Weblog returns
From Thursday to Sunday, full-time religion reporters from newspapers and other mainstream media outlets gathered in Washington D.C. for their annual conference. You might have thought, then, that perhaps religion news articles would have slackened a bit over the weekend. Wrong! If anything, the last few days have been busier than ever with religion news. Not huge religion news, necessarily, but just a lot of it.

Kerry cranks up the God talk
That didn't take long. The Kerry camp officially brought on Clinton White House press secretary Mike McCurry—who has been taken Amy Sullivan's seat as the most prominent voice on Democrats and religion—and now the Democratic candidate can't stop talking about faith.

Thursday's speech to the National Baptist Convention was one of the most religious speeches Kerry has ever given. He spoke of "Amazing Grace" (saying it was his father's favorite hymn) and John Newton's decision to "give his life to God." He said that the importance of Brown v. Board of Education was that it was when the nation "finally acknowledged God's truth that we are each made in His image and likeness—that separate but equal is not just unequal—but immoral." And, as many papers pointed out, he said that Bush is one of the bad guys in Jesus' parable of the Good Samaritan. "For four years, George W. Bush may have talked about compassion, but he's walked right by. He's seen people in need, but he's crossed over to the other side of the street." There were loads of other biblical citations as well: "The Bible tells us that we must sometimes see through a glass darkly. But on every issue, from Iraq to health care, from jobs to education to America's role in the world, the choice is clear." Here's one of the most Scripture-laden parts of his speech (or, for that matter, in any speech given by any candidate in this election):

Your dedication and your service live out the teaching of the Scripture: "It is not enough, my brother, to say you have faith, when there are no deeds … Faith without works is dead." As you know, my friends, we are taught to walk by faith not by sight.
And when we look around us—when we look around neighborhoods and towns and cities all across this country, we see faith to be lived out, and so many deeds to be done.
As it's said, faith is the substance of things hoped for, evidence of things not seen. [Hebrews 11:1] And we all know, you can't separate faith from substance.
We see jobs to be created. We see families to house. We see violence to stop. We see children to teach—and children to care for. We see too many people without health care and too many people of color suffering and dying from diseases like AIDS and cancer and diabetes.
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We look at what is happening in America today and forget to ask: Where are the deeds? Where is the substance in our faith?

But Kerry has used religious language in speaking to black denominations before. What's really notable this week is his use of Scripture in the Democrats' weekly radio address, which aired September 11:

"In the days that followed, we saw an outpouring of love as people across America and around the world asked themselves, 'What can I do to help?' How can I, as the Scripture says, help repair the breach? Isaiah 58:12. … I know that for those who lost loved ones that day, the past three years have been almost unbearable. Their courage and faith have been tested in a way they never imagined. But day after day, they have held on. And day after day, they and we have found hope and comfort and strength by the quiet grace of God. We are one America in our prayers for those who were taken from us on September 11th and for their families."

By contrast, the only religious remark from Bush in his radio address was this: "And with the help of God's grace, and with support from one another, the families of terror victims have shown a strength that survives all hurt."

Other Communion wars
The battle over the bread is bigger than Kerry's "wafer watch," says The Washington Post's Bill Broadway. And the celiac girl's quest for a wheat-free host is just a blip. The biggest Communion controversy today is an ecumenical one — or rather, an anti-ecumenical one. "For those with a goal of unity, success could be far in the future, with Communion practices becoming more diverse as congregations search for new ways to accommodate the lifestyles and sensibilities of their members," Broadway wrote in Saturday's paper.

Monsignor James P. Moroney, executive director of office of liturgy for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, "said reuniting disparate branches of Christianity would be impossible without a common doctrine of Communion," Broadway paraphrases. "He said he understands that the growing practice among Protestants to invite all professing Christians to the Communion table is an effort to break down theological barriers. But a common liturgy of Communion must be the result of dialogue and understanding, not a tool for unification, he said."

For orthodox Catholics, then, the biggest story regarding Kerry and Communion may not have anything to do with his stance on abortion—it may be his decision to take Communion in Protestant churches.

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Among important Eucharistic trends noted by the Post: Mainline churches are moving from celebrating Communion monthly to weekly. Megachurches, meanwhile, are doing away with Sunday morning Communion completely ("It's a matter of practicality," says an Assembles of God spokeswoman, but one thinks it may also have to do with "seeker sensitive" Sunday services.)

But here's one battle the Post didn't note: Croatia has just passed a zero-tolerance law for drinking and driving, reducing the 0.05% limit for blood-alcohol content to absolute zero. Parishioners to take a sip of Communion wine probably won't be affected, but their priests certainly will. "During holy mass we need to drink wine as a symbol of the blood of Christ," one told the Jutarnji List newspaper, according to the BBC. "Some priests have many services a day and these are often in different parishes, so they need to use a car to get around. If they can't drive themselves, someone else has to do it." So 2,000 of Croatia's priests are proposing a $12 million annual budget for chauffeurs.

One of Haiti's most prominent Christians murdered
Jean Moleste Lovinsky Bertomieux (Jean Molès Lovensky Berthomieux), an evangelical Protestant minister and host of Haiti's most popular radio program, was murdered on his way to work Monday. The driver for "Pastor Moles" was arrested but not charged, and the gunmen escaped.

