Sudan violence after death of vice president may be only beginning
Those who live by the sword sometimes die while traveling in a presidential helicopter.

Though John Garang was born into a Christian family, he is unlikely to make it into any "heroes of the faith" lists. As founder and leader of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, he is reported to have committed numerous human rights abuses, including forcibly recruiting child soldiers, killing thousands of civilians, and taking political prisoners.

Nevertheless, his appointment as vice-president of Sudan was a huge step forward for the country—the result of a difficult peace agreement in January between Garang and Sudanese President Omar el-Bashir. About 2 million people had died in the 21-year civil war between the Muslim north and the Christian and animist south.

Yesterday, three weeks after Garang took office, the Ugandan presidential helicopter he was traveling in crashed, killing him and 13 others. (The Ugandan government had loaned Garang the helicopter.)

Both the Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement blamed foul weather for the crash, but some southerners in Khartoum cried foul play. At least 36 people, including policemen, were killed as rioters shouted "Murderers! Murderers!"

But Garang's death could have longer lasting effects on Sudan's fragile peace than today's rioting, says The Christian Science Monitor:

Because the [peace] deal was dominated so personally by Garang and his northern counterparts - who negotiated word by word and line by line for years—its success depended largely on the considerable force of Garang's personality and power.
His demise, analysts say, will test whether the impetus for peace is larger than one man. It also removes a powerful moderating influence inside Sudan's government, which was involved in what the U.S. calls genocide in the separate conflict in the country's western Darfur region. …
[The crash] comes at a fragile time, because "the peace isn't yet institutionalized," says Richard Cornwell of the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa.
This was a hugely "personal deal" between Garang and Mr. Bashir, he adds.

It may be that the death of Bashir's longtime adversary may make him more open to the south's struggle for freedom. We shall see. Sudan, as always, is full of surprises—and rarely happy ones.

Safire: Desecration is a bad (and potentially blasphemous) word choice
Weblog has never really seen the appeal of a constitutional amendment against flag burning. (Christianity Today as a magazine hasn't taken a position on it.) But it's hard to see how any Christian who reads William Safire's New York Times Magazine column this week could be for it—at least in its present form. The amendment, as passed by the House, says, "The Congress shall have the power to prohibit the physical desecration of the flag of the United States."

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"Desecration is a noun steeped in the violation of religious belief. It is rooted in the Latin sacrare or secrare, source of sacred and sacrifice, dealing through the millenniums with worship of a deity," Safire writes. "To desecrate is to profane what is holy; Merriam Webster defines it as 'to violate the sanctity of,' American Heritage as 'to violate the sacredness of' and the Oxford English Dictionary as 'to take away its consecrated or sacred character.' Houses of God and gravestones can be desecrated by people bent on reviling religion or embracing evil."

The problem, Safire says, is that "national flags are not religious objects or symbols. … It's unlikely that the proposers of this amendment, or those representatives who voted for it, intended to treat the nation's flag as a religious symbol. But that is what that word desecration does."

Better, Safire says, to "change the physical desecration of to something like 'the ostentatious destruction or mockery of' or 'the outrageous disrespect for.'"

Better indeed, unless you think the American flag really is a holy object. And then, my friend, you've got some serious problems.

More articles

Religion & politics:

  • Divided, we stand | America's long struggle to balance church and state isn't getting any easier (Jay Tolson, U.S. News & World Report)
  • Rallying the humanists | Christian right backlash may be invigorating a new wave of neosecularist activity (U.S. News & World Report)
  • A Dem, no extremist -- he'd 'serve as if Jesus were serving' | Wheaton College professor Lindy Scott is running for Congress (Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Federal program would give D.C. couples impetus to marry | Every dollar saved to be matched by $3 (The Washington Post)
  • Two Rivers Baptist to shine spotlight on Supreme Court | A 6,800-member church in Nashville is at the forefront of conservative Christians, in part because of its pastor and his connections (The Tennessean)
  • Tax plan still gets attention | Almost two years after Alabamians routed Gov. Bob Riley's $1.2 billion tax and accountability plan in a statewide referendum, that effort continues to draw both admiration and scorn in the pages of the national media (Mobile Register, Ala.)
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  • Moderation in the pursuit of victory | The early list of Republican White House contenders is dominated by politicians whose commitment to conservative orthodoxy is newfound (Nicholas Confessore, The New York Times)
  • Listen for the moderates, not the zealots | Do evangelicals and Muslims need a pope? (Bill Wineke, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison)


