Weblog has finally gone through everything that was published over the American Thanksgiving weekend. Now we're just thankful to be caught up. Many interesting articles below—dozens begging for commentary there's just not time for today. "Don't miss" articles are highlighted.


Religion & Politics | 'Values' | Supreme Court | Religious Left | Evangelicals | Abortion | Suicide | Life Ethics | Stem Cells | Health | AIDS | War & Terrorism | Iraq | Sudan | China | International religious liberty | December Dilemma | Thanksgiving Troubles | School Bans Declaration of Independence | Education | Creation & Evolution | Home Schooling | College | Boy Scouts | Church & State | Ten Commandments | Same-Sex Marriage | Marriage & Family | Sexual Ethics | Lesbian Methodist Trial | Anglican Communion & Homosexuality | Homosexuality & Religion | Church Life | Church Life in Africa | Ecumenism | Catholicism | Priest Shortage | Abuse | Closing Parishes | Mormons | Scientologists | Messianic Jews | Missions & Ministry | Thanksgiving | St. Andrew's Day | More Holidays | Law | Fraud | Crime | Hell & the Devil | Theology & Belief | People | Obituaries | Kluge Prize | Historic Bones | Knights Templar | Holy Grail | Books | Art | Television & Film | Music | Business & Economics | Giant Jesus | Other Articles

Religion & politics:

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  • When the state gets churched | Jesus of Nazareth, who said his kingdom was beyond this Earth, was not the sort of guy you'd expect to see winning an election for the regime of wealth and war (Dan Carpenter, The Indianapolis Star)

  • Religion, politics, and the new obtuseness | Liberals in a tizzy over religious voters and Bush's reelection need a refresher course on the American tradition of religious expression in the political arena (Claudia Winkler, The Weekly Standard)

  • A shade of doubt about a true blue state | Is Massachusetts—John Kerry's home, haven for Unitarian Universalists, and home of the nation's only same-sex marriage law—a closet red state when it comes to spiritual values? (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)

  • The godly must be crazy | Christian-right views are swaying politicians and threatening the environment (Grist)

  • Walk softly and carry a rubber stick | Envoy John Danforth learns that diplomatic circumlocution makes friends at U.N. (The Washington Post)

  • New deity dawns for faithful Labor | Christian Labor MPs are vowing to speak more openly about their faith as they grapple with the rise of Family First and the Coalition's courting of Catholics and fundamental church groups (The Australian)

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  • To hell with values | I'm sick of talking about values, sick of pretending I have them or care more about them than I really do (Michael Kinsley, Los Angeles Times)

  • The battle is over, but the war goes on | Those who think they won on "moral values" may be in for a surprise (Michelle Cottle, Time)

  • 'Moral values' fact and fiction | There is no evidence that more Americans voted for retrogressive social policies in 2004 than in 2000 or any other year (The Berkshire Eagle, Mass.)

  • Moral to the election: Time to build on values we all share | Most people would agree that we ought to help people who are in need. But people disagree about how to help (Jerry Large, Seattle Times)

  • Conservative Christian values hold sway in U.S. | Conservative Americans, and especially conservative Christian Americans, believe that the founding fathers knew the only common thread that would bind the country together was a moral standard. Standards not defined by chance or whim but those ordained by God. (Mary Endres, Kansas City Star)

  • Defining morality splits Christians | To cast a vote for John Kerry was infinitely more moral than a vote for George Bush (Sydney Smith, News-Leader, Springfield, Mo.)

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Supreme Court fight:

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  • The next Phyllis Schlafly | A longtime Republican operative wants to sell herself as a grass-roots leader. Her target: the Supreme Court. (The American Prospect)

  • James Dobson focuses on the Supreme Court | Now that Election Day is over, the Christian leader is rallying supporters for 'moral' Supreme Court appointees (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Courts first to go in right-wing revolution | Every time the so-called Christian Right has tried to turn this country into a theocracy, those pesky federal courts have stymied things (George McEvoy, Palm Beach Post)

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Religious left:

  • From left, religious figures make a push | Almost universally, liberals are seeking to counteract the growing political power exerted by Christian conservatives and the religious right since the 1970s (The Boston Globe)

  • Loser opportunities | If Democrats want to get back in the "values" game and change their image as a party full of secularists intent on removing any reference to God from culture and even the history of America, they can start in the government schools (Cal Thomas, The Washington Times)

  • A lesson for the liberal elite | In a recent speech at Tufts University, Andy Rooney reflected on the election and said, according to The Tufts Daily, that Christian fundamentalism is a result of "a lack of education. They haven't been exposed to what the world has to offer" (Bernard Moon, The Boston Globe)

God not partisan:

  • Christians must focus on God, not politics | It is ultimately God who saves and prospers us. He is our hope—not Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives (Franklin Graham, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • God doesn't belong to a political party | Being "pro-life," according to Pope John Paul II and church teaching, is a "womb-to-tomb" belief. It's not just about being opposed to abortion (Dennis Godby, The Oregonian)

'Conservative hypocrites':

  • A moral quandary | Conservatives are hypocrites (Brian McGrory, The Boston Globe)

  • The righteous right: hypocrisy, not 'moral values' | Moral values? How hypocritical. And how typical of the righteous right to be hypocritical (Heather Froeschl, The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  • If you read the gospels, the Religious Right is most often wrong | I've compared what I read in Gospels with what I've been hearing from the Religious Right, and I've concluded that the holier-than-thous must have traded in their red-letter editions of the Good Book for red-state versions that omit most of Jesus' teachings (Rick Mercier, The Free-Lance Star, Fredricksburg, Va.)

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  • Fundamentalist flim-flam | Narrow mindelitis—which causes those affected to remain philosophically stranded in the first century C.E. It is brought on by a diet deficiency of ecumenism (David Lecam, Weymouth News, Mass.)

