Week of January 2, 2006
Louisiana College has hired Dennis Dunn as its new
head football coach. Dunn, who turned Evangel Christian Academy into a
Louisiana and national high school power during the past two decades,
takes over for David Armstrong who did not have his contract renewed by
the school after this past season. Dunn began his coaching career in
1984 at Southwood High School in Shreveport. In 1987, Dunn moved to
Woodlawn High School of Shreveport to become the head coach. During
Dunn’s five-year tenure at Woodlawn, his teams won three district
championships and made the state 5A playoffs each year. In 1992, Dunn
took over as the head coach at Evangel Christian Academy. During his 14
years at Evangel, his teams won nine state championships and one
national championship. Dunn also coached 19 All-Americans during his
time at Evangel Christian Academy.
In a move that could impact the outcome of a
California “gay marriage” case, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has
nominated what some are calling a moderate to the state Supreme Court.
Last month Schwarzenegger nominated San Francisco appeals court Judge
Carol Corrigan to replace Janice Rogers Brown, a conservative who left
the state Supreme Court to become a U.S. appeals court judge. A lawsuit
seeking the legalization of gay marriage is making its way through the
state court system and eventually will end up before the seven-member
California Supreme Court. Brown almost certainly would have voted
against its legalization. Corrigan’s position on the issue is unknown.
Corrigan’s nomination received mixed reviews from conservatives, who
had hoped to see Schwarzenegger nominate Vance Raye, another appeals
court judge who was thought to be under consideration. The state’s
chief justice, attorney general and an appeals court judge will be
responsible for confirming or rejecting Corrigan’s nomination.
University of Louisville researchers may have
discovered a way to provide treatments like those hoped for from
embryonic stem cells without the violations to the sanctity of human
life that such research produces. The researchers reported they have
been able to extract stem cells from adult mice that change into brain,
nerve, heart and pancreatic cells, according to the Dec. 13 issue of
The Louisville Courier-Journal. The research must be duplicated,
however, with cells from adult human beings. If the research shows
adult stem cells can produce results similar to those in mice, and
other researchers can replicate the method in a widespread fashion, the
discovery will become “incredibly important,” said Stephen Emerson of
the University of Pennsylvania, The Courier-Journal reported.
The Medicare supplement plans available through
GuideStone Financial Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention will
provide prescription drug benefits that exceed the minimum standard set
by Medicare, agency officials report. Beginning Jan. 1, 2006, all
individuals with Medicare will be eligible for a new Medicare-approved
prescription drug benefit also known as Medicare Part D. However,
Medicare recipients who currently receive healthcare and drug coverage
through entities such as GuideStone also may choose to keep that
coverage instead of enrolling in a separate Part D plan. By continuing
prescription drug coverage for individuals with Medicare, GuideStone
qualifies to receive a subsidy that ultimately will be passed on to
participants in the form of reduced monthly costs for the GuideStone
senior plans. In addition, benefits will improve for both of
GuideStone’s Medicare supplement plans, an agency spokesperson said.
Participants enrolled in one of GuideStone’s Medicare supplement plans
do not need to do anything to continue their coverage. As long as they
do not enroll in a Medicare Part D plan, their current medical coverage
at GuideStone can continue. Members who enroll in a Medicare Part D
plan will lose GuideStone’s medical coverage and may not be able to
return to the plan at a later date. For information, persons may call
GuideStone at (800) 262-0511.
Protestant and Roman Catholic church leaders in
India have condemned the three bombings that killed 59 people in New
Delhi as Indians prepared to celebrate the Hindu festival of Diwali and
the Muslim Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan. “This is a most
inhuman act targeting innocent people,” Bishop D.K. Sahu, general
secretary of the National Council of Churches in India, said in a
statement Oct. 31. The NCCI is composed of 29 Protestant and Orthodox
churches. The bombs exploded Oct. 29 at two New Delhi markets and near
a bus on one of the biggest shopping weekends of the year as Indians
began to prepare for the celebration of Diwali, the Hindu festival of
lights, which began Nov. 1.
