Have they checked the church lost and found? Always lots of Bibles there.
"Borders on alert after theft of rare Bible" says a headline in the Chicago Tribune. Why would Borders have a rare Bible? Doesn't it only sell mass-market books and CDs? Turns out the story is actually about Hungary. A copy of the 1590 Vizsoly Bible, the first full Hungarian translation, was stolen from a Protestant church. Only 20 of them exist in the world, and one sold last November for about $100,000. Is there a rash of rare Bible thefts? This is the second such story Weblog has seen in a week. A 1478 Koberg Bible, estimated to be worth about $1.1 million, was stolen from a town council safe in Scotland. Apparently someone took it at least eight years ago, but its disappearance is only now public.
Bibles may be safe at Borders, but over at the Virgin megastore, it's a different story. Chicago Sun-Times religion writer Cathleen Falsani noted that the local emporium has lots of spirituality titles:
Six copies of Awakening the Buddha Heart … three copies of The Celtic Tree Oracles … dozens of books about Buddhism—including something called The Buddhist Bible … at least a dozen books by the Dalai Lama alone. … Six copies of How to Use the I Ching. Four copies of Oprah guru Gary Zukav's Soul Stories. Two copies each of The Illustrated Rumi and Instant Zen. The Celtic Book of Living and Dying, The Egyptian Book of the Dead, The Tibetan Book of the Dead and Essential Sufism. One copy of the Muslim holy book, the Quran … and a whole other section altogether on the occult.
But no Bible. Nothing, in fact, on Christianity. "I guarantee you that if all the Christian churches in the United States started reading the Dalai Lama, he would disappear from the spirituality shelves," Boston University theologian Tom Beaudoin tells Falsani. Still, he sees Virgin's selection as a barometer of youth culture, and suggests that Christianity isn't on the shelves because Christians haven't let on how hip their religion truly is. "Christian churches need to pay a great deal of attention to what motivates young people to interest in these sort of books," says the author of Virtual Faith: The Irreverent Spiritual Quest of Generation X. "The Christian tradition itself is so much more diverse, challenging, rich and disturbing than most Christians themselves realize."
The latest target of the American Family Association is Dr. Pepper. No, the good doctor hasn't started performing abortions. The soft drink company has allegedly gone flat on God. Says a letter from AFA president Don Wildmon:
Dr Pepper has designed a new patriotic can featuring the Statue of Liberty and the Pledge of Allegiance. But Dr Pepper left out the phrase "under God" from the Pledge of Allegiance. … It appears that Dr Pepper left out the phrase "Under God" because they were afraid they might offend someone who didn't believe in God. They evidently didn't care if they offend anyone who did believe in God. Nor did it bother them to alter the Pledge of Allegiance to suit their politically correct purposes.
The soft drink company has received so many complaints that the home page of its Web site responds to the allegations. The can, the company says,
was created to show support for the patriotic fervor that has been sweeping America since the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001, and to show the world that we are a united nation of people who place a high value upon freedom. … Of the 31 words in the Pledge of Allegiance, only three were included. More than 90 percent were not included.
The AFA is also upset at recent 7Up ads that suggest a pitchman is getting naked in public.
- Let's press Russia, others on religious freedom issues | Now that we Americans have a freer hand than we did when our backs seemed to be against the wall in September, our leaders should renew attention to persecution (Lawrence Uzzell, The Dallas Morning News)
- Vatican Creates dioceses in Russia | Orthodox Church upset by the move (Associated Press)
- Also: Vatican plan irks Orthodox Church (Reuters)
- Also: As the Vatican evangelizes, the Russian Orthodox resist (Reuters)
- Church bell triggers sectarian clash in Egypt | Eleven hurt, cars and homes burnt (Reuters)
- Also: Church bells lead to Egypt clashes (BBC)
- Court blocks stoning execution of woman | A Sudanese appeals court has overturned a sentence of death by stoning for a pregnant Christian woman accused of adultery, and has sent the case back to the lower court for fresh sentencing (Reuters)
- The Koran as a classroom lesson? At the right time, yes | I give straight F's to those who said such instruction had no place in the classroom (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)
- Suspicious minds | Story about teaching Islam in California school is largely false (Roberto Rivera, Breakpoint Online)
- County of the Scopes Trial is told to halt Bible classes in schools | Judge rules that county school officials "acted with both purpose and effect to endorse and advance religion in the public schools." (Associated Press)
- Cleveland case poses new test for vouchers | A voucher program in Ohio designed to help thousands of pupils flee failing public schools will be taken up by the United States Supreme Court this month. (The New York Times)
- Transgender restrooms urged for schools | The United States Students Association says transgender students "have a problem with bathrooms" that are for men or women only and may be assaulted (The Washington Times)
- In Ohio school hearing, a new theory will seek a place alongside evolution | The latest challenge to evolution's primacy in the nation's classrooms—the theory of intelligent design—will soon get a hearing before the Ohio Board of Education. (The New York Times)
- Ohio scientists to fight anti-evolution push | Group opposes teaching of Intelligent Design in schools (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- Wrapping Christian messages in films with popular appeal | 'The Climb' embodies 50-year-old group's newest tactics for reaching many people. (Los Angeles Times)
- Christians urged to worship pop idol | Christians are being told that "a vote for Gareth [Gates] is a vote for God" as ITV1's Pop Idol contest reaches its climax tonight. (The Times, London)
- Holy Land park tops expectations | More than 275,000 people have visited the park since it opened Feb. 5, 2001 (The Denver Post)
- Christian group rocks on at 15 | dc Talk members have done solo albums, but they've stayed together longer than the Beatles (The Denver Post)
- Christian music wins converts | Behind the scenes at "The Fish" (Chicago Tribune)
- Creed: the band with all the questions | The band's popularity is the biggest mystery of all (The Washington Post)
Church abuse scandals:
- Roman Catholic leader claims abuse-conviction nun innocent | Archbishop Mario Conti said he believes Sister Alphonso, also known as Marie Theresa Docherty, is the victim of a miscarriage of justice and should have her conviction quashed (The Scotsman)
- Churches pay dearly for silence on abuse | Criticism grows in pedophile cases (Chicago Tribune)
- A church dealing with accusations | Lessons from the past force us to make distinctions among times and places and degrees of responsibility (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)
- Catholics favoring priesthood changes | Reeling from scandal, Boston-area area Catholics surveyed overwhelmingly believe that the church should abandon its millennium-old policy of restricting the priesthood to celibate men (The Boston Globe)
- DAs given names of 49 more priests | Cardinal says records are being combed (The Boston Globe)
- Reports of priests' abuse enrage Boston Catholics (Los Angeles Times)
- Boston Cardinal under fire amid new accusations | Boston's Cardinal Bernard Law said on Friday he was saddened by the discovery of accusations of child molestation against six more priests in his diocese as a new poll showed Roman Catholics losing patience with his leadership (Associated Press)
- A resolute Cardinal Law repeats he won't go | Vows to focus on protections for children (The Boston Globe)
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