Envoy: Time has come get tough with Beijing
n The Vatican’s top envoy for China says the time has come for the Holy See to get tough with Beijing and not compromise over religious freedom.
Cardinal Joseph Zen says relations are taking a “worrisome slide” and that a new phase in relations was necessary.
Zen says the Vatican shouldn’t give too much importance to re-establishing diplomatic relations with Beijing because such a move could trick people into thinking there is religious freedom in China when there isn’t.
Pope Benedict XVI has been reaching out to Beijing in hopes of reconciling the official, state-sanctioned church with the underground church that is loyal to Rome.
Judge: Ministry OK to leaflet gay pride event
n ST. LOUIS — A federal judge has issued a permanent order allowing a ministry to leaflet at a gay pride event in St. Louis later this month.
A lawyer representing Apple of His Eye Inc. said Monday that the ministry will resume religious leafleting at St. Louis’ PrideFest on June 27-28, following the judge’s ruling.
Ministry members have said they were threatened with arrest by a ranger when they tried to hand out religious fliers at PrideFest in Tower Grove Park in 2006. Some viewed their actions as disruptive and felt they were violating a city ban on leafleting in public parks.
The group’s lawyer, Rick Nelson, said members of the Messianic Jewish organization believe Jesus Christ is the Messiah and were handling out fliers about the Gospel. The literature did not mention homosexuality, he said.
Possible conflict could prompt change
n LINCOLN — Nebraska’s rules for licensed psychologists could change because of concerns about potential conflicts between religious convictions and sexual orientation.
Jim Cunningham of the Nebraska Roman Catholic Conference says psychologists and other licensed therapists should be able to refuse to treat or refer clients because of the counselors’ religious or moral convictions.
But psychologist James Cole told regulators that such a rule could open the door for discrimination as long as a therapist claimed a religious conflict. Cole represented the Nebraska Psychology Association at a recent hearing on the proposal.
n ATLANTA — Members of the North Avenue Presbyterian Church in Atlanta learned in 2005 that teenage prostitutes had begun working within a few steps of the church’s doors.
In the four years since then, the church has helped build a wide-ranging coalition with the goal of eradicating child prostitution from the streets of Atlanta.
Included in the fight are Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, conservative Christians, feminists, Jews, Muslims and others. They have formed “Street Grace,” an acronym for Galvanizing Resources Against Child Exploitation.
“When you talk to a girl who is 15 and has been prostituted, it doesn’t matter anymore if you are pro-life or pro-choice,” said state Sen. Renee Unterman, who has become active in the campaign.
The Associated Press
The coalition sent hundreds of volunteers this year to lobby at the Capitol for anti-trafficking legislation. Members also are paying for safehouses for child prostitutes, more than tripling the number of beds from seven to 23.