Guadalcanal missionary hostages reportedly killed
More sad news for the Anglican Communion. Six missionaries of the Melanesian Brotherhood, part of the Anglican Church of Melanesia, are dead.

Solomon Islands warlord Harold Keke took the missionaries hostage three months ago, but reportedly killed them a day or two after the abduction. Keke is said to have killed more than 50 people so far this year, and caused more than 1,200 people to flee their homes on the western coast of Guadalcanal.

The report comes from Nick Warner, head of the 2,000-member Australian-led peacekeeping force recently dispatched to the island. Voice of America quotes Warner, who met with Keke and his men yesterday, as telling Keke "that I wanted to leave today with the Melanesian Brother hostages that I understood they were holding. I was told during that meeting that the Melanesian Brothers were dead." Warner gave no further information about how they died.

Good news
Too much bad news lately, so here's a bright spot. Remember Patrick Cubbage, who was fired from a New Jersey military cemetery for saying "God bless you" during services? He's going back to work Monday, with full back pay, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Archbishop of Canterbury summons Anglican leaders for emergency meeting
Orthodox members of the Episcopal Church USA who are upset by the church's approval of an openly homosexual bishop have had at least one of their requests granted: the heads (or Primates) of Anglican churches around the world will soon meet to address the situation.

"I am clear that the anxieties caused by recent developments have reached the point where we will need to sit down and discuss their consequences," Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the spiritual head of the Anglican Communion, said. "I hope that in our deliberations we will find that there are ways forward in this situation which can preserve our respect for one another and for the bonds that unite us. I hope we can use the time between now and then to reflect, to pray, to consult and to take counsel."

Since this was only announced this morning, there has been little response from the American Anglican Council or other orthodox groups. But Weblog expects that a meeting of orthodox Episcopalians planned for early October will be rescheduled for after the Primates' meeting.

Meanwhile, orthodox Anglicans are lamenting yet another action taken by the Episcopal Church yesterday in favor of homosexual practice. In a 120-72 vote, the House of Deputies affirmed a resolution that said, in part, "We recognize that local faith communities are operating within the bounds of our common life as they explore and experience liturgies celebrating and blessing same-sex unions."

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"Today's vote is yet another painful illustration that the Episcopal Church has left the Anglican family and become an 'anything goes' denomination," American Anglican Council President David C. Anderson said. "Dioceses and local faith communities now have a green light to 'bless' relationships outside of marriage. This move is a tragic but logical next step for a Church that has already abandoned the historic Christian faith."

More on the ECUSA same-sex union resolution:

More articles

Episcopal Church's first gay bishop:

  • Anger as first gay bishop heads for Britain | Anglicanism's first actively homosexual bishop will deliver a keynote speech to gay Christians during a visit to Britain which is certain to inflame tensions within the Church of England (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Worshiping character | Naming the first openly gay bishop to the Episcopal Church is an encouraging sign that society is increasingly willing to embrace character over stereotypes and innuendo about sexual orientation (Editorial, San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Evangelical regret at gay bishop decision | Standing up for a traditional Christian view of sexual morality nowadays requires someone who is not afraid to stick his head above the parapet (Ben Davies, BBC)

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  • Church firm against homosexuality (The Monitor, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Gospel of inclusion? | Its Episcopal disciples leave little room for Scripture (Katherine Kersten, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Liberals still ready to call evangelicals' bluff | Protest after endorsement of gay bishop may not herald a total split (Jonathan Petre, The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Episcopal Church embracing gay bishop a good step toward progress | The church has no rule against gay clerics and Robinson has, by all accounts, been an effective spiritual leader in New Hampshire (Editorial, Detroit Free Press)

  • This is not your Father's church anymore | An Episcopalian friend of mine, reacting to the elevation of an openly homosexual priest to the office of bishop, said to me, "If you're a heterosexual clergyman and you're having sex outside marriage, you can be expelled. But if you're a homosexual clergyman having sex outside marriage, they rejoice." (Cal Thomas)

  • Earlier: Torn-again Anglican Church | It is hard to see how the haughty "Me, Me, Me Christianity" of North American and European Anglicans can be reconciled with the faithfulness of their African and Asian brethren in the trenches (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)

Gay marriage:

Sexual ethics:

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Dating, sex, and marriage:

  • Abstinence-only education for teens an unhealthy idea | The ideological agenda of the Bush administration and some of its far-right supporters is supplanting science as the basis of programs to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and teen pregnancy (Editorial, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Also: Only abstinence 100 percent effective | Abstinence education is a perfect example of the type of faith-based effort that should be supported by the government (Larry Anderson, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Not many shades of gray for adultery | In light of the Kobe Bryant situation, how does your religion view adultery? (The Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Calif.)

