Karl Rove: Bush didn't reach enough evangelicals
"We probably failed to marshal support of the base as well as we should have," President Bush's top political adviser, Karl Rove, said yesterday. And by "the base" he means evangelicals.

There should have been 19 million of them, and instead there were 15 million of them. So four million of them did not turn out to vote. … But we also may be returning to the point in America where fundamentalists and evangelicals remain true to their beliefs and think politics is corrupt and therefore they shouldn't participate. … If this process of withdrawal continues, it's bad for conservatives, bad for Republicans, but also bad for the country. … It's something we have to spend a lot of time and energy on.

Rove spoke at an American Enterprise Institute forum on the Bush presidency. The organization's schedule doesn't list Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, as one of the respondents, but since both the Chicago Tribune and The New York Times quote him, he apparently attended. He's puzzled by the comments. "Maybe it's a strategy to rally the right or something," he told The New York Times "But there's nothing stunning that says this was Bush's problem." He points out to the Tribune that Rove's concern is only over a 3 percent shift between 2000 and 1996 among Republican voters who identified themselves as white, evangelical, and members of the Religious Right. (Reuters, The Washington Post, and other news outlets covered the speech too but didn't emphasize the Religious Right aspect.)

House of Lords defeats Britain's religious hatred law
In the largest of a series of attacks against proposed legislation banning "incitement to religious hatred," Britain's House of Lords defeated the bill last night in a 240 to 141 vote. Britain's newspapers disagree on what's next for the bill, which is opposed by the country's Evangelical Alliance. "David Blunkett, the Home Secretary, is now expected to use Labour's huge majority in the Commons later in the week to overrule the peers in this test of wills," says The Daily Telegraph. "Mr. Blunkett is now expected to drop the proposal in the next 24 hours in order to save the remainder of the emergency anti-terror bill," says The Guardian. "Downing Street is saying ministers have already made many concessions but it is not prepared to drop contentious measures, such as a new law outlawing incitement of religious hatred," says the BBC. We'll have to wait and see.

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Sacred relic found in church cupboard:

  • Church to return relic to Ethiopia | A sacred religious artifact seized by British soldiers more than 130 years ago is to be returned to Ethiopia after it was discovered by accident in a church cupboard (The Daily Telegraph, London)
  • Also: Ethiopian artifact found in cupboard | The wooden tabot, or tablet, represents the ark of the covenant and is sacred to Ethiopia's Orthodox Christians (BBC)
  • Also: Ark relic found in cupboard | The rediscovered tabot was looted by the British army when it captured the fortress of Magdala in 1868 (The Guardian, London)
  • Greek Orthodox bishop gets holy relics | Detroit gets bone fragments of St. Nicholas (Associated Press)
  • Earlier: Guardians of the Lost Ark | Ethiopia's Christians stake their identity on being heirs of Solomon and keepers of his treasure. (Christianity Today, June 14, 1999)

Heather Mercer and Dayna Curry:

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