- The Washington Times - Saturday, July 21, 2007

Baptist appreciates Vatican document

LOUISVILLE — Instead of taking offense at a recent Vatican statement reasserting the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church, evangelicals should seize the chance to respond with equal candor that “any church defined by the claims of the papacy is no true church,” according to a prominent Southern Baptist leader.

The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote on his blog that he appreciated the document’s clarity in voicing a key distinction between Catholics and Protestants over papal authority, differences he said are often forgotten “in this era of confusion and theological laxity.”

This month, the Vatican released a document restating a 2000 document and the Second Vatican Council in saying that only Catholicism “has the fullness of the means of salvation” and other Christian bodies are therefore incomplete.

“We should together realize and admit that this is an issue worthy of division,” Mr. Mohler wrote. “The Roman Catholic Church is willing to go so far as to assert that any church that denies the papacy is no true church.

Muslim scarves OK’d for license photos

CINCINNATI — Two Muslim women have the right to continue wearing their head scarves when sitting for a driver’s license photo, the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles said.

Clerks at separate bureau offices in southwest Ohio were wrong to insist that the women remove the scarves, also known as hijabs, which are expressions of faith and modesty, said Tom Hunter, spokesman for the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the motor vehicles bureau. The women’s photos were shot again for free.

“It was just a misunderstanding on the part of BMV employees as to what the policy was,” Mr. Hunter said. “We want to be respectful to all people and all cultures.”

People sitting for driver’s license photographs can’t wear head coverings, according to Ohio policy.

Missouri Synod re-elects leader

ST. LOUIS — The head of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, the Rev. Gerald Kieschnick, will serve a third term as president of the 2.5-million member church.

Mr. Kieschnick was re-elected at the church’s convention in Houston. He received 644 votes, or 52 percent of the delegates’ vote. The Rev. John Wohlrabe Jr. of Virginia Beach came in second with 42 percent of the vote.

The 64-year-old Mr. Kieschnick has been president of the St. Louis-based church since 2001. The Houston native is a graduate of Concordia Theological Seminary. He previously served 10 years as president of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod’s Texas District and worked with the Lutheran Foundation of Texas.

Panel advises airport on decorations

SEATTLE — Decking the halls with boughs of holly is fine as long as it doesn’t look like Christmas at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, an advisory panel has recommended.

The region’s largest airport, scene of a furor over holiday displays last winter, should be decorated for the holidays again this year, but not with any religious symbols, the Port of Seattle’s Holiday Decorations Advisory Committee decided.

“The use of light and color is especially appropriate in Seattle due to our dark winter travel season,” but holiday decorations should “reflect the Pacific Northwest environment and our diverse community, and convey universal values, such as peace and harmony,” the panel recommended.

From wire dispatches and staff reports