The Bronx Household of Faith will now be allowed to meet for worship on Sundays at Public School 15 in New York City, according to a ruling by Judge Loretta A. Preska of Federal District Court in Manhattan.

The New York Times reports on the long-running case:

Judge Preska's new ruling is virtually the opposite of one she wrote in the same case in 1996, when she agreed with the school board's decision to bar the group from meeting in a public school building for "religious worship." Judge Preska has now brought the case into line with a 2001 decision by the Supreme Court, which found that religious teachings on school premises were no different from other secular lessons about "morals and character development." notes that the change came when the Supreme Court decided the Good News Club v. Milford Central School. Clarence Thomas wrote the opinion, saying, "What matters for purposes of the free speech clause is that we can see no logical difference in kind between the invocation of Christianity by the club and the invocation of teamwork, loyalty, or patriotism by other associations to provide a foundation for their lessons."

So Judge Preska ruled that the church service was not "mere" religion. The church conducts activities beyond the religious, which, Preska wrote, "are clearly consistent with the type of activities previously permitted in the forum and consistent with activities expressly permitted."

"The government may not treat activities that are similar to those previously permitted as different in kind just because the subject activities are conducted from a religious perspective," Preska wrote, according to

The judge also rejected the school board's argument that the church's presence in the middle school would amount to an unconstitutional establishment of religion.

Still, the city remains opposed to the church renting its facilities. "We are concerned about having any schools in this diverse city become identified with any particular religious belief or practice," Lisa Grumet, senior counsel in the city's law department, said yesterday in a statement, according to The New York Times.

"This ruling is big news because New York has fought this concept of equal access and is one of the last government entities resisting what the Supreme Court has said," said Jordan Lorence, a lawyer for the Alliance Defense Fund.

More Articles

Church & state:

  • "Let us pray" | Organizers of a rally supporting local government leaders who pray in the name of Jesus Christ say they are fighting to preserve a bond that helps hold the community together. (Anderson Independent-Mail, S.C.)
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  • Barrett: If you don't like the prayer, leave | His bill would allow open prayer at public meetings (The State, S.C.)
  • Can religious groups exclude non-believers? | Universities fight lawsuits over issue (Religion News Service)
  • Lincoln's words, our pledge | The Pledge Of Allegiance has been in legal jeopardy for years, all because it contains the words "under God" — a phrase Abraham Lincoln stamped on the American consciousness when he used it on Nov. 19, 1863, 142 years ago, in the Gettysburg Address. (David Gelernter, Los Angeles Times)
  • Upstate in crosshairs of prayer battle | Residents rally for elected officials' freedom of speech (The Greenville News, S.C.)
  • The IRS declares war on churches | Richard Nixon lives on in the person of George W. Bush, only more evil than ever. At least Nixon only sicced the IRS on his political enemies. Bush has turned the tax cops loose on at least one religious leader simply for expressing his opposition to the war in Iraq. And he won't be the last. (Editorial, Fitchburg Sentinel, Mass.)
  • Preaching nonviolence in a too-violent world | It's enough to make you wonder if human beings have lost the thread of nonviolence, forgotten its precepts and abandoned its promise. This weekend, a man considered one of the principal architects of the civil rights movement visits Portland to talk about nonviolence. (Nancy Haught, The Oregonian)

Religion & politics:

  • What abortion debate? | Talking about Alito's respect for precedent avoids the real questions. (Michael Kinsley, Washington Post)
  • Catholics could control court | Is five Catholics on the U.S. Supreme Court one Catholic too many? (George Mitrovich, Cincinnati Post)
  • Dems distracted by wrong war | The culture wars—over homosexuality, abortion and public school prayer, for example—are not issues that trouble most Americans. Majorities tolerate the idea of civil unions for gays and legal abortion under some circumstances. Four out of five conservative Christians who believe in the literal inerrancy of the Bible think that abortion ought to be legal if a woman's health is in danger. Three of five Americans support prayer in public schools. (Andrew Greeley, Chicago Sun-Times)
  • Preacher enters political arena | On one side of the street, a handful of liberal ministers pleaded for tolerance of gay rights and respect for Islam. On the other side, hundreds of people cheered as evangelist Rod Parsley called on the crowd to "lock and load" for "a Holy Ghost invasion." (Associated Press)
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  • Mass. GOP aiding drive for ban on gay marriage | Some in party voice objections (Boston Globe)

Human rights & religious freedom:

  • North Korea crushing churches | U.S. report: Commission tells of Christians executed in front of schoolchildren (National Post, Canada)
  • Vietnam jails six Montagnard men | A Vietnamese court has sentenced six ethnic minority Montagnards to between seven and 17 years jail for "threatening national security". (BBC)
  • Leader blames attacks on terrorists | A top Pakistani Christian leader says "trained terrorists" were behind attacks on churches, a school and a student hostel. The attacks were in a village, sparked by rumors that a local Christian man had desecrated Islam's holy book. (Chicago Tribune)
  • China detains Catholic priest | China recently detained an underground Roman Catholic priest and 10 seminarians, a rights group said in a statement seen by Reuters on Friday. (Reuters)
  • China arrests priests, seminarians | Chinese authorities have arrested a priest and 10 seminarians from that nation's underground Roman Catholic Church, a Vatican-affiliated news agency said Friday. (Associated Press)
  • Ex-Rwandan mayor pleads guilty to charges | A former Rwandan mayor accused of participating in the killing of several thousand people who had sought refuge in a church pleaded guilty Thursday to charges of murder and extermination related to the 1994 genocide of more than half a million Rwandans. (Associated Press)
  • Turkmenistan: Activists flay US report on religious freedom | Human rights groups have strongly criticised a US government report for failing to designate Turkmenistan a country of particular concern (CPC) on the issue of religious freedom. (Reuters)
  • Many women victim of 'gendercide,' study finds | There is a shortfall of some 200 million women in the world—"missing' due to what a three-year study on violence against women calls "gendercide." (Reuters)


  • Silence and secrecy at school where child sex abuse went on for decades | Yesterday's revelations cast a cloud over the late Cardinal Hume's former role at a top Catholic college (The Guardian, UK)
  • Has the Catholic Church put the clergy abuse problem behind it? | Not by a longshot: What we have to do to truly get past the issue (
  • Court denies L.A. archdiocese privacy bid | The state Supreme Court has upheld an appeals court ruling that forces the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese to turn over the personnel files of two former priests accused of molestation. (Associated Press)
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  • Priest gets 20 years in 1970s sodomy | A Roman Catholic priest was sentenced to 20 years in prison Thursday for sodomizing a boy in the church rectory during the 1970s. The Rev. Thomas Graham, 72, was convicted in August. (Associated Press)


  • 'No threat to Catholic education' | The government is "not on a collision course" with the Catholic Church over the proposed downgrading of its education body, the NIO has said. (BBC)
  • Pope Benedict and Jon Voight at film screening | Pope Benedict and Oscar winner Jon Voight attended a special screening on Thursday of a television mini-series in which Voight plays the late Pope John Paul. (Reuters)
  • Castro meets with Cuba's Catholic leaders | Fidel Castro met with top leaders of Cuba's Roman Catholic church to mark 70 years of diplomatic ties with the Vatican, the island's official media reported Thursday. (Associated Press)
  • Israel discusses tax dispute with Pope | Israeli President Moshe Katsav met with Pope Benedict XVI and other top Roman Catholic officials Thursday to discuss a long-standing tax dispute that has irritated relations between Israel and the Holy See. (Associated Press)

Conservatives 'attack' Rowan Williams in letter:

  • Bishops want signatures taken off anti-gay letter | A senior Anglican bishop has distanced himself from a letter attacking the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, over his policy on gays. Other primates also named as signatories are understood to share his unease. (Times, London)
  • Archbishop attacked in gay debate | Some of the Anglican communion's archbishops have strongly criticised the Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams for his views on gay clergy. (BBC)
  • Anglicans advise archbishop on policy | Conservative leaders within the Anglican Communion have signed a letter urging the archbishop of Canterbury to rethink his personal views on homosexuality and to crack down on the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada. (Associated Press)
  • Attack on archbishop rebounds on rebels | An open letter attacking the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, yesterday rebounded on the conservative Anglican leaders. (The Telegraph, UK)
  • Archbishop disowns attack on Williams | The solidarity of the 17 Anglican archbishops who challenged the authority of Dr Rowan Williams on Wednesday over his supposedly soft line on homosexuality appeared to be fraying at the edges yesterday as one disowned the document issued on their behalf and others were said to be harbouring private doubts about its tone. (The Guardian, UK)
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  • Sex and schism | The struggle for control within the worldwide Anglican communion reached a new intensity yesterday with the publication of an overtly hostile letter from 17 African and Asian bishops attacking their titular leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, in terms that in effect challenge him to break either with their own brand of conservative Anglicanism, or with that of the liberals of the north. (The Guardian, UK)
  • Also: Traditionalists prepared for period of suffering | American and Canadian traditionalists must be prepared for a season of suffering, the Rt Rev Robert Duncan, Bishop of Pittsburgh, told a three-day rally of traditionalists called "Hope and a Future", but the final result of the battle for the soul of Anglicanism was not in doubt, he said. (The Church of England Newspaper)

Religion & homosexuality:

  • Gay Baptists dismayed by church stance | As N.C. Baptists exclude churches from their association that are "affirming" to homosexuals, Mark File, a gay deacon in his Baptist church, wonders if they've given any thought to what Jesus would think. (Greensboro News Record, N.C.)
  • Sacramento Methodists protest church ban on homosexuals | Sacramento United Methodists raised their voices in protest Thursday, holding a demonstration in opposition to the church's decision to bar a gay Virginia man from the nation's second largest Protestant denomination. (KXTV, Ca.)

Church life:

  • Russia builds church on disputed island | The building of a Russian Orthodox church on an islet claimed by both Russia and Japan is being called "a provocative act" by some Japanese. (The Washington Times)
  • Meetings of Baptist groups show denominational variety | SBC decries gay marriage while progressives fear political taint (The Huntsville Times, Ala.)
  • St. Albans Church welcomes community to new facility | The Christ Church International opened the doors last month to its new facility in St. Albans. A two-day ecumenical and community program celebrated the growing congregation's new home and its continued community service. (Queens Chronicle, N.Y.)

Drunk driver hits church van:

  • Woman charged with DUI in Chicago crash | A 29-year-old woman was charged Friday with drunken driving in a crash involving a church van that sent 14 adults and children to area hospitals, police said. (Associated Press)
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  • Over a dozen hurt in Chicago van accident | A church van was involved in a crash with two other vehicles on the University of Chicago campus Thursday night, and at least 13 people were hospitalized, authorities said. (Associated Press)
  • Bono courts Christian right for causes | When he's not piquing their ire by using profanities on the air, U2 front-man Bono is enlisting the help of America's Christian Right to get drugs to African AIDS victims. (CBS)

Missions & ministry:

  • Instructor combines teaching martial arts with Christian faith | The children stand with feet apart, arms extended, little hands tightly clenched in fists. Every face is turned toward the black-clad man at the front of the room. Marc Anthony Baca begins taking his Tae Kwon Do students through a series of kicks and punches. He shouts out encouragement and tells them they are the master of themselves. (Clovis NewsJournal, N.M.)
  • Graham Festival a success in some respects, but racial mix baffles organizers | Racial mix, attendance did not meet expectations. (Shreveport Times)
  • After Katrina, charity helps the helpers | The Christian Community Foundation of South Florida has set up a relief fund for faith-based organizations working in the Gulf Coast area. (Miami Herald)
  • College students take ownership of their faith | More young people consider religion key to their lives, speakers at Spirit & Place say (Indianapolis Star)
  • Inspectors flunk Christian café | Owners say it's because they'll cater to teens (Springfield State Journal Register, Ill.)

Life ethics:

  • Austrian woman sues doctor and hospital for sterilising her without consent | A woman who was sterilised by doctors without her consent when she was 19 is suing her parents and health officials so that she can afford treatment to help her have a child. (British Medical Journal)
  • Dignitas is investigated for helping healthy woman to die | The Swiss euthanasia group Dignitas, which claims to offer a dignified death to terminally ill people, is being investigated after a healthy German woman was given a lethal mix of drugs by providing a false medical report. (British Medical Journal)

Stem cells:

  • 'Stem cell therapy is my only chance' | Stem cell treatments may be seen as controversial, futuristic and scientifically unproven, but some desperately ill people are looking for cures now. (BBC)
  • Stem cell agency wants lawsuits dismissed | California's embattled stem cell agency on Thursday pleaded with a judge to toss out two lawsuits that have prevented it from borrowing the money it needs to dole out $3 billion in research grants. (Associated Press)
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Intelligent Design & evolution:

  • Science, religion are not enemies | Because every few years this country, in its infinite tolerance, insists on hearing yet another appeal of the Scopes monkey trial, I feel obliged to point out what would otherwise be superfluous—that the two greatest scientists in the history of our species, Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein, were both religious. (Charles Krauthammer)
  • Crusade for the classroom | As intelligent design sweeps America, a court will rule for the first time whether it is science or religion; with profound impacts for education (The Age, Australia)
  • A round of applause for the voters in Dover, Pa. | If Pat Robertson thinks the people of Dover, Pa., are no longer worthy of God's help, wait till he gets a load of the Rev. Britt Minshall.( Elmer Smith, Philadelphia Daily News)
  • Much ado about evolution | If residents of Dover, PA., are visited with disaster anytime soon--a flood, an earthquake, a hail of fire and brimstone--no one can say Pat Robertson didn't warn them. Doverites voted last week to oust all eight members up for re-election on the school board that had mandated the mention of "intelligent design," or i.d., in biology classrooms. By doing so, the televangelist said on his TV talk show, The 700 Club, "you just voted God out of your city." (Time)


  • Faithful head to 'Narnia' | Thirteen-year-old David Sutton walked through the emptying auditorium at Focus on the Family, carrying a homemade wooden sword and shield. (Colorado Springs Gazette)
  • 'Narnia' film clips wow fans at Focus | Christian author's stepson is a hit, too, at Springs preview (Rocky Mountain News, Col.)
  • Christians split on views | Harry Potter vs. Chronicles of Narnia (San Bernardino Sun)
  • Pastors screen 'Chronicles Of Narnia' at Focus HQ | About 700 people turned out at the Focus on the Family campus Thursday for a sneak preview of the new movie "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." (Associated Press)
  • The secret of the wardrobe | It took CS Lewis just three months to knock out the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, but the work had one major critic … his friend JRR Tolkien. Yet the book went on to be one of the all time great fantasy novels. What makes it so outstanding? (BBC)
  • The Lion, The Witch and the enthralling epic | There can be few films more eagerly awaited than The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. It has been 30 years since Hollywood first toyed with the idea of bringing CS Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia to the screen. (The Telegraph, UK)
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  • Mae's `The Everglow' offers delicate, sensitive melodies | "As musicians and storytellers, we want as broad of an audience as possible," Marshall said. "We've (also) always disagreed with the idea of selling Christianity." (Charlotte Observer)
  • New beginning for New Ending | All of the band members are not shy to call themselves Christians, but they "don't like to bring our religion into our music," he said. "We're just a band. For a lot of bands, religion is their calling. In our band, we keep our Christian values but we all just play music. We want our music to be judged as just music." (Arkansas Traveler)


  • Students make spiritual journey in Spain | Even today, it is estimated that nearly half of the people who make the pilgrimage to St. James's tomb do so for religious reasons. (Michigan Daily)
  • Trust in God calmed Ashcroft on 9/11 | The Bible's promise that God will displace fear with power, love and a sound mind steadied John Ashcroft amid the chaos of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the former U.S. attorney general said Thursday. (The Virginian-Pilot)
  • 'This is a movement in transition' | Reform Jewish worshippers turn to yoga as a unique complement to traditional service (Houston Chronicle)
  • Morality crippled without religion | Did I miss something? Am I dreaming? Or did Christians become public enemy number one overnight? (D.J. Johnson, Bowling Green News, Ohio)


  • Hilda a woman of influence in early church | It is no secret that men hold the reins of power in the church. Hilda is an extraordinary exception to that otherwise one-sided reality. (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post)
  • Ahead of their time | As Europe emerged from the Dark Ages, Arab scholars were already pioneering surprising breakthroughs in the sciences. A stunning Paris exhibit celebrates their discoveries (Time Europe)

More articles of interest:

  • Holy chic! Secular fashion with a Christian twist | With everyone and everything getting a makeover these days, it's safe to say that religion has not been overlooked. (Canton Repository, Ohio)
  • Trusting the teacher in the grey-flannel suit | The one management thinker every educated person should read (The Economist)
  • The Word in a flash—even the begats | A new version of the Bible aims for 24-hour reading time (News & Observer, N.C.)

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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.
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