Originally created 02/26/00

Faith digest



Consecrations spurned

LONDON -- Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey, the world leader of Anglican Christians, says he cannot recognize the consecrations of two Americans as bishops because church law was violated.

The Rev. Charles H. Murphy III of Pawleys Island, S.C., and the Rev. John H. Rodgers Jr. of Ambridge, Pa., were consecrated in Singapore Jan. 31 to be missionary bishops serving Americans who think the Episcopal Church, the U.S. branch of Anglicanism, is too liberal.

Approval of homosexual clergy and couples by some Episcopal bishops is the prime issue.

"I cannot recognize their episcopal ministry until such time as a full rapprochement and reconciliation has taken place between them and the appropriate authorities within the Episcopal Church," Archbishop Carey said in a letter to all bishops worldwide.

Archbishop Carey issued the letter after a visit from the head of the Episcopal Church, Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold.

Anglican ministers must be authorized by bishops where they intend to work, Archbishop Carey said, and that was not the case with the Rev. Murphy and the Rev. Rodgers. He also opposed the consecrations because they were done secretively.

The Rev. Murphy and the Rev. Rodgers responded that they are under the authority of the archbishops in Rwanda and Singapore who authorized their consecrations.The leaders of all Anglican branches will take up the issue at a meeting March 23-28 in Oporto, Portugal.

Inappropriate prayer

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- A Jewish legislator thinks opening prayers in the Kentucky House that base salvation on faith in Jesus Christ belong in church, not a public forum.

Rep. Kathy Stein, a Democrat from Lexington, said a prayer by the Rev. Tim H. Mills, a Baptist from Pineville, was only the latest example of House prayers that cater exclusively to Christians.

The Rev. Mills' invocation concluded by saying, "This I pray in the only name given among men, whereby we must be saved, in the name of Jesus, Amen."

Rep. Stein drew applause when she told legislators her family takes its Jewish faith seriously. She said she listens carefully to the House invocations to decide whether she can join in saying "Amen." Most times she cannot, she said.

The Rev. Mills said he didn't think his prayer should make Jews feel excluded. "I just quoted Scripture, no personal words. I thought that was the good thing to do."

Event permit denied

REIDSVILLE, N.C. -- The American Civil Liberties Union has sued on behalf of a Nation of Islam leader who was refused the right to hold a downtown street festival. The suit in U.S. District Court says this violated Amon Muhammed's First Amendment rights.

"We believe the city denied this request because this was the Nation of Islam and because several City Council members are opposed to the Nation of Islam," said Caitlyn Fulghum, an ACLU attorney.

City officials acknowledge religion was a main reason for denying Mr. Muhammed a permit in 1997 for his proposed Black Family Day festival. A city ordinance prohibits the city from issuing permits for any religious-oriented event, officials said.

The Reidsville city council held a public hearing and rejected Mr. Muhammed's request in March 1997.