Muslim on Muslim killings in the western Darfur region of Sudan have become the next roadblock to peace in the country. After two decades of civil war, Sudan seemed near to a peace settlement between the Northern Muslim government and the Christian and animist South, which occupies oil-rich areas in the upper Nile. A cease-fire was signed between the North and South in October 2002, but the North has repeatedly violated it. President Bush also signed the Sudan Peace Act in 2002, which required the U.S. government to act if Sudan did not begin to negotiate peace within six months. Over two million people have died as a result of the war.

Franklin Graham recently visited the country urging peace, and Colin Powell predicted that by December 2003 a peace agreement would end the civil war. So far, no hopes for peace have been fulfilled.

What some are calling a genocide campaign in the Darfur region has further stalled the peace process. On the 10-year anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, many are urging the U.S. to put a stop to the Khartoum government's killing. The government is arming Arab Muslim militias and encouraging them to destroy villages and kill black Muslims in Darfur.

According to The Washington Times, the conflicts between North and South and in Darfur are connected:

Sudanese Ambassador Khidir Haroun Ahmed told The Washington Times in an interview at his embassy last week that "the two phenomena are related." He said that "the people in Darfur saw the approaching settlement [between Khartoum and the southern rebels] as leaving them out of things."
The ambassador acknowledged that the western uprising posed dangers for peace in Sudan. "How can you make peace, when it is not a comprehensive peace at all because part of the country is in flames?" he asked rhetorically.

As the North/South peace process neared completion, rebel groups in Darfur began an uprising to protest an oil-sharing agreement between the North and South. The Washington Times writes:

According to reports from East Africa, the rebels feared that Darfur would be left with virtually nothing. Moreover, they feared that once the North-South conflict was settled, the government could throw its full weight against the Darfur rebels.

The government has thrown considerable weight against the rebellion despite the failure of the peace process between the southern Christians and Northern Muslims. According to Samantha Power, writing in The New York Times, "the Sudanese government is teaming up with Arab Muslim militias in a campaign of ethnic slaughter and deportation that has already left nearly a million Africans displaced and more than 30,000 dead."

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President Bush has been praised for his actions shepherding the peace process between the North and South, hopefully we won't see him visit the country once the killing is over (as President Clinton did in Rwanda) and say he knew nothing of what was going on.

Reuters is reporting that a ceasefire agreement is imminent, and that the two sides have decided on the broad terms of an agreement. A spokesman for a rebel group said, "`We have not signed yet, but we have moved closer to an agreement on a cease-fire. We have agreed on the broad lines and basic points.'' The Khartoum government, however, has agreed to peace settlements before—seemingly to appease outside political pressures—yet has failed to abide by the terms of the agreement.

A fuller picture of the situation of Christians in the country is available on Christianity Today's Sudan page, especially a Bearing the Cross report on the country.

More on Sudan and genocide:

  • Brutal conflict in Sudan brings warnings by Bush and Annan | A conflict raging in Sudan came under heightened international scrutiny yesterday as President Bush called on the government there to rein in militias and the United Nations secretary general, Kofi Annan, raised the alarm about reported atrocities. (The New York Times)

  • Unrest in Sudan's west | An escalating revolt in western Sudan's Darfur region threatens to blindside international efforts backed by the United States, now near completion, to end a 21-year-old civil war between the Muslim Arab-dominated government in Khartoum and its predominantly black southern rivals, the Southern People's Liberation Movement (Washington Times)

  • Don't Let Sudan Become Another Rwanda, United Methodist Mission Leader Urges | The head of the United Methodist international mission agency is calling on the world's nations to mark the 10th anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda by acting to ward off a potential bloodbath in Sudan. (United Methodist News Service, via Reuters)

  • U.N. chief urges watch against genocide | The world must stay alert for warning signs of future genocides to prevent a repeat of massacres like that in Rwanda, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

