Muslims still on rampage in Kano
As Muslim prayers ended today in Kano, Nigeria, more violence erupted in the city that officials thought they had largely under control. Andrew Ubah, the head of the Christian Association of Nigeria in Kano, now estimates that 1,000 people have been killed in the last few days. Others agree that his earlier estimate of "almost 600" may have been too low.

"On Wednesday evening they brought in two trailer loads of bodies," an anonymous medical worker told Reuters today. "There was one trailer load the previous day. A lot of people were killed. I think it is even more than 600."

Fighting has also continued between Yakubu Pam, chairman of the Plateau State branch of CAN, and President Olusegun Obasanjo. Pam told the BBC that after yesterday's confrontation, presidential security agents questioned him for "several hours," and demanded he apologize for suggesting that Obasanjo hadn't given enough attention to earlier violence against Christians in the city. Pam says he's still thinking about it.

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Nigeria bans broadcast miracles:

  • Miracle broadcast: NBC begins clamp down | National Broadcasting Commission said yesterday, it would begin clamp down on any radio or television station, which broadcasts unverifiable claims of miracles from Christian Tele-evangelists (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Ban on miracle broadcast: NBC got PFN's support —acting DG | The Nigerian Broadcasting Commission, NBC, has said it got the support of the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria, PFN, and professional broadcasters across the country before it embarked on practical steps towards sanitizing the nation's airwaves even as the body refuted media reports that it has placed a blanket ban on the broadcast of religious programmes in the electronic media (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

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  • Nigerian state okays new alcohol penalties | Lawmakers in a mostly Islamic Nigerian state have approved a law calling for Muslims to be whipped and Christians to be jailed if they are caught drinking alcohol, officials said Saturday (Associated Press)

  • Christians leave Nigerian city as riot rages | Christians chased out of their homes by Muslims during bloody riots in Nigeria's northern city of Kano boarded buses to leave town as fresh clashes broke out Friday (Reuters)

  • Kano Assembly passes law on Sharia | Under the new law any Christian found consuming alcoholic drinks would be liable to one year imprisonment or an option of N50,000.00 fine or both while any Muslim caught for the same offence would be subjected to 80 lashes (Vanguard, Nigeria)

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Zimbabwe refuses food aid:

  • Bishop slams Zimbabwe food claims | One of Zimbabwe's top churchmen has criticized the government for refusing international food aid, saying the country will be left hungry (BBC)

  • Earlier: Zimbabwe halts emergency food aid | The government of Zimbabwe has told international donors that it does not need emergency food aid this year, because it expects a bumper harvest (BBC)

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  • U.N. official blames Sudan for violence | The United Nations' top human rights official charged Friday that Sudan established, armed and supported Arab militias that allegedly expelled more than a million villagers in Sudan's Darfur province and killed thousands. (Washington Post)

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Religion in India:

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U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom report:

  • Nations cited for religious abuses | A watchdog organization on religious liberties recommended yesterday that six nations be added to a State Department list of the world's worst violators of religious freedom (The Washington Times)

  • US religious group slams France for headscarf ban | A semi-official US religious freedom watchdog on Wednesday rebuked France and said it should "reassess" a controversial law banning certain religious garb in public schools, particularly Muslim headscarves (AFP)

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Global Christianity:

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Sex and human trafficking:

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Sexual ethics:

  • When hello really means bi for now | More and more young women are trying out same-sex relationships. And the last thing they want is to be pinned down by labels (The Observer, London)

  • Don't touch me there | How do you persuade teenagers there is value in virginity? Joanna Moorhead compares US-style moral pledges with British sex education, and finds few converts (The Guardian, London)

  • Virgins to campaign in Glasgow | A group of American virgins will jet into Glasgow next month to call on teenagers here to hold on to their virginity. (Glasgow Evening Times, UK)

  • Teens told a silver ring and a vow of chastity are best way to combat sexual epidemic | Worried that their children are bombarded with words, clothes and pictures that "talk dirty", six mothers are plotting a revolution against a society seen to be saturated with sex. The women, two Britons and four American expats, from Surrey, will next month launch a very American solution to the "sexual epidemic" afflicting the nation's teens - a silver ring and a vow of chastity. (The Guardian, UK)

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Chile allows divorce:

  • Chile legalizes divorce over opposition | Chile legalized divorce on Friday despite strong opposition from the Catholic Church, which warned the move would be harmful to families (Associated Press)

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Gay marriage:

  • Gay Germans settling into civil unions | 3 years into law, debate still rages on how far rights should go (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Advocates push for same-sex marriage in North Carolina | More than 50 people gathered in front of the Legislative Office Building in Raleigh on Wednesday demanding same-sex marriages be recognized in North Carolina (News14Carolina, Charlotte)

  • Ads fight same-sex union ban | The Log Cabin Republicans began an ad campaign in Colorado yesterday opposing a proposed constitutional amendment to ban homosexual "marriage" and highlighting the efforts of two Republican lawmakers who crafted the amendment (The Washington Times)

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Homosexuality & religion:

  • Feeling the wrath of Va. Baptists | Published comments on Bible, homosexuality put professor, university in hot water (The Washington Post)

  • Same-sex partner benefits suit filed | A conservative legal group filed suit Thursday against San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales in an attempt to block extension of city-paid health and welfare benefits to same-sex partners of city employees (The Mercury News, San Jose, Ca.)

