Texas Girl Scout group breaks relationship with Planned Parenthood after cookie boycott
Who says prolife boycotts (or, to coin a word, a girlscott) don't work? This week, in response to a Girl Scout Cookie boycott organized by Pro-Life Waco, the Bluebonnet Council of Girl Scouts withdrew its cosponsorship of sex education programs with Planned Parenthood.

Council executive director Beth Vivio said the relationship was severed because it was perceived as an endorsement of abortion.

"Our policies basically state that we do not take a position on issues like abortion," she told the Waco Tribune-Herald. "We feel these are private matters that need to be discussed or determined by each family."

John Pisciotta, director of Pro-Life Waco and an associate professor of economics at Baylor University, is pleased, but is concerned with other areas of partnership between the council and Planned Parenthood.

Pisciotta is no wild-eyed fanatic, and, fortunately, the media hasn't been able to portray him as such. The Ft. Worth Star.-Telegram quoted him saying, "I don't take pleasure in upsetting families and upsetting little girls. That is a downside of this. But it did get the conversation going."

Even more interesting a quote in an earlier Tribune-Herald story.

"I'm hearing that Girl Scout cookie sales may hit an all-time high," he said before the council made its decision to withdraw its sponsorship. "I'm happy about that. I hope they double it from last year. … In our boycott, the financial impact is nil. Our whole goal is education. We want everyone to know about this multifaceted entanglement between the Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood. Many people are mad about this."

And now Planned Parenthood is mad. "I'm sick to think that an organization as illustrious as the Girl Scouts would make a decision based on one person's political agenda," said Pam Smallwood, executive director of Planned Parenthood of Central Texas.

Planned Parenthood's education director, Pat Stone, had perhaps the most revealing comment. "This foisted an adult conversation on a bunch of little innocent girls," she told the Star-Telegram. "It's making them think of things they shouldn't have to worry about."

What was it again that the Girl Scouts had partnered with Planned Parenthood on in the first place? Oh yeah: sex education—which for Planned Parenthood includes discussion of abortion.

Speaking of "things they shouldn't have to worry about"
On a related scouting note, today and next Friday the Supreme Court will discuss whether to review Boy Scouts of America v. Wyman, and address the issue of whether states can deny the Boy Scouts access to facilities or other benefits simply because of its stance on homosexuality.

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"This case is really the tip of the iceberg—a relentless attack on the Boy Scouts for the sin of teaching virtues to boys," lawyer George Davidson, who represents the Boy Scouts, is quoted as saying in a Legal Times article.

Indeed, Boy Scouts faced financial pressure from United Way branches in two states to repudiate its policy on homosexual behavior. The United Way of Ulster County, New York, said it would pull its funds. The United Way of Central Ohio adopted a policy that will probably mean the end of funds next year.

Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts are accusing San Diego city officials of harassment. "Boy Scouts volunteers have been singled out for 'thousands of dollars of parking tickets' and videotaped by city rangers, and Scouts have been prevented from using adjacent parkland to eat lunch or work on projects," a spokeswoman told the San Diego Union-Tribune. The Scouts are in the midst of a lawsuit against the city, which was launched when city officials caved to the ACLU and canceled its park lease to the Scouts.

More articles

More on life ethics:

  • For abortion foes, a South Dakota strategy | Abortion opponents are trying to use this state as a national platform to challenge the US Supreme Court's decision in Roe v. Wade, as the Legislature moves toward passage of a state law that would outlaw virtually all abortions (The Boston Globe)

  • Anti-abortion protesters not cited for violating city ordinance | For the second week in a row, abortion opponents who have vowed to disregard a new city ordinance regulating protests were not cited when they broke the law by holding a worship service in front of a local abortion clinic (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

  • Abortion is illegal in Lebanon, but available | Secrecy means that medical standards are low and uneven (The Daily Star, Lebanon)

