Raëlians oversee first cloned birth
A religious sect announced today that a woman has given birth to her own clone. The Raëlians, followers of a French journalist who believe space aliens formed the Earth, say the cloned baby girl was born yesterday and is named Eve.

Earlier this year, Clonaid, a cloning lab formed by the Raëlians, announced that it was overseeing five cloned pregnancies. Clonaid director Dr. Brigitte Boisselier said today at a news conference that the baby, born in an unspecified foreign country, will go home in three days. At that time, an independent investigator will use DNA tests to prove that Eve is a clone.

At today's press conference however, Boisselier gave no evidence that Eve is a clone or even exists. She did however say that the girl looks just like her mother.

Former CU quarterback left partly for religious reasons
In September, the former starting quarterback for the University of Colorado football team walked away from the game and the school. This week, he told the Rocky Mountain News that a series of disagreements over playing time and game decisions led to him leaving the program but "the last straw" was the head coach's interference in a team prayer.

"Things went from a football level to a personal level," Ochs told the Rocky Mountain News. "You can overlook some of the things in football, but I think it's obvious to anybody who knows me how serious I take my faith. [The coach] mocked me and my faith in God in front of the team."

The former junior co-captain said the prayer incident occurred at an August 18 practice. He said that as he was praying for the team, coach Gary Barnett interrupted and finished the prayer himself in an "inappropriate and obnoxious" manner.

In reaction to the claim, Barnett told the paper, "I felt we needed a little more pep in our prayer."

Benny Hinn on Dateline
Tonight's Dateline, at 7:00 p.m. central standard time on NBC, will air an investigation of faith healer and televangelist Benny Hinn. According to the network's site, "[Hinn] claims he can call on God to heal the sick. But Dateline's hidden cameras reveal another side of the Hinn ministry, and some former followers raise troubling questions."

Religious weblog RelaspedCatholic.com posted a letter this week from the Trinity Foundation, an organization that monitors religious programming. The group said that it had been working with Dateline for the last two years in its investigation of Hinn.

Hinn has already spoken out against the program. This week on Trinity Broadcasting Network's "Behind the Scenes" he said the Dateline investigation contained "demonic lies."

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$17 million of Powerball jackpot donated to churches
The Christmas Powerball winner of $315 million says he is not lucky. He is blessed. "I just want to thank God for letting me pick the right numbers, or letting the machine pick the right numbers for me," Andrew J. Whittaker Jr., a member of the Church of God, told The New York Times. "I'm getting really excited because of the good works I can do with this."

Whittaker, who owns three construction businesses, chose to take his winnings in on lump sum of $170.5 million instead of 30 annual payments.

Whittaker said he still plans to tithe his winnings. "The very first thing I'm going to do is, I'm going to go home, I'm going to sit down and make out three checks to three pastors for 10 percent of this check."

The three clergymen—his home pastor, another near his hometown, and one in California—will be given a total of $17 million. Whittaker has no set plans on what should be done with that money as long as it helps "people who want to better themselves to have a better life."

More articles:

War with Iraq:

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Clergy sex abuse scandal:

The New York Times Ten Commandments series:

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Missions and ministry:



Church and state:

  • Judge orders monument moved Jan. 3 | A federal judge on Thursday gave Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore a Jan. 3 deadline to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building. (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Salt Lake street fight | Mormons and 'Gentiles' duel over speech rights (The Washington Post)

  • Rooftop cross in San Clemente not a 'sign,' says judge who rules it's legal (Los Angeles Times)

Politics and law:


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Internet and technology:


Interfaith relations:

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Sex and marriage:

Persecution and violence:


Church life:

  • New York experiences renaissance | Young, educated New Yorkers are pouring into mainline churches and synagogues in such numbers that some ministers believe they are witnessing an awakening. (The Washington Times)

  • The Christian future | Contrary to perceived wisdom, Christianity is booming. (The Wall Street Journal, subscription required)

  • Poor get helping holiday hand: Bishop Lennon reaches out | Bishop Richard Lennon yesterday followed tradition by visiting the poor and homeless at St. Francis House on Christmas Day, and offered a connection to those ``in the church or out of the church.'' (Boston Herald)

  • For people of faith, only the infinite is adequate | The religious come in many kinds. They range from the deeply pious and devout to those who cling to faith despite serious doubts. (E.J. Dionne, The Washington Post)

  • Clergy try to balance charity, security | Where does a congregation draw the line between its interests, whether it be security or order in the sanctuary, and its mission to help the poor? (The Boston Globe)

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Sexual ethics:

Other stories of interest:

  • The boy who saw the Virgin | Joseph Vitolo's life peaked at a tender age—what could compete?—and there is a weariness, a guardedness, about him, stemming from the burden of being the boy who saw the Virgin. (The New York Times)

  • 'Exhibit A for the power of prayer' | Pat Boone asked the world to intercede with God in his grandson's recovery. For those who believe, healing is the result. (Los Angeles Times)

  • U.S. religiousness tops among world's industrial nations | The United States is the most religious of the world's wealthy nations, and that inclination for belief makes it more akin to poorer countries than to other industrial societies, according to a poll of 44 nations. (The Washington Times)

  • Disney World reduces religious services, draws criticism | Citing space problems and concerns about fairness, the giant resort has stopped the regular Sunday services for Protestant and Catholic visitors that had been held at the Polynesian Luau area since 1975. (The Ledger, Lakeland, Florida)

Related Elsewhere

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