Hundreds protest shrouding of Commandments
About 350 protesters went to the Chester County, Pennsylvania, courthouse Monday to protest a court-ordered covering of a Ten Commandments plaque. (The Associated Press puts the number at "more than 100.") "You can't cover the truth!" they shouted. Four of the protesters were taken away by the police but not arrested, says The Philadelphia Inquirer. One was 22-year-old Michael Marcavage, who declared, "This is God's law, and no man can remove it." Others swore to maintain a vigil at the courthouse until the cover was removed. The plaque has been on the courthouse wall for 82 years.

Sally Flynn, who is suing for complete removal of the plaque, says she stayed away in fear. "The protesters do not realize that they are denying my civil rights," she told the paper. "We want to keep God out of government." Hmm. Weblog thought that protesting was an exercise of civil rights. Thanks for the civics lesson!

Meanwhile, another Inquirer article notes, a massive painting of Moses chiseling the stone tablets continues to stand above the chief justice's bench in the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. "The painting is part of a larger mural with other references, some of them historical. Therefore you put it in a different context," explains the executive director of the ACLU's Philadelphia office. "In Chester County, a specific religious group supported and paid for the plaque's installation. Clearly it was religious; it was not historic or artistic."

Talk about a megachurch
Check out this photo of the Easter service at L.A.'s Faithful Central Bible Church, which now owns the Great Western Forum. About 13,000 worshipers attended the three-hour service (and that doesn't include the long walk from the car). The New York Times Magazine notes that the church continues to rent the coliseum out during the week. "The principle I try to teach is this: This place becomes a church when we come in here," Gerard McCallum, a church member who helps rent the space, tells the paper. "It's only a place of worship when we worship in it." But some of the church members aren't buying it. "Every week I get calls: 'Incubus is coming? Green Day?'" he said. "Everyone objects to everything."

"Faithful Central may have started a trend," reports the Times' Nancy Updike. "A church in Houston recently signed a 30-year lease for the Compaq Center, starting when the Rockets move to their new arena in 2003."

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Anti-Catholicism in Russia:


  • Don't give up 1967 lands, DeLay tells Israel lobby | DeLay's remarks were the latest example of unflinching support for Israel among many U.S. conservative Christians (USA Today)

  • John Ashcroft's holy war | The Attorney General wants to impose his own religious views on the people of Oregon by trying to overturn the state's "Right to Die" law (Howard Gleckman, BusinessWeek)

  • Ashcroft's faith in death | Ashcroft does not pause at all. He thinks he is doing God's perfect work, but he is doing it, as we all must, as an imperfect man. (Richard Cohen, The Washington Post)

  • Religious leaders reject secession | Group finds no evidence that a split would help the poor, protect rights or improve public safety. But it acknowledges legitimate grievances with the city. (Los Angeles Times)


  • Ala. church bomb trial faces delay | A funding crisis in Alabama's court system may delay thousands of cases statewide, including the upcoming murder trial of the final suspect in a 1963 church bombing that killed four black girls. (Associated Press)

  • Federal judge strikes down Vermont child-porn law | Court finds statute too broadly restricts indecent speech that is protected under the Constitution. (Associated Press)

  • The sanctity of smut | The Supreme Court is not testing the limits of free "speech" so much as it is obliterating them (Robert Bork, The Wall Street Journal)

Pop culture:

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  • Hollywood takes ax to religion | Faith is one of the few subjects that seems significant to everyone, allowing an insecure first-time director to pose as a daring social critic, and a convoluted gothic thriller to pass itself off as "a cautionary tale about religious fanaticism." (Michael Medved, USA Today)

  • Club turfed out by the God squad | An amateur city football side faces abandoning the rest of this season's matches - following a pitch invasion by a group of Christian travelers. (The Scotsman)

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