It's not quite a merger, and not quite a marriage, but the two big for-profit Christian Web sites are certainly getting cozy. In a three-year, a $3.3 million deal, the two companies will share just about everything. "Crosswalk will provide content, and we the technological tools," Christianity.com CEO David Davenport tells UPI. Apparently, Crosswalk will still exist as its own site, but everything that's on Crosswalk will also be available on Christianity.com. And to make matters more confusing, Crosswalk will launch a redesign in June that will likely make it look exactly like Christianity.com. So why bother keeping both sites? We'll look into it and get back to you. (Meanwhile, Weblog sure would like to hear from anyone who still owns or is buying Crosswalk.com stock—and isn't employed by the company—on their thoughts about the deal.) Crosswalk.com's press release emphasizes the $1.2 million in advertising it's to get as part of the deal. Christianity.com uses its press release to once again push its idea that it is a "content management and network infrastructure provider," not just a Web site. (In today's not-com market, you'd rather be anything than a Web site.) For more, see Christianity Today's February 19, 2001 cover story, "Is God.com Dead?"
All of the articles Weblog posted yesterday about Christians and Jews have follow-up stories today:
- The Atlanta rabbi and the Methodist pastor who barred him from speaking at a school baccalaureate ceremony met for two hours yesterday in a sign of reconciliation. "I truly admire him for reaching out and trying to do the right thing," Rabbi Steven Lebow told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Our sadness is that the community has been torn apart by this." No apologies were offered either in private or in a public statement ("No one should be blamed for standing for what they believe, but no one should use their belief to hurt or destroy someone else"), but the two agreed to look for a joint project, such as building a Habitat for Humanity house, between Lebow's temple and the Methodist church. Meanwhile, Jewish coaches and parents have pulled out of the church's sports teams, a rabbi who taught Old Testament classes at the church quit, and other area Methodist pastors have criticized the decision.
- David Horowitz responds to yesterday's Salon.com column by Joe Conason criticizing religious right patriarch Paul Weyrich for saying "Christ was crucified by the Jews." What's posted on Salon.com today seems to be the same text that appeared earlier at Horowitz's FrontPage magazine site, but Horowitz responds directly to Conason in a new FrontPage magazine article. "Your smug, self-satisfied attack on me and conservatives generally for having double standards when it comes to bigotry was risible if nothing else," Horowitz begins. He then accuses the left—specifically the Nation—of having double standards when it comes to anti-Semitism.
- Bishop J. Delano Ellis, pastor of Cleveland's Pentecostal Church of Christ, resigned from a Republican Congressional committee on faith-based initiatives. Critics say he called Jews "carnal, selfish … dirty and lowdown and wicked" in a 1994 Cleveland radio sermon, but Ellis maintains that he was merely referring to the Jews that opposed Jesus. Still, said Ellis's spokeswoman, he decided to quit the committee rather than "hinder what the [faith-based] initiative was created for."
- While the Anti-Defamation League accepted the apology of New York Knicks point guard Charlie Ward for saying Jews are "stubborn" and persecute Jewish Christians, columnists continue to write about the controversy, and others keep getting drawn in. Today it's Jeb Bush, who defended Ward's right to make the comments: "I doubt very seriously, knowing a little bit about Mr. Ward, that he meant anything, that he had any meanness in his heart by these comments." Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris is also under fire—Charlie Ward is the spokesman for the state's literacy campaign.
- And as long as we're at it, here's another big story on the subject: Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey said in a lecture last night that Christians should convert Jews. "Put bluntly, is it ever permissible for a Christian to consider Jesus Christ as the Messiah of Israel?" said the leader of the Anglican church. "When I meet with Jewish friends I do not approach them as people to convert. I approach them as people already known and loved by God and therefore respected and esteemed by me. But I do not abandon that desire to introduce them to my faith and the way I see it. However that will come only at the right time, in the right context and usually when my friend takes the first step."
Church and state:
- Short-term fix likely in church fight | Metropolitan King County [Washington] Council appears to support a short-term fix: exempting some churches and schools from a moratorium on new permits that the council adopted two months ago when it couldn't decide the broader issue. (The Seattle Times)
- Presbyterian Church criticizes Malawian president | Eleven-page statement criticizes government initiatives to amend the constitution to allow President Muluzi to stand for a third term in the 2004 elections (BBC)
- Dousing a religious flap | At the urging of his boss, an atheist firefighter at odds with a Christian firefighters group has drafted a new policy aimed at keeping religious and political agendas off the walls of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)
- Bork criticizes courts' assault on religion | "The contribution of law to our cultural collapse is not recognized. Everybody talks about the impact of Hollywood and the media, but I'm here to state that the law is a central element in western culture" (The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)
- Lawsuit over religious zoning law | Land was used by Catholic nuns-in-training and Greek Orthodox monks, but town doesn't want it to be turned into a synagogue and Hebrew school (Associated Press)
- Over disputed book, Vatican official bars priest from teaching | Theologian Roger Haight, onetime president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and questioned for teaching that non-Christians can get to heaven without Jesus. (The Boston Globe)
- Catholic families feel betrayed by Church | Elite school gets their building (Chicago Tribune)
- Suit: Priest's blood used as relic | A cancer doctor who treated the late Cardinal Terence Cooke is accused in a lawsuit by a dismissed employee of loaning samples of the prelate's blood to patients as the "relic" of a possible saint (Associated Press)
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