  • Reflecting on Rwandan lessons | Ten years ago this week in Rwanda, thousands of hate-filled Hutu extremists launched a well organized, 100-day campaign of killing that left more than 800,000 of their countrymen dead. Most of those killed, raped, and mutilated were Tutsis - the rest were pro-coexistence Hutus. (Helena Cobban, Christian Science Monitor)

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  • Ten years later, Rwanda mourns | Genocide victims honored as survivors stitch new lives (Washington Post)

  • Seeking healing from the horror | Rwandans and Americans recall the genocide and look for lessons (Washington Post)

  • Rwanda unites to remember days of horror | A decade after Rwanda's brutal genocide, its people stood in silence for three minutes yesterday to remember the massacre of up to a million of their countrymen. (Daily Telegraph, London)

  • The forgotten genocide | The mass murder of the Armenian population of Ottoman Turkey was, as the Holocaust scholar Israel Charny put it, the "prototype" of 20th-century genocide. In 1894, and again with even greater ferocity in 1915, the Turkish government engaged in a deliberate strategy of straightforward massacre, transplantation, death marches, and forced conversion to Islam. (Daily Telegraph, UK)

More articles:


  • Germany: Muslim groups denounce terrorism | Two Muslim umbrella organizations in Germany have issued a statement condemning all forms of terrorism as un-Islamic. (Radio Free Europe, Czech Republic)

  • EU, U.S. Express concern at grave abuses in N. Korea | The European Union (EU), backed by countries including the United States, expressed concern on Thursday at reports of grave and systematic abuses in North Korea, including ``infanticide in prison and labor camps.'' "All-pervasive and severe restrictions'' on freedoms of thought, religion, expression and assembly are also cited. (Reuters)

  • Don't forget the Holy Land, say faith leaders | In their Easter message, the Patriarchs and heads of Churches said they deplored all acts of terrorism. "We cannot believe it is God's will for anyone to endanger the lives and homes of innocent people." They spoke of the painful situation in the Holy Land: "the lack of jobs, the lack of security, the dark future, and the peace seeming so distant". (Church Times, UK)

  • US rights group calls on Vietnam to release ethnic Hmong Christians | An American human rights group has protested against the continued detention of 10 ethnic Hmong Christians in Vietnam. (Radio Australia)

Religion and politics:

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  • US linked to uproar over Kadhis' courts | Addressing a workshop in Mombasa, NCEC official Timothy Njoya and Coast representatives Sheikh Juma Ngao and Mr Abubakar Awadh said America was behind the differences between Muslims and Christians. (East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)

  • Mansour decries cultural war at Holy Week gathering | There is a war going on that doesn't involve bombs or guns, but it's a war that affects every person in the country nonetheless. (Mcalester News Capital, Oklahoma)

  • Jimmy Breslin's long-term memory | The Rev. Lou Sheldon had just accused Breslin of having "faked" an interview with him for a column. He's never even met Breslin, the chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition said in a news release yesterday. (Washington Post)

  • CSO publishes census figures on religion | The Central Statistics Office has reported a massive increase in the number of Muslims and Orthodox Christians in Ireland between 1991 and 2002. (, Ireland)

  • Bad bills fall by the wayside in Legislature | Nothing can prevent individual members of the Colorado General Assembly from cluttering the legislative agenda with right-wing social causes or pet peeves. A resolution in the House of Representatives would put the Legislature on record in support of the federal consitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. The federal amendment was introduced by U.S. Rep. Marilyn Musgrave, a former Colorado lawmaker, and a resolution of support in the General Assembly might have seemed to be a foregone conclusion. (Boulder Daily Camera, Co)

  • A servant, not a god | Millions over the past century put their faith in civil governments to solve problems and close inequalities, but a look at the scriptural basis of the state should temper Christian expectations (World)

Church and state:

  • Surrendering God to secularists | And so today we have reached a crossroads. The secular crowd that condemns no behavior, makes no judgment and believes in nothing greater than what they represent has severely damaged the foundation of our society. One judge at a time, over the last 50 years, they have used the courts to deny religious, speech, property and states' rights. (Bob Little, Pahrump Valley Times, Nevada)