  • Enter the evangelicals | U.S. fundamentalist groups have a foot in Canada's political door, and they're pushing it open (Vancouver Sun)
  • The great morality debate | Has Labour lost touch with the values of middle New Zealand? And if so, will voters punish them for it? (Sunday Star Times, New Zealand)
  • Moral issues concern voters | It was the day morality came down from the pulpit and marched on Parliament. August 23, 2004: Destiny Church's Enough is Enough protest attacked Wellington like a swarm of locusts sent to plague the sinners (The New Zealand Herald)
  • Behind the Hillsong phenomenon | But who is the driving strength behind the movement in Australia? (ABC News, Australia)

War & terrorism:

  • Patriarch backs party led by war-crimes suspect | Patriarch Pavle, the head of Serbia's Orthodox Church, has shocked liberal Serbs by appearing in public for the first time at a nationalist rally organized by the far-right Radical Party, whose fanatical leader, Vojislav Seselj, is on trial for war crimes at The Hague (The Independent)
  • Driving force behind terror: fundamentalism | Eric Rudolph is a Christian terrorist (Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald)

John Roberts:

  • Roberts nomination raises the issue of the role of religious faith in public life | Americans assume that serious religious commitments can be related to professional or public life in general (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)
  • The fight behind the fight | The fight over John Roberts's nomination to the Supreme Court isn't only about abortion, but that's a big part of it (The Washington Post)
  • Does Jane speak for John? | We don't know if her work in FFL means Ms. Roberts wants to overturn Roe. Even if we did, does Jane speak for John? Are wives the canary in the mine of their husband's minds? (Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe)
  • Why Roberts's religion matters | We live in a time when there is a growing movement, backed by most conservatives, for the Catholic Church to excommunicate public officials who support abortion rights. If religion is going to have that kind of political influence, it's a bit hypocritical to complain when a politician's or judge's religion becomes an issue (Cathy Young, The Boston Globe)
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  • Catholic judges and a higher authority | Roberts' nomination raises questions about jurists caught between the law of the land and the laws of their church (Michael McGough, Los Angeles Times)
  • On a big issue, little is known | The available information on Roberts's views about capital punishment is sketchy at best (Charles Lane, The Washington Post)

Church & state:

  • Pitch for faith-based aid | Charities want Gov. Huntsman to go where previous guvs would not (The Salt Lake Tribune, Ut.)
  • Keep Ten Commandments in the public square | God is not foreign to our founding (D. James Kennedy, The Miami Herald)
  • Thou shalt debate | Lawmakers wrestle with issue of displaying commandments (The Decatur Daily, Ala.)
  • Ten Commandments get an Indiana niche | Some lament monument being on private land (The Boston Globe)
  • Church separation myth and reality | Three generations of secular humanist educators and atheistic American Civil Liberties Union ideologues have parroted this big lie so often that the dumbed-down, indoctrinated masses have finally begun believing it, simply because nobody ever bothered to explain the true meaning of the First Amendment. (Nathan Tabor, The Washington Times)
  • Russian law conjures with magic | Moscow MP Ludmila Stebenkova considers Russia's thousands of witches, wizards and faith healers and the like a danger to society. She has proposed legislation to limit their activities (BBC)
  • Judge lashes religion laws | A senior Victorian judge has called for changes to the state's contentious religious vilification laws (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)


  • Bible course becomes a test for public schools in Texas | A religious advocacy group based in Greensboro, N.C., has been pressing a 12-year campaign to get school boards across the country to accept its Bible curriculum (The New York Times)
  • A calling to educate | New head of Christian college aims to train 'people of value' (The Boston Globe)
  • School's religious focus remains as rules evolve | Over nearly a century of higher education with a higher calling, the evolution of Eastern Nazarene College is perhaps most discernible in its student life (The Boston Globe)
  • What I learned from Nazarene life | Living for the first time in a situation that resembled a typical dorm, I realized just how much time regular college students spend thinking about -- or doing -- things that are forbidden in my college world. (Read: having sex or drinking) (Kyle Alspach, The Boston Globe)
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Science & research:

