Bishops of both Roman Catholic and Episcopal Church dioceses in California have gone on record as opposing Proposition 102, the initiative on the Nov. 8 ballot that would abandon the strategy of anonymous testing for AIDS and require, among other things, reporting of those who have tested positive for the AIDS virus.
The state’s Catholic bishops said the proposal would “drive people away from the health system and research projects while diverting hundreds of millions of dollars from AIDS research and medical care.”
Episcopal Bishop Frederick Borsch of Los Angeles said, “Our commitment to compassion for all people requires us to avoid actions that make civil and social victims out of persons suffering from the disease.”
The proposal is similar to one that extremist Lyndon LaRouche promoted previously and which failed twice at the polls. Proposition 102 is sponsored by tax crusader Paul Gann, who contracted AIDS through a blood transfusion, and conservative Rep. William E. Dannemeyer (R-Fullerton).
Although Dannemeyer is an active member of a Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod congregation, he apparently has not sought backing from his theologically conservative denomination.
The Rev. Loren Kramer, who heads the 250-church Southern California District based in Irvine, said that Dannemeyer backs the proposal “undoubtedly out of his convictions as a churchman” but that he also knows “as a church we don’t endorse or (oppose) political things.”
As for church member sentiments about the proposition, Kramer said, “I think there a great deal of concern about AIDS among our people, but there is also not much desire to be punitive toward people who are suffering and their families.”
The Rev. Tim Purga has been named executive director of 400-acre Forest Home Christian Conference Center in the San Bernardino Mountains. The center serves 50,000 campers each year and is the largest interdenominational conference facility in California. Purga, 41, who was introduced at a celebration this week marking the 50th anniversary of Forest Home’s founding, is a business executive and former vice president for university relations at Azusa Pacific University. He succeeds the Rev. Robert Kraning, now an associate minister at the Fullerton Evangelical Free Church pastored by the Rev. Charles Swindoll.
The Rev. Benjamin Weir, held hostage for 18 months by Shia Muslim extremists in Lebanon until he was released in 1985, will give the keynote talk with his wife, Carol, next Saturday at St. Peter’s by the Sea Presbyterian Church in Rancho Palos Verdes. Their morning addresses launch the church’s daylong Lay Academy of Religion.
Noel Brown, the North American director of the United Nations’ Environmental Program, will address an open dinner meeting tonight of the Interfaith Council for the United Nations, whose board of directors has representatives from most major religions. The $15-per-person dinner, starting at 7:30 p.m., is at Holy Name of Jesus Church Hall in Los Angeles.
Dallas Willard, who is both a professor of philosophy at USC and a Southern Baptist minister, has authored “The Spirit of the Disciplines,” published this month. Sounding more like a preacher than an academic philosopher, Willard argues that spiritual transformation lies in following Jesus Christ “in his overall style of life” with solitude, prayer, simple living and service to others.