  • DOJ seeks Planned Parenthood Abortion records | The Justice Department subpoenas medical records for hundreds of women who had abortions at Planned Parenthood offices in six cities. The government's move is part of its effort to defend the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Patient disputes doctors' right to end his life | A man with a degenerative brain condition who is challenging guidance he claims would allow doctors to let him die took an unprecedented "right to life" case to the high court yesterday (The Guardian, London)

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Unborn Victims of Violence Act:

  • House passes unborn victims legislation | The House voted Thursday to treat attacks on a pregnant woman as separate crimes against both her and the fetus she is carrying. Critics say it would undermine abortion rights by giving fetuses new federal legal status (Associated Press)

  • House confers legal protection on fetuses | The House approved a measure on Thursday that would make it a separate offense to harm the fetus while committing a violent crime against a pregnant woman, overcoming objections that the legislation was intended to undermine abortion rights (The New York Times)

  • House passes bill for unborn victims | The House yesterday approved for the third time legislation legally recognizing two victims when a pregnant woman and her unborn child are injured or killed in a crime — a bill that has notable public support and that is now in the hands of the Senate this election year (The Washington Times)

Catholic church abuse report:

  • Two studies cite child sex abuse by 4 percent of priests | The studies found that 10,667 children allegedly were victimized from 1950 to 2002, but even these numbers may represent an undercount (The New York Times)

  • 4 percent of priests are linked to sex-abuse crisis | Four percent of the about 110,000 men who served as priests from 1950 to 2003 were involved in the sexual-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church — three percentage points higher than originally cited by church officials (The Washington Times)

  • Board calls priest abuse 'shameful' | A panel of prominent Roman Catholics rebuked U.S. bishops Friday for failing to stop widespread clerical sex abuse over the last half-century, calling the leaders' performance "shameful to the church." (Associated Press)

  • Report: 10,667 children reported priest abuse | More than 10,600 children have reported being molested by priests since 1950, according to two studies that found the U.S. Roman Catholic Church suffered an epidemic of child sexual abuse involving at least 4 percent of priests (Reuters)

  • Boston sexual abuse report breaks down accusations | Seven percent of the priests serving since 1950 in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, where the sexual abuse scandal erupted two years ago, have been accused of molesting children (The New York Times)

  • 162 Boston priests faced abuse claims | On the eve of the release of a nationwide study of sex abuse in the Roman Catholic Church, the Boston archdiocese said yesterday that 162 of its priests—7 percent of all who have served since 1950—have been accused of molesting minors, and that it has spent $120 million to settle related lawsuits (The Washington Post)

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  • Statistics from priest sex abuse survey | Key statistics from a survey on U.S. Roman Catholic priest sex abuse being issued Friday by the church, as reported by the Yakima (Wash.) Diocese (Associated Press)

More on clergy abuse:

  • Protestant clergy sex abuse issue murky | Quantifying the Protestants' problem may be even more difficult than it has been with Catholic priests, though for somewhat different reasons (Associated Press)

  • Wis. jury finds priest guilty of abuse | John Patrick Feeney, a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing two brothers at their home in 1978, was convicted Thursday (Associated Press)

  • Priest called negligent in rape case | An organizer of a Roman Catholic priests' group on Long Island was accused yesterday of ignoring an indecent exposure complaint against a parochial school music director, who later raped another child. (The New York Times)

  • Showtime wants Catholic sex scandal film | The movie, "Our Fathers," will be based on a book about the church scandal written by Newsweek's David France (Associated Press)

Baylor sports:

Sloan controversy:

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  • Regents wrap up 11 hours of meetings | Leaving the meeting, a hurried Regents Chairman Drayton McLane said, "We began the discussion today and then we're going to continue [tomorrow] and then we'll have a statement after the board meeting tomorrow. [It] should be around noon" (KWTX, Waco, Tex.)

