With major religion pieces this week in major metropolitan daily newspapers like Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe, and religion cover stories over at Newsweek and U.S. News, it's clear that any effort to compile comprehensive links to religion news stories around the world is going to have a bit of trouble. Add to that the four-day weekend, during which the stories piled up, and you can see why Weblog has been a little short on its "more stories" feature this week—there were just too many stories to reap.

No longer. We've found hundreds of religion stories this week, and now we're busy putting them into easily digestible categories. It's going to take us a bit longer to finish, but here's a load to keep you busy until our next posting this afternoon.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch series on Joyce Meyer:

  • Money pitch is a hit with followers | This kind of hard-edged audacity that has made Meyer one of the biggest names in big-name TV evangelism and has endeared the Fenton grandmother to millions of faithful supporters worldwide. In St. Louis last month, Meyer asked for a $7 million check. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • From Fenton to fortune in the name of God | The way Joyce Meyer spends her ministry's money on herself and her family may violate federal law, legal and tax experts say. That law bars leaders of non-profits—religious groups and other charities—from privately benefiting from the tax-free money they raise. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Meyer traces her fervor to early abuse, alcohol | They are stories of a bullied and emotionally starved young woman victimized by an abusive father, a weak mother and a manipulative first husband. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • IRS requires pay, perks for evangelists to be "reasonable" | Federal law bars religious groups and charities from spending excessively on insiders — those who form and control the organization. Some tax experts say Joyce Meyer may be violating that law. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Jefferson County, Meyer joust over tax exemption | Atop a hill in Jefferson County sits the $20 million headquarters of Joyce Meyer Ministries. The 52-acre complex is the focal point of county Assessor Randy Holman's toughest tax battle. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • After 9 years of giving, man has no Chrysler, no wife, no wealth | Bob Schneller gave to Joyce Meyer until it hurt. Nine years later, he says, it still aches. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Women offer testimonials on how Meyer's preaching has helped them | Testimonials to Meyer and her ministry are everywhere in the pages of Meyer's corporate magazine, on her Web site, in the letters and phone calls that pour into her offices around the world, and inside the convention halls and the arenas where she speaks. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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  • Meyer's charity work begins at home | Recent figures compiled by the ministry report that it donates more than $650,000 a month — nearly $8 million a year — to charitable groups. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Homeless ministry's parish is in the streets | Warren was among dozens of homeless men and women who came to the Joyce Meyer Ministries' Dream Center this year, lured by the promise of doughnuts and a free haircut, and a simple message: "Jesus loves you." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

St. Louis Post-Dispatch on televangelists:

  • TV evangelists call signals from the same playbook | TV's salvation shows are still here, bigger and flashier than ever, thanks to the proliferation of the Internet and the continued spread of satellite and cable TV. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Downsized Bakker returns to TV pulpit in Branson, Mo. | Today, the nation's most famous fallen electronic preacher is in Branson, Mo., the family entertainment capital of America's Bible Belt. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Popular TV preachers | Following is an alphabetical list of a new wave of popular word-faith ministers who have used television to build large followings. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

The return of Henry Lyons:

Operation Christmas Child:

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Mel Gibson's The Passion of the Christ:

  • Gibson, Rev. Graham Talk About the 'Passion' | Mel Gibson made a pilgrimage last month to show his new film, "The Passion of the Christ," to Rev. Billy Graham and to discuss the actor's decade-long spiritual journey that inspired him. (Zap2it.com)

  • The Gospel according to Mel | Anti-Semitic or 'one of the best Jesus films'? Controversy swirls around 'The Passion' (National Catholic Reporter)

  • Evangelist Billy Graham screens Gibson's film | 'The Passion of the Christ' - A lifetime of sermons in one movie (press release)

  • Mel Gibson delays Vatican screening of Jesus film | Bishops and cardinals waiting for a special Vatican screening of a controversial Mel Gibson film about Jesus Christ are going to have to wait a little longer, the Hollywood star has told them (Reuters)

  • Mel Gibson pulls 'Passion' from festival | Mel Gibson has pulled "The Passion of Christ," depicting Jesus on screen, from a Vatican-sponsored film festival—because his movie is not ready (CNN)

  • Graham defends Gibson's film about Christ | "The film is faithful to the Bible's teaching that we are all responsible for Jesus' death, because we all have sinned," the 85-year-old evangelist said. "It is our sins that caused his death, not any particular group." (Associated Press)

  • Senior rabbi: Don't boycott Gibson's Passion | James Rudin, who is the American Jewish Committee's senior adviser on interreligious affairs, has seen a rough cut of the film and said Jewish leaders should use it as an example of how Christ's death has been used to stoke up anti-semitism (The Guardian, London)

  • Mel Gibson, feminist | One of the truths in The Passion of Christ. (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)


B.C. Comic:

Restaurant serves Scripture:

  • Scripture returns to A&W in Frisco | The owners are no longer obeying A&W corporate attorneys' orders not to post New Testament Bible scripture on the sign facing traffic on Summit Boulevard (Summit Daily News, Frisco, Colo.)

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  • God and man in Baghdad | The essential debate for the first post-Saddam democratic government in Iraq will be how far to extend religious authority (Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times)

  • Bishops elect Chaldean Catholics leader | Emmanuel-Karim Delly was elected patriarch of Babylon, spiritual leader of the world's estimated 1 million Chaldean Catholics, the Vatican said on Wednesday (Associated Press)

Blaine Amendment:

  • A case of church and state and the states | If Washington state's ban is struck down, one of the most important remaining legal obstacles to vouchers would be swept away and the issue would be easier to define as a policy question to be decided in the state legislatures (Charles Lane, The Washington Post)

  • Church, state, and education | Washington State is not depriving anyone of the free exercise of religion. It is merely drawing a line, which the Supreme Court has recognized, between religious and secular education, and directing its funds to secular education. There is no right to taxpayer financing for religious studies (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Court looks at religious schooling case | The Supreme Court justices appeared deeply divided Tuesday in a church-state case involving a college student who lost his taxpayer-funded scholarship because he chose to major in theology (Associated Press)

  • Court weighs religious studies | "This is the plainest form of discrimination, because if a person wants to believe in God and wants to assume a position of religious leadership, he is singled out for … disqualification," U.S. Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson said of Washington's decision to strip Northwest College student Joshua Davey of a state-awarded scholarship because he declared theology as his major. (The Washington Times)

  • Justices resist religious study using subsidies | An argument by religious conservatives in a church-state case they embraced to expand their recent Supreme Court victories met resistance from a divided court (The New York Times)

  • Evangelicals' champion argues case at high court | The nation's leading lawyer for evangelical Christians was born and raised a Jew in Brooklyn, but decided in college that Christ was the Messiah (Los Angeles Times)

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School vouchers:

More education stories:

  • Teacher sues over limits on history curriculum | A seventh-grade social studies teacher in Presque Isle, Maine, who said he was barred from teaching about non-Christian civilizations has sued his school district, claiming it violated his First Amendment right of free expression (Associated Press)

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Same-sex marriage:

  • What God has joined, let no man … | We're all entitled to our opinion on gay marriage. But people who won't censure divorce carry no special weight as defenders of marriage. If marriage is a perfect part of the Lord's plan, then breaking it up must go against that plan. Moral authority doesn't come cheap. (Froma Harrop, Providence Journal Bulletin)

  • Opponents of gay marriage divided | At issue is scope of an amendment (The Washington Post)

  • Polygamist cites ruling on sodomy | The legal action by polygamist Tom Green in the Utah Supreme Court seems to confirm predictions of a Republican lawmaker and other social conservatives who warned that the high court's decision would open the door to attempts to legalize other sexual activities that historically have been outlawed by states (The Washington Times)

  • Undermining society's morals | The promotion of gay marriage is not the most devastating aspect of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court's recent decision. The more destructive impact of the decision for society is the court's insidious denial of morality itself as a rational basis for legislation (Alan Charles Raul, The Washington Post)

  • Black churches and gay marriage | The contrasting viewpoints of these prominent ministers suggest that the approach of black churches to sexual issues is less easily characterized than one might think (Jabari Asim, The Washington Post)

  • Gay 'marriage' looms as 'wedge' | Same-sex "marriage" has become a vexing presidential campaign issue for Democratic candidates, who are torn between their homosexual constituency and a public that overwhelmingly opposes the idea (The Washington Times)

  • Legislators discuss gay 'marriage' | Mass. Rep. Vinnie DeMacedo, a Republican who opposes same-sex "marriage," says the discussions he has been hearing about are going in a totally different direction than the one directed by the state Supreme Court, toward passing a state version of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, defining marriage as the legal union of a man and a woman (The Washington Times)

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  • Blacks object to gay marriage comparison | Conservative blacks are objecting to recent comparisons between the gay marriage and civil rights movements, arguing that sexual orientation is a choice (Associated Press)

  • To fix gay dilemma, government should quit the marriage business | Those who oppose gay marriage believe deeply that marriage is sacreda divine, a blessed sacrament between man and woman as ordained in the Bible. If they are right, then the entire concept of marriage has no place in our civil society, which recognizes the separation between the sacred and the secular, between church and state (Alan M. Dershowitz, Los Angeles Times)

  • 'Til death do us part | Principled conservatives should support same-sex marriage (Patrick Guerriero)

  • Kirk chief backs proposals on gay 'marriage' | Iain Torrance, the outspoken Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, prompted fresh controversy yesterday when he backed government proposals for civil partnerships and accused his critics within the Church of displaying a "competitive, defensive, and jealous spirit" (The Herald, Glasgow)

  • Marriage bans | Same-sex marriage is a 'volatile issue' unlikely to get quick congressional or State Legislature action (The Buffalo News, N.Y.)

  • Protestants weigh same-sex marriage | The decision is having an indirect impact on mainline Protestant denominations, which have tended to reflect cultural change more quickly than orthodox denominations, such as Catholicism, which have come to view themselves as proudly countercultural (The Boston Globe)

More sexual ethics news:

  • The porn myth | In the end, porn doesn't whet men's appetites—it turns them off the real thing (Naomi Wolf, New York)

  • Evangelicals allowed to challenge gay rights ruling | The Evangelical Alliance has been given permission to argue its case for "religious autonomy" by intervening in a High Court row between the Government and the unions over new regulations on the rights of gay and lesbian workers (PA News, U.K.)

  • Eye on the rabbi | Some Salt Lake City Jews found a lesbian rabbi too modern for Orthodox tastes. (Salt Lake City Weekly)

  • You better watch out | What if Santa really was gay? (Harvey Fierstein, The New York Times)

  • Lovers under the skin | Same-sex love is as much a biological mystery as it is a biological reality. (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

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  • Sex in the capital city | Some Congress members have overstepped their legitimate role of overseeing federally funded scientific research by threatening to cut off money for nearly 200 grants to study sexual behavior (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  • What's sex got to do with it? | Christianity has not always been a religion so preoccupied with sexual behavior (or gender identity). (Geza Vermes, The Guardian, London)

  • Gay bishop, rabbi discuss religion, sex | Gene Robinson and Steven Greenberg said they shared similar struggles in attempting to reconcile traditional religious taboos against homosexuality with their once secret sexual attraction to men (Los Angeles Times)


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