  • Here to stay | We're here, we're mildly and tolerantly homophobic, get used to it! (John Derbyshire, National Review Online)

  • Turned away from the table | Gay couple told to leave Communion in Warroad parish; priest says church teaching is clear (Grand Forks Herald, N.D.)

  • Black churches are mostly silent about gay issues | The Church of God in Christ, one of the few black denominations to publicly address the issue, is headed in the opposite direction (Religion News Service)

  • Bible can also justify horrors | Despite furrowed brows and earnest pleadings, the throng of evangelical clergy and family action coalition-types who have appeared on television in opposition to gay marriages, have yet to satisfy the court of plain reason with their arguments (Tom Harpur, The Toronto Star)

  • Two men preparing to carry crosses charged with disorderly conduct | Before they could get one of their trademark 10-foot wooden crosses fastened together, two men were arrested by Dayton police officers on charges of disorderly conduct at yesterday's Gay Day gathering (The Tennessean, Nashville)

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  • Same-sex adoption negated in state | Oklahoma's governor signed legislation this week ensuring homosexual couples from other states can't force Oklahoma to list both partners' names on a child's adoptive birth certificate (The Washington Times)

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  • Court rules against lesbian egg donor | Woman gets no parental rights to twins (Marin Independent Journal, Ca.)

  • The heart's desire | More and more women are entering the fertility vortex and finding that despite themselves, they will go as far as needed, spend whatever they can scrape up, take out second and third mortgages on their homes, and travel across the country and even overseas for tests and treatments, all in the hope of becoming pregnant (The New York Times)

Ohio man told to quit fathering:

  • In Ohio, Supreme Court considers right to procreate | A man behind on child support got orders not to beget (The Washington Post)

  • Ohio judge to deadbeat dad: No more kids | NPR's Janet Babin reports on an Ohio Supreme Court judge who ruled that a "deadbeat" dad must refrain from having more children as part of his punishment for not paying child support. His attorney says the probation requirement is unreasonable (Day to Day, NPR)

  • Judge proposes vasectomy pay plan | Men who habitually fail to pay their child support and who choose to have a vasectomy may get some help paying for it under a plan being considered by the Campbell Family Court (The Kentucky Post)

  • Meet Sean Talty | Legal documents regarding the case (The Smoking Gun)

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14-year-old's abortion controversy in Britain:


  • 'If only they had seen Jack before the abortion' | Jack was born in Hereford County Hospital on April 16, 2000, a year before a late abortion was carried out at the same hospital by the same doctors for precisely the same condition (The Telegraph, London)

  • LPD probes deaths as possible abortion | Lufkin Police are investigating whether the deaths of two unborn boys Friday in Lufkin are the result of an abortion attempt by the boys' father, who has been charged with murder in the case, and mother, a police spokesman said Monday (The Lufkin Daily News, Tex.)

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Morning-after pill:

  • Should 'morning-after' pill be over-the-counter? | Religious leaders respond (Los Angeles Times)

  • 2 FDA officials urged to resign over Plan B | Lawmakers call decision political (The Washington Post)

  • The politics of contraception | Last week, the FDA decision demonstrated that our society is still terribly divided about the role of women and their sexuality in a modern society (Ruth Rosen, San Francisco Chronicle)

  • New plans | The FDA is within its rights to remain cautious about a controversial drug. But if the agency wants to preserve its reputation for making decisions based on sound science, it will stick to this proposal and grant Barr the license to sell the drug as soon as the information or a suitable plan becomes available (Editorial, The Washington Post)

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Life ethics:

  • Choosing life at all costs | When Jill Stanek began working at Christ Hospital, she assumed her duties as a nurse wouldn't conflict with her Christian values. She assumed wrong (Intelligencer Journal, Lancaster, Pa.)

  • Republicans for stem cell research | The Bush administration's restrictions on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research are so potentially damaging to medicine that they are encountering opposition even among the administration's own conservative supporters (Editorial, The New York Times)

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  • Euthanasia suspected at hospital | Fourteen in 18 suspicious deaths at a hospital in the French town of Besançon arose through "practices that can be described as euthanasia", a report leaked to the French media says (The Guardian, London)

  • Florida judge authorizes removal of feeding tube | In a strongly worded rebuke of Gov. Jeb Bush and the Florida Legislature, a state circuit court judge on Thursday struck down a law that empowered the governor to prolong the life of a severely brain-damaged woman against her husband's wishes (The New York Times)

  • Fatal prescription spurs calls to end assisted suicide | Opponents of assisted suicide say the revelation that a depressed Oregon cancer patient was prescribed lethal drugs under that state's Death With Dignity Act is reason to shut down the nation's only legal assisted-suicide program (The Washington Times)

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Catholic politicians & communion:

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  • Pro-choice legislator will leave his church | Kenny cites his conflict with Catholic teaching (The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)

  • Vatican's abortion edict a shadow over Kerry candidacy | Although reprimands from church leaders have centered on abortion, there have been no public tussles over the death penalty, also opposed by the Catholic Church (Media General News Service)

  • Kerry will cross bishops' path here | Sen. John Kerry plans to be in Denver next month. So will hundreds of Catholic bishops. The result could be a defining moment in the presidential campaign (The Denver Post)

  • Burke stays the course on Communion, other issues | Despite the concerns of some non-Catholics and Catholics alike, including Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke said Thursday that he is more convinced than ever that Catholic politicians who support policies contrary to church teaching should not be allowed to receive Holy Communion (La Crosse Tribune, Wis.)