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Jerry Falwell et. al. on Meet the Press:

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Abortion (U.S.):

  • It's the pro-lifers' moment | Bush's re-election, the Peterson case, and other factors show that the right has gathered steam (James P. Pinkerton, Newsday)

  • Poll: Americans want Roe v. Wade upheld | AP poll found that 59 percent say Bush should choose a nominee who would uphold the 1973 decision that legalized abortion. About three in 10, 31 percent, said they want a nominee who would overturn the decision (Associated Press)

  • Abortion notification law faulted in ruling | A law requiring parental notification before an abortion is performed on a minor is unconstitutional, a federal appeals court said Wednesday in a decision that backed a lower court's ruling (Associated Press)

  • Abortion foes put faith in Congress | Both sides prepare for legislative fight (Chicago Tribune)

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Abortion (outside U.S.):

  • Make late abortions easier, urges charity chief | The beleaguered head of Britain's leading abortion-providing charity will today inflame her critics by calling for women to be given easier access to terminations over 20 weeks (The Guardian, London)

  • British GP faces three inquiries over 'illegal abortions' | A doctor exposed by the Telegraph last week for arranging illegal late-term abortions for British women is now the subject of three investigations (The Telegraph, London)

  • Church must make abortion case: Jensen | The Church needed to win the moral debate and raise public awareness before it could persuade governments to outlaw abortion, the head of Sydney's Anglicans has said (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Catholic taskforce to act on abortion | Australia's Catholic leaders have made a belated entry into the abortion debate, announcing a taskforce to look at ways of increasing support for women who are considering abortion (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Distraught Diana had abortion during affair, claims new book | According to Lady Colin Campbell, author of The Real Diana, the princess was having an affair with Oliver Hoare, a wealthy and married art dealer, and was desperate to keep the baby (The Scotsman)

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  • Religious affiliation and suicide attempt | Religiously unaffiliated subjects had significantly more lifetime suicide attempts and more first-degree relatives who committed suicide than subjects who endorsed a religious affiliation (The American Journal of Psychiatry)

  • Ban on suicide journey is lifted | The High Court has lifted an injunction banning a Wirral man from taking his chronically-sick wife to Switzerland for an assisted suicide (BBC, video)

  • Judge lifts ban on dying woman's flight to Swiss euthanasia clinic | In what is thought to be the first case of its kind, Mr Justice Hedley stopped short of sanctioning what has been called "suicide tourism" after a number of cases in which people traveled abroad to die (The Times, London)

  • High court refuses to halt suicide trip | A high court judge refused to intervene yesterday to stop the husband of a woman with a degenerative brain disease taking her to Switzerland for an assisted suicide, even though the man could be committing a criminal offence (The Guardian, London)

  • Dying woman is free to commit suicide | A woman suffering from an incurable brain disease was told yesterday that the High Court would not stop her from traveling to Switzerland for an assisted suicide because she has full mental capacity (The Telegraph, London)

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Life ethics:

  • Netherlands hospital euthanizes babies | A hospital in the Netherlands—the first nation to permit euthanasia—recently proposed guidelines for mercy killings of terminally ill newborns, and then made a startling revelation: It has already begun carrying out such procedures, which include administering a lethal dose of sedatives (Associated Press)

  • Good breeding | So far, from what we know, no one has attempted to create a human/chimpanzee hybrid. But would that be wrong? (The New York Times, third item)

  • Mother carrying 'designer baby' | A woman who was given permission to have embryo screening treatment in a bid to save her son is carrying the UK's first "designer baby" (BBC)

  • First 'designer baby' could save his brother | Wife is pregnant after rule change lets couple choose embryo to be donor for anaemic son (The Times, London)

  • Living wills don't really work often | End-of-life medical questions often involve much more complicated medical and moral questions. Many living wills are so vague as to be useless (Associated Press)

  • Adopt away! | Fifteen reasons to consider adoption instead of assisted reproductive technology (Jennifer Roback Morse, National Review Online)

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Embryonic stem cells:

  • California's new stem-cell initiative is already raising concerns | Critics say the ballot measure that passed by a wide margin on Nov. 2 contains inadequate safeguards to ensure public oversight of the financial allocations and guarantee public benefit from any medical breakthroughs (The New York Times)

  • Swiss voters okay stem cell research law | Swiss voters overwhelmingly approved a law allowing stem cell research Sunday, rejecting a hard-line campaign that compared researchers to the Nazis' "angel of death," Dr. Josef Mengele (Associated Press)

  • Also: Swiss voters back stem cell research | Voters in Switzerland yesterday overwhelmingly approved a law allowing scientists to experiment on stem cells taken from human embryos, in a move which will deepen the division between Europe and the US over the use of such research (The Guardian, London)

  • Also: Swiss endorse stem cell research | Voters in Switzerland have strongly backed a new law permitting research on the stem cells of human embryos (BBC, video)

  • A question of human value: Are we all equal? | The question of whether human embryos should be used for stem-cell research presents Americans with a new phase of an old struggle over equality, says Wesley J. Smith (The Washington Times)

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  • 'I don't know how it works' | Dr Huang Hongyun cultivates the cells of aborted foetuses and injects them into the brains and spines of his patients. His method is controversial, but his results have led hundreds of westerners to his Beijing surgery (The Guardian, London)

Non-embryonic stem-cells:

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  • Bishop acts to keep the flu from the flock | The Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is the only one in the country that has formally asked priests to refrain from using the communion chalice and parishioners to avoid the usual handshake, hug or kiss when they make the sign of peace during Mass until the end of flu season (The New York Times)

  • Do your fears overshadow your faith? | With health officials harping on the importance of hygiene, it's no wonder such worries have spilled over into churches. But when did fear overcome faith? (Tom Schaefer, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

  • Catholic leaders issue advisory on flu precautions | Leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Boston and Springfield issued advisories to parishioners in recent weeks telling them that if they have the flu or a cold, they should forgo a handshake of fellowship as well as sipping from the Communion cup during Mass (The Boston Globe)

  • Teen pregnancy rates revealed | Teenage pregnancy rates in parts of east Belfast are more than double the average for the Eastern Health Board area, a report has said (BBC)

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  • S. Africans with AIDS see ray of hope | Drugs begin to help the few poor patients who can get them (The Washington Post)

  • Vatican: AIDS a sign of moral 'immunodeficiency' | Vatican today blamed the spread of AIDS on an "immunodeficiency" of moral values among other factors and called for education, abstinence and greater access to drugs to fight the disease (Reuters)

  • Is the church preparing to aid HIV/AIDS victims? | There is a growing recognition that HIV/AIDS is not just a serious health issue in developing countries, but a major developmental catastrophe that threatens to dismantle the social and economic achievements of the past half-century (John Hardy, The Jamaica Observer)

  • World AIDS Day marked amid warnings | Health officials say disease risk for Asian women is rising (The Washington Post)

  • Groups says condom limits sap AIDS fight | Criticism of condoms and restrictions on access to them are undercutting the fight against HIV/AIDS in countries ranging from Nigeria to Peru to the United States, Human Rights Watch said in a report Tuesday (Associated Press)

  • U.N., World Vision fight HIV/AIDS | The U.N. World Food Program and World Vision joined forces Monday to urge a massive increase in donor funds for schools to combat HIV/AIDS (UPI)

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War & terrorism:

  • Bethlehem hopes for post-Arafat Christmas revival | As memorial posters of Yasser Arafat fade fast in Bethlehem's Manger Square, Palestinians in the birthplace of Jesus dare to hope this Christmas will not be as bleak as the last few (Reuters)

  • Faith in foxholes—farfetched? | A civil rights group has objected to remarks made by a U.S. Navy chaplain, who used the familiar phrase, 'there is no such thing as an atheist in a foxhole,' during an interview on CNN. Was he wrong? Religious leaders respond (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Dutch try to thwart terror without being overzealous | His telephone was tapped, his apartment was watched and many of his friends were already behind bars, so the Dutch authorities were not surprised by evidence that it was Mohamed Bouyeri, a Dutchman of Moroccan descent, who murdered the filmmaker Theo van Gogh in broad daylight one morning this month. Yet they had been powerless to stop the crime (The New York Times)

  • Challenging traditions of tolerance | Why would the hijab or the murder of van Gogh provoke European reaction when, for instance, the March 11 bombings in Madrid did not? (Jonathan Gurwitz, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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Iraq's Christians:

  • Fighting fear with faith | Hope has become increasingly rare among Iraq's Christian minority, which says it is under threat as never before (The Washington Times)

  • Iraq's Christian minority under threat as never before | Already an estimated one of every 10 Iraqi Christians has fled the country, most of them to neighboring Syria (Newhouse News Service)

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Religion in China:

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International religious liberty:

  • 1m Christians sign EU religion plea | More than a million people from all over Europe are to deliver a petition to Tony Blair and fellow EU leaders calling for changes to the constitution recognizing Europe's Christian heritage (The Telegraph, London)

  • Churches vow to fight NGOs bill | Bill, which government is likely to bulldoze through Parliament, targets civic organizations involved in issues of governance and human rights by prohibiting these organizations from receiving foreign funds, thus stifling their activities (Zimbabwe Standard)

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  • Italy's church and state: A mostly happy union | In Italy, the European nation where religion and state have mingled most, the disagreements are somehow less bitter and absolute than in the United States (The New York Times)

  • Religion and the unfair international system | Far more people in the developing countries take religion –– including Christianity –– seriously than in the rich and developed societies (Kevin Pamba, The National, Papua New Guinea)

  • Anger at no repeal on blasphemy | Government plans to keep the ancient blasphemy law while outlawing incitement to racial hatred have been criticised in some quarters (BBC)

  • Old-time religion gives way to diversity | Canada's statistical data on religion create more fog than light (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

  • Needless row over Trinity | There is no reason why a more neutral name should not be found for the country's highest national award, given the Christian connotations inherent in the "Trinity Cross" (Trinidad & Tobago Express)

  • Christian caucus: Israel not getting out message | Israel is not getting out its political message to millions of Christian supporters around the world who have a skewed view of the conflict with the Palestinians, Christian leaders who are attending the Jerusalem Summit said Tuesday in a meeting with the Knesset Christian Allies Caucus (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Pakistani gets life for blasphemy | Iqbal Ahmad, a member of the Ahmediya community, was found guilty of being disrespectful to the Prophet Muhammad in a mosque near Faisalabad (BBC)

  • Cleric: Cuba blocked goods | The Cuban government prevented a delegation from the Archdiocese of Miami from taking medicine and religious artifacts into the country, Archbishop John C. Favalora said Monday (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Also: Favalora leads clergy to Cuba | Regional religious leaders joined in the celebration of the 200th anniversary of Cuba's Archdiocese of Santiago (The Miami Herald)

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Jesus ban lifted from Australian restaurant:

  • Baby Jesus ban lifted | A fast food chain yesterday admitted it was overzealous in its pursuit of political correctness when it banned one of its Sydney stores from displaying a traditional Christmas nativity scene (The Daily Telegraph, NSW, Australia)

  • Earlier: Chicken shop bans baby Jesus | A fast food chain has banned one of its Sydney stores from displaying a traditional Christmas nativity scene because of fears it would offend non-Christians (The Daily Telegraph, NSW, Australia)

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  • Playing chicken on culture clash  | For those who need to have it explained, for those who need a reminder, Christmas is a Christian celebration—a time to celebrate the birth of Christ—hence the name (Editorial, The Daily Telegraph, NSW, Australia)

December dilemma:

  • City lights up Nativity scene—and church-state debate | Jesus has returned to the steps of Denver's city hall (Denver Post)

  • Public religious holiday displays absent in Palm Beach | The town held its first of three holiday tree lightings Monday night, and it wasn't in the Royal Poinciana Way median, nor was there a menorah or Nativity scene nearby (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  • Misguided targeting of Christmas sign | 'Merry Christmas' isn't a divisive statement (Editorial, Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Seminar guides teachers on religious inclusion | With the Christmas season now officially begun, teachers must try to be inclusive of all religions, not just Christianity. That's why 75 teachers from the city and Brighton attended a teacher training seminar at Nazareth College Monday (Democrat & Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.)

  • Schools debate Christmas policies | Throughout the fall, a group of nearly 100 parents and students has met with school administrators to bring back Christmas to the classroom, where they say it is now referred to as the "C-word." (Foster's Sunday Citizen, N.H.)

  • Belief in a kindly Santa 'is good for children' | Parents should encourage their children to believe in Father Christmas as a way of teaching them to be good and charitable, according to a paper from the Royal College of Psychiatrists (The Times, London)

  • Parade prohibition puzzles preacher | If groups celebrating American Indian holy people, German culture and the Chinese New Year can march in the city's Parade of Lights, why can't a Christian group march to celebrate Christmas? (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Holiday festivities divide Canterbury in two | Santoro orders town tree-lighting to be nonsectarian; those who disagree plan rival event (The Day, New London, Conn.)

  • Should Christmas be censored in public schools? | The yuletide legal battle is gaining new momentum in Chicago. A Chicago law firm has joined a national effort to stop what they call the censoring of Christmas in schools (WLS, Chicago)

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Thanksgiving troubles:

  • Students free to thank anybody, except God | Maryland public school students are free to thank anyone they want while learning about the 17th century celebration of Thanksgiving—as long as it's not God (Fox News)

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  • Ehrlich disputes limit on religion | Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. said yesterday that the state does not bar teachers from addressing the religious aspects of the Thanksgiving holiday, taking issue with a recent report by the Capital News Service (The Washington Times)

  • Erasing religion | The Judeo-Christian influence on the formation of America can't be wished into non-existence (Arnold Ahlert, Chicago Sun-Times)

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School bans Declaration of Independence, other documents:

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  • Poem read by principal sparks complaints | Some Cedar Shoals High School parents and students are complaining to school district officials about a poem read by the principal over the school's intercom last week that talked about prohibitions on school prayer while at the same time, students "dress like freaks," get pregnant and use bad language (Athens Banner-Herald, Ga.)

  • Principal sorry for 'school prayer' poem | A high school principal apologized Monday for reading a poem called "The New School Prayer" over the school's intercom, which brought complaints from some parents who said it violated the principle of separation of church and state (Associated Press)

  • Accusations of bias fly in eviction | Pastor Lee Wasson said his Kissimmee Christian Academy was cast out of its old home in favor of the Islamic nonprofit Universal Heritage Foundation (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Gay book ban goal of state lawmaker | An Alabama lawmaker who sought to ban gay marriages now wants to ban novels with gay characters from public libraries, including university libraries (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  • Support of gays pushed in schools | Civil liberties and homosexual rights advocates have renewed their push for community programs to bolster support in schools for homosexual youths, just weeks after voters repudiated same-sex unions in 11 state referendums (The Washington Times)

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Creation & evolution:

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Home schooling:

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  • What would Jesus do at Harvard? | Walking out of Harvard's Divinity Hall on a recent afternoon, Harvey Cox's mood does not seem affected by the cold, damp weather or the deafening sounds of nearby construction. All the way back to his office, he's happily singing the much-covered reggae song "By the Rivers of Babylon" (Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Boston Globe)

  • Colleges are learning to hold parents' hands | The same baby boomers who cast off family ties when they left home just can't let go of their kids (Los Angeles Times)

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  • SPU keeps its ban on drinking, fostering a debate | Seattle Pacific University students last spring voted for relaxing the school's alcohol ban to allow undergraduates 21 and over to drink off campus. From the outside, that may seem like a tweak, but those familiar with the evangelical Christian school know otherwise (Seattle Times)

  • Campus becomes gay rights microcosm | The University of North Florida explores the possibility of religious adherence without creating discrimination (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

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Boy Scouts:

  • Boy Scouts of America under fire | In case you missed it during the hustle and bustle of Turkey Day, the Boy Scouts of America are under attack. (Darrell Huckaby, Athens Banner-Herald, Ga.)

  • Bashing the Boy Scouts | One group whose First Amendment rights the ACLU opposes (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Rumsfeld supports Scouts meeting on military bases | Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has entered the fray over the Defense Department's relationship with the Boy Scouts of America, endorsing in a letter to the House speaker continued support of Scout troops who meet on military bases (The Washington Times)

  • Senate GOP eyes counter punches to aid Boy Scouts | Senate Republican leaders plan to move legislation next year to protect the Boy Scouts of America from attacks by liberal groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union over government ties to the organization, which has an oath that acknowledges God (The Washington Times)

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Church & state (U.S.):

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  • What makes the US a Christian nation | American Christianity is much closer to what the Dietrich Bonhoeffer called "religionless Christianity". Soren Kierkegaard, I think, would have been pleased ("Spengler," Asia Times)

  • Prison rule hair-brained at best | Now here is a ruling we can all be proud of. This is the story of Billy Warsoldier, a Native American who was freed from jail earlier this year after his sentence had been extended due to his refusal to allow his hair to be cut while in prison (Charles J. Unger, News-Press, Glendale, Ca.)

  • Bill of Rights holds in check pious hubris | Freedom from religion must be near the top of any thanksgiving list this year (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post)

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Ten Commandments:

  • Touring Commandments make a symbolic stop | Alabama tablet pulls up alongside contested display outside courthouse (Houston Chronicle)

  • Ten Commandments visit Houston | The Ten Commandments monument removed from an Alabama court building was displayed briefly last week near a Bible monument at the center of another legal battle because of its placement in front of the Harris County Civil courts building. (Associated Press)

  • Commandments stone at last might be removed | The president's advocacy of religion's "deserving of support" for scholarships to seminaries, restoration of church architecture, grants in support of religious charitable works, and so forth, with the weight of the cost for these "projects" to be thrown onto every tax-paying citizen, no matter what non-Christian sect each adheres to, seems imminent. The evidence of religion, as a force rising over the state, pledged to even-handedness for all people, is frightening to contemplate. (Marcel Stratton, In-Forum, Fargo, N.D.)

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Same-sex marriage in South Africa:

  • SA ruling 'may allow gay unions' | South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of a lesbian couple who wanted the definition of marriage changed to include same-sex unions (BBC)

  • 'Now we can tie the knot' | Lesbians delighted by watershed ruling on same-sex marriages (The Star, South Africa)

  • Gay marriages not legally recognised yet | Gay couples will not be able to have their marriages legally recognised as yet, as a great deal of legislative amendments have to be put into place before it can happen, according to Jan Stemmet, the co-chairperson of the Law Society of South Africa (SABC, South Africa)

U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear Mass. same-sex marriage case:

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More on same-sex marriage:

  • 'Marriage' issue works its way through courts | December will be a busy month for homosexual "marriage" issues as courts in Oregon and California consider the fate of about 7,000 same-sex "marriages" and a Louisiana court considers the legality of a newly passed marriage amendment (The Washington Times)

  • Political battles over gay marriage still spreading | 12 more states may vote on banning it in 2006 (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • The future is uncertain | On the future of gay marriage, your guess is as good as ours (Joshua K. Baker & Maggie Gallagher, National Review Online)

  • After victory, crusader against same-sex marriage thinks big | Phil Burress, an antipornography crusader from the suburbs of Cincinnati, became a Paul Revere for the movement against same-sex marriage, not only sounding warnings across the land but also laying the groundwork for a church-based conservative movement that he hopes will transform Ohio politics for years to come (The New York Times)

  • Bishops turn up the heat on MPs | The Catholic Church is urging its members to take note of the way their MPs vote on the Civil Union Bill today when deciding who to support at the next election (The New Zealand Herald)

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Marriage & family:

  • Godparents becoming in vogue | Now that many Americans consider a godparent as much a cool family friend as a trusted spiritual guide, some parents hope to cement a relationship with someone who's influential or wealthy, or at least in a position to give their child an edge. (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Mother, daughter baptism brings family home | Finally, the VanArsdalls of Bossier City have a home (Shreveport Times, La.)

