurnee is sponsoring Muslim Day, bringing in outside caterers to provide halal food and turning an amphitheater into a makeshift mosque to accommodate Muslims who observe dietary laws and strict prayer schedules.

What’s tougher to get than a same-sex marriage? A same-sex divorce

Around the country, same-sex couples are discovering that getting divorced can be far more complicated than getting married. Sometimes, as with Ormiston and Chambers, the problems stem from living in a state with different laws from the state where the marriage took place.

The GOP Agenda

The religious right may or may not be moribund, but so far as I can see, there’s little sign that the Republican Party is interested in doing any other than returning to the glory days of the old alliance of small government conservatism with a dollop of family values disengaged from any responsibility as the party in power–make that 1993-94. In Washington, the defection of most House Republicans from the housing bill harks back to those days. And here’s a piece of the press release from the Arkansas Republican Party on the occasion of its convention.Among reaffirming the Republican Party of Arkansas’ support of pro-life legislation, protection of the 2nd Amendment, lowering taxes, and protection of private property rights, convention delegates considered and affirmed the following changes to the to the 2008 RPA Party Platform: support of a super majority requirement to raise taxes, eliminating the remainder of the sales tax on groceries, greater restrictions on the use of general improvement funds, an increase in the exemption on retirement income from state income tax, reformation of the Grand Jury system that allows voters to petition the Circuit Courts for convening a grand jury, and permitting the Arkansas State Police to be trained in immigration enforcement practices allowed under current Federal law.Mike Huckabee, the most famous Republican ex-governor of the state was a featured speaker. But no sign of the unorthodox features of his term in that office that once seemed to make him a harbinger of a new Republicanism.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Orthodox church destroyed on 9/11 signs deal to rebuild (RNS) A New York City Greek Orthodox church destroyed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks will be rebuilt down the street from Ground Zero, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey announced on Thursday (July 24). St. Nicholas Church will receive $20 million to rebuild less than a block away from the site where it stood for 85 years. The tentative agreement was the result of negotiations between representatives from St.

Pope meets Iraqi P.M.

VATICAN CITY-Pope Benedict XVI met Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki at his summer residence outside Rome on Friday (July 25) for talks focusing on the ongoing violence in Iraq and the impact of the bloodshed on its Christian minority.

Colo. college wins fight over state scholarships

A Christian college in Colorado that requires students to attend chapel, and staff to affirm that the Bible is “infallible,” should be allowed to receive state scholarship funds, a federal appeals courts has ruled.

New prayers at Mass OK’d by Vatican

The Vatican has approved a new English translation of the Order of Mass, clearing the way for significant changes to the familiar prayers spoken by a generation of American Catholics.

In the pews, a woman’s hat is never just a hat

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Dr. Seuss’ character Bartholomew Cubbins and his 500 hats have nothing on Paula Ellis. For Ellis, a bishop’s daughter and retired sheriff’s deputy in Kent County, Mich., wearing hats _ or “crowns,” as they’re sometimes called _ to church and other formal events is a sign of respect. “You could say I’ve traded my browns for crowns,” Ellis joked. But these aren’t just any hats.