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1. Rick Warren, criticized for Syria trip, says he was misquoted
After criticism from the Institute on Religion and Democracy and some other quarters for visiting Syria and meeting with President Bashar Al-Assad, Foreign Minister Walid Al-Mu'allim, Higher Education Minister Ghiath Barakat, and Grand Mufti Sheikh Badr al-Din Hassoun, Saddleback Church pastor Rick Warren says his trip was misrepresented both by the government-controlled Syrian media and U.S. bloggers. In a letter to church members and others, he wrote:

In hindsight, I wish we'd been better prepared for our visit to Syria. We would have handled some meetings differently, watched our words more closely, and been more aware of the agenda of their state press. We wanted to just slip in and out, but that's nearly impossible for me to do anymore. It's been a learning experience. … As we left, the official state-controlled Syrian news agency issued some press releases that sounded like I was a politician negotiating the Iraq war by praising the Syrian president and everything else in Syria! Of course, that's ridiculous, but it created a stir among bloggers who tend to editorialize before verifying the truth. Does it seem ironic to you that people who distrust Syria are now believing Syrian press releases?

Warren's office has also issued a press release explaining that the visit to Syria "was neither official nor political, but rather came out of a promise to his Muslim neighbor in California." There are, however, some political statements in the press release: recognition of the Syrian government's treatment of its Christians and its welcoming of Iraqi Christian refugees, for example, as well as some encouragement for more dialogue between the ...

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's managing editor for news and online journalism. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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