01: The Evangelical Manifesto represents an attempt by a wide spectrum of evangelical leaders to avoid the politicization of the movement.
The statement seeks to articulate a clear definition of what it means to be an evangelical and to differentiate it from both fundamentalism and liberal Protestantism. The 19-page manifesto asserts that theological principles should be more important than any policy preferences in defining the movement.
The document, drafted over three years by nine evangelical theologians and writers and signed by 80 pastors, theologians and activists, is largely the brainchild of social critic Os Guinness. Some leaders of the New Christian Right, such as James Dobson, did not sign it. Conservative critics have charged that the document’s call to expand the evangelical agenda beyond such issues as abortion and anti-gay rights may dilute evangelical political action and reduce its effectiveness.
Others have noted that the document is too moderate, not taking a decisive position on the major issues of the day. But such moderation may be the point of the signers as the election season arrives and the evangelical vote is again in the spotlight.
(Source: U.S. News & World Report, May 13)
02: Max Beauvoir is the first person to occupy the newly created position of Supreme Master of the Voodoo religion.
Only officially recognized as a religion by Haiti in 2003, Voodoo has been an underground religion for centuries, often facing stigmatization and opposition for its secretive and syncretistic nature. Beauvoir, a houngan (or priest) and long-time self-styled public relations figure for the religion both in Haiti and the U.S., has used his new platform to press for greater public recognition and rights for Voodoo.
He has spoken out against the misrepresentation of Voodoo by Hollywood, as well as “pogroms” carried out against Voodoo practitioners after the fall of the Duvalier regime in 1986 (the religion was linked with the tonton macoutes militias). The recent establishment of a national federation of Voodooists and their election of Beauvoir as their leader is hoped to gain the religion new legitimacy on the world stage.
(Source: Sightings, May 1)