Pentagon drops abayah requirement
Lt. Col. Martha McSally, the Air Force's highest-ranking female fighter pilot, has won her fight against a military rule requiring her to wear a head-to-toe Muslim robe whenever she leaves the U.S. base in Saudi Arabia. "Wear of the abaya in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is not mandatory but is strongly encouraged," the new policy says. McSally had argued that the old requirement violated her religious freedom as a Christian, and filed suit with the help of the Rutherford Institute. U.S. Central Command says the lawsuit had nothing to do with the policy change and that the policy had been under review even before the suit was filed.

The case isn't over yet, however. McSally and other female soldiers stationed in Saudi Arabia are still prohibited from driving—or even sitting in the front seat of a vehicle. And they can't leave the military base without a male soldier accompanying them. "I think the mountain has moved, but I don't know how far," Rutherford Institute president John Whitehead tells The Washington Post. He was a bit more negative when talking to the USA Today: "What it says to us is that [the rule has] not been rescinded. It's like saying, 'You're equal to us but you can't eat in the same restaurant because you're strongly encouraged to eat at one more fitting with your lower class.'"

DeMoss Foundation won't go to court to overturn German ban on PowerforLiving ads
Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation President Mark DeMoss flew to Hamburg this week to straighten people out about his organization and the evangelistic book it's famous for distributing, Power for Living. Two weeks ago, Germany banned ads for the book at the request of liberal German church leaders who opposed the group's conservative evangelical stances. The Lutheran Church's Thomas Gandow, for example, attacked the book as an "attempt to establish American religious culture in Germany." Rumors have been flying about the group, reports Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, including one that it "advocated depriving non-believers of their voting rights." DeMoss insisted that the foundation is nothing like a sect or a cult. "You cannot join us, we have no followers. All we do is write checks and pass them out," he said. He appealed to the broadcast regulators to overturn their ban, but said the foundation would not go to court to challenge it. According to Operation World, Germany is 69 percent Christian, but only 3 percent evangelical. (National Public Radio's All Things Considered also has a report, but you'll need RealPlayer to listen to it.)

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The Weekly Standard on "the Christian Taliban"

  • The Taliban smear | Four months after September 11, some liberals are still smearing conservatives by equating them with the Taliban. (Terry Eastland, The Weekly Standard)
  • On evangelicals and theocrats | The example of James Madison shows why liberals who continue to conflate the Taliban with religious conservatives are wrong. (Claudia Winkler, The Weekly Standard)


Church disputes:

Politics and religion:

Life ethics:

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Other religions:

  • Praise for Vatican paper on Jews | But it will take time for most observers to read and digest the lengthy book (Associated Press)
  • Christians at odds over sermon on 'Evils of Islam' | A Nashville minister's sermon on the ''evils of Islam'' has drawn both supporters and those opposed to his message, which also includes a call to convert the city's Muslims to Christianity (The Tennessean)
  • Between cross and crescent | The controversy over construction of a mosque next to Nazareth's Basilica of the Annunciation has become an international issue that is tearing apart this Muslim/Christian town of Nazareth (The Jerusalem Post)


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