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The Buzz

"The Buzz" Continued...

Issue: "2008 Daniel of the Year," Dec. 13, 2008

New day for Anglicans

Orthodox Anglican leaders representing over 100,000 congregants gathered in Wheaton, Ill., Dec. 3 to introduce a draft constitution for a new North American church body that is separate from the U.S. Episcopal Church. The event followed a Jerusalem gathering in June of conservative Anglican leaders representing half of the world's 77 million Anglicans, who called for a new Anglican body in North America as part of a declaration of faith. The step formalizes a growing divide over biblical orthodoxy and the ordination of homosexuals. Martyn Minns, bishop over one of the breakaway groups, the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA), said the constitution is an important part of the "new Anglican province's structural and spiritual foundation." The move to form a new denomination within the worldwide Anglican communion that Minns called "biblically grounded, Christ-centered, mission driven," is likely to prompt more congregations to leave the American and Canadian Episcopal church.

Dare to be one

After federal prosecutor Ken Starr spent 12½ hours in the lion's den known as the U.S. House of Represen-tatives, WORLD selected him its first Daniel of the Year 10 years ago. Starr gave civil testimony and was a model of character as specially appointed independent counsel in sullied times, charged as he was to investigate the Monica Lewinsky scandal, the death of Vince Foster, and the financial dealings of President Bill Clinton and his wife then known as Whitewater.

From then until now-whether humanitarians, persecuted pastors, public servant, brave teenagers, bullied law professor, New York artist, or pregnancy caregiver*-each year's Daniel has displayed God-given strength to stand up to the tyrants and terrorists of the day. Our times are sullied still, and we look to men and women who display fierce dependence on God alone and bravery in the daily battle, as does the 2008 Daniel (See "Broadcast news").

*Previous Daniels are Ken Starr, John Ashcroft, Franklin Graham, Michael Yerko, Columbine survivors, Phillip Johnson, Baroness Caroline Cox, Mako Fujimura, Archbishops Peter Akinola and Henry Orombi, and Wanda Kohn.

Unleashed anger

Violence in the Nigerian city of Jos left at least 400 people dead and forced another 7,000 to flee their homes following the region's Nov. 27 election, which awarded power to the largely Christian-backed People's Democratic Party. Although initial reports attributed the bloodshed to political tensions between Muslims and Christians, other sources are calling it a well-orchestrated attack intended to target Christian pastors, churches, and businesses. "Why were politicians and political party offices not attacked if it were a political conflict?" said Ignatius Kaigama, chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Plateau State. "We strongly feel that it was not political but a premeditated act under the guise of elections." According to a Nigerian pastor who asked not to be identified because of concerns about his safety, the bloodshed stemmed from anger and bitterness dating back to 2001, when similar religious violence in Jos left nearly 1,000 people dead. In the most recent incident, he said, after Muslim militants began "unleashing their anger on the Christians," some Christians retaliated by inflicting heavy damage to Muslim property: "There is much more destruction than in 2001." He also said that many of those killed appear to be Muslims because the authorities-not Christians-opened fire on the militants in order to quell the violence.

Bubble that keeps on bursting

Until a few years ago, many Americans believed that "housing prices always go up." But was it ever really true? Not if you look at prices after adjusting for inflation. While nominal values had been on an upswing since the 1940s, real prices held remarkably steady. That changed when the Fed started bringing interest rates down to historic lows in the early part of this decade, helping to inflate a housing bubble. With the bubble now bursting, analysts predict that prices will have to fall another 15 percent to 25 percent to reach their typical, inflation-adjusted level.

Count me in

A Los Angeles judge ordered Mel Gibson to sit for a deposition after screenwriter Ben Fitzgerald sued the Hollywood star for $10 million he says is due him for writing the screenplay for The Passion. Fitzgerald, son of Flannery O'Conner editor Sally Fitzgerald and poet and linguist Robert Fitzgerald, says he agreed to take a smaller-than--normal fee for his work on the 2004 blockbuster because Gibson persuaded him it was a low-budget "indie" film. That was before the R-rated film depiction of the crucifixion of Christ grossed over $611 million worldwide.

Winning one

The government's retrial of five Muslim leaders of the now defunct Holy Land Foundation has ended in guilty verdicts on all 108 charges of illegally funding the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas. A jury needed just eight days to deliver a decision in the complicated case, far less time than the 19 days a jury took last year before declaring a deadlock in the government's first attempt at convictions in the case.

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