Why aren't some churches meeting on Christmas Sunday? Why have church at all?
Whatever the uproar over closing of churches on Christmas Sunday means, pastors and pundits are sure that it means something big. For people on both sides of the argument, the debate shows what's wrong with contemporary Christianity.

The debate has become an excuse for some to compile every criticism of what they think the megachurch movement is about. (Among the problems with such a critique is that many megachurches are having Sunday services, and many small churches are closing on Christmas, too). Closing church is seen as capitulation to a consumeristic, market-driven culture, a metaphor for placing cultural style above the substance of the gospel.

For some defenders, the criticism of the closings is representative of the judgmentalism and rigid dogma that has led so many away from "institutional" churches, and is the reason that "seeker-sensitive" churches exist. Those who insist that you go to church Sunday morning instead of Saturday night, they say, are akin to first-century Judaizers and are the ones missing the freedom of the gospel.

As Weblog wrote last week, this debate really is iconic. Both sides seem to agree that the story itself is a tempest in a teapot: more symbol and indication than a major development in itself. But what it symbolizes gets to the heart of many of the current intra-evangelical debates:

What is church? Is "real" Christianity about private devotional life or about ordered corporate life? Why do we meet as churches? What is the relationship between the church and church members, church attendees, and interested non-Christians? Is a church service where the majority of attendees are non-members or non-believers still called a church service? Can worship be evangelistic? Is evangelism the church's (and the Christian's) highest calling? What is the role of the family at church? Have American Christians made an idol out of family? How "pro-family" is Christianity? What happens when we use pro-family as a synonym for Christian? Why are pro-family groups making explicitly religious Christmas greetings a priority when the issue seems to have little to do with family relations? Is the church becoming too politicized? Too polarized? If one group says that another group is not really a church because of its policies, are the two groups still part of the same universal church? What makes a group a church? What might make a group that looks like a church not a church?

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Whether to skip Sunday Christmas services is not a core issue. But the issues raised by doing so are foundational.

Unfortunately, rather than use the news as a springboard to discuss important issues, the conversation has devolved into name-calling and anathematizing. It's getting particularly bad in Lexington, Kentucky, where Southland Christian pastor Jon Weece is defending the decision by claiming that Christmas is largely a pagan holiday anyway, that critics are being manipulated by Satan, and by comparing himself to Jesus battling the Pharisees over the breaking of tradition.

To make matters worse, the Lexington Herald-Leader has decided to go beyond Frank Lockwood's fair and detailed reporting of the controversy  to editorializing against the church. "The judgmental have now discovered how it feels to be judged," the paper said yesterday, and suggested that Weece really cancelled services because "this is a time when people travel to be together, lightening the collection plates."

Weblog does not yet have a comments section (we do have a message board), but there are other blogs where the conversation on this topic hasn't completely devolved into pointlessness. Check out Out of Ur (from Christianity Today sister publication Leadership Journal), theologian Ben Witherington's blog, Scot McKnight's Jesus Creed, and Challies.com

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Canceling church on Christmas | Christmas wars | Christmas wars blame game | Christmas consumerism | Can't we all get along? | Annoyed by Christmas wars | Christmas cynicism | Bush Christmas | Christmas in school | Christmas & state | Inclusive holidays | The reason for the season | Operation Christmas Child
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Canceling church on Christmas (news):

  1. Defense of canceling church on Christmas | Southland minister answers critics (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  2. Story of the season: canceled Christmas | Not holding services widely criticized as the news spreads (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

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  1. Family first, religion down the field | A survey of 1500 people by Sensis found 95 percent planned to celebrate Christmas Day with family. Three in four of those surveyed will eat a meal at home, and the same number will decorate the house. But only one in three will attend a religious service (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  2. Meeting of the megachurches | Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington may be closed on Dec. 25, but the megachurch's pastor has decided to preach on Christmas morning anyway. He'll share preaching duties with the Rev. James Meeks in the pulpit of his Salem Baptist Church, the area's largest predominantly black congregation (Chicago Sun-Times)

  3. Christmas service DVD brings sermon to sofas | "I don't see it as canceling Christmas service," Pastor Jim Pelletier said. "I see it as putting it on a DVD and handing it to people." The DVD has a six-minute sermon, animated videos of carols like "Silent Night" and 30 minutes of a burning fireplace. (The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fla.)

  4. Churches keep their Christmas services | Local congregations not following trend (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  5. 2 churches not holding services on Christmas | While some churches are embracing the rare occurrence that Christmas Day falls on Sunday this year, at least two Central Indiana churches have joined other megachurches across the United States in deciding not to hold Christmas Day services (The Indianapolis Star)

  6. Church trend puts holiday focus on Christmas Eve | Many are adjusting schedules to reduce services on Dec. 25 (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  7. No Sunday holiday service? | Some churches close for Christmas (The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

  8. Some churches will take off Christmas Sunday | New trend urges stay-at-home family celebrations. (The Orange County Register, Ca.)

  9. Christmas surprise: services cut | This year some churches in the Inland area and elsewhere will cancel Sunday services, expecting significantly lower attendance or wanting to give volunteers more time with their families (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

  10. No church on Christmas? | Many services may be canceled (The Cincinnati Post)

Canceling church on Christmas (opinion):

  1. Christmas lessons | Church closing debate takes strange turns (Editorial, Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  2. Churches' split on Dec. 25 services raises big questions | It's not for us to say whether churches should skip holding services on an upcoming Sunday. But the controversy should spur debate on what Christmas Day means to people, on how different people worship their god and on the role of churches in this matter (Editorial, The Daily Local, West Chester, Pa.)

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  1. Faithful should worship on Christmas | I think the leaders who closed their churches for Christmas are dead wrong. But I do understand their dilemma (Alan Price, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  2. Churches closing this Christmas | But if Jesus' birth is the good news Christians say it is, why not take every opportunity to proclaim it? (Jim Ketchum, The Times Herald, Port Huron, Mi.)

  3. No church on Dec. 25 because it's Christmas? | It's distressing that so-called "mega" churches are canceling services on Christmas Day just because it's on Sunday this year (Rose Russell, The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

Christmas wars:

  1. Calling Christmas by its name | People are saying 'Happy Holidays' instead of Merry Christmas (Good Morning America, ABC)

  2. Bishop: Call it a Christmas tree | "Historically, that's what it is. I don't think we want to call a menorah a candlestick," Madison Bishop Robert Morlino told reporters Monday at a news conference (The Capital Times, Madison, Wi.)

  3. Banner stirs Christmas controversy | One Tampa church says in a banner that it's tired of the secularization of Christmas, but others find the sign offensive (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  4. The war over Christmas, who's fighting and why? | This year the Christmas crusaders appear to be winning: holiday is out, Christmas is in (Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center)

Christmas wars: Right's fault:

  1. Christian soldiers battle the 'War on Christmas' | This debate flares each December, but in recent months the outcry has gotten louder than ever (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  2. Lines drawn in battle over Christmas | An increasingly vocal number of Christians are attacking what they say is a "war on Christmas" by those determined to enforce a rigorously neutral holiday season reflecting America's constitutional separation of church and state (BBC)

  3. Who took the "X" out of X-mas? | Fear not, religious conservatives. The Winter Holiday might be commercially tied to a roly-poly man who lives with elves, but you might get an anti-abortion majority on the Supreme Court and God could cement her place in the Pledge of Allegiance (Editorial, The Seattle Times)

  4. Trumped-up Christmas kerfuffle | The early Christians confronted lions in the Coliseum. But these post-moderns find martyrdom in hearing someone tell them "Season's Greetings" (Froma Harrop, The Providence Journal, R.I.)

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  1. A holy war vs. Dec. 25? | To those people who want to put Christ back in Christmas—go for it. No one is stopping you. But don't turn Christ's birth into a war over who's holier than thou. (Inez Russell, The New Mexican, Santa Fe)

  2. There's a war on Christmas? Don't buy it | To claim that this small cadre of militant secularists is winning a war on Christmas is absurd. It looks silly when people fresh from crowing about how they elected a president and a Congress, then beat back a Supreme Court nominee, stand before the cameras that televise their Sunday services from plush temples seating thousands and claim that their right to worship is being squelched (Chris Satullo, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  3. Saying 'happy holidays' not an assault on a merry Christmas | Saying "Happy Holidays" is not an insult. It has not taken Christ out of Christmas. Just can't do that (David Hampton, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.)

  4. 'Tis the time to celebrate, not bicker | Be glad we have the religious freedom to argue over seasonal greetings (Jeff Bruce, Dayton Daily News, Oh.)

  5. A backlash to 'Happy Holidays' | What appears to be emerging in the Toronto area, and indeed across Canada, is a backlash to inclusiveness (Bob Hepburn, Toronto Star)

  6. Fox News foments a controversy | Sometimes living in Diaspora, or in fact as a minority anywhere, can feel mighty uncomfortable. (M.J. Rosenberg, The Jerusalem Post)

  7. Greetings under siege | An extraordinary movement has risen up to save Christmas, even though the right of Christians to worship as we choose is about as endangered in this country as those of Muslims in Mecca (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune)

Christmas wars: Left's fault:

  1. The battle over Christmas | The American Civil Liberties Union, with whom we often find common cause, needs to mellow out on this one and enjoy what can be—if we keep it in perspective—a particularly satisfying time of the year, regardless of your religious faith (Editorial, The ToledoBlade, Oh.)

  2. fight, all ye faithful | Because of ridiculous political correctness, today's Christians have a hard time holding on to Christmas (John Tierney, The New York Times)

  3. Americans demanding end to generic holiday | Sensitivity has taken the fun from Christmas, many say (The Arizona Republic)

  4. Holiday wishes? Happy holidays? | Humbug! Merry Christmas (John Sonderegger, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  5. Putting 'Christ' back into 'holiday' season | This obsession to secularize a day - a federal holiday, by the way - that Americans have always set aside to honor the birth of Jesus Christ seems to have reached a frenzied pitch (Gregory J. Rummo, NorthJersey.com)

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Christmas spirit of consumerism:

  1. Christmas jeers | Target, Lowe's and Wal-Mart get caught in the culture wars (Fortune)

  2. Merry Christmas or else | Push to get retailers to drop 'holiday' language grows stronger, louder (The Dallas Morning News)

  3. Pope says materialism pollutes Christmas spirit | "In today's consumer society, this time of the year unfortunately suffers from a sort of commercial 'pollution' that threatens to alter its real spirit," the Pope told a large crowd gathered in St. Peter's Square to hear his weekly Angelus blessing (Reuters)

  4. 'Happy holidays' doesn't make some shoppers very merry | Retailers' neutral holiday displays anger some Christians, but others say the lack of "Merry Christmas" doesn't bother them (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  5. Holiday spirit: From the heart, not the mall | Silly me! And here I've been thinking that Target, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Kmart and America's malls are places where people go this time of year to shop. But thanks to the Rev. Jerry Falwell and others in his wing of Christendom, I now know that those stores are there during the holiday season to serve as places of worship (Colbert I. King, The Washington Post)

  6. Diverse greetings | Signs and displays alluding specifically to Christianity don't bother me at all, and I can see why Christians—and adherents of other faiths—would prefer to spend money where their beliefs are taken seriously. On the other hand, I've known believers who do not want the life of their savior linked to anything as crass as a marketing campaign (Jabari Asim, The Washington Post)

  7. Putting Rambo back in Christmas | Christians buy things. Lots of things. Especially during the Christmas season when we celebrate the birth of the man who said, "Give up your possessions and follow me" (David Waters, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.)

  8. Let church put `Christ' in Christmas | I don't want corporate America to determine a Christian message (Steve Scauzillo, Pasadena Star-News, Ca.)

  9. A war on Christmas? Hmmm. | Our way of life is under attack and on some of our most sacred ground: department stores (Mark McCormick, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

  10. Not-so-merry militants fighting for the wrong side | Now we're supposed to denounce companies for not exploiting Christmas? (E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic)

Can't we all get along?

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  1. Whose holy day? | The public needs a thicker holiday season skin, as well as the courage to call holidays by their proper names, the courtesy to respect holiday atheists, and the wisdom to sidestep the hype of holiday hollering (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  2. What 'war on Christmas'? | There is an ugly, bullying aspect to this dispute, in which the pro-Christmas forces are not only asking, reasonably, that their religion be treated with equal status and respect but in which they are attacking legitimate efforts at inclusivity. (Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post)

  3. Let's not make the Christmas season a 'holiday' battleground | God bless anyone who has a special time during this season that they want to celebrate. We should thank them for thinking enough about us to offer salutations (Cary Clack, San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

Annoyed by Christmas wars:

  1. Merry whatever | Unlike the ones I used to know (Kate Carlisle, The Washington Post)

  2. Offended? Use reason this season | The nonsense from both sides of this cultural abyss has gotten entirely out of hand (Jacquielynn Floyd, The Dallas Morning News)

  3. 'Holiday tree' doesn't put Christmas in peril | I am one of many people I know who have become less "Christian" through the years. I think most of us caught in this trend feel driven that way by the unrelenting, judgmental attitude expressed by more and more conservative "Christians" who seem hell-bent on imposing their beliefs on everybody else (Tim Botkin, Kitsap Sun, Wa.)

