Twenty killed in Nigerian Christian village
Herdsmen armed with guns, clubs, machetes, and arrows attacked the northern Nigeria city of Turu, killing 20. Police, who recovered Islamic literature from the attackers, say they believe the attack was retaliation for deaths during religious riots in Jos last September. If so, this is why they invented the term overkill: huge numbers of both Christians and Muslims died during those riots. The death toll reportedly rose as high as 1,000.

Indonesian churches bombed on New Year's Eve
Four churches in Indonesia's Central Sulawesi province exploded New Year's Eve—three of them at the stroke of midnight. Fortunately, even though 200 people were in one of the churches at the time, none were hurt. (A nearby policeman was wounded in another blast.) Depending on the news source, police have already arrested two or three suspects in the blasts.

After Christian Coalition's race case, more trouble
If you can't get the story first, say journalists, get it better. The Washington Times does just that in its coverage of the racial discrimination case filed against the Christian Coalition. The Associated Press/Washington Postreported the settlement of the case on Saturday, but today's Washington Times story is full of juicy tidbits. For starters, it has an unconfirmed settlement figure: $325,000—reportedly more than 10 percent of the organization's annual budget these days. Candace Wheeler, the former assistant to Coalition president Roberta Combs, says she's dismayed by the settlement: "It is another injustice, because what these women are saying [about being discriminated against because they were black] is true. Roberta needs to make a public apology." But Combs isn't off the hook. The Times also has news that the FBI is investigating charges that the Christian Coalition defrauded hundreds of donors at a Washington inaugural party. Yikes.

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Religion and politics:
  • The God issue in 2002 | The Democrats' faith-based dilemma (The Weekly Standard)
  • Holy war | I would prefer that we simply dispense with the Godhead in our official speech altogether, or at least leave it to the Congressional chaplain, who's generally hired for his ability to invoke the deity without being too specific about his attributes, origins, nature, or relevance to anything that might turn out to be embarrassing in the future. (Joe Bob Briggs, UPI)
  • The church-state wall that Jefferson almost built | Jefferson's wall between church and state was meant to serve a greater goal—to promote and preserve religious liberty for Americans of all faiths. (Joseph Loconte, The Hartford Courant)
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Church life:
  • Big shoes to fill at the firehouse | Christopher Keenan replaces his friend, Mychal Judge, as the New York Fire Department's Roman Catholic chaplain. (Chicago Tribune)
  • A tough time for chaplains of fire dept | The past three months have carried a tidal wave of grief for those who lost family and loved ones in the attacks on the World Trade Center. But the weeks have also been grueling for those whose job is to help victims' families bear that grief. (New York Daily News)
  • A demanding time for chaplains who give at the office | Pushed into a new prominence during this time of employee unease, workplace chaplains are busier than they've been in years. (The Christian Science Monitor)
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