  • Beliefs drive research agenda of new think tanks | Study on gay adoption disputed by specialists (The Boston Globe)
  • Science in support of a cause: the new research | Lately, advocates offer their data to advance views (The Boston Globe)
  • Let's have no more monkey trials | To teach faith as science is to undermine both (Charles Krauthammer, Time)

Bill Frist & stem cells (news):

  • Frist's stem cell stance creates rift | Bush's reaction mild; religious conservatives say they're outraged (Chicago Tribune)
  • Frist not asked to address conservative rally in Nashville | 'Justice Sunday II' officials say senator omitted only because he spoke at first event (The Tennessean, Nashville)
  • Frist fuels momentum for stem cell research | GOP leader's backing isolates president (The Boston Globe)
  • Senate lacks votes for stem cell override | While a bill would pass the Senate with a simple majority, 67 senators would be needed to fend off a veto by Bush if all 100 senators voted. Specter says he has only 62 (Associated Press)
  • Senate leader criticized and praised for stem cell shift | Irate that the Senate majority leader had broken with President Bush on the volatile issue of human embryonic stem cell research, conservative Republicans denounced him on Friday, warning that his support for the work could cost him the Republican presidential nomination should he seek it in 2008 (The New York Times)
  • Frist breaks with Bush on stem cell research | Shift infuriated religious conservatives and turned a spotlight back on the White House (The Washington Post)
  • Defection bares stem cell rifts | The majority leader's break with Bush to back federally paid research provokes angry rebukes (Los Angeles Times)
  • In race to stem cell center, New Jersey's efforts stall | In New Jersey, which bills itself as the medicine cabinet of the nation, the potentially lucrative stem cell research race has gone off with both a bang and a whimper (The New York Times)

Frist (opinion):

  • Frist's stem cell capitulation | Senate majority leader Bill Frist did the wrong thing at the wrong time (Editorial, The Weekly Standard)
  • A matter of science | In the face of evidence that the existing rules are impeding valuable research, this is the only sensible conclusion—one that ought to make the president reconsider his veto threat (Editorial, The Washington Post)
  • Senator Frist's stem cell shift | It's a step forward, but a pathetically small one (Editorial, The New York Times)
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  • Frist's folly | If the Frists of the world do not find their moral bearings and pro-lifers do not adjust their strategy, there will be no limit to the horrors we will countenance in the name of science (Editorial, National Review)

Life ethics:

  • Euthanasia regularly practiced in Colombia | In Colombia, euthanasia became permissible in 1997 when the highest judicial body, the Constitutional Court, ruled 6-3 that an individual may choose to end his life and that doctors can't be prosecuted for their role in helping (Associated Press)
  • Pataki to veto 'morning-after pill' bill | George Pataki will veto legislation that would allow women to buy the "morning-after" pill without a prescription, a decision described by abortion rights advocates as "sheer political expediency" to build conservative support for a 2008 presidential run (Associated Press)
  • Ethics body to ponder brain-damaged patients | As debate rages on the fate of Maria Korp, an inquiry will look at care and guidelines for such patients (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Life and death issue | The need for doctors to pay more heed to the wishes of their patients is long overdue. But the idea that patients have a right to demand treatments, without regard to their effectiveness and costs, is wrong (Editorial, The Guardian, London)
  • Respecting the rights of the dying | A clash of beliefs bedevils the making of ethical decisions on patient rights (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)


  • Feminists for Life refuse to 'choose' | An interview with president Serrin Foster (The Dallas Morning News)
  • Roe's army reloads | They've been dreading this moment for decades. How the pro-choice movement is readying for Roberts—and navigating a critical political crossroads (Newsweek)
  • Durbin evolution on decency | Durbin effectively argues: Because some pro-lifers don't believe in family planning or rape or incest or other exceptions, the Constitution guarantees a right to abortion (The Washington Times)
  • Say sayonara to abortion | Now is a superb time to get that abortion you've been putting off (Ted Rall)
  • Embryos and politics | Calling the morning-after pill an abortifacient does not make it so, any more than calling termination of a late-term pregnancy ''partial-birth" abortion makes the procedure infanticide (Eileen McNamara, The Boston Globe)


