A legal twist. Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli has jumped into a church property dispute that could have national consequences. The case involves seven churches that left The Episcopal Church over doctrinal issues. In January, a Virginia circuit court judge ruled that the Diocese of Virginia owns the church properties, giving the congregations until April 30 to move out. He also ruled that local church funds and other property belong to the diocese. That led to Cuccinelli filing a brief with the court, noting that since 2003 most members of these churches had designated that their giving would go only to their local congregation, not the diocese, and that these churches are entitled to keep those fund. "There are statutory and common law duties to guarantee that charitable funds are spent for the purposes for which they were intended," said Caroline Gibson, a spokesperson for the Virginia Attorney General's office. "Therefore, we felt an obligation to appear and encourage the court to take donor intent into analysis when deciding how to disburse the contributions."
Prayer list. The U.S. Commission on International Freedom (USCIRF) last week released its annual list of nations most prone to violating religious freedom. "Countries of particular concern" that are most in need of close monitoring by the U.S. State Department include Burma, China, Egypt, Eritrea, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam, where governments sanction discrimination and violence against unpopular religious sects-including Christians, Baha'is, Buddhists, and Sufi and Uighur Muslims. Such lists, if we are not careful, have a tendency to cause our eyes to glaze over. But I pray God uses this list to quicken our imaginations to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters persecuted in these countries-and, when and how we can, to act to bring liberty to these countries.
High on fumes? Stocks around the world are at a 2012 high, in part because the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled on Tuesday that it would continue supporting economic growth with loose monetary policy. But another reason is the expectation that the Eurozone will agree to a bigger firewall against a financial crisis. The prospect of agreement among European nations was more important to some than Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's comments this week, since one reason for the financial crisis there has been the inability of Eurozone leaders to agree on anything. The net result was a surge not just in U.S. markets this week, but also 2012 highs in Japan and Europe. But are these developments really enough to support a rally? Many experts think the current stock market rally is quickly becoming a bubble filled with hot air. One telltale sign: Gold prices remain high-up about $200 an ounce since December-despite the stock market rally.
Sex Week at Harvard. The wait is over, everybody: Sex Week 2012 is here. The annual Harvard University event that bills itself as "interdisciplinary, thought-provoking, scholastic, innovative, and applicable to student experiences in order to promote a holistic understanding of sex and sexuality." What it really means is that you get to hear speeches from radicals andget free samples of condoms, along with other things I can't describe here. Sex Week 2012 started Monday and goes through Saturday. And in case you're wondering, the cost of exposing your child to a quality education at Harvard this year is $38,480, but mandatory fees and lodging costs can push the total well over $50,000. Sex Week is pathetic and tragic observance for an institution whose original motto was Veritas, Christo et Ecclesiae, "Truth for Christ and the Church." Now, instead of learning Christ's truth, Harvard students learn how to apply a personal lubricant.
WORLD Magazine managing editor Timothy Lamer contributed to this report.