Saturday, June 16, 2001
ABC hires beliefnet.com, replaces correspondentNEW YORK >> ABC News has dropped network television's only full-time religion correspondent and announced a tie-in with beliefnet.com, an interfaith Web site that has laid off its own news producer.
Peggy Wehmeyer, who was told May 14 that ABC was eliminating its religion correspondent slot, had no comment after learning of the beliefnet.com deal Monday.
ABC spokesman Todd Polkes said beliefnet.com will now "contribute story ideas and reporting" while various ABC correspondents handle on-air religion assignments.
The Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights urged ABC to cancel the deal, contending beliefnet.com's approach to Catholicism is "baiting at best and bigoted at worst" and that Islam and Judaism in particular are given milder treatment.
Since ABC hired Wehmeyer in 1994, no competing commercial network has assigned a religion specialist.
Supreme Court ruling protects Christian groupWASHINGTON >> Religious conservatives are hailing the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that public schools in Milford, N.Y., should let a Child Evangelism Fellowship club hold voluntary meetings with elementary students after class hours.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for Pat Robertson's American Center for Law and Justice, said the decision "sends a powerful message that religious organizations must receive equal treatment."
But the Rev. Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State said the decision means "aggressive fundamentalist evangelists have a new way to proselytize school kids."
By a 6-3 vote Monday, the Supreme Court ruled that once the school district in Milford, a village in upstate New York, opened the doors to other after-school civic meetings, it could not exclude the evangelism club without violating the First Amendment.
India's Catholic bishop touches base in the U.S.BISMARCK, N.D. >> Roman Catholic missionaries traveled to India 500 years ago to establish their faith there. Now, missionary priests from India are trickling into western North Dakota.
Bishop John Thattumkal, head of India's second-oldest Catholic diocese, visited Bismarck to maintain contact with priests there.