  • Back in the closet | Growing conservatism has been blamed for less tolerance of homosexuality (The Sydney Morning Herald)
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  • Battle of the Bible | Some Christians are reinterpreting supposedly anti-gay passages in Scripture, but that may not be the best way to win the argument over homosexuality (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Reject Canada's same-sex marriage error | Gay activists aren't seeking equal access to marriage. They can already marry; it just must be to a person of the opposite sex. They want a radical redefinition of marriage, and they're attempting to co-opt the term "equality" to get it (Tom Prichard, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
  • Prayer under a microscope | Scientists enlist the help of religious groups in an effort to measure the healing power of faith from afar (The Baltimore Sun)
  • Some black preachers embrace homosexuality | Religious conservatives have chafed at similar comparisons between the gay rights movement, and civil rights struggles of the past (Associated Press)
  • Pastor apologizes for remarks on lesbians | The Rev. Willie F. Wilson, one of the city's most prominent pastors, issued an apology last night for remarks he made in a recent sermon that denounced lesbianism (The Washington Post)
  • Petition drives target marriage measure votes | Traditional-values groups in California and Massachusetts are gearing up for petition drives on constitutional amendments on marriage despite squabbles over the wording of the measures (The Washington Times)
  • University rebukes employee for e-mail decrying lesbianism | A state university in New Jersey has reprimanded a student-employee for describing homosexuality as a "perversion" in a private e-mail that he sent a female professor, after she sent him an unsolicited announcement about a university event that promoted lesbian relationships (The Washington Times)
  • Battle over gay marriage plays out in Indian country | The emotional issue is playing out in the Cherokee courts in Oklahoma, confronting historic issues of cultural traditions and Indian sovereignty (The Washington Post)

Church life:

  • Cowboy church spreads the Gospel | A traveling band of faithful spreads the Gospel of Jesus Christ with traditional hymns and some popular tunes (Des Moines Register, Ia.)
  • Writer traces believers leaving liberal churches | John F. Fink reviews Dave Shiflett's Exodus (The Indianapolis Star)
  • Even an all-inclusive church needs a selling point | Minister: Use words cautiously God's kingdom is here and now Humility is a virtue for everyone (The Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Lake Ave. urges members to unite | The Saturday evening service at Lake Avenue Church focused on unity and loyalty one week after the senior pastor resigned, citing an adversarial faction in the congregation that had polarized its leadership board (Pasadena Star-News, Ca.)
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  • In quest for broader appeal, churches change names, places | Spring Creek's style shifts, beliefs stay steady (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)
  • Houston church fills former Rockets arena | They're calling it the Promised Land, this vast arena with theater-style seating and three Jumbotron screens (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)
  • Waiting to worship, without parking meters | The City Council voted to eliminate metered parking on Sundays, a move welcomed by many parishioners (The New York Times)
  • A guiding light leaves his church in a reborn Bronx | The Rev. Eddie Lopez Jr., pastor of the Methodist Church of the Resurrection, always pursued a ministry that went against the currents of politics and popular opinion (The New York Times)
  • Churches growing, but so are 'unchurched' | For certain enlightened liberals on university faculties, the lesser intellectual stature of Christians and conservatives is so much taken for granted that they do not hesitate to write about them in terms dripping with condescension and contempt (Linda Seebach, Rocky Mountain News, Denver)
  • Liberalism losing spiritual | Protestant liberalism is in spiritual collapse, replaced by different, if not newer, theologies (T.R. Fehrenbach, San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

Youth group:

  • Feels like teen spirit | Churches have begun to see 13 as a pivotal age for finding God (Time)
  • A catechism guide with a twist | 'Lutheran Handbook' adds humor to appeal to youths (The Toledo Bladel, Oh.)
  • Conference at New Life Church draws young people from 25 states | Desperation Conference draws more than 2,500 high school and college students (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

Church lawsuits:

  • Woman sues, was hit by ball at church picnic | Donna Tinsley's suit in St. Louis Circuit Court says she was sitting down when hit by the baseball, which had been thrown at a dunking booth target (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
  • Pequannock church sues over cult label | Gospel Outreach Christian Fellowship contends that a small group of people—including some of its former members, relatives of current members and several ministers at one of the largest congregations in North Jersey—have harassed the congregation for several years, labeling it a cult and making it difficult for it to survive (