  • Religion professor sues Baylor over job contract breach | A religion historian who formerly taught in New Zealand has filed a breach of contract lawsuit against Baylor University, alleging school officials withdrew a job offer because they thought he was too controversial (Waco Tribune-Herald)

  • Baylor regents to weigh faculty, financial concerns | The two-day meeting is expected to conclude more than five months of scrutiny and research by the committees, which have investigated faculty and economic issues as well as pending litigation (Waco Tribune-Herald)

  • Baylor regents to revisit earlier controversies | Board will hear reports about the financial and academic health of the private Baptist school, but regent chairman doubts any action (Houston Chronicle)

  • The great Baylor debate | Regents are expected to hear the reports from the three committees formed at their September meeting to look at issues raised over president Robert Sloan's leadership, including his dealings with the faculty and the rising cost of tuition (KWTX, Waco, Tex.)

  • Earlier: Scathing Baylor report calls for Sloan's termination | Baylor University Regents received a report Thursday that says the university faces a rocky future without a change in administration (KWTX, Waco, Tex., Feb. 19)

More education:

Locke v. Davey:

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  • Supreme Court ruling keeps religion confined | It's official. States may treat religious believers as second-class citizens. Those of us with strong religious beliefs have suspected it for some time (Deborah Ausburn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Open door to religious discrimination | The Supreme's Locke ruling (Susanna Dokupil, National Review Online)

  • The evolution of conservatism | Should the Supreme Court clear the way for school choice? (Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review Online)

  • Faith accompli | Turns out Americans make surprisingly lousy libertarians (Michelle Cottle, The New Republic)

  • Public money for private worship | The high court was right to say that a government denial of funding for such teaching does not hurt religion. Rather, it sustains the independence of religion by preventing government from controlling the flow of money to particular faiths. (Editorial, The Christian Science Monitor)

Other religious discrimination lawsuits:

  • Salvation Army may get discrimination suit | The New York Civil Liberties Union is expected to file a federal lawsuit in Manhattan today accusing the Salvation Army of religious discrimination (Newsday, New York)

  • Suit claims group's staff is pressured on religion | Eighteen former and current employees from the social services arm of the Salvation Army sued the organization in federal court yesterday, accusing it of imposing a religious veil over secular, publicly financed activities like caring for foster children and counseling young people with AIDS (The New York Times)

  • U. of Oklahoma sued for religious discrimination | Two students claim school's refusal to fund Christian newspaper restricts their First Amendment rights (Associated Press)

Religious freedom:

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  • Lawsuit against City Mission dismissed | The lawsuit, filed in October 2003, stems from the investigation into allegations that the City Mission pushed Christian beliefs on its tenants (The Herald-Dispatch, Huntington, W.V.)

Missionary found dead in Botswana, reportedly murdered

  • Brazilian missionary found dead in Mozambique | Doraci Edinger, a member of the Evangelical Lutheran church, had been in Mozambique, a former Portuguese colony, since 1998 (SAPA, South Africa)

  • Missionary 'murdered' in Moz | A Brazilian missionary has been found dead in a town in northern Mozambique where four Roman Catholic nuns have received death threats after alleging an organ trafficking network was operating in the area, Portuguese state radio reported on Thursday (AFP)

Radical Hindus scamming Brits?

  • UK charities scam linked to Sangh Parivar | A report to be released in the House of Lords in London today provides alarming evidence linking UK-based charities to Sangh Parivar groups in India (The Tribune, India)

  • RSS hits out at charges of misusing donations | The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Friday termed as a sinister conspiracy an allegation that it had misused charity funds collected for the 2001 Gujarat earthquake and threatened legal action (IANS, India)

'Anti-Muslim' trial in Australia:


Religion and politics:

  • Judge Pryor | Appointment gives appeals court a principled voice (Editorial, The Birmingham News, Ala.)

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  • Religion in presidential politics | An active religious faith seems to have become a pre-requisite for running for president. Candidates who are not publicly religious will have little chance of being elected (Cathy Young, Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Cross as memorial transcends the cross as religious symbol | The principle of separation of church and state was the justification for removing a cross from public property, but I don't think any thoughtful person, however liberal his view of the First Amendment, will appreciate being backed into a corner on this issue (Don Shaw, The Sacramento Bee, Ca.)

  • National Park Service embraces creationism | Creationist book re-ordered & offered as "natural history"; Geologists rebuffed (Press release, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)

  • Clerics seek Vatican expertise on Zim crisis | Church leaders involved in efforts to revive dialogue between Zanu PF and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) were in Italy last week to seek international expertise on how to resolve Zimbabwe's political stalemate (The Independent, Zimbabwe)

  • Christian parties form election pact | The Christian Democratic Party (CDP), the National Christian Democratic Party and the Christian Protestant Party entered into a co-operation agreement on Wednesday to contest the upcoming elections. This follows a coalition between the CDP and Peter Marais's New Labour Party in the Western Cape (SAPA, South Africa)

Ten Commandments and Roy Moore:

  • 'Ten Commandments' judge appeals removal | A special, stand-in State Supreme Court will rule on Moore's appeal (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Commissioners find support for keeping Commandments | Though not universally popular, the county commissioners' stance against removing a Ten Commandments monument at the Flathead County Courthouse has drawn praise and promises of support from county residents and at least one gubernatorial candidate (The Daily Inter Lake, Mont.)

  • Lawyer asks court to return Moore | Says ousted chief justice seeks job, not Commandments monument, back (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  • Ousted chief justice tries to regain job | Roy Moore's attorneys denounced on Wednesday the federal court system as a "judicial oligarchy," and argued the ousted Alabama chief justice's refusal to follow a U.S. District judge's order wasn't an ethical violation (Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.)

Cash for prayer:

  • Kenya acts on 'cash for prayers' | A Kenyan bishop embroiled in a row over money with Nairobi city council has been ordered to refund the money by the Anglican church (BBC)

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  • Njonjo calls for Njoka's defrocking | A former Constitutional Affairs minister Charles Njonjo yesterday called for the defrocking of cash-for-prayers bishop Peter Njoka over the Sh1.7 million payment saga (The Nation, Nairobi, Kenya)

  • It's not enough for Njoka to repay cash | Because Bishop Njoka has been tainted, Archbishop Nzimbi must do something to assure members of St Stephen's church that their bishop still has the moral authority to minister (Francis Ayieko, The Nation, Nairobi, Kenya)

Missionaries flee Haiti:

  • Human rights workers and missionaries flee | An array of foreigners, from bearded human rights workers in T-shirts to spotlessly dressed U.S. missionaries, crowded the capital's chaotic international airport on Wednesday to catch a flight out of a country torn by a three-week insurgency by armed rebels, many of them former soldiers from Haiti's disbanded army (Reuters)

  • Missionaries anguished about Haiti | Haitians and visitors alike have been caught in the middle of fighting between supporters of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide and rebels who seek to oust Aristide (The News-Press, Ft. Myers, Fla.)

  • Haiti in prayers of many area churches | Haitian rebels moved closer to the capital city of Port-au-Prince Thursday, many Rochester-area people tracked the safety of religious missionaries and others in the Caribbean nation (Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.)

  • Missionaries transported from Haiti to Florida | Empty plane arrived in Haiti thursday (WPBF, Palm Beach, Fla)

Pastor killed in Iraq:

Missions & ministry:

  • Pentagon to probe anti-malaria drug | Pentagon health officials also said they no longer would use Lariam in Iraq because the risk of malaria was slight compared with the risk of the drug (UPI)

  • Group brings together all Christians | Noble Crawford, director of a Fort Worth youth mentoring program called Hope Farm, has lunch once a month with Tarrant Net, a diverse community of Christians who, like himself, are committed to unity (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

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How many believers?

  • Nigeria leads in religious belief | A survey of people's religious beliefs carried out in 10 countries this year suggests that Nigeria is the most religious nation in the world (BBC)

  • How religion defines America | Unlike some other Western countries, the United States remains an overwhelmingly religious society (Richard Land, BBC)

  • More Lutherans in world count | The world total of Lutherans reached just under 66 million at the end of 2003, a net increase of 570,000 since 2001, the Lutheran World Federation reported (Chicago Tribune)


  • Lent a time of prayer and sacrifice | The party's over. Now that another Carnival season has passed, many Christians in the River Parishes have turned their thoughts to Lent, a time of prayer, sacrifice, penance and charity (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  • Religion news in brief | Evangelicals and Lent, "Middle way" Episcopalians, Southern Baptist name change, Robert Johnson's grave, and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Lent begins for Christians | Masses ring in season of reflection amid ongoing sex abuse scandal plaguing Catholic Church (Claremont-Upland Voice, Ca.)

  • More Protestants observing Lent | The 40-day season of Lent, which began Ash Wednesday, was once observed only by Roman Catholics, the Eastern Orthodox and "high church" Protestants, but more evangelicals are noting the season with rituals and symbolism (Chicago Tribune)

  • Lent can be trying time for some dieters | Low-carb adherents who have been on a bacon- and-eggs regimen have to get a bit more creative (Chicago Tribune)

  • Ash Wednesday | Walking around all day with ashes on your head is a form of evangelism. This commentary is (Lauren Winner, All Things Considered, NPR)

Church life:

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  • 'Anglicanism is going to tip into the sea' | Canon Edward Norman has written a scathing attack on the Church of England and is converting to Catholicism (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Women could become 'second class' bishops | Women could be barred from becoming Archbishops, and may not even be allowed to run dioceses, under official plans to consecrate them as bishops (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Separation with US Episcopal Church inevitable | Episcopal synod of the Anglican province of central Africa comprising bishops from Botswana, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe feels separation with Episcopal Church in the United States of America (ECUSA) is inevitable (Daily News, Botswana)

  • Outcry over gay bishop shook Church of England leaders | The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, admitted yesterday that Church leaders had been "taken aback" by the force of the opposition to the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading (The Daily Telegraph, London)


  • Swiss bishop tends desert flock | Pope John Paul has named a Swiss Capuchin monk as the new Roman Catholic bishop of Arabia (NZZ Online, Switzerland)

  • Milingo returns to Vatican | The Vatican noted that it was the first time he had been seen in public in the Vatican in nearly three years (The Post, Zambia)

  • Beyond the trappings | Traditionalist Catholic churches can look just like their mainstream counterparts. But the breakaway faction rejects the Vatican (Los Angeles Times Magazine)

  • Cherishing an older Catholicism | Controversy highlights belief of traditionalists like those in Richmond, N.H. (The Boston Globe)


  • Church's ancient Lambeth library faces cuts | One of the country's oldest libraries, which has on display the gloves Charles I wore to his execution, faces cuts as part of Church of England reforms (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Call for Gospels island return | The fight to give the Lindisfarne Gospels a permanent home in the North East of England will be debated in the House of Commons next week (BBC)

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  • 'There is no running away in here' | The attraction of monastic life for 21st-century men and women suggests to me something age-old and archetypal at work in the human psyche (Meaghan Delahunt, Scotland on Sunday)

  • Why one world was not enough for the missionary zealots of Rome | Loved or loathed, the Jesuits have, since their founding in 1540, needled "the certainties and hierarchies of the Catholic Church". Jonathan Wright's ambitious account spans the whole five-and-a-half centuries of their history (Scotland on Sunday)



  • Reagan scribe highlights faith | "Ronald Reagan's faith has been woefully neglected," said Paul Kengor at a Heritage Foundation conference yesterday (The Washington Times)

  • Onwards Christian soldiers | John Adamson reviews The First Crusade by Thomas Asbridge (The Daily Telegraph, London)

Da Vinci Code:


  • Reflected virtue | Materialism has dulled our senses to anything that does not produce pleasure (Cal Thomas, The Washington Times)

  • It's a sin | Pop's greats are expected to behave badly - but not all of them survive the scandal (The Guardian, London)

Religion and journalism:

  • Blessed by the Times | Inside one of the newsroom deals to go soft on the man in the red robe (LA Weekly)

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  • When Miller met Root | Jonathan Miller felt "appalled" by the BBC's approach to religion and ashamed of having played a part in it (The Guardian, London)

  • Beyond belief | Travel the world asking people about God? Jeremy Vine thought the BBC was joking - until he got 10,000 answers (The Guardian, London)

Christian media:

  • Religion in the News: Christian television's moment? | Evangelical Protestant broadcasters see something more in Janet Jackson's Super Bowl flash than exposed flesh and bad taste — namely, the opportunity to market themselves as a wholesome alternative to mainstream television (Associated Press)

  • Indecency overshadows growing abuse of God's name | Even the church groups worried about four-letter words have said surprisingly little about a three-letter word, once allowed only in carefully reverent contexts but now regularly exploited: "God" (Associated Press)


  • EMI Christian lays off 27 staffers in restructure | EMI Christian Music Group, home to such artists as Steven Curtis Chapman, Stacie Orrico and Newsboys, is laying off almost 10% of its staff as part of a company-wide restructuring, Billboard has learned (Billboard/Reuters)

  • Sixpence calls it quits | No news for what's next for lead singer Leigh Nash and guitarist/principal songwriter Matt Slocum (Christian Music Today)

  • Forgive and forgive | Amy Grant knows it's the simple things that count (The Kansas City Star)

Christian TV station bid:

  • Colleges may keep TV station | O.C. district may take KOCE off the market because of a possible lawsuit and the winning bidder's financial difficulties (Los Angeles Times)

  • Jesus, meet Michael Powell | Christian broadcaster suing for KOCE control likes to violate FCC regulations (OC Weekly, Ca.)

  • Lawsuit filed over sale of KOCE-TV | Christian broadcaster alleges it had higher bid but was discriminated against by O.C. colleges (Los Angeles Times)

  • Daystar files suit against Coast district | The Christian network claims it, and not the KOCE-TV Foundation, was the highest bidder for the station and that the district has a legal obligation to sell to them (Independent, Huntington Beach, Ca.)

Other stories of interest:

  • Body of Macedonian president recovered | Searchers on Friday located the wreckage of a plane crash that killed Macedonia's president and eight other people and were clearing a path through a mine field to reach the bodies, the Macedonian government said (Associated Press)

  • Report: Slavery alive and well in Florida | Modern-day slavery is alive and well in Florida, the head of a human rights center said Tuesday as it released a report on people forced to work as prostitutes, farmworkers and maids across the state (Associated Press)

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  • Ask the pilot | Would you like a little Old Testament with your coffee? How Alaska Airlines has been pushing the Bible for 20 years, and other tales of the religious skies (Salon.com)

  • Jews and Israelis can start to turn the tide of hatred | Better policies are no panacea but will help change minds (Michael Paley, Los Angeles Times)

Passion reviews:

  • Hideous, stupid and barbaric | I have never before wanted to enjoy a movie so much. But I was wrong. Oh, how wrong I was. (Michael Coren, The Toronto Sun)

  • 'Passion' critics retract reviews | Early detractors of Mel Gibson's hit film, "The Passion of the Christ," are backing away from their critical remarks after the movie grossed a record-setting $26.6 million on its opening day (The Washington Times)

  • Some exercises in fantasy | Why I won't see The Passion of the Christ (R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr., The Washington Times)

  • Religion writers praise, pan Gibson's 'Passion' | Religion writers who finally got a chance to see the movie are offering reactions that span the spectrum (Editor & Publisher)

  • Mel Gibson's deeply cynical accomplishment | The Passion of the Christ seems to urge its audience to turn away from the universal spiritual message of Jesus and toward base political anger (Gregg Easterbrook, The New Republic)

Passion theologians:

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Popular Jesus:

  • All that blood | How Mel Gibson's depiction of Christ differs from others (Stephen Prothero, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Christ not almighty | Gibson rehumanizes Jesus in The Passion of the Christ (OC Weekly, Ca.)

  • Ecce Homo? | The new celluloid Jesus doesn't seem real (Sian Gibby, Slate)

Passion marketing:

  • Media are patsies for 'Passion' promotion | Helping Hollywood sell tickets should not be a role journalists play so willingly and so agreeably (Brian Lambert, Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Jewelry maker sells out 'Passion' wares | Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" not only has people debating the last hours of Jesus' life, but also running out to buy such souvenirs as crucifixes, lapel pins and cards tied to the film's promotion (Associated Press)

  • Pain principle | How Mel Gibson sold late-medieval Catholicism to Sun Belt Protestants (Paula Fredriksen, The New Republic)


Israel and The Passion:

  • Israel's chief rabbi mulls 'The Passion' | chief Israeli rabbi urged the Pope to restate a key church decision from the 1960s that reversed the doctrine that Jews were behind the crucifixion of Jesus, saying he fears Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" could revive such beliefs (Associated Press)

  • 'Passion' absent from Israeli theaters | In the land where the events dramatized in "The Passion of the Christ" were played out 2 millennia ago, it is unlikely that the controversial film will attract mass audiences of Israelis, local film observers say (The Washington Times)

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Passion violence:

Passion profit:

More on The Passion:

Gay marriage:

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  • Wedding shots deepen gay-marriage divide | Marriage ceremonies have put a human face on an abstract issue, bolstering support and opposition (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Gay marriage | One doesn't suddenly become "gay" because same-sex marriages become legal everywhere ( Sean Turner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Gay marriage | Western history has long taught that heterosexual monogamous marriage is good and does good (John Witte Jr., The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Let states decide | Gay marriage doesn't have to be a federal issue. (John Yoo, The Wall Street Journal, subscription required)


  • People have a right to change the laws | The clergy do not make marriages. They conduct weddings (Edward Frost, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Marriage and democracy | Bush didn't start this "culture war," and voters should be the ones to settle it (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)

  • New fuel for the culture wars | The proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage adds thorny legal and political questions to a troublesome moral debate (The Economist)

Religion and gay marriage:

  • Pastor sees God in middle of gay marriage debate | Gregory Dell was found guilty in a United Methodist court for violating church law by performing a same-sex "holy union" ceremony at his Chicago church (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Several religious leaders back gay marriage | Unitarian Universalists joined by leaders of Methodist, Episcopal and Reform Jewish congregations (Associated Press)

  • Moral absolutes not open to negotiation | There's no inoffensive way of saying this—I wish there were—but at its core the gay marriage debate is about whether there are still moral absolutes for society, and whether we can continue to encourage moral choices (such as traditional, lifetime marriage) and discourage immoral ones (Shaunti Feldhahn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Local clergy split on gay marriages | While religious right continues to oppose same-sex marriage, growing group of leaders supports it (News-Press, Glendale, Ca.)

Gay marriage and politics:

  • GOP activists launch recall campaign of California attorney general over gay marriage issue | A pair of conservative Republicans who helped organize last year's gubernatorial recall election said Tuesday that they will try to remove California Attorney General Bill Lockyer from office for failing to enforce the state's ban on same-sex marriage (Associated Press)

  • Candidates attack gay marriage amendment | The leading Democratic presidential contenders grappled with the hot-button issue of gay marriage tonight during the early part of a debate held only a few days before voters in California and nine other states cast their ballots in Super Tuesday primaries (Los Angeles Times)

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Gay marriage and law:

  • Legal confusion over gay marriage | Who is, and who isn't, wed is subject of great debate (The Washington Post)

  • Gay marriage issue heads to court | California Attorney General Bill Lockyer is planning to ask the court Friday whether San Francisco's issuing of same-sex marriage licenses violates state law, which designates marriage as only between heterosexual couples (Associated Press)

  • Lesbian ex-couple fight for custody | Egg donor contends genes, nurture trump waiver of rights (San Francisco Chronicle)

Sexual ethics:

  • Carnival guru fired after condom-themed parade | A Rio de Janeiro samba school on Wednesday sacked its Carnival artistic director whose pro-condom parade had upset the Catholic church and whose Kama Sutra float had been censored as too steamy even for Rio's annual Bacchanalia (Reuters)

  • Wedding virgins on verge of extinction | Only 3 percent of people are virgins on their wedding night, according to a survey that reveals modern couples are adopting a pragmatic approach to marriage (The Times, London, subscription required)

Related Elsewhere:

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and more, back to November 1999

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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