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The Joys of a State Church

The Godless minister and the sexless marriage. Plus: Indonesian bombing targets Christian village, Benedict urges Christian unity, stem-cell debates, and more articles from online sources around the world.

Those worried that evangelicals' participation in politics may produce a theocracy may take comfort from Western Europe, where church and state have mingled for centuries. The closer church and state get, the more the church looks like the state.

Almost two years ago, a Danish minister said, "There is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection." After making the statement in an interview, Thorkild Grosboell was suspended by his bishop. But because the Evangelical Lutheran Church is the state church of Denmark, the bishop could not fire the disbelieving pastor. Only the government can do that, and "the government refused, saying he should be given another chance to explain himself to Jan Lindhardt, a regional bishop who has been one of his few defenders," according to the Associated Press. "Lindhardt has said that although he disagrees with Grosboell's views, there should be room for him in Denmark's state church."

On Sunday, Grosboell returned to his pulpit in Taarbaek. Grosboell recently renewed his ministry vows, but said his views about God have not changed.

In England, the intricacies of church/state relations have produced a strange requirement for gay clergy who are now allowed to register for civil unions. "The new law leaves [church officials] little choice but to accept the right of gay clergy to have civil partners," says the London Times. Despite the legal requirement, the church still requires gay clergy to remain celibate.

So the church compromised. "Homosexual priests in the Church of England will be allowed to 'marry' their boyfriends under a proposal drawn up by senior bishops, led by Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury. … They will, however, have to give an assurance to ...

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