- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 22, 2000

Frequent question

"A nervous J.K. Rowling quickly read a passage from 'Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire' at Toronto's Sky Dome stadium last week in what organizers are calling the largest author reading in the world.

"Although the International Festival of Authors, the organizers of the event, would not release official numbers, thousands of children, parents and teachers took the morning off to hear Rowling read …

"After the reading, Rowling quickly raised a few questions that she is asked most often and answered them … . In response to the frequent question, 'Do you feel your books encourage Satanism?' Rowling said her common response is, 'No, you are a lunatic.' "

Leah Eichler, writing on "J.K. Rowling does Toronto," in the Oct. 30 issue of Publisher's Weekly

'To promote our views'

"A church-state organization that is a leading critic of religious conservatives was among the sponsors of a recent homosexual film festival in Washington.

"Americans United for Separation of Church and State was a sponsor of the 10th annual 'Reel Affirmations Film Festival' held in mid-October in the capital … .

"Americans United contributed to the film festival in order to distribute its material to those who attended, AU executive director Barry Lynn told Baptist Press … .

"The film festival is described by One in Ten, the organization behind the event, as the 'crown jewel in cultural events in the D.C. gay and lesbian community.' …

"AU would not have been able to have an information table at the festival unless it had contributed financially, Lynn said. AU also rents space at meetings of religious organizations … 'But we don't endorse everything that occurs at a United Church of Christ convention,' said Lynn, an ordained UCC minister … .

" 'I wanted to be there to promote the views of our group,' Lynn said. 'So I don't particularly care what they showed.

" 'The bottom line of all of this is the country is divided into two groups of people,' [Lynn] said. 'One says people like Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson and Richard Land ought to run the government and the other says [they] shouldn't.'

"Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said, 'I have no desire to run any government.' "

Tom Strode, writing on "AU sponsors homosexual film festival to warn about religious right, it says," Nov. 16 in the Baptist Press

Family challenges

"Many of the most important challenges facing us as Americans can't be solved by government, but must be solved by the family.

"Families are where we all turn first for love and fulfillment and for solutions to the challenges that we face. And there is no government program that can connect a grandparent to a grandchild; there's no policy proposal that can teach a child discipline, tolerance and respect; there's no law that can make a mother or father more actively engaged in their children's education.

"Yet, strengthening families must be a national priority. We cannot have a strong nation if our families are weak. And there is a lot we can do across the public, private and nonprofit sectors to make it easier, not harder, to be a strong family today… .

"For many working parents, just finding enough time to spend with their children to pass on the right values has become a daily struggle. Many in my generation are finding it hard to balance the needs and the expenses of our own aging parents on one hand and college-aged children on the other… .

"[T]ogether, let us build a country that honors and upholds family life across the generations. And let us give every one of our families the chance to shape a future that is truly worthy of the family that we call America."

Vice President Al Gore, speaking Monday via satellite to a conference in Nashville, Tenn.

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