Religion Today Summaries - February 3, 2006

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk Editorial Staff

Religion Today Summaries - February 3, 2006

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.


In today's edition:

Episcopalians Look at Science-and-Religion


The Episcopal Church has published a guide to help its members understand how science and religion can benefit from each other. Nan Cobbey of Episcopal-Life reports: The recently published Catechism of Creation, with its typically Anglican answers and explanations about… life on Earth, may provide a path through the emotionally charged battles over what children are taught and what our society believes… The scientists on the Episcopal Church Executive Council’s Committee on Science, Technology and Faith, who wrote the catechism, “are trying to deconstruct the idea that there has to be a conflict,” says Paul Julienne, a physicist from Fairfax, Va. He and other committee members are preparing a resolution to be presented to General Convention in June that “affirms evolution as compatible with Christian faith.” The committee takes the position that evolution “does not negate a theology that takes Scripture seriously and which understands God to be loving creator.” The 24-page catechism with its familiar question-and-answer format is divided into three parts: “Theology of Creation,” “Creation and Science” and “Caring for Creation.” It offers a middle way, what it calls “a complementary approach.” It states right up front: “Science can inspire theology to think new thoughts about the relationship between God and the creation.”


Evangelicals Will Not Take Stand on Global Warming


The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) said Wednesday that it has been unable to reach a consensus on global climate change and will not take a stand on the issue, the Washington Post reports. The decision disappointed environmentalists who had hoped that evangelical Christians would prod the Bush administration to soften its position on global warming. Over the past four years a growing number of evangelical groups have embraced environmental causes. In October 2004 the leadership of the NAE, which is the nation's largest evangelical organization, declared that mankind has "a sacred responsibility to steward the Earth and not a license to abuse the creation of which we are a part." Rev. Ted Haggard, NAE president, called the environment "a values issue." But there has been some internal resistance; in a letter to Haggard last month, more than 20 evangelical leaders including Charles Colson, James Dobson, the Rev. D. James Kennedy, and the Rev. Richard Land urged the NAE not to adopt "any official position" on global climate change, citing a ‘lack of consensus among the evangelical community on this issue. Calvin DeWitt, a professor of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin who is a leading evangelical supporter of environmental causes, called the statement "a retreat and a defeat."


Graham Looks Ahead in 2006


When Billy Graham announced that his final Crusade would take place in New York City in the summer of 2005, it was hardly a pause in the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). From Manila to Mobile, Franklin Graham, son of the elder evangelist, continues to deliver the same message of hope by holding eight “Festivals” in five countries.  “We aren’t slowing down,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the BGEA.  “In fact, 2006 will be one of our most active years of ministry.” Graham begins 2006 in Manila, Philippines and concludes the year in Okinawa, Japan. In March, Graham will hold a Celebration of Hope for hurricane victims in New Orleans. In addition to heading the BGEA, Graham also leads the international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, which has already raised more than $36 million in aid for the Gulf Coast. Last year, in addition to the Billy Graham Crusade in New York, Franklin Graham held seven evangelistic events in Africa, Australia, South America, Europe, and North America. 2006 Franklin Graham Festivals: Manila Feb. 2-5; New Orleans March 11-12; Angola April 1; Mobile April 21-23; Baltimore July 7-9; Quito Sept. 21-23; Winnipeg Oct. 20-22; Okinawa Nov. 3-5.


Nun, Two Priests Sentenced to Six Months in Prison for Civil Disobedience


A federal judge in Columbus, Georgia sentenced three Roman Catholic clergy to six months of incarceration. Sr. Mary Dennis (Elizabeth Ann) Lentsch, 69, and Franciscan Frs. Louis Vitale, 73, and Jerry Zawada, 68, were part of a group of 32 defendants charged with trespass after peacefully walking onto the Fort Benning military base in protest of a controversial Army training school located there. Fr. Vitale is already serving his sentence in the Muscogee County Jail in Columbus. Sr. Lentsch and Fr. Zawada will "self-report" to federal prison in the next six to eight weeks when notified by the Bureau of Prisons. "My faith teaches me that it's important to both honor and trespass against lines in our lives, as love and justice demand," said Sr. Lentsch after her sentencing yesterday. The three clergy arrested were among 19,000 who gathered in November outside Fort Benning to demand a dramatic shift in U.S. foreign policy and the closure of the U.S. Army's School of the Americas, now called the Western Hemisphere Institute of Security Cooperation. The SOA/ WHINSEC made headlines in 1996 when the Pentagon released training manuals used at the school that advocated torture, extortion and execution.