  • Kerry takes communion on Mother's Day | Democrat John Kerry attended Mother's Day Mass on Sunday and took communion although some Roman Catholic leaders say he should not receive it because his abortion-rights stance violates church teachings (Associated Press)

  • Communion becomes a test of faith and politics | In one sense the argument is really about how you define being faithful—to religious authority, to the Constitution or to both (The New York Times)

  • Archbishop sets Eucharist rule | Oregon's Catholic leader asks those at odds with church issues to abstain from Communion (The Oregonian)


New Jersey:

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  • Newark archbishop pressures and angers officeholders over antiabortion decree | Five days after setting off an emotional bout of soul-searching among New Jersey's Roman Catholic elected officials, Archbishop John J. Myers of Newark said on Monday that he did not mean to attack anyone when he published a letter stating that it was dishonest for Catholic officeholders who favor abortion rights to receive communion (The New York Times)


  • An enlightened bishop | Howard Hubbard is right to resist the trend of denying certain politicians Communion (Editorial, The Times Union, Albany, N.Y.)

  • Denying communion | Catholic Church digging a big hole (Stu Bykofsky, Daily News, Philadelphia)

  • Wenski: No 'wafer' if you 'waffle' | Bishop speaks to pro-abortion politicians `who insist on calling themselves Catholics' (Thomas Wenski, The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Eucharist rule tests all Catholics | Neither self-interest nor money explains why a few American bishops won't serve communion to public figures who support abortion policies (Jean Torkelson, Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

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Religion & politics:

  • Attempts to legislate morality are politics, pure and simple | If you want to oppose gay marriage because of your religious beliefs, that's fine. That's your right, but don't force your beliefs on everyone else. (John Sonderegger, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Rev. Moon's curtain call | For several decades the Unification Church—not a Christian Church, but more of a theocratic movement with the Rev. Sun Myung Moon at its head—has played a significant role in supporting the Christian Right and the Republican Party (Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet)

  • Rep. King blasts Vatican over Iraq comments | U.S. Rep. Peter King expressed outrage Thursday at the claim by a top Vatican official that the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal was worse for America than the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks (Newsday)

  • Deadly sins? | For the first time in four decades, the presidential election features the "Catholic question" (Mother Jones)

  • Democrats aim for more gay delegates | Democratic parties in 15 states and Puerto Rico have set numerical goals for gays and lesbian delegates at the party's national convention this summer, double the number that set a standard in 2000 (Associated Press)

  • Calera mayor will rescind Dianetics Month proclamation | When Mayor George Roy signed a proclamation to that effect last month, he didn't know he was endorsing a controversial religious movement (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

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  • Group presses judicial hopefuls | Georgia judicial races are usually sleepers, but this year the Christian Coalition is drawing voters' attention to the candidates (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Survey to ask judges about stances on issues | Candidates to receive questionnaires from Christian Coalition of Georgia (Associated Press)

  • Campaigns push conservatism | Commissioner, legal executive seek positions to encourage a return to traditional values (The Detroit News)

  • The deepest divide: God, guns, and gays | In the struggle for swing voters, "values" issues are about to take center stage (Business Week)

  • Endorsement exposes faulty logic | With his enthusiastic endorsement of pro-choice stalwart Arlen Specter, R-Pa., pro-life champion Rick Santorum, R-Pa., has, arguably, done more for the cause of abortion rights than either Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., Tom Daschle, D-S.D., or John Kerry, D-Mass., will ever be able to achieve (Editorial, National Catholic Reporter)

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President Bush:

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War & terrorism:

  • Solace on the site of disaster | The architects who will compete to design the new St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, which was destroyed on Sept. 11, face several big challenges (The New York Times)

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  • Overdosing on Islam | Compulsive Islam has soured some Iranians on religion, and on the mullahs in particular (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

  • Group wants U.N. to take over in Iraq | The National Council of Churches, which has been highly critical of the war, acknowledged that Christians disagree on the issue, but said that giving control to the U.N. was the only way to create "lasting peace" (Associated Press)

  • Hamill hailed at Miss. church service | Former hostage Thomas Hamill was greeted with hugs from fellow churchgoers Sunday as he attended services with his family. (Associated Press)

  • "Me Christian! Me Christian!" | A chance encounter with an Iraqi priest. (National Review Online)

  • Is God on our side anymore? | Two things impressed me about the about the men of the USS Kadashan Bay: their patriotism and belief in God. (Bertrand J. Adams Sr., Juneau Empire, AK)

  • Image spurs faithful at annual visit | Deborah Cerda said she usually arrives five minutes late for Mass at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church. Yesterday, however, she was 15 minutes early for the noon Mass. The reason for her promptness was the Missionary Image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. (New Brunswick Home News Tribune, NJ)

  • Salvation Army officers reflect on Iraq mission | Salvation Army Lt. Cols. Mickey and June McLaren spent January and February in Al Amarah in southern Iraq. There, they worked to build schools, create jobs and raise the standard of living for the town's 300,000 residents. (Rockford Register Star, Ill.)

