Ray Nagin: 'God is mad at America'
It will be interesting to see whether the statements of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin get the same degree of media play that Pat Robertson's statements about Ariel Sharon received. One might think that a government official's declarations on the mind of God would be more newsworthy than those of a broadcaster.

But maybe not. The Baton Rouge Advocate plays Nagin's Martin Luther King Day speech with this headline: "Nagin urges rebuilding with unity of residents: Mayor vows to bring black community back." The New Orleans Times-Picayune says, "Evoking King, Nagin calls N.O. 'chocolate' city: Speech addresses fear of losing black culture."

Both are probably reflective of local concerns. Louisianans may care more about what a rebuilt New Orleans will look like than they do whether Ray Nagin invokes God for his political purposes.

But nationally, the headlines focus on Nagin's theodicy. "Hurricanes May Be God's Punishment, Mayor Says," says the Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press goes with "New Orleans Mayor Says God Mad at U.S."

Here are the relevant parts of Nagin's speech:

Surely God is mad at America. He sent us hurricane after hurricane after hurricane, and it's destroyed and put stress on this country. … Surely he doesn't approve of us being in Iraq under false pretenses. But surely he is upset at black America also. We're not taking care of ourselves.

Equating the hurricanes with God's wrath is theologically problematic. But it's even more theologically problematic to invoke God directly in your plans to rebuild the city: "This city will be a majority African American city. It's the way God wants it to be. You can't have New Orleans no other way. It wouldn't be New Orleans."

Of course, saying God wants a place to be majority one race isn't just unChristian. It also runs directly against Martin Luther King's dream. We'll see if any op-ed pages talk about it this week.


  1. Preaching a gospel of wealth in a glittery market, New York | A theology called "prosperity gospel," which connects faithfulness to material riches, is establishing a foothold in New York City, where capitalism has long been religion (The New York Times)

  2. The days of our Lord | There's no end in sight to modernity's shameful exploitations of the Son of God (Patrick Hynes, The American Spectator)

Pat Robertson:

  1. Israel's envoy to U.S. says accepts Pat Robertson's apology | Despite the apology, an Israeli official said Israel has no plans to rescind its ban on Robertson's participation a multi-million-dollar Sea of Galilee tourism project (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

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  1. Robertson comments cause stir | Recent remarks on Sharon and Chavez have led fellow conservatives to speak out (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.)

  2. Robertson crack reverberates | The Christian Heritage Center planned for the hills by the Sea of Galilee is worthwhile and should go forward -- but without the involvement of Pat Robertson (Editorial, Norwich Bulletin, Ct.)

  3. Darned if we dismiss Robertson | Too many people still take Robertson seriously. His beliefs not only attract a large audience. They reflect one (David Waters, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.)

  4. For a change, let's just ignore Pat Robertson | If Pat Robertson were a doctor, we could strip him of his medical license. If he were a lawyer, we could disbar him (Frances Coleman, Religion News Service)

  5. The believers bear the pain | The devout pay a price whenever Robertson characterizes God as vindictive. If Sharon's stroke can be laid at the feet of a displeased deity, then what about Aunt Sue's cervical cancer? (Alfred Lubrano, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  6. Facing faith as politics | Another comparison of Pat Robertson and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post)


  1. Christian evangelicals waving the Israeli flag | A fundraiser in Altamonte Springs is 1 of the offshoots of an unexpected alliance joined by ancient prophecy and current political realities (The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.)

  2. Also: Hagee's coach, time in Israel were prime influences (The Orlando Sentinel)


  1. Pope meets Rome rabbi, expresses worry over fresh anti-Semitism | Pope Benedict XVI, meeting with Rome's chief rabbi Monday, expressed pain and worry over fresh outbreaks of anti-Semitism, and called on Jews and Christians to wage a united battle against hate (Associated Press)

  2. Why God chose the Jews | All bigotry is wrong, of course, but there's something about anti-Semitism that is weirdly reliable as a sign of deeper wickedness (Andrew Klavan, Los Angeles Times)


