Media Watch Around The World

Baptism of fire for believers

February 3, 2003 : Barney Zwartz writes in today's Age about religious intolerance and persecution experienced by asylum seekers in Australian detention centres. The Rev Andrew Ford is quoted

The Gospel for a just war

February 3, 2003 : Archbishop Pell writes 'The Gospel for a just war' in Today's Australian

Archbishop of Canterbury wades into asylum controversy

February 3, 2003 : Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, waded into controversy when in direct contradiction to much church opinion he suggested that asylum seekers should be placed in secure accommodation while their applications for residence are processed.

Faith of two astronauts shines beyond shuttle wreckage

February 3, 2003 : As people across the world mourn the loss of seven lives following the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster, members of Grace Community Church in Houston are remembering two of their own as men whose lives reflected the Lord they loved.

Analysis: Sri Lanka’s child soldiers - BBC News

February 3, 2003 : The UN children's agency is trying to find out what Sri Lanka's Tamil Tiger rebels are doing about their child soldiers. The issue is casting a shadow over peace talks.

Radical plans for all-male ‘province’ within the Church of England - The Telegraph (UK)

February 3, 2003 : Radical plans to create a traditionalist Church-within-a-Church for opponents of women bishops are being drawn up by legal experts after the Archbishop of Canterbury expressed sympathy for the idea. Forward in Faith, the traditionalist umbrella group, is to present Dr Rowan Williams with a blueprint for legislation to allow the Church of England to establish a so-called "third province" when women become bishops.

President draws on the Bible to comfort a grieving nation - USA Today

February 3, 2003 : Americans in countless houses of worship prayed for the Columbia astronauts -- Christian, Jewish and Hindu -- over the weekend. But for many, the most memorable words of comfort in the moment of crisis came from their president, not their preacher.
>> Bush Turned to Bible to Soothe Nation : Washington Post

Australian Churches remain firm on hopes for non-military solution on Iraq - National Council of Chu

February 3, 2003 : The General Secretary of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), John Henderson, reaffirmed the views of the Council which has 15 national Australian churches in its membership. "Yesterday's report by Hans Blix to the UN does not change our view that every effort must be made to resolve the solution through non-military means, within the system created by the world's nations in the UN. Those efforts have not yet been exhausted," he said

The Turbulent Priest - The Australian

February 2, 2003 : "Jensen, a youthful-looking 59, has immediate charm and his incisive assessments of church policy, along with the demonstrable growth registered in the Sydney diocese, are bound to impress.
This he attributes to clear Bible teaching, the four-year training of ordinands and church workers at Sydney's Moore Theological College, of which Jensen was principal for many years, and an anti-Catholic suspicion of sacramentalism as opposed to testimonies of conversion. The focus on Jesus is immense."
>> Australian cleric defies Canterbury: The Australian

US religious leaders want to meet Bush face-to-face to warn about - ENI

February 2, 2003 : Forty-six US religious leaders have urged caution about a US war with Iraq and are seeking a face-to-face meeting with President George W. Bush to press their case.

Silence issue settled in New West reconciliation process - Anglican Journal, Canada

February 2, 2003 : A misunderstanding between two groups involved in a reconciliation process in the diocese of New Westminster over what information is released after each meeting has been cleared up, says facilitator Gordon Sloan.

Archbishop steps into asylum debate - BBC News

February 2, 2003 : The Archbishop of Canterbury has expressed support for holding asylum seekers in secure accommodation until it is clear they pose no danger.
Dr Rowan Williams said in an interview with the Sunday Times he believed this was reasonable, so long as their applications were processed faster than at present.

Indonesia Clears Top Islamic Militant in Attacks on Christians - New York Times

February 2, 2003 : JAKARTA, Indonesia, Jan. 30 — An Indonesian court acquitted a prominent Islamic militant leader today on charges of inciting Muslims to attack Christians on the religiously divided Maluku Islands.
The cleric, Jaffar Umar Thalib, the head of a paramilitary group called Laskar Jihad, walked free to chants of "Allahu akbar!" (God is great!) from his followers.
In contrast, two Christian separatist leaders were each sentenced two days ago to three years' imprisonment for subversion during the violence on the Malukus, in which thousands of people have been killed.

Bush not shy about Christ’s role in his life - Chicago Sun-Times

February 2, 2003 : President Bush has many church-state separatists in a twist over the overtly religious language he peppered throughout his State of the Union address this week.
Barry Lynn, head of the group Americans United for Separation of Church and State, called the religious content of the speech "unprecedented."
"Bush seems to be on a religious crusade and that's not the role of the president," said Lynn, who is an ordained minister.

Mugabe asks Ndungane to mediate with Britain - Dispatch Online

February 2, 2003 : JOHANNESBURG -- Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has invited the Anglican Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, to play a mediating role -- possibly between Britain and Zimbabwe -- to resolve that country's economic and political woes.

Conservative wing turns eye to Australia for a saviour - Anglican Journal, Canada

February 2, 2003 : Conservative and orthodox opponents of the new Archbishop of Canterbury have turned to Australia for a saviour, amid predictions that such a move could lead to a serious schism within the Australian church.

Archaeological Finds May Lend Credence to Bible Context - Salt Lake Tribune

February 1, 2003 : It seems too good to be true, but two too-good-to-be-true archaeological finds about the Bible have popped up within less than three months.
Are they not only good but also true? It will take considerable time and scholarly expertise to tell.
First came the Oct. 21 announcement from America's Biblical Archaeology Review regarding the discovery of what is probably the burial box of Jesus' brother James.
Then on Jan. 13, Israel's daily Ha'aretz reported an inscription possibly from 2,800 years ago that would provide evidence for the Jerusalem Temple near the time it was erected.

‘Once You Forgive, There Will Be Healing’ - Christianity Today

January 31, 2003 : In 1999 Gladys Staines became a widow and a single parent after Hindu radicals torched the jeep in which her missionary husband and sons were sleeping. Four years later, she is becoming one of India's most celebrated peacemakers

Christian History Corner: Finding God in a Box - Christianity Today

January 31, 2003 : The word archaeology drums up visions of stuffy professors and remote excavation sites, but the recent spate of findings—most notably the James ossuary and "Solomon's" Temple Mount tablet—should cause us to reconsider. Hershel Shanks, editor of Biblical Archaeology Review, recently enthused that "the James ossuary may be the most important find in the history of New Testament archaeology." And the Tel Aviv newspaper Ha'aretz gushed that Solomon's temple tablet "would be a first-of-its-kind piece of physical evidence" reinforcing biblical narrative.

Churches defend asylum-seekers - Church Times

January 31, 2003 : Church Leaders are alarmed at renewed criticism of asylum-seekers from politicians and in the media. Genuine cases are in danger of getting overlooked, they warn.
The Prime Minister, Tony Blair, said at the weekend that Britain might have to reconsider its international obligation to take in refugees in the light of attempts by alleged terrorists to enter the country.