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Religion Today Summaries, March 14, 2003

Religion Today Summaries, March 14, 2003

Religion Today Summaries: Daily summaries of the top national and international religious news stories impacting Christians
In Today's Edition:

  • Moran in Hot Water With Jewish Groups for Comments on War
  • The Episcopal Church, USA, Joins Pro-Sodomy Brief
  • Update: Former Keston Religious Freedom Monitors Begin News Service
  • Guidelines for Weighing Christian School Options

Moran in Hot Water With Jewish Groups for Comments on War
Holly Lebowitz Rossi

(RNS) Rep. Jim Moran, D-Va., is in the spotlight for remarks that suggest Jewish groups are the driving force behind a possible war in Iraq. In comments that the White House called "shocking" and for which Moran later apologized, the lawmaker said the Jewish community has led America to war and has the power to stop it. "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," Moran said at a March 3 anti-war forum in Reston, Va. Amid calls for his resignation following the incident, Moran apologized, saying he "made some insensitive remarks that I deeply regret," though he will not step down, the Washington Post reported. Jewish groups have criticized Moran for several years, alleging that his voting record and public comments are anti-Israel and sometimes anti-Semitic. "Clearly when you have a congressman who is so insensitive to Jewish issues and blatantly hostile to Israel, it makes it difficult to take his words of clarification seriously," David Bernstein, the Washington director of the American Jewish Committee, told the Post. "The nature of his comment was too clear-cut and obvious to dismiss as a slip of the tongue."

The Episcopal Church, USA, Joins Pro-Sodomy Brief
Al Dobras

Action Contradicts Stance of Worldwide Anglican Conference
(Concerned Women for America) The Episcopal Church, USA, has joined with a number of homosexual advocacy groups to seek repeal of the state of Texas’s anti-sodomy statute in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court. The Rev. Frank T. Griswold III, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church, filed an amici (friend of the court) brief on behalf of a Texas man accused of violating the state’s statute prohibiting homosexual conduct, the Episcopal News Service reported March 7. The matter has become a cause celebre among homosexual activists, who have appealed his conviction to the United States Supreme Court. The court's decision in Lawrence v. Texas is expected this summer. The EC, USA, joined over 100 pro-homosexual pressure groups that have filed briefs in support of overturning the Texas statute, including about 30 “religious” organizations. The great majority among the latter group, however, comprises only caucuses within their respective denominations, and the EC, USA, finds itself essentially alone in claiming representation for its broader membership.

Update: Former Keston Religious Freedom Monitors Begin News Service
Frank Brown

(RNS) A free Web-based news service began Thursday (March 13) to cover freedom of conscience issues in Eastern Europe, a region where the editor says conditions are steadily deteriorating. The news service takes its name from a Christian organization in Oslo that is devoted to monitoring compliance with Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. It reads in part that every person "has the freedom of thought, conscience and religion." The Forum 18 News Service fills a void left in December by the Keston News Service, which folded with the departure of its director and correspondents. Those correspondents, including Corley and journalists in Moscow, Tashkent and Belgrade, are now the backbone of Forum 18. In Moscow, at least one religious freedom activist was pleased to hear that monitoring of abuses would continue. "It is extraordinarily important to independently collect information and report on the situation in Russia and throughout the former Soviet Union," said Galina Krylova, a lawyer in Moscow. Publicizing abuses in the West is especially important because "external opinion is often more important" than domestic opinion in pressuring rulers to ease up on religious minorities, noted Krylova.

Guidelines for Weighing Christian School Options
Mike Beidel

(Baptist Press)  If considering a Christian school for one's child or children, parents would be wise to consider the following factors in making that decision, especially if there is more than one option. No school is perfect, but these factors are critical in defining an effective Christian school.

Centrality of Christ
-- Obsession about making Christ preeminent in all the school's operation and programs
-- Interviews give some evidence of that obsession

High view of the Scriptures
-- Ask about spiritual qualifications in its faculty hiring policy
-- Ask how the Scriptures are integrated into the curricula
-- Observe a few classes if permitted

Serious commitment to academic integrity
-- Find out what textbooks the school uses; if all come from one Christian publisher, be cautious
-- Ask about faculty hiring policy
-- Teachers' academic credentials to teach the subject/s assigned, e.g., the mathematics teacher has a mathematics major

Discipline policies and procedures
-- Awareness of dangers of legalism in disciplining children and young people
-- Commitment to exhibiting grace in the context of maintaining discipline

Understanding of the role of a Christian school in supporting its families
-- Understanding that the Christian school is not to replace the local church in lives of its students and families
-- Understanding the strategic role of the Christian school in providing Kingdom education for its students