Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
Washingtonians to Discuss Faith in News, Public Discourse
How can journalists and leaders communicate with integrity about matters of faith? First Baptist Church of Washington will host a panel discussion, “Talking about Faith with the Media,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 15. Washingtonians from different walks of life – formerly the White House, the Congress, a respected religion and politics forum, and an everyday citizen – will share their experiences in discussing faith with the media. “Religion intersects almost every imaginable public issue. Yet journalists and religious people are sometimes uncertain about how they should negotiate these intersections,” moderator Melissa Rogers said. Rogers is the former executive director of the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, and visiting professor of religion and public policy at Wake Forest University Divinity School. Ms. Rogers has been recognized by the National Journal as one of the church-state experts "politicians call on when they get serious about addressing an important public policy issue."
IRD Commends Evangelical Association for not Lobbying on Global Warming
At the urging of evangelical leaders, including the Institute on Religion and Democracy's interim president, the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has decided NOT to endorse campaigns or legislation regarding global warming. The NAE Executive Committee adopted a motion "recognizing the ongoing debate regarding the causes and origins of global warming, and understanding the lack of consensus among the evangelical community on this issue." The motion went on to say that the NAE would not go beyond the policy set in its 2004 Evangelical Call to Civil Responsibility, which speaks in general terms of a biblical "responsibility to care for God's earth." Meanwhile, a group of 86 evangelical pastors, college presidents, and others has released its own statement warning that "millions could die in this century because of climate change." The 86 endorsed "national legislation requiring sufficient economy-wide reductions in carbon emissions." "We commend the NAE for declining to take sides in the debates over global warming," commented IRD Interim President Alan Wisdom. "Christians agree about our call to be good stewards of God's creation. But there is legitimate disagreement about the extent of, causes of, results of, and remedies for global warming. This is an issue on which individual Christians should form and express their own judgments, but not an issue on which the church should support a particular agenda."
Mark Noll Leaving Wheaton for Notre Dame
One of evangelicalism's premier scholars will be leaving one of evangelicalism's premier colleges, Christianity Today reports. Mark Noll will be moving from Wheaton College to Notre Dame University at the start of the 2006 Fall term. "This is one of the most painful announcements I've had to make in my nine and a half years as provost," says Stan Jones, provost at Wheaton. Noll has served as an inspiration and role model to students as well as other professors, Jones says. "I was inspired by his balance and maturity of thought." "We're delighted to have him," says John McGreevy, chair of the department of history at Notre Dame. "We feel we have a strong program already. Mark will augment that." Long a respected historian among evangelical scholars, Noll's stature has risen in recent years. His book America's God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln was named "the most significant work of American historical scholarship" in 2002 by The Atlantic. His 1994 book, The Scandal of the Evangelical Mind, has become shorthand for the ongoing conversation about evangelical anti-intellectualism, says John Wilson, editor of Books & Culture, a sister publication of Christianity Today. Aside from his scholarly writing, Noll has fostered networks of evangelical scholars. He helped to found the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicalism, and in other informal ways, Noll fostered the evangelical intellectual community, according to Wilson. "I think he has helped us break caricatures of evangelical anti-intellectualism," says Jones. "One thing Mark is committed to is Protestant/Catholic dialogue," says McGreevy. "Notre Dame is a good place to do that. There are lots of serious Catholics and Protestants who want to think about those issues."
Catholic Group Says 'Out' With DePaul's New Queer Studies Program
Students at the largest Roman Catholic university in the U.S. can now minor in study of homosexual culture, history and lifestyle. That is because DePaul University in Chicago has begun offering a "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered and Queer Studies" program. The university has recently implemented this course of study despite the Vatican's official teaching that homosexual orientation is "objectively disordered" and homosexual behavior is "intrinsically evil." This compels some conservative Catholic groups to believe DePaul has strayed from core Church teaching on sexual morality. Karl Maurer is the vice president of Catholic Citizens of Illinois and an alumnus of DePaul. He says the school's new "Queer Studies" program is indicative of a problem not just with that university but with "the American institutional Catholic Church." One would "have to be living under a rock for the last five years not to have noticed the homosexual scandals that are going on within the Church," Maurer asserts. "And it's not just in the seminaries: it's not just in the chanceries; it's in the universities as well, and it really calls into question whether or not the U.S. bishops are serious about rooting out homosexual abuse." The ideal solution to this problem, at least at DePaul, would be for the school to recognize the error of its ways and drop the "Queer Studies" program completely, the university alum says.