Briefly noted

September 20, 2005

More than 100 organizations have urged President Bush to “stand firm on legislation and policies” to ensure that groups receiving certain federal funds provide written proof that they oppose prostitution. The letter to Bush criticizes unnamed groups that demonstrate lenience toward prostitution by, for example, providing condoms to prostitutes or conducting AIDS education programs. “Under the guise of anti-trafficking or anti-HIV/AIDS activities, some (nongovernmental organizations) incredibly continue to prop up the practice of prostitution instead of rescuing the victims,” said the letter, signed by the National Association of Evangelicals and the Southern Baptist Convention, among others. “Their flawed ideology asserts that being subjected to degradation, disease and death through prostitution is somehow a positive choice meriting endorsement by society and enshrinement in law.” The solution, the letter argues, is enhanced government oversight of organizations receiving federal grants.

In a move sharply criticized by the Russian Orthodox Church, the 5.5-million-member Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church relocated its headquarters from the western city of Lviv to the nation’s capital, Kiev. The Russian Orthodox Church has long decried what it says are attempts by the Roman Catholic Church to poach converts among Orthodox followers, and it sees this as another encroachment. “The seat of the archbishop of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church . . . will from August 21 be in Kiev, the Ukrainian capital,” said a Ukrainian Catholic statement. The church’s leader, Cardinal Lyubomir Husar, will no longer be known as the major archbishop of Lviv, but as “major archbishop of Kiev and Galicia,” a reference to the western Ukrainian region where Lviv is located. Banned by Josef Stalin under the Soviet Union’s policy of favoring Russian Orthodoxy, the church became legal again in 1990. The move reflects newfound confidence in the church amid Ukraine’s push for Western integration after last year’s electoral “Orange Revolution.”