Muslims, Catholics, Protestants and SDA

>           C U R R E N T   N E W S   S U M M A R Y
>               by the Editors of ReligionToday
> November 16, 2000
> Muslims and Catholics in the United States are making an attempt
> to understand each other better. About 10,000 Muslims, Catholics,
> and members of other religions met last weekend at a convention
> in Washington, D.C. Among the speakers were Chiara Lubich,
> founder of the Focolare ecumenical movement (see link #1 below),
> Cardinal William H. Keeler of Baltimore, and Imam W.D. Muhammad,
> religious leader of moderate black Muslims, according to Zenit, a
> Catholic news service.
> ...Keeler read a message to the convention delegates from Pope
> John Paul II. "At a time of tension in the world, the great
> religious traditions have a vital contribution to make to the
> search for peace, on the basis of the transcendent values found
> in them," the pope wrote. "Only true dialogue can open the way to
> a future worthy of the human family and only a falsification of
> religion can collude with violence."
> ...Muhammad spoke about the suffering caused by racism, but said
> that God's love allows men to feel like one universal family,
> created by a common Father. "In these times we can no longer live
> in isolation," the Muslim leader said. "Christians and Muslims
> need to meet and get to know each other. This is what we can show
> to the world: people of different religions who see themselves as
> all belonging to one humanity; people who have found a new life
> because the way to prejudice has been lifted from their hearts."
> Evangelical Protestants and Seventh-day Adventists are looking
> for ways to cooperate. A planned series of meetings between
> Adventist leaders and representatives of the World Evangelical
> Fellowship (see link #2 below) is intended to foster
> understanding between the two groups, according to Adventist News
> Service. They have significant differences over some doctrines
> and practices.
> ..."We want to move beyond false stereotypes, to see where we
> agree and disagree, and to explore areas where we could mutually
> benefit by working together, such as on religious liberty
> issues," said Bert Beach, director of inter-church relations for
> the Seventh-day Adventist church. The groups will exchange
> scholarly papers on various subjects over the next few years.
> ...The goal is to reach a "clear understanding between the
> parties in the dialogue regarding each others' opinions," Beach
> said. "They are not interested in forging agreements on
> theological or doctrinal issues. There is no interest in
> ecumenism as such on either side," he said, but they hope to
> establish profiles of each other to know how to better
> communicate.
> A minister has been barred from visiting students at their school
> during lunch breaks. Officials of the Molalla River School
> District in Portland, Ore., called police to prevent Jason
> Rhoads, a Nazarene pastor, from entering Molalla River Middle
> School, according to Reuters (see link #3 below). Rhoads had been
> meeting with students during lunch breaks for more than a year,
> but was asked to stop when a parent complained.
> ...Rhoads said he never preached to the students on school
> grounds, but did invite them to church. "I'm coming there on the
> invitation of students. I'm coming as a friend. I don't go there
> to preach, teach, or proselytize religion," he said.
> ...School officials met with Rhoads and his church's senior
> pastor, but could not come to an agreement. A meeting between the
> school board, the community, and local pastors also failed to
> bring about a compromise, the news service reported. "As we see
> it right now, we are just following the law. This is
> inappropriate. We don't allow other groups such as the Girl
> Scouts or the Boy Scouts into the school," school board chairman
> Ralph Gierke said.
> The new "Christian Declaration on Marriage" is drawing strong
> reactions. An unusual mixture of national religious leaders (see
> link #4 below) this week released the document, a
> first-of-its-kind declaration rejecting same-sex marriage and
> calling for "practical ministries and influence for reversing the
> course of our culture."
> ...Evangelical, mainline, and Catholic leaders endorsed the
> document. They include Robert Edgar, general secretary of the
> National Council of Churches, who had reportedly publicly opposed
> California Proposition 22, which defined marriage as the union of
> one man and one woman.
> ...About 200 protesters blasted the Catholic Church's policy on
> homosexual rights on Nov. 14, demanding that it stop its
> "spiritual violence." Police arrested 100 protesters after they
> blocked the entrance to the National Shrine of the Immaculate
> Conception, according to news reports. U.S. Catholic bishops are
> holding their fall conference in the capital this week.
> A woman who allowed herself to be led by a Satan worshiper into
> burning churches has been sentenced to 16 years in prison. Angela
> Wood, 25, an exotic dancer from Athens, Ga., helped Jay Scott
> Ballinger set fire to at least 30 churches in 20 states, the
> Indianapolis Star reported. Wood acted as a lookout at most of
> the crimes, but admitted to setting fire to two of the churches
> herself, the paper reported.
> ..."I was too lazy to think for myself, and I let someone else
> influence me. I can't blame anyone for that," Wood told U.S.
> District Judge Sarah Evans Barker at her sentencing. Ballinger
> controlled her by beating her and threatening to take away their
> son, Wood told the court. Barker said that was no excuse for her
> actions, the paper reported. Wood could have received more than
> 21 years but got a lesser sentence because she cooperated with
> authorities.
> ...Ballinger is serving a 42½ year sentence for burning 26
> churches in eight states, and also is awaiting trial on federal
> charges of burning several churches in Georgia. He could receive
> a life sentence because one of the fires led to the death of a
> volunteer firefighter.