Peruvian air force blamed for missionary shoot-down
CNN is reporting that an investigation into the April shooting of a Peruvian missionary plane mostly blames the Peruvian air force. Senior Bush administration officials say the report found repeated violations of the U.S.-Peru drug interception program, and that the air force skipped almost all of the safeguards intended to avoid such an accident. The CIA-contracted flight crew tracking the missionary plane was also partly blamed for the incident. "There is some comment as to whether additional steps, over and above the procedures set in place, that the crew could have taken when they saw clearly that the Peruvian air force was acting precipitously," says an unnamed official. Missionary pilot Kevin Donaldson is given a "very light touch" by the investigation's report, which involved the Peruvian government and all U.S. agencies involved in the interception program, including the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA. American Baptists for World Evangelization, the missionaries' agency, issued a press release responding to the CNN report, disagreeing with statements that Donaldson "was flying in a zone it shouldn't have been," and that he "did not file a customary return flight plan." The agency also lamented, "Despite initial assurances that ABWE could review and comment on the factual portion of the report before its release, no one from ABWE—including its missionaries involved in the tragedy—has seen a copy. "

Is your church van safe?
Colorado has seen three major accidents involving church groups in as many weeks. On June 30, a bus carrying 46 Young Life teens and staff from Minnesota overturned as it passed through the Rocky Mountains, injuring most on board. On July 9, five members of a Denver-area Hmong church were killed when their van overturned in Idaho. And on Tuesday, a van carrying Methodist youth from Wichita ran off a mountain road and hit a tree, injuring 15. The Denver Post has been running repeated stories warning of the risks of 15-passenger vans, noting a recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration study. The National Council of Churches has also sent out a press release notifying churches of the problem.

More on the faith-based initiative bill
Apparently the House's approval of H.R.7, also known as the Community Solutions Act, happened too late yesterday for the major papers to do much analysis or commentary. For the most part, press reports focus on what was said during the floor debate. Most conclude that the bill will have a rough time in the Senate, where majority leader Tom Daschle responded to the legislation by saying, "I can't imagine that we could pass any bill that would tolerate slipping back into a level of tolerance that would be unacceptable in today's society." He has promised to bring the legislation up for a vote, but maybe not until next year. USA Today does the best job of getting quotes outside the House. Gary Bauer damns the legislation with faint praise, saying "The germ of a good idea is still there, but it's gotten mangled up a lot." And John DiIulio, head of the White House Office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives, tells the paper he thinks the Senate will pass the legislation: "I just have a great deal of faith, no pun intended." Other articles are available from The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Baltimore Sun, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Times, and (See how your representative voted here or here.)

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The War for Narnia: A truce?
USA Todayreported yesterday on the continuing clash over reports of the "secularization" of C.S. Lewis and his Narnia series. If the article is accurate, it seems the participants are battle-weary. Phyllis Tickle of Publisher's Weekly tells the paper that Christian booksellers at CBA last week have tired of the rumors "just want to get on with the business of making the 20th century's most revered Christian apologist more available to more people." (If you voted in Christianity Today's recent online poll on the matter, you're "quoted," too.) Meanwhile, The Horn Book, an influential publication in the children's book publishing industry, editorializes less on secularizing Lewis and more on the wisdom of publishing new Narnia books at all. "It's not as if the world has been holding its breath for a new chronicle of Narnia," writes editor-in-chief Roger Sutton. "The Narnia chronicles are finished and self-contained, as Lewis intended. … The best books don't need sequels; their immortality is achieved by giving readers the desire and the resources to continue the story in their own imaginations. Here's a piece of advice that may not be in the best interest of publishers but is very much in yours: if you really enjoyed a book, read it again."

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  • Books part ways on women pastors | Robert Saucy of Talbot School of Theology and Charisma editor J. Lee Grady offer differing evangelical points of view (Associated Press/Chicago Tribune)
  • Where are the young clergy? | With religious vocations among the young in steep decline, churches, synagogues, and seminaries are forced to confront their relevance. (The Christian Science Monitor)



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