Guess what's no longer linked on the Episcopal Church USA's page for Women's Worship Resources? Both items highlighted in yesterday's Weblog: "A Women's Eucharist: A Celebration of the Divine Feminine" and the "Liturgy for Divorce." You can actually still read both, but they're now orphan pages, apparently unlinked from within the Episcopal Church website. (Though Weblog should add that they're now linked from just about every conservative Anglican weblog in the country.) One of those liturgies remaining is a "Station of the Cross," which includes these lines from Jesus:

I do not want to die
I was not born for this — to die a shameful, lonely death.
This was not my calling.
Yet, it is not death itself that I reject.
I die because all creatures die
though it is very hard to leave this world I love;
And even harder still to die like this —
because my love was not received.

New, however, is an introduction to the worship resources:

This resource section is intended to provide a space for women to share their voices with one another. It is a work-in-progress and its shape will continue to emerge as we move forward. These are not official liturgies of the Episcopal Church—rather, they are a gathering of voices. Our hope with this section is to simply begin a conversation around women and our liturgical tradition as it is now. Please use them for study, dialogue, questions, ponderings, and gathering communities of worship.
These are liturgies, litanies, rituals, rites, prayers, and more—for women, by women (mostly). They are an offering to open the awareness of the many voices and needs that exist among people in the church as we all strive to find expressions of our life, love and faith in God. Some are reciprocal responses to liturgies that currently exist, others are created in reply to aspects of women's and men's lives that are left unrecognized in our life of worship.
This is a grassroots, organic, interactive process in which we want to help lift up the voices of women who are creating liturgies, rituals, and rites for one another and their communities.

That's quite a bit different from yesterday's language, which said that the resources, including the "Women's Eucharist," are "currently available to be downloaded and used by all."

That said, phrases like "a gathering of voices" and "begin a conversation" are very common in the Episcopal Church, and are usually used when it's about to do something very unorthodox.

But in this case, we're not talking about something that's merely unorthodox, or even heresy. We're talking about pagan worship of Old Testament idols. We're talking about a mock Eucharist, the center of Christian worship, that directly references a biblical text about idolatry—and stands proudly, "defiantly," with the idolaters.

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It goes without saying that such a ceremony is incompatible with Christian worship. But if you need Scripture to know for sure, start with Deut. 12. If you're really in doubt about whether they're compatible, however, you probably won't be swayed by Scripture.

And here's where we need to make an important correction to yesterday's Weblog. Yesterday, we said that the "Women's Eucharist" (how we hate even to call it that) was "taken almost completely (without attribution) from a rite from Tuatha de Brighid, 'a Clan of modern Druids … who believe in the interconnectedness of all faiths.'"

Yes, it was taken from Tuatha de Brighid—but it wasn't plagiarized. As it turns out, the Episcopalian rector who submitted the ceremony to the Episcopal Church's website is the same woman who wrote it for the neo-pagan site. In her Episcopalian life, she goes by the name Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk. For her neo-pagan stuff, she's Glispa. Folks over at Titus One Nine, the weblog of theologian Kendall Harmon, put the links together. One explains:

This link identifies the druid "Oakwyse" as being Bill Melnyk. This one identifies Bill Melnyk and Glyn Ruppe-Melnyk as a couple. This one links the two again and gives Melnyk's email address as being oakwyse at aol dot com. And several links such as this one link Oakwyse and Glispa.

One piece co-written by "Oakwyse" and "Glispa" is the "Wiccan Lunar Ritual," which may come in handy for tonight's eclipse. (The particularly sensitive may want to skip past all this.) It contains such bon mots as: "In the Face of the Moon we honor Our Lady, who was of old called among humankind Isis, Artemis, Astarte, Aphrodite, Diana, Mary, and by many other Names," instructions as "Priestess makes the sign of a Pentagram in the air in front of [priest]." There's also a liturgy where the priest and priestess take off all their clothes, and the priest says to the "Goddess," "Dwell now in the body of your servant and priestess." Then he gives the priestess "the Five-fold Kiss," and says:

Blessed are your feet, that have brought you in these ways. (Kisses both feet)
Blessed are your knees that shall kneel before the sacred altar. (Kisses both knees)
Blessed are your loins that bring forth life. (Kisses her above the pubic hair)
(Priestess opens into Goddess Blessing position, arms and legs spread.)
Blessed are your breasts formed in beauty and strength. (Kisses both breasts)
Blessed are your lips that shall speak the sacred names. (Kisses lips)
(With this final kiss, they embrace full length, feet touching.)
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Let's be clear: Unlike the "Women's Eucharist," this ritual never made it onto the Episcopal Church's website, so it doesn't bear the imprimatur of the denomination. But it was written by an Episcopal priest.

Will Ruppe-Melnyk's bishop have anything to say about this? Will she undergo any kind of discipline? Will the Episcopal Church USA, or even the Office of Women's Ministries, publicly repent for posting the "Women's Eucharist" in the first place?

