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In Brief


Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. have joined a church-based campaign to pressure McDonald’s to help raise the pay and improve working conditions of Florida tomato pickers.

“McDonald’s, with your substantial purchasing power, can insist that your produce suppliers meet high ethical standards in how they treat their workers,” Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of Brooklyn, N.Y., wrote in a letter to James Skinner, CEO of McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is urged to reach an agreement similar to the one reached last year with Taco Bell and its parent company, Yum Brands Inc. That agreement came after a four-year boycott of Taco Bell, led by mainline Protestant and Orthodox denominations. (RNS)


Evangelical leaders are promoting a new Canadian documentary about global warming to raise awareness among Christians about environmental concerns.

“The scriptural teaching gives us direction to be responsible for God’s world,” said Rev. Paul De Vries, president of the New York Divinity School. “He made it good, and whatever we’ve done to mess it up, we ought to be trying to clean up and protect.”

De Vries joined leaders such as evangelical author Tony Campolo and Rev. Gerald Durley, an Atlanta civil-rights leader, in drawing attention to The Great Warming, released in theaters nationwide in November.

The film is narrated by singer Alanis Morissette and actor Keanu Reeves. (RNS)


South African church leaders have agreed to meet with president Thabo Mbeki to discuss a plan to involve the church and community in a national effort to combat crime. After a meeting in mid-October convened by the Dutch Reformed Church, moderator Coenie Burger acknowledged that the churches “think that crime has become too big an issue for any one institution, like the government or the police, to solve. Government must take the lead, but we are calling for an alliance of different institutions, including government and civil society—mainly churches, businesses, and education.” (REC)


The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s Eastern Synod has voted to allow individual congregations to decide whether same-sex unions may be blessed in their parishes. However, the permanence of this decision is in doubt because the national convention defeated a similar motion at its last meeting. The bishop of the Synod would ask churches to refrain from the blessings if the National Church Council decides to put the issue on the church’s court of adjudication. Under Lutheran polity, a bishop cannot veto a decision made by a synod or congregation, and other synods could also appeal the Eastern Synod’s decision. (The Presbyterian Record)

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