The Pope says “No” to cosmic energy and tragic spiritual vacuums.

South Africa’s Inkatha Freedom Party — a long-time adversary of the African National Congress party, which assumed power after the end of apartheid — is emphasizing its “center-right” politics and hinting at an ANC defection to the IFP, reports The Mail and Guardian. The more conservative IFP politics, as articulated by national chairperson Ziba Jiyane, who is also a pastor with the Discipline of Christ Church, call for the promotion of abstinence over condom-use, greater fear of God, and “the protection of the rights of the community rather than the individual.” What the latter apparently translates to is a criticism of “appointment of women with wealthy husbands in jobs above breadwinners” as something that is “killing families in the name of individual rights.” Jiyane’s model sounds familiar: “‘A mature democracy will have two strong forces — a centre-left and a centre-right.'”

The New York Times has spoken, and what they’ve said — after some delicate disclaimers that early reports on Lt. General William Boykin’s “Christian army” antics “sounded like an over-the-top satire” — is that the General must resign. “He has become a national embarrassment, not to mention a walking contradiction of President Bush’s own policy statement that the fight against terror is bias-free and not a crusade against Islam…Removal of the preacher-general should be a no-brainer, however much the president’s campaign generals might fear offending the Christian right voting bloc.”

The Republican draft party platform — which The LA Times characterizes as further to the right than the 2000 platform — is what Gary Bauer calls “‘a pretty solid document.'” But then again, Bauer is dismissing party divides that run from the obscure gay Log Cabin Republicans to the Vice President, who on Tuesday said he did not support a constitutional ban on gay marriage when he appeared at a campaign event in Iowa attended by his daughter Mary, a lesbian. The drafters of the GOP platform also added language attacking same-sex civil unions and laws granting domestic-partner benefits in gay or lesbian relationships.

The Alpha Iota Omega fraternity has filed a federal lawsuit against the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for revoking its official UNC recognition last year, after members refused to sign a nondiscrimination policy that its membership be open to everyone regardless of religion or sexual orientation. AIO, a Christian fraternity, says that all members are required to participate in the group’s evangelical mission and that admitting homosexual students would violate their standards of conduct, which restrict members to married, heterosexual sex, the AP reports. “‘Non-Christians would not be able to meet that very basic criteria of membership for our organization,'” said AIO chapter president Trevor Hamm.

The World Bank has published a book emphasizing the need for collaboration between religions and develpoment organizations in fighting poverty, reports Zenit News Agency. Writing that “‘the links between the two worlds have been fragile, intermittent and at times confrontational,'” World Bank President James Wolfensohn hopes that the book will create “‘new ways of partnership.'”