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Patriarch of Alexandria | Religion & politics | World politics | Sudan | Northern Ireland | Iraq | India | China | Religious freedom | Zimbabwe | Witchcraft in Africa | Crime | Abuse | Paul Crouch | Sexual ethics | Marriage & divorce | Homosexuality | Anglican Communion | Catholicism | Church buildings | Mormonism | Other religions | Church life | Missions & ministry | Education | Church & state | War & religion | September 11 | Life ethics | Abortion | People | History | Books | Music | Film | Television | "The Question of God" | Spirituality | More articles

Patriarch of Alexandria dies in helicopter crash:

  • Patriarch dies in Greece helicopter crash | The Patriarch of Alexandria, the spiritual leader of all Orthodox Christians in Africa, died Saturday when a helicopter taking him and fellow churchmen to a monastic enclave in northern Greece crashed into the sea, government and church officials said (Associated Press)

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Religion & politics:

  • Holy Democrats! | The Catholic presidential questionnaire is dead — thank God. (Austin Ruse, National Review Online)

  • Religion and politics in America | The first bumper sticker I saw when I arrived in the United States said "Got Jesus?" So did the second one. And the third (BBC)

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  • Religion may play big election role | Roughly 50 percent of Middle Tennessee voters consider themselves evangelical Christians, according to a WNPT poll released last week (The City Paper, Nashville)

  • Bush, Kerry take vastly different approaches to religion in public life | President Bush, a United Methodist, and Sen. John Kerry, a Roman Catholic, both consider faith a vital part of their lives. But how do the presidential candidates' personal beliefs inform their public policy when it comes to gay marriage, federal budget priorities, the war in Iraq and a host of other issues with moral components? In this regard, the two men could hardly be more different (Newhouse News Service)

  • God on the ballot | For Bush and Kerry, religion a powerful but tricky factor (MSNBC)

  • Name-dropping | GOP platform trails Democrats in mentions of God (Houston Chronicle)

  • Politics from the pulpit | The conundrum is whether a person's religion decides their politics or their politics decides their religion (James Murray, The Australian)

  • To stymie group, political opponents grab its name | After a decade of frustration, John Altevogt and several fellow conservative Republicans saw a way to get back at the Mainstream Coalition, a group they'd battled regularly. They took the group's name (Associated Press)

  • National group offers principles to use to evaluate potential leaders | National Council of Churches issues voters guides (Honolulu Star-Bulletin)

  • Website likens presidential candidates to Christ | Costa Mesa resident's Internet site invites people to vote on who is more like Jesus -- Bush or Kerry (Peter Buffa, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Also: Website stirs up some passion | Steve Gooden's campaign website is "The Passion of Christ: Who's Passion is Closer?" (Peter Buffa, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • The wilderness campaign | Al Gore equates Bush's faith to Islam (David Remnick, The New Yorker)

  • The Gollum voters | The conventional wisdom about the American electorate -- that all but a tiny minority of voters have made up their minds -- misses the deep ambivalence plaguing many Bush and Kerry supporters, an ambivalence that characterizes what we might call their Gollum mindset (Paul Lewis, The Boston Globe)

Religious right:

  • Legal groups offer churches aid | Two conservative legal groups are offering free advice to church leaders this election season to combat what they say is an effort to squelch churches from speaking out on moral issues and political candidates (The Washington Times)

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  • A looming threat in the religious right | In the next four years, a radically altered Supreme Court is inevitable and an emboldened fundamentalist right wing will herald the coming of a theocracy (J.P. Devine , Kennebec Journal, Maine, alt. site)

  • Activist's battle cry: 'God is not a Republican' | A Denver audience of 700 applauded social activist Jim Wallis Sunday when he criticized Christianity's so-called "religious right" saying, "Our faith has been stolen, and it's time to take it back" (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

Republicans & religion:

  • Aide: Bush faith has been misunderstood | President Bush's religious faith is "mainstream America" and no different from previous presidents, the director of his Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives said Friday (Associated Press)

  • Also: Pastor says Bush is no zealot | White House takes issue with media portrayals of president's religious orientation (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Also: Both candidates' spirituality widely misunderstood, reporters told | President Bush's evangelical views and the Catholic faith of the man who would replace him have been misrepresented by the opposition and misunderstood by pundits on both sides of the political fence (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Faith and the flag | Conservative Christians identify with Bush (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  • Off base | Why Karl Rove's count of evangelical voters doesn't add up (Marisa Katz, The New Republic)

  • Money for faith-based groups is campaign issue | President Bush's efforts to give federal money to faith-based groups that provide social services have caused critics to question mixing government and religion. Such programs, however, are the bedrock of Bush's credibility among Christian conservatives (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)

  • Heaven sent | Does God endorse George Bush? (Steven Waldman, Slate)

Religion & local politics:

Churches & politics:

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  • Keep business of voting out of churches | Citizenship that doesn't involve some sacrifice and some inconvenience from time to time is pretty cheap and shallow citizenship (Bob Baril, MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.)

  • Conservative city pastors look to sway vote for Bush | Latino Pentecostals, millions nationwide could swing election (The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.)

