- Lay Catholics Lobby Cardinals
- President Bush's Scary Speech
- Religious Groups Protest Planned Hotel Sex Bash
- The Presidential Prayer Team Prepares Nation for National Day Of Prayer
- Other Headlines at a Glance
Lay Catholics Lobby Cardinals ... According to the Associated Press (AP), a number of Catholics have banded together in the wake of the church's sex abuse scandal and are taking action. Recently formed special interest groups have been busy lobbying U.S. cardinals headed to Rome this week to meet with Vatican officials and the pope.
"We want our statements to be in their heads as they're flying to Rome," Anne Barrett Doyle, a founder of the Coalition of Concerned Catholics, told AP last week. The group urged its 500 members to e-mail, fax and call the cardinals with the following demands: fair settlements for abuse victims, the removal of church officials who sheltered abusers, and involvement of the laity in developing new policies and choosing new bishops.
Voice of the Faithful, another Boston-based group, drafted a statement calling for justice for victims, support for priests not involved in the scandal, and a greater role for lay people in the church. A leader with that group told AP the lobbying effort "is a response to the difficulty lay Catholics face in communicating with the church hierarchy."
President Bush's Scary Speech ... Speaking out on faith is a double-edged sword for President George W. Bush. An article from the April 22 New York Times cited a number of examples to show the president increasingly sprinkles the language of faith into his government speeches. And that, they report, is a problem for some people. Apparently, phrases such as, "We place our sorrows and cares before him, seeking God's mercy," "We ought to recognize the healing power of faith in our society" and "Justice and cruelty have always been at war, and God is not neutral between them" shouldn't be spoken by a U.S. President.
According to the New York Times, Bush's belief that religion has a place in government has bothered secularists and some religious leaders for quite some time. "He went from a kind of post-Sept. 11 pluralism to presidential evangelism today," said the Rev. Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State. "This man now seems to have an enormous difficulty separating his personal religious commitment from his public policy positions." The Rev. Arthur Caliandro, senior minister of Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan, said, "I think it's very dangerous."
Associates close to the President verify his faith is "not a political ploy, and that he should have the liberty to speak as he wishes," the Times added.
Religious Group Protests Planned Hotel 'Sex Bash' ... An upcoming "workshop" on bondage, domination and sadomasochism called "Beat Me in St. Louis" once again makes the news. The Associated Press (AP) reports that a Missouri lawmaker is asking for an investigation into whether the meeting is legal, joining a conservative women's group in labeling it a "disease-spreading nuisance that breeds violence." Joey Davis, the state head of Concerned Women for America (CWA), said guests at the sex conference "would release bodily fluids that pose a health risk."
According to AP, the Southern Baptist Convention said earlier this month that the seminar was really a "private sex bash" and that it planned to cancel reservations for its June conference with the Howard Johnson's hotel, the host property for "Beat Me in St. Louis."
CWA protested a similar convention in February at a suburban Chicago hotel, but police there said the convention was private and protected by the First Amendment, AP added.
The Presidential Prayer Team Prepares Nation for National Day Of Prayer ... To help prepare and equip participants for the National Day of Prayer May 2, The Presidential Prayer Team is offering a downloadable guide, free of charge, from their website, www.presidentialprayerteam.org.
The guide provides participants with an outline of suggested scriptures, leaders to pray for, prayer songs, ideas for prayer in local churches, and information about the history of The National Day of Prayer. It also includes the prayer that will be read nationally in unison at noon on May 2, which was written by Dr. Lloyd Ogilvie, Chaplain of the United States Senate and member of the Honorary Committee of The Presidential Prayer Team.
The Presidential Prayer Team is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan effort with a goal to enlist 2.8 million people to pray daily for the President and his advisers. The organization also provides prayer information relating to the President. There is no fee and membership is open to all people.
Other Headlines at a Glance:
- Volunteers Encouraged to Join in Sharing Gospel with Jews ... Baptist Press
- Denver Billionaire Backs Films with Moral Message ... Colorado Gazette
- Russia Said to Bar Catholic Bishop From Country ... Reuters
- High-profile Baptist Layman Accused of Molestation ... ABP