In Today's Edition:
- "Lord's Resistance Army" Attacks Refugee Camp in Uganda
- Church of England Revises Policy on Marrying Divorced Members
- ACLJ Asks Supreme Court to Overturn Conspiracy Decision That Hampers War on Terrorism
- Will the Real Gospel Music Organization Please Stand Up?
"Lord's Resistance Army" Attacks Refugee Camp in Uganda ... According to ASSIST New Service (ANS), a 1200-member contingency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked refugees in the Maagi Refugee Camp in northern Uganda last Wednesday, killing five and burning homes, leaving as many as 200 refugees homeless. Maggi is a subsection of Adjumani, the largest refugee resettlement area in Uganda. Many of the displaced refugees have fled to an AIC church compound in the Adjumani area for safety.
Subsequent to the attack, the LRA was engaged by the Ugandan military at Atyak, killing 5 and capturing 36. Eighteen Ugandan soldiers were killed in the strike. The Lord's Resistance Army is a loose band of rebels that operate in northern Uganda, reports ANS. Despite years of government attempts to stamp it out, the Lord's Resistance Army (often called the "Kony rebels" by Ugandans) has continued to remain a constant threat in northern Uganda and southern Sudan.
Friends of Sudan, a U.S. relief agency, recently had a team on the ground in Uganda conducting a medical mission. The group was initially based in the Kiryandango Refugee Resettlement Area, but was forced to evacuate because of a tribal clash between the Acholis and Latuka Tribes. There was a prevailing opinion then that LRA infiltrators who had entered the camp two days before the Friends of Sudan team arrived sparked the clash.
Perhaps the greatest concern, according to ANS, is that there is a growing sentiment in the Ugandan government that the hundreds of thousands of refugees living in the refugee areas in Uganda be deported; sent back to Sudan. Because of incidents such as the one in Kiryandango, there is a growing frustration in the Ugandan government over the massive task of providing for the some one-half million Sudanese refugees in the country. "This, of course, would be devastating to this starving, desperate, starving people who find life harsh enough in the relative safety of Uganda. To be driven back into Sudan would, for many be a death sentence," says ANS.
Church of England Revises Policy on Marrying Divorced Members ... (Episcopal News Service) -- The Church of England's General Synod, at its mid-July meeting in York, clarified church policy on allowing clergy to marry divorced people, and addressed other issues in the life of the church. The synod voted in 1981 that "there are circumstances in which a divorced person may be married in church during the lifetime of a former partner," but over the years it has not defined those circumstances. The vote rescinds resolutions from 1938 and 1957 that affirmed the "indissolubility" of marriage, according to ENS. The resolution now goes to the House of Bishops.
During the debate some argued that "clergy should not be put in front-line trenches" by making decisions whether to conduct the wedding services while others said that people should not be "denied the pastoral and evangelistic service of the Church of England at a liminal moment in their lives."
In other business, a progress report on the issue of women in the episcopate stirred passionate debate. Those who support the effort warned against "insulting" conscience clauses in future legislation. Bishop for Europe Geoffrey Rowell warned that it was a church-splitting issue and that any proposed change must be rooted in scripture. As a member of the working group looking at the theological issues raised by the issue, he said that the guiding principles must be theological, not sociological.
ACLJ Asks Supreme Court To Overturn Conspiracy Decision That Hampers War on Terrorism ... The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), has filed a friend-of-the-court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court asking it to overturn an appeals court decision on criminal conspiracies - a decision that "hampers and penalizes the federal government in its war on terrorism."
"If this appeals court decision is permitted to stand, the United States will be at a severe disadvantage in its effort to arrest and prosecute terrorists who are plotting to kill Americans," said Jay Sekulow, Chief Counsel of the ACLJ. "The appeals court decision essentially cripples law enforcement by letting those responsible for the planning of terrorist activities off the hook if law enforcement is successful in stopping the activities before they occur."
In its brief, the ACLJ contends that conspiracy laws have always sought to punish those who made an agreement to commit a crime. The ACLJ contends the appeals court finding that conspiracy convictions must now hinge on whether the objective of the conspiracy succeeds is legally flawed and without merit. The ACLJ represents Congressmen J.C. Watts, Jr. (R-Oklahoma), Walter B. Jones (R-North Carolina), and Jim Ryun (R-Kansas). Watts is chairman of the House Republican Conference and serves on the Special Oversight Panel on Terrorism. Watts is also a member of the House Armed Services Committee, as are Representatives Jones and Ryun.
Will the Real Gospel Music Organization Please Stand Up? ... The Associated Press (AP) reports that the two organizations dedicated to "celebrating and promoting gospel music are facing off in court over which has the right to the genre's hall of fame." Each year, the Gospel Music Association (GMA) names inductees to its Gospel Music Hall of Fame. So, according to AP, it has sued to force the Detroit-based Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum, founded in 1995, to stop using the name.
Although the Hall of Fame & Museum organization registered the federal trademark to the Gospel Music Hall of Fame & Museum, GMA said in the lawsuit that "the Gospel Hall of Fame and Museum mark infringes upon and violates the rights of the Gospel Music Association." Hall of Fame founder David Gough said July 17 he wants the GMA to give up the name.
"After investing extensive time and energy in building our name around the world, they want to benefit from using our well-recognized mark," Gough said. While the Hall of Fame & Museum filed a counterclaim, the GMA is asking to cancel the trademark on the name. A trial in U.S. District Court in Nashville has been set for July 2003, with discovery court proceedings to begin Oct. 31, says AP.