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Abu Ghraib prison:

  • No preservatives | Abu Ghraib is the fruit our culture has spent a generation preparing (Joel Belz, World)

  • General who made anti-Islam remark tied to POW case | The U.S. Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks has been linked by U.S. officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas (Reuters)

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Religion in prison:

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  • Prison system sued over religion policy | A convicted rapist has filed suit against the state prison system, claiming he isn't allowed to preach Christianity to fellow inmates (Associated Press)

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  • Religion in the News: Letting the prodigal pastor return | St. John Baptist says John T. Brown can return to his post after he finishes serving a four-year prison sentence for sexual assault charges (Associated Press)

  • Drunken priest shoots mayor dead | A Catholic priest shot to death the mayor of a town in western Mexico early on Wednesday after the pair got drunk and began punching each other during a religious festival, state officials said (Reuters)

  • 8 Mexican men sentenced in priest's death | A Mexican court sentenced eight drug-gang members to 40 years each in prison for their roles in the 1993 shooting of a Roman Catholic cardinal at a Guadalajara airport, officials said Friday (Associated Press)

  • Police satisfied priest is dead | Police say they are satisfied a priest wanted in connection with child sex abuse allegations is dead (BBC)

  • Arrest made in Madonna vandalism | Kyle Maskell wanted to be somebody (The Tampa Tribune, Fla.)

  • Fla. man charged with breaking windows | A high school senior was arrested Monday on charges he used a slingshot to shatter office windows that thousands believed bore the image of the Virgin Mary (Associated Press)

  • Teen's arrest is a shock to his friends | Those who know the teen accused of vandalizing the Virgin Mary building say he has never been destructive (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • L.A. judge throws out priest's libel suit | A judge on Wednesday threw out a libel suit filed by a Roman Catholic priest who alleged a national victims rights group defamed him by publicizing claims he molested a woman three decades ago (Associated Press)

Ponzi schemes & fraud:

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Abuse allegations:

  • Deaf pupils accuse nuns of abuse at Mass. school | Roman Catholic nuns subjected students at a Boston-area school for the deaf to sexual, physical and mental abuse — including rape — according to a lawsuit filed on Tuesday (Reuters)

  • Priest relieved of duties | The Rockford Diocese reacts to charges of sexual abuse from a female in Geneva (Rockford Register Star, Ill.)

  • Jesuit free speech plea in abuse rejected | Massachusetts's highest court ruled Thursday that a Roman Catholic order cannot claim constitutional protection of religious freedom to withhold personnel files of a priest charged with sexual abuse (Associated Press)

  • 4 claim priest abuse in suit | Class-action status against Detroit archdiocese sought (The Detroit News)

  • Priest's libel suit is dismissed | Former Los Angeles cleric had sued a victims' rights group that backed his accuser (Los Angeles Times)

  • Local priest on leave in online child sex probe | Feds, police raid offices of church (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  • Pastor jailed for sex crimes | A church minister whose charisma and "pop star" status earned him a fortune has been jailed for three and a half years for sex offences against two members of his congregation (Reuters)

  • Sex attack pastor gets three years | Douglas Goodman, who presided over Victory Christian Centre, one of Britain's largest congregations, was yesterday jailed for sex attacks on members of his flock (The Guardian, London)

Catholic church deals with scandal:

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  • Sex abuse panel says U.S. bishops manipulated it | A lay panel heading an investigation into sexual abuse in the U.S. Roman Catholic Church has accused the country's bishops of manipulating it and backsliding on promises, according to a letter made public on Tuesday (Reuters)

Denver Archbishop defends abuse reforms:

  • Chaput rebukes inquiry panel | Denver Roman Catholic Archbishop Charles Chaput has rebuked a board of prominent Catholic lay people investigating the clergy abuse scandal, suggesting the group has overstepped its bounds and issued "implicit threats." (The Denver Post)

  • Chaput rebuts letter | He defends reforms in clergy sex scandal (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Open bishop talks urged | Group targets discussions of abuse scandal (The Denver Post)

  • Watchdogs assail Chaput | Group plans to focus on bishops critical of abuse reform panel (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

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  • 'Almost a miracle' | Lucky find turns up a Catholic relic (Religion News Service)

  • Is communion a proper place for atonement? | Sacramental theology supports both a view of the sacred meal as essentially a reward for good behavior and as a means of grace for sinners (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post)

  • Virgin on Mexican wall is no miracle, church says | Mexico's Catholic Church ruled out any divine origin for an image on a hospital wall that thousands of pilgrims are flocking to venerate in the belief that it shows the country's patron saint (Reuters)

  • Church aide puts closures at 80-85 | A top aide in the Archdiocese of Boston has been privately telling audiences she meets with that she expects 80 to 85 of the 357 parishes to close this year (The Boston Globe)

  • Restoring the focus on faith | First communion: Church tones it down (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

  • Retirement means an end to ancient Mass | A Huntington Beach parish valued the 6th century service in Latin. It was used worldwide until a change in the 1960s (Los Angeles Times)

  • A new kind of feminist | Catholic roots sprout into women's movement (The Denver Post)

  • Archbishop addresses synod | Northern Ireland's Catholic and Church of Ireland archbishops have helped create trust among the two communities, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said (BBC)

  • School bars boy for late baptism | A boy who can trace his Catholic ancestry back almost 1,000 years has been barred from his local primary school for being baptised "too late" (BBC)

  • Mary getting a makeover from some experts | The Mary who is emerging isn't a meek Madonna. She is a modern, multitasking mama fighting for social justice. She is a healer. She doesn't disappear after her son is crucified. She moves his ministry forward, teaching until she is in her 50s. (The Dallas Morning News)