Don't be fooled into thinking that nothing will happen. Something will happen. In Jeremiah, after the people of Judah in Egypt defied God and worshiped the Queen of Heaven with their raisin cakes, God was not silent. Here's what he said:

You and your wives have declared with your mouths, and have fulfilled it with your hands, saying, 'We will surely perform our vows that we have made, to make offerings to the queen of heaven and to pour out drink offerings to her.' Then confirm your vows and perform your vows! Therefore hear the word of the LORD, all you of Judah who dwell in the land of Egypt: Behold, I have sworn by my great name, says the LORD, that my name shall no more be invoked by the mouth of any man of Judah in all the land of Egypt, saying, 'As the Lord GOD lives.' Behold, I am watching over them for disaster and not for good. All the men of Judah who are in the land of Egypt shall be consumed by the sword and by famine, until there is an end of them. And those who escape the sword shall return from the land of Egypt to the land of Judah, few in number; and all the remnant of Judah, who came to the land of Egypt to live, shall know whose word will stand, mine or theirs. This shall be the sign to you, declares the LORD, that I will punish you in this place, in order that you may know that my words will surely stand against you for harm.

As Paul said, some of us (including Weblog) are former idolaters. But woe unto those who, rather than repent for their actions, "express regret for the consequences of their actions" and persist in evil.

More articles

Anglican Communion:

  • Clash of Anglican cultures | Both conservatives and liberals now say that homosexuality is merely "the presenting problem" for a much deeper crisis (BBC)
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  • A church's crisis deepens | Prior to his divorce, Henry VIII earned the title "Defender of the Faith." It's unclear which, if any, bishops are heir to that throne (Newsweek)
  • Blindly embracing diversity will damage unity | Sex was the occasion for the Windsor Report, not its subject. The commission was charged with looking at the deeper problem within the global Anglican family: how to remain as a family, despite diversity (Tom Wright, The Guardian, London)
  • Speak softly | The archbishop of Canterbury is stuck between the Rock of Ages and a hard place (Michael McGough, Slate)
  • U.S. Anglican leader says gay union ban unlikely | The leader of Anglicans in the United States said Sunday he thought a ban on the blessing of same-sex marriages was unlikely as the Anglican Church struggles to resolve a potential schism over homosexuality. (Reuters)
  • Episcopal schism: Truth on both sides | Only organized religion can produce a schism like this (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)
  • At this church, no language barrier | The Tower of Babel may have stalled because of too many languages, but with immigration multiplying the native tongues of believers in Boston, many denominations have found it wise, not to mention cost-effective, to let communities of different languages worship in the same church building, sometimes at the same time (The Boston Globe)
  • U.S. Anglican leader says gay union ban unlikely | Episcopal bishops will meet in January (Reuters)
  • Gay bishop attacks 'unfair' Church report | In his first British newspaper interview since the report was published last week, Bishop Gene Robinson, 57, censured the Lambeth Commission for not allowing him to contribute and for not containing a homosexual representative (The Telegraph, London)
  • Anglicans to investigate priest - the word, that is | A Sydney rector wants the word priest expunged from the lexicon of Sydney Anglicans (The Sydney Morning Herald)

African Anglican bishops meeting:

  • Bishops fly to Lagos minus their luggage | Anglican bishops from Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Zambia had a rude shock when they arrived in Nigeria on Sunday without their luggage (East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)
  • African Anglican bishops condemn homosexuality | Africa's top Anglican bishops yesterday announced plans for a network of theological colleges to promote traditional beliefs, after clashing with some Western churches over what one termed the "abomination" of homosexuality (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)
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  • Anglicans in Africa weigh own theology | African Anglican bishops said Monday that they were considering establishing a theology that conforms to the continent's culture, including prevailing beliefs against same-sex unions (Associated Press)
  • African bishops in crucial talks | The first meeting of Africa's senior Anglican bishops opened Tuesday in the Nigerian commercial capital, Lagos (BBC)
  • African clergy to train 'at home' | African bishops meeting in Nigeria to discuss their future ties with the Anglican Church have decided to stop training African priests abroad (BBC)

Religion & politics:

  • Religion playing key role in determining next U.S. president, analysts say | Shocker! (CBC)
  • Social issues stir passions | They are the hot-button topics that many Americans avoid in polite company - stem-cell research, gay marriage, abortion, and gun rights. And they are lurking on the edge of the 2004 presidential campaign, their small but vocal constituencies poised to make the difference in a down-to-the-wire election (The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Bush and Kerry stoke fires of a religious war at home | It is one of the saddest ironies of our time that as America tries to calm the fires of theocracy abroad, it should be stoking milder versions of the same at home (Andrew Sullivan, The Times, London)
  • Creating a litmus test for the election | Should one issue take precedence over others? Religious leaders respond (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • No day of rest as candidates push on | Bush heads to New Mexico to staunch his opponent's progress there. In Florida, Kerry touts values in an appeal to religious voters (Los Angeles Times)
  • True believers seen through secular eyes | CNN tries to be patient during "The Fight Over Faith" tomorrow night, but by the end of the program - an hourlong documentary about evangelical Christians - it's clear that schismatic battles, new heresies and even rogue clergymen don't thrill the show's producers. What the newsfolk want to know from the Christians is one thing and one thing only: Is President Bush going to win the election? (The New York Times)
  • Kerry speaks of faith's role; Bush touts 'record of results' | John F. Kerry, in what aides called an appeal to undecided religious voters, said Sunday he is a Democrat of deep Christian faith who would unite a pluralistic society and rebuff attempts by his Roman Catholic church to outlaw abortion and stem cell research. (Washington Post)

Religion vs. politics:

  • With doubt on their side | Throughout history, thinkers have willingly acknowledged uncertainty. Can today's politicians? (The Dallas Morning News)
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  • The Nation loses its mind | In its endorsement of John Kerry, The Nation wrote that Bush "has pandered to a 'base' of religious fanatics, many of whom are looking forward to a day of 'rapture' when Jesus returns to earth and kills everyone but them" (The American Spectator)
  • When religion and politics mix | Does God-talk translate into God-policy after a candidate is elected? (Gerald L. Zelizer, USA Today)
  • It's scary now God is back in the corridors of power | God is making a comeback even less expected than Leonard Cohen's (Jasper Gerard, The Times, London)
  • Nonpolitical rally seeks prayers for the nation | Organizers of yesterday's "America for Jesus" rally on the Mall said the event was not political, but some who attended saw a clear connection between praying for the nation and voting for President Bush (The Washington Times)
  • Karl Rove: America's mullah | This election is about Rovism, and the outcome threatens to transform the U.S. into an ironfisted theocracy (Neal Gabler, Los Angeles Times)

Religion & voting:

  • An undissolved alliance | When the votes are counted on Nov. 2, will religion be the loser? (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)
  • Election uncoverage, from the wheel deal to the abstinent voter | Charisma magazine reveals God's endorsement (The Washington Post)
  • Ex-convicts discover right to vote | Community groups and activists work to get former felons to the polls on election day (Los Angeles Times)
  • Campaigns court undecided faithful | A last-ditch effort to attract undecided voters is focusing on the religiously inclined who place great importance on both candidates' rhetoric about faith and values (The Washington Times)

Jewish vote:

  • The end of the 'Jewish vote' | This year, for probably the first time, Orthodox Jews will vote like "traditionalist" Christians. Conservative, Reform and non-affiliated Jews, on the other hand, will vote like secular, or "modernist," Christians. And the Jewish vote, in a meaningful sense, will cease to exist (Peter Beinart, The Washington Post)
  • Courting of Jewish vote reaches a critical phase | Will Jewish voters continue to turn out in droves for Democrats as they have traditionally, or shift toward Bush as his advisers insist they expect? (The Boston Globe)
  • Courting the gay vote | What John Kerry told the Advocate (Jeffrey Bell & Frank Cannon, The Weekly Standard)

Religion & local politics:

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  • Kentucky city council candidate looks for divine intervention | Incumbent Lexington City Councilman Jacques Wigginton erected billboards that read "Elect Jesus Christ Savior" next to a box that reads "Jacques Wigginton for Council" (The Washington Post)
  • Giving the council race a jolt of faith | City Council candidate Sam Clark earned a degree in pastoral ministry and has served in pastoral positions at Harbor Christian Fellowship and as a licensed minister with the Assemblies of God denomination (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

Churches & politics:

  • Politics and pulpits combine to sway swing-state voters | David Barton said the theme of his sermon was morality, not partisan politics, but there was no mistaking which way he believed the righteous wind was blowing. (Washington Post)
  • Group files IRS complaint about archdiocese | Abortion rights group says archbishop has overstepped bounds (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • There's a reason we keep pews, politics separate | Linking moral judgments to partisan issues can be a tricky business (Joel Connelly, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

George W. Bush & religion:

  • Conflicted evangelicals could cost Bush votes | Conservative Christians are still in his camp, but some are troubled by Iraq and other issues (Los Angeles Times)
  • Shepherding the flock | In Missouri, the faithful are doing their part to see that the GOP hits its goal of maximizing turnout for President Bush (Newsweek)
  • All ye faithful | Is George Bush the Christians' Christian? (Steven Waldman, Slate)
  • Is God an American voter? | Conservative pundits question Bush's religious appeals (The Washington Post)
  • The White House wasn't always God's house | George W. Bush's presidency is the first faith-based administration in U.S. history (Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Los Angeles Times)
  • Personal and political, Bush's faith blurs lines | When it comes to understanding the president's religious convictions, there appears to be a disconnect between Mr. Bush's personal beliefs and his public policy (The New York Times)
  • Bush on religion and God | President Says He Believes Muslims and Christians Pray to Same God (

