Evangelist Franklin Graham won’t be speaking at the Pentagon’s National Day of Prayer observances on May 6 because Army officials described his remarks against Islam (a “wicked and evil religion,” he said) as “not appropriate.”
Also in the category of not speaking, South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker bleeped out all references to the Prophet Muhammad in Thursday’s show after a radical Muslim group threatened violence if they depicted the prophet. The LA Times looks at the show’s proud history of skewering the preachy and pompous.
Bishop Roger Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium — the nation’s longest-serving bishop — has resigned after he admitted molesting a young boy 25 years ago. He said he was “enormously sorry.” A German bishop who admitted beating children years ago also resigned yesterday.
The AP dissects a suit filed Thursday that seeks to hold the Vatican accountable for abuse suffered by a Wisconsin man. There’s some soul-searching happening in Chile as a respected “living saint” of a priest faces abuse allegations, as the scandal spreads through the heart of Catholic South America.
Colombian Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, who was yanked from celebrating Mass at the National Shrine in Washington because he had praised a French bishop for not turning in an abusive priest to the police, is now defending the larger practice of sheltering problem priests. I’ll let him speak for himself on this one: “The law in nations with a well-developed judiciary does not force anyone to testify against a child, a father, against other people close to the suspect,” Castrillon told RCN radio. “Why would they ask that of the church? That’s the injustice. It’s not about defending a pedophile, it’s about defending the dignity and the human rights of a person, even the worst of criminals.” (Tulsa Bishop Edward Slattery has agreed to sub for Castrillon Hoyos at the Shrine).
Kentucky’s Supreme Court struck down an $11 million earmark to a Baptist university to build a pharmacy school; the state constitution prohibits direct state funding of sectarian institutions. In North Dakota, a proposed state constitutional amendment would protect people’s “sincerely held religious beliefs” from government intrusion unless a compelling case can be made.
God-on-the-Gridiron football phenom Tim Tebow was drafted by the Denver Broncos — Gary Stern thinks it’s a good pick, considering that Colorado is God’s Country for evangelicals. There are now 2 candidates to become the next president of the Southern Baptist Convention. There’s a trademark dispute brewing in Atlanta over who gets to claim the labels “Handmade by God” and “Made by God.”
As France considers a ban on full-body veils, police fined a Muslim woman who was driving in a face-covering veil, saying she didn’t have a full field of vision. In Ontario, a Sikh man refused to testify about a stabbing at a Sikh temple because the judge wouldn’t allow him to wear his kirpan, or ceremonial dagger, in the courtroom.