Today's top five stories

1. Alito votes against Roberts, Scalia, and Thomas on death penalty case
Samuel Alito's first case as Supreme Court justice was a life ethics issue, and he apparently voted not to lift a lower court's stay of the execution of Missouri's Michael Anthony Taylor. Opinion varies on whether it's significant that his vote went against the three conservative Catholic justices whom observers had predicted he would emulate: Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. The Times of London headlines its story "Alito's first judgment surprises conservatives," but doesn't actually quote any surprised conservatives. The bloggers at National Review Online don't seem surprised.

The Associated Press gets the best quotes from a jurisprudence perspective, with Richard Dieter of the Death Penalty Information Center remarking, "It's a reasonable, cautionary vote. It doesn't necessarily indicate leanings toward death penalty defendants. But at least he's going to be his own person." The Kansas City Star has the best religion anecdotes, noting that Taylor spent yesterday with the Bible, the Koran, a tract called If you died today, would you go to heaven?, and Pastor Kim Gladney of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church in Kansas City. SCOTUSBlog's Lyle Denniston has more analysis.

2. Fundamentalist Christian terrorists in Guatemala? Guatemalan police say they have arrested seven members of a group known as Vengadores Del Pueblo (Social Cleansing of the Town). "This was a fundamentalist Christian organization in character that harangued the town's population on religious themes, saying things like 'having two women is against the Bible,'" national police commissioner Victor Soto told the media. ...

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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 editorial director. 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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