John Kerry & religion:

  • Kerry's religious references | I have been following John Kerry's career for 22 years, and if at any point during all those years you had asked me whether I thought Kerry was a religious man, I would have answered without hesitation: ''No, not at all.'' (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)
  • Kerry says social justice would guide presidency | Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry said a broad vision of social justice, including care for the poor and those without health insurance, is at the root of his religion and would guide his presidency (The Washington Times)
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  • Kerry the Catholic | Like the president, his faith defines him (Andrew Gumbel, Los Angeles Times)
  • Kerry rejects Bush 'fear,' talks values, faith | The Massachusetts senator, a Roman Catholic who for months was reluctant to discuss his religion on the campaign trail, expounded on the ideology and convictions he said he would bring to the White House if he won the Nov. 2 election (Reuters)
  • Kerry tries faith to win undecided voters | Democrat John Kerry on Sunday tried to persuade late-deciding voters that they can put their faith in his leadership by describing the values and beliefs that he says have guided him and would shape his presidency (Associated Press)
  • Kerry's latest attacks on Bush borrow a page from scripture | Appealing to late-deciding voters in explicitly religious terms, Senator John Kerry used the Bible on Sunday to accuse President Bush of trying to scare America, and said his own Catholicism moved him to help those in need but not to "write every doctrine into law." (The New York Times)
  • Kerry rejects Bush 'fear, ' talks values, faith | Democratic challenger John Kerry mixed the political and the spiritual on Sunday by accusing President Bush of trying to scare America and offering voters a glimpse into his own faith. (Reuters)
  • Edwards addresses black Ohio churchgoers | Democratic vice presidential candidate John Edwards assured mostly black churchgoers Sunday that a record turnout would render meaningless a federal court decision that limits where some votes can be cast. (Associated Press)
  • Gore and Kerry unite in search for black votes | Al Gore, the former vice president, sprinted across six pulpits Sunday morning to exhort African-Americans to avenge his disputed 2000 defeat in this deadlocked state, while Senator John Kerry hit South Florida, clapping along with the choir at another black church in Fort Lauderdale. (The New York Times)
  • Low profile | One of the less-publicized hires at the Democratic National Committee is its new religious-affairs director, Alexia K. Kelley, who replaces the Rev. Brenda Bartella Peterson (The Washington Times, fourth item)

Catholicism & politics:

  • Officially, at least, Vatican is staying above election fray | While many American Catholics oppose Senator John Kerry because he supports abortion rights, church officials and observers here say that if the people who run the Vatican could vote, they would be as divided as Americans are - and might even tilt toward Mr. Kerry. (The New York Times)
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  • The more Catholics know, the clearer the choice to vote Bush | When considering core values issues, the choice for Catholics has not always been clear. But this year is a dramatic exception (Brian P. Golden, The Union Leader, Manchester, N.H.)
  • What would John Paul do? | Liberal Catholics profess their faith in Kerry (Chris Suellentrop, Slate)
  • The myth of the Catholic voter | The media are obsessed with the Catholic vote, the Catholic bishops, and the Catholic influence on the election. Is there any there, there? (Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard)
  • Ad criticizing single-issue voting prompts war of words in Pittsburgh Catholic | An ad in the Pittsburgh Catholic that criticized single-issue voting has sparked a flurry of opposing ads from groups that say that abortion takes priority over other social problems (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Pro-abortion lawyer advises diocese against pro-life guide | A diocesan attorney who instructed pastors in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, not to distribute a pro-life voting guide has given thousands of dollars to pro-abortion candidates in state and national elections (Catholic World News)

Catholic handbook outlines war, abortion views:

  • Vatican handbook gives war, abortion views | Vatican handbook released Monday laid out Roman Church teaching questioning preventive war and denouncing the "horrendous crime" of abortion. But Vatican officials sidestepped questions on whether the war in Iraq was illegal or if Catholics can vote for candidates who back laws permitting abortion (Associated Press)
  • Vatican releases guide to teachings | Book puts focus on social issues (The Washington Post)


  • Pope greets scouts in St. Peter's Square | Pope John Paul II greeted tens of thousands of Italian scouts in St. Peter's Square on Saturday, saying the strong turnout by young faithful "gladdened his heart" (Associated Press)
  • Priest says he'll keep 88-year-old woman's money | A Catholic priest who was accused of bilking an 88-year-old parishioner out of nearly $500,000 says the woman gave him money, gifts and securities freely and he has no intention of giving them back (Associated Press)