  4. Christmas war belittles reason for the season | Forgive me if I don't take up arms in the so-called War on Christmas (Leonard Pitts Jr., The Miami Herald)

  5. No need to tiptoe around Christmas | If we got to stay home purely for faith reasons, some politically correct workaholic would've sued to get us back in the office by now (Mike Moore, The Journal Times, Racine, Wi.)

  6. Merry Christmas — and don't blame me if you're miserable | I said "Merry Christmas" because I wanted to, but I would heartily resent it, if someone like Falwell or O'Reilly wanted to force me to say it. (Jim Baron, The Call, Woonsocket, R.I.)

Christmas cynicism:

  1. Thou shall mention Christmas or be subjected to denunciations | Some of these manipulators make quite a nice living on the anger circuit (The Brownsville Herald, Tex.)

  2. 'Tis the season for all to take offense | Who'd have ever thought that "Merry Christmas" could turn into a political statement? (Ed Quillen, The Denver Post)

Bush Christmas:

  1. Bush meets St. Peter | As for the "war on Christmas," heaven has other priorities (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

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  1. Bush not losing his religion | Now is the time to stand in defense of President Bush. The issue? Christmas cards. (Carlos Sanchez, Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

  2. Presidential tidings of great joy | I don't think that a cheery "Merry Christmas" in 1.4 million mass-produced cards goes nearly far enough (Henry Brinton, The Washington Post)

  3. So much for peace on earth | Bush's ex-friends see a 'war' on Christmas (Katy Burns, The Concord Monitor, N.H.)

Christmas in school:

  1. Letter hits home for the holidays | Schools largely ignore letter reminding that Christmas doesn't need to disappear during the holidays (The Beacon News, Aurora, Ill.)

  2. Schools lean to 'holiday trees' as spirit of inclusiveness grows | Decorations, celebrations gradually shift from use of 'Christmas' (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  3. School's 'giving tree' turns into 'giving counter' | A parent complained that the tree was a Christian symbol. The principal agreed to remove the tree, but continue the giving effort (KOMO, Seattle)

  4. School policy on Christmas stirs concerns | Principal apologizes for e-mail about avoiding holiday themes (Springfield News-Leader, Mo.)

  5. Say sorry for Xmas | Dad's whinge wins apology from principal (Sunday Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)

  6. There is no room for Christmas at multi-faith school | Parents are demanding the return of Christmas at a school where the nativity play has been cancelled in favour of a "seasonal celebration" of four faiths (The Telegraph, London)

Christmas & state:

  1. Nativity displays tangled in legalities | Dozens of residents and interested onlookers have been pleading for weeks with Wellington leaders to add the Nativity scene to its holiday display — which now features the menorah, a traditional symbol of Judaism, and Christmas tree, which is considered a secular symbol of the holidays (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  2. Mial's doctrine of separating church and state | Does it really hurt us if someone tells us, "Merry Christmas?" Or "Happy Holidays?" (Richard Mial, LaCrosse Tribune, Wis.)

  3. City strikes balance at holidays | Here we are in the middle of a liberal city located in a liberal state attending a public concert in a public building and Christian music is featured without controversy (Bill Wineke, Wisconsin State Journal)

  4. Call for show of faith fails to inspire public | After years of avoiding religious holiday decorations, this time the Village of Wheeling invited them, but … (Chicago Tribune)

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  1. Humbug in Harrow | These days, no Christmas is complete without a multiculturalist Scrooge, in the shape of a public sector institution with advanced views about "celebrating diversity" (Editorial, The Telegraph, London)

  2. Grinch causes scene | Another holy war erupted on Long Island yesterday after a Huntington lawyer filed suit arguing that a Nativity scene and menorah in the center of town violated the constitutional separation of church and state (New York Post)

Inclusive holidays:

  1. Christmas belongs to all of us | All those folks getting bent out of shape miss the point: The holiday belongs to all. Jesus may have been the original reason for the season. But we're 2,000 years down the road and customs have evolved to fit a diverse society (Editorial, Tallahassee Democrat, Fla.)

  2. This year, the meaning of Dec. 25 is twofold | 1st night of Hanukkah falls on Christmas Day (The Washington Post)

  3. Not so happy holidays | My grandchildren came home from kindergarten with a question: Why couldn't we celebrate Hanukah and Christmas like their friend Isabel? (Bob Schieffer, CBS News)

  4. Happy? Merry? Neither? | Is the push for inclusion causing the exclusion of Christmas? At work or in the stores, you'll hear about the hot topic this season (The Kansas City Star)

  5. Have a merry whatever | 'Christmas?' 'Season?' 'Holiday?' Enjoy it in peace (Richard Larsen, Ventura County Star, Ca.)

The reason for the season:

  1. Father & child | Scripture downplays even his Christmas role, but Joseph's relationship with Jesus has inspired generations to explore his hidden virtues (Time)

  2. Focus on Christ, not Christians | Christianity doesn't require perfection (Issac J. Bailey, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

  3. It's not all about the tree | Christmas does not center around a Frasier Fir, a blue cedar or any other evergreen (Kristen Campbell, Mobile Register, Ala.)

  4. Don't dilute the meaning of Christmas | You might refuse to receive the expression; you might not want to act upon the truth it conveys. You might refuse to accept and celebrate Christmas for what it truly means. But please, don't neutralize it! (Jim A. Farrell, Philadelphia Daily News)

  5. At Christmas, search for new virtue within | Beyond remembering the literal story of his nativity, there's an important theological concept associated with the Christmas season -- it's the idea of incarnation (R. Scott Colglazier, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  6. The stupid season? | Before we condemn what's going on in the public squares, perhaps we should examine how we celebrate Christmas in our homes and our hearts. (Alicia Colon, New York Sun)

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Operation Christmas Child:

  1. Christian charity warning | Tasmania's public schools have been told not to raise Christmas funds for a Christian organization run by the son of the world's most famous evangelist Billy Graham (The Mercury, Tasmania, Australia)

  2. Let children learn the art of giving | There is no need for anyone to be concerned about Samaritan's Purse (Editorial, The Cumberland News, U.K.)

  3. Shoeboxes overseas, public schools at home | Evangelist Franklin Graham uses rally to reveal witness initiative (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

Missions & ministry:

  1. Single parents can gas up for free | A cross denominational group of area pastors and dignitaries will be at Jackson's Chevron on Fairview in Meridian from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. pumping free gas as part of a modern day parable (The Idaho Statesman, Boise)

  2. Also: Ministry giving away free gas to single parents (Associated Press)

  3. From pulpits, a call to halt gun violence | City pastors seek a grass-roots push (The Boston Globe)

  4. A church reaches out to the very young | In Boston, the Episcopal Church of the Advent has developed a worship class for children under 3 (The New York Times)

  5. Evangelicals seeing the light when it comes to AIDS outreach | Due credit must be given to Evangelical churches who are turning their missionary efforts in fighting AIDS, homeward (Charita Goshay, Canton Repository, Oh.)

