Jim Smith of the Philadelphia Daily News reports: Federal prosecutors of Clayton Lee Waagner are demanding a life sentence for the “war of terror” waged by the anti-abortion extremist in October and November of 2001. Waagner, founder of the Army of God (Warning: extremely graphic site), was convicted last December for sending anthrax-hoax letters stuffed with threats and white powder to dozens of abortion clinics in the eastern United States. Speaking to the jury that convicted him, Waagner said, “‘I am the anti-abortion extremist, a terrorist to the abortion industry…I love what happened here. It tickles me that this action was effective enough that two years later, these people are still scared.’” He is scheduled to be sentenced June 25.
The Da Vinci Diet? The AP reports on Stephen Lanzalotta, a baker who lost nearly half his customers to the low-carb craze. Lanzalotta has incorporated the biblical lore and mystical “golden ratio” mathematics of Dan Brown’s bestseller, The Da Vinci Code, to create an Atkins-alternative called the “Da Vinci Diet” that he hopes will “‘bring people back to bread.’”
9:15 am: The New York Times reports on the status of American hostage, Paul Marshall Johnson Jr., whose Islamic militant captors have threatened to kill him unless their fellow fighters are released from Saudi jails. Johnson is shown on an Islamist website, repeating his name and occupation. The website also posts the group’s threat: “‘If the tyrannical Saudi government wants their American master to be released, then they have to release our holy warriors that are held in Hair, Ruweis and Alisha prisons within 72 hours of this statement’s date,’ the statement reads. ‘Or else we will sacrifice his blood to God in revenge for our Muslim brothers who have been liberally killed everywhere.’”
9:05 am: Bush was there–via live video-link anyway–as the Southern Baptist Convention quit a global federation of Baptist denominations yesterday. The SBC leaders denounced the Baptist World Alliance and other groups for accepting liberal theology, questioning the inerrancy of the Bible and, in some cases, tolerating “gay-friendly congregations.” Via the video-link, Bush reiterated his support of a constitutional ban on gay marriage, drawing cheers. Outgoing SBC president Jack Graham used his address to praise Bush, adding that the 2004 “‘election matters because there are two different viewpoints on where this culture needs to be on the moral issues of our time.’ He urged Southern Baptists to lobby Congress in favor of an anti-gay marriage amendment.” Read more.
9:00 am: From The Straits Times, Andy Ho reports on Singapore’s faith-based investing: “A believer of only five years’ standing, Mr [Richard] Lim is what is termed but ‘a babe in Christ’ yet one who seems to be receiving signs and visions aplenty. His website claims that ‘on May 1, 2002, when travelling along Orchard Road, God planted a vision in his heart with two keywords–Christian Cafe.’…The elder Lim was inspired to think of an alternative use for the Alocassia –convert 1,066 sq ft of floor space into Alpha Cafe, ‘a cozy restaurant for casual (Christian) dining’…Thus the IPO.”