Bill Melnyk 'I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification'

Bill Melnyk 'I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification'
There is no greater cause for rejoicing today than in the public repentance of Episcopal priest William Melnyk and the reported repentance of his wife, fellow Episcopal priest Glyn Lorraine Ruppe-Melnyk, of their involvement with Druidism.

Recently it has been brought to light by several agencies and individuals that I have been involved in work with Druid organizations in the United States and England, exploring the relationships between Christian and pre-Christian Druid spirituality and theology. These individuals and agencies have presented you with pages of documentation of my activities from the internet. You and I have discussed this material, and you have pointed out to me that it is the opinion of the church that my involvement, writings, and activities go beyond the bounds expected of a Christian and a Christian priest.
I affirm to you with all my heart it was never my intention to engage in such error, but only to help others who had lost connection to the Church to find a way to reconnect. I also thought that there was much in our early British heritage that could help those of us in the Church to broaden our understanding of Anglican tradition.
I was wrong. I repent of and recant without qualification anything and everything I may have said or done which is found to be in conflict with the Baptismal Covenant, and the historical Creeds of the Church. With God as my witness, I reaffirm my belief in the historical creeds of the Church, and the Baptismal Covenant, and reaffirm to you my faith, as expressed in that covenant. I am resigning my membership in the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids, as a sign of my repentence.
I have been a follower of Jesus Christ since my Baptism in 1947, and a faithful deacon and priest of the Church, with the exception of the error admitted above, since 1981. It is my desire to continue as such, and I ask for the mercy of the Church, and of our Lord Jesus Christ.

To conservative Anglican sites, he appended this message:

I now take pains to publicly affirm this statement, and to thank the contributors to the various Anglican weblogs for bringing this to my attention and helping me to see the truth.

He also said, "My wife has sent a similar letter."

On the Druid message board, he wrote this:

I hereby resign from the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids. I repent of, and recant, all posts on this Board, except in the many places where I have affirmed my faith in Jesus Christ. I ask that my membership in this board be terminated, and that all my submissions be deleted. May God bless you all, and keep you in health and peace.
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The Philadelphia Inquirer's front page reports that Bennison "continues to review his options" and may remove or suspend the Melnyks as priests. Orthodox Anglican bloggers, however, are joyful and comforted by Melnyk's letter. They'll keep an ear out for what Bennison decides to do, but where they really want to see movement is in the Episcopal Church USA leadership, especially in the Office of Women's Ministries. Orthodox Anglicans are used to individual Episcopalians (including Bennison, actually) saying and doing un-Christian things. What was particularly noteworthy about this story is that a pagan liturgy with references to idols of the Old Testament appeared on the official Episcopal Church website with the denomination's press office promoting it for Sunday worship services.

On Monday, the Institute on Religion and Democracy's Erik Nelson issued a list of outstanding questions on the controversy. None had to do with the Melnyks themselves.

Likewise, Archbishop Drexel Gomez, head of the Anglican Church in the West Indies, saw the liturgy as a problem of the Episcopal Church USA, not simply of a couple of priests. He is apparently the only Anglican primate to publicly discuss the rites.

Hey, I thought religious conservatives won the election

Hey, I thought religious conservatives won the election
Well, that didn't take long. Religious conservatives / "values voters" / whatever have been credited with re-electing Bush, but they may not get the biggest prize of all: judicial appointees who oppose abortion. The debate over Sen. Arlen Specter's apparent promise not to approve "judges who would change the right of a woman to choose" as chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is pretty old, and the story is extremely convoluted at this point.

But suffice it to say that religious conservative groups haven't taken time off after the election. Specter seems to have recanted (maybe), but folks are still calling for his head.

"Let the Battle Begin," says the Family Research Council. "Our pro-life President and his colleagues in the Senate MUST NOT ALLOW Senator Specter to determine the makeup of our courts."

Specter is engaged in "the worst kind of political bullying, not to mention arrogant grandstanding," says James Dobson in a press release. The press release is from Focus on the Family Action, Dobson's lobbying group that's separate from his large ministry. But Dobson also spent much of today's Focus on the Familybroadcast calling for listeners to make sure Specter doesn't take the committee chairmanship. "This has to be one of the most foolish, ill-considered comments ever made in politics," Dobson said of Specter's warning. The broadcaster pointed out that he and Specter frequently fought this election season. (He also spent a few minutes getting complaints about John Kerry off his chest—something he couldn't do before the election without violating IRS guidelines, and warning that values voters will abandon the Republican Party if they don't see serious movement in the next four, "or maybe two," years.)

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Concerned Women for America is likewise calling for Senate Republican leaders to keep Specter from the chair.

The real engine behind the anti-Specter movement is National Review Online, especially its pro-life stalwart, Kathryn Jean Lopez. Look there for updates, not here.

Bush: Vote doesn't suggest America divided on religion

Bush: Vote doesn't suggest America divided on religion
Purely out of self-interest, Weblog kinda hoped that articles about religion and the election would drop off after November 2. Instead, of course, Weblog's key search words (including evangelical, Christian, Christianity, church, religious, and religion) are appearing in almost every news article. (Rob Moll deserves credit for helping to organize the links below, as he does most days.) Some of the commentary is crazy, some of it is insightful. But we figured we'd let President Bush speak for himself on a subject many are writing about.

"Mr. President, your victory at the polls came about in part because of strong support from people of faith, in particular, Christian evangelicals and Pentecostals and others," a reporter asked at yesterday's press conference (audio | video). "And Senator Kerry drew some of his strongest support from those who do not attend religious services. What do you make of this religious divide, it seems, becoming a political divide in this country? And what do you say to those who are concerned about the role of a faith they do not share in public life and in your policies?"

