Date published: December 14, 2010
* Christians are more likely to say a proposed Islamic center in lower Manhattan should be built farther away from Ground Zero than Muslims, Jews and other non-Christians, according to a new Gallup Poll. Park.51. a proposed Islamic cultural and community center that includes space for Muslim prayers, has sparked controversy because of ils proposed location a few blocks from the site of the 9/1 1 terrorist attacks. Gallup asked respondents whether Park51 should be moved, built as proposed or changed in lo an interfaith center. The greatest resistance to lhe Islamic center comes from Christians, according to the poll: three out of five Catholics and Mormons and almost half of Protestants said the center should be built at another location farther from Ground Zero. In contrast, 25 percent of Jews. 42 percent of atheists. 43 percent of Muslims and 41 percent of other non-Christians said the center should be built on the proposed site.
* A newly published compilation of guidelines used worldwide by leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Lalicr-day Saints has softened the language about gay Mormons. The Church Handbook of ffuunicrions lays out Mormon policies on everything from baptism to running a worship service to counseling troubled marriages. TIi e updated reference book. released November 13. will set the tone for church interactions for years to come. The book makes a clear distinction between same-sex orientation and behavior. It eliminates the suggestion, mentioned in a 2006 edition, that samesex relationships "distort loving relationships" and that gays should repent of their "homosexual thoughts or feelings." It also says that celibate gay Mormons who are "worthy and qualified in every other way" should be allowed to have "callings," or church assignments, and to participate fully in temple rituals.
* Gay and lesbian Lutheran minislers in the conservative German state of Bavaria may live with their partners in parish parsonages, but only if they enter into a statesanctioned civil union. Though the move may seem bold for what is generally considered one of Germany's most traditional states. Bishop Johannes Friedrich of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria said it was no great departure from existing policies. He noted that the church had already welcomed openly gay minislers and same-sex unions, "We had only left out that a couple could live in a civil union in the parsonage," he said. According to church officials, six Bavarian ministers already live in same-sex civil unions.