  • Wives and the Bible | Some Christians say the Bible requires wifely submission, but is the issue really that simple? (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

  • So a priest walks into a bar | I'm young, female and I wear a white collar. Dating can be a living hell. (Astrid Storm,

Judge rules Boy Scouts a religious organization that the state can't endorse:

Mel Gibson's The Passionand Greg Laurie's Harvest Crusade:

  • Christian Christ-killers | Critics of Mel Gibson's passion play don't realize that the crucifixion of Christ was a good thing (Gene Edward Veith, World)

  • Christians will get glimpse of 'Passion' | A four-minute clip of The Passion is played for a group of Christians attending a festival in California (Associated Press)

  • Also: A Christian celebration that's big on change | In an attempt to keep a 2,000-year-old message wrapped in a fresh package, this year's Harvest Crusade at Edison International Field will offer a four-minute preview of Mel Gibson's "The Passion" — an unfinished film about the death of Jesus — along with an exhibition of extreme sports, rock bands and a 1,000-member choir (Los Angeles Times)

  • 'Passion' critics wrong | None of the criticism comes from anyone who has actually seen the film (Linda Chavez, The Denver Post\)

Ten Commandments:

  • ACLU tracking elusive tablets | The American Civil Liberties Union of Utah has called on people to help it track down what is believed to be the final, elusive Ten Commandments monument that is likely located on government property (Deseret Morning News, Utah)

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  • Upholding the law | Moore must remove Commandments from rotunda (Editorial, The Birmingham News, Ala.)

Faith-based initiative/prison ministry:

  • Faith-based fudging | How a Bush-promoted Christian prison program fakes success by massaging data (Mark A.R. Kleiman,

  • Faith programs reshape prison | Despite decrease in violence, warden's policies at Marion facility worry some civil liberties groups (Associated Press)

  • Ohio prison warden drawing attention for religious programs | Americans United, American Jewish Congress ask state to drop upcoming Promise Keepers rally (Associated Press)

  • Faith-based drug wars | Bush recruits religious youth groups as ground troops for the 'drug wars' (Bill Berkowitz,

  • Religion shouldn't affect hiring | The more I think about this issue, the more I am convinced that the government should think twice before it gives money, and churches should think twice before they accept it (The Dallas Morning News)

Church life:

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  • Anger and the almighty | Is it all right to get angry with God? (Colin Sedgwick, The Guardian, London)

  • What did God know and when did he know it? | Does God know everything? Does that knowledge include everything that will happen in the future? (Associated Press)

  • Jesus of Nazareth: lord or lunatic? | You read or hear it everywhere, though I'm always mystified when it comes from a religious leader. "It" is what you might call "The Domesticated Jesus" — the Jesus even nonbelievers accept. (David Reinhard, The Oregonian)

Money and business:


  • How sweet the sound | When the Gospel Music Workshop of America comes to town, 20,000 visitors will gather for a joyful noise (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • Gospel music fans' dirty secret | Stealing Christian music, and other stories (The Washington Post)

  • Alabama woman publishes 1,000th Christian song | Ruth Elaine Schram's songs appear on 30 albums, four of which have been nominated for Dove Awards. Her arrangement of the song "All Through the Night" was featured in the third episode of the first season of The Sopranos (Sarasota Hearld-Tribune, Fla.)

  • Gospel music lifts Travis back to top of country charts | Randy Travis was nervous when he first started singing gospel songs, but found the audience loved it and asked for more (Associated Press)

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  • School board member tells mayor he is cursed | St. Louis School Board member Rochell Moore fired off a cryptic letter Tuesday to Mayor Francis Slay, saying he is "cursed with a curse" of biblical proportions for interfering with the city school district (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Also: Open letter from Rochell Moore | St. Louis School Board member Rochell Moore sent this letter to Mayor Francis Slay and local media outlets. It is transcribed here as written (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Also: Police look into alleged threat by Moore (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Revs. vow suit over Milk HS | Amid praise yesterday from the City Council for the nation's first gay high school, a group of Hispanic ministers threatened to sue over it, calling the campus a new kind of "segregation" (New York Post)

  • Jewell stays independent | This ancient bastion of Baptist education in Missouri, with its traditions of prayer and ministry, and its motto of "trust in God and work," is not Christian enough for the Missouri Baptist Convention (Sun-News of the Northland, Liberty, Mo.)

  • Also: William Jewell College takes first steps to independence | Jewell's friends say severing financial ties from the Missouri Baptist Convention is the best thing that could have happened. So do we. (Editorial, Sun-News of the Northland, Liberty, Mo.)

Israel and Palestine:

"Magazine versions" of the Bible:

  • Questioning Christianity | Exhibit—including image declaring Jesus the 'other white meat'—probes meaning, contradiction in religion (The Daily Northwestern, Northwestern U.)