Social justice:

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  • Neighbors in the grip of lawlessness | Minister vows to reclaim Dorchester 'Hell Zone' (The Boston Globe)
  • Church-to-church mission | Teaming up is beneficial for suburban and inner-city congregations (Tony Campolo, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Church life, non U.S.:

  • Black worshippers keep the faith | People of African and Caribbean origin make up 2% of the UK's population but account for more than two-thirds of Sunday church-goers in London and 7% of worshippers nationwide, research has shown (BBC)
  • Anglican Church faces financial shake-up | The head of the Anglican Church in Tasmania says no parish will be forced to sell its churches (Australian Broadcasting Corp.)
  • Church faces trying times | Opposition to the leadership of the Methodist Church is nothing new even though it is either always downplayed if not denied (Fiji Times)

Church buildings:

  • A prayer for a church unsaved | St. Brigid's is falling apart (The New York Times)
  • After saints preserve us, she returns the favor | George Ferrandi combined the knowledge from her graduate degree in sculpture with her experience in her father's church restoration business to found her own company that fixes religious statuary, primarily Roman Catholic figures (The New York Times)

Church property:

  • Churches at odds over property | Electronics, chairs in dispute (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)
  • Growing number of churches being found in living rooms | The concept is both so new and so ancient that the participants aren't even sure what to call it. Service? Worship? Bible study? Supper? (Santa Maria Times, Ca.)


  • A passion for preaching | Despite crises, O'Malley hones his spiritual message (The Boston Globe)
  • O'Malley hears an appeal by St. Jeremiah parishioners | Archbishop is due to make a decision on the church closing appeal by Thursday (The Boston Globe)
  • Pope welcomes end of IRA armed campaign | "It's fine news that contrasts with the painful events that we witness daily in many parts of the world," the Pope told crowds after his weekly Angelus blessing at his lakeside summer residence outside Rome (Reuters)
  • Getting to know him | 100 days: How the Pope is showing hints of being his own man (Time)
  • Saint who dwelt in city of angels is celebrated | Special events this weekend mark the centennial of Mother Cabrini's arrival in L.A. (Los Angeles Times)
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  • A faith vacuum haunts Europe | A void left in 'Christendom' by pervasive lack of belief may be creating a soft target for the religious fanaticism of others (Niall Ferguson, Los Angeles Times)
  • In support of the St. Lawrence Nine | It strikes me as counterproductive to be excommunicating the very believers whose devotion binds them to Peter's rock with the stickiness of gorilla glue, even more so at a time when church attendance and membership are dwindling in the United States and Europe (Bonnie Erbe, Scripps Howard News Service)

Vatican & Israel:

  • Israel wants truce with Vatican | Not interested in carrying on a public mudslinging match with the pope, the Foreign Ministry did not respond to a sharp Vatican rebuttal Thursday to Israel's protest that Pope Benedict XVI did not include attacks in Israel recently when condemning world terrorism (The Jerusalem Post)
  • The big picture behind the Vatican spat | What did Israel hope to gain by forcing this issue? (Herb Keinon, The Jerusalem Post)
  • The Vatican's flawed conscience | It is unfortunate that the Vatican, legitimately seen by millions as a moral arbiter and source of spiritual guidance, would imply that terrorism against Israelis is less condemnable than terrorism against other nations (Editorial, The Jerusalem Post)
  • Head of interfaith group denounces remarks | The head of Pave the Way Foundation, an interfaith group active in improving Catholic-Jewish relations, said Sunday he wrote to Pope Benedict XVI to distance himself from Israeli remarks that fueled a dispute with the Vatican over papal pronouncements on terrorism (Associated Press)


