Church & World April 1997

QUITO, Ecuador (EP) — Guiquita Waewae, leader of the small band of Waodani tribespeople who killed five missionaries on January 8, 1956, died on Feb. 11 in Ecuador’s Amazonian jungle. He was 80. Waewae led his people to leave their violent lifestyle and embrace the Christian faith. He urged his people not to be known as Aucas (meaning “savage”), but by their own name Waodani, which means “the people.”

LONDON, England (EP) — Attendance at Church of England Sunday services dropped 36,000 between 1994 and 1995 — the steepest decline in two decades. If that decline continues, total regular attendance will drop below one million by the end of the year. Church figures are down in many categories, including number of baptisms, and number of Easter and Christmas communicants.

BOSTON, Mass. (EP) — A federal appeals court has ruled that HIV-positive people who show no symptoms of AIDS are covered by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. The US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston ruled March 5 that a dentist violated the law when he refused to treat an HIV-positive woman in his office. Dr. Randon Bragdon argued that his longstanding practice was to treat patients with infectious diseases in a hospital operating room rather than in his office, and said that treating the woman in his office posed a health and safety risk. The court rejected his argument, saying he failed to cite “a single confirmed instance of HIV transmission to a dentist.”

AUSTIN, Tex. (EP) — The Internal Revenue Service seized the house of missing atheist leader Madalyn Murray O’Hair Feb. 18 to pay $250,000 in back taxes. O’Hair, whose 1962 lawsuit led the Supreme Court to ban state-sponsored school prayer, disappeared in late 1995. The IRS plans to auction the house and its contents to cover outstanding taxes from 1986, 1987, and 1988. One of O’Hair’s sons and an adopted daughter are also missing, as are hundreds of thousands of dollars in funds from atheist organizations controlled by O’Hair.

DALLAS, Tex. (EP) — A Texas postal worker was arrested for running an Internet pornograph service that brought in $500,000 a month from subscribers eager to access its 150,000-photo library. The Dallas Morning News reported that Bentley Frank Ives faces a felony charge of possession of child pornography and a misdemeanor charge of promoting obscene material.

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (EP) — A former pastor who killed an abortionist and his assistant outside a Pensacola abortion clinic will die for the crime, Florida’s highest court ruled March 6. Defrocked minister Paul Hill faces the electric chair for the murders of Dr. John Britton and driver James Barrett on June 29, 1994. During his trial, Hill acted as his own attorney, called no witnesses, and offered no evidence in his defense. In the appeal, the Florida Supreme Court rejected arguments that Hill should not have been allowed to defend himself. The court also ruled that the trial judge was right to forbid the use of the “necessity defense,” under which Hill would have argued that his actions were necessary to save human lives—the lives of unborn children.