Judge says it's not God's will for conjoined twin to live

It's a case you wouldn't wish on any judge. A pregnant couple from Eastern Europe came to Britain because the country had better medical facilities. They had conjoined (often called Siamese) twins. Doctors are demanding the twins be separated, saying that though one of the sisters would surely die as a result, they are both likely to die if they are not separated. A British court agreed. But the devoutly Roman Catholic couple appealed the decision, saying the situation is in God's hands. Now the appellate judge in the case, Lord Justice Ward, is weighing in on the religious overtones of the situation. "It was not God's will that this baby [Mary] should live because it was not born with the capacity to live," he said yesterday. "Nobody in their right mind would hook this child on to a life support system, given the utter deformity of her heart and lungs." British prolifers disagree. (The Washington Postcovers the case on today's front page, but does not include Lord Justice Ward's comment about God's will.)

Second-largest Methodist church in the U.S. to launch IPO

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, is setting up a for-profit company, plans to invest $16 million in real estate, and hopes to launch an Initial Public Offering by the end of the month. "When I went to seminary, I never dreamed of helping to design a commercial real estate project, but this really is a means to another end," says pastor Adam Hamilton, who plans on investing his children's college money in the stock. "We've said we want to be a 'whatever it takes kind of church.' The public offering "is part of the whatever it takes."

Discovered psalms are oldest-known Russian writing

Wax tablets of psalms 75, 76 and 67, dated to the first 25 years of the turn of the last millennium, were discovered in Novgorod, Russia. They predate the oldest surviving Russian book, a copy of the Gospels, by several decades. (For more on Christianity in Russia, see issue 18 of our sister publication Christian History.)

USA Today covers the worship wars

"I've seen organists replaced by recordings for the congregation to sing with," Michael Silhavy, director of music for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul, laments to USA Today. "It's karaoke worship. What's next? Charlton Heston reading the Scripture?" There are record shortages of organists these days, the paper reports, but it may not be a problem for long—fewer churches are using the organ. The article, which appeared on the cover of yesterday's "Life" section, covers pretty old ground (see Christianity Today's July 12, 1999, cover story, " The Triumph of the Praise Songs | How guitars beat out the organ in the worship wars"), but some of the quotes in it are wonderfully grumpy. Retired organist Randall Egan, for example, chalks up the reduced prominence of organ music to clergy being "jealous because music expresses what words cannot."

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