  • Voters say abortion isn't top priority | Fewer than one in five voters says the hot-button issue of abortion will decide which candidate they chose Nov. 2, a poll released Tuesday indicates (UPI)
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  • Women are eclipsed when the foetus is larger than life | Emotive images from the womb have distorted the case for abortion (Anne Weyman, The Guardian, London)
  • Don't worry about Mum finding out about your abortion, it's our secret | Doctors will not inform parents, a pack being sent to schools tells children (The Times, London)
  • 'I, as a parent, have a right to protect my child' | A woman who regrets her own abortion is fighting for rights of parents (Carol Midgley, The Times, London)
  • Silence of the faithful is cowardice | Decent people can differ very deeply about which policies best achieve those goals, but all other rights depend on the right to life. That's the cornerstone of social justice. (Charles J. Chaput, Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

Life ethics:

  • U.S. campaigns for treaty to ban use of embryo stem cells | Bush administration's proposal would prohibit human and therapeutic cloning for medical research. World body is divided on the issue (Los Angeles Times)
  • Husband seeks end to delays in Fla. case | George Felos, the attorney for Michael Schiavo, asked Pinellas Circuit Court Judge George Greer to reconsider a seven-week delay on the removal of Terri Schiavo's feeding tube (Associated Press)

California's stem-cell initiative:

  • California puts stem cells to a popular test | $3 billion plan would bypass Bush policy (Washington Post)
  • California: new leader in stem cells? | Prop. 71 would award $3 billion for research, trumping Bush's go-slow approach (The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Stepping out of line in stem cell research | Proposition 71 would cut the link between science and democracy (Daniel Sarewitz, Los Angeles Times)
  • Prop 71 opposition opinions vary | While churches oppose the proposition for several reasons, Orange County treasurer's resistance to the measure is purely fiscal (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

Stem-cell ethics:

  • Stem cells on the ballot | When the campaign is over, embryonic stem cells will win the prize for the smallest issue with the largest impact (Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe)
  • Life altering | How stem cells change abortion (Michael Kinsley, The New Republic)
  • Stem cell politics | Stem cells are still an unknown quantity: There is certainly no proof that more research on them will ever help people like Mr. Reeve to walk. Nevertheless, they offer hope to many sick people (Editorial, The Washington Post)

Judicial activism & the court:

  • The choice on courts | The possibility of conservative judicial radicalism, however overstated by liberal interest groups, certainly is greater today than the possibility of out-of-control liberal activism (Editorial, The Washington Post)
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  • Court is back in voters' sight | The 80-year-old jurist's thyroid cancer is a jolting reminder, if one is needed, that shaping the federal judiciary — most notably the Supreme Court — is one of the momentous things presidents do (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)
  • Hopefuls' preferences for court spring to forefront | Usually low-key issue gets attention as Rehnquist's illness becomes public (The Washington Post)
  • Activists mobilize over shaping Supreme Court | Conservatives and liberals respond to news of Rehnquist's cancer treatment by urging their party members to the polls (Los Angeles Times)
  • Justice in the balance | A realignment by the Supreme Court in the modern era is not so far-fetched (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

Same-sex marriage:

  • Bush says his party is wrong to oppose gay civil unions | President Bush said in an interview this past weekend that he disagreed with the Republican Party platform opposing civil unions of same-sex couples and that the matter should be left up to the states (The New York Times)
  • Georgia justices okay vote on gay marriage | The state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that Georgians can vote next week on whether to ban same-sex marriage. But if approved on Election Day, the proposed constitutional amendment might yet be headed back to court (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Same-sex couples question terminology | Same-sex marriage has been legal in Nova Scotia since last month, but Justice Department guidelines require couples to take vows as husband and wife (UPI)
  • An amazing pass | One minute, we're talking about tolerance for homosexuals; the next, we're watching them marry (Midge Decter, National Review)
  • Marriage still matters to Washington's children | It is the birthright of every child to be raised by their mother and father. To redefine marriage is to rob children of that birthright (Jeff Kemp and Harvey Drake Jr, The Seattle Times)

The gay vote:

  • Gay-marriage vote sparks fight in state races | Many people see the issue as central (The Boston Globe)
  • Gays hope to sway close elections | Homosexual voters are expected to flock to the polls on Tuesday in a bid to tip as many close elections as they can to the Democrats, with presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry likely to get 90 percent of their vote (The Washington Times)

Homosexuality & religion:

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  • Gays and God: Some churches are softening stands | Slow progress: A panel at the PFLAG conference says the ecclesiastical communities are starting to become more accepting (The Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The fight over gay rights | Moves to give gay couples the same status as heterosexual ones have reopened the fault lines between Europe's religious and secular institutions (Time Europe)
  • Lesbian minister faces church trial | The Rev. Elizabeth Stroud of First United Methodist Church of Germantown has requested that it be open to the public (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Georgia hate-crime law struck down:

  • Georgia court strikes down law on hate | The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's four-year-old hate-crimes law on Monday, saying it was "unconstitutionally vague." (The New York Times)
  • Georgia court throws out hate crimes law | The Georgia Supreme Court unanimously struck down the state's hate crimes law Monday, saying the measure is so broadly worded that it could even be used to prosecute a rabid sports fan for picking on somebody wearing a rival team's cap (Associated Press)


  • Judge offers preacher plea deal in larceny case | A preacher's son charged with swindling family members and parishioners of their life savings has been offered a plea deal (Newsday)
  • Police ask for public's help in Bible-store murders | John and Mildred Caylor were found dead inside their Bible store in broad daylight Wednesday (KMBC, Kansas City)
  • Vandals hang chicken from church cross | Members of a South King County community church are outraged. Somebody killed a chicken and hung it from the church cross (KING, Seattle)

Day care under scrutiny:

  • Improper discipline alleged at day care center | Venice Presbyterian Church's highly regarded day care center at 111 E. Firenze Ave. has received accolades, a six-figure grant and Gold Seal certification. That's what makes the latest news from the facility surprising (Venice Gondolier Sun, Fla.)
  • Also: Venice care center fires 2; director on leave (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)

Gambling & alcohol:

  • States betting on gambling proposals | California and Washington state are in the midst of a high-stakes, election-year showdown with American Indian tribes over casino gambling (Associated Press)
  • No more dry Sundays | The Sunday tradition of sherry with the vicar after matins was extended to a Staffordshire village pub yesterday for the first time since a ban on sabbath drinking was imposed about 300 years ago (The Guardian, London)
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  • Sin of commission | What started out as a hubbub has grown into a full-fledged hullabaloo (Craig Winneker, The Wall Street Journal)
  • EU challenges Turkey to lose its religion | I have to admit that when I was told that Turkey would not be admitted into the European Union unless it withdrew a law making adultery a criminal offense, my first response was to burst out laughing. We might all have enviously suspected that adultery was a "European value," but who ever expected to get official confirmation of it from the European Commission? (John O'Sullivan, Chicago Sun-Times)
  • I oppose Matthew's gospel | I fear for Europe if it is left only with a hedonistic morality that values self-expression more than fidelity (William Rees-Mogg, The Times, London)
  • Sweep out religious superstition which will not tolerate me | I say: enough of tolerance. I do not tolerate religious superstition, not when it refuses to tolerate me (Matthew Parris, The Times, London)

Satanist in the British Royal Navy:

  • The devil and the deep blue sea | A devil-worshipping non-commissioned officer in the Royal Navy has become the first registered Satanist in the British Armed Forces (The Telegraph, London)
  • The devil and the deep blue sea: Navy gives blessing to sailor Satanist | Technician allowed to practise beliefs on board ship in name of equal opportunities (The Guardian, London)

French politician wants funding for mosques:

  • French politician stirs debate over limits of secular society | France's finance minister published a book that presses the hottest button in French political discourse these days: the separation of church and state (The New York Times)
  • France minister seeks funding for mosques | France's finance minister, a presidential hopeful, says mosques need state funding and it's time for a century-old law banning financing for religious groups to be modernized, according to excerpts of a new book hitting the shelves on Thursday (Associated Press)

Religious freedom:

  • Pakistan's parliament aims to stop abuse of blasphemy law | Pakistan's national assembly has passed a bill aimed at reducing abuse of harsh blasphemy laws that have been the subject of fierce criticism from minorities and human rights groups (AFP)
  • China to consider resuming human rights talks | Secretary of State Colin L. Powell said Monday that China had agreed to discuss the American request for a new dialogue over the detention of Chinese citizens without due process and other human rights violations. The talks broke off earlier this year because of Chinese objections to American criticism of its practices (The New York Times)
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  • Preachers sent to police custody | A local court today sent five Christian preachers to police custody till November 4 for their alleged involvement in inciting communal feelings (The Hindu)
  • Religious rights group sues L.A. over Messianic Jews' banner | City refused to permit the display of a banner with the phrase "Jews who believe in Jesus." (Associated Press)


  • Trustee's stance on gender law targets her for ouster | Led by a core of parents and the district's well-organized teachers, critics have accused the three of bigotry and risking school funding for the sake of their personal beliefs. Few in the community have publicly supported the trustees (Los Angeles Times)
  • Dismissal stands in Maine case on religious-school tuition | First Circuit upholds lower court's finding that state isn't obligated to pay for student's religious education in town with no public high school (Associated Press)
  • Prosecutions threaten parents' rights | A frequent question asked by those who know the purpose of the Home School Legal Defense Association is what type of cases we handle in light of the fact that home-schooling in some form is now legal in every state (Michael Smith, The Washington Times)
  • Study: Religious college students emotionally healthier | College students with significant religious involvement report better emotional health than those with no involvement, new research from UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute shows (Religion News Service)
  • UNC seeks Christian fraternity's suit's dismissal | Group asks for reinstatement (Herald-Sun, Durham, N.C.)
  • Bishop attacks school condom plan | Holyoke tries to stem teen pregnancies (The Boston Globe)

Christian group sues law school for recognition:

  • Christian group seeks recognition at UC | Christian group sued Hastings College of the Law in federal court here Friday, seeking recognition as an official campus organization. (Associated Press)
  • Evangelical law students sue Hastings | The Christian Legal Society sued UC Hastings College of the Law on Friday for refusing to recognize a student chapter on its campus because the organization bars gays, lesbians and non-Christians as members (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Religious groups take battle to San Francisco campus | A new suit claims the antidiscrimination policy at the University of California's Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco is unfair to student religious organizations (The Recorder)
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Missions & ministry:

  • Volunteers hunt produce to feed hungry | Volunteers fanned across Texas farm fields to pick up sweet potatoes missed by mechanical harvesters, joining a national network to feed the poor with produce that might otherwise go to waste, from California oranges to Indiana beans and Florida squash (Associated Press)
  • Khmer Rouge embraces Jesus | Pol Pot's ruthless killers are repenting their sins (The Observer, London)
  • Adding politics to prayer | Reinvented Promise Keepers seeks a voice in social issues (The Denver Post)
  • Anglicans on mission to expand | The Anglican Diocese of Sydney is to embark on a recruitment drive for a new generation of church leaders to meet its ambitious plans to convert at least 10 per cent of Sydney's population within a decade (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Interfaith relations:

  • Shedding light on 3 major monotheistic religions | An interfaith group on the Palos Verdes Peninsula holds regular discussions on the traditions of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. (Los Angeles Times)
  • Stone's words | The Presbyterian elder's warmly easy conversation with terrorists, and alleged difficulty with Jews, is predicated on the fact that for Hezbollah the only good Jew is a dead Jew, Israel does not wish to die, and Stone is not particularly concerned if it does (Editorial, Pittsburg Tribune-Review)
  • Metzger meets clergy on tensions | Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger yesterday held an unprecedented meeting with Christian clergy in Jerusalem to try to ease tensions after an Orthodox Jew spat at an Armenian bishop near a holy site in the Old City (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)
  • Presbyterians, Jews gather for understanding | Participants at two Main Line sites avoided major points of contention and focused on Scripture study (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Church life:

  • Mennonites in Mexico battle temptations | The austere sect sought to escape the world, but worldly vices -- alcohol, drugs -- are a forbidden fascination now to some (Los Angeles Times)
  • Living through a church of changes | It is very comforting that my faith through the years again seems valid. The clergy at St. James shared these beliefs so strongly that they jeopardized a comfortable vocation rather than compromise their beliefs (Bill Weiss, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • New Greek Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria enthroned | The Greek Orthodox Church's new Patriarch of Alexandria and all Africa, Theodore II, was enthroned in this coastal city in northern Egypt (AFP)
  • Worldwide Church of God leaving Pasadena | Officials moving headquarters to Glendora (Pasadena Star News, Ca.)
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  • Ex-church official files suit alleging discrimination | A top financial officer recently fired from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) filed a lawsuit Friday claiming he was unfairly terminated and discriminated against because he is from Egypt (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

Church buildings:

  • St. John the Unfinished becomes St. John the Downsized | to those who are there every week - St. John's parishioners - the burden of the cathedral's chronic deficit and the cleanup from a 2001 fire are plain. (The New York Times)
  • Church officials submit expansion reduction | St. Andrew's building committee hopes three time's a charm as it turns revised plans over to the Planning Commission (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • A show of good faith from St. Andrew's Church | Church officials last week offered yet another revision to the size of its $20-million expansion project (Editorial, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • Guide promotes churches pilgrimage | Belfast's historic churches are being used to encourage tourists to make a pilgrimage to the city (BBC)

Closing Catholic parishes:

  • Fourth church begins vigil | In a tactical move designed to persuade the Archdiocese of Boston to keep their church open, members of St. Bernard's Parish in Newton yesterday became the fourth parish to begin a 24-hour "prayerful vigil" (The Boston Globe)
  • Concord church closing its doors | Officials want edifice preserved (The Boston Globe)
  • A church's legacy finds a home | Beverly's St. Alphonsus sends sacred items to a new parish in Dominican Republic (The Boston Globe)
  • Fifth parish protests church closing plans | A group of parishioners protesting the imminent closing of St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Parish in Scituate refused yesterday to leave the 44-year-old brick-faced church, making it the fifth parish in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston's where members have launched a sit-in. (The Boston Globe)

Washington D.C. Cardinal Hickey:

  • Cardinal James A. Hickey of Washington dies at 84 | Cardinal James A. Hickey, the former archbishop of Washington who led the Roman Catholic Church in the nation's capital for 20 years until his retirement in 2000, died early yesterday at a nursing home in the District of Columbia. He was 84. (The New York Times)
  • Former Washington archbishop Hickey dies | Cardinal James A. Hickey, former archbishop of Washington, who led the Roman Catholic Church in the nation's capital for two decades, died Sunday. He was 84. (Associated Press)
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  • Pope names emissary to cardinal's funeral | Pope John Paul II is sending Cardinal James A. Hickey's predecessor as archbishop of Washington as the papal representative to the cardinal's funeral, church officials announced Monday (Associated Press)
  • A steadfast servant of D.C. area's needy | Cardinal James A. Hickey, 1920-2004 (The Washington Post)
  • Leader's 'lifetime of service,' quiet spirituality are recalled (The Washington Post)
  • The death of a holy man | Cardinal Hickey, R.I.P. (Peter Robinson, National Review Online)
  • James Hickey, D.C. cardinal, dies at age 84 | Cardinal James A. Hickey, who began his religious career working with immigrants in the Midwest and ended it ministering to powerful Catholics and the poor in the Washington area, died in his sleep early yesterday morning. He was 84 (The Washington Times)


  • Autumn of a crusader | Christian soldier Billy Graham on farewell tour (Deseret Morning News, Ut.)
  • Bill Maher: 'I'm spreading the anti-gospel' | Maher's relationship with religion seems to be a complicated affair. An attraction-repulsion kind of thing (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • If Bill W. were alive today | The homey, secluded Dutch colonial on the Bedford Hills-Katonah border where Bill Wilson, better known as Bill W., wrote A.A.'s "Big Book" in 1939 was officially declared a historic site by Gov. George E. Pataki last April (The New York Times)
  • Evangelist with a big stick | Juanita Bynum speaks to a flock in need of tough love -- and to critics who are tough on her (Newsday)
  • Lawyer who fought Pledge assails courts on custody | He became famous this year for arguing his own case before the United States Supreme Court, in what onlookers described as a spellbinding (though ultimately unsuccessful) challenge to the reciting of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. Now Michael A. Newdow is taking on a new target: family law and the way it handles child custody. (The New York Times)
  • U.S. acts against general who saw a 'Christian' war | Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody declined to give any details of the action taken in response to Boykin's remarks, which violated Pentagon rules, but said it was not "significant" (Reuters)

Curt Schilling & the BoSox:

  • Schilling may become another gimpy legend | After waking up early yesterday with pain so severe that he did not know if he could pitch, Schilling found inspiration in fans and in prayer. (The New York Times)
  • Calling for some divine intervention | Is it appropriate to pray for a World Series victory? (Alex Beam, The Boston Globe)
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  • 'The Five Books of Moses' | Michael Dirda reviews Robert Alter's new translation (The Washington Post)
  • The Great I Am | John Updike reviews Robert Alter's new translation of the Pentateuch (The New Yorker)
  • You gotta have faith | Reviewing God Bless America: With God On Our Side (The Guardian, London)


  • The anguish is plausible, but his eminence forgets | Michael Murphy's quietly disturbing play, "'Sin (A Cardinal Deposed)," reveals the dubious role that Cardinal Bernard F. Law, the Archbishop of Boston, played in a tragedy that irreparably damaged hundreds of families (The New York Times)
  • Puppet show meets stiff church opposition | The show has played to packed houses from Melbourne to London and Edinburgh. However, as far as some residents are concerned, the Puppetry of the Penis comedy act should not be performed in Ayrshire (The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)


  • Live TBN fund drive axed | Costa Mesa-based Christian broadcaster will use reruns for its 'Praise-a-thon' after a sex allegation settlement was revealed last month (Los Angeles Times)
  • Deadline for response to televangelist's suit set | Attorneys for Enoch Lonnie Ford have until Nov. 8 to file a written response to a lawsuit by televangelist Paul Crouch, who contends that Ford violated a court order by talking publicly about an alleged tryst between the two (Los Angeles Times)


  • A fund counts its blessings | Ave Maria Growth's Jim Bashaw picks only companies that adhere to the Catholic Church's values, and he's handily beating the broader market (Business Week)
  • Organizations aim to prolong P&G boycott | The American Family Association and Focus on the Family hope to extend indefinitely an election-related boycott of Procter & Gamble Co., contending that the consumer products giant is too supportive of gay rights (Associated Press)


  • Halloween bedevils some U.S. churches | Candy and costumes or hellfire and damnation? More religious groups believe it's the latter (Chicago Tribune)
  • Puyallup schools keep Halloween ban despite outcry | The school board in this Pierce County city stood firm despite pleas from an angry crowd: No Halloween in the schools (Associated Press)
  • Panic in Puyallup | A quick creep across the Web shows that Wiccans and sundry occultists are offended, all right -- by the school district's ban (Editorial, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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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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