White House attacks Iran for religious persecution

White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart says President Clinton is deeply troubled by death sentences given to three Baha'i men in Iran. "In all three cases, it is clear that the individuals were arrested, charged and sentenced to death solely because of their religious beliefs," Lockhart said. "Executing people for the practice of their religious faith is contrary to the most fundamental human rights principles."

Congolese Archbishop not allowed to return home

Rebels in eastern Congo refused to let Roman Catholic Archbishop Emmanuel Kataliko return to his parish, saying he is a collaborator with the country's president. "He is not persona non grata. But he is not welcome in Bukavu until tensions there calm," says a rebel spokesman.

Roman Catholic priest arrested for death of Guatemalan bishop

As noted in an earlier ChristianityToday.com Weblog, Father Mario Orantes was arrested in 1998 but released. As Guatemala's new president fulfills his campaign promise to solve the murder of Bishop Juan Jose Gerardi, there have been several new arrests, including three officers from elite military units.

The push toward sainthood

Pope John Paul II wants more modern role models elevated to the level of veneration, beatification or sainthood. Keep your eye out for future saints Katharine Drexel (second American-born saint) Pierre Toussaint (first black U.S.-born saint), and Mother Mary Lange (first black woman American saint). The Washington Post article has a sidebar on current black saints in the Catholic church.

Frederica Mathews-Green loves Ned Flanders

The Simpsons' character's wife died in Sunday night's episode, and the Christianity Today columnist (who also seems to be involved with every other religion magazine in the world) takes the opportunity to sing the praises of the most evangelical character on the tube. "Ned Flanders is a beam of light in a depressing little town," she writes in an article for Beliefnet. "And as the Good Book says of Somebody else, the light shone in the darkness and the darkness would not receive it. The least we can do is admit that the fault is not in them, but in our own uneasy consciences. OK, and in Ned's case it would also help if he wasn't so chirpy." Beliefnet likes the article so much that they run it with not one, not two, but three sidebars.

Some day, I'm going to run away from seminary and join the circus

The Boston Globe profiles Jerry Hogan, circus chaplain for the US Catholic Conference. The circus life often spills into Sunday morning services at Hogan's St. Michael's Church in North Andover, Massachusetts.

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Allen Guelzo's Abraham Lincoln: Redeemer President wins Lincoln Prize

The Eastern University professor's intellectual biography, which takes a look at Lincoln's faith, was jointly named winner with Runaway Slaves: Rebels on the Plantation, by John Hope Franklin and Loren Schweninger. Gettysburg College's annual award is "considered one of the most prestigious awards for books on Lincoln and the Civil War," says The Washington Post.

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