Religion Briefs

Posted: Friday, January 05, 2001

Women's studies slated

The Women's Bible Studies at the Kenai Christian Church will present "Jesus, the One and Only," by Beth Moore. The 12-week studies will be held Thursdays from 6 to 8 p.m.; Saturdays 9:30 to 11:30 a.m.; and Mondays 6 to 8 p.m.

Child care is available. For more information, call 283-4559.

Church wins right to occupy storefront

LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- A small church in Grand Haven has won the right to occupy a storefront in a business district, a religious freedom organization said.

The Washington, D.C.-based Becket Fund for Religious Liberty said U.S. District Judge David McKeague signed a consent order Dec. 20 that ended the legal dispute.

The fund said the consent judgment acknowledges that a ban on the church based on Grand Haven's zoning ordinance would not survive challenge under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, signed in September by President Clinton.

A Grand Haven city attorney had argued that the zoning ordinance barring the Haven Shores Community Church from opening in a shopping center did not discriminate on the basis of religion.

But Becket Fund president Kevin Hasson called the case ''a wake-up call for other communities that assume they have nearly unlimited latitude in using zoning laws to severely restrict churches and other religious organizations.''

Ruling against hanging commandments fought

LONDON, Ky. (AP) -- County officials are fighting a court ruling that could hold them in contempt if they don't remove the Ten Commandments from their courthouse walls.

An attorney for McCreary and Pulaski counties argued in U.S. District Court in London that the religious document is next to other historical documents and the overall display is not a religious one.

The counties were responding to a motion filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on Dec. 7. It asked that the county officials be held in contempt for hanging the documents despite a judge's order. It is the latest maneuver in a lawsuit that was brought by the ACLU in November 1999.

U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman ruled in May that displays in McCreary and Pulaski counties and in the Harlan County schools had the ''overwhelming effect of endorsing religion.'' She ordered them removed and forbade any similar displays.

The displays were removed, but officials in McCreary and Pulaski put up new ones in October. The Harlan County school board has reposted the commandments along with other historical documents in the district's administrative offices. The board voted unanimously to put similar displays in each of the district's 14 schools.

Officials in all three counties could face time in jail or fines if Coffman decides they defied her order.

The new displays in Pulaski and McCreary counties include many of the same documents as before, although they are no longer shortened to only their religious references. Also, the new displays include an explanation of the role the Ten Commandments and the eight other documents on the walls played ''in the foundation of our system of law and government.''

Pulaski Judge-Executive Darrell Beshears said the county hopes to find a display that Coffman will decide is legal.

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Jewish leader sees more open anti-Semitism

DUESSELDORF, Germany (AP) -- The leader of Germany's Jewish community said anti-Semitism has become increasingly bold and that the country has yet to make a resolute stand against a surge in extreme right-wing violence.

''Anti-Semitism shows itself much more openly today than it did a few years ago,'' said Paul Spiegel, head of the Central Council of Jews.

Spiegel said he has been plagued with hate-mail since the summer, when he joined political leaders including Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder in urging all Germans to fight racism and xenophobia amid a spate of increasingly brutal attacks.

''So much has happened this year that we believed could not again be possible in Germany,'' Spiegel said in an interview, alluding to the country's Nazi past.

Police figures show a steep rise in neo-Nazi attacks this year on targets including immigrants, Holocaust memorials and Jewish cemeteries. That has prompted numerous measures, from public awareness campaigns to calls for tougher sentencing and a drive to outlaw a far-right political party.

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URBANA, Ill. (AP) -- InterVarsity Christian Fellowship's latest foreign missions convention drew 18,730 delegates. The periodic gathering is one of the biggest religious conclaves for North American college students.

At this year's event, which concluded New Year's Eve at the University of Illinois, 8,392 delegates registered definite or probable interest in undertaking Christian careers overseas.

InterVarsity, an evangelical Protestant group, has offices in Madison, Wis., and Toronto, Ontario. It has chapters on 530 U.S. campuses. The first Urbana convention, in 1948, had attendance of 1,294.

End Adv for Friday, Jan. 5



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