Nearly three dozen parishioners join Chan Chandler in exiting East Waynesville Baptist Church
After national media attention over a confrontation with church members who supported Democrat John Kerry for President, East Waynesville (N.C.) Baptist Church pastor Chan Chandler resigned yesterday.

"For me to remain now would only cause more hurt for me and my family," he said at a special business meeting last night. "I am resigning with gratitude in my heart for all of you, particularly those of you who love me and my family."

"Remaining church members said they sat in silence for a long time after Chandler and 35 of his loyal followers left the sanctuary—a silence broken when one of the members stepped forward and began to play hymns on the piano," reports the Raleigh News & Observer. The paper says he will continue his M.Div. studies at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Chandler didn't speak to the media, but his lawyer explained, "He feels like in light of everything that has taken place, instead of continuing to fight with the various factions, he feels it's in the best interest of everyone concerned that he resign."

Actually, Chandler did speak to one media outlet. Baptist Press scored a coup with its exclusive interview yesterday, before the pastor's resignation. But even Baptist Press had a hard time figuring out what really happened at the church:

As Baptist Press tried to clarify whether the nine people were in fact voted out of the church, Chandler said they initially left voluntarily. Since some of those who willingly forfeited their memberships were trustees of the church, other members thought it prudent to make their actions official.
Chandler said the church had undergone several months of disharmony, some of which he speculates was the result of his preaching about Christians' responsibility to be reflective of the Bible in the way that they vote. And more hesitatingly, he also speculated that, since the church had baptized almost 30 people and was growing under his leadership, then those who had been in church leadership positions for years may have felt threatened. …
[At a May 3 church meeting, Chandler told] those who were unhappy with him as pastor that if they could garner a simple majority against him, he'd leave, despite the bylaws provision that such a vote to terminate the pastor requires a two-thirds vote margin.
Chandler also said that if those who were dissatisfied with him couldn't garner a simple majority, then they should leave.
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But did Chandler actually say that those who didn't vote for Bush should be expelled?

"I don't know how these folks voted," Chandler told Baptist Press. "And I never endorsed any candidate." But he does admit that he talked about the "unbiblical values" of John Kerry, particularly in regard to abortion and homosexuality. "I also mentioned two Republicans' names" as examples of those whose positions are unbiblical, Chandler said.

"But those were negative endorsements," he explained. There was "never a positive endorsement" of a candidate from the pulpit, he said. The closest he came was to encourage writing in a new name when none of the candidates on the ballot promoted biblical positions.

That may or may not be good advice, but it still violates the tax code and puts the church in danger of losing its tax-exempt status. The Internal Revenue Manual explains:

IRC 501(c)(3) precludes exemption for an organization that participates in or intervenes in (including the publishing or distributing of statements) any political campaign on behalf of or in opposition to any candidate for public office. This is an absolute prohibition, with no requirement that the activity be substantial. (Emphasis added.)

So by actually campaigning against Kerry from the pulpit, Chandler put his church's funds in danger. Apparently he didn't know he was doing so, but there you have it.

As it turns out, though, the debate is more about the new demographics of the congregation than it is about IRS standing.

"The storm that hit the church … divided it along generational lines," The News & Observer's Yonat Shimron explains. "Many of the older members are traditionally Democrats, though some have voted Republican in recent elections. Many of the newest and youngest members have always been Republicans. In this, the church reflected Southern voting habits that have dramatically embraced the Republican Party in recent decades."

Chandler, by the way, is 33. Those reportedly "kicked out" of the church are about twice his age, and they're not crazy about these kids today, what with their conservative ideas and such.

"A lot of these young people had not been in the church more than a year," Maxine Osborne, 70, told The News & Observer. Chandler and his wife, she said, "brought in a lot of young people, but they also brainwashed them."

Misty Turner (or Tucker, depending on the news source) seems to be one of the young 'uns.

"The only thing I want to say is that everything that's been in the press is a lie," she said. "I have never bowed down to Chan. I've only bowed down to the Lord." She's leaving. "I'm not going to serve where there are so many ungodly people."

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Thirty-four others joined her in walking out of the church yesterday after Chandler's resignation.