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  • New bishop criticized for comparing critic to convicted pedophile | The new bishop of the Springfield Diocese apologized Thursday for hurting the feelings of alleged victims of clergy sexual abuse by comparing an outspoken priest and critic of church policies to a convicted pedophile (Associated Press)

  • Bishop dissolves fund for priests | The new head of the Springfield Catholic diocese has dissolved a fund established by his predecessor for the support of priests accused of sexual misconduct, and has also removed an outspoken critic from a diocesan advisory board (Associated Press)

  • Church, state, and dinner | Catholic leaders of the New York Archdiocese are considering whether Senator John Kerry should be barred from the Al Smith dinner, one of the city's grand political events, because Mr. Kerry, a Catholic, supports abortion rights and other views at odds with church teachings. This would be regrettable since the Al Smith dinner, at its best, exemplifies pluralism and tolerance (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • A spot of paint at a church, and the art mirrors life | Since 1868, all the images of the Madonna at Our Lady of Victory, the Roman Catholic church on Throop Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, had been white. Then in 1994, along came the Rev. Martin Carter (The New York Times)

Protestants and the rosary:

Vatican warns against interfaith marriages:

  • Vatican discourages interfaith marriages | Marriages between Catholics and non-Christians should be discouraged, particularly between Catholics and Muslims, the Vatican said in an official document on immigration published on Friday (SAPA, South Africa)

  • Vatican warns Catholics against marrying Muslims | The Vatican warned Catholic women on Friday to think hard before marrying a Muslim and urged Muslims to show more respect for human rights, gender equality and democracy (Reuters)

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Christians & Jews:

  • Messianic Jews gather this weekend | This weekend, about 300 Messianic Jews will gather in Sacramento for the first Western Regional Conference of Messianic Jews, called "The Heritage of the Lord" (The Sacramento Bee)

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  • Rabbis criticize evangelicals in Israel | Prominent Israeli rabbis are for the first time speaking out against Israel's profitable alliance with evangelical Christians in the United States who have funneled tens of millions of dollars to the Jewish state (Associated Press)

  • Christian groups complain ties with Israel 'worst ever' | Christian organizations in the Holy Land say ties with the Israeli government are the worst ever and have accused Israel of denying visas to some clergy - making them unwelcome in the place of Jesus' birth (Reuters)

  • Also: Poraz promises solutions | In response to the Christian organizations' letter, Interior Minister Avraham Poraz met with church representatives yesterday and agreed on various measures to provide temporary relief until a permanent solution to the visa problem is found (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

  • Christian Zionists win Jews for GOP | Die-hard Republicans' zeal for Israel boosts party's appeal with unlikely voting block (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Judge dismisses suit claiming defamation by Jews for Jesus | Edith Rapp sued the religious movement for claiming she converted to the organization's beliefs (Associated Press)

  • Rabbi sends mixed messages on funding from Christians | The ongoing battle in the religious sector over the status of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, a fund that transfers millions of dollars a year to Israel from Christian donors around the world, has seen a new development over the past fortnight (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

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Church life:

  • Members sue church leaders 2nd time | Issues include lack of regular meetings, access to records (The Huntsville Times, Ala.)

  • Charting a new course | Some longtime members of Roanoke's First Baptist Church say they feel driven away by the recent changes under the new leadership of the Rev. James Austin (The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  • Power battle roils Greek Orthodox church | If Greek Orthodox Christians hope to retain power within their church, they need to band together and demand it, church leaders said Saturday at an Oak Brook forum (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Gower's heaven says ex-primate | Church-going villagers in an idyllic part of Wales are becoming used to seeing one of the world's most famous religious figures in their local parish (The Western Mail, Wales)

  • Assembly discusses churches' problems | The three-day Lutheran meeting in Riverside is set to talk about demanding issues (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

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Churches' changing language:

Weddings & funerals:

  • Spring thaw allows for burials in Alaska | As the spring thaw softens ground that has been frozen hard as granite by the long Alaska winter, cemeteries start burying people who died during the past seven months (Associated Press)

  • Weddings: Going to the chapel? | Church consolidation plans have sent couples scrambling for alternative wedding sites (Newsweek)

  • Bow wow vows | Should pets really have a part to play at wedding ceremonies? If they must, says Justine Hankins, but for goodness sake keep them away from the altar (The Guardian, London)

  • Aisle find a way! | It was a dream come true for the couple who are the first residents of Amberley Court private nursing home in Edgbaston to become husband and wife. (Evening Mail, UK)

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  • Church rebels over gay dean | A conservative evangelical church in Barnet made history this week by refusing to pay its diocesan 'tax' in a rebellion against the appointment of an openly gay Dean of St Albans (Barnet & Potters Bar Times, England)

  • Virginia diocese split over gay bishop | After Virginia Bishop Peter J. Lee became one of 62 bishops who voted last summer at a church convention to approve Bishop Robinson's consecration, 24 parishes staged an economic boycott of the diocese (The Washington Times)

  • Archbishop's wife urges family rethink | Jane Williams, the theologian and wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury, suggested last night that the traditional model of the family promoted by the church might be outmoded in tackling modern social problems (The Guardian, London)

  • Archbishop's wife in family values plea | Divorce and infidelity have "ravaged" British families much as war and Aids have destroyed lives in the Third World, the wife of the Archbishop of Canterbury said last night (The Telegraph, London)

