Religion Today Summaries, November 22, 2002

Religion Today Summaries, November 22, 2002

In Today's Edition:

  • Secretary of State Powell Labels Christians Concerned with Islam Bigots and Extremists
  • YWCA Chapter Embraces Planned Parenthood
  • Muslims Bomb Two Orthodox Churches in Kosovo
  • Columbian Bishop and Priest Freed from Kidnappers

Secretary of State Powell Labels Christians Concerned with Islam Bigots and Extremists

(Intercessors for America) Secretary of State Colin Powell said Monday he is trying to expand programs to bring educators, journalists, and political and religious leaders from Islamic countries to the United States. "We are committed to ensuring that our programs reach out to Muslims in all walks of life," Powell told a gathering of Muslim-Americans at an Iftaar, the end-of-the-day meal that breaks daylong fasts during the holy month of Ramadan. In a possible allusion to conservative Christians, whom Powell castigated last week for its warnings about the militant doctrines of Islam, Powell described extremism and violence as America's greatest enemies: "We must not listen to the siren song of the bigots, extremists who cloak themselves in false spirituality in an attempt to divide and to weaken us."

YWCA Chapter Embraces Planned Parenthood
(Baptist Press) The Young Women's Christian Association is changing its image to "empowering women and their families," which one YWCA chapter is doing by dispensing birth control pills and condoms to girls and women instead of promoting Christian values as the name would suggest.  Crystal McNeal, a spokesperson for the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee, told that it has been "a very, very long time" since the organization focused on promoting Christian values.  Now the focus is on empowering women and their families.”  As evidence of the change, the YWCA of Greater Milwaukee has partnered with Planned Parenthood. reported that McNeal said the YWCA has been practicing a "progressive" approach to women's health issues, including contraception and abortion, since the feminist movement heated up in the 1960s and 1970s.  She added that the YWCA of Milwaukee has not encountered opposition to its abandonment of its Christian foundation.  "If they want to reject Christianity, they need to change their name," Wendy Wright, senior policy director for Concerned Women for America, told  "Because the YWCA continues to use that name, they are misleading people."

Muslims Bomb Two Orthodox Churches in Kosovo

(ASSIST News Service) Two Orthodox churches in Kosovo were bombed November 18, the night before the planned arrival of UN Secretary General Annan. Although no one was injured in the attacks, one church was severely damaged and the other completely destroyed. There has been increasing violence against church leaders and other believers, including nuns and monks, since the NATO-led peacekeepers have withdrawn from several checkpoints near churches and other religious sites. These latest attacks are a set-back for efforts to bring back many of the 200,000 Serb civilians who fled the province in recent years for fear of revenge attacks from the mainly Muslim Albanian population.

Columbian Bishop and Priest Freed from Kidnappers

(Voice of the Martyrs) The head of the Latin American Bishop's conference, Jorge Enrique Jimenez, and parish priest Desiderio Orjuiela were released unharmed after troops stormed a rebel hideout last Friday. The two men were abducted at gunpoint from a village north of Bogota. The rebels told Father Orjuela he could go free, but he chose to stay in captivity with Bishop Jimenez. The BBC's Jeremy McDermott in Bogota says Colombia is the most dangerous place in the world to be a priest, with most of the attacks against clergy being carried out by Marxist guerrillas. More than 20 priests and two bishops have been killed since 1989.