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Weekly News In Review

November 20 - 26, 2005
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The following articles were posted at this past week:

First Comes Gay Marriage then Comes Bestiality in Massachusetts
The Church, the Wardrobe and the holy alliance
Senate urges technology use for portable medical records
Archbishop reveals his unorthodox way to God
U. of Kansas Offers Creationism Study
Islanders pray to Jesus image on plant pot
'Megachurches' draw big crowds
Charles Darwin: Evolution of a Scientist
Vatican wrestles with 'intelligent design'
Vatican-Israeli Talks Progressing
Diocese asked to look into alleged Sacramento miracle

Article: Perilous Times

November 17, 2005 - First Comes Gay Marriage then Comes Bestiality in Massachusetts

BOSTON, November 17, 2005 ( - Four legislators in Massachusetts are quickly following up on their success at legalizing homosexual unions by pushing for softening laws against other forms of sexual deviance. They have introduced a bill that proposes to reduce the penalties associated with the state's criminal prohibition on sex acts with animals...

Indeed, the media has quickly picked up on the trend of acceptance for any and all sorts of conditions that before the 1960's sexual revolution and the politicizing of the psychiatric profession, were universally recognized as serious psychological disorders. New terminology has been established, calling those persons interested in having sexual relations with animals, "zoophiles" or "zoo's" for short, and a campaign has been discretely underway for some time to reduce the public "stigma" against "zoo's." ..

The bill would also amend the penal code to de-criminalize adultery, fornication and the advertisement of abortion.

By calling the bill, "An Act Relative to Archaic Crimes," its sponsors have revealed their bias which assumes that traditional sexual morality is "archaic" and no longer relevant to modern society, an allegation that many family groups and legislators oppose.


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Article: Apostasy

November 20, 2005 - The Church, the Wardrobe and the holy alliance

HOLLYWOOD and Christianity have a long history of disputes but the blockbuster film version of Narnia has led them into an unprecedented alliance.

... Scotland on Sunday can reveal that as a result of this unique arrangement, thousands of churches across the UK will shortly be displaying glossy posters for the film and ministers will even be encouraged to work Narnia-related themes into sermons.

The deal has been arranged with Christian Publishing and Outreach (CPO), a company that sells printed materials and other resources to 20,000 UK churches.

...Scottish churches have already placed orders for the CPO ideas pack, which encourages children to explore the film's "deeper magic".
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Article: One World Government

November 2005 - Senate urges technology use for portable medical records

CAPITOL HILL _ The Senate likes the idea of carrying your medical records on a key chain.

The chamber has passed a bill that encourages the Health and Human Services Department to find ways to improve the information technology used in health care.

Under the bill, hospitals and other health care providers could apply for grants to create new technologies. Such technology might create a universal way to carry records on a key chain.

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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Misc.

November 12, 2005 - Archbishop reveals his unorthodox way to God


THE Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has revealed how his first encounter with God was not at an Anglican or even a Roman Catholic service but at a Mass of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Dr Williams was only 14 when his local Anglican curate took him along to an Orthodox Mass in Swansea celebrated by a visiting Russian priest.

Although his long journey of faith began at his "mother's knee", Dr Williams said the Russian Orthodox Mass was one of only two moments in his teenage years when he met the "living God".
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Article: Creation / Evolution - Debate

November 23, 2005 - U. of Kansas Offers Creationism Study

LAWRENCE, Kan. - Creationism and intelligent design are going to be studied at the University of Kansas, but not in the way advocated by opponents of the theory of evolution.

A course being offered next semester by the university religious studies department is titled "Special Topics in Religion: Intelligent Design, Creationism and other Religious Mythologies."

"The KU faculty has had enough," said Paul Mirecki, department chairman.

"Creationism is mythology," Mirecki said. "Intelligent design is mythology. It's not science. They try to make it sound like science. It clearly is not."

Earlier this month, the state Board of Education adopted new science teaching standards that treat evolution as a flawed theory, defying the view of science groups.

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Article: Roman Catholicism and the Last Days

November 21, 2005 - Islanders pray to Jesus image on plant pot

COZUMEL: Mexicans have set up a shrine at a plant pot on the grounds of a beach resort on the Caribbean island of Cozumel after an image said to depict Jesus appeared on it following Hurricane Wilma a month ago,

A receptionist at the Occidental Grand resort noticed the image likened to Jesus' face as shaken guests emerged from a storm shelter after huddling for three days while the hurricane hurled rain and debris.

Local media are calling it a miracle and draw a link between the apparition and the fact that none of the 200 guests had suffered so much as a bruise during the storm, which tore up other beach resorts on Cozumel, bit holes in concrete buildings, ripped up sections of highway and flattened trees.

The image stands out clearly as a Jesus-like face on the side of the enameled terra cotta planter - whose plants also survived the storm despite being outside for its duration.

