Catholic Diocese backs referendum against gay discrimination

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland announced it will champion a state referendum adding sexual orientation as protected category under Maine's Human Rights Act. The report, from gay and lesbian Web site PlanetOut, notes that it's the strongest support an official Catholic body has ever given to supporting gay rights.

Are we getting greedier?

The Chicago Tribune looks at the glut of television game shows and suggests that avarice is more acceptable than ever before.

Mystical cross in Baptist church window attracting thousands

The pastor of the Port Sulphur, Louisiania, Greater Macedonia Baptist Church has cleaned the windows and even got the street lights turned off. But the cross remains. And now there's another. Meanwhile, accounts of healings are circulating.

Is Lebanon on brink of religious war?

A strangled nun found on a roadside has led to canceled schools and "jittery" Christians as fears escalate of repeating the 1975-90 civil war between Christians and Muslims, reports the Associated Press.

Christian conservatives in Iowa backing different candidates

Reuters could have concluded that this indicates a wider diversity among conservative Christians than the media has reported over the years. Instead reporter Alan Elsner deduces, "much of their fervor and clout seems to have dissipated."

Shari'a law comes early to Nigeria

Though the Islamic law is not supposed to be instituted in the state of Zamfara until later this month, The Australian reports shari'a "is already affecting everyone regardless of religious conviction. Women have been banned from playing football, separate buses for men and women have been introduced and motorcycle taxi firms face prosecution for carrying female passengers." (See also a related story in Tuesday's Times of London.)

Former Christian broadcaster Kimberly Ferguson jailed for stabbing husband

The woman who gained national fame battling cancer was later freed when her husband declined to press charges, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.

New religious radio station in England proposed because of "Millennium Prayer"

Because Cliff Richard's hit song (a cross of "Auld Lang Syne" and the Lord's Prayer) was banned at radio stations across the UK, a British multimillionaire is trying to start up a large Christian station. It would be only the second big Christian station in the country. The multimillionaire owns 17 copies of "Millennium Prayer," reports Financial Times.

British Sunday Schools sink

The number of children in Sunday School has halved over the last two decades, reports the BBC. "Many people who are now parents had a very bad experience and remember them as being boring and terrible and they don't want it for their children," says the Church of England's National Children's Office.

A missed—but fascinating—story about Christmas in Japan

"This is Christmas for many people in Japan: a holiday laden with Western imagery but with almost none of the content," reports the Christian Science Monitor. "Some Japanese are stunned that Christmas has anything at all to do with Jesus Christ." Yes, Christmas was two-and-a-half weeks ago, but didn't you once say you wished you could keep the spirit of Christmas with you all year?

Related Elsewhere

See our Weblogs from Tuesday, Monday, last week ( January 7, 6, 5, 4, and 3), and December 30 and 29.