Religion News in Brief

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WASHINGTON–As parishioners pack Washington churches every Sunday, area residents complain that worshippers are clogging city streets with their parked cars. But some are hopeful that a measure before the D.C. Council could help ease that weekly fric

D.C. Council looks at bill to alleviate Sunday parking woes between residents

WASHINGTON–As parishioners pack Washington churches every Sunday, area residents complain that worshippers are clogging city streets with their parked cars.

But some are hopeful that a measure before the D.C. Council could help ease that weekly friction.

Council member Harry Thomas Jr. introduced a bill last week that would create neighborhood-centered parking plans allocating diagonal residential spaces to churchgoers. Local advisory neighborhood commissions would have to approve the plans, which also would have to be included in a supporting petition circulated in the community.

“We hope this can be a model for not just the traffic patterns we have on Sundays around religious institutions, but also looking at our business corridors and how we can more efficiently put vehicles in those corridors on a temporary basis,” Thomas said.

Residents in Shaw, Logan Circle and other areas have said those attending churches with large congregations come from Maryland and double-park on neighborhood streets. They say that prevents them from moving and swallows up the few available parking spaces.

A couple of years ago, the city drafted a plan with several suggestions to curb Sunday parking problems in neighborhoods: angled parking, median parking, private garages, shuttle and valet services, carpooling and staggered worship hours. Some plans went into effect, such as angled parking on Vermont Avenue and 9th Street, but problems have continued.

School board pushes public school bible curriculum

AUSTIN, Texas–Four State Board of Education members are promoting a public school bible curriculum that has been criticized as favoring conservative Protestant views and has already landed some districts in court.

An e-mail to Texas school districts encouraged local control in deciding which Bible courses to adopt but went on to recommend a curriculum that some officials are predicting will lead to more lawsuits. The e-mail was sent by board members Terri Leo of Spring, Barbara Cargill of The Woodlands, Cynthia Dunbar of Richmond and Gail Lowe of Lampasas.

“We recognize…that the curriculum provided by the National Council On Bible Curriculum In Public Schools has been implemented successfully in numerous school districts within the state of Texas for years,” they wrote in the e-mail.

Mark Chancey, chairman of Southern Methodist University’s department of religious studies, said the national council’s curriculum “reflects a bias toward conservative Protestant perspectives of the Bible at the expense of other perspectives.”

Lowe said the e-mail was an effort to “inform and reaffirm that this curriculum has been around for a number of years, and has always satisfied” the state’s requirements for electives.

Last year, Texas lawmakers approved legislation making it easier for public school districts to teach a Bible course as an elective starting next year.

Chancey said about 10 Texas school districts used the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools courses in varying degrees during the 2005-06 school year, when he said he studied the curriculum.  AP

Copyright 2008 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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