Bush replied:

Yes, my answer to people is, I will be your President regardless of your faith, and I don't expect you to agree with me necessarily on religion. As a matter of fact, no President should ever try to impose religion on our society.
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A great—the great tradition of America is one where people can worship the way they want to worship. And if they choose not to worship, they're just as patriotic as your neighbor. That is an essential part of why we are a great nation. And I am glad people of faith voted in this election. I'm glad. I appreciate all people who voted. I don't think you ought to read anything into the politics, the moment, about whether or not this nation will become a divided nation over religion. I think the great thing that unites is the fact you can worship freely if you choose, and if you—you don't have to worship. And if you're a Jew or a Christian or a Muslim, you're equally American. That is—that is such a wonderful aspect of our society; and it is strong today and it will be strong tomorrow.

More articles

Faith and the presidential election:

  • "Feeding a monster who has the party by its tail" | The religious right's agenda on abortion and gay marriage could tear apart the GOP (Oliver Burkeman,
  • Values vote a powerful new force | A powerful political creature was born - or born again - on Tuesday: the values voter (The Denver Post)
  • Rousing the party faithful | In the United States, the Christian vote is a powerful electoral force - and may even have been the decisive factor in George W Bush's re-election as president. But in the UK it remains a largely untapped resource (BBC)
  • Rove, Bush campaign architect, cultivated Christians | Privately, Rove was engineering a different plan than Bush's public hammering on national security (Bloomberg News)
  • The evangelical factor | Whether you call them the Christian right, the "moral majority," Bible Belters or simply the Republican base, white evangelical Christians appear to have changed the dynamics of national politics for the foreseeable future (The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.)
  • Social conservatives have reason to be optimistic | The Rev. Ken Hutcherson looked at an electoral map of the United States yesterday with glee (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
  • Evangelical Christians credited in Bush win | Religious conservatives were motivated in part by the gay-marriage issue on several states' ballots (The Denver Post)
  • What makes those evangelicals tick? | Other voters need to know (Dave Peyton, Charleston Daily Mail, W.V.)
  • President benefits from efforts to build a coalition of religious voters | Pastor by pastor, rabbi by rabbi, and often face to face, Mr. Bush has built relationships with a diverse range of religious leaders. (The New York Times)
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  • Religion a factor in GOP victory at the polls | They're opposed to abortion and gay marriage. They want judges who interpret laws, not make them (Canton Repository, Oh.)
  • Conservative Christians backed Bush | Marriage, abortion and Iraq brought faithful out to polls (The Columbus Dispatch, Oh.)
  • 'You put revisionists to shame' | Africa's leading Anglican bishop congratulated United States President George W Bush on his re-election on Friday and said his victory put to shame the liberal American churches which promote same-sex unions (AFP)
  • Cal Thomas denied promised Bush interview? | Did the George W. Bush re-election campaign blow off conservative columnist Cal Thomas? According to the syndicated writer, whose views are avidly read by millions of Bush's base of evangelical Christians, the president's people promised an interview at least two months ago and never came through (Editor & Publisher)
  • Faith takes key role in political landscape | There is little doubt that faith fueled the re-election of President Bush, which some described as electoral evidence of the growing political proximity of "God and country" (Chicago Tribune)
  • War? Jobs? No, character counted most to voters | In interviews around the country, people returned frequently to words like faith, family, integrity and trust (The New York Times)

The traditional marriage vote:

  • Did Gavin Newsom cost the Democrats the election? | Whether or not the gay-marriage backlash helped put Bush in the White House, now couldn't be a better time to remind ourselves what the Democratic Party really stands for (Joan Walsh,
  • Was gay marriage Kerry's undoing? | Gay marriage played some part in this election year drama, and it did all start in Massachusetts (Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe)
  • Groups defend same-sex marriage ban | Conservatives make case against those who are challenging law limiting unions to heterosexuals (Los Angeles Times)
  • Electorate took control of defining marriage | The passage of all 11 marriage amendments on Election Day, plus two more earlier this year, shows that Americans don't want radical changes in marriage and are unwilling to wait for activist judges to make sweeping social changes, traditional values groups said yesterday (The Washington Times)
  • Gay marriage: Did issue help re-elect Bush? | San Francisco did not vote for President Bush, but the pictures of wedded gay and lesbian couples streaming from its City Hall last February may have helped return him to the White House (San Francisco Chronicle)
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  • State bans on gay marriage galvanize sides | Opponents of same-sex unions say a federal amendment is possible. Supporters say this is one battle in a long fight (Los Angeles Times)
  • Is Bush's win all our fault? | Did we gay Americans provoke a social revolution in the electorate? Should we have waited on marriage? (Steve Weinstein, Washington Blade, gay newspaper)
  • Same-sex marriage issue key to some G.O.P. races | Proposed state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage increased the turnout of socially conservative voters in many of the 11 states where the measures appeared on the ballot on Tuesday, political analysts say (The New York Times)
  • Same-sex bans fuel conservative agenda | Rejoicing over the 11-for-11 sweep, some social conservatives contended that a desire to defend the traditional definition of marriage drew millions of evangelical Christians to the polls and provided President Bush's margin of victory (The Washington Post)
  • Some Democrats blame one of their own | San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom's decision in February to open City Hall to thousands of gay weddings has become a subject of considerable debate among Democrats (The New York Times)
  • Gay unions put Kerry campaign asunder | Gay newlyweds' in-your-face exuberance provided a "Fear Factor" moment many Americans didn't have to sit still for (Donna Britt, The Washington Post)

'Moral values':

