Reports estimate that between 67 and 300 are dead after Christian ethnic Taroks attacked Muslim cattle-herders in the town of Yelwa in central Nigeria's Plateau State. The Tarok ethnic group used machine guns mounted on jeeps, along with rifles and machetes, to attack the Muslim community. Possibly three mosques were damaged and at least 67 people have been buried, while hundreds more have fled or disappeared. Just last week, the Christian Tarok were attacked by the Muslim Hausa in the region.

In the most recent attack, the Associated Press reports that more that 100 were killed and 1,000 homes destroyed. "It will take time to account for the exact number of dead and missing. It's mass murder, because machine guns were used, not machetes," Justice Abdulkadir Orire, secretary general of the Jama'atu Nasril Islam, told Agence France-Presse.

Orire told Reuters that the attack had been planned and received the help of local officials. "Police stationed in Yelwa had been withdrawn four days before the attack, despite complaints from local Muslims that they were surrounded by Taroks and tensions were rising." Orire said. "It seems the governor is supporting the move. We heard that the government said non-indigenes should move out of the area. That is very bad. He should look after everyone in the state and not just his own tribe."

President Olusegun Obasanjo sent as many as 600 riot police to the area to prevent more attacks. According to Reuters, "Yelwa has already witnessed one of the most horrific massacres of the conflict, when 48 Christians were killed by Fulani militia in a church that was later burned in February.

"The last three months have seen the bloodiest fighting in the region since the state capital, Jos, was torn apart by ethnic violence in 2001 that killed 1,000 people."

Religious tensions run high in the country. The northern Nigerian state of Zamfara introduced a stricter set of Shari'ah laws last week, saying that all "unauthorized" places of worship will be shut down. The governor, Ahmed Sani, "ordered the destruction of all Christian churches and non-Islamic places of worship," according to the Dallas Morning News.

Sudan elected to U.N. rights group, U.S. walks out

While some are saying the government of Sudan is committing genocide in the country's western Darfur region, and negotiated cease-fires in the Christian and animist south are regularly broken, the Sudanese government was just re-elected to the United Nation's main human-rights watchdog group yesterday. Just weeks ago the world said "never again" following the ten-year anniversary of the genocide in Rwanda. At the time, Rwanda sat on the Security Council and negotiated for no action to be taken while hundreds of thousands were killed.

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Sichan Siv, the U.S. delegate to the council, walked out, saying, "The United States will not participate in this absurdity. Our delegation will absent itself from the meeting rather than lend support to Sudan's candidacy.''

A peace process between the Muslim north and Christian and animist south, which Colin Powell predicted would be in place last December, has gone nowhere while the government blames rebels in the Darfur region. More on Sudan and the failed peace process is available on our Sudan page.

More Articles:

Muslims killed in Nigeria:

  • Hundreds killed in Nigerian ethnic attack: Police | Hundreds of Muslims have been killed by Christian militia in ethnic fighting in the central Nigerian town of Yelwa, a police officer said on Tuesday. (Bulgarian News Network)

  • Hundreds killed in Nigerian ethnic attack | Hundreds of Muslims have been killed by Christian militia in ethnic fighting in the central Nigerian town of Yelwa, a police officer says. (Reuters)

  • Nigerian land fights kill 67 | Violent clashes over land ownership in Nigeria between Christians and Muslims have left at least 67 people dead, the BBC reported Tuesday. (UPI)

  • Christians kill 67 Muslims in Nigeria | Heavily armed Christian militants attacked a Muslim village in Nigeria's central highlands and triggered a clash that left at least 67 people dead, a police commander said on Monday. Assistant commissioner Sotonye Wakama told reporters that he had led a team to the ethnic Hausa village of Yelwa Shendam after witnesses fleeing the area had reported an attack late Sunday by a large group of gunmen. (Hi Pakistan, Pakistan)

  • Christians kill 67 Muslims in Nigerian raid | Heavily armed Christian militants attacked a Muslim village in Nigeria's central highlands and triggered a clash that left at least 67 people dead, a police commander said yesterday. (The National, Papua New Guinea)