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Religion & world politics:

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  • Europe urged to do more to aid Sudan | Europe must immediately increase aid for reconstruction efforts in civil war-ravaged southern Sudan, officials from the United States, United Nations and Sudan said Sunday (Associated Press)

  • Sudan government's attacks stoke rebels' fury | Much of the responsibility for the growth of insurgency in the Sudan lies with the Arab-led government in Khartoum (The New York Times)

  • For Sudan refugees, a long hot wait for world action | Secretary of State Powell Thursday called the Darfur situation 'genocide' and urged the UN to take action (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Calling it right in Sudan | If Mr. Powell's recent statement doesn't serve as a global call to conscience, it is difficult to imagine just what will rouse the Security Council to action. (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  • Reign of terror | As we commemorate the anniversary of 9/11, let's remember that almost as many people are still dying in Darfur every week as died in the World Trade Center attack (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

  • Darfur death toll at 10,000 a month | Up to 10,000 people a month are dying of disease in the Darfur camps, many of them children, despite the international aid effort, the World Health Organization said yesterday (The Guardian, London)

  • Talking about Darfur: Is genocide just a word? | With Darfur, as with Rwanda, the meaningful question is not what which words are used to describe the violence but what is done to stop it (Joanne Mariner, FindLaw.com)

  • Death rates in Darfur rising, WHO says | U.N. agency cites disease and Sudanese-backed militia as causes of increase (The Washington Post)

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Protestant charged with Belfast murder:

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Iraqi Christians:

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Indian Christians:

  • Priest murder finger at Sangh | The Catholic Bishops Conference of India has demanded a CBI probe into the recent murder of a Catholic priest in Kerala, the first such hate crime in the 2000-year history of the church in the state (The Telegraph, India)

  • RSS reconverts 55 Dalits | Eight families of these socially marginalized sections who had earlier embraced Christianity underwent purification rites in Chandarpur village of Samastipur district Tuesday in a 'yagna' organised by RSS activists (Indo-Asian News Service)

  • Portraying the divine | 'Purna- 2004,' a four-day-long seminar-cum-exhibition, drew attention to the relatively unexplored topic of Indian Christian Art (The Hindu, India)

  • Christians urge NHRC to direct Govt to act against Sangh Parivar | The Global Council of Indian Christians has urged the National Human Rights Commission to direct the UPA government to take strong action against the Bajrang Dal and other Sangh outfits for inciting people at Hubli and Udupi to attack Christian priests and nuns. (UNI, India)

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Vatican criticizes Chinese persecution:

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Religious freedom:

  • Scarf ban strains French, Muslim ties | Worried by the rise of an alienated minority in its midst, France has over the past decade sought to coax into existence an "Islam of France" compatible with French values and Muslim beliefs. The scarf ban is an important step in this effort, and the stakes are high (Associated Press)

  • State employee settles religious freedom case | A state employee can continue to post religious and political stickers on his car and in his cubicle, under a settlement reached in his lawsuit (Associated Press)

  • Study: Racial, religious profiling a growing problem | Authorities' targeting of people because of their racial background or religious affiliation is a deep-rooted problem in the United States, with nearly 32 million people reporting they've been racially profiled, a human rights group said Monday (Associated Press)

  • Open books, open borders | Should a religious scholar be able to sidestep immigration laws? Religious leaders respond (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Vietnamese minority clash with government over highlands | Since fighting alongside U.S. troops in Vietnam, ethnic Montagnards in the central highlands have maintained a tense relationship with the country's communist government. Lately, the government has been resettling members of Vietnam's ethnic majority in the fertile but sparsely populated region (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Report says 132 died in June Nigeria religious clash | The Red Cross earlier said 37 people were killed in six hours of mayhem sparked by sharp disagreements over the rebuilding of a minaret in the riverside town of Numan, a year after the mosque was razed in similar violence (Reuters)

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  • Zimbabwe 'prevents' homeless help | A US lobby group has accused Zimbabwe of preventing aid agencies from helping tens of thousands left homeless by its land redistribution programme (BBC)

  • World student body seeks Mugabe's excommunication | The International Union of Students, the umbrella body of all student unions around the world, has urged the Catholic Church to excommunicate President Robert Mugabe for human rights abuses and for attacking church leaders (Zimbabwe Independent)

  • Ncube misses the point | Zimbabwe's less-than convincing self-appointed moral authority, one Archbishop Pius Ncube, ostensibly a man of exceptional personal responsibility, is writing a bizarre episode in his book of Zimbabwe's tragi-comic political history (Editorial, Financial Gazette, Zimbabwe)

  • Civic bodies, churches blast draft NGOs bill | More than 20 civic bodies and churches, say the draft non-governmental organizations bill is a repressive piece of legislation that should not be passed into a law in its current form (Zimbabwe Standard)

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Witchcraft in Africa:

  • Juju takes root in East Africa | The idea of witchcraft influencing soccer match outcomes is becoming rampant, at least in the East African region (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Tanzania team admits using witchdoctors | A former secretary-general of Tanzania's Football Federation has claimed that money earmarked for the country's failed World Cup campaign was used to hire witchdoctors (This Day, Nigeria)

  • Healers licensed in South Africa | A bill to regulate South Africa's 200,000 traditional healers has been adopted by parliament (BBC)

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Priest stole $1 million from church:

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  • Pope confident U.S. church can overcome abuse scandal | Meeting bishops from Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the Pope said many U.S. churchmen had expressed concern to him about the crisis of confidence in American Church leadership arising from the abuse controversy (Reuters)