  • Morals at the polls | Social issues were on many voters' minds on Election Day (York Daily Record, Pa.)
  • Moral values cited as a defining issue of the election | The issues of morality and values seemed to hurt Mr. Kerry as much as anything (The New York Times)
  • 'Moral values' agenda proves edge | President taps into potency of faith in getting out cultural conservatives (Chicago Tribune)
  • Victory bears out emphasis on values | GOP tactics aimed at cultural divide (The Washington Post)
  • An unexpected 'moral' victory | Bush benefits as voters put heavy emphasis on values (The Hartford Courant, Conn.)
  • Bush reaches out | Moral issues: Dems caught by surprise (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Faithful say their votes carried day | Call it voting your values or "The Passion of the Christ" vote—but whatever you call it, the faith-based influence in the election results cannot be ignored (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • Moral values propel Bush to re-election | A fourth of the voters in swing states were white voters who consider themselves evangelicals and they voted for Bush by almost 3-to-1—providing a strong base for Bush in those key states (Associated Press)
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  • In election morality plays larger role than expected | Pollsters say voters they spoke with on Tuesday often identified "moral values" from a list of possible reasons why they voted as they did (Morning Edition, NPR)
  • 'Moral values' a key issue for evangelical Christians | Call it a moral victory for the man upstairs (Palm Beach Post)
  • Focus on moral values tipped vote for Bush | Moral values topped the list of issues voters were most concerned about when they went to the polls on Election Day, with Catholics, evangelicals, blacks and Hispanics joining an ad hoc coalition that re-elected President Bush by 3.5 million votes (The Washington Times)
  • Religion-based voters provided critical edge | Analysts cite emphasis in Iowa on 'moral values' (The Boston Globe)
  • Flunking kindergarten | Our lack of cultural fiber shows up at the breakfast table (Joel Belz, World)

Bush's mandate & agenda:

  • Now that we've voted | Elections and the Kingdom of God (Chuck Colson, Breakpoint)
  • Some Bush supporters say they anticipate a 'revolution' | Exulting in their electoral victories, President Bush's conservative supporters immediately turned to staking out mandates for an ambitious agenda of long-cherished goals, including privatizing Social Security, banning same-sex marriage, remaking the Supreme Court and overturning the court's decisions in support of abortion rights (The New York Times)
  • He didn't get a mandate | What's required is a sustained and intellectually serious effort by religious moderates and progressives to insist that social justice and inclusion are "moral values" and that war and peace are "life issues" (E. J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post)
  • Religious political revival | Many conservative Christians see huge turnout of brethren for Bush as a mandate for their social agenda (Newsday)
  • Conservatives urge Bush to go his own way | Conservative activists say President Bush should push forward with his second-term mandate ratified by 59 million voters on Election Day, including a constitutional amendment banning same-sex "marriage" (The Washington Times)
  • Evangelicals want big payback for election turnout | Religious conservatives believe they have a greater opportunity to press their agenda, expand their coalition and mend what they see as the fraying social fabric of the nation (The Baltimore Sun)

Catholic vote:

  • Kerry loses his faith | Catholic Kerry lost this week because he lost the Catholic vote (Paul Kengor, The American Spectator)
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  • GOP tells of success wooing Catholic vote | The Northern Virginia architects of the Republican Party's wildly successful plan to add a winning clump of Catholic votes to President Bush's evangelical base in the 2004 election are talking about how they did it (The Washington Times)
  • Chaput: The faithful have awoken | Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput received praise, criticism and national attention this year for his stance that Catholic voters cannot in good conscience vote for candidates who back abortion rights, in conflict with church teachings (The Denver Post)
  • In reversal from 2000, Bush got Catholic vote | Alongside President Bush's overwhelming support from his evangelical Christian base Tuesday came another dramatic election result: Bush reversed his 2000 showing and convincingly captured the Roman Catholic vote (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

The Ohio vote:

  • Presidential election may have hinged on one issue: Issue 1 | Gay marriage was probably the issue that spelled the difference in hard-fought Ohio. But it is a dangerous leap to go from that one-state theory to the broader conclusion that the 2004 election was a referendum on which candidate better personified "moral values" (Walter Shapiro, USA Today)
  • A Democratic evangelical's election reflections | Volunteering in rural Ohio at the end of the election revealed some truths about values and politics in America (Jeff Carr, Beliefnet)
  • 'It's a victory for people like us' | Bush emphasis on values drew Ohio evangelicals (The Washington Post)
  • The values vote: For some, it became a matter of faith | For many voters in pivotal Ohio, the 2004 election was a morality play (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Democrats rethink religion:

  • A party on its knees | Who knew Democrats had such pious longings? (George Neumayr, The American Spectator)
  • The moral agenda | Plans are important -- but they'll get Democrats nowhere without more conviction (Robert B. Reich, The American Prospect)
  • Get real -- the voters know who's a phony | A tale of future political shock (Joe Rodriguez, The Mercury News, San Jose, Ca.)
  • Here endeth the lesson | John Kerry was undone by the emergence of the churchgoing 'values voter' (Philip James, The Guardian, London)
  • A question of values | This is a difficult time for Democrats. Soul-searching is in order. We hope they succeed, because it's better for America when both major parties compete to gain the moral respect of the elect (Editorial, The Washington Times)
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  • The Democratic Party can be reborn | I was probably one of the few Democrats in America who was not surprised to find out that I was part of a godless and immoral political party (Elaine Kamarck, Newsday)
  • Onward Christian soldiers | The hopefuls in the Democrat camp really believed victory in the US election was within their grasp. How did they get it so wrong? They failed to appreciate that their country is now in fact two nations that loathe and fear each other - Godly and Worldly America (Simon Schama, The Guardian, London)
  • Should Democrats get religion? | The Democratic Party's sharp defeat in the 2004 election has already produced a round of soul searching (CBS)
  • Progressive faith did not lose this election | Kerry did not strongly champion the poor as a religious issue and "moral value," or make the war in Iraq a clearly religious matter (Jim Wallis, Sojourners)
  • The moral minority | This is a Democratic Party in which nostalgia for tradition is too often considered racism, opposition to gay marriage is bigotry, misgiving about abortion is misogyny, Christian fundamentalism is like Islamic fundamentalism, discussion about gender roles is sexism, and confidence in America's global purpose is cultural imperialism (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)
  • A stunned party looks to the internal debate ahead | The Democratic Party appeared Wednesday to be trying to find God, or at least to find a way to talk about him (The New York Times)
  • Need to connect with religious, rural voters noted | Time and again, Democrats' comments yesterday circled back to the need to restore the language of values to the party's rhetoric and to try to reconnect with people of faith (The Washington Post)
  • Democrats face months of soul searching | Without changes, some Democrats say, there seems to be little hope of shedding minority status anytime soon (Associated Press)
  • Wooing purple America | How the Democrats can win again, if they really want to (John J. DiIulio Jr., The Weekly Standard)
  • Advice for Dems: Court churchgoers | Some advice for Democrats: Embrace the Lord, for he may be your savior (David Harsanyi, Denver Post)
  • Democrats get a lesson in morality | The Democratic Party needs religion because as America embraces its spirit, its moral values and its love of God, the Democratic Party's most loyal constituency -- African Americans -- are, too, making decisions based on moral values (Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press)
  • Democrats and faith | Why what they're not talking about does hurt them (Robert Reich, Slate)
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  • Why Americans hate Democrats | Depressed liberals analyze what ails them (Robert Wright, Slate)
  • Democratic faith delusions | If all they do is dress up a liberal agenda in Biblical clothing, they won't succeed (Steve Waldman, Beliefnet)