  1. Mystery of Pope's night-time visits to his old haunts | The Vatican, citadel of secrets and intrigue, has thrown up another little mystery: what has the Pope been doing on a spate of night-time missions to his old cardinal lodgings? (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Pope's first encyclical, on love, charity, due soon | Pope Benedict's first encyclical, touching on charity and the relationship between spiritual love and erotic love, is due to be issued soon after weeks of delays because of revisions and changes. (Reuters)

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  1. Pope calls for defense of migrant rights | Pope Benedict called for an end to discrimination against legal and illegal migrants on Sunday, but acknowledged integration was difficult (Reuters)

  2. Italian gays and women protest against Vatican | Tens of thousands of Italians protested on Saturday demanding legal recognition for gay unions and the right to abortion, two days after Pope Benedict condemned homosexual marriage and the use of the abortion pill (Reuters)

  3. Priest's dismissal called puzzling | Parishioners, pastor have only questions (The Boston Globe)

  4. The Vatican rejects pleas on parishes | Area churches made appeals on closings (The Boston Globe)

  5. Also: Letting go of a beloved church | Archdiocese sale has parish braced for new condos (The Boston Globe)

  6. Donations to archdiocese up; annual appeal nears $12m goal | But individual parishes give less (The Boston Globe)

  7. A papal storm in a Santa hat | Some people think it wrong for the Pope (if not wrong for themselves) to spend money on smart clothes (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London)

  8. 'That month in Rome' not soon forgotten | Cardinal Francis George's state of the union (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)

  9. The Pope and the interpretation of the Koran | Islam and Muslims are expected to be a priority for Pope Benedict XVI, but he has been publicly quite muted on these topics during his first nine months in office. One report, however, provides important clues to his current thinking (Daniel Pipes, New York Sun)


  1. Conn. priest removed in gay clergy dispute | Mark Hansen was among six priests and their respective parishes who had asked to be supervised by a different bishop because they disagreed with Smith's support for the Rev. V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire, the church's first openly gay bishop (Associated Press)

  2. Also: Ex-priest, parish respond to firing | For the group that now calls itself St. John's in Exile, Connecticut Bishop Andrew D. Smith's decision Friday to remove Hansen from the priesthood is "heretical" (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  3. Splinter leader: Return to Bible | Conservative Anglicans want an apology from the Episcopal Church for approving a gay bishop, along with a clear turn back to the Bible, an Asian archbishop who helps lead an Anglican splinter group said Thursday (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  4. African archbishops support U.S. Anglicans | Nine Anglican archbishops from overseas are in the United States supporting a burgeoning movement that began with Episcopalians disenchanted over liberal theology, including the acceptance of homosexuality (Associated Press)

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  1. Nzimbi to help lead Anglican splinter group | Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi is playing a leading role in the Anglican Mission in America (The Nation, Kenya)

  2. Priest sues bishop, diocese | A Central New York Episcopal priest is suing the local Episcopal bishop and diocese for $4.35 million, saying the bishop tried to silence his efforts to investigate alleged sexual abuse that occurred in the 1970s (The Post-Standard, Syracuse, N.Y.)

  3. Church told to apologize for its part in slave trade | The Church of England is likely to offer an apology for slavery next month, even though Anglican reformers such as William Wilberforce were instrumental in its abolition (The Telegraph, London)

  4. Weekday worshippers bump up church figures | The Church of England claimed yesterday that attendances at its services were holding steady, even though only 900,000 people attend Sunday worship in its 13,000 parish churches on a regular basis (The Guardian, London)

  5. Churches facing 'apocalypse soon' | The Church of England is to demand an urgent government cash injection of £55 million a year to avert an "apocalypse" with the closure of hundreds of medieval churches (The Times, London)

  6. Nuns, Pugin and a grotesque redevelopment | For those who care about Britain's heritage, one of the 21st century's big dilemmas will be what to do about churches that religious communities and congregations can't afford to support (Richard Morrison, The Times, London)

Women as church leaders:

  1. Clerics open long path to female Archbishop of Canterbury | Committee draws up plan for first women bishops (The Guardian, London)

  2. Female Archbishop of Canterbury 'a possibility' | The Church of England raised the prospect of its first female Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday in proposals aimed at smoothing the path towards women bishops (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Ordination of women bishops a step closer | The bishop in charge of the move towards women bishops in the Church of England said yesterday that it would be illogical to have women priests without women bishops (The Times, London)

  4. Anglicans get women bishops plan | A report suggests a group of male bishops - so called "flying bishops"—could work in parishes unwilling to accept the authority of a woman (BBC)

  5. 'Robust' meeting ends with bishops stalling at letting women join their ranks | The Church of England was facing a new row over women bishops last night after its leaders agreed to stall the historic reform (The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Anglicans could have woman spiritual head: report | A Church of England report paved the way on Monday for a female Archbishop of Canterbury but said that having a woman as spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans was still a long way off (Reuters)

  2. Scant hope for women bishops | Muriel Porter, an Anglican from Melbourne who is a leading proponent of women bishops, said the Church of England's move offered no legal precedent for Australia, where the constitutional bar to women is set much higher and the matter is now tied up in church court (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  3. Not Anglican: Church slams door on women leaders | The Gereformeerde Kerk (Reformed Church), which has 414 congregations and about 250 000 members countrywide, slightly opened the door to women in 2003 when it allowed them to serve as church deacons. But this week it was shut again (Sunday Times, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Church life:

  1. Senior adults: the next big church audience | Particularly as baby boomers start to turn 60 this year, churches are rallying around senior adult ministries to help their older members cope with issues surrounding retirement and the end of life (Shreveport Times, La.)

  2. A beacon of faith | Church serves as a light in the darkness for Disney interns, others (The Orlando Sentinel)

  3. Rev. Burleson speaks to congregation on International Mission Board difficulties | Pastor faces ouster for criticizing decision (Enid News, Ok.)

  4. Churches turn to bonds to raise funds | Exact figures aren't available, but religious lenders are estimated to be selling at least $20 billion in bonds annually, and possibly as much as twice that amount (Dow Jones, sub. req'd.)

  5. Multimedia is new way to relay old lessons | More churches are using big screens and sound systems to appeal to worshipers. 'The words are always up there in great big print,' one says (Los Angeles Times)

  6. Houston pastor preaches iPod | A Houston pastor is putting a new spin on Apple Computer Inc.'s popular iPods, telling his Baptist congregation that the simple gadgets contain a religious lesson: Life can also be simple (Associated Press)

  7. Birth of a church | One man's spiritual drive to bring a new house of worship to life in these changing times (Ottawa Sun)

  8. Resurrecting history -- an argument for Pilgrim Baptist | A little more than a week after Pilgrim Baptist was pronounced dead and the eulogies delivered, it is clear that the church can -- and should -- rise from the ashes (Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune)

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  1. Also: Brilliantly restored N.Y. landmark | Burned in 1998, synagogue shows what is possible (Chicago Tribune)

  2. Kelly's dithering just makes it worse for teachers and parents | Pedophiles shouldn't be banned from attending church services (Alice Thomson, The Telegraph, London)

Government investigations into churches:

  1. Churches could face IRS probe | Pastors Parsley, Johnson exploited pulpits to play politics, ministers' complaint alleges (The Columbus Dispatch, Oh.)

  2. Group seeks IRS inquiry of two Ohio churches | A group of religious leaders says the two churches are improperly campaigning on behalf of a conservative Republican running for governor (The New York Times)

  3. Two megachurches accused of shilling for Blackwell | A group of religious leaders has accused two evangelical megachurches of acting like political machines for conservative officeholders, especially Ken Blackwell, the Ohio secretary of state and candidate for governor (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  4. Ohio churches face probe over politics | A group of religious leaders have accused two evangelical churches of improperly promoting an Ohio candidate for governor and want the Internal Revenue Service to investigate (Associated Press)

  5. The pacifist 'threat' | Disclosure of recent government surveillance of Quaker activities doesn't surprise members (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

Church and state:

  1. Challenge to Bush initiative reinstated | A group can sue the federal government over claims that President Bush's faith-based initiative is an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, a federal appeals court ruled (Associated Press)

  2. Gaining faith in federal money? | Operation Blessing's booming federal aid offers a case study in how Washington is channeling money to religious groups at an unprecedented pace and loosening some long-standing restrictions on how they spend it (The Virginian-Pilot)

  3. Latino ministries worried about immigration bill | lawmakers say clergy, doctors aren't targeted for aiding those here illegally (The Washington Post)

  4. Cobb allowed to keep prayers | A federal judge in Atlanta has rejected a bid to silence prayers that refer to Jesus Christ before Cobb County Commission meetings (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  5. Judge's sentence: Church or jail | Man accused of racial slurs, threatening cabbie agrees to attend predominantly black service (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

  6. Native religions are not as sacred as almighty dollar | Imagine what would happen if a court told Christians in the area that local businesses needed all the available fresh water and that pastors would have to use chemically treated effluent for baptisms (E.J. Montini, The Arizona Republic)

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  1. Cadets for Christ | Evangelization at the Air Force Academy (Amy Johnson Frykholm, Christian Century)

Secular Scotland?

  1. Right to fly flag for Christian Scotland | We live in strange times when to be "spiritual" is good, cool, enlightened and fashionable but to be "religious" is suspicious, old-fashioned and partisan (Helen Martin, The Scotsman)

  2. Say a prayer of thanks for secular society | It is remarkable that a Scottish cardinal can be considered controversial these days for doing nothing more scandalous than reasserting his beliefs and what — he hopes — are the beliefs of the majority (Jenny Hjul, The Times, London)

  3. Why Scotland must find a middle way between faith and rationality | We need to fight common enemies (Lesley Riddoch, Sunday Herald, Glasgow)


  1. Church and statehouse | Election year brings faith-based legislation (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  2. In Ga., Abramoff scandal threatens a political ascendancy | Ralph Reed's ties to former lobbyist have hurt what has been a promising political career for the former head of the Christian Coalition (The Washington Post)

  3. Chan accuses rival of using churches | Richmond Liberal says evangelical pastors are handing out campaign flyers for Conservative Darrel Reid (The Vancouver Sun)

  4. A conservative evolves, and leads a Canadian race | God, family and lower taxes are themes in Stephen Harper's campaign as he and his Conservative Party prepare to take the country in a different direction after 13 years of Liberal rule (The New York Times)

  5. Chavez denounces Catholic cardinal | Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez accused a Roman Catholic cardinal Sunday of conspiring against him after the clergyman chastised the leftist leader for eroding democracy and abusing his power (Reuters)

  6. Laura fires back at critics | First lady Laura Bush yesterday said she was "irritated" by outside criticism of her husband's anti-AIDS programs in Africa as being focused too heavily on abstinence and not enough on condoms (The Washington Times)

  7. Conference attendees: Torture an ungodly act | Religious leaders from across the nation came together at the Princeton Theological Seminary this weekend hoping to build a powerful, spiritually based chorus condemning torture (The Times, Trenton, N.J.)

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  1. Also: Leaders, experts denounce immoral practice | Religious leaders and experts from around the country came to Princeton this weekend for a three-day conference on torture, determined to use their "moral authority" to speak out on a practice they say is always wrong (Trentonian, N.J.)

  2. Stop cowering before politicians, says bishop | The Rt Rev Joseph Devine warned Christians against the "creeping political correctness" that was stifling religious expression (The Herald, Glasgow)

  3. Christian right's cries of persecution baffling | It's not really about being persecuted. It's about not being in control (James Evans, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)


  1. Churches weigh in on court nomination | In the hubbub over Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s confirmation hearings for the US Supreme Court, the high court's justices weren't the only interested parties wearing robes (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)

  2. Religion clauses protect nonbelief, Alito testifies | What he said on several church-state issues (Associated Press)

  3. Alito hearings recast abortion issue | Activists see no need for 'stealth' nominees (The Boston Globe)

  4. Alito hearings unsettle some prevailing wisdom about the politics of abortion | The shift in the politics of the abortion rights issue was clear early in the confirmation hearings for Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. (The New York Times)

  5. Alito may quickly affect laws | His confirmation to the high court would make him a decisive vote in several upcoming cases (Los Angeles Times)

  6. The death of the abortion debate? | Post-Alito, the issue may recede on the national stage (Jeff A. Taylor, Reason)

  7. Alito and the Catholics | The decline of an institution and the rise of its ideas (Joseph Bottum, The Weekly Standard)


  1. Today, some feminists hate the word 'choice' | Choice feminism is suddenly gaining currency, while managing to annoy people on the left, right and just about everywhere in between (The New York Times)

  2. Anti-abortion measures reappearing | Dels. Robert G. Marshall and L. Scott Lingamfelter are filing bills affecting family life education, abortion clinics and parental notification (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.)