  • Romley's office concludes oversight of diocese | The Diocese of Phoenix still faces a dozen sexual-abuse lawsuits, but it managed to put at least some of its legal problems tied to the scandal behind it Monday (The Arizona Republic)

  • Also: Prosecutor: Diocese can handle own affairs | The Roman Catholic Diocese has made changes in the way it handles priest sex abuse allegations and no longer needs to be supervised by prosecutors, authorities said Monday (Associated Press)

  • Accused priests stay close to Rome | Here in the heart of Catholicism, church leaders are giving refuge to priests who face allegations of sexual abuse in other countries (The Dallas Morning News)

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  • Church suspected priest it defended | When the story broke 16 years ago about a Catholic priest accused of sexually abusing refugee boys, the Archdiocese of Miami denounced it as an ''inquisition'' — though the church's own records now show its spiritual leader took the allegations dead serious (The Miami Herald)

  • N.H., church talks on protection policy fail | Talks have broken down over auditing the Diocese of Manchester's child protection policies and procedures (Associated Press)

  • Mahony stalls the healing | Mahony should display whatever moral leadership he has left, call off his lawyers and let the criminal justice system do its job (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  • Group wants 2 clergy sent elsewhere | A group that represents victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy is protesting the recent arrivals at a special retreat center near St. Louis of a priest who was convicted in Las Vegas and a Franciscan brother who is a fugitive from Canada (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Abuse suit involving old orphanage brings forth both critics and defenders | To date, 41 people have sued the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, alleging sexual abuse between the 1930s and 1970s by a priest, 15 nuns and others (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

New abuse claims:

  • Boston archdiocese gets new abuse claims | The Archdiocese of Boston has received at least 140 new reports of sexual abuse by priests, but said it will not negotiate the claims until it resolves disputes with its insurers over payment of last year's $85 million settlement (Associated Press)

  • Report: Priests accused of abuse sheltered | Some Roman Catholic religious orders have been sheltering priests in Rome despite claims that the men sexually abused minors, according to The Dallas Morning News (Associated Press)

  • Diocese faces new claims of sex abuse | Says it cannot afford to settle 140 cases now (The Boston Globe)

  • Accused had been named, diocese says | The Archdiocese of Boston said it has reviewed its files and found that all the priests accused in 140 new claims of sexual abuse filed since last year's $85 million settlement with abuse victims have been publicly identified and removed from ministry (The Boston Globe)

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Paul Crouch to stay as TBN chief:

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Sexual ethics:

  • Something you can't do in California … | Having sex with corpses is now officially illegal in California after Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill barring necrophilia, a spokeswoman said on Friday (Reuters)

  • Pennsylvania child porn-blocking law tossed | No one challenged the state's right to stop the distribution of child porn, but lawyers for the Center for Democracy & Technology and the American Civil Liberties Union had argued that the technology used to filter out those Web sites was clumsy and produced unintended consequences (Associated Press)

  • A trained eye looks unkindly on illicit lust | How can this man - this "everyman" - be compelled to save his eyes for the bona fide thighs of his missus? (John Elder, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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Marriage & divorce:

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Same-sex marriage & divorce:

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Marriage amendments:

  • Ivan threatens 'marriage' vote | The nation's second vote on a state marriage amendment, scheduled for Saturday in Louisiana, could be postponed in parts of the state if Hurricane Ivan comes too close, a state agency spokesman said yesterday (The Washington Times)

  • Debate over marriage initiative veers toward hate speech | With the proposed amendment to define traditional marriage on the Nov. 2 ballot, the perennial petty intrigue of stolen political signs has become something apparently more sinister: harassment and vandalism bordering on hate crimes, according to amendment foes (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Referendums hitting gay marriage | Conservatives hope issue will entice voters who will then go with Bush (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)

Religion & homosexuality:

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Anglican Communion commission on gay clergy:

  • Anglican Commission on gays wraps up | A commission seeking to resolve the Anglican Communion's crisis over a homosexual U.S. bishop and other gay issues wrapped up its work Friday and said it would publish its report on Oct. 18 (Associated Press)

  • Bishop says conflict on gays distracts from vital issues | "How self-absorbed can we be, to be fighting over this when people are dying everywhere?" asks Gene Robinson (The New York Times)

  • Anglicans consider gay clergy | The church commission set up to establish the future of the Anglican Church and prevent it splitting apart after the row about the appointment of a gay American bishop promised yesterday to publish its report on October 18 (The Guardian, London)

  • Anglican Communion faces schism | The future of the Anglican Communion and its 70 million members teeters in the balance this month (The Sunday Business Post, Ireland)

  • Silence of gay bishops 'will split Anglicans' | Gay Christians are accusing homosexual bishops in the Anglican communion of caving in to a conservative agenda and plunging the church into further crisis (The Observer, London)

  • 'Civil war' fears over gay bishop | The Church of England will be engulfed in "civil war" if American bishops are disciplined for consecrating the first actively homosexual Anglican bishop, leading liberals said yesterday (The Telegraph, London)

  • Crisis group fails to resolve Anglican dispute over gays | Conservatives and liberals in the Anglican Church who are at war over the issue of homosexuality made clear yesterday that the divisions are as deep as ever despite the work of a commission set up to heal the rift (The Times, London)

