01: The National Clergy Council is an increasingly influential player in the New Christian Right.
Led by anti-abortion activist Rev. Rob Schenck, the council is said to represent 5,000 conservative ministers across the U.S. and was instrumental in the protests surrounding the removal of Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Ten Commandments monument. The Moore protests have given new prominence to the council and to a more conservative wing of the Christian right that favors a return to biblically-based laws and symbols in government.
One sign of Schenck’s influence are the miniature plaques inscribed with the Ten Commandments that he has distributed to 400 politicians in Washington, asking them to pledge to work towards a government rooted in Mosaic moral law and “Judeo-Christian ethics.” The council is also lobbying for the legislation of the Ten Commandments Defense Act, which would permit the commandments display on state property, and a constitutional amendment banning gay marriages. (Source: Washington Monthly, October)
02: Archbishop Peter Jasper Akinola of Nigeria has become among the most important leaders in the Anglican communion.
Akinola, known as an uncompromising traditionalist, emerged on the world scene last summer when he led other conservative Third World Anglican bishops in opposing the move to ordain gays and lesbians and bless same-sex ceremonies in churches in North America and Britain [He recently cut off communion with the Canadian diocese of New Westminster for its approval of same-sex ceremonies.]
In the past Akinola had generally advised his conservative colleagues to work quietly for internal reform and not to disrupt traditionally autonomous Anglican jurisdictions (such as by overrding bishops in the U.S. to oversee American traditionalists) . . . but the accumulating gains of the gay rights movement in the West and his perception that approving such changes will weaken Christianity in its contestation with Islam in Africa may have compelled Akinola to assume this new conservative leadership position.
(Source: Atlantic Monthly, November)
03: The Hilla School of Religion in Iraq considers itself the Arab world’s only school of theology teaching Muslim, Christian and Judaic texts. The experimental school, founded six months ago by Shiite scholar Sheikh Farqad al-Quzwini and housed in the former Saddam Hussein Mosque in Hilla,, breaks from the tradition of Shiite orthodoxy in several ways.
The school has tried to reinterpret Islam by creating a curriculum that addresses the theological concerns of the three monotheistic faiths. The school’s 230 students study the texts of the world religions as well as seek insights from secular culture and science to find solutions problems in the Muslim world.
(Source: Christian Science Monitor, Oct. 7)