The principal of Capitol Hill Elementary School in PortlandOregon excluded the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance and its use of the words “under God” from the school’s end-of-year promotion ceremony for the fifth graders in order to promote diversity and to not offend the families of the Muslim students that attend the school.
Peter J. Smith reports that a mother trying to retain sole parental rights over her biological child from her former lesbian lover has lost her appeal in the Virginia Supreme Court, even though the state has a constitutional amendment banning same-sex civil unions.
The Virginia high court on 6 June agreed with the state appeals court ruling, which stated a Virginia trial court had overstepped its bounds by invalidating a Vermont trial court's orders that mandated Lisa Miller allow her former lesbian partner, Janet Jenkins, visitation rights to Miller's biological child Isabella.
David Corry, a lawyer with the Liberty Counsel, told media he hopes the US Supreme Court will agree to hear the case. "It's an important issue as to whether citizens from one state can have another state decide custody of their children that were not born in that state and, as citizens of Virginia, they weren't even entitled to enter into a civil union."
The Liberty Counsel released a statement saying, "Lisa is the fit, biological mother of a five-year-old daughter, with whom Janet has neither a biological nor an adoptive relationship."
"Same-sex unions disrupt the traditional family structure and pit one state against another. Children are the collateral damage of those pressing the same-sex union agenda."
Graeme Stilwell reports that the Presbyterian Church in South Canterbury, New Zealand has been labeled courageous and innovative by the church's national leader as it adopts a team approach to overcome a shortage of full-time, ordained Presbyterian ministers in the district.
The ministries have become vacant through natural attrition.
Pat McCaughan reports that Bishop Marc Andrus of the Diocese of California is encouraging all couples, regardless of sexual orientation, to obtain secular marriages before seeking the church's blessing, as a way to support same-gender couples and "our continued witness to God's inclusive love."
Andrus also said he intends to serve as a deputy marriage commissioner, and urged clergy and lay Episcopalians also to "be deputized" and volunteer to preside at same-gender marriages, which are slated to begin 17 June.
Andrus also said he opposes a 4 November ballot initiative to amend the state constitution to limit marriage to a man and a woman. If passed, it would overrule the California Supreme Court decision, which struck down an eight-year-old ban on gay marriage. The court on 6 June refused to stay its decision, paving the way for same-sex couples to legally marry starting 17 June.
Proponents of the November 4 ballot initiative hope to add California to the list of 26 states that have approved constitutional amendments banning same-gender marriage. If passed, it is unclear how the measure would affect the status of marriages performed prior to November 4.
Burge is encouraged by reports that young people are discovering reformed theology. Many, he noted, are moving away from mainline denominations, tired of worship services that focus on men, not God.
Burge pointed to Passion Conferences in which between 10,000 and 15,000 college students regularly attend. The renewed interest also is being led by elders. He cited Timothy Keller's book, "The Reason for God," which is on The New York Times best-seller list and the works of Baptist minister John Piper.
Also speaking during the State of the Church report was the Reverend Parker Williamson, editor emeritus.
Williamson said when the General Assembly of the PCUSA meets 18 June in San Jose, Calif., at stake is how $2 billion in donor-designated contributions to the church will be used. Williamson said the Presbyterian Foundation is the fiduciary authority of those funds and they should not be used by the General Assembly Council, as has been proposed.
"I think it's the most important issue that's coming to this General Assembly,” Williamson said.
In a 30 May decision, AHRC panelist Lori Andreachuk also ordered Stephen Boissoin, 41, to request The Advocate publish her judgment against him.
She has also imposed a lifetime ban on ever speaking or writing "disparagingly" about homosexuals - in the media, on the Internet, in speaking engagements or in emails. She also ordered him to take down any "disparaging" remarks from his website.
Catholic Civil Rights League president Phil Horgan compared the forced apology to a "re-education program" one might find in a totalitarian state. He called Andreachuk's decision "highly problematic," "intrusive" and "frankly unworkable."
Boissoin stands by every word he wrote, even though he has been branded a hatemonger on the front pages of his local paper and said he has been refused the opportunity to effectively rebut accusations against him.
"I will never apologize," Boissoin said. "The only way I will pay the money is if it prevents me from appealing."
Boissoin has been left penniless by the six-year legal battle.
Presbyterians-Week is a product of the Christian Observer Foundation, publisher of the oldest international Presbyterian and Reformed periodical. Dr. Edwin P. Elliott, Publisher - Bob Williams, Managing Editor