Accused Baptist pastor, Russia to monitor American elections
- this may be heavy for survivors
from L Moss-Sharman Accused Baptist pastor is protected by elders In many
churches, control stays local By Walter V. Robinson, 11/1/02 Winchester - On
Sept. 26, The American Baptist Churches of Massachusetts notified lay leaders
of the First Baptist Church of Winchester that their pastor, the Rev.
Lawrence French, had been found guilty by a church panel of sexually
molesting three boys between 1960 and 1982. The penalty was the most severe
TABCOM, as the governing body of churches is known, could impose: It withdrew
recognition of French's ordination. But First Baptist is a congregation that
reveres its pastor. And so a dozen church elders decided unanimously that
French, who says he is innocent, should remain as pastor. Convinced that the
72-year-old pastor could not have committed the alleged offenses, they also
concluded that it would be unfair to French to notify other members of the
church about the allegations.
Russia to monitor American elections
Oliver Burkeman in New York
The Guardian Unlimited
Thursday October 31, 2002, Guardian Newspapers Limited
Amid the worldwide outbreak of Schadenfreude that accompanied America's
chaotic presidential showdown in 2000, senior members of the Russian
Communist party sarcastically offered to send election monitors to Palm
Beach to help the nascent democracy find its feet. Albanian politicians
echoed the joke, as did President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.
But the line between jokes and reality in Florida has always been a
blurred one: now, America has accepted the offer.
Yesterday, the first international delegation of poll monitors assigned
to observe an American election arrived in the US, operating under the
aegis of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. And
representatives from Russia and Albania were among them.
The monitors are charged with assessing whether next Tuesday's mid-term
elections in Florida meet international standards of democracy "with a
focus on evaluation of the actions the authorities have undertaken to
remedy the problems that were observed during the 2000 elections", OSCE
spokesman Jens-Hagen Eschenbacher said in an interview with Radio Free
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