  • Court to rehear appeal on 10 Commandments marker | The full 8th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has set aside a previous ruling and agreed to hear Plattsmouth's legal arguments on why its Ten Commandments monument does not violate the Constitution. (Omaha World Herald, Nebraska)

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  • Ten Commandments gain judicial reprieve | A federal appeals court has tossed out an earlier decision that a Ten Commandments monument must be removed from an eastern Nebraska city park. (Associated Press)

Australia rejects Iranian Christian seeking asylum:

  • Asylum seeker sent back to Iran | An Iranian would-be asylum seeker has been sent back to Iran, the Federal Government confirmed today. The move was described as act of violence by the Uniting Church of Australia (AAP, Australia)

  • Asylum seeker sent back to Iran | The move was described as act of violence by the Uniting Church of Australia (AAP, Australia)

  • Australian Democrats fear for Iranian deportee's safety | The Australian Democrats say the Federal Government has effectively signed a "death warrant" for an Iranian asylum seeker. The man, who fled Iran after converting to Christianity, has already been flown out of Australia. (Persian Journal, Iran)

  • Democrats fear for Iranian deportee's safety | The Australian Democrats say the Federal Government has effectively signed a "death warrant" for an Iranian asylum seeker. (ABC Online, Australia)

Gay marriage:

  • Bishop's 'social' wedding warning | A Catholic bishop has warned priests in his diocese that it "did not make any sense" for couples who did not attend church to seek church weddings. (Belfast Telegraph, UK)

  • In South, issue of gay marriage exposes hate and fear | As a longtime crusader for conservative Christian values in this Bible Belt town, June Griffin has taken on everything from preserving anti-sodomy laws to fighting the state lottery. But the biggest challenge yet, she said, is the issue of same-sex marriage. (Chicago Tribune)

  • Holy Matrimony | The most important gay marriage battles will be fought in the pews. (Slate)

  • Rogue billboards cause a stir | Asheville: A flap over a series of signs that condemn homosexuality is the talk of a town that's home to gay people and conservative Christians alike. (Baltimore Sun)

  • Carrboro board seeks repeal of "defense of marriage" law | The Board of Alderman will ask legislators to repeal the state's "defense of marriage" law so unions of same-sex couples performed in other states can receive full legal recognition here. (Associated Press)

Missions & ministry:

  • International church reaches out to African immigrants | Jeremiah Githere knows the isolation that springs from being a stranger in a new land. Like many immigrants, Githere left his home to pursue an education in the U.S. While he and his wife, Veronicah, settled into their new home in Tennessee, Githere realized a place to live, a job and an education sated only a few of his needs. For him, finding a church to feed his spirit was equally important. (Chelmsford Independent, Mass.)

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  • Clerics get the `call' later | T. Michael Nisbet is a man of the cloth, though he used to be a patent examiner in Washington. Rev. Claire Tenny treated cancer and soothed the dying. (Chicago Tribune)

  • Omaha soup kitchen's first supper is tonight | On an evening when many Christians will be lining up for services commemorating the Last Supper, the Rev. Tyrome Charleston will be serving the first supper in his new soup kitchen near 30th Street and Ames Avenue. (Omaha World Herald)

  • Minister to offer 'miracle' healing in city centre | A Baptist minister is to open Scotland's first dedicated "miracle" healing centre in Glasgow. (The Scotsman)

Church life:

  • Preservationists saving grace | Excavation has begun at historic church built in 1885 (Washington Post)

  • Fires damage neighboring churches | Both congregations were victims early Wednesday morning when an arsonist set fire to their churches, sitting in adjacent lots on Northeast Third Avenue in an unincorporated area near Pompano Beach. Saint Mary Coptic Orthodox Church was heavily damaged, worshipers and officials said. Next door, the Pompano Beach Seventh-day Adventist Church suffered damage to a new fellowship hall that is under construction. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • African Primates in make-or-break summit | Africa's continuing place in the Anglican Communion will come under sharp scrutiny next week as the leaders of the Council of Anglican Provinces in Africa [CAPA] meet in Nairobi. (Church of England Newspaper)