  • Group: Egypt divorce laws unfair to women | Egyptian women, denied equal access to divorce, often are trapped in unwanted marriages or left begging for a divorce that can take years to secure and leave them destitute, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday in a report urging an overhaul of procedures rooted in Islamic law and tradition (Associated Press)

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Sexual ethics:

  • The charity prostitutes can trust in | A community project that helps prostitutes in Brixton and Streatham quit the sex industry has won a top award (Streatham Guardian, England)

  • Sex change and salvation | The religious right revs up its megaphones against teenage behavior and sexual promiscuity but never against corporate interests responsible for imposing sex change agents on all of us (Alan Farago, The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Bush seeks funds for abstinence education | Congress last weekend included more than $131 million for abstinence programs in a $388 billion spending bill, an increase of $30 million but about $100 million less than Bush requested (Associated Press)

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Methodist trial of lesbian minister:

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Anglican Communion & homosexuality:

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  • Williams tells clergy: stop gay bashing | The Archbishop of Canterbury has issued a strong rebuke to conservatives in the worldwide Anglican Communion for the hostility of their language towards homosexuals in the recent row over gay bishops (The Times, London)

  • Williams calls for healing in gay rift | The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, pleaded with both sides in the war over homosexuality to repent for bringing the worldwide Church to the brink of schism (The Telegraph, London)

  • Archbishop's letter angers gays | Gay activists say that a letter from the Archbishop of Canterbury rebuking conservative Anglicans for pejorative language against them fails to address the cause of homophobia in the Church (The Times, London)

  • Williams' call for Anglican unity falls on deaf ears | The archbishop's call was already being criticized by both sides within hours of its release (The Guardian, London)

  • Williams to chair bishops' closed debate on gay crisis | The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, will lead a summit of more than 50 Church of England bishops today to discuss the way forward over the homosexuality crisis in the Anglican Church (The Times, London)

  • Gay issues slowly erode Episcopal membership | Episcopalians aren't making a mass exodus from their church, but dioceses across the country are doing a slow bleed as members realize that a much-anticipated report released six weeks ago has no teeth and that the denomination's ordination of a homosexual bishop will go unpunished (The Washington Times)

  • Robinson's first year | A year of controversy and protest following his consecration as the first openly gay bishop hasn't dampened Gene Robinson's faith. Here's an interview with the bishop (The Advocate, gay magazine)

  • Bishop J. Neil Alexander: 'God makes a small percentage of people gay' | Atlanta's Episcopal Bishop explains how he went from a man who thought that all homosexuals were sinners to one who voted last year to consent to the election of New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, an openly gay man in a relationship (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • U.S. Episcopal Church leader visits isles | Bishop takes up war, gays (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

  • Toronto Anglicans defer same-sex decision | The governing body of Toronto Anglicans voted Saturday to defer a decision on approving the blessing of same-sex unions until 2006 (Associated Press)

  • Episcopal bishop to stop blessing same-sex unions | In a move to win back three breakaway Southern California parishes and placate conservative critics internationally, the Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles said Tuesday he will observe a personal moratorium on blessing same-sex unions. However, he said his priests were free to continue officiating at homosexual ceremonies (Los Angeles Times)

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Homosexuality & religion:

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Church life:

  • Sermon subject raises hackles | The sign in front of the Church of the Nazarene in Sunnyvale, promoting a sermon by Sunday's guest speaker, is raising a few eyebrows. "Why I am not a Muslim,'' reads the electric signboard in front of the church at 975 Fremont Ave. But church officials and the speaker say the message isn't intended to inflame. (Mercury News, Calif.)

  • Update: Setting the record straight | A quote in an article Saturday in the local section about a guest speaker at a church who planned to talk about his conversion from Islam to Christianity was not set in the proper context. (letters, Mercury News, Calif.)

  • When the flock takes the lead | Pastoral letters don't necessarily speak for the parishioners (John J. Miller, The Wall Street Journal)

  • A warning signal from the churches | The American Jewish organizations managed not only to pave the way for rapprochement with the Presbyterians, they even managed to convince the Episcopalian church to remove a similar decision from the agenda, and also to prevent liberal Protestant denominations from discussing the question of divesting from Israel. (Haaretz, Israel)

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  • Church attributes recent growth to a commitment to prayer | Since 1996, Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, which had declined for decades, has grown from 100 to 240 in average Sunday attendance (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • A big opening to fill | With Rev. Adrian Rogers turning over the reins, Bellevue Baptist needs another God-sent man (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.)

  • Congregation saves, rededicates Md. church | When Tropical Storm Isabel dumped itself on Hooper's Island, the damage to the 114-year-old Hoopers Memorial United Methodist Church seemed beyond repair (Associated Press)

  • A milestone to eternity | In little-changing Greek orthodox church, a celebration of a cathedral's centennial (The Washington Post)

  • Permanent sites elude churches | Rented schools a sanctuary for growing congregations (The Washington Post)

  • Ever faithful | A South End church clings to its soulful past and helps its parishioners find faith and friendship (The Boston Globe)

  • Crusade deserves an 'Amen' | If you went to Patrick Wooden's church Sunday expecting an apology, you were at the wrong place (Barry Saunders, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

  • Church's long hunt for home finally over | They were not 40 years in the desert, but the congregation of Rock Harbor Church nevertheless has been on a lengthy journey to find a home (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Searching for sweet Jesus | Today I'm going to church. Megachurch (Nancy Sartor, Pulse of the Twin Cities, Minn.)

  • Also: Supersized salvation | Today there are roughly 800 of these Protestant Christian megachurches in the United States (Pulse of the Twin Cities, Minn.)

  • My family now has a church to call its own | Whenever I drive down Main Street here in Waltham, my two older kids point out highlights from their everyday life—the places they like to visit, such as the library and our church (Mary K. Pratt, The Boston Globe)

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Church life in Africa:

  • 'Godless' young generation worries churches | Attendance at Kenya's Protestant churches is plummeting as Kenyans flock towards exciting new cults or back to traditional religions (East African Standard, Nairobi)

  • Split looms as Methodist Church saga boils over | The controversy that has dogged Dr Charles Mugaviri, Bishop- designate of the Methodist Church in Zimbabwe for the past year, finally caught up with him, scuttling his installation yesterday (Zimbabwe Standard)

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  • Slide is normal, Nzimbi declares | The head of Anglican Church, Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi has played down the slide in church membership, saying it was normal. "We call it nominalism," he said. "It simply shows that Christian movement in Kenya has gone full circle." (The East African Standard, Nairobi)

  • Why the church must change | The Church in Kenya must review its theology and doctrine whose failures Islam has capitalized on to convert Christians, said an analyst (Samwel Rambaya, The East African Standard, Nairobi)

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  • Ancient language this Mass production's drawcard | The Latin Mass is symbolic of the church's traditional base and it's striking a chord with young Catholics as well as old (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Australia)

  • Catholicism under siege | Today, even some Catholics engage in Catholic-bashing. (William H. Keeler, The Baltimore Sun)

  • Austria has new bishop after porn scandal | Klaus Kueng, a bishop in southwestern Austria who was sent by Pope John Paul II to investigate the scandal for the Vatican, was installed as the bishop of St. Poelten in a solemn ceremony in this city 50 miles west of Vienna (Associated Press)

  • Pope prays for peace in Ukraine | Pope John Paul II said Sunday he was praying for peace in Ukraine as the former Soviet republic endures a crisis over its disputed presidential vote (Associated Press)

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  • Stand erect, hold your heads high | Our respect, admiration and love for the leadership of the Catholic Church from the pope himself to the lowest ranking priest or nun is ever growing (Editorial, The Post of Zambia)

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Catholic priest shortage:

  • Pope concerned about U.S. priest shortage | He also suggested, in an apparent reference to the clergy sex abuse scandal, that seminary training needs to be tightened to instill a commitment to "holiness and spiritual wisdom." (Associated Press)

  • Pope urges U.S. national prayer day for more priests | Pope John Paul on Friday called for a national day of prayer to boost priestly vocations in the United States, where sexual abuse scandals have hit already shrinking numbers of priesthood volunteers. (Reuters)

  • Priest shortage puts Mass under cloud | Melbourne will soon have insufficient Catholic priests to conduct Sunday Masses (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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  • Deal is elusive in O.C. abuse talks | Orange diocese is trying to settle 87 claims against priests and others. An agreement could set a benchmark for L.A. cases (Los Angeles Times)

  • Earlier: Sex abuse settlement may be near | Judge hearing suits against the Diocese of Orange asks that all plaintiffs be present. Any resolution could be a model for other cases (Los Angeles Times)

  • Deal possible in priest-abuse lawsuits | Plaintiffs waiting outside an L.A. courtroom for word of a settlement involving Orange diocese (The Orange County Register)

  • Scandal puts focus on Los Angeles cardinal | Cardinal Roger Mahony has been considered a voice for the dispossessed ever since he supported farmworkers' rights in the 1960s. But he draws sharp criticism from those who feel he protects the church at the expense of sexual abuse victims and others who disapprove of his fight to keep internal church documents secret (Associated Press)

  • Boston priest pleads guilty to child rape | A priest charged with repeatedly raping an altar boy pleaded guilty Tuesday as jury selection was set to begin (Associated Press)

  • Also: Priest admits abusing altar boy | "I feel at peace," Robert V. Gale told the judge when asked if he was comfortable with his decision (The Boston Globe)

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Closing Catholic parishes:

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  • Baptism by fire | The liaison between the archdiocese and closing parishes draws praise and heated criticism (The Boston Globe)

  • Church gives parishioners role in closure | More than 700 parishioners learned to their surprise Monday night that the archdiocese, which decided in May to close St. James, has backed away from that plan and now wants the laity to recommend which church to shutter (The Boston Globe)

  • Best use of Church assets | Archbishop Sean O'Malley's challenge will be to protect the financial interests of the archdiocese while maintaining the social mission of the church—especially its historic commitment to affordable housing (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  • Amid vigil, parishioners feast on hope | 75 days into sit-in, they offer thanks (The Boston Globe)

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Latter-Day Saints:

  • Controversy surrounds Mormonism comments by Fuller exec. | Evangelical Christian leaders and experts on Mormonism have expressed dismay at recent comments made by Fuller Theological Seminary President Richard Mouw at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' "signature pulpit" in Salt Lake City (Baptist Press)

  • Judge tells ranting preacher to stop abusing Mormons | An Evangelical Christian preacher was ordered yesterday to stop bombarding Mormons with mobile phone calls and text messages and to keep away from their missions (The Telegraph, London)

  • Also: Jezebels and underwear | What Andrew Price allegedly did (The Telegraph, London)

  • Also: Preacher to keep clear of Mormons | A fundamentalist Protestant preacher was ordered yesterday to keep away from Mormons after a judge found that his prolonged attempts to harangue them were unreasonable (The Guardian, London)

  • Mormons spruce up their aging Hawaiian outpost | Church officials hope they will bring more of Hawaii's six million visitors a year through Laie and possibly into the Mormon fold (The New York Times)

  • Flat tax mindful of LDS needs | One version retains deductions for tithing, homes, kids (The Salt Lake Tribune)

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  • Scientology settlement puts IRS in a kosher pickle | Tax lawyers are watching a trial in Los Angeles that pits an orthodox Jewish family against the Internal Revenue Service over whether tuition for religious education is deductible—based in part on a "secret" settlement between the IRS and the Church of Scientology (National Law Journal)

  • Drug addicts sent to Scientologists | Norway's government has spent large sums sending drug addicts to a controversial Danish treatment run and supported by Scientologists (Aftenposten, Oslo)

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Messianic Jews:

  • Long "Road" for followers | Event for Messianic Judaism shifts Calif. venues after light registration (The Denver Post)

  • Revival raises questions of faith | A Denver-based Christian ministry says its only goal is to show support for Messianic Jews, but Inland Jewish leaders contend the group's upcoming Coachella Valley revival is aimed at converting Jews to Christianity (The Press Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

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Missions & ministry:

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  • Pilgrims saw our nation as having a great mission | They left Europe to escape religious persecution—not quite the same as saying they came for religious freedom—and "to create His kingdom on earth." (Clifford D. May, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • America's 'official' religion | How does an atheist observe Thanksgiving, other than perhaps with a jaundiced eye? (Dimitri Vassilaros, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  • What would Jesus give? | The annual holiday greedfest turned on its afterburner yesterday, the day after Thanksgiving (Bob Ewegen, The Denver Post)

  • A very Christian holiday | "Fundamentalists" gave us Thanksgiving, and we should thank them for it (David Gelernter, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Va. group wants to unseat pilgrims at history's table | Imagine a Thanksgiving Day without Pilgrims. Picture this instead: a solemn day of fasting, meditation and introspection, followed by a light meal of roasted oysters or Virginia ham (The Washington Post)

  • 'Grinch' gives Florida credit for first Thanksgiving | Old rivalry faces new competition from those who say the true first Thanksgiving was celebrated many decades before the English arrived at either Jamestown or Plymouth Rock (The Washington Times)

  • Thanks, prayer fill cathedral | Worshippers from across the region prayed for their families—and their loved ones serving in the military overseas—at the Thanksgiving Day service at Washington National Cathedral (The Washington Times)

  • Grace, gratitude, and God | In typical toddler fashion, my daughter is now absolutely fanatical about her new routine. Not only must we say grace before every meal, but also before each snack. And anytime we have a drink. And anytime her baby brother gobbles Cheerios in his car seat. Failure to give thanks to God is met with swift retribution (Michelle Malkin, The Washington Times)

  • Hunting for turkey in bread lines of today | Like the bishop in "Les Misérables," who gave his candlesticks to Jean Valjean after he had already stolen the silver, Pastor Samuels persists because she believes that when all the turkeys have been given away, even to the undeserving, good will beget more good (The New York Times)

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St. Andrew's Day:

  • Canavan seeks day for St Andrew | An MSP is taking the campaign to make St Andrew's Day a national holiday to the Scottish Parliament (BBC)

  • How one day could unite our country | Campaigners calling for St Andrew's Day to be a public holiday claim it would improve our sense of nationhood. Here, Scotland's most senior Catholic argues it could also bring together the nation's many faiths (Keith Patrick O'Brien, The Sunday Herald, Glasgow)

  • It's time to give St Andrew a day to remember | He is our patron saint and the Saltire or St Andrew's Cross is our single most immediately recognisable national emblem (Allan Massie, The Scotsman)

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More on holidays and holy days:

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  • Scammers' latest target: Churches | State regulators are concerned that scam artists are cranking up affinity fraud--where scammers target members of a particular ethnic or community group--by preying on churches (Chicago Tribune)

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  • Son of a preacher pleads guilty to larceny | John Eseppi is accused of stealing nearly $1 million from victims affiliated with the Evangelical Baptist Church in Torrington, a church founded by Eseppi's late father, the Rev. John E. Eseppi. (Republican-American, Waterbury, Conn.)

  • Also: Preacher's son pleads guilty | Former Torrington resident John Eseppi is expected to be sentenced Feb. 25 to eight years in jail for defrauding nearly $1 million in bogus investments from 16 members of the Evangelical Baptist Church in Torrington, where his late father was a pastor and founder (Register Citizen, Torrington, Conn.)

  • Also: Plea deal in fleecing of flock | Preacher's Son Guilty In $900,000 Scam (The Hartford Courant, Conn.)

  • Victims shocked over Boston radio fraud | Greek Orthodox church among those in Bradford Bleidt's Ponzi scheme. "I'm going to hell, and I've been in hell for years," he said before suicide attempt (Associated Press)

  • Couple say employee betrayed, duped them | Indictment says woman embezzled $200,000 (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Court weighs money laundering conspiracy | The U.S. Supreme Court heard argument Tuesday on whether an overt act is a necessary part of a money laundering conspiracy (UPI)

  • Lawyer pleads guilty in Frankel scheme | A former powerhouse fund-raiser for the Catholic church pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking part in financier Martin Frankel's scheme to loot insurance companies in five states (Associated Press)

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Vicar victim of 'hate campaign':

  • Hate case vicar feared for family | A vicar feared for his family's safety during an eight-month hate campaign against him, a court has been told (BBC)

  • Vicar weeps over 'hate campaign' | A vicar who allegedly suffered a campaign of hate from a GP and his undertaker girlfriend told yesterday how eight months of abuse had left him scared of being blown up or attacked in the street (The Times, London)

  • GP 'planned to kill vicar with overdose of Viagra' | A rural GP who mounted a hate campaign with his girlfriend against a country vicar planned to use his medical knowledge to drug and sexually abuse the clergyman, a court was told (The Times, London)

  • Court told of sex plot against vicar | A doctor and undertaker plotted to inject a parish priest with a drug which would cause an embarrassing sexual condition as part of a terrifying hate campaign, a court heard yesterday (The Guardian, London)

Other crime:

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Hell & the devil:

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Theology & belief:

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  • Fate put him in pulpit, Joel Osteen does the rest | With an upbeat message and media savvy, the Texan rises to stardom (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Once-'rebel' son becomes heir to Graham ministry | Franklin Graham takes on a higher profile in the organization built by his father, Billy (Los Angeles Times)

  • Profile: Bishop Frank Griswold | No one has been more in the middle of the controversy over homosexuality and the U.S. Episcopal Church than Frank Griswold, the presiding bishop (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly)

  • Finding his faith | The path the Rev. Deacon Edgar Hopper took to the New York Hall of Fame runs through St. Augustine's Episcopal church on the lower East Side. But his trip was hardly a straight line, marked instead by some unusual detours and a bit of bittersweet chance (Charles W. Bell, New York Daily News)

  • Spring Valley triplets are team players | The Lukes triplets of Spring Valley, Wis., share their love of athletics and faith, and will leave a sizable hole on their high school teams when they graduate next spring. (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

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Evangelist Billy James Hargis dies:

  • Billy James Hargis, 79, pastor and anticommunist crusader, dies | Fiery evangelist and anticommunist preacher founded the Christian Crusade and reached millions in an international ministry that used radio, television, books, pamphlets and personal appearances (The New York Times)

  • Evangelist Billy James Hargis dies | Spread anti-Communist message (The Washington Post)

  • Rev. Billy James Hargis, 79; pastor targeted Communism | The Rev. Billy James Hargis, a colorful and controversial evangelist and anti-communist crusader who launched the "Bible balloon barrage" to float Scripture behind the Iron Curtain and tangled with the IRS, the church that ordained him and the college he founded, has died (Los Angeles Times)

  • Anti-Communist crusader Hargis dies | The Rev. Billy James Hargis, a radio and television evangelist and fervent anti-Communist crusader who used balloons to send his message across the Iron Curtain, has died at age 79 (Associated Press)

Other obituaries:

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Church historian share Kluge award:

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Knights Templar:

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Holy Grail:

  • The never-ending search | Fascination with the Holy Grail has lasted for centuries, and now the Bletchley Park code-breakers have joined the hunt. But what is it that's made the grail the definition of something humans are always searching for but never actually finding? (BBC)

  • Has the mystery of the Holy Grail been solved? | Wartime Bletchley codebreakers assess American's claim to have found answer in Staffordshire motto (The Guardian, London)

  • Codebreaker scores success in search for the Holy Grail | An anonymous American researcher was credited yesterday with the best stab yet at what the letters D.O.U.O.S.V.A.V.V.M.—carved on the Shepherd's Monument at Lord Lichfield's Shugborough estate in Staffordshire—might actually signify (The Independent, London)

  • Code points away from Holy Grail | An inscription etched on a marble tablet at a stately home could be a hidden message from an 18th Century Christian sect, code-breakers say (BBC)

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  • Faith-based publishing | Do the stellar sales of The Purpose Driven Life and other religious titles speak to a newfound spiritual thirst in the culture or just great marketing? (Rachel Donadio, The New York Times Book Review)

  • The Prophecy of C. S. Lewis | Why was Lewis so uncannily prophetic? The answer may be somewhat discomfiting to modern evangelicals: One reason is precisely that Lewis was not an evangelical. (Chuck Colson)

  • Peter Brook considers matters of faith and power | The main work, "Tierno Bokar," the name of a Sufi mystic caught in an Islamic dispute in French-ruled Africa, has echoes of Mr. Brook's African epic, "The Conference of Birds." "The Death of Krishna" is taken from Mr. Brook's Indian saga, "The Mahabharata." "The Grand Inquisitor," based on Dostoyevsky, also addresses questions of religion and power. The theme that connects them is tolerance. (The New York Times)

  • 10 of this year's best spiritual books | The spotlight is on books that creatively push boundaries (David Crumm, Detroit Free Press)

  • Father Drinan pushes religious tolerance | In what was akin to a political homecoming, the Rev. Robert F. Drinan spoke in the Newton Free Library last night to promote his latest book and to speak his mind on the current state of religious freedom around the world (Daily News Tribune, Waltham, Mass.)

  • The day you gained a soul | The Soul of the Embryo by David Albert Jones is a fascinating historical study of what people have thought, from the earliest biblical times, about the human soul before birth (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London)

  • A second coming for belief | John Gray reviews Alister McGrath's The Twilight of Atheism and Dawkins' God (The Independent, London)

  • Newspaper voices concern over Evangelical Alliance statement | A leading denominational newspaper has voiced its concern over a recent statement from the Evangelical Alliance which publicly chastised Rev Steve Chalke for his views about the cross. (Ekklesia, U.K.)

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Television & film:

  • The invisible hand holds the remote | National moralists—dominated these days by evangelical Christians—politicize the issue by blaming "liberal Hollywood" for what deregulation and the free market have wrought (Robert Scheer, Los Angeles Times)

  • The great indecency hoax | To see how the hucksters of the right work their "moral values" scam, there could be no more illustrative example than the Nicollette Sheridan episode (Frank Rich, The New York Times)

  • 'Values voters' and the tube | The New York Times implies that pulling the lever for "traditional" marriage or against abortion eliminates curiosity, boredom, bad taste and maybe even sin from the human condition (Diana West, The Washington Times)

  • Forget idol. Think role model | Australian Idol—it's an unfortunate moniker to be associated with when you live by the creed that thou shall not worship false idols. But Guy Sebastian, the Afro-haired pin-up boy for both the Australian Idol talent show and the Pentecostal church (as well as the whipping boy for most of the music industry), believes worship is a strong word (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • 'Polar Express' could be metaphor for Christianity | The film's underlying thesis that "believing is seeing" is very significant (Tommy Davidson, Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  • Hanks, Howard reunite for 'Da Vinci Code' | Sony Pictures said Tuesday it plans to release the film May 19, 2006 (Associated Press)

  • Golden Gibson | Meet Mel Gibson: actor, director—and now the $395 million man. Make that $395 million and counting. (New York Post)

  • Wardrobe closed to Evanescence singer | Amy Lee from American goth pop band Evanescence has been composing music for the New Zealand-made film The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The New Zealand Herald)

  • Kinsey conniptions | Holy wrath hits film on the famed sex researcher (Editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • 'Davey and Goliath' bridges generations | The show's creators still hear from viewers, now in their 40s, who learned racial and religious tolerance by watching the program, which featured some of the first people of color on television (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Abortion film sweeps British film awards | Vera Drake, Mike Leigh's moving portrayal of a back-street abortionist in 1950s London, swept the British Independent Film Awards late Tuesday, taking six awards, including Best Film and Best Director (Reuters)

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  • 'We're all in a process' | Amy Grant talks to us about pop music, her upcoming tour, the Bush family and why she never bashed Madonna (Beliefnet)

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Business & economics:

  • Economists are getting religion | Can organized faith be explained by supply and demand? They think so (Business Week)

  • Christian stores facing big-box competition | The burgeoning popularity of Christian books and music, such as the New York Times bestseller The Purpose-Driven Life and albums by musical group Third Day, mean big-box retailers such as Wal-Mart and Best Buy are cutting into what once was a niche market (The Shreveport Times, La.)

  • Are you invested in your values? | An analysis of your portfolio might reveal your money is working against your beliefs (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

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Giant Jesus:

  • Giant Jesus makes many stop | If motorists on Interstate 75 want a heavenly vision, all they have to do is look to the side of the road (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

  • Sit at feet of 7-ton Jesus | Larger-than-life saints draw faithful, curious to Cross in the Woods (Associated Press)

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Other articles of interest:

  • Prayer under a microscope | At Thanksgiving, a time to rethink research on prayer (Editorial, The Christian Science Monitor)

  • The use and abuse of labels | Various liberal constituencies contort word meanings to slander conservatives and Christians (David Limbaugh, The Washington Times)

  • Save us from all this spiritual spam | Analysts have noticed the volume of "spiritual spam"—messages offering salvation by e-mail—is growing (The Telegraph, London)

  • True mysticism at the heart of Christian faith | Christianity, like the Jewish faith out of which it sprang, and also like the later Islam, understands itself as a revealed religion (Geoffrey Rowell, The Times, London)

  • Reopening the Jonestown files | The full story of Jonestown has never been told (Editorial, The Guyana Chronicle)

  • Religion news in brief | More on Zacharias and Mouw at the Mormon Tabernacle, Virginia convention will seek membership in Baptist World Alliance, Hawaiians win permit for chapel, bogus weddings in Tennessee, and other stories (Associated Press)

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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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