Reagan staffer named president of Focus
Focus on the Family announced on Friday the appointment of Don Hodel to an unpaid position as president and CEO. A former Christian Coalition president and CEO, Hodel has been a Focus board member since 1995 and served as interim executive vice president in 1996. In the '80s, he was a member of President Reagan's administration as U.S. Undersecretary of the Interior, U.S. Secretary of the Interior, and U.S. Secretary of Energy.

Much of Hodel's background is in energy and natural resources. He is the founder and managing director of the Summit Energy Group, a consortium of consulting companies. He has served on the boards of the Electrical Power Research Institute, American Electrical Power, Columbia Gas, MAPCO, Taylor Energy Company, and Texon Corporation. He was also administrator of the Bonneville Power Administration and president of the National Electric Reliability Council.

Hodel joined the Christian Coalition as president and CEO without salary in 1997 and resigned in 1999 to return to retirement. He is a current board member of Salem Communications. His appointment at Focus is effective May 15. According to a press release, James Dobson will continue to lead Focus as chairman of the board but not deal in day-to-day management.

Was Rod Paige clear in his Baptist Press comments?
Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen writes today that the biggest problem with Secretary of Education Rod Paige's much-debated statements about Christian values is that his point wasn't clear.

Cohen writes that Paige has a history of making confusing and ambiguous statements. He even says that Paige "has been asked at congressional hearings to repeat himself just so his questioners could understand what he means."

In a Baptist Press interview, Paige said, "All things being equal, I'd prefer to have a child in a school where there's a strong appreciation for values, the kinds of values that I think are associated with the Christian communities, so that this child can be brought up in an environment that teaches them to have strong faith and to understand that there is a force greater than them personally."

Cohen's reaction: 'Huh?'

He writes: "My "huh?" comes from the ambiguity of the statement. It is not clear whether this secretary of education—this secretary of public education—is saying that he prefers kids to be in Christian schools, in which case he is in the wrong job, or that the public schools ought to teach Christian values, in which case he is also in the wrong job."

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Weblog doesn't think Paige's point is confusing. And its meaning doesn't fit either of Cohen's suggestions. The secretary didn't say he prefers kids to be in Christian schools or that he prefers Christian values to be in public schools. Instead, Paige is saying he would prefer that his own children attend a school with Christian values. That hardly makes him unfit for his job.

On WorldNetDaily today, attorney and author David Limbaugh writes that criticisms like Cohen's are misleading and unfair. Among the misconceptions: Paige wasn't talking about kindergarten to high-school education. He was speaking about colleges.

Limbaugh writes:

There is a disturbing trend in this country toward the view that religion and religious expression, particularly of the Christian variety, ought to be privatized. Increasingly, despite America's Christian heritage, Christian expression from the mouths of public officials is met with borderline hysteria. But as Paige noted, you can't take the private religion out of the public man. "My faith in God is not a separate part of me," said Paige. "I can't do that. I know clearly that where I am and what I do is not so much a product of my work, but a product of God's grace."

More articles:

War in Iraq:

  • How churches played into Iraq's hands | At a time when Christendom should have acted, Tariq Aziz's papal audience sent out the wrong message (Gerard Henderson, Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Clergy rightly mum about war | The first question we asked ourselves was: What should be our objective? Should it be to comfort—or to advocate? (Gerald L. Zelizer, USA Today)

  • War seen as in line with Christian view | The Bush administration's decision to minimize civilian casualties in the war in Iraq shows that the conflict is being fought in accordance with Christian principles (The Washington Times)

  • Onward Christian soldiers | Conservative fundamentalists with close ties to President Bush are planning a new missionary push in Iraq—and they might already be converting U.S. troops to their cause. (Max Blumenthal,

  • Catholic group blames coalition forces for looting in Baghdad | The federation strongly criticized the incident, describing it as "a crime against humanity, culture, history and civilization." (Daily Star, Lebanon)

Church life:

  • For a church's Latino faithful, a new home | In the months ahead, workers will literally combine the altars of the two historic churches, and the merger of their parishes will be complete. (The New York Times)

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Other religions and interfaith relations:

Life ethics:

Missions and ministry:

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  • Jesus in Baghdad | Why we should keep Franklin Graham out of Iraq. (Steven Waldman,

  • Churches see that families of troops not overlooked | Thanks to the efforts of churches and volunteer organizers across the country, the families of soldiers and sailors fighting in Operation Iraqi Freedom are getting support and assistance. (

  • A faith-based initiative | Steve Weaver is an emergency-management consultant for the Church World Service, with which he will shortly cross the border between Jordan and Iraq. (CNN)

Other stories of interest:

Related Elsewhere

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