Divided America:

  • Divided we'll fall | Bush's mixing of religion and politics polarizes the nation (Editorial, Concord Monitor, N.H.)
  • Divided we stand | Rick Warren, Barbara Ehrenreich, Jim Wallis, and Morris Fiorina discuss the election (Newshour with Jim Lehrer)
  • Two nations under God | My problem with the Christian fundamentalists supporting Mr. Bush is not their spiritual energy or the fact that I am of a different faith. It is the way in which he and they have used that religious energy to promote divisions and intolerance at home and abroad (Thomas L. Friedman, The New York Times)
  • Election reinforces U.S. religious divide | President Bush's victory, the approval of every anti-gay marriage amendment on statewide ballots and an emphasis on "moral values" among voters showed the power of churchgoing Americans in this election and threw the nation's religious divide into stark relief (Associated Press)
  • God and the electorate | Why are Americans so divided over religious issues? Maybe it's those extreme messages (The New York Times)
  • Deeply divided country is united in anxiety | There is one thing that united Americans on Tuesday: They were worried (Dana Milbank, The Washington Post)
  • Religious divide may not be as wide as some think | Professor Robert M. Franklin delivers annual Lecture in Religion at Florida Southern College (Lakeland Ledger, Fla.)
  • One country, two moralities | I must abandon the solace of thinking my political opponents benighted, uneducated and cognitively impaired. But I refuse to think them more moral (Jeannette Batz Cooperman, AlterNet)

Commentary & opinion:

  • Bush's victory heralds ascendancy of religious right | The merger of politics and conservative faith present in this administration culminates more than three decades of political engagement by U.S. religious conservatives (David Domke, The Seattle Times)
  • The new religious voice of America's public culture | After three decades of cultural and religious struggle—including a fair amount of concerted, premeditated political exploitation—the religious right is more mainstream in America than once-mainline denominations (Lance Dickie, Seattle Times)
  • Prayers for our nation | God's blessing on America was not perfection but a yearning for justice (Ed Williams, The Charlotte Observer)
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  • Christian conservatives must not compromise | Voters reject liberalism, an evil ideology (Frank Pastore, Los Angeles Times)
  • Faithful take heart: All not blinded by the Right | Faith and values. I'd like to believe I have both, but as defined by this election, I guess I clearly have neither (Carol Marin, Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Keeping the faith, and walking the walk | Blessed are the shoemakers (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Chasing votes with Bible in hand | During the presidential poll, fundamentalist churches became base stations for Republican-friendly volunteers campaigning for people to register to vote (Paul Starick, The Advertiser, Adelaide, South Australia)
  • Walking on water and into office | Conservative evangelicals may have put Bush in office, but they won't be able to pray away a ballooning federal deficit (Michael Harris, Ottawa Sun)
  • We Christians ought to be embarrassed | I'm ashamed to call myself a Christian today. (Richard Williams, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Religion and politics: The dangerous mix | Religion works in politics, but it is dangerous and divisive (Richard Reeves)
  • Beyond God, guns, and gays | Tuesday marked Election Day—not a trend (Cynthia Moothart, In These Times)
  • Slow down there | The "huge fundamentalist Christian revival" took place about thirty years ago, not last month (Amy Sullivan, The Washington Monthly)
  • The Bush realignment | Morals matter most (Jeffrey Bell & Frank Cannon, The Weekly Standard)
  • Those who voted for Bush may be in for a big surprise | Concerns closer to his heart could trump all that talk about values (Jonathan Chait, Los Angeles Times)
  • Why do Evangelicals rhapsodize about Bush? | Are the Evangelicals really all that different from the rest of us? (Bill Wineke, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison)
  • Of God and men | America shows the world that religion may be a fundamental element of a modern economy (Rocco Buttiglione, The Wall Street Journal)
  • The moral majority | When it came to values, John Kerry was his own worst enemy (Terry Eastland, The Wall Street Journal)
  • Now that he's free, no need for reality | If Bush could screw things up as badly as he did the last four years and still win a second term, he truly must have God on his side (Steve Lopez, Los Angeles Times)
  • The point spread | Rather than waste time trying to persuade blue-state liberals to switch their allegiance to conservative principles, it is much more productive to expand the base of red-state conservatives and get them to turn out heavily on Election Day. America is a conservative "right" nation (Lawrence Kudlow, The Washington Times)
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  • Marking the divide | As long as these same proponents of same-sex "marriage" continue to impress their views on the rest of the nation, they will be met by the overwhelming opposition of the American people (Editorial, The Washington Times)
  • Mixing politics, religion remains too risky for a democratic nation | As the United States wages war against religious extremism around the world, the rise in self-proclaimed piety at home is discouraging (Editorial, Detroit Free Press)
  • The next President Bush | This page will never give up our commitment to women's right to reproductive choice, as well as full civil rights for people of all sexual orientations. But a leader who was prepared to make political sacrifices in order to stake a claim to that middle ground could be laying the foundation for a new national consensus that might finally bring the nation's social wars to an end. (Editorial, The New York Times)
  • 'Moral' mandate? | Election didn't provide one (Editorial, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
  • An election of many hues, and not just red and blue | The value of selling values grew (Editorial, USA Today)

