Times of London: Vatican to "rehabilitate" Judas's reputation
When it comes to official Vatican pronouncements, it's usually good policy to be skeptical when reading summaries in the mainstream press. When the press reports what the Vatican is going to do in the future, it's best to crank the skepticism up to maximum.

That said, The Times of London might actually be right in its report today that Judas Iscariot "is to be given a makeover by Vatican scholars … on the ground that he was not deliberately evil, but was just 'fulfilling his part in God's plan.'"

The paper suggests that the Vatican's move is related to the planned publication of the so-called Gospel of Judas—which has been caught up in some Da Vinci Code-style silliness.

"Though not written by Judas, it is said to reflect the belief among early Christians — now gaining ground in the Vatican — that in betraying Christ Judas was fulfilling a divine mission, which led to the arrest and Crucifixion of Jesus and hence to man's salvation," the Times says. Brandmüller tells the paper that the manuscript could "serve to reconstruct the events and context of Christ's teachings as they were seen by the early Christians, [including the teaching that Jesus always preached] forgiveness for one's enemies."

"In scholarly circles, it has long been unfashionable to demonize Judas and Catholics in Britain are likely to welcome Judas's rehabilitation," Richard Owen wrote.

In fact, Judas is almost always a hero in most modern depictions, or at least he's a conflicted protagonist whose betrayal was all Jesus' idea.

What the Times story really needs is a heavy dose of theology. It seems to miss the point that one can sin egregiously and still "fulfill [one's] part in God's plan." God's desire was not that Judas should betray him, but he used the betrayal to bring about the salvation of the world. It doesn't make Judas any less responsible for his action. This notion of Felix Culpa is Christian Theology 101 and as old as the New Testament.

"The Vatican may decide to be very kindly towards him," The Times says in a related editorial. "Yet, Judas is surely a 'bad chap.'" Might the Devil, too, "try to use the 'a necessary evil' clause to his advantage?" the paper asks. Might we all?

Catholic-evangelical tensions aside, Weblog is confident that the Vatican isn't going to start parading Judas around as a hero who followed Jesus better than all of those chicken disciples who wanted to see Jesus live.

Pat's out, but the Galilee project seems on
You can read the news links below about Israel breaking ties with Pat Robertson, but let us interject that some articles suggest that the whole plan to build an evangelical tourism site in Galilee has been cancelled. That doesn't seem to be the case.

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Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson (whose predecessor gushed over Robertson in 2004) has given orders for his office to "stop all contact" with every group associated with the broadcaster. Could this affect some Israeli businesses? Many Israeli businesses? The International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem? It'll be interesting to see.

Hirchson told Haaretz that the order did not apply to "all the evangelical community, God forbid."

But Ministry spokesman Ido Hartuv suggests to The Times of London that evangelicals who want to do tourism business in Israel may have to prove that they can't stand Pat. Maybe sign a disloyalty oath or something.

"The contract is still open—just not with Mr. Robertson," Hartuv said. "If there are other Christian leaders, they are most welcome to sign a contract to bring Christian tourists to the State of Israel. We want to see who in the group supports his (Robertson's) statements. Those who support the statements cannot do business with us. Those that publicly support Ariel Sharon's recovery are welcome to do business with us. We have to check this very, very carefully."

Israel should never have included Robertson in plans for the Galilee project to begin with. He has manipulated too many similar projects to his own personal financial ends. Israel tourism's breaking ties with him is healthy for Israeli politics and for the future of evangelical relations with Israel. And, by the way, no evangelical leader opposes Sharon's recovery. But is there something more behind that "very, very carefully" line? If Israel's next step will be to force the other evangelical partners into undying, unwavering support of the Israeli prime minister and all of his policies, there's going to be a problem. Evangelical groups are being asked to put up $50 million for the project.

In the meantime, Robertson has sent a fence-mending letter to Sharon's son, Omri (p.1, p. 2).