  • Go forth, muscular Christians | The battle of the faithful within Anglicanism has claimed its latest victims (Chris McGillion, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Parents in tears as choir's 130 years of tradition wiped out | Is it a sign of Phillip Jensen's "antipathy towards mainstream Anglicanism"? (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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  • Response: No crusade here | There are certain matters in The Sydney Morning Herald's article about last Sunday night's meeting that require clarification (Chris Moroney, Anglican Media Sydney)

  • A prize for the best blasphemy | The Church Times has, perhaps surprisingly, been running a blasphemous caption competition (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London)

  • Female moderator promises to cast light on 'heavy' Kirk culture | "I think the church's mission is a very serious matter, but we can take ourselves too seriously on various occasions," says Alison Elliot (The Herald, Glasgow)

  • Kirk must improve links with US, says new moderator | The Church of Scotland needs to improve its transatlantic links in light of the war on terrorism, Kirk leaders warned yesterday (The Scotsman)

  • Episcopal bishop sanctioned; wed gay mate | The Episcopal Diocese of California has sanctioned a retired bishop for marrying his same-sex partner during a church ceremony in San Francisco, according to a published report (Associated Press)

  • Bishop disciplined for same-sex union | The Episcopal Diocese of California has punished a retired bishop for marrying his same-sex partner at a church ceremony last month in San Francisco. (Associated Press)

Former Archbishop Lord Carey:

Online church:

  • First web-pastor appointed | The Church of England has appointed its first web pastor to oversee a new parish that will exist only on the net (BBC)

  • In cyberspace, can anyone hear you pray? | Churches are having to use their imagination to attract new members. The 3D virtual-reality Church of Fools is just one idea, but does it have any chance of building a congregation? (BBC)

  • 3D church opened to woo Internet faithful | Christians in Britain opened a zany 3D Internet church on Tuesday, billed as a first chance for believers to log on and worship interactively (Reuters)

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Christian schools:

  • Judge rules in favor of Heartland | A federal judge has ruled Heartland Christian Academy "suffered irreparable harm" from two Northeast Missouri juvenile officers and issued a permanent injunction against juvenile officer Mike Waddle in a 163-page opinion released Tuesday (Quincy Herald-Whig, Mo.)

  • Judge bars future raids of Christian reform school | U.S. District Judge E. Richard Webber issued the permanent injunction Tuesday in a 163-page opinion favoring northeast Missouri's nondenominational Heartland Christian Academy (Associated Press)

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  • Churches warn on faith schools | Church schools set up to serve a social mix of children will become "uncontrollably middle class" if the government presses on with moves to charge for school bus travel, MPs were warned yesterday (The Guardian, London)

  • Southern Baptists eye exiting public schools | A resolution urging Southern Baptists to remove their children from public schools has been proposed by an Alexandria man for the denomination's annual convention in Indianapolis next month (The Washington Times)

  • Making the case for parochial schools | Sending a child to parochial school isn't always easy. Tuition can be steep. The environment can be insular. But if they gave parochial education a serious look, countless American parents would find that the values it promotes are their values, and the truth it inculcates is their truth (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

School prayer:


  • District 4 discusses religion at school | Anderson School District 4 workers were told they have to remain neutral in any religious expression at school or when they act in an official capacity (Associated Press)

  • Teacher who spoke of religion back on job | Anderson District 4 Superintendent Gary Burgess said Monday that Jean Byce would remain a teacher's assistant, but switched her to a fifth-grade classroom (Associated Press)

  • Making a difference | Nonprofit group brings Christian education to children, among its other good works (The News-Sentinel, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

  • Accommodating Muslims in public school: where to draw the line? | If at all possible, no American of any faith should have to choose between following conscience and enjoying benefits of public education (Charles Haynes, First Amendment Center)

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  • No degree for White House speaker | Mount St. Mary's College says it has withdrawn an honorary degree promised to its commencement speaker, White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, amid a faculty-led protest over his support for the death penalty (Associated Press)

  • Commencement speakers assailed | Conservative Catholics lobby schools (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Colo. governor signs college voucher plan | The money can go to religious schools, as long as they are not "pervasively sectarian" (Associated Press)

  • Gays 1, phobes 0 | The passion of the Westminster school board (R. Scott Moxley, OC Weekly)


  • Reading, 'riting, reverence | Many Christian home school parents think schools separate learning from its religious roots (The Toronto Star)

  • Home schooling: Risky course | One thing that has never sat well with me is the concept of home-schooling children for religious reasons (Jason Alston, The Daily Dispatch, Henderson, N.C.)

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Church & state:

  • Monument shalt go | The Duluth City Council agrees to settle the lawsuit that demands removal of the much-debated Ten Commandments monument from city property (Duluth News Tribune, Minn.)

  • Ten Commandments suit wears on Wash. town | Everett has spent close to six figures defending itself against a lawsuit that seeks $1 in punitive damages and the removal of a Ten Commandments monument from the front of the police station (Associated Press)

  • It may take prayer to stop these folks | Until recently, I have found it hard to believe that anyone could get elected around here who thinks the Minnesota religion could be anything other than worshiping the Minnesota Vikings. But I have had my head in the sand (Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Marriage ban legit, but not for religious reasons | "Because it's in the Bible" is never a good enough reason for passing restrictive laws in a secular society (John Bogner, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

  • 'Under God,' and under the Constitution | Nation's pledge can coexist with the freedom to remain silent (Kenneth W. Starr, Los Angeles Times)

  • La Mesa council to continue invocation | But no sectarian prayer will be said (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  • Founders thanked God, so modern lawmakers can, too | the fact that there is a Creator and that we owe a duty to the Creator is accepted by the founders as a truth. There is a Creator under our Constitution  (Bob Kleve, Grand Forks Herald, N.D.)