  • From Alpha to Omega | Thief River Falls residents read the Bible for three days and nights (Grand Forks Herald, N.D.)

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  • New niche for old text | Publishers reach out to diverse audiences through specialty Bibles (Las Vegas Review-Journal)



  • New guide tackles tough Bible verses | First novel leads quickly to second, third (Ben Steelman, Wilmington Star News)

  • Shedding light on a forgotten founder | In his new John Winthrop: America's Forgotten Founding Father, Francis J. Bremer, editor of the Winthrop Papers for the Massachusetts Historical Society, seeks to pull the Commonwealth's first colonial governor up from anonymity (The Boston Globe)

  • A liberal Catholic's plaint | We may indeed be facing "The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America," but the crisis in the subtitle of Peter Steinfels's book is not, as one might expect, the pederasty scandal that recently rocked the media and the church (The Wall Street Journal)


Life ethics:

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  • Stem cells in limbo | Two years after President Bush said the U.S. had all the cell lines it needed, where did they go? (Time)

  • Russian abortion rate declines | Abortion, once the country's primary means of birth control, is in steady decline in post-Soviet Russia, but the rate is still staggering: For every 10 births there are about 13 abortions, compared with roughly three in the United States (Associated Press)

Persecution and religious freedom:


  • Ban on priest case now in high court | Christian missionary Suresh Thackerey has moved the Gujarat high court challenging an order of sessions judge of Junagadh district that has prohibited his entry within a 10 km radius of Talala village after allegations that he hurt religious feelings of Hindus living in the village (, Gujarat, India)

  • Probe ordered into alleged conversion | Karnataka Minister for Primary Education B K Chandrasekhar informed the Legislative Council that an inquiry has been ordered into the alleged attempt to convert a schoolgirl in Hassan district last month (Sift, India)

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  • Priest denies he broke Ganapati idol | A week after he was released on conditional bail by the sessions court, Junagadh-based priest Suresh Thakre on Thursday said that the charge that he broke a Ganpati idol was fabricated at the instance of the Sangh Parivar (Indian Express)

  • The way of the cross | Bal Thackeray's 'distant relative' arrested for allegedly damaging Ganesh idol (The Week, India)

Missions and ministries:

  • In place of rioting | Churches, mosques and unions are reviving the non-violent civil rights tradition (The Guardian, London)

  • Religion in the News: Weston Priory at 50 | At a Benedictine monastery set on an old dairy farm in rural Vermont, a small community of Roman Catholic monks live for prayer and working toward a better world (Associated Press)

U.S. politics and law:

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  • Deeply held beliefs | Can religious values be completely divorced from secular values? (Mona Charen, The Washington Times)

International politics and law:

Tony Blair wants evangelicals and other religious figures more active in British politics:

  • Faith groups get bigger policy role | Ways of giving religious groups a bigger say in government policies are being discussed by a special group of ministers (BBC)

  • And on the seventh day Tony Blair created… | It may prove an uphill struggle in this secular day and age, but the Prime Minister is aiming to put religion right at the center of government (The Observer, London)

  • Also: Evangelicals get Whitehall role | Evangelical Christians, including campaigners against gay bishops, are to get a central role in government policy-making under plans approved personally by Tony Blair (The Independent, London)

  • Also: A place for religion in Blair politics | British Prime Minister sets up ministerial working group charged with injecting religious ideas into policy-making (The Straits Times, Singapore)

  • Also: Secular campaigners target government 'faith council' | Moves to increase the influence of religious groups on Government policy will alienate almost a third of the population, secular campaigners warned today (PA, U.K.)

Christian Coalition vs. Christian Coalition on Alabama tax and reform package:


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  • Pentecost elder before court | An elder of the Church of Pentecost, Emmanuel Abobe, is currently in the grips of the law when he opted to redeem a 22-year old female student from spiritual bondage. He had been charged with indecent assault and causing unlawful damage (Ghanaian Chronicle, Accra)


  • Putting our faith in science | When it comes to spirituality, biologists and physicists are in over their heads (Andrew Klavan, Los Angeles Times)

  • A bioethicist's take on Genesis | As Leon R. Kass shows, Genesis finds both the pathos and the possibility of human life, for the world will not accommodate itself to desire and desire will demand more than the world can ever offer. The question is where humanity will seek its consolation and its satisfactions (The New York Times)

Interfaith relations:

  • Muslims petition state over Christian teachings | A local Muslim group has given the government 60 days to rectify Zimbabwe's Christian-biased school curriculum or it will file an application in the Supreme Court for an order declaring unconstitutional the teaching of Christian subjects and the reciting of the Lord's Prayer at public schools (The Daily News, Harare, Zimbabwe)

  • Church burns Bibles | And other tales of brotherly love (Bob Bankard,

  • Unradical chic | Unlike other flash points in the war on terror, you don't see much bin Laden paraphernalia in Malawi. How is a country with such large Muslim and Christian populations so stable? (Jacob T. Levy, The New Republic)

  • Do Jews, Christians, and Muslims all pray to the same God? | Washington Post readers respond (The Washington Post, part 2)

  • Faiths united | A new site called Word combines major Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Hindu texts—the Koran, the Tanakh, the New Testament, and 11 of the Upanishads—in a single database (The New York Times, second item)

  • Witch says pastor harassing her | Hill Country minister denies targeting Wiccan; FBI inquiry set (Associated Press)

Jews for Jesus:

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Other religions:


Bill Bright memorial coverage:

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  • Bill Bright | A memorial service is held Wednesday morning for Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ (Morning Edition, NPR)

Pat Robertson and Liberia:

  • Robertson's indefensible doctrine | It's high time for believers to repudiate "Christian nation" politics and the moral corruption it invites (Joseph Loconte)

  • Pat Robertson's political power in question | Robertson is not the significant political figure he once was, according to experts who study religion and politics (The Kansas City Star)

  • Liberia's Taylor: The despot we can live with | In building the case for even limited action, administration officials have remained strangely silent on Taylor's terrorist ties, his execution of political rivals, his policies of torture, and the shutting down of the free press (The Washington Post)

Pat Robertson's prayer offensive:

Faith and spirituality:

  • Peace be with you | Ancient avenues to inner peace are reappearing in modern life (Time)


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  • The Catholic test | Two hundred years after the Framers renounced them, Senate Democrats have reinvented the Test Act (Hugh Hewitt, The Weekly Standard)

  • The Catholic test, part 2 | Big media has been avoiding the new Democratic religion test, but the blogosphere has answered the bell (Hugh Hewitt, The Weekly Standard)

  • The last prejudice? | Philip Jenkins argues that anti-Catholic bigotry is on the rise-even among Catholics (The Boston Globe)

  • Playing the Catholic card | So it takes an ecumenical group of zealots charging anti-Catholicism in an ad running in a state with a Greek Orthodox senator to make me fully understand the word chutzpah (Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe)

  • Are the media fair in their coverage of Catholicism? | Last Sunday was not the first time Cardinal Francis George has challenged the news media (Don Wycliff, Chicago Tribune)

Clergy sex abuse:

  • Brooklyn bishop resigns, citing age, not scandal | Church officials said there was no link between Thomas V. Daily's departure and the Massachusetts attorney general's recent findings that Daily failed to fully investigate sexual abuse charges against priests when working for Cardinal Bernard F. Law in Boston (The Washington Post)

  • Also: Brooklyn bishop ending tenure amid storm over scandal | Under church rules, Bishop Daily was required to submit his resignation on turning 75 last Sept. 23 (The New York Times)

  • Archbishop O'Malley: 'We beg forgiveness' | At his installation, Archbishop Sean Patrick O'Malley speaks of the pain caused by priests who sexually abused children and says the whole Catholic community is "ashamed and anguished." (The Providence Journal, R.I.)

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  • Jehovah's Witnesses hit with abuse suits | Alleged victims were molested as children, they say (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Choirmaster case rests on coffee table | A photograph of a newspaper on a coffee table led to the undoing of a witness yesterday in an increasingly bizarre case of unfair dismissal against the Catholic Church (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Mom says minister made teen son strip down | Pastor of Holy Redeemer Evangelical Lutheran Church has been charged with a form of child pornography, officials said Friday (The Macomb Daily, Mich.)

  • Panel seeks bishops' compliance | Members of the lay board set up to monitor U.S. Roman Catholic bishops said Tuesday that they are demanding nothing less than full compliance from bishops in the studies they have commissioned into the scope of child abuse by priests and the steps taken to prevent it (Chicago Tribune)

  • Ex-preacher may require one trial | Depending on how Wesley McCoy wants to proceed with his case, there's a chance the former evangelical preacher would never need to return to Aiken County to answer to child molestation charges (The Augusta Chronicle, Ga.)

  • Sex crimes cover-up by Vatican? | Confidential document lays out a church policy that calls for absolute secrecy when it comes to sexual abuse by priests - anyone who speaks out could be thrown out of the church (CBS Evening News)

Other stories of interest:

  • Religion news in brief | Lutheran churches fail to reach consensus on same-sex marriages, Assemblies of God loosens policy for clergy conducting second marriages, and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Valuing more than dollars and cents | The percentage of adults who feel they have attained the good life remains small (Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post)

  • Putin joins pilgrimage in closed city | The last Russian leader to join the Orthodox Church in honoring St. Seraphim of Sarov was Czar Nicholas II (Associated Press)

  • Oldest Orthodox bishop dead at 89 | Anthony of Sourozh led the Russian Orthodox Church in Britain for more than 50 years (The Moscow Times)

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