  • Christians massacre hundreds of Muslims | Hundreds of Muslims were killed by Christian militiamen in the latest outbreak of ethnic fighting, a senior police officer said Tuesday. (Reuters)

  • Reprisal attack on village kills at least 67 in Nigeria | At least 67 people were killed in a communal attack in the central Nigerian state of Plateau, news reports said Tuesday. (Borneo Bulletin, Brunei Darussalam)

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  • Police: 80 killed in Nigerian violence | Fighters of a predominantly Christian tribe attacked a town dominated by a rival Muslim ethnic group, razing homes and mosques and killing at least 80 people, Nigerian police said Tuesday. (Associated Press)

  • Nigerian Muslim leader: 300 killed | Nigeria's top Muslim leader said on Wednesday that 300 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in Sunday's attacks by Christian militia in the town of Yelwa in the central Plateau state. (Reuters)

  • Nigeria's Turmoil: Even moderate Muslims fear Shariah push | Several years ago, reflecting on the Islamization of his country's northern provinces, Nigerian writer and Nobel laureate Wole Soyinka said, "The roof is already burning over our head—the prelude to war." Last week, a powerful Islamist political figure threw more fuel on a sectarian fire that threatens to engulf Africa's most populous country. (Dallas Morning News)

  • Muslims in Nigerian town 'massacred' | More than 200 Muslims are dead and 120 missing after Christian fighters attacked a central Nigerian town, one of Nigeria's senior Islamic leaders has said, branding the assault "mass murder". (AFP)


  • U.S. walks out as Sudan elected to U.N. rights body | Sudan won an uncontested election Tuesday to the United Nations' main human rights watchdog, prompting the United States to walk out because of alleged ethnic cleansing in the country's Darfur region. (Reuters)

  • Sudan state and rebels extend truce | The Sudan government and the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) have signed an agreement extending a ceasefire agreement by a month, mediators at talks in neighbouring Kenya said on Sunday. (Independent, South Africa)

African Christianity:

  • Cultural practice destroys Christianity: Bishop | The cultural practice of "resting the spirit of departed relatives" (kurova guva) is destroying Christianity, the Roman Catholic Church Bishop of Mutare, Right Reverend Alexio Churu Muchabaiwa, has said. (The Herald, Harare, Africa)

  • 'Mississippi in Africa': The promised land | Founded in 1816 as a refuge for black Americans by a peculiar alliance of slaveholders and abolitionists, Liberia was advertised by its proponents—so-called colonizationists—as a means of speeding slavery's demise and demonstrating the capacities of people of African descent; it would also renew the continent with an infusion of evangelical Christianity, American republicanism and commercial capitalism. (New York Times)

  • Ghanaians love the dead; neglect the living | The Reverend Father John Christian Essel, of the Catholic Parish in Elmina, on Saturday deplored the practice whereby many Ghanaians, prefer to make huge donations at funerals, instead of using such monies to provide care and support for the aged and the needy in society. (GhanaWeb, Ghana)

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Nigeria bans televised miracles:

  • Orthodox churches behind ban on miracle broadcast –Cleric | Following the ban on preaching and advertising of miracles on the television, the General Overseer of the Faith Family Bible Church, Lagos, Rev. David Aboderin, has fingered leadership of the orthodox churches in the country as the ones who instigated the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to clamp down on the Pentecostal churches. (Daily Times of Nigeria, Nigeria)

  • If you're performing a miracle on Nigerian TV, you'd better be sure you can prove it | Nigerian broadcasters must show miracles on television in a way that is "provable and believable," says the National Broadcasting Commission. Stations that do not abide by the ruling will be fined, and their equipment could be confiscated. (National Post, Canada)


UMC resolution on homosexuality:

  • Lesbian Remains a Methodist Cleric, for Now | The United Methodist Church's supreme court ruled Tuesday that it lacked the authority to reconsider the case of a lesbian pastor who was permitted to remain in ministry by a local church court in Washington State. (New York Times)

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Church life:

  • Churches rebel over gay dean | Gay priest Jeffrey John is under intense pressure to quit his new job as Dean of St Albans less than two weeks after being appointed. (St. Albans Observer, UK)

