Friday, August 4, 2006

Episcopal leader calls for Williams’ guidance

PITTSBURGH — The leader of a network of conservative Episcopal dioceses says the global Anglican Communion will unravel unless the archbishop of Canterbury helps U.S. conservatives distance themselves from the Episcopal Church.

Pittsburgh Bishop Robert Duncan said that if Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams fails to address the concerns of U.S. conservatives “any hope for a Communion-unifying solution slips away, and so does the shape and leadership of the Anglican Communion as we have known them.”

Bishop Duncan made the remarks Monday at a meeting of the Anglican Communion Network, which represents 10 Episcopal dioceses and more than 900 parishes with traditional views of the Bible.

Seven of the 10 network dioceses have appealed to Archbishop Williams as the spiritual head of the world’s Anglicans to appoint another U.S. national leader for them after the June election of the new Episcopal presiding bishop, the Rt. Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori.

To date, Archbishop Williams has only suggested that a two-tier Anglican fellowship, with traditionalists on homosexual clergy issues having a stronger voice, might be a way to preserve unity within the faith.

Cut faith references state employees told

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Workers in the Ohio Department of Taxation have been told to stop attaching religious postscripts and other messages to their e-mails.

Internal audit administrator William Cort notified employees that workers who attach Bible verses or other sayings at the bottom of their e-mails could be disciplined.

Employees ignored earlier requests to stop, so Mr. Cort issued a more severe warning last month, department spokesman Gary Gudmundson said. Mr. Cort had received about half-dozen complaints from agency staff about the messages.

“There is a continuing trend to voice personal views as part of a salutation immediately before or after the sender’s name,” Mr. Cort wrote in a message to department employees. He went on to explain that a business environment is not the place for proverbs, personal advice or religious references.

Mr. Cort found several e-mail closings he found inappropriate. One tax commissioner agent ended an e-mail with “Deuteronomy 30:15-19 Choose Life.”

Another employee’s e-mail offered these words: “May God continue to bless you and keep you from all hurt, harm and danger. This I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Malaysian clerics ban Botox

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Islamic clerics have banned Malaysian Muslims from undergoing Botox treatment for cosmetic purposes because the compound contains prohibited and harmful substances, according to a published report.

The National Fatwa Council, which advises the government on Islamic regulations, issued the July 27 edict, but said using Botox for medical reasons — for example, to treat cerebral palsy sufferers — is permissible if doctors deem it necessary, the New Straits Times reported.

Council Chairman Shukor Husin said the ruling is not legally binding, but that Muslims who defy it would be committing a sin.

Mr. Husin said Botox contains extracts from pigs, an animal considered unclean in Islam, and that the council ruled on the issue after studying reports by local and international specialists as well as religious edicts in the Mideast.

Botox is the brand name for a substance derived from the toxin botulin which, when injected into the face, temporarily paralyzes the facial muscles to eliminate wrinkles. It can also be used treat migraines, excessive sweating and muscle spasms in the neck and eyes.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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