Uganda's rebels begin attacking churches
Last week, Joseph Kony, head of the Lord's Resistance Army of Uganda, ordered his troops to attack Christians in the northern part of the country.

"Catholic missions must be destroyed, priests and missionaries killed in cold blood, and nuns beaten black and blue," he said on a broadcast Thursday that, shockingly, aired on the local radio network used by the Catholic Church itself.

Yesterday, the raids began. About 20 rebels attacked the parish church in Adjumani, taking 29 hostages — including several orphans, who are refugees from Sudan.

Meanwhile, in the eastern village of Katakwi, LRA rebels attacked a camp, shooting priest Boguslow Zero and killing an intelligence officer as the two men fled. Other attacks were reported elsewhere in the country.

"The LRA are simply trying to create the impression that they are all over the country," army spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza told The Monitor.

Catholic schools have closed out of fear, reports the Kampala newspaper New Vision.

Uganda's Roman Catholic Church recently tried to mediate a ceasefire agreement between the LRA and the Ugandan government, but Archbishop of Gulu John Baptist Odama told the BBC's Network Africa that he can't understand why the church is being targeted.

"Up till now, Kony has been talking to us and telling us he is fighting the government of Uganda," Odama said (audio). "I would be very happy if he talked to me and said: Archbishop, the reason I am targeting the people you are leading is this … "

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Anglican battle over gay bishops:

  • Gay bishop row may spark worldwide schism | The leader of the biggest church in the worldwide Anglican communion yesterday deepened the crisis over homosexuality when he threatened to split with the Church of England if it proceeds with the consecration of its first gay bishop (The Guardian, London)

  • Vicars back gay bishop but fear divisions lie ahead | More than half the clergy who will work under the care of the new Bishop of Reading support Dr Jeffrey John's appointment, but many still have serious objections to his taking up the post, believing that he would split the Church of England (The Times, London)

  • Open warfare as churchmen speak up for gay bishop | Up to 15 bishops plan to challenge opponents of the new Bishop of Reading, Dr Jeffrey John, as the Church of England row over gay priests escalates (The Times, London)

  • Abstinence of gay bishop fails to pacify his critics (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Shhh! The only way to end the Church's gay crisis | Why should the new Bishop of Reading be held up as some sort of awful example? I have been a priest for 30 years and more and I know from experience that a third of all Anglican clergymen are gay. So what? (Peter Mullen, The Times, London)

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  • The bulls*** before the but | The problem isn't simply the nine bishops - the Church of England itself is institutionally homophobic (Giles Fraser, The Guardian, London)

  • Gay bishop answers critics | The gay bishop at the center of a Church of England storm surrounding his appointment has described his relationship as a "gift from God" (BBC, video)

  • Head to head: Gay bishop | The Reverend David Banting, of evangelical group Reform, and Jane Griffiths, MP for Reading East, give their opposing views on the Bishop of Oxford's appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as the Bishop of Reading (BBC)

Politics & law:

E.U. Constitution:

  • Godless in Brussels | New E.U. constitution jettisons Europe's Judeo-Christian heritage (John F. Cullinan, National Review Online)

  • An oxymoron: Europe without Christianity | What kind of future can there be for a united Europe that disavows its own past? (Kenneth L. Woodward, The New York Times)



  • PBS finds faith | A new PBS documentary, God and the Inner City, shows how faith-based programs really can make a difference (Erin Montgomery, The Weekly Standard)

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  • A journey of faith | PBS documentary explores the power of religious faith throughout African-Americans' history (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Earlier: Jazz, Jesus, and Liberation | In This Far By Faith, Juan Williams argues that the spiritual journey of African Americans is essential to understanding America (Christianity Today, June 5, 2003)

  • Bakker's back | Jim Bakker has made a swift journey from shamed to shameless (The Independent, London)

  • Living a faith-filled life in an MTV-filled world | Matt Smith, whose Christian lifestyle stood out on "The Real World," will bring his message to local teens (Los Angeles Times)

  • Of Bart and Homer, and the many ways of faith | If having "The Simpsons" as a centerpiece of discussions about religion seems somewhat incongruous, perhaps it shouldn't (The New York Times)


  • God goes Hollywood | After decades of amateurish movies screened in church halls, Christian production companies in the United States have gone professional and their films are being screened alongside mainstream studio pictures (Le Monde diplomatique)

  • Hollywood Christians issue casting call | A group of Christian directors, writers and producers has appealed to Congress to put its money where its mouth is and help them encourage more quality entertainment programming (Fox News)

  • Questioning religion while opposing Hitler | With his documentary Bonhoeffer, which opens today in Manhattan, the director Martin Doblmeier has assembled a touching narrative on the nature of faith (The New York Times)

  • In his image | Could God really look like Jim Carey in Bruce Almighty? (John A. Murray, The Wall Street Journal)

Pop culture:

  • Religion Today: God at the diamond | With heavy competition for the sports dollar, Nashville's Class AAA team is trying to lure more Christians into the stands in this city some call the buckle of the Bible Belt (Associated Press)

  • Religion in the News: Bible bobbleheads | Dan Foote wants to make biblical figures as popular as professional athletes (Associated Press)

Harry Potter:

  • Doubters mad about Harry—in a bad way | That's right, not everyone loves the Potter books. With the latest about to hit shelves, Christian activists say the series glamorizes witchcraft, and one school board said it would lead to evil (Chicago Tribune)

  • Bible camp adds some wizardry | Harry Potter is theme for Princeton program (The Princeton Packet, N.J.)

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Baptist meetings:

  • Baptists name area pastor VP | Zinn is convention's first leader from California (San Bernardino County Sun)

  • Southern Baptists vow to preach to Muslims | Board President Jerry Rankin called Islamic governments "the one remaining formidable barrier to world evangelism" now that China and the former Soviet Union are more open to Christian workers (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  • Baptists share ideas, ideals at Detroit convention | The thousands of Baptists who traveled to Detroit this week came to share ideas about things ranging from church administration and political activism to gospel music and the latest styles in broad-brimmed ladies' hats (Detroit Free Press)

Sex & marriage:

  • Marriage as an institution is abandoning kids, report finds | National Marriage Project finds a growing disconnect between marriage and children in America (USA Today)

  • Also: Report finds children less central to today's marriages (Associated Press)

  • The APA gets it right | The American Psychiatric Association wisely rejected the recommendation of some psychiatrists at a symposium held in San Francisco on May 19 that pedophilia be removed from its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  • Christian groups spar over gays | The "Love Won Out" conference, sponsored by James Dobson's Focus on the Family, is headlined by self-described ex-gay speakers who say faith motivates them to provide "a way out" for gays and lesbians. But a group of gay Christians is waiting for them. (The Oregonian, Portland)


Promise Keepers:

  • Promise Keepers revival? | Christian evangelical men's group sets sights on teenage boys for comeback (Bill Berkowitz,

  • Some claiming group offers empty promises | A Christian-focused male fellowship known for packing arenas across the country will descend on the Pepsi Arena in downtown Albany Saturday, but not everyone is looking forward to the visit (Troy Record, N.Y.)

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Missions & ministry:

  • Billy Graham not ready to stop preaching | The 84-year-old is considering a possible mission to Kansas City, Mo., in October. He also may make a trip to London next May to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his 12-week crusade there in 1954 (Associated Press)

  • Churches courting Hispanics | Valley Protestant faiths embrace Latino members (The Arizona Republic)

  • Ask not what he would do | What would Jesus drive? A better question might be, what would Jesus think of those who claim to speak for him? (Dennis Rogers, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)


  • Reloading the Trinity | Likening the Trinity to jazz is not as strange as it sounds (Martyn Percy, The Guardian, London)

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Church abuse:

Other stories of interest:

  • Keeping the faith, differently | Conrad Tillard, once known as Conrad Muhammad, has transformed himself from a fist-shaking black nationalist to a Bible-quoting Baptist preacher (The New York Times)

  • The God of 12 steps | Spiritual component in recovery programs is essential to some, irritating to others (Deseret Morning News, Salt Lake City)

  • Religion news in brief | Greek Orthodox Church leader blasts E.U. Constitution, Philippine bishop denies harassment accusation, Scottish Episcopal Church approves women bishops, and other stories (Associated Press)

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