A hospital in Lausanne, Switzerland, has confirmed
it will soon permit an assisted-suicide organization to aid terminally
ill patients in taking their lives on its property. Beginning in
January, the Vaud University Hospital Center will allow the Exit
society to assist in the suicides of patients who are already in its
care and unable to return home, the Associated Press reported. The
hospital will not admit people, however, whose sole goal is to commit
suicide, a spokesman said. Exit is able to assist in suicides for Swiss
residents who are terminally ill in locations other than hospitals.
Unlike the Netherlands and Belgium, Switzerland has not legalized
euthanasia, but it does provide passive assistance for the terminally
ill who seek death.
In her latest book, “Christ the Lord,” novelist Anne
Rice turns away from the doomed souls of her best-selling tales about
vampires and witches in favor of a first-person account of the
7-year-old Jesus. Rice, 64, returned to the Catholic Church in 1998
after a 30-year absence. “When my faith was given back to me by God,
redemption became a part of the world in which I lived,” she said. “And
I wasn’t going to write any more books where that wasn’t the case.
Rice’s new novel focuses on Jesus and his family during their first
year in Nazareth after leaving Egypt following the death of King Herod.
Rice meticulously recounts the daily life of Jews in Galilee against
the backdrop of Roman occupation. She also focuses on the young Jesus
discovering – and grappling with – his divinity. Rice’s Jesus is
conflicted and confused, a dutiful son who comes to terms with what he
first only senses – that he is the son of God, yet fully human. Rice
said her greatest hope for people reading “Christ the Lord” is that
they will at least begin to think about Jesus, if not come to believe
in him. Riche said her ultimate goal is for readers to think, “Wow,
maybe he did exist.”
Scholastic Parent and Child magazine has refused to
advertise a talking Jesus doll, citing the need to respect pre-school
students of all faiths. “Scholastic has a long-standing credo that
promotes tolerance and diversity,” a magazine spokesperson said.
Because the national magazine is often distributed in public
classrooms, the spokesperson said advertising the dolls in its
November/December holiday gift guide would be inappropriate. “We don’t
accept any kind of religious advertisement,” he said. The
scripture-spouting figures of Jesus, Moses and other Bible characters
hit the market in August and have met with a flurry of media coverage.
At the push of a button on their backs, the foot-high dolls recite
popular biblical verses. They sport hand-stitched costumes typical of
the character’s era. Scholastic first asked dollmaker One2believe to
“tone down” the religious message of the $14,000 advertisement, sources
report. When the company refused, the magazine chose not to run the ad.
Two women were the first to take advantage of
Britain’s new legalization of civil partnerships for homosexual couples
when they exchanged vows and rings during a ceremony at Belfast City
Hall Dec. 19. British Parliament approved the law in November 2004, and
Northern Ireland’s shorter registration period made it the first part
of the United Kingdom to grant such partnerships. Similar ceremonies
were to follow in Scotland Dec. 20 and in England and Wales Dec. 21,
according to The Times of London newspaper. The new law gives
homosexual couples the same property and inheritance rights as married
heterosexuals and entitles them to the same pension, immigration and
tax benefits, the Times said. The civil partnerships law, similar to
civil union laws in Vermont and Connecticut, grants homosexual couples
the legal benefits of marriage without using the word “marriage.”
Unlike the United States – where there is a significant movement to ban
gay marriage – European counties have liberalized their laws in recent
years to include homosexual couples. Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain
recognize “gay marriage.” Other countries, such as Germany and Sweden,
grant same-sex couples at least some of the legal benefits of marriage.
If the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion
in the United States was overturned, only seven states have laws that
effectively would prohibit most abortions, a new report indicates.
Louisiana, Arkansas, Michigan, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Dakota and
Wisconsin either have pre-Roe laws or ones enacted since that 1973
ruling that would bar abortions with few exceptions, the Life Legal
Defense Fund report notes. Those states constitute less than 10 percent
of the United States population, meaning more than a million abortions
still could be performed legally each year, the recent report explains.
“The results of this study will come as a surprise to many Americans,”
a Life Legal Defense Fund spokesperson said. “Overturning Roe and Doe
would send the issue of when abortion should be permitted back to the