Religion Today Summaries, October 7, 2003

Compiled & Edited by Crosswalk News Staff

Religion Today Summaries, October 7, 2003

Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.  In today's edition:

  • For California's Christian Voters, It's Values vs. Party Loyalty
  • Frail Pope Outraged About Homosexual Bishop
  • Library Worker Sues After Being Fired for Refusing to Work Sundays
  • Bush Declares 'Marriage Protection Week'

For California's Christian Voters, It's Values vs. Party Loyalty
Bill Fancher, Agape Press

The California recall election takes place on Tuesday, and voters will decide the fate of Governor Gray Davis.  One pro-family activist says the choices voters have could have been better. According to a poll conducted over the weekend, it is likely that Gray Davis will not survive tomorrow's recall election. The front-runners to replace him continue to be moderate Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger and ultra-liberal Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante. But former GOP presidential candidate Gary Bauer says the media has overlooked one candidate in the recall election.  That candidate is the true conservative Republican in the field: Tom McClintock. "This is not a situation in California where the only way you can win is by putting up a pro-abortion candidate.  We could have won that election -- and may still win that election -- with a pro-life, pro-family candidate," Bauer says. Bauer says Christian voters in California have to decide between party loyalty and their values.  It is a decision Christian Republicans have had to make before -- and it involves pressure that Bauer says he understands. "The Republican establishment has come down on the side of 'star quality,' even though that candidate is hostile to every one of the issues that Christian conservatives who are in the Republican Party care about the most."

Frail Pope Outraged About Homosexual Bishop
Stefan Bos, ASSIST News Service

Pope John Paul II, visibly suffering from life threatening ailments, urged the top leader of the Anglican Church Saturday, October 4, not to trade the Christian heritage for openly homosexual clergy. He said, "new and serious difficulties have arisen" in efforts to unify the Roman Catholic and Anglican Churches. His remarks came after as few as 15 minutes of private talks in the library with Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, a meeting that was apparently kept short amid growing concern about the pontiff's health. "As we give thanks for the progress that has already been made we must also recognize that new and serious difficulties have arisen on the path to unity," the slowly speaking pope added following their discussions in front of a small group of reporters. Several Vatican observers interpreted it as a clear reference to the controversial decision by the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion, to elect its first openly gay bishop.  "These difficulties are not all of a merely disciplinary nature; some extend to essential matters of faith and morals," said the pope, without mentioning the homosexual issue by name.  He stressed that with increasing secularism in the world, "the Church must ensure that the deposit of faith is proclaimed in its integrity and preserved from erroneous and misguided interpretations."

Library Worker Sues After Being Fired for Refusing to Work Sundays
Allie Martin, Agape Press

A federal employment discrimination complaint has been filed on behalf of a Missouri woman who says she was fired for refusing to work on Sunday. Connie Rehm was an employee of the Rolling Hills Consolidated Library in Savannah, Missouri, for 12 years. Earlier this year, Rehm was informed that the library was implementing a schedule change and would be open to the public on weekends. According to Drew Gardner, an attorney with the Christian Law Association, Rehm was fired not long after telling her boss that sincerely held religious beliefs prevented her from working on Sunday. Now Savannah officials are facing a federal employment discrimination suit. Federal law mandates that employers must accommodate the religious beliefs of their employees. The library's director said discussions were held with Rehm, but the library found it could not accommodate Rehm's needs and enacted her two-week notice after she refused to work her schedule. But Gardner contends that the library officials did not make a diligent effort to consider and work around their employee's religious convictions. The president of the library board resigned after Rehm was fired, and a number of local patrons have held demonstrations and circulated petitions to protest the dismissal, as well as the resignation of another staff member who refused to work the Sunday hours.

Bush Declares 'Marriage Protection Week'
Adelle Banks, Religion News Service

President Bush has proclaimed Oct. 12-18 as Marriage Protection Week, an observance that also is being promoted by conservative Christian groups. "Marriage is a sacred institution, and its protection is essential to the continued strength of our society," Bush said in the proclamation released Friday. "Marriage Protection Week provides an opportunity to focus our efforts on preserving the sanctity of marriage and on building strong and healthy marriages in America." Defining marriage as "a union between a man and a woman," Bush said his administration seeks to support the institution by aiding couples in creating successful marriages and being good parents.  His proclamation came the day after leaders of groups supporting the observance held a Washington news conference to promote it. Groups such as the Traditional Values Coalition, the American Family Association and Family Research Council hope the week will encourage voters to support legislation favoring traditional marriages, including the proposed Federal Marriage Amendment. Bush did not address the amendment issue in the proclamation.