Today's top five stories

1.Federal appeals courts in New York and San Francisco rule against partial-birth abortion ban
Both courts say the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act doesn't have enough of an exception for the health of the mother, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision is particularly interesting for its interpretation of the Supreme Court's recent unanimous Ayotte decision. "Congress, notwithstanding existing Supreme Court law and the multiple opportunities it was given to limit the act's scope, passed an overly broad ban that it was aware likely violated the Constitution as construed by the Court," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote. "In so doing, Congress left it to the judiciary to sort out which parts of the statute are constitutional and which are not. This is precisely what Ayotte reminded us Congress may not do." Let's hope the Supreme Court chooses to weigh in on whether that's a correct interpretation.

2.World Magazine questions Focus on the Family's ties to Abramoff
It appears that Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed enlisted James Dobson and Focus on the Family in their fight against expanded gambling in Louisiana. Abramoff and Reed's client, the Coushatta Tribe, wanted to fight off the gambing expansion to protect its own gambling interests in the state. That the article appears in the conservative magazine World is a bit of a surprise, especially given the article's edge. Here's how it ends:

Tom Minnery, a senior vice president at Focus on the Family … responded to the e-mails about Mr. Dobson by speculating that "it sounds like these guys were trying to take credit" for work Focus was already doing. He said Focus on the Family works on dozens of similar issues across the country each year, and that ...
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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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