New York Times, Los Angeles Times lash out against Boykin 'bigotry'
The third- and fourth-largest newspapers in the country agree: Lt. Gen. William Boykin is a "bigot" who should be immediately kicked out of his post. A New York Times editorial today condemns his "grossly offensive gospel" as "brimstone bigotry." A Los Angeles Times editorial yesterday said his remarks were "unforgivable," "anti-Muslim," and pure "bigotry."

Do these newspaper editorial boards actually read the newspapers? The first Los Angeles Times article about Boykin, back in October, was clearly based in the bias of William M. Arkin, but it at least noted that one of Boykin's main points was that radical Islamic terrorists are as different from most Muslims as the KKK is from most Christians. The Los Angeles Times also reported, "In his public remarks, Boykin has also said that radical Muslims who resort to terrorism are not representative of the Islamic faith." Those details have long been purged from vitriolic screeds against the Army general, as both Times newspapers have screamed that he's "anti-Muslim."

The newspapers have so far not published a single in-context quote where Boykin disparaged Islam as a whole. The best they've got is his remarks to Somali warlord Osman Atto, who had claimed that Allah would protect him from American troops. "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God, and his was an idol," Boykin said. If you're going to say that this comment disparages all Muslims, then you're going to have to say that Atto was a true Muslim, and that his God really is the Allah of Islam. The New York Times says Boykin's Atto comment is a "walking contradiction" of claims that the war against terror is "not a crusade against Islam." The Los Angeles Times likewise says the Atto comment is incompatible with Bush's statement that Islam "teaches moral responsibility that ennobles men and women." (It's interesting that the Times here is praising Bush's promotion of a religion.)

The Timeses perfectly miss the point. Why is Bush saying the Islam is a religion of peace? To separate "true" Islam from the terrorists' brand, which is a religion of hatred and violence. Both newspapers are not siding with Islam—they're siding with a terrorist who uses Islam.

Maybe Boykin did disparage Islam as a whole. But if he did, you'd think the papers would have shown us the quote by now. It seems probable that the Los Angeles Times has full transcripts of Boykin's speeches. And given that media reports have repeatedly conflated Boykin's statements about Christians' spiritual warfare against Satan with the war on terrorism, it seems like full transcripts would help to inform the public on something that these newspapers think is such an important public issue. Why not tell us what Boykin really said, instead of giving us a few out-of-context snippets?

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To Weblog, it sure sounds like Boykin was making speeches about spiritual warfare, not the war on terror. But let's say that the few Boykin quote snippets that keep getting quoted are in the context that the newspapers say they are. Here's what Boykin said: America is engaged in a spiritual war, Satan is more of a threat than Osama bin Laden, Islamic terrorists are idolaters, America is grounded in a Judeo-Christian heritage, terrorists have targeted the U.S. because of that heritage.

Those beliefs are unacceptable for a man in uniform, say these editorials. Weblog can't help but wonder: Who's displaying bigotry?

Joe Stowell announces resignation as president of Moody Bible Institute
After 18 years at the post, Joseph Stowell says he's stepping down as president of Moody Bible Institute, which also operates a book publishing company, a radio network, and other ministries.

"God has laid on my heart a calling that I cannot deny," he said today. "Over the last few years I have had a growing and now unshakable conviction that God is calling me to give myself singularly to His Word and its life-changing impact through the ministry of preaching and teaching."

More, including a press release, is available at Moody's website section devoted to presidential transition.

