News Bites

  • Cross Talk. As part of a cultural exchange initiated by the Mennonite Central Committee, Evelyn and Wallace Schellenberger are moving to Qom, Iran. To prepare they met with Dr. Mustafa Zahrani, who advised them to seek commonalities between Christianity and Islam—for example, the popular Iranian phrase "act like Jesus," which means to do something in a surprising manner.
    • Daewoo Blues. Lead by Catholic Bishop William McNaughton of Choi Ki-san, South Korea, numerous South Korean parishes have pledged to contribute a tenth of their monthly salary to support the children of dismissed workers of Daewoo Motor Company. All the Daewoo unemployed, regardless of religious creed, will be able to request aid.
    • Re-Reorganized. On the 171st anniversary of the founding of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, the church officially changed its name to Community of Christ. "Now we can explain who we are and what we are about as opposed to who we are not," said church member (and Call to Renewal staffer) Ralph Gunn.
    • Tax the Rich. At recent U.N. Human Rights meetings, Pax Christi International’s Michael Hovey proposed an innovative way to make public funds available for universal employment—implement a tax on all speculative financial transactions. This would "deter speculative movements and avoid their massive and negative social consequences," Hovey said.
    • Body Bank. The Italian Catholic organization Caritas Group Against Trafficking has uncovered an illegal network linking a prominent Nigerian bank with young women sold into sexual slavery. The bank offers the women "loans" to cover travel costs to Italy, where the bank guarantees them honest work. In Italy, however, the women are turned over to a prostitution ring to pay off their loans.
    • Sikorsky Six. Six Oberlin College students were charged with unlawful entry when they disrupted the opening session of a Sikorsky Corporation suppliers conference in Washington, D.C. They were opposing Sikorsky’s involvement in and profit from the U.S.-backed "Plan Colombia."
    • Mon Dieu. While religiosity in Europe plummets, the French celebrate le difference. A recent survey in Pelerin, France’s largest Catholic weekly, reveals that prayer continues to inspire 67 percent of the French. Personal prayer is preferred over prayer in church. Only 2 percent of respondents regard prayer as "old fashioned."

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