denomination, their local chnrch leadersrndisagreed. The liberal-dominated NorthernrnIllinois Conference of the UnitedrnMethodist Church launched an investigation.rnLed bv a bishop who opposes hisrndenomination’s official opposition to liomosexualrnpractice, the regional churchrnbody was troubled by allegations of discriminationrnagainst a same-sex couple.rnPro-homosexual clerg)- from throughoutrnnorthern Illinois were encouraged tornattend and even to vote at the camp’srnboard of trustees meeting. Expecting arnhostile crowd, the camp had two dozenrnpolice officers and several police dogsrnsurrounding its gates, barring entry to allrnbut cottage owners and trustees.rnOnly about 40 ministers and churchrnleaders actually showed up outside thernlocked gates. But the heavy police presencerngenerated publicitv’ throughout thern8.4 million member United Methodistrndenomination. “This is unholy ground,”rnpronounced an infuriated Chicago-arearnpastor.rnHe and others in the regional churchrnasked Cook County’s Commission onrnHuman Rights to interene. The counK”rnordinance prohibiting discriminationrnbased on sexual orientation is supposedrnto exempt religious organizations. Butrnthe commission has asked a judge torncompel the church camp to accept thernsame-sex couple.rnA camp spokeswoman denies thernMethodist camp discriminates againstrnanvone. “We only ask that all come forrnthe religious and spiritual purposes tornwhich this camp ground has been dedicatedrnfor some 140 vears,” she said in arnstatement on behalf of the trustees.rnBoth sides are appealing to churchrnlaw. The United Methodist Church officiallyrndisapproves of homosexual practice.rnBut the church also ofticiallv opposesrnany discrimination based on sexual orientation,rneven though church law itselfrndiscriminates bv refusing to ordain practicingrnhomosexuals into die ministr)-.rnThe Historic Metiiodist Campgroundrnand Focus on the Familv have fallenrnvictim to misbegotten rules regardingrnnon-discrimination based on “sexual orientation.”rnSuch regulations sound innocuous.rnBut they hae increasingly becomerninstruments for imposing an alienrnsocial orthodox}’ on private groups thatrnsimpK’ want to establish ethical standardsrnfor dicir own communities. And thesernlaws are based on a popular but irrationalrnview that diverse sexual behaviors can bernequated witii moralh neutral traits suchrnas race or sex.rn— MarkTooleyrn”CHILDREN KILLING CHILDREN.”rnThe ver)’ phrase is chilling. But what canrnthe law do about a six-vear-old who shootsrnand kills his first-grade classmate? Accordingrnto our Anglo-American legal heritagernof common law, not much. Childrenrnunder the age of seven arernpresumed not to be able to know the differencernbetween right and wrong, andrnrims are not held criminally responsiblernfor riieir actions. This can be supercededrnby statute, however, and in Michigan,rnwhere the latest such instance (at thisrnwriting) occurred, there is no lower agernlimit on criminal prosecutions. (This isrntrue of 22 other states as well.) Ncverriieless,rnriie prosecutor for Genesee Count}’,rnwhere the Buell Elementan, School is located,rnhas made clear his belief riiat boriirnthe victim and riie perpetrator in this casernare to be pitied, and tiiat punishment isrninappropriate.rnBOOK OF NEXT MONTHrnOur selection for the Book of Next Month isrnGraham Hancock’s groundbreaking stud}’,rnli)rdii of Poverty : The Power, Prestige, andrnCorruption of the International AidrnBusiness. A controversial indictmentrnof a $60 billion-a-year industr}’, J £>rdsrnof Poverty shows that big business andrncharitable organizations have often usedrnforeign aid to enrich themselves widi ourrntax dollars, while the intended recipientsrnof the aid are left worse off.rnThe six-vear-old shooter came from arntroubled family, to put it mildly, and was,rnat the time of his misdeed, living in whatrnthe media described as a “crack house.”rnHe found his weapon, a .32 caliber semiautomaticrnhandgun, on a bed, left tiierernby a 19-year-old “roommate” of the boy’srn”legal guardian.” his uncle. Prosecutorsrnare now bringing charges of involuntaryrnmanslaughter against the roommate, onrnthe grounds that his gross negligence andrnrecklessness in leaving a loaded handgunrnwhere the six-year-old could find it isrnwhat caused tire loss of life.rnThis uray satisfy public sentiment torndo something, anything, but it is unlikcKrnto prevent another such tragedy. Not surprisingly,rnthe shooting immediately becamernfodder for the current presidentialrnrace. Vice President Al Gore demandedrnlegislation requiring child-proof triggerrnlocks on handguns and castigatedrnGeorge W. Bush and John McCain forrnnot concurring. President Clinton usedrnthe occasion to condemn the NationalrnRifle Association and to press Republicansrnin Congress to pass furtiier restrictionsrnon gun ownership. Whether thernrooiumate was the kind of fellow whornmight have removed a trigger lock fromrnhis (apparentiv stolen) gun before leavingrnit for a child to find is a question that didrnnot seem to enter either the President’s orrnthe Vice President’s mind.rnThis tragedy and odier school shootingsrnmight have been prevented but forrnthe current educational dogma that wernshould “mainstream” troubled or challengedrnyouths into regular public schoolrnclassrooms. It’s not unusual to find classroomsrnpopulated with “special attendants”rnhired to supervise individualrnchildren witii “special needs.” The attendants’rnjob is to make sure their chargesrndon’t harm tiiemselves or odiers whilernthey “benefit” their classmates throughrnthe educational experience of coping uneasilyrnwitii each other. The six-year-oldrnperpetrator in the Michigan case, accordingrnto the New York Post, “is a monsterrnwho has been in serious trouble at schoolrnfrom Day I, [h]is fatiier is in jail, |and]rnhis mother is an admitted drug addict.”rnAccording to other reports, tire little boyrnhad a brother who was abused by theirrnmother. It does not seem unreasonablernto infer that the boy and his victim wouldrnboth have been better off had he beenrnplaced in a special educational environmentrnmore attuned to his needs.rnThere seems little the law can do tornprevent such tragedies. Like so manyrn8/CHRONICLESrnrnrn