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Campaign questions global warming


A coalition of conservative evangelical leaders wants to enlist — million Christians to sign a statement questioning whether human-caused global warming is a real threat and arguing that restrictive environmental policies harm poor people.

The "We Get It!" campaign is the latest development in an ongoing disagreement among evangelicals about climate change.

"Our stewardship of creation must be based on Biblical principles and factual evidence," the statement says. "We face important environmental challenges, but must be cautious of claims that our planet is in peril from speculative dangers like man-made global warming."

The campaign's materials argue that "recent, slight warming" is an unproven threat that could lead to restrictions in energy use and drive up the cost of energy and food for the world's poor.

Several leaders and groups on the evangelical right back the campaign, including James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, the Family Research Council, Institute on Religion and Democracy and Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation.

The effort is a response, in part, to the 2006 launch of the Evangelical Climate Initiative, which acknowledged humans cause global warming and argued Christian moral convictions demand an urgent response. The initiative, with more than 110 backers, has endorsed legislation to decrease carbon dioxide emissions.

In March, a group of Southern Baptist leaders issued a statement saying the threat of global warming is too grave to wait for perfect knowledge about whether, or how much, people contribute to it.

College lets safety personnel carry guns


Calvin College this fall will allow safety personnel with a police background to carry handguns on campus over the protest of some students at the private Christian school.

College trustees approved the use-of-force policy after a lengthy question-and-answer session about the rules, said Bastian Knoppers, chairman of the 30-member board.

"The board was very satisfied at the homework the college had done in putting together this detailed policy," he said.

The policy was put in place partly in response to last year's mass shooting at Virginia Tech.

About 60 students shouting "community, not weaponry" protested on the Calvin College campus last month after the Faculty Senate approved the safety department recommendation to allow trained officers to carry guns. The protesters argued campus crime is low and more student comment was needed.

"We are a Christian college and Jesus gave us an example of nonviolence," Joseph Breems, a junior from Marino Valley, Calif., said at the time.

Only three of the department's 43 officers have the police background the policy requires, but one is virtually always on duty, college officials said. All other guns are banned from campus.

Calvin College is a private, four-year institution affiliated with the Christian Reformed Church.

County extends lease to Saudi Academy


Fairfax County supervisors voted to continue leasing property to a private Islamic school funded by the Saudi government that its critics have accused of fostering intolerance.

The Islamic Saudi Academy leases its flagship campus in the Alexandria section of Fairfax County for about $2.2 million a year.

The unanimous vote by the county's Board of Supervisors extends the lease by one year, through June 2009.

The county has leased the land to ISA since 1989, but the lease faced increased scrutiny this year following the recommendation of a federal commission that the academy be shut down.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom issued a report in October that broadly criticized the Saudi educational system, with specific criticism aimed at the Islamic Saudi Academy, which serves nearly 900 students in grades K-12.

The commission urged the State Department to take steps to shut down the academy until it could prove its curriculum was not intolerant. The terms of the academy's lease with the county give the State Department power to terminate the lease, according to county officials.

Critics of the Saudi system say the schools, including the academy, use textbooks that promote hatred against Jews, Christians and Shiite Muslims. Academy officials say their curriculum is tolerant of all faiths, and that they have modified Saudi texts that occasionally have used harsh language in describing religious differences.

Resignation over ties to site for gay priests


A longtime priest of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Dallas resigned from a new parish assignment amid complaints about his past involvement with an Internet site for gay priests.

The Rev. Arthur Mallinson drew brief media notice in 2002 for his connection to the Web site, which no longer exists.

He told the diocese he had contributed to the site &

which used his picture &

when its purpose was to support gay priests in a celibate lifestyle, said Annette Gonzales Taylor, spokeswoman for the diocese. He cut off his relationship with the site in 2001 after others began posting pornographic material, Taylor said.

The episode was resurrected on a widely circulated Internet posting after Mallinson's new assignment to St. Michael the Archangel Church in McKinney, north of Dallas. A "small faction" of McKinney parishioners contacted the diocese, but many more complaints came from around the country, Taylor said.

Taylor said Mallinson felt resigning "was in the best interest of the parish, his family and the diocese." He had been transferred from another parish where he had served for years.

Mallinson resigned in a brief letter to Bishop Kevin Farrell, Taylor said. She said Mallinson remains a priest in good standing with the diocese.

"" The Associated Press

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