A sad epilogue
So what lesson can be drawn from Chandlergate? Bill Leonard, dean of the divinity school at Wake Forest University, says the moral of the story is don't believe everything you read. Weblog agrees in part: Reading the papers this week, especially the op-ed pages (and editorial cartoons like this), it's clear that there was more than one political agenda at work. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary vice president Waylan Owens rightly noted that most press reports exclusively quoted those allegedly voted out and their supporters. Where are "the members of the church who actually did the voting?" he asked.

But Wake Forest's Leonard isn't talking about being skeptical toward the press. For him, the danger is in believing Scripture.

"When you believe in an inerrant Bible, then the next step is to have an inerrant interpreter and then an inerrant morality," he said. And that's a bad thing.

Not even Chandler has made this case a litmus test for biblical authority. Does Leonard really want to go there?

Speaking of Baptist matters
The Associated Press has been publishing some excellent religion reporting, but yesterday had to run one doozy of a correction:

In an April 24 story about Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's video appearance on a telecast organized by Christian groups, The Associated Press erroneously quoted R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
The story incorrectly paraphrased Mohler as saying that putting more evangelicals in judgeships would produce more court rulings in tune with the religious convictions of churchgoers.
Instead, Mohler advocated exercising "Christian citizenship" beyond the ballot box, Christian activism in the "public sphere" and speaking out against actions in the U.S. Senate that block votes on certain judicial candidates.
"We are not calling for persons merely to be moral, we want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ," Mohler said in a reference, not to judges, but to the audience in the Louisville church where the telecast originated.

A Christian leader calling churchgoers to be Christian isn't all that newsworthy. Campaigning to fill all judicial appointments with evangelical Christians is huge, and was widely picked up by liberal commentators as an example of "theocracy."

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Actually, Mohler's transcript is helpful on this point. He wasn't just calling Christians to be Christian. He was calling for them to focus on making Christians, on evangelism. (Something that "worries traditional churches," says the Associated Press.) Here's how he started his speech:

I believe that tonight is the start of something really important. I think this is about the people of God, evangelical Christians, beginning to understand what our responsibility really is. Now this is a little unusual for our church on a Sunday night. We have a lot of other churches gathering with us, and this isn't what we do most Sunday nights. Why? It is because this is a gospel church. This is a church that is established upon the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Our main message is salvation through grace alone, by faith alone, through Christ alone. The main message we want to communicate is that we want to see all persons come to know the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior. We want to communicate to all that we are not calling for persons merely to be moral. We want them to be believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, because we don't just need instruction, we need salvation. Now because of that, something has to explain why we would take this time on a Sunday night to talk about something like the federal judiciary.

The bulk of the material focuses then on the "pattern of discrimination against those who hold deep convictions about human life and the institution of marriage" and on how "religious liberty really is at stake" in the filibuster debate. Here's how Mohler ends:

As evangelical Christians, our main concern is the citizenship that is ours in heaven that has been purchased by our Savior. But we also understand that we have a responsibility on this Earth, so long as we are alive, until the Lord returns, to show God's love, and to contend for God's righteousness. And to tell this world that through his law, and through his Word, God is trying to tell us something for our good, for our health, for our holiness. And we, as Christians, need to be active in the public sphere, not just to impose some kind of worldview or ideology, but to be salt and light. Because that's not my idea, that's how we were commissioned by the Lord Jesus Christ. We need to speak as Christian citizens. What we demand is an up or down vote on the floor of the Senate. It is nothing less than cowardice for a minority in the Senate to block these people from the vote they so richly deserve. Let's get them that vote, and we will stand with the American people with the results. God bless you.
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More articles

More on East Waynesville Baptist (before the resignation):

  • Mixing of politics and religion is in dangerous territory | Ugly business has taken place at East Waynesville Baptist Church. It's an embarrassment to the region and ought to be embarrassing to the Baptist church as well. At the very least apologies are in order. And the odds of this being "cleared up'' by week's end are nil. (Editorial, The Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.)
  • Debate over area minister heats up | A local minister trying to test the waters of protected speech might have gotten in over his head, some observers say (The Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.)
  • Politics prompt church tax questions | The Internal Revenue Service should reconsider the tax-exempt status of a Baptist church where nine members say they were expelled in a political dispute with their pastor, an advocacy group said Monday (Associated Press)
  • Waynesville debacle just latest example of political religion run amok | What America needs is a lot more faith-based politics and a lot less political religion (David Stewart, Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.)
  • Pulpit politics tricky | Silly me. As a lifelong Baptist, I thought we had to take everybody. The Rev. Chan Chandler must not have gotten that memo from on high. (Barry Saunders, The News & Observer, N.C.)
  • Is there more to the N.C. church story? | Many facts have gone unreported or obscured in the media's efforts to scandalize a young minister who has taken a stand for biblical morality and the life of a baby resting in her mother's womb (Waylan Owens, Baptist Press)
  • Render unto Caesar, or you're out | Chandler ought to be embarrassed that he falls for the GOP's cynical flattery of religious people like himself at election time (Francis Volpe, The Sentinel, Carlisle, Pa.)
  • Don't fault preacher for church politics | The Rev. Chandler, who called it a misunderstanding, wasn't smooth enough to emulate the silver-tongued preachers in the mega-churches who find fortune in spewing their intolerance across the nation's airwaves daily. He's a sad victim of their trickle-down theology. (Editorial, The Decatur Daily, Ala.)

Church life:

  • Church rejects gays' $27,000 | Church of Uganda West Buganda Diocese has joined other dioceses in rejecting money from the Diocese of New Hampshire (The Monitor, Uganda)
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  • Canada diocese to sell assets for victims | A Roman Catholic diocese in eastern Canada plans to sell all its churches and missions to raise the money to pay the victims of sexual assault by a priest who was convicted more than a decade ago (Associated Press)
  • Trinity Church names planner to oversee realty operations | It's one of the largest property owners in New York City (The New York Times)
  • Blessed be thy name — local churches are changing their labels | Church name changes can indicate a split from the denomination, but this is not always the case (The Argus, Fremont, Ca.)
  • Mission and vision | The changing face of missionaries (The Kansas City Star)
  • Church stolen | A Mount Pleasant congregation is dealing with the loss of their church after they say some one broke the locks off a trailer and stole it. (WCBD, Charlestown, S.C.)
  • Christians urged to adapt to fluid world | Mainstream Christian churches must adapt to the powerful forces of the new century — including the rise in African and Asian congregations and tensions with the Muslim world — or risk losing their relevance and ability to help shape world affairs, religious leaders said Tuesday (Associated Press)

Pope Benedict XVI:

  • Benedict presses ahead with busy schedule | Pope Benedict XVI is pressing ahead with a busy schedule of ceremonies and travel, indicating that concern over his age and health — including reports he has suffered at least two strokes — isn't slowing him down (Associated Press)
  • Pope's quest to reach out tests security | It was a security detail's nightmare, and with Benedict XVI's first days as pope spiced up with seemingly fearless forays into the public, it could be a recurring one (Associated Press)
  • Will the pope make fewer saints? | Some church observers wonder if, after the two beatifications scheduled for May 14, the Pope may begin to slow down what some have called John Paul II's saintmaking "factory" (Time)
  • Catholic devotion, and doubts | Unless the Vatican reconnects with ordinary people in Latin America, the new pope may face a Re-Reformation (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)
  • Benedict accepts bishop's resignation | Monsignor David Foley, the bishop of Birmingham, Ala., had submitted his resignation in February when he turned 75, but had to wait until it was officially approved (Associated Press)
  • Pope Benedict XVI names new Cuban bishop | Pope Benedict XVI has named a new bishop for central Cuba's Matanzas diocese in his first decision concerning the Roman Catholic church on this communist-run island, the Bishops Conference of Cuba said Monday (Associated Press)
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  • Sins of omission | The American news media have largely dismissed Pope Benedict XVI's Nazi past. It deserves a closer look (Carlin Romano, The Chronicle of Higher Education)


  • Family law proposals 'damaging' | The Catholic Church has raised concerns over legislation covering cohabiting partners and quicker divorces (BBC)
  • American said to be tapped as Vatican's doctrinal enforcer | San Francisco's Archbishop Levada is the likely candidate to take over Pope Benedict XVI's old job (Time)
  • A trading card of John Paul II creates buzz, not much of a sale | A one-of-a-kind card featuring the pontiff's autograph was released earlier this year by Topps (Associated Press)
  • Treasured items removed as vigil continues | Altar replaced at St. Jeremiah (The Boston Globe)
  • Cardinal convicted in environmental case | A Rome court convicted a Vatican cardinal and a top Vatican Radio official Monday of polluting the environment with electromagnetic waves from a transmission tower, an official from Vatican Radio said (Associated Press)
  • Also: Vatican Radio officials convicted | A Roman Catholic cardinal and a priest in charge of Vatican Radio have been convicted of polluting the atmosphere with powerful electromagnetic waves (BBC)
  • Suspended Catholic priest marries | Church says don't, but they say, 'I do' (The Dallas Morning News)

Catholic bishops back aid to immigrants:

  • Bishops change tactics on immigrants | Catholic campaign seeks lay backing (The Washington Post)
  • Bishops back aid to immigrants | The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops announced yesterday that it will "add the voice of the Catholic Church" to the call for major immigration legislation, including a guest-worker program and a path to citizenship for illegal aliens in the United States. (The Washington Times)
  • Catholic bishops call for U.S. to ease up on immigration policy | The move by the bishops reflects an effort by some faith-based groups to counter a call to crack down on illegal immigrants--a contentious issue that has drawn labor activists, law enforcement, corporate interests and ethnic advocacy groups (Chicago Tribune)

Life ethics:

  • It's science, not a freak show | Far-out possibilities should not distract us from welcoming more mundane experiments with animal-human hybrids that will be needed to advance science (Editorial, The New York Times)
  • Human stem cells help paralysed rats to walk | Scientists have used cells from the embryos of human beings to restore mobility to rats with spinal cord injuries. The experiments show the technique's promise for treating paralysed patients (The Times, London)
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  • One bill would override patient's explicit request | Feeding tube controversy comes to Legislature (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)
  • The line between life and death | Implying that a brain-dead person is still alive gives false hope and preys on the survivors' feelings of guilt (Gary Kalkut and Nancy Neveloff Dubler, The New York Times)
  • Lawsuit hampers Calif. stem cell funding | California officials conceded Monday that a legal challenge has severely hampered the ability of the state's stem cell agency to borrow even a penny of the $3 billion in research money it had hoped to raise over the next 10 years (Associated Press)
  • Poll: GOP voters okay stem cell research | Republicans who dissent from President Bush's policy are circulating a poll designed to show they have the party's voters on their side even if many fellow GOP lawmakers are not (Associated Press)
  • Stem cells may help a city heal | Still bleeding from the dot-com crash, San Francisco stakes future health on institute (Los Angeles Times)
  • Possibility of 'God gene' explored | Is there a link between your genes and religious faith? (KWTV, Oklahoma City)


  • Debate flares at Capitol over abortion | House Democrats are being disingenuous by complaining about the treatment of an abortion bill backed by their caucus, a Republican leader said Tuesday. Democrats complained their bill wasn't being given a fair shot because GOP leaders wanted one of their members as an author (The Oklahoman)
  • Perdue signs law requiring 24-hour wait for abortions | New law is biggest shift since 1973 (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Suozzi calls for 'common ground' on cutting pregnancies | The Nassau County executive, Thomas R. Suozzi, proposed a plan yesterday to reduce abortions, delivering a speech that he called an attempt "to find some common ground" on a divisive issue (The New York Times)


  • Lessons on 'values voters' in demand | The Rev. Jim Wallis is one man who has benefited from the so-called post-election Democratic soul-searching. (The Washington Times)
  • Dobson antichrist | A Democratic senator's surprising bout of name-calling (Kate Hawley, The Revealer)
  • Vote 'em up or down | Well-qualified nominees have been denied a vote simply because they don't meet the left's irreligious litmus test (James Dobson, The Boston Globe)
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  • Today's loneliest political minority? It's probably the white Protestant | New York's early mayors were mostly Protestant, but in the last 100 years the city has elected few Protestant mayors (The New York Times)
  • Christians chide governor | Two Christian organizations Monday rebuked Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for encouraging the Minuteman Project's volunteer policing of America's border with Mexico (San Bernardino Sun, Ca.)
  • Unholy alliance on the right | While non-Christian religions form a very small minority — a combined 7 per cent of the Canadian population — their leaders are growing more active and vocal, lending support to conservative and anti-secular voices among the majority Catholics and Protestants. In turn, right-wing politicians, hungry for votes, support them without regard for long-term consequences (Saeed Rahnema, The Toronto Star)
  • GOP faces division over role of government | Republicans tend to agree that government's role in Americans' lives should be limited, but issues like the Terri Schiavo case have exposed cracks in GOP unity, pitting traditional conservatives against those who intervened on her behalf, according to a polling analysis (Associated Press)
  • America's Right goes green | Some Christian groups have said for some time that caring for the earth is caring for what they see as God's creation. Now some neo-conservatives, not necessarily Christian, are also sounding alarm bells about gas-guzzling vehicles on "national security" grounds (BBC)

Survey says:

  • Survey of voters maps subtle splits | The study found Democrats straddling divisions of their own over such issues as homosexual rights and religion in public life (Los Angeles Times)
  • Political poll finds shades between red, blue | 74 percent of Americans say displaying the Ten Commandments in government buildings is "proper," and 71 percent consider the United States a "Christian nation" (The Washington Times)
  • Full survey: Beyond red vs. blue | Republicans divided about role of government - Democrats by social and personal values (The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press)


  • Swedish court reviews 'hate' case | Sweden's Supreme Court has said it will review the acquittal of a Pentecostal pastor who denounced homosexuality as "a deep cancer" in a sermon (BBC)
  • Couple's trial puts religion, law at odds | Parents who favor faith over medicine charged in death of newborn daughter (The Indianapolis Star)

Church and state:

  • Breakfast endorsing faith? | Mayor's event put on by group of Christian businessmen (Los Angeles Daily News)
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  • Churches join fight for cross | Members urged to get signatures for old county seal (Whittier Daily News, Ca.)
  • Air Force Academy: Practicing freedom | The Air Force Academy needs to straighten up and fly right. Favoritism and discrimination based on religious belief cannot be tolerated in a U.S. military institution. (Editorial, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)


  • Sharon meets 'Jews for Jesus' follower | Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, interested in shoring up his standing in the influential US Evangelical Christian community, met eight leading Evangelical figures Tuesday, including Jay Sekulow, a high profile Messianic Jew (The Jerusalem Post)
  • Orthodox leader steps into fray | Patriarch Bartholomew I asked Irineos I not to call a planned synod meeting in a bid to replace the rebel bishops (BBC)
  • Also: Senior Orthodox Christian leader recognizes Irineos' dismissal | The most important figure in the Orthodox Christian world has recognized the dismissal of Patriarch Irineos I, head of the Greek Orthodox Church in the Holy Land, according to sources in the Jerusalem Patriarchate (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)
  • US Christians go from Auschwitz to J'lem | After visiting concentration camps in Poland and joining the March of the Living there last week, the two dozen Christian members of the ADL mission from the Atlanta, Georgia, area found the guided tour of Jerusalem's Old City on Monday a bit overwhelming (The Jerusalem Post)

Religious violence and religious liberty:

  • Violence flares in Temple Mount clash | Jerusalem's Old City saw its worst violence in years yesterday when Palestinian demonstrators clashed with Israeli police, leaving seven officers injured, including the city's police chief (The Telegraph, London)
  • Restore trust in churches | Hardly a Sunday passes without hearing of one or two places where the flock discarded Bibles, rolled up sleeves and turned the pulpit into a boxing ring (The Times of Zambia)
  • Prayers from the shadows | The faithful have been coming out of hiding in China, but they still must tread carefully. The Party reigns supreme, and alone (Newsweek)

Guantanamo Bay Quran desecration:

  • Pakistan outraged over Koran's reported desecration | Pakistan, a key Muslim ally in the U.S.-led war on terror, has voiced deep concern to Washington over a magazine report that U.S. interrogators in Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Koran (Reuters)
  • U.S. denounces desecration reports | The State Department described Tuesday as "reprehensible" reports that U.S. troops at the American prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, have desecrated copies of the Quran (Associated Press)
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  • Gitmo: SouthCom showdown | Interrogators, in an attempt to rattle suspects, flushed a Qur'an down a toilet (Newsweek)

Christian-Muslim relations:

  • Christian rock for Muslims | A Christian rock festival, which was held last weekend in Morocco, caused mixed reactions among the locals (The New York Times)
  • Crimes, complaints involving Muslims rise | The number of reported bias crimes and civil rights violations committed against Muslims in the United States soared to its highest level last year since the period immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a new report finds (Associated Press)


  • Taken on faith | Movie marketers target Christian consumers -- and lure them into the theatrical lion's den (The Hollywood Reporter)
  • Crusade movie strikes chord in Arab world | Ridley Scott's "Kingdom of Heaven," which depicts a 12th Century battle for Jerusalem between Muslims and Crusaders, is also a welcome message of support for those who back moderation over extremism in managing ties between Islam and the West (Reuters)
  • Giving Hollywood hell over 'Heaven' | Historical revisionism and political correctness - and also, maybe, fear of Muslim reprisals - might make it impossible to film an epic in which "good" Christians vanquish "bad" Muslims. In which case, moviemakers will probably have to drop the whole genre, at least for American audiences (James P. Pinkerton, Newsday)
  • Onward, lukewarm Christian soldiers | Thomas F. Madden says it's impossible to understand the Crusades without recognizing the beliefs that drove its fighters (Beliefnet)


  • BBC bid to boost religious shows | The BBC is to review its output after studies found a drop in the number of religious shows on BBC One (BBC)
  • Church of Oprah | Oprah's great gift, and the foundation of her lay ministry, is her understanding that even women who have enjoyed great success in their personal and professional lives can still struggle to find meaning and fulfillment, and that they can learn from Oprah's own search for the same things (Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post)
  • 'Bewitched' statue bothers some in Salem | "It's like TV Land going to Auschwitz and proposing to erect a statue of Colonel Klink," says John Carr, a former member of the Salem Historic District Commission (Associated Press)
  • 16,000 complaints, but Springer opera did not break TV rules | Television watchdog Ofcom ruled that although the January showing "clearly had the potential to offend and indeed the intention to shock, it was set in a very clear context as a comment on modern TV" (The Guardian, London)
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  • Audience seems to be closing the book on 'Revelations' | Though 15.6 million showed up for the six-parter's April 13 premiere - and that against an hourlong edition of Fox's "American Idol" - by last week, its audience had dropped to 8.7 million viewers, fewer than the regular time-slot tenant, "The West Wing," has ever drawn for a first-run episode (The Philadelphia Inquirer)


  • Religious warriors should read Pulitzer novel 'Gilead' | The main theme of this book and a discussion that Washington disputants should have revolves around the parable of the Prodigal Son (Morton Kondracke)
  • Why spirituality is nothing without faith | Dr Jonathan Sacks fears that the social dimension of religion is being eclipsed by New Age spirituality. His new book may help to redress the balance (The Times, London)
  • House okays restriction on gay-themed books | Books with homosexual themes will be for adults only (The Oklahoman)

Museum of Biblical Art opens:

  • New York's Museum of Biblical Art opens | The Museum of Biblical Art, one of the few in America to explore the theme, opens Thursday with a striking show of works on scriptural motifs by self-taught, Southern folk artists (Associated Press)
  • A museum about the Bible aims to be taken seriously | Manhattan's new Museum of Biblical Art aims to help viewers reconnect this kind of art to its religious roots and functions (The New York Times)

Higher education:

  • Pentagon seeks promotion for academy chief | The Pentagon said Monday it wants to promote a top commander at the Air Force Academy — a born-again Christian who has been the subject of complaints that he improperly mixes religion with education (Associated Press)
  • Intellectual and moral purpose still meet at Catholic universities | Instead of lecturing America's Catholic universities, the Vatican could learn a few things from them (Nathan O. Hatch, The Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • Boston College set to adopt language that welcomes gays | Revision stops short of prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation (The Boston Globe)
  • Editor's ouster worries Catholic publications | The announcement Friday that the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, an oft-quoted commentator on the workings of the Catholic Church, has been forced to resign after seven years as editor of America magazine has sent shock waves through the worlds of Catholic journalism and academia (The Boston Globe)
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  • Baylor prez explains his support for Planned Parenthood sex-ed program | Underwood says he while he does not agree with everything that is conveyed through the Nobody's Fool program, the topics with which he disagrees provide his family an opportunity for discussion (Agape Press)


  • Planned Balto. Co. school calendar denies Muslim request | Proposal doesn't provide 2 holidays but does give day off for Yom Kippur (The Baltimore Sun)
  • Creationism vs. Intelligent Design | Is there a difference? (Daniel Engber, Slate)
  • What matters in Kansas | The evolution of creationism (William Saletan, Slate)
  • The assault of 'intelligent design' | As we move closer and closer to religious sovereignty over government and public education, other nations are moving further away (Bonnie Erbe, Scripps Howard News Service)
  • Curriculum foes press sex-ed suit | Court proceedings for a lawsuit against Montgomery County public schools' new sex-education course will go forward today even though Superintendent Jerry D. Weast suspended the curriculum last week (The Washington Times)
  • Judge's ruling against sex-ed program grabs national eye | A judge's order on Thursday evening to halt a new public school sex-education curriculum in the affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C., could have significant ramifications throughout the rest of the country. (Fox News)
  • PTA conference disallows equal access for ex-gays | The 6 million-member National Parent-Teacher Association has agreed for a second year to feature a pro-homosexual group at its annual convention, while rejecting a group that says homosexuality is not an inborn trait (The Washington Times)
  • Teen Faith Clubs: Getting into the spirit at school? | Many public high schools in the Wichita area have Christian faith-based clubs, and members say they are popular for a variety of reasons (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

Marriage and family:

  • N.C. anti-cohabitation law under attack | There are some 144,000 unmarried couples living together in North Carolina, and they are all breaking the law — a statute that has been on the books since 1805 (Associated Press)
  • Massachusetts plans to revisit amendment on gay marriage | Nearly a year after Massachusetts legalized same-sex marriage, state legislators are again planning to consider a proposal to make such marriages illegal (The New York Times)

How gay men smell:

  • Gay men respond differently to pheromones | The sexual area of a gay man's brain works a lot like that of a woman when exposed to a particular stimulus, researchers say (Associated Press)
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  • For gay men, an attraction to a different kind of scent | The new research may open the way to studying human pheromones, as well as the biological basis of sexual preference (The New York Times)


  • A glimpse at the mind of a pedophile | A former priest who served under Mahony in the Stockton Diocese describes his ploys (Los Angeles Times)
  • Two priests no longer will be ministering | Two Catholic priests accused in separate cases involving the viewing of child pornography no longer are serving as priests. The Revs. Robert Allgaier and Jay L. Kruse each made a "mutual decision" with Omaha Archbishop Elden Curtiss to leave priestly ministry, said the Rev. Joe Taphorn, vice chancellor of the archdiocese (Omaha World-Herald, Neb.)
  • Court denies religious privilege | When is a religious confession not a religious confession? When it's a conversation between clergy and teenagers alleging they have been sexually assaulted by fellow parishioners (The Sydney Morning Herald)


  • Ex-youth minister charged with 5 felony sex offenses | Man is alleged to have had relationship with church member that began when she was 14 (The Indianapolis Star)
  • Also: Former youth pastor charged | Sexual misconduct accusations stem from alleged affair with girl who was 14 at the time (Noblesville Daily Times, Ind.)
  • Ga. preacher gets 17 years for embezzling | A small-town preacher was sentenced to 17 1/2 years in prison Thursday for stealing nearly $9 million from some 1,600 black churches by promising big returns on small investments (Associated Press)

Other stories of interest:

  • What did Jesus Christ look like as a child? | Italian forensic investigators have gone on a first-of-its-kind, high-tech manhunt in an attempt to leave imagination behind and show what Jesus really looked like. Their starting point: the Shroud of Turin, believed by many to be the burial cloth of Christ (WBBM, Chicago)
  • Prayer effective as painkiller? | More than half of those who responded to a USA TODAY/ABC News/Stanford University Medical Center poll released Monday say they use prayer to control pain. Of those, 90% say it worked well, and 51% say "very well." (USA Today)
  • Heavens above | Some Jewish conservatives even argue that a more overtly Christian America is an overall plus for American Jews, given the Christian Right's support of Israel, and a more vigorous promulgation of general Judeo-Christian values. Maybe. But I'm still uneasy (Calev Ben-David, The Jerusalem Post)
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  • Joyce Meyer Ministries responds to recent media attacks | Why she received $1.29 million in 2002, and $250,000 in 2004 (Press release)
  • Marxist piety | Hell hath no fury like a French Communist denied a Christian day of leisure (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)

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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.
Previous Weblog Columns: