'Pledge' Girl a Christian, Impeachment Charges and more

'Pledge' Girl a Christian, Impeachment Charges and more

Editor's Note: Religion Today will not be published on the July 4 holiday.

In Today's Edition:

  • Girl Who Filed Pledge Case a 'Churchgoing Christian'
  • Center Launches Impeachment Campaign for 9th Circuit Court Judges
  • Transsexual Methodist Minister Resigns 
  • Role of God Goes to Heart of U.S. Self-Image
  • Missionaries Conquer Ancient Foes With Cutting-Edge Technology

Girl Who Filed Pledge Case a 'Churchgoing Christian'

A report in Wednesday's WorldNetDaily suggests that it is really Michael Newdow, the father of the 8-year-old girl who filed a complaint against the Pledge of Allegiance, who has a problem with the words, "Under God." The claim showed the girl was "injured" when forced to say the pledge. But, according to WorldNetDaily, the child and her mother are Christians who regularly attend Calvary Chapel. The church's pastor, Chuck Smith, reportedly commented during his Sunday radio program that mother and daughter "pleaded with the father not to file the case."

Newdow said he was raising his daughter as an atheist, but admitted that the girl voluntarily says the pledge along with her classmates. According to WorldNetDaily, court records indicate Newdow is in a custody battle with the girl's mother. They currently share custody.

Center Launches Impeachment Campaign for 9th Circuit Court Judges

The National Center for Freedom and Renewal (NCFR) is calling on Congressman F. James Sensenbrenner, Chairman of the House Committee on the Judiciary to initiate an impeachment inquiry for two federal judges from the 9th Circuit Court. These two judges rocked the nation last Wednesday with their 2-1 decision that declared the Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional.

In response to this decision Marlin Maddoux, president of the NCFR said, "This is a prime example of the type of judicial activism that has assaulted our nation for the past 30 years. It's time we remind the members of the judiciary that the Constitution does not give them the authority to legislate from the bench."

The two judges are Alfred T. Goodwin and Stephen Reinhardt. In addition to the judicial activism on this case, Reinhardt wrote the decision for the court that struck down a Washington statute prohibiting assisted suicide. He was also on the three-judge panel that overturned California 's term limit legislation. Both initiatives succeeded at the ballot box only to be overturned by the court. It is an established principle in American Jurisprudence that a judge may be removed from office if he usurps the role of the Legislative Branch or if his decisions disregard the will of the people. This decision shows a greater disregard for the will of the people than almost any decision handed down by a Federal Court.

Transsexual Methodist Minister Resigns 

The Washington Times reports that a United Methodist minister who was suspended in June has abandoned her bid to become the first transsexual pastor of a Protestant church in America. A short statement released by Bishop Felton Edwin May of the Baltimore-Washington Conference stated that the Rev. Rebecca Ann Steen - formerly the Rev. Richard Zomastny - left the Methodist Church Friday and has "no plans to return."

According to the Washington Times, Steen went on voluntary leave in 1999 to have a sex-change operation. She was originally accepted by the Baltimore-Washington Board of Ordained Ministry on June 6 for reassignment to a local Methodist church. But on June 8, eight local Methodist ministers publicly released a "Renaissance Affirmation" calling for opposition to Miss Steen's reappointment. On June 9, Bishop May put Steen on involuntary leave in preparation for closed-door hearings that would have ended in a rare church trial, reported the Times. Some sources believe she resigned in an effort to avoid the public embarrassment of such a process.

"I think her decision brings some resolution to this for everyone," the Rev. Barry Hidey of Bel Air, Md., who helped lead the opposition to Steen's reappointment, told the Washington Times. "But there's still a lot of hurt and pain on both sides. This forced us to deal with an issue that hadn't been addressed in the past."

Role of God Goes to Heart of U.S. Self-Image

According to a report from Reuters, the Pledge of Allegiance court decision "has touched a sensitive nerve among Americans, going to the heart of the nation's self-image." Last week's federal appeals decision that called the Pledge unconstitutional "unleashed a flood of letters to newspapers around the country, the vast majority lambasting the decision."

A Newsweek magazine poll found 87 percent of respondents supported the phrase and 54 percent thought the government should not avoid promoting religion, according to Reuters. Also, 60 percent thought that government leaders making public expressions of faith in God was good for the nation. In one recent U.S. News/PBS poll, nearly two thirds of respondents said religion was very important in their lives, and close to half said they attended worship services at least once a week -- the highest percentages since the 1960s.

"In U.S. history and still today, many of the nation's greatest political debates have revolved around moral issues and involved religion. It the past, they included slavery and civil rights. Now, they encompass abortion, sexual behavior, homosexuality, assisted suicide and human cloning. While these great debates rage, forces in favor and against a greater role for religion in daily life are constantly skirmishing over whether the 10 Commandments can be posted in schools, whether prayers can be said at graduation ceremonies and before high school football games, whether there should be a moment of silent prayer before classes, whether school children can sing secular Christmas songs like 'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' and whether they can form Bible clubs on school premises," Reuters noted.

Missionaries Conquer Ancient Foes With Cutting-Edge Technology

(ASSIST) -- In a growing trend toward mobility in ministry, many foreign and domestic missionaries are trading in their paper books for eBooks. With today's small laptops, missionaries bring hundreds or thousands of reference works to far-flung places using only their carry-on luggage. They don't have to pay high airfreight charges, the books don't get moldy or wet or stolen in transit and can be easily transported once on the ground. Missionaries stationed in remote locations can get new books almost instantly by unlocking them from CD or downloading them from the Internet.

Doug Higby of Wycliffe Bible Translators received timely assistance with his translation work in Mali, West Africa. By using a short-wave radio to download unlock codes he gained rapid access to an essential book, literally saving a trip to Timbuktu. Higby said of the book, "It helped me through that hard spot, and now the portion of Genesis on the life of Abraham is currently at the print shop."

What is more, powerful software such as Logos Bible Software Series X searches hundreds or even thousands of books in just seconds, providing better and quicker results than hunting through paper books for relevant information. It's like having a personal research assistant to search your entire library and open each book to the right page and paragraph. When it comes to digital books, missionaries are ahead of the technology curve...not lagging behind as some people might expect.

Missionaries using digital libraries avoid the age-old encumbrances associated with transporting a library: weight, bulk, import restrictions and the humidity of a tropical climate. Now with a laptop in the jungle, downloading access to new books via short-wave radio signal or Internet has become the norm and is a boon to missionaries' work and spiritual lives. For more information, visit www.logos.com.