  • Plaintiffs settle with most parties in Evangelical Lutheran sex suit | Plaintiffs suing the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and related agencies for allegedly failing to do more to stop a sexually abusive pastor said Wednesday they had reached settlements with nearly all defendants. (Associated Press)

  • Lutheran officials accused of allowing molester to join clergy | Jurors took less than 15 minutes last year to convict former Lutheran minister Gerald Patrick Thomas Jr. of sexually assaulting boys, then sentenced him to 397 years behind bars. Now the question is whether the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and its agencies should have done more to stop him. (Associated Press)

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  • Church officials say Israel delaying visas | Israel has delayed granting visas to dozens of Roman Catholic clergy, church officials said Wednesday, and Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah called it an issue of survival for the church in the Holy Land. (Associated Press)

  • Christians in Israel decry residency permit delays | Officials deny that backlog is an attack on freedoms (Baltimore Sun)

  • Church should be more democratic - leading cardinal | In a move certain to spark debate about the choice of the next pope, a leading cardinal has said the Catholic Church should be more democratic, allow women to be deacons and give laypeople a say in selecting bishops. (Reuters)

  • Women's ban from rite draws protests | A day after Archbishop John Donoghue banned Atlanta's Roman Catholic churches from including women in Holy Thursday's foot-washing rite, one priest said he was canceling his parish's foot washings and another said he planned to ignore the ban and include women. (Chicago Tribune)

  • Cardinal calls for church governing body | A cardinal once mentioned as a possible successor to Pope John Paul II is reviving calls for a broad council to help the pope govern the church and is suggesting top bishops might also take part in a conclave to elect a new pontiff. (Associated Press)

  • Sydney probes clergy sex-lives | Ordination candidates and clergy seeking to minister in Sydney diocese are being required to answer questions about their personal sexual history in an eight-page questionnaire introduced by the diocese this year. (Church Times, UK)

  • Bishops delay audits of sex-abuse policy | A committee of Roman Catholic bishops has delayed authorizing a second round of audits to see how closely dioceses are following the American church's toughened policy for dealing with sexually abusive priests. The move has sparked a fresh round of criticism aimed at the Catholic leaders. (Associated Press)

The Passion:

  • 'The Passion' reminds world of Good Friday | The movie opened to the public on Ash Wednesday, which marks the beginning of Lent, and portrays the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus Christ. It has sparked some heated controversies, particularly among those critics who deem it anti-Semitic—that it blames the Jews for Jesus' death. Despite such controversies—or precisely because of them—people have flocked to movie theaters and other venues to watch the movie. (Jakarta Post, Indonesia)

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  • Pernicious passion | Now that The Passion juggernaut is slowing down, let's assess what made this movie such a huge success. To be sure America is, thank God, a religious country, and millions of religious Christians flocked to the film because of its subject matter. (Shmuley Boteach, Jerusalem Post)

  • 'Passion' sales hit a cinematic epiphany | If the Bible has the corner on The Word among practicing Christians, then Mel Gibson has the corner on word of mouth. The unstoppable juggernaut of Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," already riding a wave of publicity into the top 10 movies of all time, gets the ultimate tie-in this Easter weekend. (Denver Post)

  • Easter expected to reignite 'Passion' | Still popular six weeks and $330 million later, "The Passion of the Christ" is expected to be a top movie again this Easter weekend. Some movie theaters expect a second wave of "Passion" viewers as Christians remember the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ on Good Friday and his Resurrection on Easter Sunday. (Pensacola News Journal, Fl.)