  • Church plea on gays | The head of the Anglican Church in America, which is facing possible suspension from the Anglican Communion over its consecration of a homosexual as a diocesan bishop, pleaded yesterday for compassion and reconciliation (The Times, London)

  • US bishop in St Paul's plea to heal rift on gays | Bishop Frank Griswold, the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, said that worldwide Anglicanism was torn between those who had a "concern for boundaries" and those who followed the holy spirit wherever it led them (The Telegraph, London)

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California ECUSA breakup:

  • St. James secession emotional | Do you think the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles bishop should have fired St. James church leaders since St. James broke away from the diocese? (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Church cautiously optimistic about suit | The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles is suing three Southland churches, but local pastor is confident (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Churches respond to diocese lawsuit | Lawyers for St. James in Newport Beach and two other breakaway churches say legal claims show 'true colors' of the Los Angeles diocese (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Standing firm on church schism | For many, like St. James Church parishioner Galen Yorba-Gray, the Episcopal Church has strayed from what Yorba-Gray said are key tenets of religious faith: belief in the supremacy of biblical scripture and Jesus Christ (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • St. James not what it used to be | It is incomprehensible to me that these new people are trying to "take over" the church (Patricia Creamer Lillegraven, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

Anglican Communion:

  • 'Secret' archbishop short list released | The supposedly secret short list of candidates for the position of Adelaide's Anglican archbishop has been revealed (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

  • Anti-war archbishop appointed | A staunch supporter of women's ordination and an opponent of Australia's involvement in Iraq will be the new archbishop of Perth - an appointment that has heightened speculation about the next leader of the Anglican Church in Australia (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Also: Perth Anglicans get a new Archbishop (The West Australian)

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams:

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  • Traditional faith | A new church being built in Walton will turn back the clock for worshippers who object to Vatican II. Diocesan officials distance themselves from it. (The Kentucky Post)

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Closing Catholic churches:

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Church buildings:

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Mormon church:

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Other religions:

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Church bells:

  • Church clock chimes 'a noise nuisance' | A vicar told that his church bells are keeping his parishioners awake said today he may be forced to silence them or face prosecution (The Western Mail, Wales)

  • Parishioners appeal over bells | The tolling of the bells at a south Wales church is not appealing to some parishioners who have made formal complaints about the noise (BBC)

Church life:

  • How original does a sermon have to be? | Pastors across region re-examining how they prepare and deliver their messages (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  • Casually clad congregations | Informal, relaxed attire is becoming the norm in many houses of worship (Contra Costa Times, Ca.)

  • Comfort ye my people? | Church pews getting competition from chairs, theater seats (The Decatur Daily, Ga.)

  • Mega-church gets bigger | Willow Creek's new 360,000-square-foot auditorium seats 7,200 worshipers (Chicago Tribune)

  • Christians meet to discuss scarcity of young ministers | Clergy, lay people address problem at Dallas conference (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Jokers force pastor to rename chapel | A pastor has changed the name of his chapel because too many "depraved" minds were finding something funny in it being called Little Dicker (The Telegraph, London)

  • Churches should take yellow brick road to reaching people | Churches have a great deal to learn from modern musicals and could usefully incorporate in their services the spiritual themes and the pastoral care they offer their audiences, a new book argues (The Guardian, London)

  • Church shows it has faith in the arts | None of the artworks at Eastminster Presbyterian Church are overtly religious, but notes explain why each is appropriate in the church's continued series on Christianity and the arts (Courier & Press, Evansville, Ind.)

  • Fire interrupts church celebration | A Pasadena pastor is looking for a new place to hold religious services after his newly renovated church was ravaged by fire Sunday afternoon (The Pasadena Citizen, Ca.)

  • Dynamic pastor takes over Trinity | There is a new man in charge of Trinity Church, the landmark Episcopal parish in the heart of the city's Financial District, but do not expect him to fire up chain saws or rev up motorcycles to make a point (Charles W. Bell, New York Daily News)

  • Pastors' greed need not taint Christians | The News-Sentinel reported that a local court has decided that two pastors in town are to receive a lump sum of almost $750,000 between them as "pension." Compare those figures to the fact that the median annual household income in this struggling town dropped to $40,213 last year (Steven Jones, Ft. Wayne News-Sentinel, Ind.)

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  • Keeping the faith and credibility | After controversy with the last two Foursquare leaders, the church's new president says he hopes to bring a 'fresh breeze of openness (Los Angeles Times)

  • Row over 'Red Patriarch' splits Bulgarian Orthodox church | Only yards from where Patriarch Maxim is followed by the masses as a guide to heaven, the dissident priests damn his name as the path to hell (The Telegraph, London)

  • Religious legacy lives on in Alaska | The Russian Orthodox church in Alaska is claiming a resurgence in a faith that most people predicted would die out (BBC)

  • Region's Methodists welcome new bishop | A procession of ministers in white robes, a choir of heavenly voices and an assembly of 300 formally welcomed Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton as the new head of United Methodists in Western Pennsylvania yesterday (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Church row rages on | The Full Gospel Church in Eldoret continued to reel in shame yesterday as its pastors traded accusations of impropriety (The East African Standard, Nairobi)

  • Free churches back at war over property row | The Free Church of Scotland and the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) are to clash in the Court of Session over property both claim to own (The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)

Ministering to pastors:

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  • Battling burnout | The stress of leading a congregation has many pastors seeking help from ministries set up for their well-being (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

  • Ministering to ministers | Retired pastor helps peers battle personal problems (MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.)

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Missions & ministry:

  • Target will ban bell ringers | Salvation Army bells will no longer ring outside Target stores, where they have accounted for more than one-third of the charity's bell-ringing income in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Program for nonbelievers helps Christians deepen faith | Elizabeth Wright placed an unusual ad on her church's sign: She wanted atheists and agnostics (Courier & Press, Evansville, Ind.)

  • Fit, faithful | Hoosier goes online for Christianity, creates Faith & Fitness Magazine (The Indianapolis Star)

  • Sold-out D.M. rally draws hundreds of men | People are still seeking Promise Keepers tickets. It is the group's first visit to Iowa since 1999 (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  • A man on a mission | Ghanaian evangelist launches a university in his homeland, aiming to empower women (The Toronto Star)

  • Churches teach immigrants new language and, often, new faith | English classes — called ''language missions'' by many churches —are drawing more and more recent immigrants into church basements and meeting rooms across Nashville (The Tennessean)

  • Christian missionaries lauded | Education would have been the property of the creamy layer, if the Christian missionaries had not started educational institutions and hospitals in the inaccessible and backward regions of the country, the Union Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, E.V.K.S. Elangovan, has said (The Hindu, India)

  • Using books to teach the Word | Catholic bookstore is 'an evangelistic asset' for northern Utah (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Institution lends on faith | Ukrainian immigrant Ella Miramova had a dream — to become a Beverly Hills dressmaker — and the only place that would give her the money to make it a reality was the Jewish Free Loan Association, a lending institution that has charged the same interest rate for 100 years — zero percent (Fox News)

  • Christianity tainted by church image: study | The church is virtually the last image that should be used by Christian organizations to attract followers to God, research has found (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Parishes warned they'll have to dig deeper | Despite dwindling congregations, Sydney's Catholic archdiocese has asked some of its parishes to stump up more money to fund its charity organizations (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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See You at the Pole:

  • 'See You at the Pole' | National Day of Student Prayer set for Wednesday (Chillicothe Gazette, Oh.)

  • Youngster inspires faithful | Jocelyn Ennis is at center of this year's See You at the Pole promotions (MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.)


  • Employment by dogma? | Lay teachers are testing the Roman Catholic Church (The New York Times)

  • Archdiocese shut doors, but school lives on | The rebirth of St. Peter, a parish school started more than 50 years ago by South Boston's Lithuanian community, is unusual (The Boston Globe)

  • McConnell to review sex lessons | Ministers have ordered a review of sex education materials used in schools, after a backlash from parents and church leaders (The Times, London)

  • Serbia reverses Darwin suspension | The Serbian government has reversed an order to ban Charles Darwin's theory of evolution from schools, following widespread criticism from scientists (BBC)

  • Earlier: Serb schools told to drop Darwin | Serbia's education minister has ordered schools to stop teaching the theory of evolution for the current school year, a leading newspaper has reported (BBC)

  • Teacher's lesson angers some | Karen Christenson stood before her sophomore English class Sept. 2 and tore up a Bible in an effort to get her students to think about how it feels to have something they consider sacred destroyed, Principal Jeff Harrah said (The Times-News, Twin Falls, Id.)

  • Catholic Church in court threat on schools | The Catholic Church last night threatened to go to court after ministers rejected an attempt to block controversial proposals for shared campus primary schools (The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland)

  • Religious preference in hiring is sometimes OK | This kind of hiring practice might pass muster if the school can show that belonging to the particular faith is necessary to perform the duties of the job (Corvallis Gazette-Times, Ore.)

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Colleges & universities:

  • Colo. officials fault free speech policy | A university president and a Democratic state lawmaker said rules put in place this year to protect conservative viewpoints on Colorado campuses have harmed free speech and led to death threats against professors (Associated Press)

  • College opens new wing | The opening of the Jovili Meo Mission Centre at the Pacific Theological College this week will be a boost evangelism in the region (Fiji Times)

  • Pepperdine Law School adds some Starr power | As the new dean, the man who headed the Whitewater investigation brings his skills to the Malibu institution (Los Angeles Times)

  • Lipscomb University tries to put checks on cheating | Church of Christ school changes honor code after half of student body admits to cheating (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  • For the love of God (and money) | Investors say they will retain an evangelical college's religious character while turning a profit (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

  • Harvard endowment above $20 billion | The university is considered the wealthiest not-for-profit organization in the world after the Roman Catholic Church (Associated Press)

  • Gay students offered special scholarships | An increasing number of charities, professional groups, universities—and even a denomination or two—offer scholarships on the basis of sexual orientation (Associated Press)

Church & state:

  • Clerics flay move to tax churches, mosques | Muslim and Christians groups in Iwo Local Government council of Osun State have appealed to President Olusegun Obasanjo to look elsewhere to generate revenue other than taxing mosques and churches in the country (This Day, Nigeria)

  • More courts tackle Ten Commandments | Less than a year after a federal judge ordered that a 21/2-ton Ten Commandments monument be removed from Alabama's state courts building, legal battles have sprung up across the nation between civil liberties groups who are targeting similar monuments and governments that are determined to display them (USA Today)

  • Judge to rule on diocese, order taking part in suit | A federal judge said yesterday he will issue a ruling on whether the Archdiocese of Los Angeles and a religious order can become part of a suit challenging the constitutionality of a state law that allowed hundreds of lawsuits against churches (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  • Canadians giving up on religion, poll finds | Canada is bounding along the road toward a secular society, with half the adult population now of the opinion that more regular attendance at religious services by people would be of no benefit to Canadian society, says a survey published yesterday by the Centre for Research and Information on Canada (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

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  • Grandfather, religion entry form query abolished | A requirement to state religion and grandfather's name in Israeli entry forms has been re-examined with an eye to its abolishment, according to a directive by Internior Minister Avraham Poraz (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Canada PM scolded by aunt, apologizes for blasphemy | Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin apologized on Tuesday for muttering "Jesus Christ!" during a nationally televised meeting on health care reform -- but only after his aunt told him that his mouth should be washed out with soap (Reuters)

  • Religious circle divided on security law | With the nation's political circles in a head-to-head showdown over the anti-communist National Security Law, the religious community is also getting embroiled in the dispute over the issue (The Korea Times)

  • Equal time for Jesus | The more one sees of our First Amendment jurisprudence, the more one concludes that Jefferson's famous "wall of separation" has yet to be plotted exactly (James J. Kilpatrick)

  • Anti-alcohol rally urges against sales in Lewisville | Keep Lewisville Safe, headed by Pastor Ben Smith of Lakeland Baptist Church, had nearly 50 people attend the rally Friday morning. The event featured prayers and testimonials from people negatively affected by alcohol in their lives (Lewsiville Leader, Tex.)

LA county seal:

War & religion

  • Religion is a bloody disgrace | The Abrahamic family of faiths is now frighteningly dysfunctional (Tony Bayfield, The Guardian, London)

  • The clash of fundamentalists | The post-September 11 era has unleashed fundamentalists of all stripes who are not only blossoming, but are colliding with each other frequently, sometimes even ferociously, in the process keeping us on the edge (Ehsan Ahrari, Asia Times)

  • When religion is not | It is getting hard to see what fundamentalism has to do with religion (Rick Salutin, The Globe and Mail, Toronto, alt. site)

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  • Putting faith on the line | Americans don't hear much in the way of sympathy for the Palestinian people, and they certainly don't expect to hear it from a Southern conservative Christian and a former Hezbollah hostage (Dan Carpenter, The Indianapolis Star)

  • Church-state wall or maze? | Finnish theologian caught in jumble of religious rules (Diane Winston, Dallas Morning News)

September 11:

  • Bush observance includes silence, prayer | The president's Sept. 11 observances — very similar to how he spent the anniversary last year — began with a service of prayer and remembrance at St. John's Episcopal Church near the White House (Associated Press)

  • 9/11: Finding strength in the spiritual | Religion vignettes (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Small chapel becomes keeper of Sept. 11's spiritual flame | At Ground Zero, tour guides and souvenirs recall the unspeakable horror of Sept. 11, 2001. But at St. Paul's Chapel, the historic little church that survived, the day is recalled with joy at the "extraordinary outpouring of unwavering spirit" by rescue and volunteer workers (Newhouse News Service)

  • Christians 'should show more respect' | Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams yesterday marked the third anniversary of the 11 September atrocities by calling on Christians to show more respect to other religions (The Observer, London)

  • Festival, prayers mark 9/11 | Hundreds of people attended a special commemorative "Service for Peace" at the Washington National Cathedral in Northwest celebrated by the Right Rev. A. Theodore Eastman, vicar of the cathedral (The Washington Times)

  • In L.A., tributes from many faiths | Pleas for religious tolerance and solemn ceremonies mark local Sept. 11 events (Los Angeles Times)

Life ethics:

  • Now they want to euthanize children | In the Netherlands, 31 percent of pediatricians have killed infants. A fifth of these killings were done without the "consent" of parents. Going Dutch has never been so horrible (Wesley J. Smith, The Weekly Standard)

  • Embryo-centrism and other sins | The unceasing, unfair complaints of the Kass council's critics (Michael Cook, The Weekly Standard)

  • Pill propelled into abortion debate | The birth control pill revolutionized women's health - and grew to become one of the most popular forms of family planning. But it is now under attack from pro-life groups in the US (BBC)

  • Warning on 'fun' scans for babies | Unborn babies could be harmed by repeated exposure to ultrasound scanning. Scientists have given a warning that the sound waves can cause tissue to heat up and vibrate (The Times, London)

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  • Terri Schiavo, R.I.P.? | The Florida supreme court has odd notions about caring for the disabled (Walter M. Weber, National Review Online)

  • Odd coalition unites on human trafficking | There was an unusual sight last week in the gilded elegance of the State Department's main reception room: anti-abortion activists standing shoulder-to-shoulder with abortion rights campaigners in shared commitment (Associated Press)

Roe reversal rejected:



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  • Priest dies in house blaze (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Rev. Rogers's neighborhood | It's hard to imagine where Bellevue Baptist Church would be without Rev. Adrian Rogers (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.)

  • Gibbs wants to restore old glory | In the background is Gibbs's devout Christianity. Although those who have played under him say he never chooses players strictly based on their faith, he clearly is comfortable with players who practice their religion (The Washington Post)



  • Christianity's great fault line | An interview with Diarmaid MacCulloch, author of The Reformation: A History (The Boston Globe)

  • Sorting the holy from the crazy | Imagine, if you can, a book written by a hip editor of Rolling Stone … a book that deals with delicate religious matters … and a book — called a "spiritual whodunit" — that will interest, and satisfy, both the pious and the skeptical (The Washington Times)

  • What would Walt do? | In The Gospel According to Disney: Faith, Trust, and Pixie Dust, author Mark Pinsky looks at the moral and spiritual values conveyed in the early Disney classics (USA Today)

  • Digital age gives online genesis to Bible | A book considered to be one of the most important ever published in Welsh is now available to view by anyone in the world (The Western Mail, Wales)

  • Coin of the realm can be found in Revelation | Professor David May at Central Baptist Theological Seminary, author of Revelation: Weaving a Tapestry of Hope, says John calls Christians to pacifism (The Kansas City Star)


  • 'Dropout' upsets some in gospel industry | Kanye West's "The College Dropout" includes one explicitly Christian rap, "Jesus Walks." But other tracks have lyrics that might offend a congregation (Associated Press)

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Madonna allows Quakers onto estate:



PBS on Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis:

  • PBS tackles ultimate TV challenge with 'The Question of God' | It could be the ultimate challenge for a TV show: Debating the topic of God's existence (Associated Press)

  • The question of God | The popularity of Armand M. Nicholi's course comparing the beliefs of Sigmund Freud with the those of C.S. Lewis has lead to a four-hour documentary on PBS, which airs tomorrow and Sept. 22 (The Washington Times)

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  • God via real reality TV | "The Question of God" (airing on PBS in two two-hour segments tonight and Sept. 22 at 9 p.m. EST) creates a "debate" between Sigmund Freud, the atheist and founder of psychoanalysis, and C.S. Lewis, the eminent author, scholar and Christian apologist (Cal Thomas)

  • 'God' is an impressive creation | To make a two-part, four-hour series about an unanswerable philosophical question is no simple matter, but producers Mike Sullivan and Doug Holladay, and director Catherine Tatge, have done it, with considerable success, in "The Question of God: Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis With Dr. Armand Nicholi" (The Boston Globe)

  • Debater of the faith | Harvard psychiatrist Armand Nicholi asked of Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, 'Is there a God?' The answer is now a PBS special (Beliefnet)

  • Two giants tackle existence of God | The subject is broached again in the PBS two-part series The Question of God: Sigmund Freud and C.S. Lewis, airing this week and next (The Dallas Morning News)

  • PBS debates 'The Question of God' | 2-part show probes unresolved issues via Freud, C.S. Lewis (The Arizona Republic)

  • Time is right for enlightening "The Question of God" | Like a break in a storm-congested landscape, "The Question of God" offers a calm, enlightened exploration of spiritual belief and disbelief (Kay McFadden, The Seattle Times)

  • PBS asks "The Question of God" | In "The Question of God," Harvard psychiatrist Armand Nicholi invites us to consider why we believe, or don't (TVBarn)

  • Out of the pulpit, into the lecture hall | A two-part PBS series taps into the growing scholarly debate about God, pitting Christians vs. atheists and leaps of faith vs. learned panels (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)


  • Sunday offers a good time to get work done | It's a Sunday ritual as familiar as going to church or reading the newspaper. In the late afternoon, I turn on my PC and start clicking on the mouse (The Boston Globe)

  • The duel between body and soul | People see bodies and souls as separate; we are common-sense dualists. We are wrong. (Paul Bloom, The New York Times)

  • Getting out of hell isn't easy | The thought of losing God should make our flesh crawl, our souls turn sour (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London)

  • Believers find Jesus in space | A website backed by the Anglican and Roman Catholic Churches has stirred controversy with its images of clouds, shadows and stars in which believers claim to see Jesus (The Telegraph, London)

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More articles:

  • Foes say gambling vote could foil state | Quirks involving two propositions could lead to unlimited, untaxed Indian gaming, contend the governor's lawyers. Other experts scoff (Los Angeles Times)

  • Man climbs into lions' den at Melbourne Zoo | He got a Bible out of his bag and started talking to shocked onlookers, witnesses said (The Australian)

  • Christians have highest sex ratio | The Christian population has the highest sex ratio of 1,009 women per thousand men at the 2001 Census as against the national average of 936 (The Tribune, India)

  • Religious dogma haunts the dead | Once a Christian, always a Christian, said a Catholic priest in Ranchi. But Evelyn Topno, a tribal Christian, ended up being denied dignity even in death for marrying a Muslim in court. After she died - ailing - recently, her body decomposed for three days (The Times of India)

  • Greens make a devout Christian see red | A devout Christian has made it his mission to alert people to what he sees is the secret agenda of the Greens (The Mercury, Tasmania)

  • Aids: Cleric says condom not answer | A cleric stunned fellow pastors when he claimed that the availability condoms have failed to stop the spread of killer virus HIV (The East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)

  • A holy city hootenanny | If it's anti-Western it must be holy (Patrick O'Hannigan, The American Spectator)

Related Elsewhere:

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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