Church life:

  1. Judge sides with 2 Episcopal parishes in property dispute | Churches in Long Beach and North Hollywood had split from the diocese over gay issues (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Also: Judge backs Calif. Episcopal parishes | A judge ruled that two conservative parishes that broke away from the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles to protest the ordination of a gay bishop are the rightful owners of their church buildings and other property (Associated Press)

  3. Church 'misused welfare' | Hillsong Church is generating money by recycling public funds aimed at disadvantaged people back into its own coffers through tithes, a NSW MP has alleged (The Australian)

  4. Officer wins $5M case; city weighs appeal | Case began as a run-of-the-mill noise complaint at a Fair Haven church and turned into a political conflagration (New Haven Register, Ct.)

  5. Church parking irks neighbors | The streets around several Northwest churches turn into virtual parking lots on Sunday mornings, and rows of illegally parked cars that create a weekly gridlock has many residents of the gentrifying neighborhood fuming (The Washington Times)

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  1. Minister awaits sex bias verdict … against God | Helen Percy, 39, was suspended from her job as an associate Church of Scotland minister in the Angus glens when, as a single woman, she was accused of having sex with a married elder (The Observer, London)

  2. Physical changes to build spiritual future | Hollywood Methodist is one of many churches remodeling to better use worship space and accommodate more contemporary music (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Opening church's doors first step to conversion | Churches understand that sports can be a powerful evangelical tool and are offering weekend warriors opportunities as a gateway to a deeper exploration of faith (Colorado Springs Gazette)


  1. Diocese to try priest for heresy | The Diocese of San Bernardino today will hold what experts say could be one of the few Roman Catholic heresy trials in U.S. history (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

  2. Archdiocese seeks to curtail eulogies | A new document has been making its way through parishes of the Archdiocese of Chicago for the last few months in an attempt to set the record straight about what should and should not happen during a Roman Catholic funeral (Chicago Sun-Times)

  3. Diocesan campaign falls short | Springfield misses goal for fifth year (Associated Press)

  4. Jews and Catholics bid for pope's family home | The two rooms and a kitchen in southern Poland where Karol Wojtyla was born in 1920 is now a shrine to the memory of the late Pope John Paul II, visited by up to 5,000 pilgrims every day (The Guardian, London)

  5. Menino fires back at critics over issues of faith, politics | At Catholic Charities event, he delivers personal address (The Boston Globe)

  6. Also: Zealots mask real struggles | The demonstrators outside a Catholic Charities fund-raiser honoring Mayor Thomas M. Menino the other night are not leaders of some right-wing ascendancy among the laity in the Boston Archdiocese. They are a tiny band of antiabortion zealots, being exploited by the hierarchy in hopes of promoting a backlash against reformers outraged by the criminal conduct of predatory priests and the bishops who protected them (Eileen McNamara, The Boston Globe)

  7. Church group refuses to give up fight | Members vow to press appeal (The Boston Globe)

  8. Clergy's call still strong for young Vietnamese | Fewer American Catholics are expressing interest in the priesthood, but Vietnamese-Americans are an exception (The New York Times)

  9. Mexicans honor Virgin of Guadalupe | Wearing long feather headdresses, Aztec-style dancers spun in circles to beating drums Monday as millions of worshippers converged on Mexico's Basilica of the Virgin of Guadalupe to honor Latin America's patron saint (Associated Press)

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  1. Also: Multitude of personal touches will build an expanded shrine | Cathedral will create a mosaic from broken bits of donated china in an enlarged niche for Our Lady of Guadalupe (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Holy orders put their faith in cohabitation | Cohabiting monks and nuns—who have joined forces to pray, work and live together under the same roof - have hailed their mixed convent trial as a success (The Observer, London)

  3. Also: The monks and nuns who found a new calling—to move in together | A mixed convent and monastery could offer a solution to the declining number of faithful joining religious orders in the Roman Catholic Church (The Times, London)


  1. Police fear for children abused by religious sects | Dozens of children are being abused by religious groups who believe they are possessed, The Times has learnt (The Times, London)

  2. Catholic Church acts to limit abuse settlements | In several cites in the United States, the Catholic church is using legal mechanisms to protect itself against sex abuse settlements it says would devastate its mission (Talk of the Nation, NPR)

  3. Pa. priest gets probation in abuse case | A judge broke down in tears Friday as she gave probation to a priest who sexually molested a student in the late 1970s (Associated Press)

  4. New Jersey Assembly to vote today on sex assault liability | Legislation that would allow childhood victims of sexual assault to sue churches, schools and other non-profits for the actions of their employees is scheduled for a vote today in the state Assembly (Associated Press)

Vatican Instruction on seminaries:

  1. Vatican's gay policy gets liberal reading | Ask the archbishop of Dublin to describe the theological weight of the Vatican's latest statement on whether gay men have a place in the priesthood. He'll say it didn't amount to much (Associated Press)

  2. Advocates protest ban on gay priests | Rallies denounce Vatican policy (The Boston Globe)

  3. Catholic leaders divided on banning gay priest | Response to a recent Vatican document barring men with ''deep-rooted homosexual tendencies'' from studying for the priesthood underscores how divided Catholic leaders in the United States remain on the subject of gay priests (The Miami Herald)

  4. Gays not banned by new rules | Neither homosexuality nor heterosexuality in themselves are predictors of sexual violence. The new document does not make such a connection at all, but some readers, in confusion, have (Tom Ryan, The Miami Herald)

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  1. How can Vatican think inner conflict makes a priest safer? | For the general Catholic population, appropriate reactions would seem to include concern about whether the instruction will or will not be enforced, anger at leadership that is so distant from the experience of its people, and wonderment about who will be affected when the Vatican drops the next shoe (Robert McClory, Chicago Tribune)

Brazilians convicted of killing U.S. nun:

  1. Brazilians convicted of killing U.S. nun | Rayfran das Neves Sales and Clodoaldo Carlos Batista were found guilty of killing Dorothy Stang on Feb. 12 in the heart of the Amazon rain forest (Associated Press)

  2. Friends of slain US nun vow to press Brazil fight | Stang's supporters said they were now ready to go after ranchers accused of offering the two men 50,000 reais to kill the activist, who blocked their advance on valuable, hard-wood rich rain forest (Reuters)


  1. Woman who beat Jehovah's Witness gets jail | A woman who used a butcher knife to beat a Jehovah's Witness who knocked on her door on Christmas Day was sentenced to three months in jail (Associated Press)

  2. Ex-cop sentenced in cardinal's death | A court has sentenced a former police commander to 40 years in prison in the 1993 shooting death of a Roman Catholic cardinal at the Guadalajara airport, officials said Friday (Associated Press)

  3. Let us prey … on Christians | Net fraud targets charity donors (Daily Record, Scotland)

  4. Teacher and pastor who submitted a false order faces firing | Pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx, who was also a chaplain in the Air National Guard, admitted to submitting false military orders (The New York Times)

  5. Also: Teacher busted for lying | Got time off for Brazil trip by saying Guard unit was aiding flood victims (New York Daily News)

  6. Priest attacked and robbed by men | Three men tied up and robbed a priest who had given them food and money just minutes earlier (BBC)

  7. Religious inmates less violent | A University of Alabama study finds that religious prison inmates are less likely to get into fights (UPI)

  8. Study: Religiosity, Religious Participation, and Negative Prison Behaviors (Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion)

Stanley "Tookie" Williams & the death penalty:

  1. Death penalty debate focuses on redemption | Whether Stanley "Tookie" Williams truly had found redemption—and many doubted his sincerity—prosecutors, victims' advocates and death penalty supporters said he still had to pay for the murders of four people in 1979 (The Baltimore Sun)

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  1. Death penalty: A moral debate | Rooted in many religions is the idea that sins must be atoned for. In California, juries occasionally require from murderers the ultimate payment: their lives (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Protecting life by taking it away | Does God frown on the death penalty even when it comes to the worst killers in our midst? (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

Australian riots:

  1. Christian leaders call for harmony | Christian leaders combined yesterday to call on politicians to look at the underlying causes of the cycle of race riots and reprisals afflicting southern Sydney (The Australian)

  2. Christmas is sacred, Pell warns race gangs | Catholic Archbishop George Pell has warned gangs of Middle Eastern descent not to target Christmas celebrations, after families were abused and gunshots fired into cars at a primary school's carols night in western Sydney on Monday (The Australian)

  3. A community with a proud record | Of the Lebanon-born now living in Victoria, 44 per cent identify as Muslim and about 39 per cent as Christian. But Professor Trevor Batrouney said Christians would outnumber Muslims when all people of Lebanese descent were considered (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  4. Leaders sickened by the violence | Sydney's religious, political and community leaders yesterday condemned Sunday's violence as a revolting disgrace (The Daily Telegraph, New South Wales, Australia)


  1. Blasphemy laws and church attacks fuel strife in Pakistani town, Christians say | Blasphemy laws are blamed for worsening sectarian relations in Pakistan, where Christians, Hindus and other minorities make up 3 percent of the overwhelmingly Muslim population (The New York Times)

  2. Jharkhand's Christian minister opposes anti-conversion bill | Enos Ekka, Jharkhand's lone Christian minister, has reacted sharply to the proposed Anti-Conversion Bill announced by Chief Minister Arjun Munda (IANS, India)

  3. Fearing Christmas in Sri Lanka | Sri Lanka's Christians have been the victims of little-noticed persecution (Roger Severino, The Wall Street Journal)

Human rights:

  1. Liberian warlord reinvents self as senator | Once a powerful faction leader, more recently an evangelical preacher-in-exile, Prince Johnson helped drive Liberia into a catastrophic civil war (Associated Press)

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  1. Pope says war no excuse for human rights abuses | In the first peace message of his pontificate, he also appealed for worldwide nuclear disarmament and said countries considering acquiring such weapons should "change their course" (Reuters)

  2. Rights group urges Darfur probe | Human Rights Watch has called for senior Sudanese officials—including the president—to be investigated for crimes against humanity in Darfur (BBC)

  3. Also: Darfur 'abuses' blamed on leaders | Senior members of Sudan's government, including the president, are responsible for "widespread and systematic abuses" in Darfur, according to a report released last night by Human Rights Watch (The Telegraph, London)

CPT hostages:

  1. Peace activist 'was betrayed by spy' | The kidnapped British peace activist who faced a deadline for his "execution" in Iraq last night may have been betrayed by a spy at a mosque that he visited just before his abduction (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Still no word on fate of Iraq hostages | Iraqi and British officials said Sunday they had no word on the fate of four Christian peace activists, more than a day after the expiration of a deadline set by kidnappers to kill them if all prisoners weren't released (Associated Press)

  3. Silence follows hostage deadline | The deadline set by kidnappers holding British peace activist Norman Kember and three colleagues has passed with no news of their fate emerging from Iraq (BBC)

  4. A mission of peace and peril | With four colleagues kidnapped, a Minnesota pacifist is poised to return to Iraq. She goes to bear witness to those struggling with violence (Los Angeles Times)

  5. Hostage situation in Iraq sparks interest in joining Christian peace group | The upswing in those looking to sign on with Christian Peacemaker Teams, including those wanting to go to Iraq despite the dangers, has been "noticeable," said Robin Buyers, a spokeswoman for the organization (Canadian Press)

  6. Vigil held for Briton kidnapped in Baghdad | Friends and colleagues of British hostage Norman Kember were holding a vigil for him last night, as diplomats in Iraq continued to hunt for clues of his whereabouts (The Scotsman)

  7. Va. Muslims and Quakers pray together for safety of hostages | As the deadline for hostage Tom Fox's execution approached in Iraq, Muslims and Quakers gathered at a Sterling mosque yesterday afternoon to pray together for his safe return and that of three other Western peace activists kidnapped in Baghdad two weeks ago (The Washington Post)

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  1. In their hour of need, prayer | As the deadline regarding the fate of four hostages in Iraq passes, friends reflect (Los Angeles Times)

War & terrorism:

  1. Pope decries stalled disarmament efforts | Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday decried "bogged down" nuclear disarmament efforts and religious fanaticism as thwarting peace, while his top justice official denounced torture as an unacceptable, unnecessary way to fight terrorism (Associated Press)

  2. Christians have no voice in new Iraq government | Local Chaldeans hope they can make difference with vote. (The MacombDaily, Mount Clemens, Mi.)

  3. U.S. activists fast outside Guantanamo | American activists camping out at a Cuban military checkpoint outside the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo Bay started their first day of a water-only fast Monday to protest the treatment of suspected terrorists detained at the base (Associated Press)

  4. Australia warns of Xmas attacks in Indonesia | Australia warned of possible terrorist attacks in Indonesia over the Christmas-New Year period, saying on Monday it had received reports militants were in the advanced stages of planning attacks against Western targets (Reuters)


  1. Missionaries lobby Israeli gov´t to stop demonstrations in Arad | Christian missionaries, primarily from the United States, have been pressuring the Israeli government to prevent demonstrations against their activity (Arutz Sheva, Israel)

  2. Chicago Presbyterians debate Mideast | They may target firms gaining from conflict (Chicago Tribune)

  3. The other Bethlehem story | In Jewish history, the town itself has significance (Moshe Dann, The Jerusalem Post)

  4. Jerusalem patriarch prays barrier removed | The top Roman Catholic official in the Holy Land planted an olive tree Sunday on the planned route of Israel's separation barrier in a West Bank village and prayed for the wall's removal, saying it serves no purpose (Associated Press)

  5. Christodoulos rapped for hellish Israel quote | A speech by the outspoken head of the Church of Greece, Archbishop Christodoulos, during which he used a little-known and old-fashioned phrase that links Israel with hell, drew criticism from the Israeli Embassy yesterday (Kathimerini, Athens)

Benny Hinn in Fiji:

  1. No disclosure on Benny Hinn | Whether American evangelist Benny Hinn will have his records checked will not be made public (Fiji Times)

  2. Church wants Hinn banned | A church group has started a campaign to keep American evangelist Benny Hinn out of Fiji (Fiji Times)

  3. Qarase backs man of God | If American evangelist Benny Hinn has a dubious background, then it is up to the Ministry of Home Affairs to decide on whether or not to investigate him, says Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase (Fiji Times)

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Church & state:

  1. Lawmakers call for review of IRS activities involving religious group | Three members of Congress have requested a federal investigation into news reports that the Internal Revenue Service conducts reviews of churches and other places of worship based on the content of sermons or other discourse delivered as part of religious services or gathering (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

  2. N.J. prison to allow inmate to receive Wiccan items | Move settles lawsuit brought by convicted murderer who was denied access to books, other religious materials (Associated Press)

  3. Group asks Idaho high court to allow commandments initiative | But city of Boise attorney tells justices that letting citizens vote on whether to return monument to city park would make all administrative decisions by local governments subject to voter reversal (Associated Press)

  4. Lawyer reaches fee deal in prayers case | A lawyer in a case that forced Great Falls to eliminate references to Jesus during prayers before government meetings says he reached a deal over his legal fees (Associated Press)

  5. Welcome wall, don't fear it | Religious leaders abuse trust with political views (Amber Brestle, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  6. Meeting the test of inclusive prayer | People fulminating that the recent ruling about prayer at the Statehouse was a violation of "free speech" should read Judge David Hamilton's decision (Sheila Suess Kennedy, The Indianapolis Star)

  7. Is United States a Christian nation? | If you're talking about culture and history, yes. Legally Christian, no (Ed Williams, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

Religion & politics:

  1. Congress seeks to reconcile divergent bills | Taxes, spending at issue as religious activists, labor unions and liberal groups to scuttle the legislation (The Washington Post)

  2. Gov. names moderate to high court | Carol A. Corrigan has long been active in the Roman Catholic Church and in Catholic charities. In response to questions, she said the church's views on such issues as abortion and homosexuality may not necessarily reflect her beliefs, nor would she ever permit her religion to influence her legal decisions (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Kansas leaning further to right | Conservatives, moderates both battling to claim 'traditional' mantle (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  4. The presidency & faith | While maintaining barriers between religion and politics, America's political leaders can exemplify commitments to peace, economic and political justice, the alleviation of suffering and the enhancement of human rights. (Jimmy Carter, USA Today)

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  1. Religious zealots, arranged right to left | Liberals who want you to be liberal are moral, but Christians who want you to be Christian are bigots (Dennis Prager, Los Angeles Times)

  2. Separation of sex and state | One of the most difficult tasks of a democracy is deciding which messages are suitable for universal consumption in the public square — especially when it comes to sex and religion (Carol Platt Liebau, Los Angeles Times)

  3. Politically speaking, Christian liberals left behind | The religious left is still noisy and has access to all media but has become increasingly ineffective in the public square (T.R. Fehrenbach, San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

  4. Lawyer proves powerful advocate for his Christian faith in court | Robert Tyler believes a culture war is being waged against Christians, and the religious attorney from Temecula is using the courts to fight it (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

  5. Can you believe it? | While there is significant suspicion of Muslims in American society, the secular urban liberals and progressive religious believers I know rarely question the premise of my faith. They do not roll their eyes when I make a reference to Allah in conversation. So, why do so many liberals see a theocrat whenever they hear the word "evangelical"? (Eboo Patel, Chicago Tribune)

Frist cautions senators against filibustering Alito vote:

  1. Frist cautions senators against stalling Alito vote | Democrats don't plan filibuster (The Washington Post)

  2. Frist says he's ready to block filibuster | Senate majority leader Bill Frist said Sunday he is prepared to strip Democrats of their ability to filibuster if they try to stall Samuel Alito's nomination to the Supreme Court (Associated Press)

  3. Byrd warns Frist against 'nuclear option' | "If the senator wants a fight, let him try it," said Byrd, the Senate's senior Democrat (Associated Press)


  1. Colombia's anti-abortion law challenged | A women's rights group challenged Colombia's strict anti-abortion law in a new lawsuit Monday, seeking to revive the issue days after the country's highest court decided not to rule on a previous lawsuit (Associated Press)

  2. Also: New lawsuit in Colombia over abortion | Days after Colombia's highest court rejected a case challenging the country's prohibition on abortion, an international women's rights group plans to file another suit (The New York Times)

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  1. Embryo adoption | This year, opponents of abortion stepped up their use of a carefully chosen phrase (The New York Times Magazine)

  2. Pass the buffer | Council's abortion protest bill strikes a fair balance (Editorial, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Study: 'Anguish of abortion is worse than miscarriage':

  1. 'Anguish of abortion is worse than miscarriage' | Women who have an abortion can suffer mental distress, anxiety, guilt and shame at least five years afterwards, researchers say today (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Post-abortion trauma seen as worse than miscarriages | The lingering distress, sadness and guilt brought on by an induced abortion is worse than that of a miscarriage and decreases much more slowly as time goes on, according to a five-year study of Norwegian women (The Washington Times)

  3. The shame of our abortion laws | In the short term, more post-abortion counselling is needed. In the long term, the need for it should be reduced by a change in the law (Editorial, The Telegraph, London)

Morning-after pill:

  1. Confusion over new emergency contraception law deepens | A law requiring hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims takes effect next week, but confusion about its legal implications lingered Friday, fueled by Gov. Mitt Romney's shifting interpretation of the law and opposition from some Catholics (Associated Press)

  2. 'Morning-after' access widened | About 200 New Hampshire pharmacists have taken the first step toward making emergency contraception more widely available in the state (The Concord Monitor, N.H.)