"The first person who saw it was a receptionist. Then the guests started coming to see it and before long people were praying and lighting candles," said a security guard near the pot, which is roped off with a crimson cord strung between brass poles and has a simple candle burning in front of it,

"A lot of people wept when they saw it. There was a lot of emotion because it appeared after everyone spent three days together in the storm shelter," said the guard, declining to give his name.
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Article: Apostasy

November 22, 2005 - 'Megachurches' draw big crowds

CHICAGO (Reuters) - On a recent Sunday at Willow Creek Community Church, a Christian rock band joined by dancing children powered up in the cavernous main hall, their images ablaze on several gigantic screens.

Thousands of worshipers from the main floor to the balcony and mezzanine levels were on their feet rocking to a powerful sound system. Outside cars filled a parking lot fit for a shopping mall. Inside some people drifted into small Bible study groups or a bookstore and Internet cafe for lattes, cappuccinos and seats by a fireplace.

This church near Chicago and others like it number their congregations in the thousands on any given Sunday in stadium-size sanctuaries; but in the end a major appeal of America's megachurches may be the chance to get small. Institutions like California's Saddleback Church, Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Illinois and Houston's Lakewood Church, each drawing 20,000 or more on a weekend, offer not just a vast, shared attraction but a path that tries to link individuals on a faith-sustaining one-to-one level beyond the crowd, observers and worshipers said.

"These churches can do a ton of things that smaller churches can't," said Nancy Ammerman, professor of the sociology of religion at the Boston University School of Theology.

"They have the resources to produce a professional-quality production every weekend, with music (often specially composed for the occasion and backed by a professional ensemble) and video and lighting and computer graphics and a preacher who knows how to work a crowd," she said.

Warren said U.S. Protestants have returned to the 19th century roots of the evangelical movement, emphasizing social issues such as caring for the sick, the poor and the powerless, and not just concentrating on personal salvation.

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Article: Creation / Evolution - Misc.

November 25, 2005 - Charles Darwin: Evolution of a Scientist

He had planned to enter the ministry, but his discoveries on a fateful voyage 170 years ago shook his faith and changed our conception of the origins of life.

Darwin knew full well what he was up to; as early as 1844, he famously wrote to a friend that to publish his thoughts on evolution would be akin to "confessing a murder." To a society accustomed to searching for truth in the pages of the Bible, Darwin introduced the notion of evolution: that the lineages of living things change, diverge and go extinct over time, rather than appear suddenly in immutable form, as Genesis would have it. A corollary is that most of the species alive now are descended from one or at most a few original forms (about which heâ€"like biologists even todayâ€"has little to say). By itself this was not a wholly radical idea; Darwin's own grandfather, the esteemed polymath Erasmus Darwin, had suggested a variation on that idea decades earlier. But Charles Darwin was the first to muster convincing evidence for it.
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Article: Creation / Evolution - Debate

November 25, 2005 - Vatican wrestles with 'intelligent design'

VATICAN CITY - Ever since the Roman inquisition condemned Galileo for observing that the Earth revolved around the sun, the Vatican has held back from making sweeping challenges to scientific thought for fear of overstepping its bounds.

So it's understandable that Pope Benedict XVI raised eyebrows when he recently described the universe as an "intelligent project that is the cosmos." Not only did he echo the language of the intelligent design movement, he also waded into a controversy that has blurred the boundaries between faith and science in the United States and beyond.

The debate echoing through Vatican corridors these days, however, is whether the pope has given the Catholic Church's tacit support to intelligent design advocates and their ongoing campaign to debunk Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.


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Article: Ecumenical Movement - Other Religions Uniting with Roman Catholicism

November 25, 2005 - Vatican-Israeli Talks Progressing

TEL AVIV, Israel, NOV. 25, 2005 - The Holy See and Israel, in a joint communiqué, acknowledged that negotiations between the two are progressing.

...The communiqué, published by the agency AsiaNews, stated that "the delegations have dealt with a number of significant issues."
The two delegations, added the report, "have brought about progress in negotiating the 'comprehensive agreement' mandated by Article 10, paragraph 2 of the Fundamental Agreement."
"The atmosphere was cordial," it said, "and the delegations are looking forward to their next scheduled meetings."
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Article: Signs and Wonders

November 25, 2005 - Diocese asked to look into alleged Sacramento miracle

Sacramento, Nov. 25, 2005 (CNA) - A statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary which seems to be crying tears of blood outside a Vietnamese Catholic Church in California has caused quite a stir.

Pilgrims and curious locals have been flocking by the hundreds to see the alleged miracle which has been taking place at Sacramento's Catholic Martyrs Church.

Sacramento resident Andre Nguyen told CBS channel 13 that "To me, personally, it is a miracle. You believe it or don't believe it, that's okay. But I strongly believe it."

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