Same-sex marriage bans:

  • Same-sex marriage ban loses ground in Mass. | Opponents add 2 legislative seats (The Boston Globe)
  • Gay marriage backlash not felt in Mass. | The national Election Day backlash against gay marriage never reached the state blamed for triggering it: Every Massachusetts lawmaker on the ballot who supported gay rights won another term in the Legislature (Associated Press)
  • Gays take fight on marriage to court | Homosexual rights groups said yesterday that they will head back to the courtrooms to achieve legalization of same-sex "marriages," which voters in 11 states barred Tuesday, as two lesbian couples filed a federal lawsuit challenging Oklahoma's new marriage law (The Washington Times)
  • Bush says no religious divide in US | President George W. Bush, who was given significant support by the Christian right in his election victory, sought to play down suggestions of a religious divide in the United States (AFP)
  • Religious right relishes chance to push agenda | Abortion and gay marriage to be targeted as moral crusaders demand election payback (The Guardian, London)
  • Kansas Christians seek same-sex marriage vote | Invigorated by election victories from the White House to the Statehouse, fundamentalist Christian leaders in Kansas said Thursday they would push again to put on the ballot a prohibition against same-sex marriages (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)
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  • Mass. justices cost Kerry | Four justices from Mr. Kerry's home state may have cost him Ohio—and with that, his ticket to the White House (Joel Mowbray, The Washington Times)

Canadian same-sex marriage:

  • Court mulls bid to make Sask. 7th Canadian jurisdiction to allow gay marriage | A Saskatchewan judge will rule Friday in a case that could see the province become the seventh Canadian jurisdiction to allow same-sex marriages. (Canadian Press)
  • Canadians would reject same-sex marriage if given a vote, says REAL Women | Canada examines marriage referenda in U.S. (Canadian Press)


  • A vote for inequality | Gay individuals, couples and families are entitled to the same legal rights and protections as other Americans (Editorial, The Washington Post)
  • Homosexuality is punishable: HC | The Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking review of its order rejecting a PIL challenging the constitutional validity of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code which makes all kinds of unnatural sex, including homosexuality, a punishable offence (PTI, India)
  • Bush wins same portion of gay vote as '00 | Perhaps the most surprising news for gay observers of the presidential election is that exit polls show President Bush received the exact same percentage of gay votes—23 percent—as he did four years ago (Washington Blade, gay newspaper)
  • Same-sex couple in lonely fight | Array of governments, religious groups want to oppose federal case filed by two O.C. men turned down for marriage (The Orange County Register, Ca.)
  • Heath plans to fight Maine gay-rights bill | Saying he feels "emboldened" by Tuesday's election results, the head of the Christian Civic League of Maine is calling on state lawmakers and Gov. John E. Baldacci to abandon a planned push for a new gay-rights law (Kennebec Journal, Me.)
  • Italy's Buttiglione blames unfair discrimination | Italian Rocco Buttiglione, dropped from the new European Commission line-up after fierce criticism of his views on gays and marriage, says he is a victim of unfair discrimination (Reuters)

Religion & the court:

  • Specter denies warning Bush over court nominees | Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), who expects to head the Judiciary Committee next year, moved yesterday to quell an uproar over comments that were widely interpreted as warning President Bush against choosing Supreme Court nominees who oppose abortion rights (The Washington Post)
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  • Courts are poised to take a hard right term | Conservatives say the president should use his victory to push for changes on social issues. A Supreme Court vacancy is likely (Los Angeles Times)
  • Despite G.O.P. gain, fight over judges remains | Although Republicans made significant gains on Election Day, their majority of 55 senators still falls five votes short of the 60 needed to break a Democratic filibuster (The New York Times)


  • Bush would be perfect kids' villain - author Pullman | "The Christian right in America is the mirror image of the Islamic fundamentalists" says fantasy writer (Reuters)
  • One nation blunder, God | As the separation between church and state narrows, a plea is made to return to the Jeffersonian ideal (Fairfield Weekly, Ma.)
  • Those things we were liable to read into the Bible - it ain't necessarily so | Exactly what kind of Bible is being read by all these evangelical Christians: the ones who have voted George Bush back into the White House? Do they have a special copy which skips the passage about the "meek inheriting the Earth"? (Richard Glover, The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Bush, God and the Democrats | This country isn't secular or rational. And if the Dems want to win, they can't be either (Edgar Rivera Colón,
  • The red zone | W. ran a jihad in America so he can fight one in Iraq - drawing a devoted flock of evangelicals, or "values voters," as they call themselves, to the polls by opposing abortion, suffocating stem cell research and supporting a constitutional amendment against gay marriage (Maureen Dowd, The New York Times)
  • A victory for 'values,' but whose? | The reelection of George W. Bush as the 43rd president of the United States appears to be at least in part because of a fear that liberals favor marital unions among sodomites (Joel Achenbach, The Washington Post)
  • What is it that homophobic people fear? | People should be aware that the Old Testament way of teaching is called 'old' for a reason (Donna Roberts, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
  • Too many public and private figures use religion to divide, not unite | These recent elections brought out some of the worst self-righteous demonizing of faiths that weren't sanctioned by so-called Christians (Leigh Donaldson, Portland Press Herald, Maine)
  • World Council of Churches: God has no place in U.S. politics | God has no place in politics and should not have been used by churches in the United States to influence the presidential election, a council representing 342 Christian groups around the world said (Reuters)
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  • Document: Pastoral letter to member churches in the US (Press release, World Council of Churches)
  • Country of one-party rule puts fear, greed in control | Our nation is rapidly becoming a one-party country—a party that borders on theocracy and discriminates against those who are different or who hold different views from those in power (Jack Miller, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • The day the Enlightenment went out | George W. Bush's victory signals the triumph of belief over fact (The New York Times)
  • Religious bigots explode after election | A roundup of crazy quotes (Press release, Catholic League)

Faith and other elections:

  • Martinez to strive for sense of unity | Many say that's not likely after his harsh campaign rhetoric (The Lakeland Ledger, Fla.)
  • Faith in politics can lead to different priorities | Uruguay too had presidential elections this week, but if you had asked any Uruguayan about the president-elect's religion or spiritual beliefs, you most likely would have received a blank stare (Marcela Sanchez, The Washington Post)

EU and religion:

  • Sins of commission | Europe's parliament turns on the church (Christopher Caldwell, The Weekly Standard)
  • 'Secularism' in Europe vexes Vatican | Of all the ills afflicting the modern world, none is causing deeper concern than the rising tide of what Vatican officials call "militant secularism" washing over Europe (Chicago Tribune)

Abortion in Australia:

  • Circle the wagons, zealots are coming | John Howard does not have a mandate to force new abortion laws on us (Mark Day, The Daily Telegraph, Sydney, Australia)
  • Abbott won't be gagged on abortion | Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott has ignored warnings from Coalition colleagues to stop talking about abortion, declaring yesterday the debate had just begun (The Australian)
  • Earlier: Abbott fuels abortion debate | The Federal Government's chief whip has urged Coalition MPs to be careful what they say about abortion, suggesting the Government is keen to cool the issue (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Male MPs rapped on abortion | Conservative women mobilizing against anti-abortion Coalition forces yesterday appealed to their male colleagues to stand up for a woman's right to choose (The Australian)
  • Bans on termination force move interstate | Women are traveling interstate for late-term abortions to avoid state bans or because doctors refuse to perform them (The Australian)
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  • Also: Marching into the past | George Bush is back in the White House - which means a fresh assault on the right to legal abortion (Katie Roiphe, The Guardian, London)

California Prop. 71:

  • Suckers for 'science' | How to talk California taxpayers out of $3 billion (Wesley J. Smith, The Weekly Standard)
  • California to the rescue | By enacting a lavishly financed stem cell program, California voters helped keep this nation in the forefront of a promising area of biomedical research (Editorial, The New York Times)

Life ethics:

  • Living on borrowed time | Cancer patients tell stories of hope, coping (Fort Collins Coloradoan)
  • How do IVF babies turn out? | Fertility specialists confront disturbing evidence (Slate)
  • 'Miracle baby' couples fail test | None of the Kenyan couples laying claim to babies being held by police in a child trafficking scandal have been found to be the biological parents (BBC)
  • US religious right seeks to halt stem cell research | The evangelical right is already staking out its territory for the coming term (PM, Australian Broadcasting Corp)

War & terrorism:

  • Life lesson | At a time when divisiveness rules but cooperation is urged, the story of four selfless chaplains is one worth airing (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • A religious revival that turned the tide | If, as appears likely, Tony Blair wins re-election as British Prime Minister, and John Howard gives way to Peter Costello, the three leaders of the Anglo-Saxon alliance that invaded Iraq would all have been re-elected, and all three countries would be led by committed and increasingly overt Christians (Paul Sheehan, The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Pope meets Allawi, calls for multi-ethnic Iraq | The Pope, who was an outspoken critic of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, said he prayed for "all the victims of terrorism and wanton violence" as well as those who "generously work" for the reconstruction of Iraq (Reuters)
  • LDS official: Churches not terrorism targets | Gregory Dunn, the managing director of security for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, says government buildings, large cities, McDonald's restaurants and tourist attractions are more likely targets (Associated Press)

School told to change 'offensive' saint's name:

  • School told to drop its 'offensive' saint's name | A Church of England school has been told to drop the word "saint" from its name in case it offends other religious groups (The Telegraph, London)
  • Row over church school's name | A row has broken out over whether a new Church of England academy school should have a religious name (BBC)
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  • Council asks is it a sin to name your school after saint? | Islington council has provoked astonishment by suggesting that one of its schools, which has received £2 million in sponsorship from the Church of England, drop the word Saint from its name for fear of causing offence to other religions (The Times, London)
  • Parents set for victory over 'saint' school name | Council bosses under fire over their plan to drop the word "saint" from a Church school's name are preparing to back down (Evening Standard, London)


  • Washburn University student group reinstated | Tentative settlement reached to restore Christian Legal Society's funding and to review university student group policies (Press release, Christian Legal Society)
  • Schools use faith-based mentors | Advisors help students grow, educators told at workshop (Bradenton Herald, Fla.)
  • North Park losing longtime president | David G. Horner will step down from Evangelical Covenant school after 17 years (Chicago Tribune)
  • Probe finds racism, leadership failures at Iliff | Racial and cultural insensitivity and leadership failures at the Iliff School of Theology factored in last spring's departure of the Denver Methodist seminary's first Latino president, according to an investigative report made public Tuesday (The Denver Post)
  • Pro-Kerry homework irks Mom | Catholic school defends it (The Enquirer, Cincinnati, Oh.)
  • Schools should not focus exclusively on Christmas | Parties that focus exclusively on Christmas, or assignments that call for a Christmas theme, probably are not respectful of all students. The message sent to non-Christians in these instances is one of exclusion, and that's not serving their needs (Editorial, Portland Press Herald, Me.)
  • Community college faces discrimination suit | A former Monroe Community College faculty member is suing the school for firing him allegedly because of his conservative political beliefs and "because he is white, male, heterosexual and Christian" (The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.)
  • Abstinence is enough for our children's textbooks | Who decides what is age-appropriate information for the eighth- and ninth-graders who will take this mandatory health course? (Kyleen Wright, The Dallas Morning News)


  • Unintentional hermit | A Dutch monk tries to recruit local Catholic Arabs into his contemplative order (The Jerusalem Post)
  • Religion Today: Seventh-Dayers' Six-Day Creationism | In a society where young adherents often face challenges to their beliefs, the top world authorities of the Seventh-day Adventist Church have reaffirmed the faith's insistence that fidelity to the Bible requires belief in "a literal, recent, six-day creation," no matter what conventional science says (Associated Press)
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  • Evolution, creation collide in federal court (again) | In the case that goes to a bench trial in U.S. District Court in Atlanta on Monday before Judge Clarence Cooper, a small sticker placed in 10th-grade biology textbooks has again forced a courtroom collision between science and religion (Fulton County Daily Report, Ga.)


  • Abuse case against diocese is to proceed | Judge rejected arguments by a lawyer for the diocese that under the statutes of limitation, the filing deadline for the suit lapsed years ago (The New York Times)
  • N.J. judge allows lawsuits in abuse case | A judge allowed two lawsuits to proceed on behalf of 26 men, most of whom allege they were sexually abused as children by a former priest in northern New Jersey (Associated Press)
  • Priest pleads no contest to incident from '80s | Farwell given probation in case involving former altar boy's accusation (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)


  • Darfur increasingly unstable, U.N. envoy warns | The United Nations' special envoy to Sudan told the Security Council on Thursday that Darfur is sliding into anarchy as government and rebel forces battle over control of the territory (The Washington Post)
  • U.N. envoy: Darfur sliding toward anarchy | Warning that Darfur is descending into anarchy, the top U.N. envoy to Sudan urged the Security Council Thursday to quickly deploy African troops to deter violence and speed up peace talks to prevent warlords from taking control of the vast western region (Associated Press)
  • Darfur 'close to anarchy' says UN | The United Nations envoy to Sudan has warned that Sudan's Darfur region is heading towards anarchy due to increasing violence (BBC)
  • Khartoum refuses to sign Darfur security deal | Sudan's government refused to sign a security deal with rebels on Friday designed to end violence in the western Darfur region, saying the document drafted by African Union mediators was too one sided (Reuters)

Liberia riots:

  • Was it really a Christian-Muslim conflict? | The recent lawlessness was not a religious conflict (Philip N. Wesseh, The Inquirer, Liberia)
  • Religious council to rebuild burnt churches, mosques | The Inter Religious Council of Liberia has opened two bank accounts and has also raised an initial amount of LD85,000.00 to help facilitate the reconstruction of churches and mosques that were burnt or vandalized during last week violence in Monrovia and its suburbs (The News, Liberia)
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Other religions:

  • 'This is Mother Nature's religion' | Once-secretive Santeria faith brings its healing message into the open (The Boston Globe)
  • Spirited away: Why the end is nigh for religion | Christianity will be eclipsed by spirituality in 30 years, startling new research predicts (The Times, London)
  • Traditional healers join fight against Aids | When prayers to the ancestors mingle with songs to Jesus, and traditional healers dance alongside fervent Christians amid the smoke of imphepho, you know you're in the heart of something uniquely South African (Cape Argus, Cape Town, South Africa)

Missions & ministry:

  • New program reaches out to youths | The Children of Promise initiative goals help children succeed whose parents are in prison (The Des Moines Register, Des Moines, IA)
  • Christ meets Cowabunga! | Church uses 'Simpsons' as way to get faith discussion rolling (Mercury News, San Jose, Ca.)
  • Mexican nuns bring new life to old school | Sisters travel north to work for next-to-nothing to educate immigrant children in South Chicago (Chicago Tribune)
  • Serving a cup of fellowship | Coffeehouse a `bridge between the secular and the church community' (The Charlotte Observer)
  • What to do about churches destroyed by hurricanes? | The cost of repairing them is expensive and unfortunate. It might also be unnecessary and, arguably, even blasphemous (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post)
  • Do you believe in miracles? | A look at the ministry of Benny Hinn (The Fifth Estate, CBC, Canada)

Christians, Jews, and Palestine:

  • Brott takes Messiah to Israel | 20-year friendship between Hamilton's high-profile maestro and one of Canada's best-known televangelists has taken the unlikely duo to Jerusalem for a special performance of Handel's Messiah (Canadian Press)
  • Elder said Hezbollah media edited remarks | An elder with an East Liberty church says remarks he made to leaders of an Islamic terrorist organization were taken out of context by an Arab television station (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Pa.)
  • Allies on Israel | President Bush and Sen. John Kerry had barely finished their speeches on Wednesday before an accounting of Bush's IOUs began. Lucky for Israel, the evangelicals who got out the vote are at the top of the list (Collin Levey, New York Post)
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Anglican Communion:

  • Episcopal debate mirrors states' rights | The Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh is expected to amend its constitution so it can ignore national church teachings it believes violate traditional teachings, such as last year's consecration of an openly gay bishop (Associated Press)
  • Church report is not a 'fudge' says Carey | The former Archbishop of Canterbury has given his backing to the recent Anglican Commission Report on issues arising out of homosexuality in the Church, despite his previous reservations that it might have been a "fudge" (The Belfast Telegraph, N.I.)
  • Archbishop urges reform of parish system | Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, yesterday called for an overhaul of the traditional parish system of the Church of England to meet the needs of modern society (The Guardian, London)
  • Archbishop sings hymn in praise of 'holiness of money' | Money, the love of which is often seen by the Church as the root of all evil, can be as much an agent of holiness as an agent of sin, Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, said yesterday (The Times, London)
  • A strangely vivid glimpse of the future | Will we see female bishops in the Church of England? Let's take a peek into the future (Marina Hyde, The Guardian, London)


  • Religion news in brief | Irish priests want church to end mandatory celibacy, Orthodox leaders support Bulgaria's patriarch, and other stories (Associated Press)
  • Archdiocese ordains auxiliary bishop | The Roman Catholic Church in Los Angeles anoints the Most Rev. Alexander Salazar, a former parish priest in the city (Los Angeles Times)
  • Strict prelate becomes voice of the Vatican | Traditionalist Ratzinger seen as a possible pope (The Washington Post)
  • Arlington diocese picks chastity track | The Catholic Diocese of Arlington has acquired a tamer child-protection curriculum 10 months after being forced to shelve a plan that drew criticism for being sexually explicit (The Washington Times)

Closing Catholic parishes:

  • Parishioners in Everett pledge defiance | Churchgoers hold vigil at St. Therese in effort to reverse archdiocese ruling (The Boston Globe)
  • Framingham parish is prepared to hold a vigil | Supporters say archdiocese must listen to the faithful (The Boston Globe)
  • Sit-in begins as Wellesley parish closes | Handful at St. James sign up for final effort (The Boston Globe)
  • 2 more parishes plan church sit-ins | Two more parishes plan to stage sit-ins to block closing of their churches, which could bring to 10 the number of occupied churches, despite efforts by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston to respond to the growing rebellion (The Boston Globe)
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Church life:

  • Divisions lead pastor to resign | Alvin O. Jackson says changes riled National City Christian Church (The Washington Post)
  • Church services beamed into homes | Northern Ireland churches will be able to broadcast services to housebound members under a new radio system (BBC)
  • Foreclosure looms at church | Solutions sought to save 'absolutely incredible' building of once-rising evangelical star Church Point Ministries (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)
  • Eulogies have become 'less religious, more personal' | Family members and friends now give half of all eulogies, a job once reserved almost exclusively for clergy. (Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fla.)


  • Greek Church to help priests find wives—and keep them | The Greek Orthodox Church launched a campaign to help young priests overcome a growing problem -- finding a wife in an age when Greek women are more and more reluctant to embrace an austere lifestyle (AFP)
  • Italian church seeks to woo back wedding couples | The Catholic church in Italy is to offer a marriage service tailored to the needs of lapsed Catholics in one of several moves aimed at reversing a decline in the number of Italians choosing to wed in church (The Guardian, London)


  • Staples leaves her mark | Don't let the gray hairs fool you. Mavis Staples still sounds as fresh today as she did back in 1950, when the then-11-year-old contralto made her debut as part of the Staple Singers (The Washington Times)
  • Opening a new door | Amy Grant takes a look back before stepping forward (Richmond Times Dispatch, Va.)
  • 'Torn' raps out spiritual journey | When Ted Williams uses choreography and rap music in his religious play "Torn," he believes that he is merely reclaiming what always belonged to God (South Bend Tribune, Ind.)
  • Musicians want to heed Gabriel's Call | Band brings blend of unusual genres to worship services (The Dallas Morning News)


  • A tart slice of not-so-humble piety in 'Grace' | Anyone alarmed by the unbending certitude of those who wear their religion as an emblem of righteousness will be drawn to "Grace," Craig Wright's creepily prescient comedy-drama of blood and Bibles (The Washington Post)
  • BBC comedy is ruled 'blasphemous' | A complaint about a BBC Three comedy sketch which included a sexually explicit reference to Jesus has been upheld as blasphemous by BBC governors (BBC)
  • BBC admits offence | A BBC television program mocking Jesus which featured a crucifix covered in excrement has been criticized by the Governors for causing gratuitous offence to Christians (The Times, London)
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  • TBN airs reruns in wake of scandal | Christian network fund-raising won't be live due partly to tryst allegations against founder (The Orange County Register, Ca.)


  • What would Jefferson do? | An essay on faith, reason, terror, and democracy (Robert Kuttner, The American Prospect)
  • A novel way to spread message | Robert Luedke spent most of the past two years writing and illustrating the graphic novel Eye Witness: A Fictional Tale of Absolute Truth, which blends a fictional spiritual awakening and Jesus' trial and crucifixion (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram)
  • Bad to the bone, or good girls at heart? | Here are five Biblical women Liz Curtis Higgs writes about in her book, "Bad Girls of the Bible" (The Express-Times, Bethlehem, Pa.)

Fraud & crime:

  • Judge freezes assets of alleged Ponzi scheme | The suspected operator raised $8 million by courting L.A. church members, the SEC says (Los Angeles Times)
  • Man shot to death trying to help youth | Attempted to halt beating in West Philadelphia (Philadelphia Daily News)


  • Betting your life on it | Problem gambling has clear health related consequences (British Medical Journal)
  • Gambling is hard on your health and your pocket, says study | Gambling is not only hard on your pocket but bad for your health, according to the British Medical Journal today (The Guardian, London)

Other articles of interest:

  • Prayer violates Des Moines mandate | A reading of the Lord's Prayer before a City Council meeting sparks controversy (Des Moines Register, Ia.)
  • The geek guide to kosher machines | Meet the hacker who makes your home appliances right with God (Wired)
  • Business scandals prompt look into personal lives | In a quest for more ethical leaders, recruiters are increasingly looking into executives' personal lives for evidence of womanizing and other behavior that raises questions about their integrity (USA Today)
  • Of human bondage | A coalition against human trafficking worked well until a prostitution litmus test was imposed (Tara McKelvey, The American Prospect)

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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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