Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:
- Update: Paige Interview Contained Errors, Baptist News Service States
- Atheists Challenge Ventura’s Nearly Century Old Cross Landmark
- Lutheran Financial Network Gives $760,000 to Habitat for Humanity
- Williams Says World Peace Depends on the `Peace of Jerusalem'
Update: Paige Interview Contained Errors, Baptist News Service States
Adelle M. Banks
(RNS) The Southern Baptist Convention's news service has acknowledged "factual and contextual errors" in an interview it published that included controversial remarks by U.S. Education Secretary Rod Paige. Baptist Press reported April 7 that Paige said: "All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school that has a strong appreciation for the values of the Christian community, where a child is taught to have a strong faith." But an Education Department transcript of the interview, released by Baptist Press, recorded Paige as saying: "All things equal, I would prefer to have a child in a school where there's a strong appreciation for values, the kind of values that I think are associated with the Christian communities, and so that this child can be brought up in an environment that teaches them to have strong faith and to understand that there is a force greater than them personally." Paige's comment was in response to a question about universities. "The report accurately portrayed the substance of Dr. Paige's faith in God but contained factual and contextual errors in other respects," the news service stated. "We regret the misrepresentations by the writer. Todd Starnes has been a trusted correspondent but no longer will be employed to write for Baptist Press."
Atheists Challenge Ventura’s Nearly Century Old Cross Landmark
(Charisma News) A large cross that has overlooked Ventura, Calif., for almost a century could be taken down if a small group of atheists and agnostics gets its way. Threatening local officials with a lawsuit, the protesters say the 30-foot-high monument violates the constitutional separation of church and state because it stands on city land, "The Washington Times" reported. "All you have to do is look at Israel or Northern Ireland to see how destructive religion can be when it is brought out in public," said Stan Kohls, one of those challenging the landmark. "A society that is democratic must be secular as well." Among the options being considered by the city are selling the land to a private organization and moving the cross to a museum or other private site, the "Times" said. Erected around 1913, the illuminated cross in the city's Grant Park was preceded by three other crosses that stood on the site in the last 300 years. Kohls said he had received a flood of threatening phone calls since making his complaint. The local newspaper has printed letters "full of angry reaction to the threatened lawsuit," the "Times" said. www.charismanews.com
Lutheran Financial Network Gives $760,000 to Habitat for Humanity
Susie L. Oh
(RNS) A $20,000 grant might seem like a small step toward raising $230,000 for a new home, but Jim Gleason of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County was pleased to get the money, a grant from Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Foundation. "This is a great example of how faith organizations can work with Habitat and put that faith in action," said Gleason, director of development for Habitat. Orange County, Calif., was one of 40 Habitat for Humanity International affiliates across the country to share $760,000 in grants pledged by the foundation of Thrivent Financial, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit financial services organization that primarily serves members of Lutheran churches. Habitat is a nonprofit Christian housing organization that builds homes for low-income families. Habitat for Humanity of the Lehigh Valley, Pa., will use its $20,000 grant to renovate a home in Hellertown, Pa., for a single mother and her teenage daughter. The renovation is expected to cost between $25,000 and $28,000 so the grant money will cover at least 75 percent of the necessary funding, according to Lory Anderson, Habitat's local director. Since 1991, the foundation of Thrivent Financial has contributed $8.5 million in grants while volunteer chapters of the organization have raised $3.7 million for Habitat.
Williams Says World Peace Depends on the `Peace of Jerusalem'
(RNS) Rowan Williams, the new archbishop of Canterbury, said in his first official visit to the Holy Land that peace in the rest of the world depends on peace for the people of the Middle East. Williams, who celebrated Palm Sunday Mass at the Anglican Cathedral of St. George the Martyr, said in a pastoral letter that the peace of the world depends "so directly on the peace of Jerusalem." "But for the last few months, with all the suffering and fear they have brought, it has been so painfully clear that without peace and justice for all the peoples of the Holy Land there is small hope of lasting reconciliation in the wider world," he said. Williams said peace never comes without cost. The deepest enemy of peace is always the spirit of grasping and clinging to what makes us feel safe, he said. Meanwhile, those who love violence continue to keep the wounds open. "Disproportionate, indiscriminate force, applied not only by weaponry but by constant harassment; the insane butchery of terrorism, dressed up as heroism -- these things serve only to keep the door firmly closed to any hope of taking away fear," Williams said.