No commentary today. Too many links.

Nigeria riots:

  • Nigeria leader declares state of emergency | The declaration gives President Olusegun Obasanjo sweeping powers and he immediately exercised them by replacing the elected governor with a former military general and dissolving the state legislature (Associated Press)

  • Apologize now, CAN tells Obasanjo | Christian leaders in Plateau State at the weekend demanded an unreserved apology from President Olusegun Obasanjo for his attack on the Church (Daily Champion, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Obasanjo should apologize to Christians—CAN | Chairman of Christian Association (CAN) Plateau State Branch, Reverend Yakubu Pam, has demanded an apology from President Olusegun Obasanjo over the derogatory language used on the association on Thursday in Jos, Plateau State (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Lawmaker supports Obasanjo over abuse on religious leaders | The senator representing Plateau South district, Mr. Cosmos Niangwan, has risen to the defence of President Olusegun Obasanjo over his verbal attack on religious leaders in Jos last week, saying the president was provoked by them (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • CAN president appeals for peace in Kano, Plateau | Emphasising the need for understanding, Peter Akinola said Nigerians should see themselves as one and love each other (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Yelwa, Kano Riots: Obasanjo, the Target—Rev. Akinola | The President of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Most Reverend Jasper Peter Akinola, has said that recent ethno-religious crises in Plateau and Kano States were not a war against the church but the leadership of the nation under President Olusegun Obasanjo (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • CAN faults police on death toll | Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Kano State chapter has faulted official claim that only 30 people were killed during the religious crisis that engulfed Kano last week, just as over 10,000 displaced people scattered around the refugee camps and churches have refused to accept relief materials from the state government (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • We'll never forget these evils, victims lament | For two consecutive days, a heavy pall of smoke and sadness enveloped Kano, just as relics of bonfires littered the streets in those troubled spots. But the ugly face of the riots that left the ancient city in utter ruins, is more on display today at different military barracks where the fear-filled residents especially non-indigenes had run to take refuge (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

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  • Nigeria police attacked over Kano | The New York-based group Human Rights Watch says Nigerian police have used "excessive force" in the northern city of Kano (BBC)

  • Kano riots: Non-natives shun calls to return | Scores of non-natives who fled their homes in Kano during last week mayhem are yet to return despite assurances by the state government and traditional rulers that they are safe (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • The Plateau and other crises | On Tuesday last week, a presidential committee on the incessant crises in Plateau State submitted its report to President Olusegun Obasanjo at the Aso Villa. One remarkable point made while the report was being submitted was that ethnicity or the "indigene-settler" question and religion were usually at the bottom of most of the crises (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Ethno-religious crises: A polity endangered? | Hundreds have been killed, thousands displaced, and it is not a time for recriminations. But that is exactly when Matthew Okikiolakan Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo, President and Commander-in-Chief, chooses to accuse the leader of a side of idiocy (Jide Ajani, Vanguard, Nigeria)

  • Killing in the name of religion | What's going on in Plateau State (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • How ethno-religious crisis again shattered Kano | How a demonstration became a riot (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Madness in the north | The long chain of victims continues to grow by the day, threatening a major humanitarian disaster (Sylvester Asoya, The News, Lagos, Nigeria)

War & terrorism:

  • Hezbollah's passion play | The Hezbollah-backed TV channel, Al Manar, in Lebanon, has adapted the trailer for the film The Passion of the Christ into a station ident reflecting the channel's anger over events in Iraq (BBC)

  • Leaders of many faiths condemn violence in Iraq | Area religious leaders representing Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths issued a joint statement Monday condemning brutality in Iraq (Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.)

  • Should Bush ask Pope's pardon for Iraq war? | Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez says he should (Reuters)

  • Related: A pope & a president | A meeting of the minds and hearts (Michael Novak, National Review Online)

  • Seeking spirituality amid war | Navy chaplain Joseph Estabrook works with personnel from all services to instill ethical standards (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

  • On war and Christianity | The war in Iraq is putting our Christianity to its toughest test (George Plagenz, Williamson County Review Appeal, Franklin, Tenn.)

