Religion Today Summaries, November 20, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 20, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • 'Ten Commandments Judge' Says the Monument Stays
  • Religious Liberty Debate Stalled in Peru
  • Catholic Christians Fear Fines or Prison in Belarus
  • Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie to Retire as Senate Chaplain

'Ten Commandments Judge' Says the Monument Stays
Lawrence Morahan
( - Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore said Tuesday he will appeal a federal judge's order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda of the state's judicial building in Montgomery.  "I have no plans to remove the monument," said Moore, who has become known as the "Ten Commandments Judge."  Moore pledged to appeal a ruling by U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson on Monday ordering him to remove the two-and-a-half-ton monument he installed in the state's courthouse last summer.  The monument features the Ten Commandments written on a tablet sitting on top of a granite block.  Thompson said that by installing the monument, Moore had created "a religious sanctuary within the walls of a courthouse," and gave him 30 days to remove it.  A legal analyst who studied Thompson's decision said the ruling contained many problems.  “The three plaintiff lawyers who brought the case have no legal standing to challenge the constitutionality of the placement of the monument”, said Thomas Jipping, senior fellow in legal studies with Concerned Women for America.

Religious Liberty Debate Stalled in Peru
(Compass) — The Congress of Peru temporarily suspended debate on revising the constitution before considering the article on religion. Nevertheless, evangelical Protestants who are seeking equal treatment for all faiths consider the postponement a positive opportunity. “This is a good thing for us because it gives us more time to organize ourselves,” said Fernando Bellido, religious affairs advisor to Congressman Walter Alejos, a key proponent for amending the constitutional article that discriminates against non-Roman Catholics. Since 1980, the Peruvian government has maintained a Concordat with the Vatican. The treaty codifies preferential treatment for Catholic clergy and organizations. Bellido says he counts from 36 to 39 lawmakers among the 100-member congress who favor constitutional change. A simple majority is required to send the amendment to a referendum.

Catholic Christians Fear Fines or Prison in Belarus
Stefan J. Bos
(Assist News) Less than two weeks after they protested against what human rights workers call "Europe's most repressive religion law," two Catholic Christians are expecting massive fines and possible prison terms.  The Keston News Service (KNS), which monitors religious persecution, said Tuesday, November 19, that Igor Zakrevsky and Sergei Peskin were briefly detained after making a protest in the center of the Belarusian capital Minsk earlier this month.  "We wrote to parliament protesting against the law and collected petitions, but that didn't help," Zakrevsky was quoted at saying. "We decided to take to the streets to express our opposition," he said.  During their demonstration on November 8, Zakrevsky and Peskin were seen wearing slogans that included "the authorities want to control our souls". They walked around the central streets, and then stood by the statue of Lenin opposite the parliament building, where they were taken into custody by local police, KNS reported.  KNS has also established that members of the former secret service KGB played a role in the arrests, amid reports that the organization is once again interested in religion developments in both Belarus and its larger neighbor Russia.

Rev. Lloyd Ogilvie to Retire as Senate Chaplain

(Baptist Press) U.S. Senate Chaplain Lloyd Ogilvie is leaving his position to be with his seriously ill wife.  Ogilvie's retirement will be effective March 15 and will mark the close of eight years as the Senate's 61st chaplain.  Before accepting the chaplain's post, Ogilvie, 72, served for more than 22 years as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, Calif.  In announcing his departure, Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, D. -S.D., and Republican leader Trent Lott of Mississippi praised Ogilvie's service. Daschle said in a written release Ogilvie has been "a real source of strength and comfort to countless members of the Senate family, from senators to staffers to elevator operators." Ogilvie has been "the watchful shepherd: a man of God ministering to our Senate family," Lott said in a written statement.  The Senate chaplain not only is responsible for the opening prayer each day in the chamber, but he provides spiritual care for the senators, their families and their staffs. Ogilvie leads separate weekly Bible studies for the senators, their spouses and their staffs.  All sessions of the Senate have been opened with prayer for more than 200 years. The first Senate elected its first chaplain in 1789.