  3. Worthy of debate | Abortion consent legislation deserves a thoughtful look (Editorial, The Salt Lake Tribune)

  4. Anti-abortion ad on BART angers activists | Many placards have been defaced or destroyed (San Francisco Chronicle)

  5. Abortion politics | The Republican Party is full of secret pro-choicers. If Alito helps to overturn Roe v. Wade, it could crack open the GOP coalition in the country and on Capitol Hill (Eleanor Clift, Newsweek)

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  1. Some abortion foes forgo politics for quiet talk | A Kentucky Bible study for women coping after abortions represents a less-visible but wide aspect of the anti-abortion movement (The New York Times)

  2. Women march in Milan to keep abortion law | Tens of thousands of women marched through Milan on Saturday to demand Italy keep its liberal abortion law intact while gays rallied in Rome to push for legal recognition for homosexual couples (Associated Press)

  3. Opponents of abortion flock to a forum | Over 200 gather in an annual rally (The Boston Globe)

  4. 91,700 abortions in city | For every 100 babies born in New York City, women had 74 abortions in 2004, according to newly released figures that reaffirm the city as the abortion capital of the country (New York Daily News)

  5. Reverend rescues destitute 'Jane Roe' | Norma McCorvey, the plaintiff "Jane Roe" in the 1973 case that legalized abortion nationwide, is destitute, unemployed and spends all of her time caring for her godmother and a long-time friend who is partially paralyzed (The Washington Times)

  6. Abortion foes seek allies in black clergy | Anti-abortion advocates are using the same political-religious blueprint that same-sex marriage opponents used two years ago, when white evangelicals bonded with some black pastors (San Francisco Chronicle)

  7. Abortion gets wide protection in Md. law | Procedure likely to remain available if Roe is overturned (The Baltimore Sun)

  8. Conservatives step up activities overseas | From Peru to the Philippines to Poland, U.S.-based conservative groups are increasingly engaged in abortion and family-planning debates overseas, emboldened by their ties with the Bush administration and eager to compete with more liberal rivals (Associated Press)

  9. Supreme Court to hear First Amendment case | The Supreme Court will hear arguments Tuesday in an anti-abortion group's First Amendment challenge to advertising limits in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law (Associated Press)

  10. Pro-lifers need to compromise | Although "no compromises" rhetoric and bloody photos may rally the troops, what pro-lifers need, as their position strengthens, is the wisdom to increase their numbers (Ruth Ann Dailey, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  11. Lock up your wombs, Parliament is back in town | There is nothing quite like a uterus for enlivening a session of Parliament, and it's shaping up to be another big year for pregnancy in Canberra (Julie Robotham, The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Life ethics:

  1. End-of-life issues trouble lawmakers | Bill to ease control for those near death (The Concord Monitor, N.H.)

  2. The morning-after pill | Ky. bill addresses emergency contraceptives (Associated Press)

  3. Tiny cells pack huge controversy | The clash over the research - and curbs placed on it by President Bush in 2001 - has consumed scientists, families seeking cures, politicians and those who believe the research crosses moral lines (The Denver Post)

  4. Cloning expert quits country in row with partner | The scientist who cloned Britain's first human embryo has accused his partner of breaching good scientific practice (The Times, London)

  5. Doyle pushes on stem cells | Gov. Jim Doyle says he will propose new steps to maintain Wisconsin's status as a leader in embryonic stem cell research during his State of the State speech Tuesday night (The Capital Times, Madison, Wi.)

  6. Kirk fury at liberalized stem-cell research | The ethical debate over the role of genetic research has taken a new twist after the Church of Scotland claimed plans to liberalise stem-cell laws would effectively authorize "murder" (The Scotsman)

  7. Lowering expectations at science's frontier | There is considerable disorder in heaven when stem-cell scientists are chided by the Roman Catholic Church for the folly of pursuing "miracle cures" (The New York Times)

  8. Ailing inmate is set to die | Murderer Clarence Ray Allen, 76, the oldest man on California's death row, is to be executed early Tuesday. Death penalty foes plan march (Los Angeles Times)

  9. Stem cell politics | Politicization is only one of the dangers inherent in state funding for this kind of research. Enormous publicity puts enormous pressure on scientists to overstate their prospects. This kind of hype makes it particularly difficult for states (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  10. Wooed | The media hypes a fraud (Wesley J. Smith, National Review Online)

  11. Let's be adult about this | Politics can be free of embryonic entanglements (Deroy Murdock, National Review Online)

  12. A decent send-off | Even a hardline atheist can see that the church is better than anyone at staging the last farewell (Roy Hattersley, The Guardian, London)

Martin Luther King Jr.:

  1. Martin Luther King Jr. as pastor | The role of pastor may be one of the most overlooked sides of Martin Luther King Jr. But it was one of the most important aspects of who he was (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly)

  2. The dawn of the dream | Now on 8-disc set, King's early speeches focus more on religion than politics (San Jose Mercury News, Ca.)

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  1. The soul of a nation | Religion and politics remain a combustible mix four decades after the civil rights movement (The Tampa Tribune)

Sex and marriage:

  1. Mohler: Bible opposes intentional childlessness | The Rev. R. Albert Mohler Jr., ever-controversial president of Kentucky's Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, has stirred debate by asserting that it's "an absolute revolt against God's design" if husbands and wives purposely avoid bearing children (Associated Press)

  2. Pastor protests gay rights | Ken Hutcherson on Monday called for a national boycott of Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and other companies that support a gay civil rights bill, saying the corporations have underestimated the power of religious consumers (Associated Press)

  3. Pennsylvania lawmakers ready marriage amendment | Pennsylvania lawmakers are planning to introduce a state constitutional marriage amendment next week, while traditional-values groups in at least three other states are pushing for similar measures this year (The Washington Times)

  4. Polygamy proposal for Chechen men | Chechnya has lost so many men to war that survivors should be legally allowed to take several wives, acting Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov has said (BBC)

  5. Pastor, 100, gets married for third time | Rev. James Rual Chalk quoted from his favorite book of the Bible, Genesis 2:18 which states: "It is not good for man to be alone." (Associated Press)

  6. Catholic church rebels over gay adoption rights | The Catholic church in Scotland is seeking exemption from controversial adoption laws that will allow children to be placed with gay couples (The Times, London)

  7. Stephen Baldwin protests Nyack adult entertainment store | Actor stood outside 28 Route 59 last night and photographed workers and their vehicles as they readied the adult entertainment store for business (The Journal News, Nyack, N.Y.)

  8. Let us be the church of justice and love | My Christian faith tells me to remember anyone who is disenfranchised -- and in this state, that unfortunately is lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people (Monica Corsaro, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)


  1. Bishop apologizes to Hudson parish | Audience includes families of men likely killed by priest (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  2. Bishop apologizes for his role in keeping pastor on | Some in Hudson congregation call leader irresponsible (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

  3. Also: Bishop apologizes for response in Erickson case (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  4. Bishop, diocese dispute efforts | Spokesman says church aims to help victims of sex abuse (Detroit Free Press)

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  1. Also: Archdiocese, bishop fight over abuse cases | The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Detroit has criticized as hypocritical an auxiliary bishop's support of giving clergy abuse victims more time to sue (Associated Press)


  1. Exorcism was sought for BTK killer | County sheriff politely refused pastor's request (The Kansas City Star)

  2. Salvation Army 'shocked' by fraud | The Salvation Army in Canada says it has been the victim of major fraud (CBC)

  3. Priest gets 111 years for sex crimes | Relatives and friends of sex crime victims applauded a judge Friday for sentencing a priest to 111 years in prison, but they said no sentence can reverse the damage caused by the Rev. Paul LeBrun (The Arizona Republic)

  4. 'Apostle' was a swindler, SEC says | Forest Lake church founder accused of financial scheme (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  5. Violence is a result of the sins of the church | Toronto's black churches need 'resolve and will' to lead fight against youth violence (Royson James, Toronto Star)

  6. 2 diverse churches issue call for peace | Say violence doesn't have boundaries (The Boston Globe)

  7. Geoghan's killer reserves his remarks for reporters, not the jury | Joseph Druce has made it clear in his trial, which began last week, that he sees the courtroom drama, at least in part, as a forum for him to speak about his case and the abuse scandal that has rocked the Roman Catholic church (Associated Press)

  8. Vatican crime slow during papal transition | Not a single crime was reported during the 2005 papal transition when millions of pilgrims passed through Vatican territory, the Vatican's chief prosecutor said Friday (Associated Press)

  9. Arizona fugitives will get to surrender—in church | If you are a fugitive in Maricopa County, the government wants you to go to church and surrender yourself. Not to Jesus but to law officers who will be on hand at a makeshift courtroom along with judges, defense attorneys and prosecutors (The Arizona Republic)

  10. The Gaines deal | The Catholic Church worldwide is under chastening public pressure in the priests' sex scandal. Can it be said that the death of Billy Gaines is not worthy of a similar airing? (Editorial, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

Christian Peacemaker Teams:

  1. Retired Ontario dairy farmer heading to Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams | A 70-year-old retired dairy farmer who is preparing to leave his comfortable rural home for a humanitarian mission in Iraq even as the fate of two Canadian hostages there remains uncertain says there's a greater need now for volunteers like him than ever before (Canadian Press)

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  1. Undeterred, retired Ontario farmer heads to Iraq on peace mission | Allen Slater is heading to Iraq at age 70 as a volunteer with Christian Peacemaker Team against the advice of the Canadian government, but with the cautious support of his family in Ontario (CBC)

  2. Waging peace | Like Dr. King, we are marching, praying and working for an end to war (Charlie Jackson, The Dallas Morning News)

Religious freedom:

  1. Stop VHP reconversion drive, Minorities panel tells Centre | After failing to broker peace between the saffron brigade and tribal Christians in Dangs, Gujarat, the National Minorities Commission (NCM) has asked the Centre to intervene to check the ''illegal and unconstitutional'' reconversion of tribals reportedly being planned by VHP-led groups next month (The Indian Express)

  2. 136 Christian tribals reconverted to Hinduism in Orissa | Nearly 136 tribals who were converted to Christians were reconverted to Hinduism at a function organised by the local unit of the Viswha Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajarang Dal (NewKerala.com, India)

  3. Airport route church razed | A church in south Calcutta was demolished on a court order on Sunday morning to make way for a key link to the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, a project undertaken a decade ago (The Telegraph, Calcutta, India)

  4. Also: KMDA razes church for road expansion | Orphanage also demolished in Kalikapur (Indian Express)

  5. Priests tussle with politicians over St Vitus | Communism fell 17 years ago, yet the Archbishop of Prague is still a visitor in his own cathedral (The Times, London)

Missions & ministry:

  1. Paved (and drywalled) with good intentions | A Habitat for Humanity chapter disbands, leaving an unfinished house (The New York Times)

  2. For homeless, a biblical refuge | Stewpot's meetings to study Scripture give street people connections, moments of peace (The Dallas Morning News)

  3. Christian youth celebrate faith | 20th annual meeting attracts over 2,000 students, chaperones (Albany Times Union, N.Y.)


  1. Religious ties give colleges something to think about | Today's religiously affiliated schools, looking for ways to increase enrollment and lower costs, debate how to embrace their religious heritage without alienating potential students of another or no faith (News-Record, Greensboro, N.C.)

