"Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution, nor the Constitution of any State, nor State or Federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups." That is the wording of the constitutional amendment defining marriage as introduced in the Senater by Wayne Allard of Colorado and co-sponsors Sam Brownback of Kansas and Alabama's Jeff Sessions.

The amendment is the same as one introduced in the House earlier this year. Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins predicted a Senate version of the amendment was forthcoming and said, "There is a growing consensus in the Senate that nothing short of an amendment will protect the institution of marriage from the tyrannical courts. FRC is committed to working with the friends of the family in Congress to secure the passage of a federal marriage amendment."

The amendment follows a series of pro-gay court decisions in Canada, the Supreme Court's ruling in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas, which legalized sodomy, and Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling against the state's ban on gay marriage. (Some predicted that decision could set off a chain reaction forcing other states to recognize gay marriage.) Matt Daniels, president of the Alliance for Marriage, which wrote the amendment, toldThe Washington Times, "What's happened in Massachusetts means that we're now in a race against time. If we want our laws to reflect the values and beliefs of most Americans about marriage, we're going to need to pass the federal marriage amendment."

But not all supporters of traditional marriage support the amendment. The Washington Times notes, "Some conservative groups had been arguing for introduction of a broader amendment that would have dictated what sort of civil union benefits states could offer." In addition, amending the Constitution requires the votes of two-thirds of both houses of Congress and three-fourths of state legislatures. As the Weekly Standard noted in its piece on the amendment, President Franklin Roosevelt said, "An amendment, like the rest of the Constitution, is what the [Supreme Court] justices say it is rather than what its framers or you might hope it is." Also, the piece noted that it took decades (and the Civil War) to drum up support for amendments that banned slavery and alcohol.

However, conservative activists like Bill Murray, spokesman for the Family Research Council said, "I think we're on the front side of another Roe v. Wade … It's definitely going to be the biggest issue during the election." Democrats say it's simply an attempt to stir up President Bush's "voting base" who will be sure to turn out in the polls to re-elect the president if the definition of marriage is on the line.

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According to the Associated Press, Congress is not expected to take any action on the amendment this year, but may do so after it reconvenes in January.

Weblog wishes you a happy Thanksgiving holiday, and we will return on Monday.

Yesterday, Weblog posted twice, in case you get really bored over the holiday with nothing to read.

More articles:

Gay marriage:

  • Ex-lesbian couple use court in custody, homophobia spat | Dr. Cheryl Clark, the Christian ex-lesbian embroiled in a custody battle with her former partner, has no intention of exposing her daughter to homophobic ideas, according to her attorney. (The Washington Times)

  • Gays Respond: 'I Do,' 'I Might' and 'I Won't' | The response by gay couples to last week's ruling by Massachusetts' highest court that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry has been hardly monolithic. (The New York Times)

  • The evolution of marriage | The evolution of gay rights and marriage laws now merge into the definition of marriage written by the Massachusetts court: 'We construe civil marriage to mean the voluntary union of two persons as spouses, to the exclusion of all others.' (Ellen Goodman, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

  • A tattered prize | Pity the gays. A Massachusetts court has moved them a giant step closer down the aisle to lawfully wedded bliss. But the long-sought prize isn't the sacred bond it's sold as - it's a decaying historical artifact. The next looming question is: Why bother? (Nicole Gelinas, New York Post)

  • Manhandling marriage | Are marriages made in heaven, or in courtrooms? Are civil laws that define "the family" man's best effort to codify his understanding of God's law, or are they merely artificial constructions conveniently pieced together by legislatures and judges to suit their passing political and ideological interests? (Terence P. Jeffrey, The Washington Times)

Anglican church:

  • Gay Bishop's Critics Advise Patience | Two leading critics of the recent consecration of an openly gay Episcopal bishop urged church members Monday to be patient, as they planned their next steps in a possible split in the American church. (Associated Press)

  • Moderate rectors fight breakaway | Conservative priest's split over gays prompts campaign (San Francisco Chronicle)

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Sexual ethics:

  • Mothers' Union urges pre-marriage HIV tests | The Mothers' Union is to shed its coffee morning and sensible shoes image with a new campaign urging young people preparing for marriage to take an HIV test. The worldwide Christian movement is launching Living Positively, a campaign designed to combat the growth of HIV/Aids. (The Scotsman, UK)

  • Singapore group get teenagers to sign virginity pledge | A pro-virginity group has convinced more than 6,000 Singaporean teenagers and young adults to sign a pledge not to have pre-marital sex. The Focus on Family lobby group, an offshoot of the US-based movement that promotes Christianity by preserving traditional and family values, said its aim was to spread the message that pre-marital sex was immoral. (AFP)

  • Terry: Abortion, homosexuality remain an affront to America | The total has hit 45 million and it is time to halt the increase. That is the position of nationally known pro-life speaker Randall Terry, who was in Sergeant Bluff and Sioux City Saturday, continuing with his nearly 20 years of speaking out against abortion. (Sioux City Journal, IA)

Public morality:

  • Many Christians Say Gambling OK | A new survey finds that more than half of Americans - and a sizeable number of self-described evangelical Christians - consider gambling and cohabitation morally acceptable. (Gambling Magazine)

  • Christians cause chaos at psychic show | Fundamentalist Christian demonstrators caused chaos at the Baxter Theatre on Tuesday night as they hurled threats and anti-Semitic abuse at psychic Belinda Silbert. (Independent Online, South Africa)

  • U.S. anti-porn effort is found wanting | Obscenity foes say their support for Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft hasn't translated into the aggressive crackdown they expected. (Los Angles Times)

Life ethics:

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  • The Religious Wars | The outcome of the 2004 presidential election will depend partly on what happens between now and Election Day in Iraq and to the U.S. economy. But it will also turn on the religious wars—fueled by evangelical Protestants, the ground troops of the Republican Party. (Robert B. Reich, The American Prospect)

  • Thank God for democracy | It's no wonder we're having a hard time teaching Jeffersonian democracy to the Iraqis. It's still controversial in America. (Cynthia Tucker, Atlanta Journal Constitution)

  • Thoughts stirred from high above | Like the Tuskeegee Airmen, who were lumped en masse into a mythical and totally inaccurate view of our African American citizens, so it has become popular in some Christian fundamentalist circles to regard all Muslim Americans as somehow sharing responsibility for the terrorist acts against this country (Joseph N. Bell, Daily Pilot, Costa Mesa, Calif.)

Free speech:

  • All the views unfit to print on a billboard | Kristopher Okwedy and the New York Civil Liberties Union have so little in common that they would probably have a hard time agreeing on a lunch order. But they share at least one idea: both believe in their right to use billboards to say what they feel needs saying (The New York Times)

  • Canadian Jews Angered By Baptist Minister's Mailing | The pastor of Bibleway Baptist Church in Regina, Saskatchewan, said he mailed hundreds of letters that begin, "Dear Jewish friend," inviting them to convert to Christianity so they "might get saved." (AP)

  • First Amendment survey finds knowledge lacking | More than two-thirds of college students and administrators who participated in a national survey were unable to remember that freedom of religion and the press are guaranteed by the Bill of Rights (The Washington Times)

Christmas displays:

  • Debate Over Courthouse Nativity Scene Continues | Having a Nativity scene on the Perry County Courthouse lawn is very important to Patricia Roberts of Pinckneyville and she returned to the Perry County Board Tuesday evening with plenty of ammunition for her cause. (The Southern Illinoisan, IL)

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Thanksgiving ministry:

  • A simple note of thanks | Upland restaurant owner will cook massive Thanksgiving meal for the homeless and hungry for sixth straight year. (Claremont-Upland Voice, Claremont, CA)

  • Gathering with all the fixings | A Rancho Cucamonga couple gives back to the community by organizing a Thanksgiving Day feast at Chino's Inland Community Church (Los Angeles Times)

  • Holiday dinners, food donations planned | Local residents with stomachs to fill can choose from a number of community meals next week. (Fairfield Daily Republic, CA)

  • Thanksgiving's Sukkot Roots | Did you know that Thanksgiving is really a Jewish holiday? Although Thanksgiving is not on the Jewish calendar, historians believe that Sukkot may have inspired America's favorite farewell to fall, often nicknamed "Turkey Day." (The Jewish Journal)

  • Unity Feast brings local churches together | It began with an idea to unify and develop relationships across the Christian community, and now more than 15 area churches are gearing up for the first-ever Thanksgiving Unity Feast on Saturday at the Walker County Fairgrounds. (Huntsville Item, TX)

Church life:


  • A Bible lesson in Homer Simpson? | Christian ministry class relies on the comedic cartoon series to generate spiritual discussion (Daily Vanguard, OR)

  • Inmates guided by faith | Christian program helps inmates not return to prison (Topeka Capital Journal, KS)

  • Refugees flee Sudan, settle in Topeka | Athwai and his uncle's family—Christians who speak the Dinka language of southern Sudan—have finally found a safe haven in Topeka as refugees resettled through the Kansas City offices of Catholic Charities. (Topeka Capital Journal, KS)

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  • Robert Passantino dies at 52 | He co-founded Answers in Action, an evangelical Christian center that sponsors education and mentoring, and wrote a number of books on cults (Los Angeles Times)

  • God is no illusion | Magician André Kole uses craft for Christian ministry (Jamaica Gleaner)

  • Salvation Army School prepares officers for service | Johnathan Jackson grew up poor, hating the circumstances of his life in a struggling, single-parent family. Then, when he was 13, he discovered the Salvation Army. (White Plains Journal News, NY)


  • Cincinnati hosts missionary convention | More than 10,000 missionaries from about 90 countries will be in Cincinnati this week for the 56th annual National Missionary Convention (Cincinnati Business Courier)

  • S.J. Jews, Christians visit Israel | Thirty-one South Jerseyans left for a weeklong trip intending to show their support for the state of Israel. The travelers - about a third of whom are Jewish and about two-thirds of whom are Christian - returned inspired, having developed a greater appreciation for those of different religious backgrounds. (Cherry Hill Courier Post, NJ)


Russian Orthodox:

  • Is the Russian Orthodox Church Opening the Door? | The dialogue between Orthodox Christians and Catholics and Christians of other confessions is proceeding on a regular basis but it has its ups and downs. (Pravda, Russia)

  • Russian Church Leader Hopes for Reunion | Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II voiced hope Friday for a reunion with an Orthodox church abroad that has run its own affairs since a schism after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution. (AP)

  • Russian Church leader hopes for reunion | Russian Orthodox Church Patriarch Alexy II voiced hope Friday for a reunion with an Orthodox church abroad that has run its own affairs since a schism after the 1917 Bolshevik revolution (Associated Press)

  • Russians fume as Mormons 'buy souls' | The Russian Orthodox Church has expressed its outrage at what it claims is a Mormon scheme to buy up the names of dead Russians in order to baptise 'dead souls' in their faith. (Guardian, UK)

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  • From the house of prayer to the new wave of Pentecostalism | I was discussing with a friend of mine recently in his house about the new-fangled Pentecostal denominations spreading like a deadly virus all over the nation, especially in the urban centres. (Vanguard Daily, Lagos)

  • Jesus' helper not necessarily black | The person given the privilege of assisting Jesus on the day of His crucifixion was a man from North Africa, not necessarily a black person, but from a town in modern day Libya called Cyrene. (The Star, Africa)

  • Shilloh: Another Prophetic Gathering Beckons | Bishop David Oyedepo, General Overseer of Living Faith Church Worldwide, aka Winners Chapel, is not only a household name in the Christian world, having touched the lives of many, who came in close contact with him, he has further raised the height of christianity in the country. (AllAfrica.com)

  • My wife battered me, says pastor | A pastor yesterday joined the list of men who have come out in recent weeks to accuse their wives of battery. (East African Standard, Kenya)

  • Two Die in Jigawa Students' Clash | Two students were yesterday feared dead after a violent clash between Muslims and Christians erupted on Tuesday night at the Federal Government Girls' College, Kazaure in Jigawa State, when the Muslim students accused Christian students of blasphemy against Prophet Mohammed, the holy prophet of Islam. (AllAfrica.com)

Graham Staines murderers:

  • Aussie missionary killers appeal | Seven people convicted of killing an Australian missionary and his two young sons in a remote eastern Indian village nearly four years ago have appealed the verdict, their lawyer said. (The Age, Australia)

Islamic holiday, Eid:

  • Replies regarding Eid stamp remarkable | The following letters are a sampling of the more than 100 letters that flooded the Pilot's inbox after Lolita Harper's column titled, "Someone is putting her foot down about a stamp," was picked up by the national organization, Council for American Islamic Relations (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Calif.)

  • Stamp still a sticky topic A stamp issued by the U.S. Postal Service commemorating the Islamic holiday Eid (More letters, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Calif.)

  • Eid truce brings joy to Kashmiris | The jihad process is continuing in Kashmir, Bosnia, Palestine and Iraq. Jihad has made Jews and Christians worried. (Al-Jazeera, Qatar)

General Boykin:

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B.C. Cartoon:


Music and media:

The Passion:

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  • Politically Incorrect Movie Reviews: Elf | Connecting Christmas with Christianity is a bad thing. Christians refuse to believe in the almighty power of The State. Children must be taught that there is no higher power than the benevolent Big Brother Guv'mint. Christmas must be secularized, at any cost. I know this, because Hollyweird tells me so. (SierraTimes.com)

  • Mainstream movies dramatize biblical events | Invariably, movies about beloved religious figures provoke strong reactions - from reverence to revulsion. For some, they are vivid illustrations of their faith; for others they are corny "sandal-operas." (Knight Ridder Newspapers)


  • A long and difficult road | Judy Secor has had a long winding journey to reach her level of comfort and spiritual awareness (The Independent, Huntington Beach, Calif.)

  • Finding spirituality in the 'wrong' place | In the words of those great theologians Simon and Garfunkel, the words of the prophets are written on subway walls. Also in coffeehouses, parishes presided over by gay and female ministers, steak houses, and in the offices of cosmetic surgeons who make us look better, and thus feel better. Or so suggests author Dan Wakefield. (The Boston Globe)

  • Racing Home | Life lessons discovered while running the marathon (Richmond.com, VA)

  • Spiritual guidance (cultural factors) | Religious leaders offer solace for students seeking a different take on troubles (The Daily Northwestern, Evanston, IL)

  • Point, counterpoint in fish fender symbols | Brothers and sisters, there's a battle raging. It's not a battle fought with weapons of mass destruction, Lord save us, and it's not a battle fought in armored personnel carriers. (Palm Beach Post)


  • Values Speak Louder Than Money | Is it worth it to spend thousands of dollars—anywhere from $2,000 to $20,000 a year—for a child to attend a private or religious school instead of public school? Many parents and students weigh that question. Staff writer Jay Mathews sought answers from people with different perspectives. Here are their written responses. (Washington Post)

  • Atlantic Christian School finally gets a permanent home | After more than three decades of moving from place to place, the Atlantic Christian School soon will take up a permanent home here. (Press of Atlantic City, NJ)

  • Crowd voices concern over religion in school | The group's attendance at Monday's school board meeting was apparently prompted by rumors circulating in the community that students would no longer be allowed to wear religious-themed jewelry or T-shirts to school. (Sylva Herald, NC)

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College faith:

  • College students getting religion in the classroom | Religion has become one of the hottest areas of study in campuses across the country (The Miami Herald)

  • Colleges Fail to Encourage Spiritual Ideas, Study Finds | Students in UCLA survey say they value religious beliefs but that schools evade the issue. (Los Angles Times)

  • Conversation could have kept teacher out of court | In the spring of 2001, Janis Price, an education instructor for 14 years at DePauw University, placed copies of the now-defunct "Teachers in Focus" magazine in her classroom. It was nothing new—Price routinely made available a wide variety of education publications. But the October 2000 "Teachers in Focus"—published by the fundamentalist Christian Focus on the Family—was, by its own definition, special. (Indianapolis Star)

  • Faculty say no more prayers | The faculty voted Nov. 10 to end a university tradition of starting their meetings with a prayer. (Wake Forest University Student Newspaper, NC)

  • Rockefeller Memorial Chapel will be home to new Inter-religious center | Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, celebrating its 75th year serving the University community, will be the site of a new Inter-religious Center that will consolidate many student religious activities on campus. (The Chronicle, University of Chicago)


  • Researchers engineer a new body of work | Nanotechnology will soon be able to fuse flesh and machines, creating a fresh ethical debate about the future of humanity (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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  • Oxford Scientist Launches Sharp Critique of Religion | Despite the massive costs religion has imposed on human society, it persists because children do not question their parents' beliefs, renowned Oxford scientist Richard Dawkins argued in a fiery lecture last night at Lowell Lecture Hall. (The Harvard Crimson, MA)


  • Scholars say Jesus box may be genuine | A purported first-century inscription naming Jesus may or may not be the real thing, but Israel's labeling of the find as a fake is premature, scientists and scholars said at a panel discussion. (Associated Press)

  • Dead Sea Scrolls exhibition extended | The "Dead Sea Scrolls to the Forbidden Book" exhibit at the Dallas Biblical Arts Center has been extended through Dec. 28 - affording a final opportunity to see a unique collection of scripture that ranges from the earliest biblical fragments in existence to a bible that went to the moon. The exhibit boasts scripture etched upon tablets and stones, and written on scrolls and books. For some, the display offers historic evidence of personal convictions. (McKinney Courier-Gazette, Texas)

  • Scholars discover parts of New Testament | A barely legible clue — the name "Simon" carved in Greek letters — beckoned from high up on the weather-beaten facade of an ancient burial monument (Associated Press)

Jonestown massacre:


  • Christ for All Nations official was part of pyramid scheme, SEC says | T. Thomas Henschke used his position as a top-ranking official of Orlando-based Christ for All Nations to swindle religious organizations and individuals in a pyramid scheme, according to federal documents released Thursday. (Orlando Sentinel)

  • Misplaced faith stings evangelists | Running a television, publishing, teaching, preaching and missionary empire is expensive. And sometimes even the creator of the entire universe may seem a little short on cash. (Denver Post)

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  • Cardinal Law More Visible in Rome | Nearly a year after resigning as archbishop of Boston to quell an outcry over the sex abuse scandal, Cardinal Bernard Law has emerged as a more visible figure in Rome than in his home country, where he lives in a Maryland convent. (AP)

  • Catholic center at N.Y.U. won't be moved | The Archdiocese of New York changed its mind about moving the Catholic Center at New York University off campus to nearby St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village (The New York Times)

  • Earlier: Catholic center at N.Y.U. may move to nearby parish (The New York Times)

  • Catholic network puts faith in radio market | Chicago area Catholics are about to be offered "Relevant Radio"—programming designed to "bridge the gap between faith and everyday life"—from the nonprofit Starboard Network (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Catholic Philippines sets sex guidelines for priests | Church leaders here have released a set of guidelines on sexual misconduct among priests, months after scandals involving two bishops rocked the predominantly Catholic Philippines (AFP)

  • Court hears plea on priests | Prosecutors and newspapers unite in seeking release of archdiocese documents in grand jury probe of molestations (Los Angeles Times)

  • Dalai Lama to meet pope | Tibet's exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama will meet Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II on November 27 during a visit to Italy, his spokesman Tenzin Taklha has said. (AFP)

  • For Boston's archdiocese, an appeal is rebranded | This year's fund-raising letters, which were sent out beginning in April, feature photos of parochial school students and other laypeople, not the archbishop of Boston. And a new slogan, "one church, many works," highlights the 80 programs and ministries that benefit from the appeal. (The New York Times)

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  • Pope close at hand in 'little Vatican' | District's John Paul II Cultural Center gives personal view of religion (The Washington Post)

  • Pope condemns Turkey, mideast violence | "The Holy Land doesn't need walls, but bridges," he told the crowd of tourists and the faithful from his studio window (Associated Press)

  • Pope doles Belgium's penance | Pope John Paul II voiced concerns over the popularity of the Catholic Church in Belgium and the country's stance on euthanasia, during a visit by Belgian bishops to the Vatican. (Expatica, Netherlands)

  • Pope quiz | Can the Catholic Church help you find a suitable mate? (Claudia Kolker, Slate)


  • Speaking up for their silence | Quaker congregation in earshot of possible Army museum site (The Washington Post)

  • The bishop who denied the virgin birth | Joe Sprague doesn't seem like a dangerous man. Plain-spoken and bespectacled, Sprague, 64, the presiding bishop of the United Methodist Church in northern Illinois, appears more avuncular than threatening. (Chicago Sun-Times)

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