Religion Today Summaries, January 7, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, January 7, 2003

In Today's Edition:

  • Claims of Cloned Babies Raise Value Issues
  • Former Regent University Student Settles Lawsuit
  • Indian Priest Injured with Scores of Others in Mob Attack
  • N.Y. Catholic Bishops Sue Over Birth-control Law

Claims of Cloned Babies Raise Value Issues
Eva Cahen
( - A claim this weekend by a sect that a Dutch lesbian woman gave birth to the second cloned baby makes it clear that cloning is not a "value-free" project, according to the head of a European human rights organization.  "If what the news stories claim is true, if the first cloned baby is associated with a sect, it becomes clearer than ever that it is not a value-free or neutral project, but to the contrary, a heavily charged one, philosophically and theologically," said Vassilios Tsirbas, executive director and senior counsel for the European Center for Law and Justice in Strassbourg, France.  Clonaid, a cloning company created by a sect called the Raelians, who believe in UFOs, has also boasted that it created the first cloned baby, Eve, on Dec. 26 to an American mother.  However, many experts have said they do not believe the claims, which have not been scientifically verified. They charge that the group is trying to create publicity for itself. 

Former Regent University Student Settles Lawsuit

(Charisma News) A former law student who accused a Christian college of ordering him to undergo counseling after he was told he "had a demon" has settled his lawsuit against the school.  According to "The Virginian-Pilot," Herbert Chadbourne sued Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va., claiming civil rights violations, defamation and slander.  Regent officials have denied that its employees defamed Chadbourne or violated his rights.  Chadbourne sought $1.3 million, but the settlement amount wasn't much higher than Regent's initial offer of $2,500.  Chadbourne, a Persian Gulf War veteran, had developed a facial tic that he said might have been the result of exposure to chemical or biological agents during the war.  "It was the sudden onset of this disability that caused at least one, if not several, of the plaintiff's religiously fervent classmates to inform the plaintiff that he 'had a demon and had therefore been cursed by God for being sinful,'" Chadbourne said in court papers.  School officials allegedly suspended Chadbourne over a theft controversy and barred him from "stepping on the Regent University campus," the suit said.  Chadbourne claimed he was ordered to obtain a psychological evaluation before he would be allowed to return to the school.

Indian Priest Injured with Scores of Others in Mob Attack

(VOM – USA) A priest was injured and scores of others injured when a mob of 20-30 men armed with machetes, homemade guns, and crude bombs attacked the congregation at a midnight Christmas service in a Catholic church in eastern India. The attackers set off several bombs, then forced the priest and some of the 1200 worshippers inside to hand over their valuables, including money from the church safe. More people were injured when dozens of robbers threw some bombs as they tried to flee the scene. Thankfully no one was killed. While the motive for the attack may have been robbery, anti-Christian sentiment has increased since a coalition government led by Prime Minister Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist party came to power in 1999. Hindu hard-liners accuse Christian missionaries of converting poor Hindus to their religion by offering money, a charge denied by Christian organizations.

N.Y. Catholic Bishops Sue Over Birth-control Law

(ABP) Roman Catholic leaders in New York have sued the state over a new law that would require employer-provided health insurance plans to provide coverage for birth control.  The state’s Catholic bishops sued state officials Dec. 30, attempting to invalidate the law.  The bishops said the law would force Catholic organizations that provide health insurance to their employees to violate church teachings.  The Catholic Church has explicitly forbidden its members from using any artificial form of birth control for more than 100 years.  Some Protestant groups joined the bishops in their opposition to the law.  Earlier, the church had lobbied the state legislature for a religious exemption from the law, but they did not succeed.