Pentagon's deputy inspector general: Lt. Gen. Boykin should be punished for religious speeches

Pentagon's deputy inspector general: Lt. Gen. Boykin should be punished for religious speeches
A 10-month investigation into speeches made to Christian groups by U.S. Army Lt. Gen. William G. "Jerry" Boykin, one of the Pentagon's top intelligence officers, says he broke three rules, according to Reuters and The Washington Post.

Boykin, the report said, didn't get specific clearance for using official data in his speeches, didn't sufficiently note that his remarks were personal and not necessarily those of the U.S. government, and didn't report being reimbursed for travel costs.

But Boykin did make "good faith efforts" to clear the speeches through military lawyers, the report says, and apparently wasn't told that he had to get specific clearance.

"We recommend that the Acting Secretary of the Army take appropriate corrective action with respect to Lt. Gen. Boykin," the report concludes.

The Pentagon isn't saying anything yet, since the results of the investigation haven't officially been released. But an anonymous "senior Defense official who is familiar with the report's contents" told The Washington Post that

the report is seen as a "complete exoneration" that ultimately found Boykin responsible for a few "relatively minor offenses" related to technical and bureaucratic issues. … The senior Pentagon official said that it is not regular practice for top Defense Department officials to submit speeches of a personal nature for review and clearance.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (remember them?) said it welcomed the report, and said that Boykin should be reassigned to a job "in which he will not be able to harm America's image in the Muslim world."

Weblog is still waiting for the release of actual transcripts of what Boykin really said at those 23 events in 2002, since even the excerpts that were directly quoted have been widely misrepresented in media accounts.

Crisis editor Deal Hudson: I'm being attacked because I exposed a Kerry-USCCB alliance

Crisis editor Deal Hudson: I'm being attacked because I exposed a Kerry-USCCB alliance
Deal Hudson, who has been advising the Bush campaign since 1998 on how to court conservative Catholic voters, says he's done. The reason, he wrote in National Review Online yesterday, is that "a liberal Catholic publication" is about to publish an article targeting "my life, my past, and apparently any mistakes that he could uncover to embarrass me."

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"No one regrets my past mistakes more than I do," he said, without alluding to what those mistakes are, or what the yet unpublished article will address. "I've been married seventeen years, my daughter is fifteen, my adopted son from Romania is seven, and my wife and I are happily married. When we entered the political fray in the 2000 campaign we knew the risk of political involvement but considered the issues worth the potential cost. We still do."

Both The New York Times and Newsday today report that the magazine working on the story is The National Catholic Reporter, and that the article will apparently focus on Hudson's leaving Fordham University in 1995 after a student accused him of sexual harassment.

National Catholic Reporter editor Tom Roberts didn't talk to the Times, but told Newsday that the magazine was planning to do a "straightforward profile" of the Crisis Magazine editor, not an exposé. "But as we started talking to people, these things came up," he said. "We decided that he's such a public figure, and he's been uncompromising in judging other people's behavior."

Hudson says the behavior he has commented on has wide consequences. And criticizing that behavior, he says, now has consequences in his own life. He points to his recent article noting that moderator of the "Catholics for Kerry" e-mail list, Ono Ekeh, was a full-time employee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. (Ekeh was forced to resign after Hudson's article was published and picked up by William F. Buckley in his syndicated column.)

The Catholic blogs are going to be all over this story. One big place to start: Amy Welborn's Open Book, which already has hundreds of comments in the two posts she's devoted to the news. So far, the sense among her (mostly conservative) readership seems to be that even if the allegations against Hudson are true, they don't disqualify him from political engagement or editing Crisis. "This issue belongs strictly between Hudson and his wife, not to mention his confessor and God Himself; but not with the rest of us," says one post on Open Book. Another writes:

I'm not sure what infidelity actually has to do with undercutting a pro-life, pro-marriage, (and so forth) message, especially among people who assume that we're all sinners.
I guess some sins are more politically convenient to peg on people than others, especially when others' public sins are being ignored (or one wishes them to be ignored). People forget that someone else's sins do not excuse our own.
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Anyway, I feel sorry for him, and sorry for any Catholic movement that requires sinlessness for its spokespeople. I can imagine a medieval NCR, annoyed at St. Patrick's evangelization, bringing up the matter of St. Pat being rumored to have murdered someone in Ireland in order to escape slavery … how dare such a man represent the Church!

Hudson's distancing himself from the Bush campaign doesn't mean that the Republicans no longer have connections to conservative Catholics. In his interview with several Christian publications, Bush said that First Things editor Richard John Neuhaus "helped me craft what is still the integral part of my position on abortion, which is: Every child welcomed to life and protected by law." Neuhaus and Hudson were both at that meeting (as was Russell Shaw, who writes for Our Sunday Visitor and other Catholic publications), and both are former evangelical Protestant pastors (Hudson was a Southern Baptist, Neuhaus a Lutheran).

One person angling for the "position" vacated by Hudson is surely Catholic League president William Donohue, who was almost completely forgotten until he singlehandedly brought down two religious outreach directors in the Democratic Party. Donohue today defends Hudson, joking that "Effective today, the Catholic League has a new requirement for all future employees: all candidates must show proof of being immaculately conceived, that is, they must demonstrate that they were conceived without sin."

More articles

Religion & politics:

  • Group aims to rouse Catholic voters | Ex-mayor Flynn kicks off campaign (The Boston Globe)
  • Conservative views becoming the norm | Despite efforts to marginalize particular issues as "culture war" relics, the reality is that the majority of Americans support certain fundamental principles that are readily described as conservative (Todd Young, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Beliefs, policies and the law | What do you do when religion and sex clash in the workplace? (Diane Stafford, The Kansas City Star)

Church & state:

  • Monumental issue: Star of Hope to file motion to keep Bible on display | The mission is receiving help from a nonprofit legal organization (Houston Chronicle)
  • Officials: Prayer will continue at meetings | Local officials continue to defy a federal court - and their own attorneys - by continuing to say Christian prayers at meetings (The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
  • Vatican should butt out of EU politics | The Vatican, in the persons of Foreign Secretary Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran and the church's leading theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, have expressed opposition to Turkey joining the European Union (Editorial, The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Mass.)
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  • Anti-Christian charges probed | The Education Department's civil rights office has opened a second discrimination investigation of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which is accused by a congressman of "abusive policies" against Christian students (The Washington Times)
  • College can present new dilemmas about sex | Talk to your kids about sex again before they head off for school (The Boston Globe)
  • Jones is backing fraternity | Christian group, UNC in dispute (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Congressman backs Christian fraternity | A conservative congressman who has taken UNC to task in the past for its handling of political issues is once again leveling criticism at the state's flagship university (The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.)
  • University settles suit over distribution of religious tracts | Messianic Jew had been blocked from handing out pamphlets on University of New Orleans campus (Associated Press)
  • Killing opportunity | School choice helps all schools. A bad decision has a domino effect (Jay P. Greene & Marcus A. Winters, National Review Online)


  • Vatican resists drive to canonize EU founder | A campaign to sanctify the European Union through the beatification of its founding father, Robert Schuman, has run into stiff resistance from the Vatican and now appears likely to fail (The Telegraph, London)
  • AG gains oversight of assets at parishes | In closings, diocese opens up fund review (The Boston Globe)
  • The Army of God | How a monk, an altar boy, and a sex-abuse victim joined forces to battle their common enemy: the Catholic Church (Orange County Weekly)

Pope returns from France:

  • Lourdes needs manna from heaven | The Catholic shrine of Lourdes yesterday opened a special bank account and appealed for donations from the faithful after it emerged that last weekend's visit by the Pope had left it with a €1.2m (£812,000) deficit (The Guardian, London)
  • Pope's French visit leaves debt | France's Roman Catholic Church has reported a 1.3m-euro deficit ($1.6m) from a visit by the Pope to the southern shrine of Lourdes (BBC)
  • Pope recovers from grueling trip to France | Days after returning from a grueling trip to France, Pope John Paul II appeared in better shape Wednesday and expressed thanks for his visit to the shrine of Lourdes (Associated Press)
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  • Reporter's notebook: Rumors of Pope's demise exaggerated | By my count, Pope John Paul II has been dying since one Friday afternoon in September of 1994 (Greg Burke, Fox News)


  • Advocates for abuse victims stage protest | Advocates for victims of clergy sex abuse held posters that read "No more suicides" and "Help us Heal" in a protest Wednesday outside a convention hall where a group representing Roman Catholic nuns was about to meet (Associated Press)
  • Group rallies, accuses nuns of abuse | Outside the Fort Worth Convention Center on Wednesday, a group of adults said that as children they were abused by Catholic religious leaders. The difference this time is that they say their abusers were nuns (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Abuse victims' group pickets nuns meeting | A handful of protesters who said they were sexually abused by nuns picketed outside the Fort Worth Convention Center on Wednesday where a national conference of Roman Catholic nuns is scheduled to begin today (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)
  • Accused priests took in minors | When Fathers acted as fathers, complaints often followed (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

Amish abuse trial:

  • Amish sex scandal: An 8-year penalty for years of pain | As Mary Byler sat in the courtroom on Wednesday, awaiting the sentencing of her brother for sexual assault, she had to wonder who'd really been on trial (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
  • One of 4 accused relatives gets prison term | Woman had been repeatedly sexually assaulted as child (Associated Press)


  • Pastor dives into river - To escape arrest | He had to be rescued by the very person he was running away from, together with some residents since he could not swim and therefore found himself drowning (Mirror, Ghana)
  • Police use bible to beat crime | Police in a rural area of Romania are sending criminals to church in an attempt to drive down crime figures. Officers in the Satu Mare region also use the bible to "put the fear of God" into suspects (Daily Times, Pakistan)

China's religious persecution:

  • China detains Buddhist, U.S. group says | A Chinese Buddhist leader was detained and some of his American followers dragged away when they tried to hold a ceremony at a temple in northern China that they had paid to renovate, according to members of the group (Associated Press)
  • Report: China arrests underground priests | Police in northern China detained eight priests from the underground Catholic Church in a raid on a religious retreat, a U.S.-based religious monitoring group reported (Associated Press)
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  • In crackdown, China shuts Buddhist site and seizes Catholic priests | The two unrelated incidents are the latest examples of what appears to be a government crackdown against some religious. (The New York Times)
  • China detains Buddhist leader | Americans ejected from temple site (The Washington Post)

Religious freedom:

  • Two letter carriers press claim on religious discrimination | The Maine Human Rights Commission has sided with two postal carriers who say a Christian-themed column in a union newsletter amounts to religious discrimination (Associated Press)
  • Lankan anti-conversion bill hits the rocks | Sri Lanka's controversial anti-conversion bill seems to have hit the rocks given the Supreme Court's critical observations and the distinct possibility of the mainstream political parties opting for a free, "conscience vote" in parliament (Hindustan Times, India)

War & terrorism:

  • Besieging holy sites: past lessons | The standoff at one of Islam's holiest shrines parallels one at the Church of the Nativity in 2002. Then, patience prevailed (The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Enough imperial crusades | There are good reasons to oppose Western military intervention in Sudan (Peter Hallward, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Politics of misery | The Darfur moment in global consciousness raises troubling questions about Africa's tenuous relationship with the outside world (Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post)
  • Nigeria riots:
  • Nigeria: Thousands still displaced three months after religious clashes | Nearly 30,000 people fled from their homes during the May riots in Kano (UN IRIN)
  • Searching for peace in Nigeria | A peace conference is taking place in the central Nigerian state of Plateau, the scene of fierce ethno-religious fighting earlier this year (BBC)


  • Democrats can 'do better' on abortion | In my lifetime, the Democratic Party has stood consistently on the side of the poor, the weak, the vulnerable. But I have not cast my vote for a Democratic presidential candidate in 12 years because the Democrats have refused to extend their protection to the weakest and most vulnerable - unborn children (Paul J. Contino, The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Barbour to shape abortion platform | Gov. Haley Barbour will be in charge of drafting the Republican Party's positions on abortion and gay marriage at the party's convention (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.)
  • Critics want military abortion rules changed | Critics say it's time to lift ban on procedure at military hospitals as scores of soldiers become pregnant while serving overseas (Newsday)
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Health & life ethics:

  • Those favoring stem cell research increases to a 73 to 11 percent majority | In 2001, a Harris Poll reported that a 3-to-1 majority believed that stem cell research should be allowed. Three years later, a new Harris Poll finds that this majority supporting stem cell research has increased to more than 6-to-1 (Harris Interactive)
  • Between faith and medicine, how clear a line? | How will South Africa accredit "traditional healers" as legally recognized physicians? (The New York Times)

Same-sex marriage:

  • Ruling backs law restricting marriage | Out-of-state gay couples are banned from marrying in Massachusetts pending a final ruling on the 1913 law that Governor Mitt Romney is using to block same-sex marriages, a Superior Court judge ruled yesterday (The Boston Globe)
  • Gay couples plan to appeal Mass. ruling | A state judge upheld a 1913 law that prohibits out-of-state gay couples from marrying in Massachusetts, where same-sex marriage between residents has been legal since May (Associated Press)
  • Law backing 2-sex marriage is upheld by federal judge | A 1996 federal law that defines marriage as "a legal union between one man and one woman" is constitutional, a federal judge in Tacoma, Wash., ruled Tuesday. It is the first decision of a federal court to address the constitutionality of the law, the Defense of Marriage Act (The New York Times)

ECUSA breakup:

  • Bishop orders priests to stop work | Two parishes that have split with the Episcopal Church over gay issues are told to halt ministry (Los Angeles Times)
  • Church secession saga still unresolved | St. James officials contend the bishop of Los Angeles no longer has ecclesiastical authority over them (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • Oops | Problems in the Los Angeles Times's earlier coverage of the ECUSA breakup (Los Angeles Times)

Church life:

  • Clergyman cautions against provocative dancing in church | Reverend Joseph K. Gyimah, Leader of the True Light of Christ Church, stated that the Church was a house of prayer and a place for sober reflection and not an arena for the performance of funny dances and provocative rhythms (GNA, Ghana)
  • What does it mean to be a Presbyterian believer? | Strengths of the Protestant faith begin with the sovereignty of God and the authority of the Bible (Rebecca L. Hazen, The Oregonian)

Church buildings:

  • Church demolition halted in confusion over the permit | Just hours after contractors for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York began demolishing a deteriorating Harlem church yesterday to make room for apartments, the city ordered the work stopped, saying the archdiocese's permit had been suspended (The New York Times)
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  • Awe (and maybe acolytes) from bold architecture | Some church officials in Italy are hoping that forays into church design by architects like Renzo Piano and Richard Meier will help put people in the pews (The New York Times)

Missions & ministry:

  • Brazil becomes feverish market for Bibles | A religious awakening in South America's biggest country over the past decade, the rapid advance of evangelical churches and smart business planning by publishers have made Brazil a leading world publisher of Bibles (Associated Press)
  • They are the voice | Advocate Skateboards is on a mission from God (Westword, Denver)
  • Churches look Olympic best as priests skip summer holidays | Though the bells are ringing less frequently, priests are going to great lengths to welcome and instruct visitors (Associated Press)
  • Promise Keepers think big | A group of men representing seven local churches hope that an upcoming Promise Keepers simulcast will prove a catalyst to strengthen men's faith and commitment to their families (Bismarck Tribune, N.D.)
  • They fasted, prayed, the bells tolled and it's raining | The Anglican priest of the Parish of Bodalla and Na-rooma called his parishioners to a day of prayer and fasting on Sunday (August 15), due to the prolonged drought and the effect it is having on the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn (Narooma News, Australia)
  • L.A. names street after longtime AME pastor | Dr. Cecil L. "Chip" Murray has been head pastor at the First African Methodist Episcopal Church for 27 years, helping transform his Mid-City church into a center for social activism (Los Angeles Times)


  • 'Passion' will be rekindled on DVD | DVD sales are expected to boost Gibson's personal profits above $400 million (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Filmmakers hoping for boycotts may be disappointed | "Saved!" didn't even create a buzz at the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention (Terry Mattingly)
  • Faith in video games | Religious game makers seek success without violence (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)


  • Cell phone users are finding God | Once merely a useful tool for keeping in touch on the go, the mobile phone is fast finding a new niche as an instrument of spiritual enlightenment (Wired News)
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  • Trendy Bibles | Good as New is the wildest, wackiest and possibly worst of those trendy attempts to update Holy Writ (Associated Press)
  • Testing the spirits in prophecy | No prophet of God can become great until he learns to "test the spirits" because there is always another voice that mimics that of God (R. Francis Fawkes, Nassau Guardian, Bahamas)


  • Scholars disagree on early inhabitants | Rival groups of scholars excavating this dusty plateau overlooking the Dead Sea are arguing over who lived here in biblical times — ordinary farmers or the Essenes, a monastic sect seen by some as a link between Judaism and early Christianity (Associated Press)
  • John the Baptist's cave: speculation & sensation | Shimon Gibson is offering an alternative view of John the Baptist as it is recorded in the New Testament writings (Steven M. Ortiz, Baptist Press)

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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.
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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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