Religion Briefs Pope to U.S.
Benedict to visit White House next month
WASHINGTON — Pope Benedict XVI will visit the White House on April 16 during his first visit to the United States as pontiff.
White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said the president and the pope would continue discussions they began during Bush’s trip to the Vatican in June 2007 on the importance of faith and reason in reaching shared goals.
Stanzel said the goals include advancing peace throughout the Middle East and other troubled regions, promoting interfaith understanding and strengthening human rights and freedom.
The pope was also expected to address the United Nations, visit ground zero in New York and celebrate Mass in New York and Washington during his April 15-20 trip.
Pastor issues sex challenge
YBOR CITY, Fla. — A southwest Florida church issued a challenge for its married members: Hanky panky every day.
Relevant Church head pastor Paul Wirth issued the 30-day sex challenge to take on high divorce rates.
“And that’s no different for people who attend church,” Wirth said Sunday. “Sometimes life gets in the way. Our jobs get in the way.”
The challenge doesn’t extend to unwed congregates, however.
Televangelist stalling divorce proceedings
ATLANTA — Lawyers for the estranged husband of televangelist Juanita Bynum have been trying to get her side of the story for four months, but they say she keeps postponing her appointment.
Last month, Bynum was ordered by a Gwinnett County Superior Court judge to appear for a deposition on Monday.
The order, filed Jan. 8, read, “It has now been three months, nine letters, multiple telephone calls and at least one thousand dollars to attempt to schedule Plaintiff’s deposition.”
In one of the letters, dated Dec. 14, attorney Monica Hanrahan tells Bynum’s divorce lawyer, Karla Walker, “Clearly the Court wants to keep the case moving forward, as do we. We understand Dr. BynumWeeks is an in demand speaker, but we certainly hope this case is a priority for her.”
Three days later, Hanrahan writes, “While we would much prefer to agree on a date cooperatively, we can not wait indefinitely for Dr. BynumWeeks’ response.”
On Jan. 2, Hanrahan wrote in her final letter before filing a motion with the court, “I am under a good amount of pressure to get Dr. BynumWeeks’ deposition scheduled ... We want about 4 or 5 hours of her time, in a case which she filed...I trust you are doing your best to get us a date, but perhaps a motion is necessary to convey to Dr. Bynum-Weeks how serious we are about getting this on the calendar.”
The attorneys for Thomas Weeks III waited until 3 p.m. on Monday for her to show up.
“Judges like lawyers to figure out things like depositions without the Court’s help,” Randy Kessler, one of the attorneys representing Weeks in the divorce case, said on Monday. “We’ll still be optimistic, we’ll still keep the door open. We’ve got all next week available. We’re not going to be the ones to blame if it doesn’t happen.”
Weeks said in a statement released on Monday afternoon, “We need to hear Ms. Bynum’s position directly from her, under oath. There has been much said in the press, and much of it by her public relations’ personnel. Today was to be the day that we heard directly from her.”