  • Santorum blasts Mass. senators over church scandal | Kennedy, Kerry 'did nothing,' he contends (The Boston Globe)
  • The clergy's uneven atonement | Despite pledge of healing, outreach to abuse victims differs by diocese (The Washington Post)
  • Don't release abuse files, diocese says | The Roman Catholic Diocese of Joliet is once again asking a court to bar the release of documents that could shed light on how church officials responded to allegations of clergy sexual abuse. (Wheaton Sun, Ill.)
  • Priest dismissed by Vatican | Given probation in '84 abuse case (The Boston Globe)
  • Center of the storm | Reno's former bishop is not accused in any sexual abuse case, but he has been named as a key witness in more than 150 lawsuits. What did he know about the activities of the priests around him? (Reno Gazette-Journal, Nev.)
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  • Some accused priests held high posts in diocese | Reno Bishop Phillip Straling lived and worked most of his life among many of the Southern California Catholic priests who are accused in lawsuits as child molesters or are convicted pedophiles (Reno Gazette-Journal, Nev.)
  • Ex-aide's search warrant could lead to more charges | Prosecutors in Southern California have charged Reno Bishop Phillip Straling's former aide with 58 counts of child molestation concerning abuse that occurred while Jesus Dominguez was a priest in the San Bernardino, Calif., diocese (Reno Gazette-Journal, Nev.)
  • Boston priest defrocked by Vatican | The Vatican has defrocked the priest who was the first in Massachusetts convicted of sexual abuse more than two decades ago, the Boston Archdiocese said Friday (Associated Press)
  • Authorities abetted diocese in hiding sexual-abuse cases | Police, courts let accused priests avoid punishment (The Toledo Bladel, Oh.)
  • Abuse lawyer seeks lien on church property | 10 cases brought against Vt. Diocese (Associated Press)

Crime & fraud:

  • Suspects quizzed over bishop killing | Suspects in the Bishop Luigi Locati murder investigations were yesterday taken before a magistrate as police started the process of establishing who should be charged (The Nation, Nairobi)
  • Man killed at church was former employee | Fulton County police said Monday that the man shot and killed by police at the World Changers Church International over the weekend was a former security guard there (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • SEC investigates Indiana brokerage | A minister-turned-financier who helped finance construction of hundreds of churches across the country allegedly bilked investors by diverting money to an account where he made loans to himself and others (Associated Press)
  • Topanga healer facing legal ills | The self-described Ayurvedic spiritualist is charged with practicing medicine illegally. His trial is to begin this month (Los Angeles Times)

Religious freedom:

  • Judge could resolve debate over firefighters' facial hair | The issue has been mostly dormant since 2001, when the department first tried to restrict beards and hair length of firefighters (The Washington Post)
  • Islam likely main basis for Iraqi law | The framers of Iraq's constitution appear likely to enshrine Islam as the main basis of law in the country — a stronger role than the United States had hoped for and one some Iraqis fear will mean a more fundamentalist regime (Associated Press)
  • Anti-Catholic or just art? | Thursday, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled that Washburn University had done no wrong (Inside Higher Ed)
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  • Witch's Salvo lawsuit fails | A jailed sex offender and self-proclaimed witch - who claims that a Christian-based prisons program incited hatred against occultists - has lost another bid to sue the Salvation Army for vilification (AAP, Australia)

Christianity in China:

  • Christianity is China's new social revolution | There may now be more practicing Christians in China than there are members of the Communist Party (The Telegraph, London)
  • Converts inspired by democracy protests and western values | Among China's Christian converts are some of the most prominent figures from the 1989 Tian-an-men Square democracy protests - now mostly in exile (The Telegraph, London)
  • Christian v communist | The growth of the Christian churches in China is a story of great courage and belief in the special status of man as a moral creature, for whom good and evil are eternal truths that cannot be redefined by politicians (Editorial, The Telegraph, London)

Missions & ministry:

  • Women fill many roles at Promise Keepers conference | Most intercessors, people who pray for hours at a stretch during the Promise Keepers conference, are women—a fact that might come as a surprise to those familiar with the ministry to men (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mo.)
  • Shepherding the flock | Conservative pastors say liberal Lawrence is a perfect place to preach the gospel (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)
  • Faith drives summer campers to help others | Church-sponsored program has teenagers performing home repairs for those in need (The Boston Globe)
  • Across Haiti on a wing and prayer | An Illinois native helps spread the gospel as an evangelical pilot. He sees the plane as 'a piece of technology that we can use for God.' (Chicago Tribune)

Good Christians:

  • Scholar gauges Christianity quotient | Are you a good Christian? And more to the point, what makes you think so? (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)
  • Are you good? Ask | A new survey by a team of Boston University researchers aims to define what makes a good Christian (Boston Herald)


  • Simply sacred | Finding meaning, if not spirituality, in the churches of Maui County (Los Angeles Times)
  • Land rites | In our secular, sceptical society, sacred spaces remind people of their true spiritual orientation (Karen Armstrong, The Guardian)
  • Pilgrims flock to image of Jesus on tree | Christians are flocking to a northwestern Bosnian town to view an image of Jesus Christ that allegedly appeared in a section of a cut tree branch two days ago, Bosnian media reported Friday. (Reuters)
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  • Heaven knows how we'll rekindle our religion, but I believe we must | Why have the British lost their historic faith? I have no idea what the answer is. But I do know that it matters (Niall Ferguson, The Telegraph, London)
  • Finding my religion | Marilyn Schlitz leads a major study on the controversial topic of remote prayer (San Francisco Chronicle)

Latter-Day Saints:

  • Mormonism is global, but is it a 'world religion'? | Twenty years ago, University of Washington sociologist Rodney Stark observed the phenomenal growth of Mormonism and declare that it would "soon achieve a worldwide following comparable to that of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and the other dominant world faiths." (The Salt Lake Tribune)
  • The cinema of Latter-Day Saints | Will the new wave of Mormon comedy attract the non-Mormon masses? (The New York Times)


  • Philanthropy outside the box | At 92, Sir John Marks Templeton may seem an unlikely dispenser of the maxim that life is short (The New York Times)
  • A self-made cowboy ropes in crowds in Md. | Antietam recreation replicates the west to showcase a wrangler and religion (The Washington Post)
  • Fallen lawmakers' go-to guy | When San Diego politicians seek redemption, they call on Msgr. Joseph Carroll (Los Angeles Times)
  • A born-again bank robber | Mexico's 'Public Enemy No. 1' in the 1980s found religion and a new life in the Southland until his past caught up with him. Fellow church members are shocked by the revelations (Los Angeles Times)
  • A test of faith | Bruce Nelson contracted dengue fever during a mission trip to India two years ago. Since then, he lost his job as an assistant pastor at Calvary Chapel Rialto (San Bernardino Sun, Ca.)

Money & business:

  • In praise of the faith market | Companies are trying to sell religion and merchandise as a package (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Targeting gay rights | People will go out of their way not to buy a product that supports causes they don't believe in (Randy Sharp, The Boston Globe)
  • Boycott mania | As business ethics fall, consumer activism rises (The Boston Globe)
  • Faiths back govt ban on tobacco and beer adverts | The Government's plan to ban cigarette and alcohol advertisements has won the backing of Muslim, Hindu and Christian faiths (The East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)
  • God vs. Satan | Who's the better investor? (Slate)
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  • The state of the church-state debate | Has Noah Feldman come up with a feasible compromise? (Alan Wolfe, Slate)
  • In Harry's world, there's little of the Bible—but plenty on good and evil | Potter's world has never been less religious than in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (The Dallas Morning News)
  • It's only make believe | I'd prefer the president listen to witches than to fundamentalists who oppose the Harry Potter books (Glen McAdoo, Lahontan Valley News, Nev.)
  • Augustine for the new age | G. W. Bowersock reviews James J. O'Donnell's Augustine: A New Biography (The New York Times Book Review)
  • Da Vinci Code put on Trinity syllabus | Trinity College Dublin will devote a course to the book (The Times, London)


  • Wanted: anti-Christ, five. Must have angelic looks, demonic presence and sinister smile | Twentieth Century Fox is looking for a boy to step into the shoes of the world's scariest child for a remake of The Omen (The Telegraph, London)
  • Expressing spirituality through the silver screen | A German Catholic priest distributes foreign films in Korea that he believes promote religious value (JoongAng Daily, Seoul)

Music & television:

  • Russian Orthodox TV launched | "Spas" (Saviour) is funded by private investors and there is no direct sign of any state support for it (BBC)
  • Rock on for God | Music in the Rockies' 31st annual Christian music event sounds off in Estes Park (Boulder Daily Camera, Co.)

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What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

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July 22b | 22a | 21 | 20 | 19 | 18
July 15 | 14 | 13 | 12
July 8 | 7
July 1 | June 30 | 27

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.
Previous Weblog Columns: