No commentary today—just 126 links, conveniently organized by topic.

The Passion of the Christ (news):

  • Mel Gibson agrees to change 'Passion' film to combat anti-Semitism | New ending will highlight death of Jews (Mike Evans, WorldNetDaily)

  • Charges of anti-Semitism dog 'Passion of Christ' | Where Jewish groups see anti-Semitism, the Pope sees accuracy. The Vatican now refuses to comment. (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Love, hate & furor | Controversy grows over Mel Gibson's 'Passion' (New York Daily News)

  • Many passionate for Gibson's Jesus film | Advance ticket sales and screenings will be available before the premiere (, Fla.)

  • Christians launch effort to counter film's impact | With the controversial film "The Passion of the Christ" set to open next month, some Christian groups are launching campaigns to counter theological errors that may exist in Mel Gibson's account of the death of Jesus, while several Roman Catholic scholars are calling on their church to outline publicly its doctrinal belief as a counterbalance to the movie (Forward)

  • Will Gibson film on Jesus poison Christian-Jewish ties? | While the furor over the movie is likely to continue, interfaith activists remain confident that it won't adversely affect progress in Catholic-Jewish relations (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

  • A tie-in made in heaven | Mel Gibson has tapped into a church-based marketing network that has been waiting for a religious film like his 'Passion of the Christ.' (Los Angeles Times)

  • Churches buy thousands of tickets to 'Passion' | Mel Gibson's film "The Passion of the Christ" doesn't open in the theaters for almost a month, but a growing number of Chicago area churches already are buying thousands of tickets to ensure that their members get to see it (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Many worry about new Mel Gibson movie | Jews and Christians who fear Mel Gibson's epic on the crucifixion of Jesus will fuel anti-Semitism are planning lecture series, interfaith talks and other programs to try to mute the film's impact (Associated Press)

The Passion of the Christ (opinion):

  • Vatican intrigue deepens | I believe the papal spokesman is lying to cover his tracks (Rod Dreher, Dallas Morning News)

  • Also: More controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's new film | "I'm afraid that the Vatican itself, through its own duplicity and through its own lying have thrown Mel Gibson to the wolves," says Rod Dreher (The O'Reilly Factor, Fox News)

  • Passionate thoughts | The controversy over Mel Gibson's new movie (William F. Buckley, National Review Online)

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  • The Times has no Passion for Christian forgiveness | The New York Times seems set on a Mad Max shoot-out with Mel Gibson over his movie, The Passion, which deals with the last hours in the life of Jesus Christ. I don't see the newspaper scoring any points from one of its most discreditable performances (Frank Devine, The Australian)

  • Catholics greet Gibson's 'passion' with a cacophony, not a chorus | For the love of the Holy One, my Jewish friends, let's not make this another Jewish-Catholic conflict. That would only sell more tickets. (Andrew Greeley, Forward)

  • There's never been a 'Passion' for the truth | Depictions of the Crucifixion always have taken liberties (James Shapiro, Los Angeles Times)

  • Inside Mel Gibson's "Passion" | A clergyman infiltrates the grass-roots campaign for Gibson's new Gospel film to catch a screening and reports that Jews, Arabs -- and Christians -- should be worried (Cintra Wilson,

  • Related: Passionate letters | The Revealer has begun to wonder whether the real story around The Passion is not so much its alleged anti-Semitism as the odd combination of indignation and bemusement with which so many journalists and secularists have responded to the film -- or rather, to rumors of the film, since so few have actually seen it (Jeff Sharlet, The Revealer)

  • Bold 'Passion' won't create anti-Semites | While a few search for negative meanings in this depiction of Jesus' suffering, the true Christians will be focused on the most significant teaching of the Gospel, namely love (Bob Ray Sanders, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

  • Mel Gibson's Passion doesn't have to be divisive | Let's hope that when it's released on Feb. 25, its passions for improving the world through love and unity are clear (Howard Goodman, South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Mel and me | Gibson should donate a share of the profits from The Passion to organizations battling anti-Semitism (Maurice O'Sullivan, The Orlando Sentinel)

Other Jesus movies:

Other films:

  • New movies get spiritual | With the release of at least two movies in 2004, the film industry is reasserting the role of spiritual themes, several film experts say (The Wichita Eagle)

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  • Film review: Saved! | Receiving a generous reception here at Sundance -- not exactly the heart of the Bible Belt or even Middle America -- this comedic jape delivers some sharp jabs at obvious targets, namely the boosterish excesses of American religiosity (The Hollywood Reporter)


Vatican attacks AIDS drug manufacturers:


  • The bishops' whistle-blowing lesson | When the American bishops meet this week in Dallas, hoping to make their peace with American Catholics, they might give a thought to FBI agent Coleen Rowley. She could teach them something they need to know: how to stand up to the home office (Mary McGrory, The Washington Post)

  • Religion in the news: The dissenting bishop | Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln won't require background checks of all current employees and volunteers who have regular contact with children. Nor will Bruskewitz let his diocese participate in a study designed to tally every priestly abuse case in the country since 1950 (Associated Press)

  • Archdiocese, priest's children settle | The Boston Archdiocese has reached a settlement in one of the most notorious cases to emerge from its clergy sex abuse crisis — a priest who fathered two children with a woman, then fled when she overdosed on drugs (Associated Press)

  • Also: Children fathered by priest settle suit | Agreement requires Law to meet family (The Boston Globe)

  • Pope decries violence against children | Pope John Paul II said Thursday that "little ones" must be protected from violence perpetrated by adults, including sexual abuse, forced military service and exploitation for organ trafficking (Associated Press)

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  • Parishioners stand by priest in court | Even municipal judge speaks well of cleric facing marijuana case (Akron Beacon Journal, Oh.)

  • Woman jailed for church stabbings | Nobody, least of all Susan Sewell, knows why she entered the Collins Street Baptist Church during a music recital last August, called out "hello" and stabbed three people (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Prayers-for-money cleric told to pay up | Anglican bishop Peter Njoka should repay the money he received as allowances from the cash-strapped Nairobi City Council or face court charges, a House committee said yesterday (The Nation, Nairobi, Kenya)

Sexual ethics:

  • Texas church cards people who patronize adult stores | A pastor photographs vehicle license plates and mails the pictures to customers' homes. He's bent on driving the businesses out of town (Los Angeles Times)

  • Strip-club trip costs U a recruit | The University of Minnesota's most celebrated football recruit this year said he backed out of his commitment to the school because a number of Gophers players took him and three other recruits — one of whom was underage — to a strip club during his official recruiting trip last month, a practice that apparently happened at least twice after that (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Sex education in America | Only 7 percent of Americans say sex education should not be taught in schools (NPR)

Same-sex marriage:

  • Gay couples seek unions in God's eyes | A growing number of religiously observant gay couples are seeking to consecrate their unions in churches and synagogues (The New York Times)

  • Civil unions can be the basis for a new standard of marriage | Gay people want to celebrate commitment and family, not disrespect them (Douglas Nicholson, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Conservative Christians put principle ahead of pragmatism | The push to amend the Constitution to limit marriage to heterosexuals may soon ignite the fiercest battle in the culture wars since the fight over abortion. The battle lines have already formed in a predictable manner. Or have they? (Evan Gahr, The Jewish Press)

  • Church coalition declares war on same-sex marriages | In what was billed as an "unprecedented" event - One Vision, One Voice - by Bishop LeRoy Bailey, Jr., hundreds of people gathered at The First Cathedral in Bloomfield for a service sponsored by a statewide coalition of Connecticut churches that is against same-sex marriages (Bloomfield Journal, Conn.)

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Georgia considers 'evolution' ban:

More education:

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  • Church drops school demands | Catholic Church officials last night dropped their demands for "immediate commitment" to changes in a £150 million plan for mixed-faith campuses (The Scotsman)

Life ethics:


LDS bans guns in church:

  • LDS: No guns in church | The LDS Church said Friday it will impose a gun ban in its hundreds of houses of worship throughout Utah, invoking provisions of a state law that allow for criminal prosecution of violators (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • No guns at the ward | is no surprise that The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints would issue a statement reiterating its stand that guns are not welcome in its houses of worship. What should bother Utahns is that their gun laws are so distorted that this church, or any church, would be obliged to issue a formal statement of this kind in order to prohibit guns on holy ground (Editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune)

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Church life:

Anglicans and Episcopalians:

  • Episcopalians to face major issues | Va. convention agenda includes budget, challenges to bishop (The Washington Post)

  • Melbourne congregation may quit Episcopal Church | Despite recent efforts to keep restive conservative congregations within the Episcopal Church, USA, a century-old Melbourne church is poised to leave the troubled national denomination because of the issue of homosexuality (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • A church dividing? | The ordination of an openly gay Episcopal bishop forced a wedge in the Episcopal Church as more conservative members denounced the decision and moved to create what they call a church within a church (Helena Independent Record, Mont.)

Missions & ministry:

  • Church groups take on gangs | In Southeast, a former NFL defensive back is tackling the problem at a renovated crack house that now serves as a Christian outreach center (The Washington Times)

  • 'Stealth evangelism' picked up by ADL's radar | Employing a well-coordinated, nationwide campaign, Ralph Reed, and others who share his fundamentalist evangelical goals, have managed to bring their religious beliefs into our public schools through Trojan horse-like campaigns (Cleveland Jewish News)

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  • Nigeria, a blessed nation—Bonnke | Germany born International Preacher Evangelist Reinhard Bonnke, has described Nigeria as one of the blessed nations in the world saying its people occupy a special place in the heart of God (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)

Is the ESV one Bible for all?:

Interfaith relations:

  • My God is your God | Let's get this straight: The god called variously "Allah," "Yahweh" and "God" are all one and the same (John Kearney, The New York Times)

  • Earlier: Is the God of Muhammad the Father of Jesus? | The answer to this question reveals the heart of our faith (Christianity Today, Feb. 1, 2002)

  • Illiberal secularism | When racism and anti-semitism are on the rise, religion can be a key part of an ethnic identity under assault (The Guardian, London)

  • PM condemns schools for Christmas snub | Prime Minister John Howard has blasted an Education Queensland directive discouraging the celebration of Christmas, as he continues his attack on political correctness in state schools (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia)

  • Archbishop of Canterbury joins anti-Semitism fight | Britain's leading Christian theologians have joined the country's chief rabbi in a stark warning about the resurgence of anti-Semitism and the use of anti-Israel rhetoric as a cover for anti-Semitism (The Jerusalem Post)


  • For some weekenders, ski-in, ski-out religion | For a chosen few, the weekend is time for playing and praying, whether it means finding a shul by the beach or hitting morning Mass before hitting the slopes (The New York Times)

  • California's holy land | At Desert Christ Park, a sculpture garden in Yucca Valley, Calif., 55 religious figures, such as Jesus and the Apostles, brighten the arid landscape near Joshua Tree National Park (The Washington Post)


  • Prayer in a box | Wearing jewelry containing our fondest hopes is a way to deal spiritually with uncertain times (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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  • Pleasures pursued: Morning prayer | Much as I struggle to enjoy the morning, I once struggled to enjoy prayer. Now it is a transformative pleasure. It is words: part recitation, part extemporaneous confession and plea (Eric Jansson, Financial Times)

  • God is not negotiable | It is the 450th anniversary of the birth of Richard Hooker this year (Christopher Howse, The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Show me heaven | As more and more people come forward with accounts of near-death experiences, new research is about to examine the out of body experience to see whether mind and body really do separate at the point of death (BBC)

  • Whose values are best, anyway? | John Howard should spell out his values (Gavin Gatenby, The Sydney Morning Herald)


  • A song and a prayer | Mix talking corn cobs, rocking gospel and an audience from teens to their grandparents, and you've got the Bill Gaither Homecoming Tour (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • Success hasn't affected Jars of Clay | The band's goal is to remain true to itself, regardless of the pressures from the industry that surrounds it (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)

  • Daniel musical goes to the lions | Early-music ensemble goes to 12th-century source (Kansas City Star)



  • The radiant dish | A dish? A chalice? A casket? Or just a flying saucer? Everyone has a theory about the Holy Grail, and Richard Barber's book explores them all. Nicholas Shakespeare salutes the "thorough, sane and sceptical" approach of what Noel Malcolm calls a "valuable and fascinating book" (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Eight surprising fictions in Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code' | Here's a look at some of the burning questions brought up by The Da Vinci Code' - and the real religious history behind' those ideas (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)

  • The popular Jesus is emerging | It can be debated whether or not America is a Christian nation. But one thing is certain, according to author Stephen Prothero: Everybody loves Jesus (The Tennessean)

  • Also: BU educator studies US views of Jesus | "Who do people say that I am?" Jesus asked in Scripture. He'd have to clear his calendar to sit through the long, diverse answers he'd get in the United States (The Boston Globe)

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  • Aramaic, language of Jesus, lives on in Cyprus | A Maronite village, isolated by the island's division, struggles to carry on the tongue (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit coming | Visitors to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center in Mobile will have an opportunity to examine their Judeo-Christian heritage when an exhibit of the Dead Sea Scrolls opens Jan. 20, 2005 (Mobile Register, Ala.)


  • S. Lewis Johnson Jr. dies at 88 | Former professor at Dallas and Trinity seminaries, among others, pastor, and Bible translator (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Hold your demons | Once the king of the Christian airwaves with his nationally syndicated radio show Talk Back With Bob Larson and his TV program In the Name of Satan, the holy warrior currently focuses his energies on casting out demons and raising DWJD ("Do What Jesus Did") spiritual freedom teams (Dan Kapelovitz, LA Weekly, second item)

Is the Kenyan President a polygamist?

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  • They love our 'war of the wives' | I salute the person who crafted the statement in which the president said Lucy and her children were the "only members of [his] immediate family". Kibaki didn't deny anyone (Charles Onyango-Obbo, The Nation, Nairobi, Kenya)

  • Not really related: On polygamy, a crackdown and a bid for legitimacy | The practice of plural marriage comes under scrutiny as an internal struggle flares up in sect on Utah-Arizona border (The Christian Science Monitor)

Other articles of interest:

  • Brother, can you spare a spiritual dime? Yes | No wonder I got a call from the Franciscan Renewal Center suggesting this might be a good time for me to stop by and restore my sense of inner peace, tranquillity and spiritual harmony (E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic)

  • Religion news in brief | Griswold's "state of the church" message, Moderates ponder future ties with North Carolina Baptist convention, Proposed initiative would put Bibles in California public schools, and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Scarves and symbols | For the French, school secularism is the foundation for civil peace, and for the integration of people of all beliefs into the Republic (Guy Coq, The New York Times)

  • St. Paul saw resurrection as a metaphor | Paul, whose genuine epistles date much earlier than the Gospels, never mentions an empty tomb. Why not? He knew nothing of it. For him, the resurrection was an entirely spiritual matter. (Tom Harpur, Toronto Star)

  • Sacred sacrifice | Would you kill for God? It's a question raised by the experiences of Ibrahim (Abraham), recognized as the father of monotheistic religions (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)

Related Elsewhere:

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