Today's Top Five

1. Morning-after contraceptive back on the table
The Food and Drug Administration is planning to reopen discussions with the manufacturer of Plan B, while debate continues on whether it's a contraceptive or an abortifacient (pro-life critics say it prohibits embryonic implantation in the uterus). Talks are only beginning, but it appears that FDA officials want the "morning-after pill" available without a prescription—but only to women over 18.

2. What did Naveed Haq believe and when did he believe it?
"Naveed Haq, now widely portrayed as a Muslim American so angry at Israel that he shot up a Jewish charity in Seattle, had recently converted to Christianity," The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reported yesterday. The article went on say that the suspect in the Jewish Federation shootings fell away from Christianity as well, but it adds an interesting twist to a story that captures the tension between religions in America.

3. Greg Boyd: "America is not the light of the world"
Greg Boyd may be the black sheep of evangelicals for his opinion that the church needs to keep its hands out of politics, a New York Times profile suggests. The Times quotes Boyd saying, "When the church wins the culture wars, it inevitably loses," in a six-part series he delivered from the pulpit. His remarks have unsurprisingly angered some parishioners: 1,000 of his 5,000 parishioners reportedly left over the series. The article doesn't make much of Boyd's theological controversies or whether his promotion of open theism cost the church any members, but it would have made an interesting comparison. Leadership's blog "Out of Ur" has excerpts from Boyd's The Myth of a Christian Nation (part 1 | 2), if you're interested. The Times links to audio files.

4. Mel-tdown
After the success of The Passion of The Christ, Mel Gibson gained a lot of fans among an evangelicals who may have not warmed up to the actor in his Lethal Weapon days. Gibson may lose some of those very fans, though, after he spewed anti-Semitic insults to L.A. police while being arrested for drunk driving.

5. Cutthroat competition. Mimicking "idols." Ah, gospel music at its finest.
American Idol has been converted before—but nothing like this. The "Gospel Dream," which pits future gospel artists against each other in a bid to receive a recording contract, is in its second season on the Gospel Music Channel.

Quote of the day
"He's been killed! Maybe a dingo got my boy!"

—The Genesis 37 account of Jacob mourning the death of Joseph, as told in the second volume of the "Aussie Bible" series (fair dinkum!). The first volume, the Gospels, sold 100,000 copies in the land down under.

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More articles

Contraceptives | Abortion | Stem cell research | Evolution and intelligent design | Gay marriage | Politics | Middle East | Religious freedom | Church and state | Church life | Evangelism | Catholicism | Sex abuse | Financial scandal | Entertainment | Mel Gibson | People | Other articles of interest


  1. FDA may loosen sales of "morning-after pill" | Non-prescription sales of a "morning-after" contraceptive could be approved for women 18 and older within weeks. (Reuters)

  2. FDA to reopen discussions with Plan B manufacturer | The FDA said it is ready to engage in detailed discussions with the maker of the "morning-after pill," sold as Plan B—talks that could lead to over-the-counter sales of the controversial emergency contraceptive to women at least 18 years old. (The Washington Post)

  3. Plan B pill may be approaching wider release | The FDA, in a surprise move that angered religious conservatives, offered a proposal to allow the "morning-after" birth control pill to be sold without a prescription to women age 18 and older. (The Los Angeles Times)

  4. New dawn for morning after pill | At long last, the FDA caves to political pressure and signals interest in approving the Plan B pill. (Editorial, The Los Angeles Times)

  5. Also: Politics and machismo stunt Philippine birth control | Because of its opposition to artificial birth control, Catholicism is being partly blamed for the population boom. (Reuters)

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  1. Poll: S.D. voters against abortion ban | South Dakota voters are leaning against the state's tough new ban on abortions, which will be voted on in November. (Associated Press)

  2. Argentine court okays abortion for rape victim | An Argentine court ruled to grant an abortion to a mentally impaired rape victim, four months pregnant, in a case that has polarized this Roman Catholic country where the procedure is restricted. (Reuters)

  3. Pious and prochoice | The abortion-rights movement rediscovers religion (The Boston Globe)

  4. Pregnant and frightened | Criminalizing the act of driving minors to abortion clinics in other states won't do anything to reduce teen pregnancy, but it could drive teen abortion underground, making it unsafe as well as illegal. (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

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Stem cell research:

  1. Foes rally against stem cell initiative | Mixing religious fervor with scientific skepticism, opponents of a proposed constitutional amendment to protect embryonic stem cell research gathered for the first in a series of rallies across Missouri. (Associated Press)

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  1. A pox on stem cell research | Medical progress has stirred religious and moral objections throughout history — objections that were overcome as the benefits of medical advances became overwhelmingly obvious. (Deborah Blum, The New York Times)

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Evolution and intelligent design:

  1. Kan. Republicans vie for nomination | Three members of the Kansas Board of Education will try to stave off defeat over their support of new science standards that call evolution into question. (Associated Press)

  2. Election could flip Kan. evolution stance | Evolution's defenders are working to defeat Kansas Board of Education members who oppose modern Darwinian theory by challenging three incumbent Republican conservatives. (The Washington Post)

  3. Evolution's backers in Kansas start counterattack | God and Charles Darwin are not on the primary ballot in Kansas on Tuesday, but once again a contentious schools election has religion and science at odds in a state that has restaged a three-quarter-century battle over the teaching of evolution. (The New York Times)

  4. Museum tells Earth's history with Bible | Like most natural history museums, this one has exhibits showing dinosaurs roaming the Earth. Except here, the giant reptiles share the forest with Adam and Eve. (Associated Press)

  5. The language of life | In the border war between science and faith, the doctrine of "intelligent design" is a sly subterfuge — a marzipan confection of an idea presented in the shape of something more substantial. (Robert Lee Hotz, The Los Angeles Times)

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Gay marriage:

  1. British court denies marriage of 2 women | A British court refused to recognize the same-sex marriage of two university professors Monday, ruling that marriage has long been accepted in Britain as a union between a man and a woman. (Associated Press)

  2. Gay marriage case began with unusual call | The battle over gay marriage in Washington began in 2004 when a county executive was sued because he wouldn't ignore the state law to issue marriage licenses for homosexuals. (Associated Press)

  3. Lesbians fail to have "marriage" recognised | A lesbian couple lost a legal battle on Monday to have their Canadian marriage legally recognised in Britain. (Reuters)

  4. As vote nears, opponents attack ban's wording | Opponents of a constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Virginia have been fighting the proposal with both emotional pleas and cerebral arguments. (The Washington Post)

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  1. Gay-marriage advocates grapple with their next course of action  |Like civil-rights crusaders of the 1960s, champions of gay rights have long looked to the courts to grant them what they believed they couldn't get elsewhere. (The Seattle Times)

  2. Groups target state's proposed amendment on same-sex marriage | Scores of advocacy groups are mustering their troops for a referendum on a proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Virginia. (The Virginian-Pilot)

  3. Same-Sex Marriage Wins by Losing | What the New York and Washington opinions share is a heartless lack of concern for the rights of the hundreds of thousands of children being raised by same-sex couples.  (Dan Savage, The New York Times)

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  1. Disowning conservative politics, evangelical pastor rattles flock | Gregory Boyd refuses to mix religion and politics from behind the pulpit. (The New York Times)

  2. God, guns, gays—they rule | Scriptural references are flying like a plague of locusts in one of America's most watched governor's races this year but only about half of Ohioans belong to a church. (Associated Press)

  3. Pastors not playing the God card | Not all evangelical churches willing to push political agendas. (The Columbus Dispatch)

  4. Coalition denies it endorses candidate | A Seminole campaign flier stirs confusion about backing from a Christian conservative group. (The Orlando Sentinel)

  5. Moral tone shrouds unjust acts | Unflinching allegiance to the Bush administration—from the environment to the war in Iraq—is inimical to the Scriptures that we evangelicals claim as our guide. (Randall Balmer, The Times-Union, Albany, NY)

  6. Evangelicals are broadening their reach | Moving away from monolithic view will help them become a more powerful force. (William McKenzie, Dallas Morning News)

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Middle East:

  1. Dispatches from Lebanon's sectarian lines | Some Christians in this town north of the Lebanese capital don't want a cease-fire: They want to see Hezbollah beaten first. (Associated Press)

  2. Pope appeals for Middle East cease-fire | Pope Benedict XVI appealed Sunday for an immediate cease-fire in the Middle East, hours after the deadliest attack in nearly three weeks of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas. (Associated Press)

  3. A Frantic Rush Overwhelms a Lebanese Border Town | Thousands of people have flocked to Rmeish, a Lebanese town one mile from the Israel border, apparently believing they would be safer there because it is largely Christian. (The New York Times)

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  1. Shiite pilgrimage leads to church | On perilous border, Lebanese Christians take in Muslims. (The Washington Post)

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Religious freedom:

  1. Bolivia keeps Catholicism in schools | President Evo Morales has backed off a proposal to remove Roman Catholic instruction from Bolivia's schools, easing a dispute with church officials over his plan to place greater emphasis on Indian faiths. (Associated Press)

  2. China church demolition leads to clash | Police clashed with 3,000 Christians protesting the forced demolition of a partially built church in eastern China, leaving four people with serious injuries, a human rights group said Monday. (Associated Press)

  3. Also: China confirms church demolition | China confirmed it had torn down a newly built Christian church that it said was built without approval, and it arrested two people in the eastern city of Hangzhou who were involved in the construction. (Reuters)

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Church and state:

  1. Families challenging religious influence in Delaware schools | A battle rages over the level to which religion can be accommodated in a Delaware school district. (The New York Times)

  2. Kent school Bible club dispute becomes a federal case | Grumbling over the Christians-only membership plan for a bible club has now erupted into a full-scale federal case. (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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Church life

  1. Churches putting town out of business | Stafford, Texas, has 51 tax-exempt religious institutions and wants no more: 'Somebody's got to pay for police, fire and schools.' (The Los Angeles Times)

  2. Search for a spiritual home | The consolidation of parishes has left some feeling displaced (The Boston Globe)

  3. Man of God tends to a dwindling flock | Upon his visit, the Archbishop of Tyre discovers that many Christians have already fled Lebanon. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  4. Pastor's ouster splits Bellevue megachurch | A charismatic founding pastor who was fired may siphon off flock and start his own congregation. (The Tennessean)

  5. Joyful (acoustically perfect) noise | The Chicago branch of huge Willow Creek Church is excited about the prospect of worshiping in the legendary Auditorium Theatre (The Chicago Tribune)

  6. SCLC trumpets global nonviolence program | Less than two years removed from infighting that nearly crippled it, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference is determined to teach the world how to resolve its differences (Associated Press)

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  1. Some area families skip vacation for mission trips | Like family vacations, the summer months the most popular time for short-term mission trips because kid are out of school. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

  2. YMCAs weigh faith vs. fitness | Some conferees in Nashville urge focus on the 'C' (The Tennessean)

  3. Airborne Chaplains Corp oldest in military | They look like the other soldiers, but the Army's airborne chaplains are noncombatants who carry camo-clad Bibles instead of weapons when it's time to leap from aircraft onto the battlefield. (Associated Press)

  4. Cooper to break ground on Ariz. center | Alice Cooper's Christian nonprofit organization, Solid Rock Foundation, has begun fundraising efforts for a 20,000-square-foot facility. (Associated Press)

  5. South Korean Christians in Afghanistan despite warning | South Korean Christians are attending a peace festival in Afghanistan despite government warnings that they could be potential targets for attacks. (Reuters)

  6. Also: Is missionary work appropriate in Islamic world? | Is it safe or not if Christians go to an Islamic country to conduct missionary work? (The Korea Times)

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  1. Catholic women face excommunication | Eight women will proclaim themselves priests in an upcoming ceremony that won't be recognized by the Catholic church, which has a 2,000-year tradition of an all-male priesthood. (Associated Press)

  2. Reclaiming the feminine spirit in the Catholic priesthood | N.Va. woman is among 12 to receive an ordination not recognized by church. (The Washington Post)

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Sex abuse:

  1. Monks plead not guilty to sex charges | Four monks pleaded not guilty to charges alleging a boy was sexually assaulted at a Texas monastery that draws thousands of visitors every year. (Associated Press)

  2. Priest is sentenced in sex assault of a teenager | A 62-year-old Catholic priest was sentenced to four years in state prison for the sexual assault of a 15-year-old boy nearly two decades ago (The Boston Globe)

  3. Minister's sexual assault trial set to begin this week | Wife struggles to lead church as tithes, attendance dwindle (The Dallas Morning News)

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Financial scandal:

  1. Auditors say priest took $1.4 million before ouster | A Roman Catholic priest with a taste for the high life helped himself to $1.4 million in church funds in the roughly six years before his ouster. (The New York Times)

  2. Also: Audit reveals priest's account of spending | An audit of the $1.4 million turned up missing while the Rev. Michael Jude Fay ran St. John Roman Catholic Church gave parishioners the first explanation from Father Fay himself. (The New York Times)

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  1. Man on a mission to root out false prophets | For as long as anybody can remember, spiritual con-artists have ripped off the faithful, preying on the sick, the elderly, the lonely and the desperate. (The Lexington Herald-Leader)

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  1. Singers reach for a higher-powered 'Idol' | Dozens come to D.C. for a shot at 'gospel dream' talent show. (The Washington Post)

  2. Thousands worship, then rock out at Creation Festival | Roughly 22,000 Christians prayed, rocked out, networked and maybe even checked out the baptismal pool in the dust bowl known as the Gorge Amphitheatre. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

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Mel Gibson:

  1. Film industry assesses Gibson fallout | Mel Gibson may have a tougher time appealing to faith-based audiences given his arrest last week on suspicion of drunk driving and remarks he reportedly made while being taken into custody. (Associated Press)

  2. Gibson's remarks in spotlight after arrest | Despite an apology by Mel Gibson, more details are being sought about his reported anti-Semitic tirade during an arrest for drunken driving. (Associated Press)

  3. Gibson arrest sparks new accusations of anti-Semitism | The arrest of Mel Gibson for drunk driving prompted renewed accusations on Sunday that the Oscar-winning director and actor harboured anti-Semitic feelings. (Reuters)

  4. Booze and bigotry | Mel Gibson: It wasn't just the tequila talking. (Eugene Robinson, The Washington Post)

  5. Gibson's newest 'Lethal Weapon' — his mouth | Where does the penance begin? A hundred thousand rosaries and six months of Hail Marys? (Steve Lopez, The Los Angeles Times)

  6. Mel's turn to feel the scourge | Hollywood is grappling with an unusual dilemma: can a movie star atone for a racist outburst with a contrite apology and a hasty enrolment in a 12-step program? (Phillip McCarthy, The Sydney Morning Herald)

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  1. Prayers of healing for burn victim | Choir member still in critical condition one day after her boyfriend doused her with gasoline and set her ablaze. (The Washington Post)

  2. At a Georgetown church, a display of repentance | Police commander asks for pardon for a racially insensitive remark he made in a community meeting. (The Washington Post)

  3. Reggie's (whole) story | Before his death, the "Minister of Defense" came to the realization that blending faith with pro sports and commerce might not be good for religion. (Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today)

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  1. Our Lady of Discord | The founder of Domino's Pizza, Thomas S. Monaghan, has brought that same sense of mission to turn a lone Michigan pizza joint into a multibillion-dollar global brand. to the task of giving his pizza fortune away. (The New York Times)

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Other articles of interest:

  1. Suspect in Jewish Federation shootings recently baptized | Man who grew up Muslim drifted from Christianity. (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  2. Bible in Australian lingo lends appeal to masses Down Under | God to Eve: Eat that apple and you're dead meat. (Christian Science Monitor)

  3. Man finds 188-year-old Bible in dump bin Michael Hoskins is fending off offers approaching $1,000 for his recent discovery—a 188-year-old King James Bible that may be one of only six in existence. (Associated Press)

  4. Tustin woman puts her faith in dolls to spread the Word of God | The huggable Soft Saints that Teri O'Toole developed in her garage have gone marching into a burgeoning market for religious toys. (The Los Angeles Times)

  5. Cops: Wife pulls gun on pastor in church | A preacher's wife was arrested after police say she pulled a gun on her husband because she allegedly was upset over text messages he had sent to a member of a church youth group. (Associated Press)

  6. Evangelicals spar over climate | Global warming is beginning to heat up in the evangelical community. (The Washington Times)

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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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