Michael Newdow hopes lightning strikes twice
Californian Michael Newdow is clearly trying to become the next Madalyn Murray O'Hair. The emergency room doctor who famously sued over the Pledge of Allegiance has now filed suit in federal district court charging that government funding of chaplains in the U.S. Congress is unconstitutional. "If congressmen want to go to church, [then] walk down the block like other Americans do and go to church,'' Newdow told The Washington Post. "Don't get my government engaged in it." He also claims he was discriminated against when he applied for the jobs of House and Senate chaplains because he's an atheist.

There's no way this case is going anywhere—the Supreme Court has already ruled that state-funded chaplains are constitutional. "In light of the history, there can be no doubt that the practice of opening legislative sessions with prayer has become part of the fabric of our society," Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote in the 1983 case Marsh v. Chambers. "To invoke divine guidance on a public body entrusted with making the laws is not, in these circumstances, a violation of the Establishment Clause; it is simply a tolerable acknowledgment of beliefs widely held among the people of this country."

But Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott warns Newdow's crusade is no joke. "We should not look upon this as a frivolous case but as another attack on religious liberty," he tells the Post.

Bruce Springsteen, Messiah
There are fans, and then there are fans. Steve Gushee, religion writer for the Palm Beach Post and Cox News Service is apparently a superfan of Bruce Springsteen. "The Boss is an unlikely candidate for sainthood in most religious traditions," Gushee writes. "Still, [his latest album] The Rising is a profound faith statement regarding Sept. 11 that no religious group has equaled. … Thank God, someone is doing the church's job." The church, according to Cox, "offered little to soothe the angst felt almost universally after the catastrophes at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and on that Pennsylvania farmland." He faults Catholics for being too distracted by the pedophilia scandal and says "Prominent Protestant leaders" such as Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson, and Franklin Graham "have behaved disgracefully … [offering] recrimination and accusation in place of reconciliation and hope. … Springsteen, on the other hand, sings of prayer, resurrection and new life."

Finally someone dares to speak the truth!!! Knock Falwell, Robertson, Graham, and some Catholic bishops off the list, and absolutely no Christian leaders have said anything healing about 9/11. No one has provided any direction or hope from the ruins of the World Trade Center. Dude, give us a break.

Article continues below

Heroic religion
A couple of years ago, Weblog noted an article examining the religion of Superman and Batman. Now, in the wake of disclosure that The Fantastic Four's Thing is Jewish, The Dallas Morning News examines lesser-known 7 superheroes' religion. Jews still come out on top, but the paper notes that the X-Men's Nightcrawler is planning to become a priest and that Nightwing (the original Robin) listens to dc Talk and reads the NIV Bible.

More articles

Church and state:


Life ethics:

Article continues below


Crime and violence:

Islam and Christianity:

Schools and education:

Article continues below
  • University of Maryland reading about gay student riles conservatives | Family advocacy groups object to University of Maryland freshmen being asked to read a play about a homosexual college student, and are monitoring a Texas library's decision to remove from its shelves a book they say promotes homosexuality and abortion (The Washington Times)


Missions and ministry:

  • Christian aid worker back in Kabul | Georg Taubmann and several other workers of Shelter Now are back, unpacking their belongings, ready to start their lives over again building homes for Afghanistan's poor (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Go-go, and sin no more | The gospel dance club that was the answer to their prayers has turned into a test of faith. (The Washington Post)

  • Give us our daily bread | Scotland's first in-store chaplain, David Gillham, has been appointed at the Walmart Asda store in Livingston, West Lothian (Daily Record, Scotland)

  • Earlier: Aisle 4: Milk, Bread, and God (Christianity Today, Aug. 5, 2002)

  • Black Catholics still crusading | It has been a century of slow progress since the group first gathered in Chicago in 1893 (Chicago Tribune)

  • Franklin Graham event draws 80,000 | Largest religious gathering in Seattle since a 1982 event featuring his father, Billy Graham (Associated Press)

Denominational rifts:

  • Episcopal diocese, church end flap | Members of Christ Church in Accokeek agreed to drop their appeal of a federal court decision that removed the Rev. Samuel Edwards as their priest last year. In return, Diocese of Washington Bishop John B. Chane agreed to appoint a new priest picked by the church to replace Mr. Edwards (The Washington Times)

  • Also: Accokeek church, diocese reach accord (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Episcopal Church heads for showdown | David L. Moyer, president of the national organization Forward in Faith, may be defrocked next week (Associated Press)

  • A triangular religious debate | Jewish leaders are assailing the Southern Baptist Convention — and the Roman Catholics are to blame (Associated Press)

Church life:

  • Churches try to bridge differences | A 60-member commission seeking to bridge differences in the World Council of Churches between western Protestant and Eastern Orthodox churches proposed sweeping changes Thursday in the group's voting and worship practices (Associated Press)

Article continues below
  • Hawaiian church loses a round in its battle to expand | Judge does not order Maui County to OK project and leaves key issues undecided (Los Angeles Times)

  • It'll take more than magic | The next archbishop of Canterbury may be a druid, but he may not be able to hold the fractured Anglican denomination together (Ian Hunter, The Globe & Mail, Toronto)

  • New Los Angeles Cathedral evokes survival in adversity | In a moment of triumph for a church that has faced accusations of abuse by its priests, the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will be dedicated in Los Angeles on Monday (The New York Times)

  • Pictou preacher rejects bylaw | Rev. Ken Gilliard and members of his Cornerstone Community Church in Lyons Brook held an outdoor service at Pictou's marina stage Saturday, despite being warned by the town that he would be charged with breaking its public-places bylaw for not having a permit (The Daily News, Halifax, N.S., Canada)

  • Baptist seminary moves into new home | The John Leland Center for Theological Studies, the D.C. area's first Baptist theology school with a broad evangelical focus began its fifth year of classes yesterday, hoping that its new home and new accreditation will add to a winning formula for modern seminary education (The Washington Times)

  • Manhattan church to reopen after attack | St Paul's Chapel has undergone a $300,000 refurbishment in the past weeks, after serving for eight months as a relief post for emergency workers and a place for visitors to leave their remembrances (BBC)

  • Bride faces excommunication | Priest refused to conduct wedding of Planned Parenthood worker (Calgary Herald)


Pop culture:

Article continues below


  • 'Buddhist' art in cathedral upsets evangelicals | Canterbury Cathedral has been accused of promoting "New Age" beliefs in a new art work which features video pictures of a naked baby to a soundtrack of Buddhist chanting (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Modern artwork revives church | Chris Gollon's stations of the cross promises to be disturbing (The Guardian, London)

  • Church will retain Mussolini fresco | Work crews in Montreal are busy cleaning the interior of Montreal's celebrated Church of the Madonna della Difesa, but they won't being whitewashing its most notorious and distinctive feature—a depiction of Benito Mussolini (Broadcast News, Montreal, Canada)

Books and magazines:

Sex abuse cases:

Other stories of interest:

Article continues below
  • Hate, American style | Rev. Matt Hale, America's scariest hatemonger, would probably be flattered to hear his "church" referred to as America's Al Qaeda (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

  • Islanders opposes Sunday flights | The Isle of Lewis takes its Sabbath seriously (Associated Press)

  • Religion news in brief | Catholic sex abuse panel, American Indian clergy salaries, Michigan's Catholic law school, pledging on the Qur'an, and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Bad vibes | Warning: Meditating may be hazardous to your health (San Francisco Weekly)

  • Bulgaria to build a Noah's Ark | Black Sea competes with Turkey's Ararat (BBC)

Related Elsewhere

What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

August 29 | 28 | 27 | 26
August 23 | 22 | 21 | 20 | 19
August 16 | 15 | 14 | 13 | 12
August 9 | 8 | 7 | 6 | 5
August 2 | 1 | July 31 | 30 | 29
July 26 | 25 | 24 | 23 | 22
July 19 | 18 | 17 | 16 | 15