More articles

Pat Robertson:

  1. Israel rejects Pat Robertson funding | While Hirchson pulled the plug on Robertson, the project is going ahead as planned and looking for alternative avenues of finance (The Jerusalem Post)

  2. Israel won't do business with Robertson | Israel will not do business with Pat Robertson after the evangelical leader suggested Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's massive stroke was divine punishment for the Gaza withdrawal, a tourism official said Wednesday (Associated Press)

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  1. Israelis' anger at evangelist may delay Christian center | Israel said that it was breaking off negotiations on a tourism project with Pat Robertson in response to his remarks about Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke (The New York Times)

  2. Israel cuts Robertson from Galilee tourist park | Angered by Pat Robertson's suggestion that God punished Prime Minister Ariel Sharon with a stroke, Israel has booted the religious broadcaster from a group of American evangelicals it is working with to establish a Christian tourism center in Galilee (The Virginian-Pilot)

  3. Prophet of doom's message costs him Bible theme park | The Israeli Tourism Ministry pulled the plug on a £40 million partnership with the controversial preacher to build a biblical theme park on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, (The Times, London)

  4. Robertson tries to save Jesusland after Sharon gibe | "The contract is still open - just not with Mr Robertson. If there are other Christian leaders, they are most welcome to sign a contract to bring Christian tourists to the State of Israel." (The Times, London)

  5. Israel punishes US TV evangelist | Israel is pulling out of a $50 million deal with US TV evangelist Pat Robertson after he said Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine retribution (BBC)

  6. Planned tourist site on hold | Following Pat Robertson's controversial remarks on Sharon, Israel suspends talks with evangelical leader to develop center there (Newsday)

  7. Israel: Woe unto Pat Robertson for criticizing Sharon | Nation cuts ties with Christian broadcaster (CNN)

  8. Israel may scuttle evangelical complex | The Israeli Tourism Ministry is threatening to block the Rev. Pat Robertson's plan for an evangelical center alongside the Sea of Galilee, after the televangelist suggested last week that Prime Minister Sharon's stroke was a punishment from God (Forward, Jewish newspaper)

  9. Israel suspends contact with Pat Robertson over PM's stroke jibe | Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson said the order did not apply to "all the evangelical community, God forbid." (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

  10. Hey Pat, leave God's judgment in God's hands | There was a man once who knew the mind of God and actually did speak on God's behalf. Brother Robertson, you aren't him (Terry Hull, Edmonton Sun)

  11. A prayer for Pat:Shhhhh! | "The 700 Club" founder is hurting the conservative Christian cause (Editorial, Times Record-Herald, Middletown, NY)

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  1. Big mouth Pat | Pat Robertson isn't nearly as influential as the mainstream press wishes him to be (Paul Chesser, The American Spectator)

Interfaith relations:

  1. L.A. Cathedral disinvites Christian unity event | Pastor decides not to allow conference after realizing the role of a self-proclaimed mystic (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Cardinal in ethnic row over 'Christian Scotland' remarks | Keith O'Brien's call to "re-Christianise" Scotland has angered Hindu and Muslim leaders (The Scotsman)

Wheaton College and Catholics:

  1. Wheaton College prof fired for converting | Huh. Didn't we just read this pretty old story in the Wall Street Journal? Déjà vu. (Chicago Sun-Times)

  2. Wall Street Journal response | Wheaton College does not comment publicly on specific personnel issues. But here's the College's hiring policies in general on theological identity (Wheaton College)

  3. Tests of faith | Wheaton of Illinois faces scrutiny for firing professor who became Catholic; Oklahoma Christian U. may fire those who divorce (Inside Higher Ed)

Oklahoma Christian University divorce policy:

  1. University backs off divorce policy | Oklahoma Christian University is backing off a policy that would have allowed the private campus to fire workers who get divorced (The Oklahoman, video)

  2. Wednesday: Divorce can mean loss of job at university | Staff and faculty members at Oklahoma Christian University could get fired if they get divorced, according to a policy the private school plans to implement next month (The Oklahoman, video)

  3. At Oklahoma Christian U., new policy could mean dismissal for employees who divorce | Faculty and staff members at Oklahoma Christian University who get divorced may lose their jobs after a new policy goes into effect this semester (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd)

Higher education:

  1. Belhaven receives warning from SACS | Accrediting body tells college to fix problems at two satellite campuses or face consequences (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.)

  2. Also: Belhaven offers liberal arts with evangelical roots | Whether the challenges are serious or not, Roger Parrott is the man for the hour (Matt Friedeman, The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.)

  3. White bread and lox | Near Boston, a Christian theological school and a Jewish college attempt a group hug of biblical proportions (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  4. Samford trustees hire new president | Andrew Westmoreland was selected Tuesday as Samford University's 18th president, succeeding Thomas E. Corts, who held the job for the past 22 years (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

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  1. Incoming Mercer president highlights plans | Mercer University's incoming president, William D. Underwood, is dividing his time these days between Macon and Baylor University in Waco, Texas (The Macon Telegraph, Ga.)

  2. Churches work to attract young adults | Churches are turning to pop culture, hip-hop and Hollywood to draw in teens and one of the most difficult-to-reach population segments—college students (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

California ID class suit:

  1. Parents sue over 'design' class | The Frazier Mountain High School class is a philosophy elective, not a required science course. The parents suing the district, however, say it still violates separation of church and state. (Bakersfield Californian)

  2. 1st suit in state to attack 'Intelligent Design' filed | A group of parents in the small Tehachapi mountain community of Lebec on Tuesday filed the first lawsuit challenging the teaching of "intelligent design" in a California public school (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Class faces new test | An "intelligent design" group sent a letter to the El Tejon Unified School District Wednesday urging that the district either change the name of its "Philosophy of Design" class or change the materials (The Bakersfield Californian)

  4. A fault line for 'intelligent design' | School trustees approved the new course, "Philosophy of Design," at a special meeting on New Year's Day. Attorneys for the district suggested the course could survive a legal challenge if it was called "philosophy," the lawsuit said, and the board approved it on a 3-2 vote (Los Angeles Times)

  5. California parents file suit over origins of life course | The course is a four-week high school elective on intelligent design, creationism and evolution and is being offered as a philosophy course (The New York Times)

  6. Calif. school sued over evolution class | A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued Tuesday by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution (Associated Press)

  7. Intelligent design hits snag in Calif. schools | Coming off a major legal victory in Pennsylvania last month, opponents of intelligent design are seeking to replicate that win in California (Morning Edition, NPR)

  8. Flawed design snags 'intelligent design' class | Properly devised and balanced intelligent design classes can be offered to students in public schools, just as other theories, philosophies and comparative religion courses are offered (Editorial, The Bakersfield Californian)

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Evolution and ID:

  1. 11th Circuit: Lawyer did not mislead during evolution case argument | The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Wednesday cleared an Atlanta attorney of accusations that he misled the court during oral arguments over stickers in Cobb County, Ga., science books that question the validity of the theory of evolution (Fulton County Daily Report)

  2. Survival of the evolution debate | Why Darwin is still a lightning rod (Adam Wolfson, The Weekly Standard)


  1. Religious group's assembly investigated | The Chicago Board of Education is investigating whether two "character education" assemblies held at Lane Technical High School on Wednesday violated the separation of church and state after receiving complaints from students (Chicago Sun-Times)

  2. Christian groups oppose bill to establish Bible course | Officials with the religious and conservative groups said at a news conference Wednesday the course is not needed because Alabama law and state Board of Education policy already allows teachers to teach the Bible as literature (Associated Press)

  3. School defends expulsion over kiss | Academy faces student lawsuit (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  4. Also: Christian school denies wrongful expulsion allegations from lesbian student | A Christian high school in Georgia is defending itself from claims that it wrongfully expelled a lesbian student for kissing a girl (Court TV)

  5. Dolls caught in religious fight | Ascension Catholic school backs boycott, claiming company supports pro-choice, pro-lesbian agenda (Florida Today, Melbourne)

Sexual ethics:

  1. Town may make carrying condoms mandatory | A western Colombian city councilman wants to require everyone in town 14 or older to carry a condom to prevent pregnancy and disease, outraging local priests (Associated Press)

  2. Also: Carry a condom or else, Colombian town tells men | A western Colombian town has angered the influential Catholic Church with a novel scheme to cut AIDS infections, threatening males over age 14 with fines if they fail to carry a condom (Reuters)

  3. Bishop blames parents for rampant immorality | The rampant immorality and prostitution, especially among girls, can be blamed on mothers, the Lugazi Diocese Bishop has said (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)


  1. Sony Music launches gay label | Sony Music on Tuesday said it was launching the first major music label dedicated to nurturing lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gendered artists (Reuters)

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  1. Arrest of gay men in India fuels AIDS epidemic: UN | The arrest of four people on charges of homosexuality and running an online gay club in northern India has triggered criticism by NGOs and the United Nations' AIDS body, UNAIDS (Reuters)

  2. Bill to provide benefits to same-sex couples, others announced | Opponents of same-sex marriage announced legislation Wednesday to provide hospital visitation and other rights to gay couples, intending to counter claims that banning same-sex marriage in Massachusetts would deny certain benefits to gays and lesbians (Associated Press)


  1. Gay rights group wins lawsuit attorney fees | A Milwaukee attorney says he should not have to pay $87,000 in legal fees to a gay rights group for filing what a Milwaukee judge has ruled is a frivolous lawsuit (The Capital Times, Madison, Wi.)

  2. Woman sues priest for child support | On Tuesday, advocates for survivors of clergy abuse presented Cardinal Francis George with a plea to make Jason Martin fulfill his responsibilities as a parent and pay up (Chicago Tribune)

  3. Suits against anti-cult blogger provide test for online speech | Self-styled 'deprogrammer' Rick Ross says litigation is the price he pays for using the Internet to expose cult practices (New Jersey Law Journal)

  4. Litigious American bishops | Why target opponents of bias in the media? (R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr., The American Spectator)

Criminal justice:

  1. Convicted killer appeals ban on prison preaching | ACLU wants a prisoner serving a life sentence for murder to be allowed to preach at Christian services inside the prison (Associated Press)

  2. Missionary Society wants commutation standards for death sentences | The legal arm of the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ asked the state Supreme Court on Wednesday to compel a state board to come up with regulations for commuting death sentences (Associated Press)

  3. Trial opens in prison slaying of ex-priest | The prison murder of John J. Geoghan was a shocking dénouement to one of the darkest chapters of the sexual abuse crisis in the Roman Catholic Church (The New York Times)

  4. Also: Trial begins in pedophile priest's killing | A prison inmate strangled pedophile former priest John Geoghan to "save the children," both sides in his trial agreed in opening statements Wednesday, but they differed over whether he should be convicted of murder for it (Associated Press)


  1. Man who shot Pope freed from jail | Mehmet Ali Agca served nearly 20 years in Italian jails for the attempted murder, and was then jailed in Turkey for bank robbery and another killing (BBC)

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  1. Also: Turkish man who shot Pope John Paul leaves jail | Mehmet Ali Agca, the man who shot and wounded Pope John Paul II in 1981, was released from a Turkish jail on Thursday after serving more than a quarter of a century behind bars (Reuters)

  2. Lawyer: Pastor profited little | "If there was a profit of $50,000, it didn't go into his pocket," said Worcester lawyer Peter J. Ettenberg, who helped negotiate a plea deal for Paul J. Starnes (The Republican, Springfield, Mass.)

  3. Also: Pastor faces up to five years in prison for role in real estate scheme | Plan bilked $1.5 million from lenders and home buyers, including some members of his congregation (Associated Press)

  4. Ex-bookkeeper indicted in $600,000 church theft | A former bookkeeper accused of stealing more than $600,000 from a Buffalo Grove church to feed his gambling habit was indicted Wednesday by a Lake County grand jury on a theft charge (Chicago Tribune)

  5. Settlement reached with diocese in '03 death of Pitt football player | The Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh has reached an undisclosed settlement with the family of a 19-year-old University of Pittsburgh football player who died in 2003 after a fatal fall at a Homestead church, where the priest had served alcohol to underage college students (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  6. Also: Lawsuit in Pitt player's death settled | The Roman Catholic diocese in Pittsburgh and a former priest have settled a lawsuit over the death of a Panthers football player who fell through a church ceiling while drunk and died (Associated Press)

  7. Racial slurs painted on churches in Montgomery | At least two churches with predominantly black congregations and two schools in Montgomery County were vandalized this week with spray-painted swastikas, racial slurs and other incendiary words, police said (The Washington Post)

  8. Former South Tulsa Baptist Church pastor charged | Lonnie Latham, former pastor of South Tulsa Baptist Church, was charged Wednesday with a misdemeanor count of offering to engage in an act of lewdness (Tulsa World, Ok.)

  9. Also: Lewdness charge filed against ex-pastor | If convicted, Lonnie Lathamfaces up to a year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500 (Associated Press)

  10. Trial continues for man accused of kidnapping woman from church | Alvin L. Starks announced his unholy plan before he interrupted a church service in 2004 to assault and kidnap his estranged fiancee, shot the preacher's son, and fled, finally killing the woman when he was stopped nearly an hour later (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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  1. Hope for victims of church bond fraud | An Indianapolis attorney appointed to investigate a church financier accused of bilking investors of millions says some assets remain, but it will be a while before investors know how much, if anything, they will recover (Associated Press)

  2. Old scores | Sure, there's scandal in an archaeologist's purchase of stolen fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The scandal is that he was arrested (Hershel Shanks, The Chronicle of Higher Education)

  3. Police arrest 'witchcraft' pastor | The Metropolitan police today arrested an African pastor following allegations that he had diagnosed children in London as witches and encouraged their parents to beat them. (The Guardian, London)


  1. Ottawa church sues pastor who committed sex crime | The Calvin Christian Reformed Church, along with its insurance company, is seeking $150,000 from Herbert de Ruyter, who recently pleaded guilty to sexually exploiting a member of the congregation when she was a teenager (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

  2. Attorney sanctioned for behavior during clergy abuse deposition | An attorney representing dozens of alleged victims of clergy abuse was sanctioned by a judge for making "unacceptable" comments during the deposition of a monsignor with the Roman Catholic Church (Associated Press)

  3. Bishop says priest abused him as teenager | Breaking ranks with his peers, a Roman Catholic bishop called yesterday for state legislatures to temporarily remove the time limits that have prevented many victims of sex abuse from suing the church (The Washington Post)

  4. Bishop backs bills allowing old abuse cases | The bills, proposed in various states, would loosen the statute of limitations on lawsuits relating to sexual abuse by clergy members (The New York Times)

  5. Silence shattered on sex abuse | Detroit bishop backs bill expanding victims' rights (The Columbus Dispatch, Oh.)

  6. Judge clears archdiocese suits for trial | Molestation - Questions remain about church resources and possible sales of assets (The Oregonian)

  7. Also: Oregon Catholic sex abuse cases head to court | A federal bankruptcy judge sent a group of priest sex abuse cases back to court on Wednesday for trial or settlement after an 18-month delay because of the Portland Catholic archdiocese's bankruptcy proceedings (Reuters)

  8. Religion Today: Boston settlements redux | Archbishop Sean O'Malley has been here before, caught between the financial needs of the Roman Catholic Church and the fury of alleged sex abuse victims and other parishioners. This time, a satisfying resolution may be tougher to find (Associated Press)

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  1. Former church youth director charged with sex crimes | A former church youth director was formally charged with eight sex-related crimes Wednesday (KXLY, Spokane, Wa.)

Church life:

  1. Conservative Anglicans convene | "The Church of England took the church to Africa and Asia. Now Africa and Asia are doing mission work here in America." (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  2. Episcopal Diocese asks churches to turn down the heat | New Hampshire's Episcopal Diocese is asking its churches to turn down the heat, following the lead of a church in Keene that plans to use its own savings to help families that are having trouble paying heating bills (Associated Press)

  3. Parish report denounces ouster of Newton priest | Cuenin's removal called unjustified (The Boston Globe)

  4. Also: Report criticizes reverend's ouster | The Rev. Walter Cuenin's forced resignation from Our Lady's Help of Christians was "harsh and unjust," according to a report from the parish's finance council (Daily News Tribune, Waltham, Mass.)

  5. This parish won't perish | Calvary United Methodist disbanded in 1997. But the congregation still reunites (The Capital Times, Madison, Wi.)

  6. Rwandan church accused of sabotage | The longstanding squabbling that has bitterly divided residents and the Anglican Church of Gahini in Kayonza District in the Eastern Province have spilled over to Gacaca activities, with the community courts accusing the church of sabotaging its activities (AND)

Churches vs. cities:

  1. New cell-phone tower might not have a prayer | Plan to hide it in church steeple founders (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  2. Court's ruling gives church tax break on vital parking lot | A Middletown church's victory in a tax-related court battle with Dauphin County is creating a financial boon that could enable churches and other religious facilities statewide to save millions of dollars (The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.)

State funds for Pilgrim Baptist:

  1. State's plan to aid church is questioned | ACLU asks details on governor's pledge to help rebuild Pilgrim Baptist Church after Friday's fire (Chicago Tribune)

  2. City to check church to see if it is sound | Mayor Richard Daley pledged his help Wednesday in rebuilding the fire-ravaged Pilgrim Baptist Church but said it will be up to city engineers to determine whether the remains of the building can be saved (Chicago Tribune)

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  1. Governor's vow an unholy mix of church, state | Our government isn't supposed to build or rebuild churches. Not even gorgeous, historically significant and culturally important churches like Pilgrim Baptist, which burned down to its walls Friday (Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune)

  2. Daley steers clear of church rebuilding fray | When it came time to talk turkey, the mayor made no promises (Chicago Sun-Times)


  1. Probe clears church, its lawyer says | Federal investigators are closing a probe of a Miami church visited by presidential hopeful John Kerry during his campaign, the church's attorney says (The Miami Herald)

  2. Committee okays plates with 'God Bless America' | A bill that would put the phrase "God Bless America" on some Alabama license plates was approved by a House committee Wednesday (Associated Press)

  3. Georgia House leaders offer some relief for 'persecuted' Christians | Ruling Republicans presented legislation that bans the state and local governments from banning public employees and students from "verbal expressions" celebrating any public or legal holiday (Associated Press)

  4. Tribal relations | How Americans really sort out on cultural and religious issues—and what it means for our politics (Steven Waldman and John C. Green, The Atlantic)

  5. Time to stand tall vs. right-wing rants | Silence isn't golden; it represents a leaden complicity in the unconscionable (Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times)

  6. Moore qualifies as candidate for governor | Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore officially qualified to run for governor Wednesday and urged state Republicans not to adopt a ban on crossover voting (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  7. Also: Ten Commandments judge to run for Alabama governor | Former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who was fired in 2003 for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from a state courthouse, officially entered the race for Alabama governor on Wednesday (Reuters)

  8. Reed defends casino lobbying efforts | Former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed told a Republican Party gathering Tuesday that he will not be a part of the fallout surrounding Washington lobbyist Jack Abramoff (The Gainesville Times, Ga.)


  1. Prayer lawsuit hits city | Fredericksburg City Councilman Hashmel Turner has filed suit against his fellow council members, saying that the city's new prayer policy violates his constitutional rights (The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.)

  2. Also: Fredericksburg council sued by councilman | A minister member says prayer policy violates his rights (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

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  1. Protesting chaplain prays in front of White House | Navy officials said nothing had changed since the beginning of Klingenschmitt's fast (Navy Times)

Politics (non-U.S.):

  1. Family First abandons state election fight | The Christian-based political party, Family First, has decided not to stand at the next state elections, a move that could well unify the vote of religious conservatives and shore up support for morals campaigner Fred Nile (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  2. Ultra-selective moral crusaders | Religion has re-entered the discourse in Australia (Miriam Cosic, The Australian)

  3. Christians snap up convent as place to pray for politicians | 'Charismatic' group believes Canada's revival to begin in Ottawa (The Ottawa Citizen)

  4. Free from religious loonies, thank God | You'd think that the American Family Association was the Eye of Sauron for the fear it managed to instill. Is Tupelo, Miss., really that frightening a power base? (Russell Smith, The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

  5. Liberals needn't fear faith | Great movements have been led by Christians, who believe we're all equal under God (Stephen Beer, The Guardian, London)


  1. Alito, at hearing, pledges an open mind on abortion | Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. said that he would bring an open mind to the Supreme Court when it came to abortion rights (The New York Times)

  2. Democrats fear Alito may vote to outlaw abortion | U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito sought on Wednesday to ease fears that he would seek to overturn the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, but Democrats said they were not convinced (Reuters)

  3. Alito says he'd keep 'open mind' on abortion | Nominee avoids detailing views on controversial issues (The Washington Post)

  4. Senators unable to draw out Alito's views on abortion | He declined to say whether he believes Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that legalized abortion, is "settled law," instead describing it only as a "precedent" worthy of respect. (The Washington Post)

  5. Alito seeks to distance himself from previous abortion statements | Nominee faces senators in second day of hearing (The Washington Post)

  6. Alito leaves door open to reversing 'Roe' | Membership in controversial group surfaces as an issue (The Washington Post)

  7. Nominee splits hairs on 'privacy rights' | Parries questions on Roe v. Wade (The Boston Globe)

  8. Past, future of Roe vs. Wade | Should, would a Justice Alito upend the landmark decision? (Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune)

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  1. Arkansas doctor said to have performed 10,000 abortions | 'Abortionist of Arkansas' unabashed in recommending, performing procedure (Nightline, ABC)

  2. Abortions for minors would need parent OK under law | Utah's 1974 parental notification law requires doctors to notify a girl's parents before ending her pregnancy. Kerry Gibson's House Bill 85 would change the state law to require doctors to get at least one parent's permission 24 hours before the procedure (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  3. Anti-abortion believer on trial for calls | But Richard E. Hoke II said he didn't know the details of the clinic's abortion policy (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  4. Kate Michelman, the public face of a woman's right to privacy | Former NARAL president has a new memoir (The Washington Post)

  5. Attorney: Kline on both sides | Abortion suit may put A.G. in odd position (Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)

  6. Decades later, 'Roe' struggles to make ends meet | Norma McCorvey, the Jane Roe of the historic abortion decision Roe v. Wade, spent much of her youth homeless and hungry. Three decades later, the abortion fight is still raging in Supreme Court hearings and Ms. McCorvey is still hungry (The Dallas Morning News)

India abortions:

  1. Indian girl abortion claims are challenged | A claim that 10 million girl babies have been aborted in India over the last 20 years has been called into question by the country's leading doctors' organization (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Murder in the womb | It's not a revelation, but a confirmation, that our female fetuses are disappearing faster than we would like to believe (Editorial, The Times of India)

  3. Educated must take blame for missing girls | If the figure of 10 million missing girls in India wasn't shocking enough, here's more bad news. Literate moms report double the number of missing girls as compared to illiterate mothers (Neelam Raaj, The Times of India)

  4. Missing girls | While changing community attitudes is important, the problem is too important to await society's enlightenment (Editorial, The Hindustan Times)

  5. India's secret prenatal code | If you are pregnant in India, most people think they are paying you a great compliment by telling you that your child will be a boy (Florence Evans, The Guardian, London)

Stem cells:

  1. Vote delayed as stem cell bill is tweaked | Efforts to pass a bill regulating embryonic stem cell research in Delaware are on hold for this week, but Rep. Deborah Hudson says she hopes to vote on a bill doing just that before the month is out (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del.)

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  1. Ehrlich proposes stem-cell funding | Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday proposed $20 million in state funds for stem-cell research (The Washington Times)

  2. Also: Stem cell research funding in Md. raises bioethics issue | Ehrlich plan favors projects that don't involve embryos (The Baltimore Sun)

  3. Also: Ehrlich's stem cell request sparks furor in Annapolis | Republicans who threatened a filibuster against the bill last year said yesterday that they were unclear of the practical implications of the proposal (The Washington Post)

  4. Stem cell division | In a welcome change of heart, the governor yesterday proposed a $20 million stem cell research fund (Editorial, The Baltimore Sun)

Life ethics:

  1. Pregnant driver loses debate over HOV lane | Ahwatukee woman argued that unborn son was 2nd passenger (The Arizona Republic)

  2. Scientists raise hope for sickle cell patients | Cloned cultures could replace marrow donors (The Guardian, London)

  3. Hope of clone cure for sickle cell anaemia | Researchers manage to treat mice for condition that affects five million people (The Times, London)

  4. Bishop calls for classes in method of birth control | Once the diocese has enough trained teachers, Olmsted will become one of only three bishops in the country to require a full course of natural family planning for anyone who wants a church wedding, joining his counterparts in Denver and Fargo, N.D. (The Arizona Republic)

  5. A hyped "hero" falls | And we get a second chance to preserve the dignity of human life (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)

Anti-conversion efforts:

  1. Pak Lah: There must be no confusion in religious matters | Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has made it clear that matters concerning religious conversion needed to be spelt out plainly in the Federal Constitution and other laws to prevent confusion among Malaysians (The Star, Malaysia)

  2. Groups laud Pak Lah's stand on conversion | Various quarters have welcomed the prime minister's assurance that matters related to religious conversion would be spelt out clearly to avoid confusion and dissatisfaction (The Star, Malaysia)

  3. Christians demand precautions ahead of RSS meet | A Christian delegation Wednesday appealed to Gujarat Governor Naval Kishore Sharma to appoint a central administrator in the tribal district of the Dangs, where the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) will organise a major conclave in February (NewKerala, India)

Missions & ministry:

  1. Heart cry of a generation as young Christians jump for Jesus | It's the opening session of the four-day Planetshakers conference and Sydney is third stop on a five-state tour billed as Australia's largest annual gathering of Christian youth (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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  1. Christian donors aid needy Russian Jews | With a $2 million donation last month, the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews ended up supplying half as much to feed elderly Russian Jews as the entire network of local Jewish charitable federations in North America (Forward, Jewish newspaper)

  2. Faiths target crime's roots | Leaders blame rising violence on family breakdown (The Toronto Star)

  3. Of forgiveness and friendship | Families of missionaries killed 50 years ago in Ecuador turn tragedy into tale of love, redemption (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Tsunami aid:

  1. Mixed report for tsunami efforts | UK charities' rush to organise headline-grabbing "showpiece" Asia tsunami projects delivered poor quality housing for survivors, experts say (BBC)

  2. Report criticizes charities' tsunami response | Almost two-thirds of the £350m donated by the public for the victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami has not yet been spent (PA, U.K.)

  3. Tsunami charities accused of being 'publicity hungry' | British aid agencies' "publicity-hungry" response to the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami has been criticised in a report prepared for the charities (Edinburgh Evening News)

  4. Press statement on tsunami evaluation | This is the biggest and most destructive disaster that the aid community has ever faced. Clearly not everything is going to run smoothly and there is always going to be room for improvement (Disasters Emergency Committee, U.K.)

  5. Report: The Report to the Board on Tsunami Response (Disasters Emergency Committee, U.K., PDF)


  1. In a time of change, Tyson turns to faith | Food processor just one company that has hired chaplains to counsel workers (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  2. Salem adds 8th Web site, for religious job searches | Salem Communications Corp., the Camarillo company that owns more than 100 religious and conservative talk radio stations, has added an eighth Web site to its growing presence on the Internet (Ventura County Star, Ca.)

  3. Antigay groups renew threat to Ford | They demand an end to ads, policies (Detroit Free Press)


  1. Choice in cable channels? Debate heats up | Minorities and Christians raise concerns that individual channel pricing will end their programs (The Christian Science Monitor)

  2. 'South Park' defends 'bloody' cut | Comedy Central says religious groups are prematurely claiming victory in a battle over a recent episode of "South Park." (New York Post)

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Book of Daniel:

  1. TV show angers ad buyer | Spot ran during debut of 'Daniel' (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  2. Few are booking ads on 'The Book of Daniel' | The NBC series, about a priest, has been condemned by a conservative activist organization as anti-Christian (The New York Times)

  3. NBC's Book of Daniel suffers ad shortfall | It's only running about half the usual load (Adweek)

  4. The Book of Daniel | TV only Jesus could love (Louis Wittig, National Review Online)

  5. The gospel is mush | The Book of Daniel's saving grace: It will soon be gone (Lee Habeeb, National Review Online)

  6. Hollywood can't 'do' God if it doesn't 'get' God | It wouldn't be quite so bad, if it were not for the fact that NBC continues to flaunt its wares as serious television worthy of students studying religion, as it did with Revelations (Frederick W. Schmidt, The Dallas Morning News)

  7. Hollywood and the lion's den | At least this family isn't hiding its troubles (Sheron Patterson, The Dallas Morning News)


  1. Baptist ethicist, civil-rights advocate Foy Valentine dies | Valentine's leadership on social issues, including race relations, women's equality, and abortion, kept him in hot water with many Southern Baptists (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  2. Also: Foy Valentine dies at 82 | He stirred the pot not just on race, but on church-state separation, abortion and other controversial issues (The Dallas Morning News)

Other stories of interest:

  1. Jailed priest in Haiti gets treatment | Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste, whose supporters say is suffering from cancer and should be released for treatment in the United States, was taken from his jail cell Tuesday to a medical testing laboratory in the capital (Associated Press)

  2. A religious conflict tamed | A bombing Monday near a church is the latest in a string of attacks in Sulawesi (The Christian Science Monitor)

  3. In defense of the War for Christmas | Recent incidents (First Things)

  4. Pope says 'no' to gay marriage | Abortion pill, too. Shocker. (Reuters)

Related Elsewhere:

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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