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Free speech and religion | Christian fraternity sues university | Discrimination claims | Education | Pledge of Allegiance | Texas Bible display | Public prayers | Religious freedom | India | Sudan | Slavery | Iraq | Crime | Abuse | Catholicism | Pope returns icon to Russia | Christians and Jews | The Passion | Film | TV | Sport | Music | Pop culture | Books | Money & Business | Church buildings and property | Anglican/Episcopal conflict | Same-sex marriage | Presidential election | Politics | Embryonic stem cell research | Abortion | Life ethics | Suicide | Missions & ministry | Faith-based initiatives | Academics | People | Other stories of interest

Free speech and religion:

  • Censoring the Bible | The contradiction between secular dogmas of tolerance and religious faith will affect more than just Canada's clergy (Editorial, The National Post, Canada)

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  • Worker sues California department over cubicle censorship | A state government worker who alleges he was forced to remove Bible verses, a bumper sticker reading "Marriage: One Man, One Woman" and other religious or political items from the entrance of his office cubicle sued the California Department of Social Services Monday, claiming the action violated his First Amendment rights (Associated Press)

  • Legal trends favor allowing religious fliers in public schools | Some sue if schools let religious fliers be distributed, others sue if they don't — but courts may have tilted in favor of fliers (Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center)

  • Council bans call to Muslim prayers | Members of a Lancashire mosque were yesterday wondering why ice cream vans could play their tunes on the streets of Blackburn while the calls that summon Muslims to prayers were banned (The Guardian, London)

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Christian fraternity sues university:

  • Christian frat sues UNC over recognition | Alpha Iota Omega objects to a school requirement that its membership be open to everyone regardless of religion or sexual orientation (Associated Press)

  • Alpha Iota Omega fraternity 'really strong with Lord' | Its name is Greek, but little else about UNC's Alpha Iota Omega fraternity suggests an Animal House lifestyle (The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.)

  • Christian fraternity to sue UNC over free speech | A Christian fraternity that had its official recognition revoked is planning to sue UNC, alleging that the university has violated the constitutional rights of the group's members (The Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.)

  • Earlier: UNC's new religious flap is different | The case of UNC's Alpha Iota Omega fraternity is not the same as the case of the university's InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. The differences are instructive (Editorial, The Chapel Hill Herald, N.C.)

  • Christian frat sues for status despite discrimination policy | Members of the fraternity, Alpha Iota Omega, refused last year to sign the university's policy against discrimination (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)

  • Campus comes under fire | The University is in the national spotlight again after declining to recognize an all-male Christian fraternity because it refused to sign a nondiscrimination policy last fall (Daily Tar Heel, University of North Carolina)

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Discrimination claims:

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  • Also: Fired UGA coach fears church-state storm | Marilou Braswell, whose minister husband, Matt, held Bible study at their home, is accused by senior cheerleader Jaclyn Steele of Marietta of favoring Christian cheerleaders who attended such events (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Earlier: Coach says she was fired over faith | UGA cites retaliation to Jewish cheerleader who filed complaint (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Pledge of Allegiance:

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Texas battle over Bible display:

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Public prayers:

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Religious freedom:

  • Christian school in Pakistan reopens | Murree Christian School reopened with the unveiling of a plaque to commemorate those killed in the Aug. 5, 2002, attack (Associated Press)

  • N. Korea wants illuminated church crosses removed | North Korea wants the removal of tall illuminated church crosses that light up the South Korean sky and are visible across the border in the secretive communist state, defense officials from the South said on Monday (Reuters)

  • The real scandal about Vietnam | As the dispute about what happened on John Kerry's Swift boat more than 35 years ago fills the airwaves, it is distressing that no one has focused on something that actually matters: a much less-publicized war that continues to rage in Vietnam. This new war pits religious leaders, democracy advocates and independent journalists against the still-ruling Communist Party (Jared Genser, The Washington Post)

  • Zimbabwe's Mugabe hits out at defiant church leaders | Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe hit out at some church leaders over the weekend for turning to his opponents instead of seeking dialogue with the government (AFP)

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Sudan (news):

  • Religion feeds Sudan's fire | Political rivalries, ethnic strife and poverty have fueled the clashes, but that has not stopped combatants from invoking religion and challenging the devotion of their rivals (The New York Times)

  • Archbishop seeks prayers for the Sudanese | Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, archbishop of Washington, and other Catholics throughout the region yesterday prayed for an end to the suffering of the people of Sudan (The Washington Times)

  • Dying in Darfur | Can the ethnic cleansing in Sudan be stopped? (The New Yorker)

  • U.S. report on violence in Sudan finds a 'pattern of atrocities' | The State Department review found "a consistent pattern of atrocities," including murder and ethnic humiliation (The New York Times)

  • After the exodus, the refugees dig in | Jeevan Vasagar in Iridimi finds those who fled Sudan trying to adapt to a changed life (The Guardian, London)

  • Sudanese rebels say they won't disarm yet | Darfur peace talks made little headway as Sudanese insurgents insisted they would not lay down their weapons until pro-government Arab militiamen stop targeting largely black African civilians in their country's troubled western region (Associated Press)

  • Protests continue at Sudan Embassy | Hundreds of demonstrators called for an end to government-sponsored genocide in western Sudan's Darfur region during a march yesterday in front of the Sudanese Embassy (The Washington Times)

  • Militia chief denies Darfur atrocities | Sheet says his tribe was armed by the government to fight rebels (BBC)

Sudan (opinion):

  • Countdown on Darfur | Twenty-Four days have elapsed since the U.N. Security Council gave the government of Sudan a month to stop a campaign of ethnic cleansing by militias and its own troops in the region of Darfur -- and still the killing goes on (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  • Regime change in Sudan | If regime change is not to be chaotic, it must be organized by a consortium of international actors, including regional governments; efforts must be made to reach out to all opposition parties throughout the country and in exile (Eric Reeves, The Washington Post)

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  • World commemorates end of slavery | Events are being held worldwide to mark the abolition of the slave trade and to highlight the fact that millions still live as slaves in all but name (BBC)

  • Christians to evoke slavery in 10 cities | A group of African and European Christians will evoke the slave trade in 10 U.S. cities this fall, starting in Annapolis. White marchers will wear chains on their hands and yokes on their necks while being escorted by black people, and everyone will wear T-shirts with a message of apology (Associated Press)

  • The new abolitionists | Freeing 'sex slaves' is now at the top of the human rights agenda, thanks to Christian evangelicals, the Bush administration, and two former Washington politicians, Linda Smith and John Miller. How did the anti-trafficking crusade evolve, and is it being overhyped? (Seattle Weekly)

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  • U.S. chaplains lend spiritual aid in Iraq | As American troops cope with life — and death — on a faraway battlefield, military chaplains cope with them, offering prayers, comfort and spiritual advice to keep the American military machine running (Associated Press)

  • Iraq's dwindling Christians | Whereas Christians make up just 3% of the country's population, their proportion of the refugee flow into Syria is estimated anywhere between 20% and 95% (Daniel Pipes, The Jerusalem Post)

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Christian camp counselors murdered:

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Murder suspect found in church:


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  • Diocese names three priests permanently barred from ministry | Being permanently barred from ministry is a step short of defrocking, meaning the three are still under the archdiocese's watch but can never again call themselves "father," wear priestly garb or present themselves as priests (The Seattle Times)

  • Mich. archdiocese drops priests from duty | The church refused to say where or when the incidents are alleged to have occurred, or where Father Michael Malawy, 49, and Father Timothy Murray, 54, are now (Associated Press)

  • Seattle diocese names three banned priests | The cases are the first here to be reviewed by the Vatican since U.S. bishops approved a policy in 2002 that bars from active ministry any priest with a single credible allegation of sexual abuse of a minor (Associated Press)

  • Most accused priests won't face church trials | Catholic priests in the Chicago Archdiocese removed indefinitely from ministry two years ago amid allegations of sexual misconduct with minors will not face church trials after all, Cardinal Francis George revealed in a letter to priests earlier this week (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Priest's trial set to go | Try at dismissal rejected in molestation case. (San Francisco Examiner)

  • Court upholds Mormon sex suit dismissal | A state appeals court upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit brought against the Mormon church by a mother and son who claimed they were abused by a church leader, saying the statute of limitations had run out (Associated Press)

  • Groups advised on abuse claims | A group that began as an independent effort to address sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church released a report Monday that offers a model for any institution - not just the church - on how to respond to allegations of such abuse (Portland Press Herald, Maine)

  • Toledo diocese says it will pay $1.19M | The Roman Catholic Diocese of Toledo said it will pay $1.19 million to settle lawsuits filed by 23 people who said they were sexually abused by priests (Associated Press)

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  • Diocese settles 18 abuse suits | The St. Louis Archdiocese has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle 18 civil cases of sexual abuse, according to lawyers representing the accusers (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mo.)

  • Goa archbishop told to scan all churches | Even as molestation charges levelled against a priest in Ribander continue to raise a political storm here, Archbishop of Goa Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao has been urged to order an independent inquiry into similar incidents of ''sexual impropriety'' reported from other churches (The Indian Express)

  • School authorities back missionary | The school authorities today rallied behind Father Robby against whom a former teacher of Little Flower Public School leveled charges of molestation and attempt to rape yesterday (TribuneIndia)

  • For 2 brothers, priest's arrest is bittersweet | With the arrest of a popular priest, the Lamberts experience a pained vindication, while high-ranking members of the clergy contemplate a painful chronology (The New York Times)

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Pope returns icon to Russia:

  • Pope returns icon to Russia, eyes reconciliation | At an elaborate ceremony in the Vatican tinged with Byzantine chants used in the Russian Church, the Pope gave the icon of the "Mother of God of Kazan" to a delegation that will take it to Russia on Friday after public veneration in Rome (Reuters)

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  • Pope returns icon to Russia | Pope John Paul II has said he hopes the return of a precious Russian icon to the Russian Orthodox Church will lead to reconciliation and understanding (BBC)

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Christians and Jews:

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The Passion:

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  • Digging for the deeper meaning in Disney movies | Author scrutinizes the popular animated films, developing a guide to understanding what some call the Gospel According to Walt (Los Angeles Times)

  • Is new religious movie too 'Loosed'? | Is it proper for Jakes to promote the movie in churches, given that the story is not from Scripture and clearly has images that might offend churchgoers? (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • DeGeneres to star in 'Oh, God!' remake | "Ellen is a strong comedian and she has always done material about God and questions about God," said Jerry Weintraub, who produced the original movie and also will oversee the remake (Associated Press)

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  • The desecration wagon | Amish in the City has no shame when it comes to the Amish (Jamie M. Fly, National Review Online)

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  • The faithful | From ancient times to our own, sport and religion have been deeply connected. But here in Red Sox Nation, there are varieties of religious experience only a Sox fan can know (The Boston Globe)

  • Games offer chance to minister to all | Jews and Christians make Athens second home for Games (MSNBC)

  • Balancing faith and sport in an Olympic year | The difference between two gestures at the women's road race (Michèle Marr, The Independent, Huntington Beach, Ca.)

  • Ex-ballplayer Strawberry goes to bat for his religion | Strawberry offered testimony for 40 minutes to parishioners of the People Without Walls Church on Forest Hill Boulevard in suburban West Palm Beach, then joined pastors Nick and Kelly Paulo in laying hands on worshipers as they came forward (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

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  • Achtung, baby! New U2 release set | Nov. 23 is going to be a beautiful day for U2 fans (E!)

  • Johnny Cash's son produces tribute album | Out of a small cabin hideaway near country music icon Johnny Cash's huge lakeside estate, vacant since he and his wife died last year, has come a rare album by big-name singers and musicians produced by Cash's son, John Carter Cash (Reuters)

  • Creed's Stapp talks spirituality | "Of all the times we were asked if we were a Christian band, only once did anyone ever ask me if I was a Christian." (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

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More pop culture:

  • The King of pop | Jesus has become a national icon, experts say, a guy admired by everyone from our evangelical Christian president to Buddhists and Hindus (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Christian festival follows rise in religion on Fringe | A program of more than 100 events is planned for next summer following a surge in festival shows based around religious themes (The Scotsman)

  • Plaster ad wounds Christians | After successfully campaigning to have an "immoral" Axe deodorant advert banned from television because it was too risqué, a Christian lobby group has now set its sights on an Elastoplast advertisement (Mail & Guardian, South Africa)

  • Religious references grace 'Southern Living' | Religion is at the heart of this month's selection, "Southern Living" by Ad Hudler; however, Readers' Circle participants found that Hudler's depiction of religion in the South was not always redeeming (The State, Columbia, S.C.)

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Money & Business:

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Church buildings and property:

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California churches leave Episcopal Church:

  • 'A new day' for two congregations | Two parishes that have separated from the Episcopal Church will mark fresh starts by rewriting their articles of incorporation (Los Angeles Times)

  • Ugandan cleric backs breakaway parishes | The Anglican archbishop of Uganda declared his full support Monday for two Southern California parishes that have broken away from the Episcopal Church in the United States and affiliated with a conservative diocese in that African nation (Los Angeles Times)

  • St. James backed by archbishop in Uganda | African leader offers strong support for the church, which announced last week it's no longer Episcopal (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Churches read bishop's letter en masse | St. James' pastor declines to follow orders from the Los Angeles Diocese citing its new freedom from the Episcopal denomination (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Church split rings of dubious reasoning | To take the literal stance is to embrace only full-bore literalism. I have attended services at St. James, and no snakes are handled (Timothy Titus, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Top Episcopal bishop 'troubled' by breakaway churches | In his first public statement on the current secession crisis, the national presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church on Wednesday criticized an Anglican diocese in Uganda for taking over jurisdiction of three conservative breakaway parishes in Southern California (Los Angeles Times)

  • North Hollywood parish is third to leave the Episcopal Church | Conservative members join a growing group of dissidents who've left the denomination (Los Angeles Times)

Other Anglican/Episcopal conflicts:

  • Church of Uganda confirms break with USA church | The Provincial Assembly of the Church of Uganda (CoU) has endorsed a resolution by the House of Bishops to break ties with the Episcopal Church of America over the consecration of gay Rev. Canon Gene Robinson as bishop (New Vision, Uganda)

  • Carey tour adds to US fears of gay schism | Lord Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, will provoke a fresh storm over homosexuality in the Church next month by blessing hundreds of American traditionalists who are boycotting their own pro-gay bishop (The Telegraph, London)

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Same-sex marriage:

  • Vt. same-sex unions null in Va., judge rules | Case seen as test of parent rights (The Washington Post)

  • Move is made in Connecticut courts to legalize gay marriage | A gay rights group that won a Massachusetts case legalizing gay marriage announced a similar suit in Connecticut on Wednesday, expanding its mission into a state its lead lawyer declared ripe to confront the issue (The New York Times)

  • Also: Conn. marriage laws challenged | Seven gay couples sue over the legal right to say 'I do' (Associated Press)

  • Cherokee panel: Marriage means man, woman | About a month after a lesbian couple successfully filed for a tribal marriage application, the Cherokee National Tribal Council voted to clearly define marriage as between a man and a woman (Associated Press)

  • From afar, fund boosts supporters of gay marriage | Now that Massachusetts has become the country's battleground over gay marriage, local candidates are getting a boost from national money, thanks to the brave new world of the Internet (The Boston Globe)

  • Federal DOMA upheld as constitutional | A federal judge in Washington state last week upheld the federal Defense of Marriage Act as constitutional, marking the first time a federal court has ruled on the 1996 law, which defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman (The Washington Times)

  • Setting a pattern for marriage | What marriage really signifies (Steve Crain, The Pilot, Pinehurst, N.C.)

  • Christian pastors spread the word on heterosexual marriage | A Seattle-area group opposed to same-sex marriage is having some success recruiting pastors in the Inland Northwest, its leaders said (Associated Press)

  • Skirmishes in the marriage war | The folks who drew up Arkansas' proposed marriage amendment just had to go too far (Paul Greenberg, The Washington Times)

  • Steele calls gay issue overplayed | Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele yesterday said discussions about a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex "marriage" detract from more important issues, but that Republicans should debate the matter (The Washington Times)

  • Canada picks same-sex advocates as judges | Two judges known for supporting same-sex unions were nominated Tuesday to fill vacancies on Canada's Supreme Court, and they will be assessed in the country's first-ever public screening of such appointments (Associated Press)

Other issues regarding homosexuality:

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  • Zanzibar brings in gay sex ban | A law banning gay sex has come into effect in Zanzibar, with homosexual men threatened with 25-year jail terms and lesbians facing seven-year sentences (The Guardian, London)

  • SJC rules against lesbian mother | Ex-partner balked at child support (The Boston Globe)

  • Court rules on lesbian child support case | Judge says partner is "legally a stranger to the child" (Associated Press)

  • Earlier: Va. judge to decide lesbian custody case | A Virginia judge on Tuesday claimed jurisdiction to decide a child custody case between two women who had entered into a civil union in Vermont, a move that could set a legal precedent for same-sex couples whose relationships are recognized in some states and not others (Associated Press)

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Same-sex marriage and the presidential election:

Cheney and gay marriage:

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  • Cheney sidesteps marriage debate | While Mr. Cheney did not unequivocally support President Bush's call for a constitutional amendment banning homosexual "marriage," he expressed support for the president's prerogative to set policy (The Washington Times)

  • Cheney stakes out his own position on gay marriages | In a break with months of Republican efforts to outlaw gay marriage, Vice President Dick Cheney offered a defense of the rights of gay Americans (The New York Times)

  • Social conservatives criticize Cheney on same-sex marriage | But none expressed worry that Mr. Cheney's remarks would have lasting political consequences for Mr. Bush's re-election efforts (The New York Times)

  • Right wing sees betrayals | Conservatives yesterday fumed over what they see as twin betrayals in recent days — the Republican National Convention platform's endorsement of amnesty for illegal aliens and Vice President Dick Cheney's fence-straddling on homosexual "marriage" (The Washington Times)

  • Republicans' gay debate | Dick Cheney's comments on gay marriage have opened up a new chapter in one of America's hottest debates, just days before the Republican Convention in New York (BBC, video)

  • GOP struggles for firm message on hot issues | Vice President Dick Cheney's recent public split with President George W. Bush over same-sex marriage unmasked a long-simmering struggle within the Republican Party over gay rights and other hot-button social issues (Newsday)

Presidential election:

  • Bush weds religion, politics to form world view | Bush's "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists" policy became "Either you are with us, or you are against God" (David Domke, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Follow McGreevey's lead | When it comes to Catholicism, John Kerry should be more like the outgoing New Jersey governor (Paul D. Kengor, National Review Online)

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Other elections:

  • Keyes: 'The victory is for God' | Whether his mood is irascible or reflective, Alan Keyes, a lifelong Roman Catholic, wears his faith on his sleeve as well as around his neck (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Religious zeal mars judge's race | Fliers in 24th District question faith. Rival derides election tactic (The Detroit News)

More politics:

  • Chipping away at the wall | Are church and state still separate in the U.S.? (Dahlia Lithwick, The New York Times)

  • Values swaying some voters | Campaign that promotes a kind of personal morality comes to the Triangle (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

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  • The 'God gap' in politics | Despite their differences on specific issues, Americans make a remarkably consistent distinction between individual faith and institutional entanglement in politics (Jane Eisner, Philadelphia Daily News)

  • LDS beliefs prompt some to seek office | Because the church emphasizes civic service, it is only natural for LDS members to seek public office, says Dennis Holland, public information officer for the LDS church in the Sacramento area (The Sacramento Bee, Ca.)

  • Not all black churches fit the stereotype | There's a perception that all black preachers practice partisan politics on Sunday -- Democratic politics at that. But that isn't any more true than the notion that all evangelical white pastors are putting up "Bush for President" posters in the sanctuary (Ken Garfield, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • Church affiliation? We need to know | Knowing a candidate's religious affiliation gives us more information, although even that's not enough these days (David Waters, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

Politics poll:

  • GOP the religion-friendly party | But stem cell issue may help Democrats (The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press)

  • Poll: Americans wary of politics in church | Most Americans oppose political parties obtaining church rosters, says a new poll that found bipartisan opposition to a step the Republicans have taken to identify voters (Associated Press)

  • Denial of Communion disapproved | A new survey about religion and politics shows that Americans disapprove of Catholic Church leaders withholding Holy Communion from pro-choice Catholic politicians by almost a three-to-one ratio, or 64 percent to 22 percent (The Washington Times)

  • Voters wary of churches' role in politics | While a huge majority (72 percent) affirms that a US president should have strong religious beliefs - and the public is comfortable with leaders talking about their faith and using it to guide policymaking - most are wary about involvement of religious leaders and houses of worship in partisan politics (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Faith-based politicians are fine with public | Pulpit endorsements go too far, poll finds (Ft. Wayne Journal-Gazette, Ind.)

  • Voters wary of campaigns playing on religion, poll finds | But strong faith believed important in presidential candidates, results show (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Survey finds 'clear shift' on faith in politics | The Pew poll found religious talk in campaigns may be wearing thin for a growing number (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Embryonic stem cell research:

  • Stem cells: Promise, in search of results | At three Boston laboratories, the world of stem cell research can be captured in all its complexity, promise and diversity (The New York Times)

  • Facts on stem cells | We believe that most Americans have different moral values from the president's (Ruth R. Faden and John D. Gearhart, The Washington Post)

  • The party of cloning | The Democrats embrace the gospel of stem cells (Eric Cohen, The Weekly Standard)

  • Gates contributes to stem cell campaign | He gave $400,000 to the campaign backing a California ballot measure that would make billions of dollars available for human embryonic stem cell research and cloning projects in the state, according to campaign records (Associated Press)

  • Senseless on stem cells | Why advocate research that destroys nascent human beings? (Hadley Arkes, National Review Online)

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  • Planned Parenthood: Dressed to kill | Talk about "teeing" off pro-life Americans (Suzanne Chamberlin, The Washington Times)

  • Nurse planning to sue over abortion objection | Proceedings against Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang and a Gauteng hospital have been filed in the Vereeniging Equality Court after a chief professional nurse was allegedly barred from working in theatre because she refused to perform abortions for religious reasons (Cape Argus, South Africa)

  • Abortion ship sails for Portugal | Group has appealed the decision anchoring ship to Amsterdam (BBC)

  • Womb pictures lead to abortion review | At least 100 MPs are pressing for a review of the legislation amid mounting concern over late terminations (Evening Standard, London)

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Life ethics:

  • Pope condemns unethical science, cloning | Pope John Paul II warned in a statement released Sunday that humanity's speedy progress in science and technology risks overlooking moral values, citing with particular concern experiments in human cloning (Associated Press)

  • Ethics council divided on cloning | Chairman says Germany should rethink stance on therapeutic work (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)

  • Life and death in Florida | Will courts kill Terri Schiavo? (Doug Bandow, National Review Online)

  • Where do the extra embryos go? | A new study, published this month online by Politics and the Life Sciences, has found that in vitro fertilization, or IVF, clinics don't simply dispose of excess embryos (Wired)

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  • Documentary explores clergy response to suicide | Fierce Goodbye highlights a subject that is still taboo for many congregations, where a religious prohibition against murder often extends to suicide (The Dallas Morning News)

  • 1 in 5 dying Oregonians mulls suicide option | Just one in 1,000 Oregonians kills himself or herself through the state's physician-assisted suicide law, but nearly one in five dying Oregonians considers assisted suicide seriously enough to talk to family members about it, a new study has found (The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.)

  • Lutheran pastor takes his own life | The Napa religious community has lost a prominent figure, Rev. Carl Pihl, pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church for the past decade and a member of the Napa Interfaith Council (The Napa Valley Register, Ca.)

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Missions & ministry:

  • The terrible cost of saving lives | Unescorted by occupying troops but often regarded as their agents, aid workers are at risk from all sides (Conor Foley, The Guardian, London)

  • Church earns mileage with a gas subsidy | A Tustin service station sells gas at $1.67 a gallon for a day, underwritten by a congregation with a message for motorists (Los Angeles Times)

  • Billy Graham's ministry comes home | $27 million headquarters on 63-acre wooded site will employ from 300 to 350 (The Charlotte Observer)

  • Back to basics | With baptisms down, the Georgia Baptist Convention embraces a Sunday School curriculum with a simple mission: Evangelize (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • The class that changed president's faith | The program credited with helping change President Bush from a blasé churchgoer to a fervent, unabashed Christian believer was not just a Texas phenomenon. It's a Bible study course offered throughout the United States, including in the Bay Area, and in Europe (The Mercury News, San Jose, Ca.)

  • Soul sisters | Women of Faith share friendship onstage and off (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Summer School with the Salvation Army | Ask people to sum up The Salvation Army and it is doubtful they would use words like young, modern, fun and exciting (BBC)

  • Promise Keepers are expected to draw capacity crowd here | Women are now welcome to attend, but the focus remains on fellowship among Christian men (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Florida after the hurricane:

  • After the storm come tests of faith | All across central Florida, people have gathered at battered churches to ask themselves whether nature's swirling wrath had also unsettled their faith (The New York Times)

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Faith-based initiatives:

  • HUD tutors faith-based groups | Government money may still come with strings attached for churches and religious groups that provide social services. But federal agencies have loosened them considerably in recent years, and are now giving faith-based organization lessons in how to get tax dollars (Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fla.)

  • Faith-based prison programs aim to uplift inmates | Georgia corrections officials toured a faith-based prison in Florida and liked what they saw (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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Notre Dame prof's visa revoked:

  • U.S. revokes work visa for Muslim scholar | Acting at the request of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. government has revoked the work visa of a Muslim scholar who had been scheduled to teach at the University of Notre Dame this fall (Associated Press)

  • Muslim scholar loses U.S. visa as query is raised | prominent Muslim scholar from Switzerland was supposed to begin teaching a seminar on Islamic ethics at the University of Notre Dame on Tuesday, but he did not show up for his first class because the State Department revoked his visa (The New York Times)

  • Muslim scholar has visa revoked | The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has revoked a visa granted to Tariq Ramadan, a renowned Islamic scholar who is accused by some Jewish groups of being a Muslim extremist, effectively barring him from a teaching post he was to begin this week at the University of Notre Dame (Chicago Tribune)

  • Muslims support scholar on visa | Revocation is blamed on Bush policy (Chicago Tribune)


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Other stories of interest:

  • Lives less ordinary | It is timely to reassert the existence in Britain of thousands of ordinary, unknown Christians (Bob Holman, The Guardian, London)

  • Senator doubts reconciliation | A senator said reconciliation was not part of the Indian people and non-Christian cultures living in Fiji (Fiji Times)

  • Saving faith in the land of Plenty | Melbourne's first residential interfaith conference ended in triumph yesterday, and according to an organiser, Rabbi Jonathan Keren Black, "We got through four days without killing each other" (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Quick-thinking doctor saves the life of pastor | An Episcopalian minister, a Presbyterian minister and a Catholic priest all delivered their version of last rites to the Rev. Dick Williams who expected to be dead within the hour (Wisconsin State Journal, Madison)

  • Seeing & believing | Visions of Mary, other such 'miracles' put faith - and science - to the test (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Building on the past | For Egyptian Christians, new home is the culmination of dearly held dreams (Houston Chronicle)

  • Immigration main factor in declining Protestant numbers | Nine out of 10 Christians who legally immigrate here are Catholic, most of them Latino, so that more than a third of all Catholics in the United States today are of Hispanic heritage (The Hartford Courant, Conn.)

  • 'One body' despite our divisions? | Unwillingness to pursue unity undermines the church's mission (Kenneth H. Carter Jr., The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • Lured to Jerusalem by religion, luxury | Foreigners fuel boom around old city (The Washington Post)

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What is Weblog?

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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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