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  • The Church … or the ship of state? | Sunday was a big day at our house. Michael Jr. had his first holy communion. As a parent, I was very proud. But as a lawyer, I was a little worried (Michael Smerconish, Philadelphia Daily News)

  • Religious literature allowed in city buildings | Leaflets with religious references are permitted in Honolulu's government buildings, under a settlement reached in a lawsuit that the Hawaii Civil Rights Commission had declined to pursue (Pacific Business News)

  • Turkey orders sermons on women's rights | Reforms preached in 70,000 mosques (Chicago Tribune)

  • Hallelujah! Shops sell booze before Sunday lunch | To the thousands of Scots who prefer a supermarket trolley to a church pew on Sunday mornings it has been a constant source of irritation, an unwelcome reminder of the nation's Presbyterian past (Scotland on Sunday)

Religion & politics in Canada:

  • Judge Harper's policies, not his religion | Conservative Party leader Stephen Harper says the federal Liberals are trying to paint him as a religious zealot. He says that's bigotry, and he's right (Editorial, Ottawa Citizen)

  • Canada breeds religious acrimony | The Canada we knew 20 years ago really must be dead. Montreal's Gazette reported this weekend that Canadians now expect religion — religion! — to be the greatest source of social conflict in Canada in the coming years (Colby Cosh, The National Post, Canada)

  • Devout Liberal MPs ask Martin to condemn party tactics on religion | Devout Liberal MPs are appalled by their party's attempt to demonize the Conservatives as a bunch of extreme religious zealots and are urging Prime Minister Paul Martin to repudiate the "inappropriate" and "hypocritical" election tactic (Canadian Press)

  • Canada breeds religious acrimony | The Canada we knew 20 years ago really must be dead. Montreal's Gazette reported this weekend that Canadians now expect religion — religion! — to be the greatest source of social conflict in Canada in the coming years. (National Post, Canada)

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Religious freedom:

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Nativity scene in Palm Beach:

  • No deal on Nativity in Palm Beach | Despite six hours of negotiations, the town of Palm Beach and two residents failed to settle a lawsuit over placing a Nativity scene on Royal Poinciana Way (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  • What childishness is this | You would think that a dispute over a Nativity scene that began before Christmas would have been settled by Easter (Editorial, Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

Witch threatens suit:

  • Mayor spared a hex debt | A witch support group has dropped its action against a suburban mayor after he denied saying the local witches were evil (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Earlier: Witch to sue mayor | Taxpayers will foot a $50,000 bill so that a transgender "witch" may sue a suburban mayor for outing her (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)

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Marilyn Manson to play Jesus?

Film & theater:

  • 'Saved!' tackles faith through teenagers' eyes | To me, "Saved!" is a love note to faith, fairly simple and a little confused (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • 'Passion' DVD due Aug. 31 | Gibson has said in interviews that he may let the movie stand on its own on the DVD, but the Pax network ran a primetime special on the making of the movie that could be included. It featured Gibson and most of the cast and crew on the set and in subsequent interviews similar to those typically featured in DVD bonus features (Variety)

  • Divine DVD | ''Passion'' DVD sets Aug. 31 release date. Expect few, if any extras (Entertainment Weekly)

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  • Zondervan to distribute 'Passion' video to Christian bookstores | The world's largest publisher of the Bible will help Christians take home the "Passion" (Associated Press)

  • Faith, fact, and fiction | The controversial Mel Gibson film on Christ's last hours opens in India, even as a best-selling novel challenges orthodox Christianity's perceived misogyny (Frontline, India)

  • Debating the existence of God - while doing backflips | Most theatergoers don't expect to get a lesson in moral philosophy with their Playbill. But one of Broadway's recent additions offers enlightenment - with a dash of three-ring circus (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Hollywood missing the point with 'religious' movie | "The Passion" speaks reverently about the central figure of the Christian faith. "Saved!" appears to mock Him, or at least satirize His followers, portraying them as hypocrites and superficial dunderheads, which is how most of Hollywood sees Christians (Cal Thomas)

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  • True love waits | There is more to Rebecca St James than simply keeping her pants on (Anna Smyth, The Scotsman)

  • Music piracy is wrong, any way you cut it | As computer-impaired as I am, I know enough about right and wrong to know what to call self-professed Christians who go to church Sunday morning, then download free tunes Sunday night (Ken Garfield, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • A full-power Bach 'Passion' | You didn't need Leonardo da Vinci's "Last Supper" or a big-screen Crucifixion scenario to be instantly drawn into the saga of Jesus's last days when J. Reilly Lewis led the Washington Bach Consort on Sunday in Bach's "St. Matthew Passion" (The Washington Post)

  • We know Bono's Christian by his love | Can we get off this jag of downgrading a guy for some four letter words and a little drinking, when basically he's spent most of his life in the excessive world of rock 'n' roll standing up for bedrock Christian principles such as caring for the impoverished and oppressed (Rich Copley, Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  • He dares to be radical | Calvin Wilby, more commonly known as Prodigal Son, has distinguished himself in the gospel music industry as the radical Christian, who is determined to use his talents as a hardcore deejay to preach and spread the gospel (Jamaica Gleaner)

  • Gospel music going in the wrong direction | Gospel singer and songwriter, Patrick Coombs has a strong warning for greedy gospel singers who step on others in their search for the almighty dollar, and it is contained in his new release, called A Spiritual Protest (The Jamaica Observer)

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  • Radio talk show host reflects the good side of sports | "This is not a Christian sports show," says Frank Giardina of Sports Spectrum. "It is a sports talk show that features Christians" (The Grand Rapids Press)

  • Seeking an amen from admen | Some industry executives wonder whether there can be too much of a God thing, whether Dwight Howard's public expression of his beliefs might give pause to companies who otherwise would quickly sign him to multi-million dollar product endorsement deals (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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  • Prophecy theory | Local Christian author believes the war in Iraq is part of the 'last days' as described in the Bible (Norwich Bulletin, Ct.)

  • Abortion, the family enhancer? | Liza Mundy reviews Beyond Choice: Reproductive Freedom in the 21st Century by Alexander Sanger (The Washington Post)

  • On the da Vinci trail | Three tour companies, at least, have grabbed onto the very popular coattails of Dan Brown's novel (The New York Times)

  • A litany of horrors | Paul Baumann, editor of Commonweal magazine, reviews Our Fathers: The Secret Life of the Catholic Church in an Age of Scandal by David France (The Washington Post)

  • The spiritual revolution that changed the political configuration of Europe | Michael Dirda reviews The Reformation: A History by Diarmaid MacCulloch (The Washington Post)

  • 'I dare you' | Madeleine L'Engle on God, "The DaVinci Code" and aging well (Newsweek)

  • Growing up in a one-church town | Imagine the rebellious hero of J. D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye set down in Manitoba Mennonite country and you are on the way to understanding the black humour of Miriam Toews's latest novel (The Globe and Mail, Canada)

  • Christian fiction | Thrillers, romance, science fiction are all part of growing book market (The Express-Times, Bethlehem, Pa.)

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NPR covers new religions:

  • New religions, part I: A survey | As religions adapt and arise to reflect the changing times, NPR begins a four part series on new religious movements. NPR's Barbara Bradley Hagerty introduces the series with a look at the trends, and why new religions may be influential, even if short lived (All Things Considered, NPR)

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  • New religions, part II: Toronto Blessing | NPR's series on new religious movements continues today with the fastest growing Christian church. The Toronto Blessing is a Pentecostal church, in which the worshippers display a personal, physical connection with God through manifestations such as speaking in tongues and barking like dogs (All Things Considered, NPR)

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  • Northwest seen as 'unchurched' yet religious | While fewer people in the Northwest than anywhere else in the country say they belong to a religious institution, most here do identify with some religious tradition, according to a new book examining faith in Washington, Oregon and Alaska (Seattle Times)

  • Pilgrims flock to Texas town to view Jesus image | Religious pilgrims have come to this Robstown, Texas, by the hundreds to glimpse an image of Jesus they say is weeping inside a wood-framed house (Associated Press)

  • A piercing question when it comes to body adornments | While many in the industry say most people get pierced for fashion reasons, there are those for whom piercing holds spiritual, if not religious, connotations. (The Delaware County Times, Penn.)

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National Day of Prayer:

  • What would Jesus do? It's a good question | This is America, so even a National Day of Prayer must become a spectacle (Mike Lafferty, The Orlando Sentinel)

  • In Your name, Lord, we prey | Lord, I'm sorry I missed last week's National Day of Prayer. It looked like a rally of evangelical conservatives pushing a political agenda. (Jim Spencer, Denver Post)

  • Nearer whose God? | The National Day of Prayer Task Force may limit its proceedings to whomever it wishes. But that doesn't mean it was wise to do so (Editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Praying in the USA | Where the National Day of Prayer comes from—and where it's going (Erin Montgomery, The Weekly Standard)

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  • A Bible with no thees and not a lot of shes | Edwin Blum, the general editor of the Holman Christian Standard Bible, spent nearly eight years poring over every jot and tittle from Genesis to Revelation (Religion News Service)

  • Speech patterns | Familiar biblical passages in different translations (The Dallas Morning News)

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  • Moderation in all things | For a pioneer, Dr Alison Elliot has a surprisingly bemused air (The Scotsman)

  • Going his way | Death comes to the monsignor (William McGurn, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Woman mauled by lion tells church of ordeal |  'Is this real, or is it a nightmare?' Anne Hjelle says she wondered during the attack as she rode a mountain bike in an Orange County park (Los Angeles Times)

Prince Charles examines Eastern Orthodoxy:

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Mormon temple in Manhattan:

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  • Modern Mormonism | Membership is increasing — and diversifying — as a new temple opens in Manhattan (Newsday)

More articles:

  • Religion news in brief | Trying to postpone the ELCA's gay vote, Ivory Coast denomination becomes part of United Methodist Church, Muslim families to sue over alleged mistreatment of pupils, and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Religion news in brief | National Review Board leader will depart next month, Bishops who defied Episcopal Church rules set conditions for meeting colleagues, Greek church head is defiant in dispute with world Orthodox leader, Christian leaders, peace activists denounce 'Christian Zionism,' and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Devilish digits | Marc Abrahams reveals mathematical proof that Mikhail Gorbachev is the Antichrist (The Guardian, London)

  • Sacred spaces: government lands and religion | Summer takes vacationers to government parks and historic sites where religion and history sometimes clash, raising the question, "Whose history is it, anyway?" (ReligionLink , Religion Newswriters Association)

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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