  • Church may split into a federation over gay clergy | A proposal to turn the Anglican Communion into an Anglican confederation is to be considered by the Lambeth Commission, the international body of 18 members set up last year by Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. (Times, London)

  • Williams leads 'star chamber' to avert gay crisis | An all-powerful "star chamber", headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, is expected to be created under proposals to avert the collapse of worldwide Anglicanism over homosexuality. (The Telegraph, UK)

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Missions & ministry:

  • In murderous path in New Orleans, signs of faith | As New Orleans struggles to lower its homicide rate, a pastor went on the offensive—posting signs with the biblical phrase `Thou shalt not kill.' (Miami Herald)

  • Mormon tycoon joins philanthropy club | Mr Huntsman's philosophy is to split every dollar earned, putting half into his businesses and half towards charitable causes. Years of funding hospitals and shelters for abused women have made him better known as a giver than the owner of a chemical company. (The Independent, UK)

  • Her chosen path | E.K. Bailey's daughter couldn't resist the call (The Dallas Morning News)

Young churches:

  • Casual churches attract young worshippers | These Christians are trying to recapture some of the intimacy of the early church, and members stress the importance of community and faith, said Bill Leonard, dean of the Divinity School and professor of church history at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. (Charleston Post and Courier, SC)

  • Coffeehouses of worship | Emerging churches appeal to young seekers (Knight Ridder News Service)


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  • Church takes a giant step into the past | Did I miss something, or is the Roman Catholic Church now being run by some of the most brilliant minds the 14th century ever produced? (Jim Ketchum, Port Huron Times Herald, Michigan)

  • Kerry's take on Catholicism 'typical' | Like many in the U.S., he doesn't always agree with the church but is strong on justice issues. (Los Angeles Times)

  • 300 worship with breakaway priest | Several hundred people attended the first service of an independent church founded by a priest who broke from the Catholic Church, despite warnings that Catholics who affiliated with the new church risked excommunicating themselves. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Vatican's exorcist wrestles his demons every day | In a small room, well away from the street so that no one hears the screams, the Rev. Gabriele Amorth does battle with Satan. He is a busy man. (Los Angeles Times)

Church & state:

  • Tax reformer cites Christian theology | Susan Hamill charges that poor Americans are taxed unfairly - and the Bible tells us so (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Catholic church asks voters to support draft constitution | The Roman Catholic Church has come out in support of the European constitution, calling for it to recognise the role of Judaism, Islam and Christianity in shaping European culture. (Times, London)

  • Bishops oppose BNP | Catholic bishops in England and Wales have joined Church of England colleagues in issuing instructions to their congregations not to vote for the British National party in next month's elections. (The Guardian, UK)

  • Ten Commandments rally upholds solid Christian values | Undeterred by a light turnout, organizers of Saturday's Ten Commandments Rally planned to encourage people to speak up as Christians. (Jackson Sun, Tenn.)

  • Faith-based group at courthouse stirs concern | From a tiny office in the Civil Courts Building downtown, volunteer chaplains of NewDay Services offer prayers, support and a listening ear to families going through divorce, child custody battles and other legal traumas. (Fort-Worth Star-Telegram)

  • Dismal doubts: why we're not a happy Continent | The new Europe needs to have a Christian vision, but it also needs the virtues of the Enlightenment (Times, London)

  • State pulls Web site link to Christian prayer group | Visitors to an official state Web site Friday found a link to a Christian prayer group that urges people to devote their lives to Jesus Christ. (Palm Beach Post)

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Roy Moore:

  • Court rejects appeal over Ten Commandments |A stand-in Supreme Court on Friday unanimously rejected Roy Moore's bid to be reinstated as Alabama's chief justice, the latest legal chapter in the saga surrounding his fight to keep a Ten Commandments monument in a court-house rotunda. (Associated Press)

  • Moore loses bid to regain job | In a 35-page, unanimous opinion that referenced six Bible verses, the Alabama Special Supreme Court denied ousted Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeal to regain his job. (Montgomery Advertiser)