  • Religious figures back Christ film | Despite world-wide controversy over The Passion of the Christ, residents and religious leaders, in Spelthorne, have been impressed with the film, writes Louisa Biswas. While many people across the world have labelled it anti-Semitic, violent and savage, local reaction has been favourable. (Staines Guardian, UK)

  • Hundreds view screening of 'Passion' film | Hundreds of people flocked to The Theatre in Church Street, Leatherhead to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ". (SurreyOnline, UK)

  • Religious confluence | In a rare calendar alignment, this is Holy Week for all Christians as well as Passover for Jews. How fitting, then, that in a year when many were divided over the message of Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, this alignment highlights the reality that all these denominations spring from the same roots. Jesus, after all, was a Jew. (Editorial, Press & Sun-Bulletin, NY)


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  • The Traditions of Easter | As with almost all "Christian" holidays, Easter has been secularized and commercialized. The dichotomous nature of Easter and its symbols, however, is not necessarily a modern fabrication. (Manchester Times, Tenn.)

  • Good Friday not a holiday in Gujarat | Taking exception to the Gujarat government's decision to withdraw Good Friday from its list of holidays, the Christian community on Wednesday threatened to boycott the forthcoming Lok Sabha election. (Rediff, India)

  • Google me: From goddess to God - history of a movable feast | For many, Easter is simply a four-day holiday, even if they know it's a Christian festival celebrating the resurrection of Christ. But the history of the holiday started well before the Christian era. (New Zealand Herald)

  • Resurrection of Jesus a whale of a tale | Easter celebrates resurrection. Many Christians believe that a dead man, Jesus, walked out of a grave and in a supernatural body appeared to his disciples. Yet many Christians don't believe that. For them, resurrection means something else. (Glynn Cardy, New Zealand Herald)

  • Easter is sacred for many, pagan for some | Easter is a time of springtime festivals. As Christians, Easter is celebrated as the religious holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus Christ, the son of God. However, many Easter customs and legends are pagan in origin and have nothing to do with Christianity. (Brenda Story, Peoria Journal Star, Ill.)

  • Schools expect high absences Good Friday | It's the first time in more than 30 years that the Christian holiday hasn't been an official day off. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fl)

  • Students prepare for Easter with fast, prayer | Web Eby didn't eat much for lunch Wednesday. After donating his lunch money to help Haitian children battling hunger, poverty and violence, the St. Edward Central High School senior received a small bowl of rice and beans, typical Haitian fare. (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)

  • Russia getting ready for Easter | Orthodox Christians, Roman Catholics and Protestants are celebrating Easter on the same day this year-April 11, as paschal calculations on the Julian and Gregorian calendars have coincided. The latest previous occasion was in 2001, and the next will come in 2007. (Pravda, Russia)

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  • Locals ready for Easter season | This weekend, millions of Christians worldwide will be filling churches to the brim, waiting to hear messages celebrating the death and apparent resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth. (Daily Mississippian)

Passion plays:

  • 'Law and Order' at church | Passion play puts Jesus Christ in modern courtroom setting (Pioneer Press, Ill.)

  • Nazareth passion play avoids controversy of Gibson film | Wary of allegations that Mel Gibson's film, The Passion of the Christ, unfairly portrays Jews as the driving force behind Jesus' crucifixion, organisers say their Easter Week re-enactment in the Israeli town of Nazareth is not about blame. (Irish Examiner, Ireland)


  • Guess who's coming to dinner | Elijah is a special guest at circumcision and Sabbath ceremonies, but he's busiest at Passover (The Dallas Morning News)

  • N.D.G. potluck for peace: Jews, Arabs share seder | They came together last night in a Notre Dame de Grâce flat, about 30 of them - Jews and Arabs, Christians and Muslims, to break bread together. Matzoh, actually, and pot luck - at an event they called a seder for peace. (Montreal Gazette)


  • Cosmo adds spirituality to sex and shoes | Is this a sign of the times or what? Cosmopolitan, the glossy bible of sex and shopping for the single girl, has launched a new monthly column on spirituality (Reuters)

  • Publicity stunt offends Christians | Church leaders have condemned a nightclub flyer that shows Jesus crowd-surfing while nailed to the cross. (Suffolk Evening Star, UK)

  • Christian meditation: Death of the self | Christians the world over celebrate the Sacred Triduum, the three holy days that form the core of their spiritual calendar. Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter mark the commemoration of events that literally changed the course of history. The word 'memorial' in Hebrew means to relive the event; so the celebration of the Eucharist is much more than a mere comme-morative event. (Editorial, The Times of India)

  • Many faithful turning to Web | Jimmy Chu sent a mass e-mail to his Bible study group asking for help setting up for Easter services. He posts the group's prayer requests on his Weblog, downloads hymns from his church's Web site and listens to Sunday sermons online. (San Jose Mercury News, Calif.)