  • War sows divide among clergy | Horrific events in Iraq in recent weeks raise questions about the morality of war, the role religion plays in U.S. policy decisions and the need for reconciliation, some Inland and national religious leaders said (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

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Prisoner abuse scandal:

U.S. prison life:

  • Improvements to U.S. prisons sought | The spotlight on abuse of detainees at a U.S. military prison in Iraq has spurred hopes that some attention will spill over to prisons stateside, where reformers say get-tough policies and public indifference have let longstanding problems fester (Associated Press)

  • Minister seeks communion wine for inmates | Jesus didn't drink grape juice at the Last Supper. A Wisconsin minister says jail inmates who want to take Holy Communion shouldn't either (Associated Press)


  • Minister guilty in attempted grand larceny | The Rev. Carrie Wilson to get a year in jail for pocketing thousands in shelter scam (Newsday)

  • Test of two faiths | A lot of people, it seems, have something to say about a troubled boy and a virgin mother - and about forgiveness and punishment as well (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • Pray for thieves—with your eyes open | Over the last year, by my count, there have been more than 60 police reports filed by churches in the metro area whose properties have been robbed, trespassed, burglarized, broken into or vandalized (Mike Nichols, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

  • Starks faces death in murder | Windgap man charged with kidnapping, killing estranged fiancée at church and trying to shoot the pastor (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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Religious liberty in Pakistan:

  • Pakistan ruler wants review of strict Islamic laws | Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf called on Saturday for a review of controversial Islamic laws that human rights groups say are discriminatory against women and non-Muslim minorities (Reuters)

  • Kidnapped Christian preacher in Pakistan returns | A Christian preacher abducted in southwestern Pakistan escaped from his captors and reached the capital, Islamabad, police and friends said on Tuesday (Reuters)

  • Earlier: Christian preacher feared kidnapped in Pakistan | Pentecostal preacher was feared kidnapped in Pakistan on Sunday, apparently by an unknown Islamic militant group after he disappeared in the southwestern city of Quetta, his friends and family said (Reuters)

  • Also: Christians form action committee for priest's release | Members of the Christian community announced the formation of an action committee on Monday to expedite efforts for the release of Father Wilson Fazal who was allegedly kidnapped on Sunday (The Daily Times, Pakistan)

Religious liberty in Canada:

  • Canada's anti-gay violence law worries some | Some of Canada's religious leaders are worried about the recent passage of a national law that makes it illegal to advocate violence against gays and lesbians (Fox News)

  • Stop Christian-bashing | The Liberal Party of Canada would never dream of asking Canadians whether they'd be "more or less likely to vote for the Conservatives if you knew they had been taken over by Jews?" Or, say, "Muslims." Why, then, do the Liberals see nothing wrong with making evangelical Christians the subject of their scare-mongering? (Editorial, The National Post)

Religious liberty elsewhere:

  • AICU to demand Christians' rights from Govt | The national vice president of All India Catholic Union, John Dayal said on Monday that they would impress upon the new Congress-led government to legislate the laws that would ensure equality to the community (The Times of India)

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  • China reportedly detains two priests | Authorities in northern China detained two priests from the underground Roman Catholic Church as they were about to begin classes on natural birth control and theology, a Connecticut-based lobby group said Monday (Associated Press)

  • French law means Sikhs can't wear turbans | Sikh school boys must exchange their turbans for hair nets when a new law banning religious apparel in public schools takes effect in September, France's education minister said Monday (Associated Press)

  • Americans are fanatical about freedom of speech | We are a nation of gentle fanatics. Our commitment to the ultimate freedom of religion—that is, freedom of speech—is more deeply embedded in our worship, our prayers, and our skepticisms than our political leaders, liberal or conservative, would have us believe (Jeff Sharlet, The Dallas Morning News)

  • Census highlights divide on religious discrimination | Most Britons who belong to a minority religion believe that enough is being done to tackle religious discrimination, but only half of UK Christians agree, according to data published today (4NI, Northern Ireland)

  • Faith on trial | America not immune to religious intolerance (The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

  • Religions find city accepting | There is so much religious diversity in the Fort Wayne area that some members of various faiths say discrimination isn't a problem (The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

Religion & politics:

  • Evangelicals play canary in culture-war coal mine | Evangelicals' Rodney Dangerfield attitude is precisely what's driving the culture war, which keeps the electoral map divided into red (Republican) and blue (Democratic) states. People on different sides of issues like abortion think their views are mainstream, while the "other people" are the problem. And those "other people" give them no respect (William McKenzie, The Dallas Morning News)

  • Strip club owner invokes a sign from above to criticize president | "Is Bush the Antichrist?" he asks (Ernest Hooper, St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • Political passion | Bush's support for a gay-marriage ban marriage is unrealistic pandering to religious conservatives. But it could energize the Dems more than the GOP (Eleanor Clift, Newsweek)

  • Bush's Bible belt | Ole Miss students vote Republican as a matter of faith (Newsweek)

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  • Bush plugs religion-oriented initiatives | Instead of ignoring religious charities and other organizations, "this country will encourage … good works in every way we can," Bush said in a commencement speech at Concordia University in Wisconsin (Associated Press)

  • No place to stand | When you're Christian, progressive, and "pro-life," voting your conscience is often easier said than done (Sojourners)

  • Beware the self-fulfilling prophesies of millenarians | The propaganda of Islamists notwithstanding, the problem with how the United States conducts its foreign policy today is not too little, but too much religion (The Daily Star, Beirut, Lebanon)

  • Prolife Democrats? | There are millions of votes at stake in this liberal miscalculation (Jim Wallis, Sojourners)

  • A matter of faith | Scripture-based activism on the rise as 'Religious Left' strives for a comeback (Daily Camera, Boulder, Co.)

  • Values eroded: Barnett | Opposition Leader Colin Barnett has challenged Premier Geoff Gallop to a "presidential style" election campaign fought on family values (The Sunday Times, Australia)

  • The 'God-gap' | President George W. Bush is a man who's not afraid to declare his personal faith in Jesus Christ. Most of the president's opponents and supporters can at least agree about that. But the manner in which Bush's faith shapes his worldview and, therefore, public policy continues to spark debate (The Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  • Christians must not shirk the duty they have to vote | Fight the popular notion that the `safe' thing to do is abstain (Michael Eudy, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • President right to practice his faith | It is a frightening thing to have a political leader, especially one who hopes to be president, say that a religion cannot instruct its people in what to do publicly (J. Larry Hood, Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  • Kerry's grandfather left Judaism behind in Europe | Kerry said he did not know his paternal grandfather was Jewish until a reporter for The Boston Globe told him last year that it had been discovered by a genealogist in Vienna who scoured church records from the Austro-Hungarian empire (The New York Times)

  • Wilson, FDR, Truman, Bush | A "messianic militarist" in the White House? It's happened before (Joseph Loconte, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Law, religion mix at conference | A Washington conference on the legal issues facing religious organizations, including the way they are taxed, their connections to terrorist activities and whether they should receive government funding, is slated for Wednesday and Thursday (The Washington Times)

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Communion & politics:

Life ethics:

  • A baby, or cash back | Some IVF centers offer risk-sharing deals (The Washington Post)

  • Abortion boyfriend 'wanted baby' | The 14-year-old boyfriend of a schoolgirl who had an abortion without her mother's consent wanted to keep the baby, it has emerged (BBC)

  • Opposition to condoms | The administration is using pseudoscience to justify siphoning AIDS prevention funds into programs that promote abstinence alone (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Archbishop hits at abortion lobbyists | Catholic Archbishop Ndingi Mwana a'Nzeki has reacted angrily to calls to legalize abortion in the country (The East African Standard, Nairobi)

  • Church clarifies on condom use | The Church of Uganda has clarified that it allows the use of condoms among married couples only (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Bush letter sees promise of stem cells | The Bush administration has acknowledged that additional lines, or colonies, of embryonic stem cells could speed scientific research, a statement that advocates for patients say could mark the first step toward easing limits on taxpayer financing for the studies (The New York Times)

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Church & state:

  • Homegrown radical extreme | Digging at America's constitutional underpinnings (Editorial, Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fla.)

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  • Court oaths draw anger | District Court judge criticized by Lake, other court officials (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)

  • Irish PM sees 'no possibility of a compromise' on Christian reference | Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, yesterday said that he did not see the possibility of a compromise with regard to the reference of the Christian Heritage in the EU Constitution (The Malta Independent)

  • Bible verse to remain on fire truck | Mayor allows it to stay because it makes no mention of God (Chronicle-Tribune, Marion, Ind.)

  • Council settles Nativity lawsuit | The Nativity lawsuit was settled Friday, with the town giving Maureen Donnell and Fern deNarvaez $1 each in "nominal damages," reimbursing their attorneys $50,000 in fees and apologizing for delaying action on their request (Palm Beach Daily News, Fla.)

  • Ten Commandments hauled away from city hall | A block of granite that withstood 47 years of nature's elements couldn't stand up to federal judge's order (Duluth News Tribune, Minn.)

  • Bringing the Bible to school | Extremists dominate debate, but the center offers rational view on religion in the classroom (Stephen R. Haynes, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • They bring God to the Capitol | Over the past two weeks, the Capitol has become a House of Prayer, with an estimated 1,000 fervent Christians standing a shift for the Lord in the center of secular government. And they really stand (Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Surprise! Most say change the pledge | Somewhat to my surprise, most of those responding to this week's Burning Question want "under God" taken out of the Pledge of Allegiance (David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)


  • Unitarian group denied tax status | According to the office of Texas Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn, a Denison Unitarian church isn't really a religious organization—at least for tax purposes. Its reasoning: the organization "does not have one system of belief" (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • Workshop aims to discover the Word on taxes | The Bible may have more to say about taxes and justice than "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's" (The Oregonian)

Public prayer:

  • Jesus' name banned | In deeply religious Porterville, the name of Jesus Christ is now banned from prayers that open City Council meetings, and a Lindsay ban probably is on the way (The Porterville Recorder, Ca.)

  • Keep prayers neutral | Settlement moot if limits not enforced (Editorial, Bradenton Herald, Fla.)

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School integration:


Southern Baptists propose school boycott:

  • Exodus? Hey, public schools are on Baptists' side | It would be big news if the Southern Baptist Convention approved a resolution for all Southern Baptists to pull their children out of public schools. But here's what would be bigger news. If the SBC answered that urge, it would be renouncing an essential principle that Baptists helped sculpt in making the United States a beacon of religious freedom (John Young, Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

  • School-withdrawal call raises concerns among local Baptists | Some local Baptist pastors have expressed opposition to a proposed Southern Baptist Convention resolution that calls for removing all children of Baptists from what it labeled "godless" public schools (The Allen American, Tex.)

  • Convention doesn't speak for all Baptists | A proposal to have Christians yank their children out of public schools is on the agenda of the Southern Baptist Convention, which meets June 15 and 16 in Indianapolis (Rick Badie, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Finding Baptists who support mandate could be tough | Out of the 16 million Southern Baptist members in America, two members came up with the "Exodus Mandate" idea (News 9, Oklahoma City)

Church life:

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  • Ambassador Auditorium is sold | Harvest Rock Church and Maranatha High School buy that and other buildings on the 13-acre site in Pasadena (Los Angeles Times)

  • Sunday school class features famous teacher, huge crowds | Welcome to Plains, Ga., idyllic home of the world's most famous Sunday school teacher — former President Jimmy Carter (Religion News Service)

  • Church dispute spills onto Internet | Web site airs accusations of impropriety by pastor (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Ministering to the masses | Technology and showmanship combine to bring thousands every week into megachurches like Fellowship in Grapevine (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • De-emphasizing the denomination | Churches lack denominational titles for two main reasons: to attract new members and to jettison controversies or misconceptions associated with a particular denomination (News & Record, Greensboro, N.C.)

  • A teacher and a preacher | Academic from Fuller Seminary takes over as senior pastor at Emmanuel Evangelical church (Burbank Leader, Ca.)

  • Services fit for an arena | Number of megachurches drawing thousands of worshipers each weekend swells (The Washington Post)

  • Driver plows into parishioners in N.J. | A 72-year-old driver plowed into parishioners exiting a communion service, seriously injuring two women and a girl and nearly crushing an infant, police said (Associated Press)

  • Restoring the cupolas of a landmark cathedral | The five copper onion domes of the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Transfiguration of Our Lord at 228 North 12th Street in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, are being reclad as part of a $1.2 million restoration (The New York Times)

  • Service helps heal Russian Orthodox rift | Christians have attended an open-air service outside Moscow marking another step forward in improved relations between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia (BBC)

  • Controversial pastor begins new legacy | Views on salvation, homosexuality led to split from RCA (Grand Haven Tribune, Mi.)

  • Onward, Christian soldier | The presumed new head of the Southern Baptist Convention was brought back to his faith by a combat brush with death in Vietnam. Today, a sense of spiritual warfare continues to guide him (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Bishop denounced from the heavens | Police in central Greece were searching for a runaway monk and a retired army officer yesterday after they flew over the city of Larissa at the weekend in a microlight, dropping leaflets denouncing the local bishop (The Times, London)

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  • First minister makes Kirk history | First Minister Jack McConnell has delivered a historic speech to the Church of Scotland's General Assembly, becoming the first person in his post to address the annual gathering on The Mound in Edinburgh (BBC)

Online church:

  • Cyber church: Now God goes online | In a new non-denominational virtual church, you can log on and come dressed in your cartoon best to worship and attend services (CNN)

  • Services at the First Church of Cyberspace | Richard Chartres, Anglican bishop of London, is not used to having congregants wandering around in front of him swearing as he preaches. Then again, he does not normally transform himself into a three-dimensional computer image in an imaginary sanctuary as he did Tuesday to deliver a sermon to animated representations of churchgoers (The New York Times)

Anglican Communion:

Women in ministry:

  • Congregations keep faith with women priests | Women priests are now almost fully accepted by worshippers in the Church of England, although one in five male clergy still opposes female ordination, according to a report (The Times, London)

  • The lament of the Magdalene, a scorned woman in another time | To mark the ordination of women, the Archbishop of Canterbury imagined the frustration and hope of the other Mary (Ruth Gledhill, The Times, London)

  • Kirk inducts woman to top post | The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has confirmed its first ever female moderator (BBC)

  • Female Moderator must breathe fire back into the Kirk | For Christians it is appalling that Scotland is to all intents and purposes no longer a Christian country, and that so many of our young people - probably the great majority - have no idea whatsoever of the basic teaching of Jesus Christ. For many non-Christians it is equally appalling that the Kirk has so little confidence that it has lost the will to speak out on all sorts of issues (Harry Reid, The Scotsman)

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Homosexuality & religion:

  • Black clergy gathering to fight gay matrimony | Conservative evangelical groups—including the Christian men's movement, Promise Keepers—are mobilizing African American church leaders for a renewed campaign against same-sex marriage (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Thou shalt bite thy tongue | Christian groups fear they will be muzzled by changes to hate propaganda laws to protect gays. They fear being called homophobes (The Toronto Star)

  • Baylor student disciplined for gay rights rally | A Baylor University student who organized an off-campus gay rights rally graduated Saturday, but he says he doubts he would have received his diploma if he had not admitted violating the Baptist school's conduct code (Associated Press)

  • Luther, love, and Gloria Gaynor | The debate about homosexuality is about a great deal more than sex. It is about the nature of God's love for human beings, and has much in common with debates that drove the Reformation (Giles Fraser, The Guardian, London)

  • Rebel parish to fund 'cure' for homosexuals | A parish disgruntled by the appointment of Canon Jeffrey John as the Dean of St Alban's will divert thousands of pounds it normally sends to central Church funds to a Christian charity that seeks to "cure" homosexuals (The Telegraph, London)

  • Gays find a spiritual oasis | Northeastside church is largest of its kind in Midwest (The Indianapolis Star)

UMC lesbian pastor remains on leave:

UMC & homosexuality:

Gay marriage (describing yesterday's ceremonies):

  • Gay wedding day in Massachusetts | Laughter, tears at rites for couples who sued to be able to marry (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Some couples avoid 3-day wait to wed | Gay couples who arrived at courts around the state yesterday smiling, holding hands, some carrying single long-stem roses, were ushered before judges more accustomed to navigating the tense issues of divorce and child custody than the joyful rush to marry (The Boston Globe)

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  • From this day, paired for life | The wedding of Wilson and Compton, one of seven couples who sued Massachusetts for the right to marry their partners, was among the first to be held in a church or temple on the day gay marriage became legal in Massachusetts (The Boston Globe)

  • 'It was a new experience for us' | As the world's attention focused on Cambridge and Boston, on protests and tears and vows, gay marriage arrived in the 351 cities and towns of Massachusetts yesterday morning in the most routine of ways: the act of filling out paperwork and filing it away (The Boston Globe)

  • Wedding day | First gays marry; many seek licenses (The Boston Globe)

  • Altared state | After decades of courting and waiting, same-sex couples line up early for a marriage made in Massachusetts (The Washington Post)

  • Gay couples marry in Massachusetts | Hundreds tie knot on day one, but questions remain (The Washington Post)

  • Gay couples tie the knot in Massachusetts | On the first day of legal same-sex marriages, hundreds apply for licenses and a few obtain waivers so they can wed immediately (Los Angeles Times)

  • Same-sex couples marry in Massachusetts | Yet even as champagne corks popped and confetti swirled, opponents of such unions declared their determination to fight back (Associated Press)

  • Homosexuals 'marry' in Massachusetts | Yesterday's events were a culmination of a three-year battle to legalize same-sex "marriage" in the state led by plaintiffs Hillary and Julie Goodridge (The Washington Times)

  • Hundreds of same-sex couples wed in Massachusetts | Hundreds of couples streamed into city halls on Monday, when the state became the first to allow gay marriages (The New York Times)

  • Survey finds women in majority | Two-thirds of the gays who applied for marriage licenses yesterday were women, half of the couples had been together for at least a decade, and an enormous majority were Massachusetts residents, a Globe survey of 752 couples in 11 cities and towns found (The Boston Globe)

Gay marriage (the opposition):

  • Groups hold out for public furor before acting | Opponents of gay marriage said yesterday they are counting on a backlash to the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts to help them marshal public support, as they fight to get the Supreme Judicial Court's ruling overturned (The Boston Globe)

  • Black pastors assail gay analogy | More than 50 black pastors yesterday decried efforts to compare the battle over same-sex "marriage" to the civil rights struggle of blacks, and called on the Congressional Black Caucus and legislators to support a constitutional amendment defining marriage as solely between a man and a woman (The Washington Times)

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Gay marriage (opinion):

  • Civilization in ruins | One day into a new, threatening reality, everything's changed (Brian McGrory, The Boston Globe)

  • Legal at last | Acceptance under the law is coming long after gay and lesbian couples have been embraced by their communities, places of worship, employers, childrens' schools, and pop culture (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  • The bench vs. people | In the debate over traditional marriage, the cultural dominoes are falling in the wrong direction. Activist judges, who specialize in taking issues away from the people and deciding those issues instead, intend to make traditional marriage a thing of the past (Orrin Hatch and Jim Talent, The Washington Times)

Gay marriage and politics:

  • Bad timing? | The Massachusetts ruling on gay marriages could hurt Kerry by playing into the nation's cultural war and energizing the religious foot soldiers of the GOP (Eleanor Clift, Newsweek)

  • Kerry again opposes same-sex marriage | But Democrat has gay groups' vote (The Washington Post)

  • Gay unions stir up election | The start of same-sex "marriages" in Massachusetts yesterday — just six months before the presidential elections — all but guarantees that President Bush and Sen. John Kerry will have to face the issue in coming months (The Washington Times)

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Gay marriage outside Massachusetts:

  • Gay marriage bill expected to die in California Assembly | Democratic lawmakers say they plan to revive the measure in 2005, after state courts have had time to rule on pending cases (Los Angeles Times)

  • R.I., Conn. may grant recognition | The attorneys general of Rhode Island and Connecticut yesterday raised the possibility that Massachusetts same-sex marriages will be honored in their states, a sign that the Supreme Judicial Court's landmark ruling legalizing gay matrimony may soon shift the legal ground in other states (The Boston Globe)

  • Decisions on out-of-staters in courts' hands | Legal specialists say that the opinions issued yesterday by the attorneys general of Rhode Island and Connecticut will not be the final word on whether gay marriages are recognized in those states (The Boston Globe)

  • Miss. gays, lawmakers turn focus to Mass. | Mississippi has banned same-sex marriages by law since 1997 (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.)

  • Despite uncertainties, out-of-staters line up to marry | Provincetown is among those defying Gov. Mitt Romney's decree that out-of-state gay couples cannot be married in Massachusetts unless they fulfilled a requirement, like the intention to move to the state (The New York Times)

  • In court, mayor backs weddings | Jason West, the New Paltz mayor who brought the same-sex marriage debate to New York State with solemnization ceremonies for 24 gay and lesbian couples in late February, defended his action before a judge on Monday (The New York Times)

  • Local gays fail to get county marriage license | Texas law prohibits same-sex marriages (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

Gay marriage (other articles):


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Christian cool:

  • Christian cool and the new generation gap | For evidence of generational upheaval these days, you might skip over sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll and consider instead the church (The New York Times)

  • Revelation plus makeup advice | A new generation of Bibles by religious publishers, Thomas Nelson Inc. and Zondervan, are marketing the Scripture in much the same way as Seventeen sells itself to the average adolescent (The New York Times)

  • New Testament as easy to read as … Cosmo? | Glossy 'biblezines,' complete with top 10 lists, mix the secular with Scripture in an attempt to get teens to pick up the Good Book (Los Angeles Times)

  • The Bible that looks like a magazine | It's the New Century version of the New Testament and though the stories in it aren't new, the way they're presented surely is (Daily Journal, Park Hills, Mo.)



  • Caviezel plays golfing god in 'Jones' tale | Since "The Passion," Jim Caviezel said he has far more scripts than ever to choose from (Associated Press)

  • Clueless in Hollywood | Who can't see the difference between The Passion and Saved! (David Lewis Schaefer, National Review Online)

  • The Python of the Christ | The Life Of Brian hit screens 25 years ago to outrage and nuns picketing cinemas. Now the Monty Python team hope to have the last laugh—and cash in on Mel Gibson's The Passion—by re-releasing it in the US. But will the joke be on them? (Ian Bell, Sunday Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)

Nigeria nixes TV miracles:

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  • Armageddon: now available in paperback | In 2003 the appetite for faith-based literature increased by 50%, according to the American Association of Publishers, giving religion the third-biggest share of the book market, after popular fiction and cookery (Scotland on Sunday)

  • In the beginning was the wheel | Régis Debray argues that belief in a universal, transcendent God is inconceivable without early technological advances in his map of the divine, God: An Itinerary (The Guardian, London)

  • Naughty but nice | There's nothing deadly about the old sins any more. Julian Baggini reviews Greed, Lust, Envy, and Gluttony (The Guardian, London)

  • Author who left that religion writes 'love poems to Judaism' | Lauren Winner didn't realize when she converted to Christianity that she would miss many things about Judaism, but that's just what happened (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  • Mel Gibson's 'The Passion' and its images | Mel Gibson's recent film, "The Passion of the Christ," taps some of the major themes explored in Eleanor Heartney's new book, Postmodern Heretics: The Catholic Imagination in Contemporary Art (The Kansas City Star)

  • Conservatives, controversy, and Catholic artists | A critic's new book offers a view of art and the culture war (The Kansas City Star)

  • Pleading the First | Scott McLemee reviews Susan Jacoby's Freethinkers: A History of American Secularism (Newsday)

  • Best-selling author under fire from religious historians | More than 10 books that "debunk" the historical and theological content of Brown's novel reportedly have been published or are on the way (New Hampshire Sunday News)

  • Unmasking the code | Christian scholars deem it necessary to debunk popular work of fiction (The Kansas City Star)

Pope's book released:

  • New Pope book: Last trip down memory lane? | Pope John Paul takes perhaps his last trip down memory lane in a new book recalling everything from carrying a sleeping bag in a grubby Polish train to his twilight years as leader of one billion Roman Catholics (Reuters)

  • Pope recalls communist era in new book | "Get Up, Let Us Go," being published Tuesday on the pope's 84th birthday, is a sequel to "Gift and Mystery," an account of the pontiff's early priesthood that was released in 1996 (Associated Press)

  • Pope marks birthday with launch of book | "Get Up, Let Us Go" mixes memories from his native Poland, a touch of self-criticism and a defense of priestly celibacy (Associated Press)

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  • Catholic panels reach abuse policy deal | The committee of U.S. Roman Catholic bishops that deals with sexual abuse reached an accord in Chicago Monday with a lay watchdog panel that monitors church reform policies, but details were not announced (Associated Press)

  • Church documents referee agrees to make rulings public | In an unexpected about-face, a retired judge acting as referee has decided that the public has a right to see his rulings on whether the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles can withhold documents from a grand jury probe of priests accused of child molestation (Los Angeles Times)

  • Laying down the law on the liturgy | Both clergy and laity divided over new Vatican guidelines (The Times, London)

  • Free Presbyterians hoping to convert Catholics | The North's Free Presbyterian church has announced plans to send letters and CDs to 3,000 Catholic priests in Ireland in an effort to convert them (Irish News)

  • Catholics on march in Northern Ireland as Protestants leave | An exodus of some of the brightest young Protestants is contributing to an extraordinary process of social change in Northern Ireland, according to an academic study (The Independent, London)

  • Catholic principal focus of inquiry | The state is looking into a complaint that she threatened to whip sixth-graders at Notre Dame Interparochial School because they did not know the songs for a recital (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • West Side Catholics win a brief reprieve | A committee of laypeople and pastors Monday night offered three scenarios for making decisions on which of 10 West Side Roman Catholic parishes to close but fell short of offering specific choices (Chicago Tribune)

  • Also: Parishioners debate future of W. Side Catholic churches | Ten parishes, established about a century ago, have very small congregations, buildings in dire need of repair and dwindling budgets, officials said (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Also: Faith alone can't sustain parishes | Dwindling attendance at West Side Catholic churches leaves a community committee with the task of deciding which of them will have to close (Chicago Tribune)

  • 'Too short a time'—Catholic Bishop Kevin Britt dies 7 months into office | Just seven months after welcoming Bishop Kevin Britt as their spiritual leader, more than 160,000 West Michigan Catholics reel with grief and shock today at the sudden death over the weekend of the personable prelate (The Grand Rapids Press)

Pope canonizes six, including prolife heroine:

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Vatican on Muslim relations:

Islam in America:


Billy Graham hospitalized:

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Missions & ministry:

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  • Preaching prosperity | Televangelist Joyce Meyer directs people to a God who can fix their all of their earthly problems (Religion News Service)

  • Heeding his call | Feed My Lambs ministry reaches out to preschoolers in poorest neighborhoods (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • For Salvation Army preachers, it's 'soup, soap, and souls' | In the Christian denomination, ministers are majors, and God and after-school pudding go down with equal ease (Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fla.)

Christian history:

Other stories of interest:

  • The do-it-yourself ethical investor | Investors who feel socially responsible mutual funds don't fully reflect their values can build a portfolio of their own (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • God's gift to football | In the beginning, there was the word. And the word was … well, louder than Mark Brunell expected. (The Washington Times)

  • Churches sometimes must take stands | Today's ACLU-ist separationists would prefer that Americans forget the central role churches have played in the major political debates of American history (Wheeling News-Register, W.V.)

  • Let's make Cleveland the next 'holy city' | If Iraq can have so many holy cities, surely we can qualify, too (Tom Feran, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Oh.)

  • From Lenin to Jesus and back | Zipping along country roads in a seat-beltless Soviet Zhiguli is the ideal way to explore Lithuania's fascination with sculpture. From crosses lining the highways to a forest of Communist statues and an avant-garde park, these monuments reflect the nation's history and its hope for the future (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

Related Elsewhere:

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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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