  3. Political pill | Was the FDA caving to political pressure when it refused to make the morning-after pill available over the counter? (Shaunti Feldhahn and Diane Glass, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Mother gives life to save baby:

  1. The mum who died for this moment | Tributes were paid last night to the memory of a remarkable mother who refused life-saving cancer treatment to protect her unborn baby (Northern Echo, England)

  2. Mother's life gift to unborn baby | Bernadette Mimura, 37, from Ingleby Barwick, was diagnosed with breast cancer one month into her pregnancy. Doctors urged her to try life-saving drugs, but this would have meant terminating the pregnancy (BBC)

  3. A brave and tragic mum | In later years when Nathan is told of his mother's sacrifice, what a proud young man he will be (Editorial, Northern Echo, England)

Life ethics:

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  1. South Korea's Hwang returns to hospital | South Korean stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk briefly left a hospital Monday and made a tearful return to work after being treated for extreme stress brought on by an ethics scandal over his groundbreaking research (Associated Press)

  2. Cloning chaos | Misrepresentations, hype, and outright lies in the name of "science" (Richard Doerflinger, National Review Online)


  1. Science friction | No wonder many Americans are leery of evolutionary theory. The leading lights of science today can be arrogant and condescending, and science is poorly taught in most schools (Pamela R. Winnick, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  2. Madness about a method | How did science become so contentious and politicized? (Jim Holt, The New York Times Magazine)

Intelligent Design & evolution:

  1. Warning label on Darwin sows division in suburbia | Parents in Cobb County, Ga., clash over sticker in textbooks (The Washington Post)

  2. The fear of teaching Darwin | Larry Arnhart wants biology students not just to learn about the father of evolutionary theory, but to read his words (Inside Higher Ed)

  3. Orthodox Jews in S. Florida join debate on evolution vs. intelligent design | Evangelical Christians aren't the only ones making evolution and intelligent design a cause célèbre: Leading Orthodox Jews have the topic in their sights as well -- some of them gathering for a three-day conference this week in South Florida (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  4. Kentucky could join debate on evolution | Kentucky could be next to join the national debate about intelligent design when the General Assembly convenes in January (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

KU's Mirecki fights being 'forced' from chair of religious studies dept.:

  1. Latest: KU: Mirecki left leadership post voluntarily | Professor's peers advised him to resign, officials say (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  2. Professor blasts KU, sheriff's investigation | Mirecki says he may sue university (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  3. Also: Kansas professor fights back (Inside Higher Ed)

  4. Also: Mirecki hires lawyer to look into resignation (Channel 6, Lawrence, Kan., video)

  5. Also: Professor says was forced out over comment | A college professor who drew sharp criticism for comments deriding Christian fundamentalists over "intelligent design" said he was forced out as chairman of the university's religious studies department (Associated Press)

  6. Embattled KU professor has long history with religion | As a boy, his parents wanted him to be a Roman Catholic priest. And as a young adult, he studied at a Protestant seminary and considered the ministry (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

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  1. Conservative made postings public | Real estate broker controversial on political scene (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)


  1. Christian schools sue U. Calif. system over content | More than 800 Christian schools are suing the University of California system. They say the nation's largest public university system won't credit certain high school courses because they contain too much religious content (Morning Edition, NPR)

  2. Also: Culture war pits UC vs. Christian way of teaching | Religious schools challenge admission standards in court (San FranciscoChronicle)

  3. Bad attitude | Some education schools want to make sure that students have the right "disposition" to be teachers. Their students — particularly conservative ones — aren't happy about it (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  4. Reading, writing, and … religion | School sees a growing trend of students more involved with spirituality (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  5. BC officials seek a compromise after blocking gay group's dance | Officials at Boston College hope to work out an agreement with a gay student group after preventing it from holding an AIDS benefit dance earlier this week (The Boston Globe)

  6. More black families home schooling | Home-school advocates say the apparent increase in black families opting to educate their children at home reflects a wider desire among families of all races to guide their children's moral upbringing, along with growing concerns about issues such as sub-par school conditions and preserving cultural heritage (Associated Press)

  7. Pretty good book | A new book tries to teach the Bible's role in culture without preaching religion. It doesn't quite succeed (Editorial, Houston Chronicle)

Sexual ethics:

  1. The siren song of sex with boys | When women face prison for having sex with boys, questions are raised about where to set the age of consent (The New York Times)

  2. The economy of desire | Can fear of AIDS change sexual preference? (The New York Times Magazine)

  3. Hold the limo: The prom's canceled as decadent | Prom night is about social manners, class, gender roles; and to a more or less open degree, it is about sex (The New York Times)

  4. The marriage of many | Is polygamy the next big moral debate in America? (The Washington Times)

Same-sex marriage:

  1. Harper warned on same-sex | Christian leaders want him to push on; Ontario Tory Leader urges him to back off (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

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  1. Mainline Protestants must speak up for gays | It bothers me that our media report on the same-sex issue as if Christians are opposed and secular folks are for. A great many Christians support same-sex marriage (Kevin Little, The Toronto Star)

  2. Pseudo-science and shoddy logic | The majority report recently released by the same-sex marriage commission is an embarrassment, 100-plus pages of homophobic claptrap based upon pseudo-science, junk statistics and shoddy logic (Hillary Nelson, The Concord Monitor, N.H.)

Homosexuality & religion:

  1. Region's American Baptists seek vote on break with church | Conservative leaders of 300 congregations in the Southwest are ready to bolt over homosexuality (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Pastor's rights not violated, federal judge rules | Monroe pastor and anti-gay crusader Ralph Ovadal's rights to free speech were not violated when Madison police told him to remove anti-gay banners over the Beltline in 2003, a federal judge ruled Monday (Wisconsin State Journal)

  3. Also: Ovadal loses again on anti-gay banners | A federal judge Monday upheld the constitutionality of a Madison police policy that selectively prohibits signs from highway overpasses even though a new city ordinance that totally bans signs takes effect next month (The Capital Times, Madison, Wi.)

  4. Keep 'Adam and Steve' out of his in-box. Is that so hateful? | An e-mail reply to a film announcement at William Paterson University sparked a free-speech hate-speech case (The New York Times)

  5. Ford talks with gay leaders | Automaker asked to disavow conservative Christian group (The Washington Post)

  6. Also: Gay groups ask Ford to reinstate ads | Gay and lesbian organizations asked Ford Motor Co. on Monday to reinstate advertising for its luxury Jaguar and Land Rover brands in gay publications and to distance itself from an anti-gay group which had boycotted the automaker's vehicles (Associated Press)


  1. Spiritual changes common in U.S. | Half of U.S. adults have had a spiritual transformation experience, and 35 percent of those are not born-again Christians, according to research by the University of Chicago (The Washington Post)

  2. Also: Half of us 'spiritually transformed' | Half of all Americans say they have experienced at least one "spiritual transformation" in their lifetime, according to an unprecedented study released late last week by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago (Chicago Sun-Times)

  3. Alternatively blessed be this house | The tradition of house blessings stretches across Islam, Judeo-Christianity and beyond (The Washington Post)

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  1. Chapel gives airport travelers a lift | Travel and Christmas have been linked ever since Luke's account of the holy family's journey to Bethlehem, but the motif takes on a special meaning at Our Lady of the Airways, the Catholic outpost at Logan International Airport that in 1951 became the nation's first airport chapel (The Boston Globe)

  2. But, Archbishop, this is the bleak mid-winter for many Christians | Although Koran and Bible are the most sacred scriptures of their respective religions, the comparison may be misleading (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Who wants heaven? | It is still this world that matters most to the devout, however literally they appear to take scripture (Malachi O'Doherty, The Guardian, London)


  1. 'I was sure that children would not want to be told that this old lady was Lucy' | The question of who inspired CS Lewis to create the fantasy world of Narnia has remained a mystery for decades. Now, 55 years on, Nigel Farndale talks to Jill Freud who, as a wartime evacuee, provided the spark for his best-selling classic. As Hollywood's £75m version comes out, she tells her extraordinary story for the first time (The Telegraph, London)

  2. No lion, no witch, but quite a few wardrobes | The town of Narni, the inspiration for CS Lewis' The Chronicles of Narnia (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Little religious uproar from 'Narnia' opening | Sunday's take could be stronger than estimated: A campaign to enlist churchgoers into attending the movie, based on C.S. Lewis' books, could boost Sunday attendance (USA Today)

  4. 'Narnia' puts new focus on Lewis' faith | Enigmatic Christian author's works remain beloved by believers (The Baltimore Sun)

  5. 'Narnia' creates common ground for Christians | They expect the perfect storm of a Christian Christmas movie (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  6. The Lion, the witch and the metaphor | Adults are battling over who owns Narnia: secular or Christian lovers of C. S. Lewis's stories (Jessica Seigel, The New York Times)

Narnia money:

  1. For 'Narnia,' lots of believers | Disney's adaptation of the C.S. Lewis story with Christian themes opens with an estimated $67.1 million (Los Angeles Times)

  2. 'Narnia' bolsters box office in strong debut | "Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" scored a much-needed box office hit for Walt Disney Co, taking in $67 million for the second-biggest debut ever in a weekend in December (Reuters)

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  1. 'Narnian' delight: Passion of the 'Lion' pays off | Playing on about 6,800 screens across 3,616 locations, Narnia drummed up an estimated $67.1 million, exceeding industry expectations in the $50 million range (BoxOfficeMojo.com)

Defending Lewis:

  1. Democrat group calls for Narnia boycott | "The film is little more than a Christian recruiting film and it undermines all other beliefs as secondary," says Pierce County Democrats spokesman (Contact Music)

  2. Leave the lion alone | The hollow criticism of the Narnia books' biblical subtext smacks of mindless offence-seeking (Zoe Williams, The Guardian, London)

  3. They're desperate to kill the magic lion | If it were not so repressive and censorious, this would be comic (Minette Marrin, The Times, London)

  4. Christmas bashing extends to Narnia | Yikes, Christian content -- peace, love, joy, charity sacrifice, redemption. Better run for your life! Connie Woodcock, Toronto Sun)

  5. Say 'na-na-na-Narnia!' to the PC prudes | Maybe I wasn't a perceptive child, but I just liked the story, and whatever the motives of CS Lewis, it certainly didn't convert me to Christianity of any denomination (Jennifer Veitch, Edinburgh Evening News, Second item)

  6. Message? What message? The story makes the movie | Fortunately, Lewis was too good a storyteller to let the Christianizing message constrain his imagination (Chauncey Mabe, South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  7. The lion king | C.S. Lewis' Narnia isn't simply a Christian allegory (Meghan O'Rourke, Slate)


  1. Kissing cousins | What is it about watching young women being ravished by oversized middle-aged gorillas that presses so many buttons? (Clive D. L. Wynne, The New York Times)

  2. Two guys and a camera | They started making films as teenagers, and now two brothers hope that they'll hit the big time by creating meaningful movies that won't compromise their faith as Christians (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)


  1. How do you say 'D'oh!' in Arabic? | In Middle East translations of The Simpsons, Duff is a juice and Ned Flanders isn't religious (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Uncouth Christian wins no converts | Marguerite Perrin, America's newest super-scary Christian has me cringing after seeing her on Fox's "Trading Spouses." (Wendi C. Thomas, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

  3. I'm in Opus Dei … get me out of here | Mark Dowd, a former friar and the presenter of Opus Dei and The Da Vinci Code (Channel 4), seemed to have had no doors slammed in his face (Joe Joseph, The Times, London)


  1. Alt-Jesus | Rock musician-turned-pastor takes his case for reinvigorating Christianity in surprising directions (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

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  1. Q&A with Chuck Smith Jr. | Many young Americans don't find relevance in the church, says Chuck Smith Jr., because they can't accept the answers "that the church has been trained to give." (The Dallas Morning News)

  2. Doubt, out from the shadows | Poor Doubting Thomas, so misunderstood all these years (Los Angeles Times)

More articles of interest:

  1. A place where God springs to mind | There is no chance of avoiding the existence or otherwise of God for very long in Colorado Springs (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  2. Karmazin's Sirius airs less 'Stern' Christian talk | Station launches alongside new Howard Stern broadcasts (Forbes.com)

  3. What's the big idea? | Peter Watson, the author of a history of ideas, talks about what counts as an idea, his idea of bad ideas (monotheism, Freudianism) and why no one ever has a great idea in the middle of the night (The New York Times Magazine)

  4. Wal-Mart calls campaign offensive | Wal-Mart Stores Inc. said on Friday a campaign by a union-funded group that says Jesus would have disapproved of the company's practices is offensive and misleading. (Reuters)

  5. Compassion linked to better health | If your heart goes out to others, it may stay healthier (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  6. Works of art, faith, history | Artist He Qi's paintings of Christianity come from many influences. He is working on a "world art Bible." (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  7. Richard Pryor: Preacher of truth | It makes perfect sense that the most influential comedian of his time would identify with preachers who knew how to put on a proper show, who gave a committed performance, who refused to hold anything back—and who told the truth (Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post)

  8. Court dismisses Jews for Jesus evangelism case | Woman claimed she was defamed by report of her conversion (WorldNetDaily)

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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