Religious groups outraged over Supreme Court's Internet porn decision

Yesterday's Supreme Court vote to block blocking the Child Online Protection Act (COPA) was awfully close, but religious activist groups are wholly united in decrying the decision.

The 5-4 decision did not reject the law entirely, but told a lower court to decide whether the law is the least restrictive way of limiting minors' access to online pornography. "This opinion does not hold that Congress is incapable of enacting any regulation of the Internet designed to prevent minors from gaining access to harmful materials," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority. But the majority all but said the lower courts must find COPA—which requires porn sites to require visitors to verify their age—unconstitutional, since it's not the least restrictive way to block minors' access. While the lower court decides the case, the justices said, the law can't be enforced.

"Content-based prohibitions, enforced by severe criminal penalties, have the constant potential to be a repressive force in the lives and thoughts of a free people," Kennedy wrote.

"It is unclear how the government can win the case after yesterday's ruling," writes The Washington Post.

That's Justice Stephen G. Breyer's take, too. "What else was Congress supposed to do?" he asked in his dissent, joined by justices Rehnquist and O'Connor (Scalia wrote a separate dissent). "It is always less restrictive to do nothing than to do something. But 'doing nothing' does not address the problem Congress sought to address—namely that, despite the availability of filtering software, children were still being exposed to harmful material on the Internet."

Well, said Kennedy, "By enacting programs to promote use of filtering software, Congress could give parents that ability without subjecting protected speech to severe penalties."

Give us a break, says the American Family Association, which offers a fine filter of its own. "In the last Internet porn case (over CIPA, the Children's Internet Protection Act), the ACLU attacked filtering software as clumsy and overprotective," said Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the AFA Center for Law & Policy. "This time, the ACLU argued that filtering software was much better able to protect children than the mechanism required by COPA. By siding with the ACLU, the Supreme Court has again affirmed that those bent on destroying the family are entitled to more First Amendment protection than those seeking to protect it, such as pro-lifers and street preachers." (The Supreme Court rejected the ACLU's arguments against filters in 2003.)

Article continues below

"Apparently, the majority of justices are unaware that 9 in 10 children between the ages of 8-16 have been exposed to pornography online by aggressive and malicious pornographers," says Focus on the Family analyst Daniel Weiss says the decision.

And that's only going to get worse, says Family Research Council president Tony Perkins. "With spam emails and pop-up ads littering the internet, it is easy to see how a child could unwittingly end up on a pornographic web site. It is not too much to ask that web users who want to access commercial pornographic content prove they are adults."

Perkins added, "It is especially troubling that Justice Clarence Thomas was on the wrong side of this decision."

"This is a devastating defeat for kids, parents and the Constitution," said Jan LaRue, chief counsel for Concerned Women for America. "Minors have no First Amendment right to view this kind of porn and smut-peddlers have no right to expose them to it. If COPA involved cigarettes and kids, the law would have been enforced without the threat of any legal challenges. And anybody who opposed it would have been an ash heap. Remember 'Joe Camel'?"

More articles

God back in North Carolina courtroom:

  • Court favors petition for God | Judge must restore references to deity in his courtroom (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)
  • N.C. judge must restore God reference | The state Supreme Court ordered a judge Tuesday to restore references to God in the words used when he enters the courtroom and when witnesses swear to tell the truth (Associated Press)
  • Earlier: Judge's Bible Ban Backfires | Complaint filed against judge who banned religious references from court (Weblog, June 24)

Abortion in the UK:

  • UK's abortion rates 'vary widely' | Nearly half of pregnant girls aged 15 to 17 opt to have an abortion, but the rate varies widely across the UK, a report says (BBC)
  • Class pressures are decisive | Abortion rates among 15- to 17-year-olds vary dramatically around the country, with young women from socially disadvantaged areas far more likely than those in affluent parts to keep the baby, a study reveals today (The Guardian, London)
  • Nearly half of pregnant teens opt for abortion | 44 percent of pregnancies among young women aged between 15 and 17 were terminated between 1999 and 2001 (The Telegraph, London)
  • Pregnant teenagers live in different worlds | The affluent have an abortion. The poor have a baby (The Times, London)
Article continues below
  • Worrying look in the womb | After more than a generation of abortion on demand, Britain has an ageing population and a queasy conscience (Editorial, The Telegraph, London)
  • Mother knows best | Teenagers' attitudes to abortion depend on the social and economic context of their lives, not abstract notions of morality (Angela Phillips, The Guardian, London)
  • C4 exonerated over abortion film | Complaints against a Channel 4 abortion documentary were dismissed by the UK's media watchdog Ofcom on Monday (BBC)
  • Watchdog rejects protests over hoax TV séance | Ofcom also ruled that a Channel 4 programme which featured images of an aborted foetus did not breach broadcasting rules (The Times, London)


  • The empty cradle will rock | How abortion is costing the Democrats voters—literally (Larry L. Eastland, The Wall Street Journal)
  • Abortion foe to be reappointed to FDA panel | Four lawmakers tell Bush that doctor has 'allowed his personal views to overshadow his duty' (The Washington Post)
  • Students hold walk to fight abortion | Protesters head to Washington (The Boston Globe)
  • Curves patrons exercise their right to choose | Readers who responded after Monday's column need to know that reports in the San Francisco Chronicle have been retracted with apologies to Curves Founder CEO Gary Heavin. He did not give millions to extreme anti-abortion groups (Susan Paynter, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
  • A matter of choice | A simple, black metal fence separates the two factions in this city's ongoing struggle over abortion rights (Lufkin Daily News, Tex.)

Life ethics:

  • Kerry's zealotry | Extremism in defense of science is no virtue (Eric Cohen, The Weekly Standard)
  • Calif. ballot measure set to ignite stem cell research debate | Nancy Reagan's advocacy could sway voters (The Boston Globe)
  • Multiple embryo births 'put babies at risk' | Fertility doctors who transfer two embryos during each round of IVF treatment are unnecessarily putting mothers and babies at risk, a study suggests (The Telegraph, London)
  • Ala. morning-after pill policy stirs debate | Alabama recently began requiring all of its state-funded public health clinics to hand out "morning-after pills" to women who are worried they may be pregnant and inform patients of their availability (Fox News)
  • Stem-cell hard sell | After Reagan's death, the campaign for embryo research grows even more dishonest (Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review)

Ten Commandments questioned in death row trial:

Article continues below
  • Clemency denied for Ga. death row inmate | Georgia's parole board denied clemency Monday for a death row inmate who argued that the prosecutor improperly suggested at trial that the Ten Commandments do not recognize insanity as a defense for murder (Associated Press)
  • Georgia death row inmate seeks clemency | Lawyers for a man on death row argued Monday that his life should be spared because the prosecutor suggested at trial that the Ten Commandments do not recognize insanity as a defense for murder (Associated Press)

Catholicism & birth control:

  • EU criticizes Vatican's condom 'bigotry' | The European Union has condemned Catholic Church "bigotry" over the use of condoms to fight HIV (BBC)
  • Catholics, condoms and Africa | By its refusal to deal with human realities, the church has muffled its own prophetic voice on Aids, and encouraged the conclusion that Christian teaching that can only be upheld at the cost of African lives does not deserve that name (Austen Ivereigh, The Guardian, London)
  • Vatican birth control policy spurned | The Vatican's conservative policies on birth control have received a blow from one of the Roman Catholic Church's most loyal regions after opinion polls showed overwhelming support in Latin America for measures of contraception (The Guardian, London)

Political ads featuring Franklin Graham pulled:

  • N.C. GOP candidate agrees to pull ads | A Republican congressional candidate agreed Tuesday to pull television ads and campaign materials showing him with evangelist Franklin Graham (Associated Press)
  • No permission | Graham requests ads by Broyhill campaign be stopped (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)
  • Earlier: Graham sets record straight about appearance in ad | Despite the way it looks, he says he is not endorsing Broyhill or any other political candidate (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)


  • Blessing marijuana for mercy's sake | Support for permitting medical use is growing among major religious denominations (The Washington Post)
  • Pot bust gets prayers from Rev. Grandpa | Graham Tchividjian, grandson of famed evangelist the Rev. Billy Graham, pleaded guilty Thursday to misdemeanor marijuana possession in federal court in West Palm Beach (The Miami Herald)

War & terrorism:

  • Thousands attend funeral for S. Korean slain in Iraq | A 33-year-old Arabic interpreter and devout Christian who dreamed of missionary work in the Arab world, Kim was killed after Seoul rejected demands to pull 670 military medics and engineers out of Iraq and drop plans to send 3,000 troops there (Reuters)
Article continues below
  • Pope sends Iraqi interim leader message | Pope John Paul II sent to a message to Iraq (news - web sites)'s interim president Wednesday, saying he was praying that the hopes of the Iraqi people for "peace, freedom and prosperity" will soon be fulfilled (Associated Press)
  • A Christian Arab-American searches for identity in the post-Sept. 11 world | I am an Arab with American citizenship, and a Christian with Arab ethnicity (Michael Sukkarieh, The Daily Star, Lebanon)

Church of England leaders blast Blair on War:

  • Archbishops accuse Blair of double standards | Treatment of Iraqi prisoners 'putting Britain's integrity at risk' (The Times, London)
  • Archbishops condemn Iraq jail abuse | The archbishops and bishops of the Church of England have delivered a strongly-worded protest to Tony Blair over the behaviour of coalition security forces in Iraq (The Telegraph, London)
  • Archbishops slam Iraq jail abuse | The archbishops of Canterbury and York have written to Tony Blair criticising coalition troops' conduct in Iraq (BBC, video)
  • Archbishops condemn Iraq jail abuse (PA. U.K.)
  • Blair floored by right and left from Church | Archbishops' letter to Prime Minister reflects widespread unease with the conduct of war (The Times, London)
  • 'Appearance of duplicity diminishes us' | Full text of the letter (The Times, London)

Evangelicals & politics:

  • The influence of the Christian Right on U.S. Middle East policy | Right-wing Christian Zionists are, at this point, more significant in the formulation of U.S. policy toward Israel than are Jewish Zionists (Stephen Zunes, Foreign Policy in Focus)
  • Religion and the presidency | Those among the religious who find Bush a kindred spirit are not fools who will wreck the country (Jay Ambrose)
  • Aide is Bush's eyes and ears on the right | When Karl Rove cannot make certain calls, Timothy Goeglein steps in as the official White House liaison to conservatives and Christian groups (The New York Times)
  • How shall we then vote? | Evangelicals tweak the language of their political manifesto after news media reports characterize it as a call for retreat (World)
  • State asks judge to dismiss prison program lawsuit | State lawyers have asked a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit that challenges a Christian program for prison inmates and could derail President Bush's faith-based initiative (Associated Press)
  • Re-branding revolution | Are media misconceptions of evangelicals about to start working in their political favor? (Kathryn Joyce, The Revealer)
Article continues below

Religion & politics:

  • 10 Questions for Kenneth Starr | Though he stepped down from his independent-counsel post nearly five years ago, the partisan rancor created by his investigation of President Bill Clinton has never fully subsided (Time)
  • Christians have a duty to be involved politically | Our civic responsibility is to discern the best candidate and vote (Michael Eudy, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)
  • Trying for more voters | Special-interest groups are working to register people sympathetic to their causes (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)
  • Governor urges Christians to pray for peace | Governor Boni Haruna of Adamawa State has again called on Christians to pray for peace and stability of the state and the country at large (This Day, Nigeria)

When the voters go marching on:

  • Pickets prompt Christian pondering | Looking back on two days of public protests aimed in part at his planned sex change, city Alderman Tom Murphy said Monday that he was proud of Rapid City (Rapid City Journal, S.D.)
  • Protestants show power with huge march | Hundreds of thousands of evangelical Protestants marched Saturday in South America's largest city, illustrating their growing power in the world's largest Roman Catholic country (Associated Press)
  • Peninsula celebrates God, country at annual rally | Northwest University president Don Argue speaks (Peninsula Clarion, Alaska)

Campaigns & religion:

  • A founder of modern Alabama GOP loses to Roy Moore supporter | Former Chief Justice Perry Hooper Sr. is one of the founders of the modern-day Republican Party in Alabama and has been a delegate to every Republican National Convention since 1960. But not this year (Associated Press)
  • Pilgrim's progress? | John Kerry's dubious approach to religion (Steven Waldman, Slate)
  • Religion and Politics | Discussions of religious belief and personal faith are staples of the campaign trail. Politicians talk about prayer, belief in God and the role of religion in their lives. How does personal belief influence public policy? (Talk of the Nation, NPR)

Catholicism & politics:

  • The bishops vs. the Bible | Bishops have no special mandate from their office to supplant the individual conscience with some divine imperative. For them to say that abortion is a matter of theology is, simply, bad theological reasoning (Garry Wills, The New York Times)
  • Documents add to abortion debate | Documents posted this week on the Web site of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops provide fresh light on the struggle of the bishops to address the question of politicians who publicly identify themselves as Roman Catholics but consistently disagree with church teaching concerning abortion (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)
Article continues below
  • Related: Interim Reflections of the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians (United States Conference of Catholic Bishops)
  • Church and state: How gray thou art? | The archbishop says there are no gray areas regarding faith. The Catholic lawmaker says otherwise. A crisis of biblical proportions is taking shape (Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Only God can judge pro-choice politicians | When religious leaders are sure everyone else taking Communion -- and giving it -- is adhering to all church rules, they should bar pro-choice politicians. Until then, let God decide. His laws should reign supreme (Merlene Davis, Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)
  • Bishops take a stand on Catholics in politics | Compromise may deepen, rather than abate, controversy (Editorial, The Miami Herald)
  • Church pressure to push politicians risky | The sudden appearance of religious influence of all colors in the process is a dangerous trend that leads to the kind of theocratic dynamite handed out daily by radical clergy to young men and women who translate those teachings into the real thing (Dan Thomasson, Abilene Reporter-News, Tex.)


  • The second coming | The Bishop of Galway won't organize the Pope's visit this time (Henry McDonald, The Observer, London)
  • Catholic Church running out of candidates for priesthood | Leaders searching for ways to find replacements in an age when young people are reluctant to make commitments (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)
  • Hail Marys not needed: Vatican mail will deliver | More letters are sent each year, per inhabitant, from the Vatican's postcode than from anywhere else in the world (The New York Times)
  • Bishop set to be honored by pope | Symbolic band notes his authority (The Boston Globe)
  • Be saintly, Mahony advises Opus Dei | Cardinal celebrates his first memorial Mass for the group on the feast day of its founder (Los Angeles Times)
  • Keeping God in the election | Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell has called on Catholics in public life to practise what they preach (The Sun-Herald, Australia)
  • Critical Mass | Swimming in a sea of relativism, Bishop Morlino holds an eternal rope (Madison Magazine, Wis.)
  • Pope welcomes Orthodox leader at Vatican | Sitting side by side, Pope John Paul II and the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians made passionate appeals Tuesday for unity among their faithful, while acknowledging serious obstacles remain (Associated Press)
Article continues below
  • Vatican pace on abuse worries O'Malley | Archbishop wants cases expedited (The Boston Globe)
  • On 60th birthday, archbishop gets special honor from pope (The Boston Globe)
  • Pope says sorry for crusaders' rampage in 1204 | The Pope delivered an emotional apology to Orthodox Christians yesterday for the Catholic plundering of Constantinople eight centuries ago, saying it caused him "pain and disgust" (The Telegraph, London)
  • Pope sorrow over Constantinople (BBC)
  • Vatican releases WW2 letter on helping Jews | The Vatican Monday released a 1943 letter from a bishop complaining the Church was helping too many Jews -- its latest move against charges it did too little to stop Nazi persecution of Jews in World War II (Reuters)

Closing Catholic churches:

  • St. Alphonsus plans long-distance legacy | The tiny church built in the shape of an octagon -- a design that earned it the nickname "The Church in the Round" because the altar is visible from every pew -- is planning its final Mass for Aug. 29 (The Boston Globe)
  • Parish: Where will the children go? | Youth Mass a highlight of church set to close (The Boston Globe)

"Celibacy" film:

  • Clerical errors | A new documentary questions the Catholic Church's views on celibacy (Slate)
  • Film asks: Should these vows be kept? | A strong plea for rethinking abstinence (The Boston Globe)
  • "Celibacy" sexes up debate | An intriguing - maybe even kinky - documentary-style film airing tonight is billed as a tour of the socio-religious roots of the practice of sexual abstinence (The Denver Post)
  • Film attacking celibacy riles Catholic Church | A documentary linking the child sex abuse scandal that has rocked the U.S. Catholic Church to mandatory celibacy among its clergy airs on HBO on Monday and has drawn fire from church officials (Reuters)

Church buildings:

  • Crumbling churches, towering costs | Across eastern Germany, the decay of time is eating away at hundreds of houses of worship (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Germany)
  • Parishioners dig deep to restore church's glory | Gifts big and small help finance $1.2 million repair at St. Joseph in Joliet (Chicago Tribune)
  • Abandoned church finds new calling | Sovereign Grace Chapel in Lakewood used to be Trinity Apostolic Church. New owners turned it into a nondenominational chapel available for weddings, baptisms and funerals (The Denver Post)

Vicar bans small donations:

Article continues below
  • Vicar bans collection plate coins | A vicar says he will only accept notes in his collection plates during wedding ceremonies (BBC)
  • Wedding joy turns to horror | Rachel Harrigan was at the hairdressers, preparing for what should have been the most exciting day of her life, when her world came crashing down around her (The Daily Telegraph, Australia)
  • Holy tip: no small change | A vicar has been accused of ruining a wedding after banning coins from collections and declaring anything less than pound stg. 5 notes an insult to God (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)

Church life:

  • In churches, a mosaic of cultures | From Congolese to Filipino to Eritrean, immigrant congregations enrich Roman Sundays (The New York Times)
  • Black churches to meet | Leaders of four historically black denominations plan a joint meeting in Nashville in January, marking the first time such a gathering has taken place since they formed separate organizations decades ago (The Washington Post)
  • Worshipers find the perfect spot | Week after week, many regular churchgoers return to the pew they call their own (Chicago Tribune)
  • Pastor stirred but not shaken | It's tough to keep Rev. Michael Pfleger down (Chicago Tribune)
  • Remembering the 'restoration' | Members of the Churches of Christ, independent Christian churches, and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) will meet in the church building where Barton Stone once preached to mark two centuries of history and celebrate the completion of the first reference book on the movement, edited by one man from each group (Tennessean)
  • Ackerman tries to keep focus on Gospel | Bishop weathers female priests, dwindling diocese (Peoria Journal Star)
  • Like father, like son? Two Ed Youngs, two Texas megachurches | While their approaches differ, father and son share a passion for ministry and influence how generations of faithful worship at the Texas-sized megachurches they built from small congregations (Associated Press)
  • Churches plan reconciliation | The Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji is taking the efforts of national reconciliation further with another Reihnard Bonnke-like evangelistic crusade this September (Fiji Times)
  • Presbyterians' membership drops | Louisville-based group meets this week in Virginia (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)
  • It's Saturday Night, and the church is hopping | With busy lives growing ever more full and Sunday no longer the customary day off, houses of worship such as the Universal Truth Center in Northwest Miami-Dade have begun experimenting with some unorthodox measures to recruit a new group of worshipers (The Miami Herald)
Article continues below
  • Vote set on non-Christians | Ministerial group to decide if membership should be limited to those who profess allegiance to Christ (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)
  • Lawmakers loosen potluck dinner rules | People can keep sharing their fried chicken and green bean casserole if Illinois lawmakers get their way. The Illinois Senate voted 51-1 Monday in favor of loosening health regulations for traditional potluck dinners (Associated Press)

Church & state:

  • God of our fathers | Jefferson's spiritual beliefs were vague, but one thing is clear: he wanted to keep religion and politics separate (Time)
  • The bishops and me | How I squared church and state (Joseph A. Califano Jr., The Washington Post)
  • Army won't help distribute group's medals | Since 1995, Bob Parker has sent nearly 2,000 honorary medallions to survivors of soldiers, police officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty. But the Army recently told Parker that it won't help him distribute the medals any more because they include a reference to a Bible verse (Associated Press)
  • Another victory for the ACLU and its war on Christianity | Take a good look at the county seal in Los Angeles, because it's about to change (Bill O'Reilly, Fox News)
  • Atheist plans new lawsuit over phrase 'under God' | Undeterred by the U.S. Supreme Court throwing out his legal challenge to the phrase "under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance, atheist Michael Newdow said on Saturday he would file another federal lawsuit to remove the words from the pledge (Reuters)
  • Date set for Commandments to go on display in Cherokee | The Cherokee County commission will put the Ten Commandments on public display Thursday, eight months after receiving a stone copy of the biblical laws from a local preacher (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

EU & Christianity:

  • Is Europe's 'Godless constitution' good for religion? | Government appropriations of God, whether in pledges or constitutions, are no favor to religious faith (Charles Haynes, First Amendment Center)
  • The Eurobabble of the post-Christian era | A European constitution that discards its Christian heritage is discarding the one thing that could transform the superstate it has created from being simply an unwieldy union of resentful taxpayers and clamouring subsidy seekers to something rather greater than the sum of its discordant parts (Katie Grant, The Scotsman)

Muslim headscarf ban okayed:

  • European Court backs ban on Muslim scarves | Banning Muslim headscarves in state schools does not violate the freedom of religion and is a valid way to counter Islamic fundamentalism, the European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday (Reuters)
Article continues below
  • Muslim scarves oft-misunderstood signs of faith | For Lubna Hussein, wearing traditional Muslim garb is a statement of faith. But in the Western world, where the fashion of the day calls for bare midriffs, and the culture doesn't always understand Muslim tradition, it also can be a statement of courage (Omaha World-Herald, Neb.)
  • European court backs ban on Muslim scarves | Banning Muslim headscarves in state schools does not violate the freedom of religion and is a valid way to counter Islamic fundamentalism, the European Court of Human Rights said Tuesday (Reuters)
  • Human rights court upholds headscarf ban | State schools which ban Muslim headscarves do not violate the freedom of religion, the European Court of Human Rights has ruled (The Independent, London)
  • Court backs Turkish headscarf ban | Turkey's government had argued that headscarves violated the secular nature of the state (BBC)

Religious freedom (U.S.):

  • UCI controversy may call for a more uniform solution | At UCI this week, the debate about free speech and the 1st Amendment raged as some 30 graduating Muslim students decided last week to add a stole to their caps and gowns that bore the shahada, words that they say are a testament to, and symbol of, their Islamic faith (Editorial, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • The price of free speech | Do you think campus officials were right in allowing the students to wear the symbols, citing free-speech rights? Religious leaders respond (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • Christian group sues PSU over student club | University has since recognized organization (Centre Daily Times, State College, Penn.)
  • Janesville City Council reverses field, OKs housing | Earlier banned Salvation Army from initiating religious activity (The Janesville Gazette, Wis.)
  • Survey: Support for First Amendment up | Americans' support for First Amendment freedoms has returned to levels not seen since before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, an annual survey on the subject shows (Associated Press)


  • Venice puzzled by hammer attacks | The authorities in Venice are investigating a series of attacks on religious statues at some of the city's most famous landmarks (BBC, video)
  • Wary China cracks down on Christians | Underground Christians in China are increasingly mobilizing for political change, reportedly translating their personal faith with a fight for political justice. The Communist Party is cracking down hard on the groups, fearing that a charismatic leader might emerge to lead the group (All Things Considered, NPR)
Article continues below

Religious freedom in Sri Lanka:

  • Catholic and Christian leaders protest against proposed anti-conversion bill | Issuing a joint statement, Catholic and Christian leaders in Sri Lanka today expressed their dissatisfaction over the anti-conversion bill that will be presented by the Freedom Alliance government shortly in parliament (ColomboPage, Sri Lanka)
  • Earlier: Anti-Conversion bill to be tabled in Sri Lanka Parliament |(TamilNet)
  • Sri Lanka's Christians denounce new religious laws | Christian leaders in Sri Lanka say plans by the government to introduce a new law restricting religious conversions will violate personal freedoms and oppress minority religions (Radio Australia)

India's anti-conversion party regroups:

  • We are contemplating a Hindu political platform: VHP | Taking a swipe at BJP, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Tuesday said that abandoning the Hindutva agenda was responsible for NDA's electoral debacle in the Lok Sabha polls and said it was contemplating launching a Hindu political platform (PTI, India)
  • BJP lost as it betrayed the Hindu cause: VHP | Blaming the BJP squarely for betraying the cause of Hindutva, Viswa Hindu Parishad working president Ashok Singhal said in Kolkata on Tuesday that an alternative political platform was necessary that would take care of the interest of the Hindus (The Times of India)


  • Living and the dead | Famine images mean it's already too late for thousands (Newsweek)
  • Nowhere to hide | How the ethnic cleansing of western Sudan has created a humanitarian crisis that threatens 500,000 lives (Time)
  • Sudanese government, rebels begin talks | Sudanese government and rebel officials have begun negotiating cease-fire details as part of a comprehensive agreement to end a 21-year war in Africa's largest nation, the chief mediator said Monday (Associated Press)
  • In Sudan, death and denial | Officials accused of concealing crisis as thousands starve (The Washington Post)
  • Sudanese refugees told to stay silent on government, militia abuses | U.S., U.N. leaders expected to press for aid during visits (The Washington Post)
  • Never again? | The bloodbath in Sudan (Rich Lowry, National Review Online)
  • 'Final' Sudan peace talks begin | The Sudanese government and southern rebel group SPLA have begun a final round of peace talks aimed at ending more than 20 years of civil war (BBC)
Article continues below
  • Sudan under pressure over Darfur | The US and the EU have expressed "grave concern" about Sudan's conflict-torn Darfur region, saying the government in Khartoum must rein in Arab militias (BBC)
  • Screams of Sudan's starving refugees | It is very disturbing to be a me or a you and to see what is happening in Darfur (BBC)
  • Call it genocide | Every day that Kofi Annan and the governments represented in the Security Council refuse to call the Khartoum regime's attempt to destroy the non-Arab peoples of Darfur by its true name, more of those people perish (Editorial, The Boston Globe)
  • 'We want to make a light baby' | Arab militiamen in Sudan said to use rape as weapon of ethnic cleansing (The Washington Post)
  • General Bashir's genocide, again | We've seen this before (Nina Shea, National Review Online)
  • Powell tells Sudan to end its support for Darfur militias | Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, warning that thousands of people are condemned to die in the strife-torn Darfur region even with an immediate influx of aid, met Tuesday night with Lt. Gen. Omar Hassan Bashir, Sudan's president, to deliver the blunt message that the situation has become intolerable (The Washington Post)
  • Powell to press Sudan to ease the way for aid in Darfur | Secretary of State Colin L. Powell traveled to Sudan and said he would press for faster delivery of aid to the Darfur region (The New York Times)
  • Powell warns Sudan to end attacks | US Secretary of State Colin Powell has warned Sudan to end attacks by Arab militia in Darfur which are accused of creating a humanitarian crisis (BBC, video)
  • Eyewitnesses to atrocities along frontier of Chad and Sudan | The organization Physicians for Human Rights is calling for international intervention "to save lives and reverse injustices" on the border of Chad and Sudan (Nora Boustany, The Washington Post)

NPR series on religion and business:

  • Firms turn to religion to keep workers happy | Some companies are embracing the belief that a faith-friendly workplace will create higher profits -- or at least happier workers. At Atlanta-based HomeBanc Mortgage Corp., employees can take part in prayer groups or speak with corporate chaplains (Morning Edition, NPR)
  • Religious initiatives make workplace hostile for some | As corporate America becomes more religious, some employees say they feel excluded or coerced into sharing in their company's religion. Employers' emphasis on religion can create a hostile work environment for those who consider themselves non-believers (Morning Edition, NPR)
Article continues below
  • When faith clashes with corporate policy | For years, courts have refereed disputes over accommodating religion in the workplace. But what happens when an employee's religious beliefs collide with the company's secular vision? NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports in the conclusion to a three-part series on religion in the workplace (Morning Edition, NPR)


  • U-M economist explores morals of the market | Rebecca Blank co-authors book in religion series (The Ann Arbor News, Mi.)
  • Good book | Best known as a Bible publisher, two-century-old Thomas Nelson is branching out from its Christian roots to secular titles, ranging from gardening to business. Nelson has struck a three-cookbook deal with famed chef Wolfgang Puck, for instance (Forbes)
  • It's cool to be a Christian girl | Teen believers represent a big market, and retailers are responding with everything from T-shirts to tunes (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)
  • Minister spreads good word about Linux to nonprofits | Ordained minister Don Parris has plenty of experience spreading the good word -- about Linux (


  • With God on their side | Higher powers guide a new generation (Exclaim!)
  • Faith inspires new JM | |Faith of Shannon Essenpreis was evident even just before she was named America's Junior Miss 2004 on Saturday night (Mobile Register, Ala.)
  • Bush notes US cultural excesses | President says adopting democratic reforms in the Mideast does not mean embracing the cultural excesses of American society (The Boston Globe)

Video games:

  • Preparing to smite secular gaming crowd | Christian video games offer alternative to violence, gore (Associated Press)
  • Digital Praise makes faith-based games for Mac, PC | A new Christian-themed game developer called Digital Praise Inc. has announced its first two titles, and they're both coming to the Mac and PC: Adventures in Odyssey and the Treasure of the Incas, a mystery-style game, and Adventures in Odyssey and the Sword of the Spirit, an arcade-style adventure game (MacCentral)

Spider Man:

  • Spider-Man's balancing act resonates with religious leaders | The theme that responsibility and power are webbed together is also found in many religious and ethical traditions (The Dallas Morning News)
  • A hero for our times | From the wartime heroics of Superman to the ambiguous do-gooding of Spider-Man, superheroes are part of the social critique (Jay Stone, The Ottawa Citizen)
Article continues below


  • 'A kid with a lot of questions' searches for answers in his films | The latest documentary by South Florida's Chaille Stovall -- 15 years old and a veteran filmmaker -- will air Sunday on HBO Family (The Miami Herald)
  • Hollywood success finds Benson grad | Joel David Moore muses on his role in "Dodgeball," making it in movies, and pleasing God (The Oregonian)
  • Noah's Ark hoaxer to save Bush | Is David Balsiger the right guy to counter Michael Moore? (Bartholomew's Notes on Religion)


  • Family friendly television group growing | Family Friendly Programming Forum can claim a real impact on the kind of shows that the major broadcast networks are airing (Associated Press)
  • Trinity Broadcasting Network retains PR agency to affirm brand identity | TBN is now reaching every major continent via 43 satellites and over 10,000 television and cable affiliates worldwide. In the United States, TBN is available to 90 million broadcast, cable and satellite households, and its website receives over 25 million visitors per month (Press release)
  • Media maverick | On at least two recent occasions, local TV stations have used God in their Kiswahili news bulletins to explain events (Kodi Barth, The East African Standard, Kenya)


  • For a medal, they'll need lots of prayer | The Chinese Olympic basketball team has found a home far from home—Prestonwood Baptist Church (The Dallas Morning News)
  • God-fearing Lewis bans Sunday swims | 'Wee Frees' threatened with human rights lawsuit (The Observer, London)
  • Do nice guys finish … blessed? | Does God really care who wins or who loses? (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
  • Conference explores links between sport and spirit | In the first conference of its kind in the United States, 50 coaches, clergy and scholars discussed the links between sport and spirit at St. Olaf College here over the weekend (Associated Press)


  • Echoes of a Christian symbol | Photo reverberates with raw power of Christ on cross (W.J.T. Mitchell, Chicago Tribune)
  • My local Jesus mural | Author and essayist Marcos McPeek Villatoro offers an appreciation of a religious mural in his neighborhood of Van Nuys, Calif. (Day to Day, NPR)


  • When it rains, it pours | Biblical characters are fiction's hot heroes. Now a first-time novelist takes us onto the ark with Noah (Time)
  • Blithe spirits | Lloyd Rose reviews Barbara Weisberg's Talking to the Dead (The Washington Post)
  • 'Shadowmancer' mines the shady side of sorcery | G.P. Taylor will take the edge off your appetite if you've already devoured a shelf-full of books by J.K. Rowling, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien and Philip Pullman (The Oregonian)
Article continues below
  • Christian books successful in move to mainstream market | Small sellers looking for way to protect profits from big retailers (Associated Press)
  • Literary but literal | Willis Barnstone brings the eyes of a scholar and the heart of a poet to ancient religious texts (Chicago Tribune)
  • Devil incarnate | Reviewing Glen Duncan's "I, Lucifer" (Times Leader, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
  • Book club bullies | Fundamentalists want to intimidate into silence all those who don't share their interpretation of a text (Giles Fraser, The Guardian, London)
  • ECPA announces Gold Medallion Winners at its 27th anniversary banquet | Full list of book awards (Press release, ECPA)


  • Spirituality taking root in health care settings | While critics say it's an attempt to promote religion in a setting where it doesn't belong, supporters contend that spiritual care can be helpful if it is used the right way (Associated Press)
  • Diets of milk and honey | New wave of diets offer faith-based advice (The Daily Camera, Boulder, Co.)


  • Nun settles sexual abuse allegations | A woman who was abused by a Catholic nun 50 years ago at a boarding school will receive about $120,000 in a settlement, as well as an apology from the nun (Associated Press)
  • Victims of sex abuse leaflet churches | Forty-six-year-old Carlos Lopez has talked about the clergy sex abuse scandal countless times with other lifelong Catholics. But before Sunday, he had never discussed the controversy with an abuse victim (Los Angeles Times)
  • Foster parents charged with abuse, neglect | A little more than a year after Tom and Debbie Schmitz were profiled in heartwarming news stories as religious, caring foster parents, 18 children have been removed from their home amid charges of abuse and neglect (Associated Press)
  • Samoa considers deporting priests | Samoan authorities will decide within 48 hours whether to deport two more Salesian priests to Australia following the deportation last week of convicted pedophile Father Frank Klep (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Church leader: Abuse case being used to attack her | The leader of the Remnant Fellowship Church says her critics and police are using a child abuse investigation into an 8-year-old's death to bring down her ministry (Associated Press)


  • Chicago priest foils theft, tackles suspect | Recalling his 20 years playing rugby, a Little Village priest Wednesday chased down a man who allegedly tried to rob the church's donation box and held him until police arrived (Chicago Tribune)
Article continues below
  • Also: Priest beats up would-be robbers | A tough Chicago priest foiled two would-be robbers who tried to steal money from the church collection box, keeping one of them in a headlock until the cops came (Fox News)
  • Murders haunt killer's pastor | Anniversary of children's murders stirs sadness, anger at church (Eagle-Tribune, Lawrence, Mass.)
  • Priest faces multiple-murder raps | A Roman Catholic priest in a southern Philippine diocese has reportedly been slapped with charges of multiple murder in connection with the death of four people last month (Today, ABS-CBN, Philippines)
  • Paroled killer lives to serve | 'God had mercy on me,' ex-inmate Charlie Young says (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Focus on Family finds Son of Sam | It's a shame that David "Son of Sam" Berkowitz couldn't find Jesus before a dog ordered him to murder six people in cold blood three decades ago (David Harsanyi, Denver Post)
  • Mormon official arrested | The president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Butte Stake, was arrested this week in Boise after allegedly soliciting sex with a minor over the Internet (The Montana Standard)
  • Amish brothers who fled are arrested | When leaders in southwestern Wisconsin's Amish community heard allegations months ago about the sexual assaults, they had their own way of handling things (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

Christian school accuse of voucher fraud:

  • Florida school accused of voucher fraud | Faith Christian Academy took state voucher money for 23 disabled children who did not attend classes, leading to the arrest of seven people, including the school's director and five of her relatives, authorities said Tuesday (Associated Press)
  • Christian school accused in $200K scam | State officials sent more than $200,000 in education vouchers and federal lunch reimbursement checks to a sham Christian day school headed by a "principal" with three bad check arrests and a series of civil suits, according to a criminal complaint filed by the State Attorney's Office (The News Chief, Winter Haven, Fla.)


  • State high court nullifies vouchers | The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the state's voucher program unconstitutionally strips school boards of local control (The Denver Post)
  • Colo. court rules against school vouchers | The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that the state's school voucher program is unconstitutional because it strips local school boards of control over education (Associated Press)
Article continues below
  • The wrong choice for Colorado | A Republican torpedoes school choice (Stephen Spruiell, National Review Online)
  • School expels student for refusing prayer service | A Christian high school in Seoul is under fire for allegedly forcing a non-Christian student to move to another school due to his refusal to attend religious services (The Korea Times)
  • Also: Student wages one-man protest in Seoul | A South Korean Christian high school student has been staging a demonstration since June 16 against a school rule requiring him to attend religious services (UPI)
  • Resurgence of campus cults | The resurgence of secret cult activities in the nation's tertiary institutions has again brought to the fore the authorities' inability to tame the monster (Editorial, Daily Times, Nigeria)

Higher education:

  • Bethel College & Seminary to Become Bethel University | Although there are no official criteria for becoming a "university," the term reflects more accurately what Bethel has already become: an academically rich, internationally known institution (Press release)
  • Ave Maria College receives censure | Education Dept. orders it to repay financial aid (The Ann Arbor News, Mi.)
  • Ave Maria College officials make no plans to stay open beyond 2007 | Ave Maria College officials haven't wavered from their decision to close the Michigan campus in 2007, despite dissent from faculty and parents who want the school to remain open (Naples Daily News, Fla.)
  • The contradictions of cultural conservatism in the assault on American colleges | I have little doubt that, beneath the pious avowals by conservatives of David Horowitz's ilk that they are concerned to preserve academic freedom for liberals and conservatives alike, lies the cynical intent to unleash the most ignorant forces of the right in hounding liberal academics to death (Donald Lazere, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

Missions & ministry:

  • Churches are often forced to cope with disaster | Congregations find their way into violent headlines with alarming frequency (The Dallas Morning News)
  • In search of the Lord and a match | Christian singles flock to D.C. ball to share faith, meet new faces (The Washington Post)
  • A pastor with a drive to convert | McLean sanctuary opens with grander plans (The Washington Post)
  • Menu of Christian cafe includes pastry, poetry | Four years after Reality Tuesday Cafe was born out of a Bible study group Bill and Traci Gregg hosted in their home, the Greggs' coffeehouse has become a neighborhood center for family values (The Cincinnati Enquirer)
Article continues below
  • Mennonite pair concerned with Somalia plight | Somalia hasn't weighed on American minds for more than a decade, but after seven years of helping the Somali people, a pair of missionaries from Schaumburg say there is reason to keep abreast of the situation in Somalia (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)
  • Church-based credit unions help members | Around the country, about 500 church-associated credit unions with a combined $2.9 billion in deposits make loans and teach financial literacy to members, some of whom might otherwise use predatory payday lenders or pawn shops to get by (Associated Press)


  • Bill in offing to clamp down on NGOs, churches | The Bill proposes a code of conduct for all churches involved in humanitarian aid. The monitoring of NGOs, especially those involved in food aid, "will ensure they do not mix humanitarian work with politics" (Zimbabwe Independent)
  • Institute formed to certify charities | Group to set standards, accredit U.S. nonprofits; Md. organization expands (The Baltimore Sun)


  • Lesbians seek country club privileges | Couple hopes the California Supreme Court will rule that the state's civil rights laws require the club to offer state-registered domestic partners the same benefits afforded to spouses (Associated Press)
  • Revealed: how the police encouraged lesbian love | Lesbianism in the armed forces and the police in the 1940s and 1950s was tacitly encouraged by the authorities because it was regarded as preferable to seeing trained women become pregnant and leave the job (The Observer, London)
  • Gays divided over support for Kerry | Activism and protest eyed for convention (The Boston Globe)
  • City council affirms domestic partner benefits | The New York City Council voted to require that companies doing business with the city offer equal benefits to the domestic partners of their employees (The New York Times)
  • Rape new weapon against South African lesbians | Keba Sebetoane's distress is evident as she describes her rape by a man she had considered a friend simply because, as a lesbian, she challenged traditional sexual roles (Reuters)

Homosexuality & Presbyterians:

  • Presbyterians to wrangle over gay clergy | The 2.4 million-member church's weeklong national legislative assembly begins Saturday in Richmond, Va., where liberals will take up new attacks against the church's strict law barring actively gay clergy and lay officers (Associated Press)
Article continues below
  • Peace activist to lead Presbyterians | A peace activist who supports the inclusion of gays in the ministry was elected to lead the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A) for the next two years (Associated Press)
  • 'Interpretation' on gay ordination challenged | Panel will ask Assembly to declare '78 ruling no longer binding (Presbyterian News Service)
  • Committee recommends overturning authoritative interpretations, but leaves 'fidelity and chastity' intact | It would not remove the constitutional provision that church officers be faithful in heterosexual marriage or chaste in singleness — thus not officially opening ordination to sexually active homosexuals — but an Assembly committee late Tuesday afternoon approved a recommendation that the PC(USA) no longer use two 1970s authoritative statements to back up that law (The Presbyterian Outlook)
  • Committee won't endorse Declaration on Marriage, doesn't want to affiliate with Catholics, Baptists | During the committee's debate on the overture, the main objections to the Declaration of Marriage seemed to be who else had endorsed it—namely Southern Baptists and Roman Catholics, and that the document was not Reformed (The Layman)
  • Committee wants General Assembly to nullify Authoritative Interpretation behind ordination law (The Layman)
  • Presbyterians closer to ordination of gays | Panel recommends church strike down one of two barriers (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.)
  • Presbyterian parley split | Debates over whether the nation's most liberal Presbyterian denomination should evangelize Jews and ordain homosexuals, plus a last-minute accusation against the outgoing church moderator, are the major issues this week at the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly (The Washington Times)
  • Presbyterian panel okays gays' ordination | The proposal will go before the national legislative assembly of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for a full vote later this week (Associated Press)

More news from Presbyterian Church (USA) Assembly:

  • Support for Messianic congregation affirmed | But debate over Jewish-Presbyterian relations continues (The Presbyterian Outlook)
  • Panel urges mission initiative in Iraq | Condemns U.S. torture of prisoners 'in strongest possible terms' (Presbyterian News Service)

Homosexuality & religion:

  • Methodists and marriage | A mainline denomination holds out against same-sex unions (Mark D. Tooley, The Weekly Standard)
  • Gays, preachers collide at Pride | Under the brindled sky, street preachers yelled and dozens of Pride attendees stopped to argue, wave a middle finger or make out in protest at the main entrance to the park at Piedmont and 14th Street (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
Article continues below
  • United to smite homosexuality | A Raleigh church is devoted to an anti-gay mission, but some question congregants' tactics (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

Episcopal gay bishop fallout:

  • N.H. church splits over gay bishop | Hymns were raised to the heavens from two parts of town Sunday after a church split apart over the election of the first openly gay bishop to head an Episcopal diocese (Associated Press)
  • Split on gay bishop, parish seeks healing | Unable to bridge the differences among its members over the consecration of V. Gene Robinson as the first openly gay bishop in the Episcopal Church USA, Church of the Redeemer split in two last week and left this working-class city of 29,000 on New Hampshire's seacoast straddling a global religious divide (The Boston Globe)
  • Episcopalians find clergy, Wolf at odds | The diocese seeks reconciliation after a consultant finds "tensions" between the bishop and many priests and deacons (The Providence Journal, R.I.)

Federal Marriage Amendment:

  • Bishop backs amendment on gay marriage ban | The president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops on Friday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage. He urged all Roman Catholics to lobby for its passage (Associated Press)
  • A gay-marriage dance | Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist plans to call a vote the week of July 12 on a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. The measure is almost certain to fail (Time)
  • Mayors set aside opposing gay-marriage ban | A deeply divided gathering of the nation's mayors could not reach consensus Monday on a proposed resolution opposing a federal constitutional ban on gay marriage (Associated Press)
  • Nebraska senators react to ad opposing gay marriage | Chuck Hagel and Ben Nelson, the U.S. senators from Nebraska, are taking issue with a half-page ad run in the state's largest newspaper calling for them to support a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage (Advocate)
  • Gay marriage places church and state in historic clash | Many senators prefer to delay voting rather than make their position public before the November election. But advocates for the amendment predict that November may be too late, that if President George W. Bush loses re-election, the amendment will be dead and marriage as we know it will be history (Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.)
Article continues below

Same-sex marriage:

  • More than a 'lifestyle choice' | The public campaign for legal recognition of same-sex unions may try to tug at America's heartstrings. But as every dad tells his daughter, you don't accept a marriage proposal on feelings alone (Jennifer Marshall, The Washington Times)
  • Gay 'marriage' seen as latest antifamily decision | Allowing homosexual "marriage" is just the latest in a long line of public-policy decisions that have undermined traditional family values, said James Dobson, a psychologist and longtime commentator on issues facing families (The Washington Times)
  • Defying the elites, Romney stands tall | Whatever else might be said about same-sex marriage, elites in Massachusetts have clearly accepted it (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)
  • Same-sex marriages test shaky family ties | Unresolved issues between siblings arise at weddings (The Boston Globe)
  • Massachusetts court upheld | A federal appeals court yesterday rejected arguments that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court usurped power from other branches of government when it ruled that homosexual couples must be allowed to "marry" in that state (The Washington Times)
  • New ban on gay unions to begin | A ban on civil unions will become law in Virginia tomorrow, and homosexual- rights activists are planning statewide protests as well as a legal challenge (The Washington Times)
  • Bid to stop Mass. gay marriages rejected | The plaintiffs had argued that Massachusetts' high court usurped the power of the Legislature — and thereby violated the U.S. Constitution — when it ruled last year that gay couples are entitled to wed (Associated Press)
  • Gay marriage bans simply acts of bias | The seduction of people of color into the anti-gay-marriage assault is a covert act of racism (Robert C. Fyrst, The Capital Times, Madison, Wis.)

Marriage & family:

  • Till death do us part, or whatever | Historically most marriages - for better or for worse - ended in death. Not any more (The New York Times)
  • Church 'Protect Marriage' Day is urged | Groups backing amendment seek focus on Sunday before senate vote (The Washington Post)
  • Helping young single mothers -- and the babies they'll raise | Through counseling and training, Black Infant Health Program battles some sobering trends (Los Angeles Times)
  • Dutch decline | Losing interest in matrimony (Joshua Livestro, National Review Online)
  • Split decision | In a time when divorce has become a common experience, when research has shown that amicable break-ups are best for children, more people are marking divorce with ceremonies, albeit often nonreligious, to represent their sorrow at the past and hope for the future (Newark Star-Ledger, N.J.)
Article continues below

Sexual ethics:

  • Beyond 'ABC': Helping women fight AIDS | It's time to design programs targeted to the risks that women and girls face in a world of AIDS (Janet Fleischman, The Washington Post)
  • Cleric flays homosexuality in the church | Ify S Okupevi also critical of Iraq War (This Day, Nigeria)
  • When those Puritans weren't so very pure | By the dawn of the Revolutionary era, according to Edmund S. Morgan's The Genuine Article, on average some 30 to 40 percent of New England brides were "with child" on the day they wed (San Francisco Chronicle)


  • 'Life without sex is hard but you can do it. I'm living proof,' says John, aged 14 | Silver Ring Thing "seems a bit like a cult" (The Telegraph, London)
  • No sex, please: we're British (teenagers). It's a Silver Ring Thing | The Silver Ring Thing has arrived in the UK, with a six-date roadshow which kicked off last night at the Holy Trinity Church in Claygate (The Independent, London)
  • How effective are abstinence pledges? | A US pastor supported by a clutch of young virgins is in the UK to promote the Silver Ring Thing. Can the "just say no" message cut rates of teen pregnancy and STDs? (BBC)
  • Young, free, and infectious | Rates of sexually transmitted diseases are rising alarmingly; overworked clinics are turning patients away; and still young people aren't getting the message about unprotected sex (The Guardian, London)
  • Pledge of chastity that puts our young people at risk | I used to be part of the abstinence movement (Melanie Reid, The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)
  • Virgins deliver celibacy message | Thirty virgins from the American Silver Ring Thing will urge young Scots to abstain from sex before marriage (BBC)
  • Even better than sex? | What hope for The Silver Ring Thing? (Scotland on Sunday)
  • Group preaches no-sex message | There was an exchange of rings and solemn vows, but in every other way the ceremony held at Partick South Parish Church last night was unlike any other you could expect to see there (The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)

More articles:

  • D.C. slots proponents win ruling | Judge allows petition drive to put issue on November ballot (The Washington Post)
  • Can a bigot be a good person? | He pursued me, but then rejected me because my religion was "wrong" (Cary Tennis,
Article continues below
  • Pelican has ancient ties to Christianity | The mystery of the pelicans at North Dakota's Chase Lake National Wildlife Refuge might have caused a crisis of faith (Mike Jacobs, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.)
  • When faith and duty collide | As someone who believes Jesus Christ can be seen even in the grimy faces of those living in the city's shadows and crawl spaces, Police Officer Eduardo Delacruz says he obeyed a higher authority when he refused to arrest a homeless man in November 2002. On the beat, however, the police commissioner trumps the Almighty, as Officer Delacruz learned when he was suspended for his action (The New York Times)
  • 25 years later, fear and loathing give way to acceptance | When the Rev. Sun Myung Moon and his Unification Church followers arrived in Gloucester more than 25 years ago and started purchasing real estate, some city officials and residents thought that the city was going to be taken over by the church (The Boston Globe)
  • Pilgrims flock to 'healing' well | About 1,000 pilgrims are expected at a Christian shrine in north Wales which has been attracting visitors since the 7th Century (BBC)
  • Church garden honors family pets | St. Michael and All Angels Episcopal Church offers a special area for families to sprinkle a pet's ashes (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Ministry gives teens mentors and support | One Sunday at worship services at Central Dallas Ministries, J.R. Newton noticed the teen girls wearing revealing clothes. She realized that likely no one had ever taught them any differently (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Fundamentalism: Be indignant at righteousness | The core ideals of most of the world's great religions are very similar — forgiveness, compassion and love. But as wonderful as those principles are, when you start introducing the human element, they begin their drift away from universal truths towards righteousness, judgment and negativity (Jamie Turner, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Related Elsewhere:

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to

What is Weblog?

Check out Books & Culture's weekly weblog, Content & Context.

See our past Weblog updates:

June 25 | 24 | 23 | 22 | 21
June 18 | 17 | 16 | 15 | 14
June 10 | 9 | 8 | 7
June 4 | 3 | 2 | 1
May 28 | 26 | 25 | 24
May 21 | 20 | 19 | 18 | 17
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.
Previous Weblog Columns: