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Church Murders Old and New

Three killed in Colombian church attack as a verdict comes for Oscar Romero 24 years after his martyrdom. Plus: is the religion gap smaller than the money gap?

Justice for the archbishop?
On Friday, Alvaro Rafael Saravia, a former Salvadoran air force captain, was found liable for the 1980 assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, who was killed while celebrating Mass in a hospital chapel.

"To be liable for the killing of a human being, you don't have to pull the trigger," U.S. Judge Oliver Wanger said Friday. "The cold-blooded assassination of Romero could not be a better example of extrajudicial killing." Saravia, he said, provided the gun used in the attack, transportation, and a bounty. Wagner ordered Saravia to pay Romero's relatives $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

But justice has not yet been served, and perhaps never will be. While Saravia was last seen living in Modesto, California, he's now missing but reportedly hiding in El Salvador. He wasn't present for any part of the trial, nor has he made any comments about it while on the lam.

Still, Maria Julia Hernandez, a legal officer for the archbishop of El Salvador, told Reuters, the judgment "is a sign that justice will come in El Salvador, it's a ray of hope."

Luis Melendez, president of the Fresno Salvadoran Community, told The Modesto Bee, "It's a huge step to eliminate inhumane acts so that those who are in power can't continue to do this. … It brings hope. It's like I'm able to breathe again."

Murder turns to firefight in Colombian church
Elsewhere in Latin America, however, a word of justice finally came for another church murder. "We were singing hymns to God when I heard the shooting, a burst of gunfire," Francisco Sevillano, pastor of an evangelical Protestant church in Puerto Asis, Colombia, told Reuters.

Gunmen walked through the Saturday evening service apparently looking for one man. But, the Associated ...

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Weblog
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 managing editor for news and online journalism. 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.
Previous Weblog Columns:
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