  • We can learn a lesson from the tragedy of Roy Moore | The tragedy of Roy Moore's tenure as a judge and chief justice is closely linked to a broader problem we have in our state … the way we select our judges. (Bob Martin, The Montgomery Independent)

  • Judge in commandments case chastises courts | Roy S. Moore , the Alabama judge who lost his post over a public display of the Ten Commandments monument, said Monday that federal courts are undermining morality by dismissing the founding fathers' guiding belief in God. (The Virginian-Pilot)

Religion & politics:

  • America's Evangelicals | What does it mean to be an evangelical? Is George W. Bush an evangelical? Here are the views of Wheaton College historian Mark Noll; Richard Cizik of the National Association of Evangelicals; Steve Waldman, editor-in-chief of Beliefnet; and Amy Black and Alan Jacobs, professors at Wheaton College. (Frontline, PBS)

  • A president and his faith | In the fall of 1985, 39-year-old George W. Bush joined the Midland, Texas chapter of Community Bible Study and became one of 120 Midland men who began a rigorous study of the Bible. (Frontline, PBS)

  • Kerry and his church | John F. Kerry is facing resistance to his effort to become the nation's second Roman Catholic president because, in the eyes of some of his Catholic critics, church teaching does not have enough influence on how he would govern—especially on the matter of abortion. (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post)

  • The Catholic Church and the presidential election | Vatican makes common cause with fundamentalist Protestants (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Public domain | The hard-right of the American Catholic establishment, which is closely allied with the Opus Dei-influenced hierarchy now effectively running the global Church, is particularly incensed. Kerry's positions on a whole variety of issues—from stem-cell research to civil marriage rights for gays to abortion rights—offend parts of Catholic doctrine. But the Catholic wing of the religious right wants not simply for the Church to defend its positions and criticize Kerry's; it wants the Church to deny communion to Kerry, effectively excommunicating him for his political views, principally on abortion. (New Republic)

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  • Evangelist says God wants him as president | Student rebel-turned television evangelist Eduardo Villanueva says it is God's will that he become president to save the Philippines from the hell fires of corruption. (AFP)


  • Europe's toothless reply to anti-Semitism | Conference fails to build tools to fight a rising sickness. (Daniel Jonah Goldhagen, Los Angeles Times)

  • Cemetery desecrated in France | Vandals have daubed swastikas on graves at a Christian cemetery in eastern France, two days after a similar incident at a nearby Jewish cemetery (BBC)

  • Vandals damage Jewish graves in France | Vandals painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic graffiti on more than 120 headstones at a Jewish cemetery in eastern France, an act that drew the swift condemnation of the government. (Associated Press)

  • Chirac promises to punish anti-Jewish grave vandals | French President Jacques Chirac has vowed to punish vandals who scrawled swastikas and anti-Semitic slogans on 127 graves in a Jewish cemetery near the eastern French town of Colmar. (Sydney Morning Herald)

  • France admits anti-Semitism on the rise after graves desecrated | The French Interior Ministry yesterday released a report showing a 60 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents during the first third of 2004, compared to the latter third of 2003. (Ha'aretz, Israel)

  • US to monitor global anti-Semitism | A bill requiring the State Department to increase awareness and reporting on anti-Semitic incidents worldwide was approved by the Senate's foreign relations committee Thursday. (Jerusalem Post)

Churches and mosques in Spain:

  • Church to remove Moor-slayer saint | A statue in a Spanish cathedral showing St James slicing the heads off Moorish invaders is to be removed to avoid causing offence to Muslims. (BBC)

  • Spanish Moor-killing saint is given the chop | Santiago cathedral is to lose its politically incorrect sculpture (Times, London)

  • Vatican rebuff to Spanish Muslims | The Vatican will not allow Muslims to pray once more in the Mezquita, the former mosque that is now the cathedral of Cordoba, telling them they must "accept history" and not try to "take revenge" on the Catholic church. (The Guardian)

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  • Muslims seek to worship in ancient mosque | In southern Spain, once the centre of an Islamic civilisation in Europe, the Muslim community has appealed to the Vatican to be allowed to pray alongside Christians in what was once the Great Mosque of Cordoba. (BBC)

Muslims in Europe:

  • Muslim fury over 'witch-hunt' as France continues expulsions | Controversy over the French government's crackdown on radical Islam deepened yesterday when Paris attempted to kick out another alleged extremist religious and political leader, the sixth in four months. (The Independent, UK)

  • France targets imams to rein in terrorism | They have lived largely unnoticed for years, isolated from the French mainstream by language and religion. Now these imams, accused of preaching a radical brand of Islam, are being tracked, investigated and in some cases expelled. (Associated Press)

Religious freedom:

  • Despite government limitations, Vatican visit yields some positive effects | The Vatican delegation, when visiting Montagnard region, was not able to meet faithful of the diocese. (AsiaNews)

  • Six held for tonsuring and reconverting women | Six people have been arrested in Orissa for tonsuring seven women and forcing them to reconvert to Hinduism. (New Kerala, India)

  • French head scarf law allows some leeway | France's public schools will have considerable leeway in applying a new law banning conspicuous religious apparel, a government document said Friday, meaning bandanas favored by some Muslims could be prohibited by some schools but allowed by others. (Associated Press)

  • Wheaton College sued over discipline | The parents of two Wheaton College students have filed a lawsuit claiming the strict evangelical college unfairly disciplined the brothers for non-academic infractions. Among the incidents was a disciplinary complaint because one brother kissed his girlfriend in a parked car on campus. (Chicago Tribune)

  • A call to prayer - by loudspeaker | A local mosque's broadcast tests the tolerance of a city. (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Falun Gong followers protest Chinese suppression | Hundreds of Falun Gong followers protested on Sunday against Beijing's crackdown on the meditation group in mainland China, where it has been banned since 1999 as an "evil cult". (Associated Press)

Christians in India:

  • Christians loathed for trading in dead cattle | From a cluster of mud huts and two dilapidated chapels, foul smell of decomposed animals pierces one's nose. Passengers traveling on the state highway, 40 km from Chhattisgarh state capital Raipur, know it's a colony of "scavenger" Christians. Those who cut dead cattle and carry their skin and bones are abhorred as untouchables in Indian society and some of these "low-caste" people have been converted to Christianity (Deepika, India)

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  • Christians asked not to vote for BJP in Arunachal Pradesh | The appeal was issued because the BJP had not responded to its demand for expulsion of the BJP national council member Lijum Ronya, for allegedly writing a letter derogatory to Christianity and for repeal of the Arunachal Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act, 1978. (Deepika, India)

  • Holiday restrictions upset minorities | After Christians, now Muslims are up in arms against the state government for curtailing the public holiday, that of Id-e-Milad (Prophet Mohammed's birthday) on May 3. Last month, the government had angered the Christian community by cancelling the holiday on Good Friday that fell on April 9 (Times of India, India)

  • Christians opposed to demolition of old cemetery | The All-India Christian Council (AICC) has accused the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) of trying to illegally demolish a 143-year-old Christian cemetry in Ranipur village in the city. (Express News Service, India)

  • Usher in secular Government, says V.P. Singh | The former Prime Minister, Vishwanath Pratap Singh, today urged the people to vote out the Bharatiya Janata Party and replace it with a secular Government at the Centre. (The Hindu, India)

War and terrorism:

  • In escaped captive's hometown, deliverance | In the end, the people of this deeply religious farming community say, the round-the-clock prayer brigades and the weeks of nightly candlelight vigils paid off. (New York Times)

  • Her private war | Shareda Hosein wants to be the US Army's first female Muslim chaplain. But not everyone wants her to succeed. (Boston Globe)

  • Family, friends honor soldier slain in ambush | On Sunday, Stack's family and friends filled Lynches River Free Will Baptist Church, a small brick church on the outskirts of town Stack's sense of duty toward the military fit with his devout Christianity, his family and friends said. He taught Bible classes at Fort Campbell in Kentucky, where he was stationed. (Charleston Post and Courier, SC)

  • Holy Land beckons despite turmoil | For Christians, there are Bible-based highlights at seemingly every turn. These include the Sea of Galilee region; the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden Tomb, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the Via Dolorosa in Jerusalem; and the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. (The Arizona Republic)

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  • Testing their faith | An overwhelmingly Christian country is shaken when church grounds become killing fields (Newsday, New York)

  • Ground zero chapel holds post-9/11 exhibit | St. Paul's Chapel, an 18th-century church across the street from the World Trade Center, has opened a permanent exhibit about the aftermath of the terrorist attacks. (Associated Press)

Searching for Noah's ark:

Christian history:

  • America's Christians launch assault on The Da Vinci Code | The staggering success of The Da Vinci Code, the quasi-historical thriller which claims that Jesus was a mere mortal and Christianity a sexist conspiracy to exclude women from positions of power, has spread panic among the clergy who fear that people will literally take what they read as Gospel. (Telegraph, UK)

  • Scholarship or heresy? | They call it the Jesus Seminar on the Road. Others might call it a heresy-fest or even blasphemy-palooza. Robert Funk, a highly controversial Bible scholar, and Bishop John Shelby Spong, the even more controversial former Episcopal leader of New Jersey, came by Grace Episcopal Church yesterday to gently, and not so gently, tear down the fundamental stories of the Christian faith. (White Plains Journal News, New York)

  • Optional Gospels Pagels: Gnostic Gospel of Thomas is 'compelling' | Elaine Pagels, a religion professor and author of "Beyond Belief," rides a crest of interest in "lost," noncanonical gospels (The Oregonian)

  • The 21 gospels | Twenty-one and counting. That's how many gospels, or written accounts of Jesus' life and sayings, that Bible scholars can count so far (The Oregonian)

  • What did Jesus look like? | An Australian anthropologist, according to a British tabloid, claims to have found a photograph of Jesus taken around 30 A.D., just before his crucifixion. (George Plagenz, Review Appeal, Tenn.)


  • Struggles in science | Arizona educators revisit controversy over evolution (The Arizona Republic)

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  • Yet another Executive fudge … but this one carries real danger | We are living in an age of unprecedented religious pluralism. Christianity no longer dominates the spiritual airwaves even in nominally Christian countries. Our essentially secular culture is becoming host to a multiplicity of rival beliefs. Nothing wrong with that, but it has serious implications for education. (Iain Macwhirter, Sunday Herald, UK)

  • The fear of God | An Executive report that urges the weakening of the link between Christianity and state schools has sat on the shelf for two years. Yet most agree it's the perfect response to today's multi-faith Scotland. So why the delay? (Sunday Herald, UK)

  • Prayer bookends each day | Since his retirement, Crowder, 54, of Flint Township has increased his involvement that can put him at the church five days a week and on Sunday. He is co-chairman of the Deacon Board, church school superintendent, church treasurer, a youth worker and math teacher at the church's affiliate of the United Bible Institute. (The Flint Journal, Michigan)

  • Ga. students carry crosses to show faith | Two college students are lugging 10-pound wooden crosses to and from class and all around campus to demonstrate their faith and get their classmates to ask about Christianity. (Associated Press)


  • It is a risky business to have a commitment to something | Commitment, whether personal or professional, is out of fashion these days. People regularly change partners and careers. In such a climate, where nothing seems permanent, commitment will always struggle to find a place. We wonder why we should bother. But commitment lies at the heart of the vocation to ministerial priesthood and the religious life. (Times, London)

  • Chasing out the devil in Uruguay | Famed exorcist says rite has little in common with movies (Washington Post)

  • Does faith really make a difference? | We are a nation of religious people. Whether in cities or towns, churches are as common as fast-food restaurants. But our faith is a mile wide and an inch deep. More style than substance. (The Wichita Eagle, Kansas)

  • Too busy to pray? In Manila you can pay for your salvation | Those disinclined to crawl to the altar on bare knees to pray to the Black Nazarene now have an alternative. They approach one of the "prayer ladies" attached to the Quiapo church and ask her to intercede with God on their behalf, for a fee. (The Independent, UK)

  • 'Chaplain's help saw me through' | When Jackie Hill was forced to spend long periods of time as an in-patient at Bradford Royal Infirmary the last thing she thought she needed was spiritual counselling from a man of the cloth. (BBC)

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