  • The greatest myth ever told | The former Anglican priest and Toronto Star religion editor for the past 35 years, has come to believe that there was never a man named Jesus, and that most of the miracles and wonders ascribed to him in the New Testament did not happen. (The Globe and Mail, Canada)

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  • Anybody out there? | 76 percent of students search for the meaning of life, according to a recent survey released by UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute. The study also found 77 percent of students report that they pray and 78 percent discuss religious matters with their friends. But 62 percent say their professors never encourage religious discussions. (The Auburn Plainsman)

Music & media:

  • 'Joan' could be answer to TV's prayers | The most miraculous development may be the success of CBS' "Joan of Arcadia," which is regularly the top-rated show in its Friday-night time slot, won the People's Choice Award for best new drama and already has been renewed for a second season. (Neal Justin, Minneapolis Star Tribune)

  • Jars of Clay focuses on roots rock - for now | When they step on stage on day two of Christian Youth Weekend at Six Flags Over Texas, trailblazing Christian pop/rockers Jars of Clay will carry a set list featuring the best of the old and a lot of the new. (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Gospel music with a big-band twist | Denver and the Mile High Orchestra say they bring a fresh energy to the big-band sound. (The Dallas Morning News)


  • Rock of ages: The Passion of Judas | U2's "Until the End of the World," from the landmark album "Achtung Baby," ponders actions and relationships of cosmic proportions and affords a deeper understanding of Jesus' life and a divine love. (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Calif.)

  • Spinning songs into sermons: New book shows that fans can preach, too | When writers look into this band's lyrics, many of them see religion. Get Up Off Your Knees: Preaching the U2 Catalog (Cowley, 2003) engages the songs at this level, directly and deeply. (


  • Symbol of suffering | During the early years of the Christian Church, the cross was absent. Images of the tortuous device may have been too painful for many believers to behold, so the first Christians used the fish—not the cross—to symbolize their new faith. (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fl)

  • Artistic couple uses their faith to create cartoonish critters and more | Being a Christ-centered business, part of the money from the sculptures goes to Christian missions around the world. (The Bay City Times, Michigan)


  • Christianity meets capitalism as Passion drives book sales | There has been a marked resurgence of interest in all things Christian since the February release of The Passion of the Christ and the hype surrounding it, retailers say. This has helped push up sales and lead to even more competition between the House of James and the powerhouse merchants. (The Globe and Mail, Canada)

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  • Christian bookstore won't stock latest left behind book | One of the largest Christian bookstores in Canada has refused to stock the latest book in the most popular Christian fiction series of all time, saying it promotes a dangerous worldview that exacerbates global tensions. (Religion News Service, via beliefnet)

  • Betting on Jesus | Book market to Hollywood: So, what's all the fuss over Mel Gibson's film? We found Christ before he did. (Ellen E. Heltzel, Poynter)

Illinois sorry for booting Mormons:

Life ethics:

  • Plea deal in stillborn baby case | A Utah woman charged with homicide for refusing to have a Caesarean section that doctors said would have saved the life of her stillborn child pleaded guilty in Salt Lake City yesterday to two child endangerment charges after prosecutors dropped the murder charge. (Reuters)

  • Compromise may restrict 'morning-after' pill | The distributor of the emergency contraceptive "Plan B" and the government are discussing a compromise that would place some restrictions on proposed over-the-counter sales of the "morning-after" pill—an outcome that critics say would be based more on election-year politics than on science. (Washington Post)

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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