  2. After setback, what's next for vouchers? | A Florida court ruling that a statewide voucher system must be dismantled dealt a blow to advocates nationwide (The Christian Science Monitor)

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  1. Islamic group urges Catholic school to move to Muslim faith | The Campaign for Muslim Schools said 90 per cent of pupils at St Albert's Primary, in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow, are Muslim, yet children are having to take part in Catholic rituals like saying the Lord's Prayer and attending mass (The Scotsman)

  2. Catholic schools wage fight for their survival | Hoping to slow a relentless decline in enrollment, school leaders are training staff, parents - even students - in door-to-door, glad-hand guerrilla marketing (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


  1. Calif. town latest in evolution debate | When a religion-based alternative to evolution was introduced into a high school class taught by a preacher's wife, the discussion moved from classroom to courtroom and put the region at the center of a national political debate (Associated Press)

  2. Author says his report on intelligent design misused | The author of a report, used to bolster Ohio's inclusion of intelligent design into the state science curriculum, now says he may have been misled (The Canton Repository, Oh.)

  3. 'Intelligent design' gets little class time | State teachers keep focus on evolution (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  4. Remember that God does not "exist" | Christians who attempt to mix God and science will only end up undoing the story of Genesis (Gilbert Márkus, The Guardian, London)

  5. Let's accept the fault line between faith and science | If the perennial culture war between science and fundamentalist Christianity about evolution seems insoluble, the reason is that it is insoluble (Edward O. Wilson, USA Today)

Other religions:

  1. In no god they trust | Atheists, agnostics and secular humanists build a community of like-minded people (The Indianapolis Star)

  2. Witnesses protection programme | Stephen Bates reports on the religious leaders who objected to a website that spread their church's teachings (The Guardian, London)


  1. Faithful questions | Some orthodoxies to the contrary, independent-mindedness is next to godliness (Daniel C. Dennett, The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  2. Internet vastly expands black market for relics | Online auctions have included a feather from the Holy Spirit and a vial brimming with the breath of Jesus Christ (The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.)

  3. Also: Ranks of relics | A part of Christianity since the church's early days, relics are divided into three categories (The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.)

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Book of Daniel:

  1. Channel 4 pulls 'Book of Daniel' | WSMV cites viewers' many complaints (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  2. Daniel drops in week two | It its second chapter, NBC's controversial drama Book of Daniel averaged a 2.2rating/6 share in the Nielsen Fast Affiliate overnight ratings in the 18-49 demo Friday night (Broadcasting & Cable)

  3. D.C. church's 'Daniel' blog seizes preachable moment | "The Book of Daniel," an NBC show about a pill-popping Episcopal priest who works for an adulterous bishop and must contend with a drug-dealing daughter, a boozing wife, a homosexual son and a bisexual sister-in-law, has an unexpected fan -- the Episcopal Diocese of Washington (The Washington Times)


  1. Monks: Capturing the sound of silence | Into Great Silence, which is just shy of three hours, should be mind-crushingly boring, but it's getting rave reviews (Newsweek)

  2. Brought to you by God® | A Christian university official discusses his institution's marketing agreement with the Creator (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  3. From church pew to recording studio | Alan Jackson originally recorded his CD of gospel music with just two fans in mind: his mom and his mother-in-law (USA Today)

  4. TV that takes us from fundamentalist fanatics to atheists | The problem with the Dawkins project, for a very long stretch, was its concentration on refutation rather than affirmation (Ian Bell, The Herald, Scotland)

  5. "Jesus Hates Me," but you can feel the love | Lear and protégé recount fortuitous chance meeting (The Denver Post)


  1. A very good book | The University of Manitoba has learned that it owns a rare first-print copy of the King James Bible (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  2. When things were certain | Fond memories of fundamentalism. Roger K. Miller reviews My Fundamentalist Education by Christine Rosen (The Denver Post)

  3. What we can learn from Mary Magdalene | Bruce Chilton takes a fresh look at a figure both revered and reviled (The Christian Science Monitor)

Other stories of interest:

  1. Memorial celebrates faith of fallen miners | If there was a tie that connected the 12 men who died after a Jan. 2 explosion it was their faith — the same thing celebrated Sunday by nearly 2,000 people during a memorial service (Associated Press)

  2. Norwegian priest resigns from Miss Universe panel | The Church of Norway forced a priest to resign on Friday from a panel set to judge bikini-clad women competing to be the country's Miss Universe contestant (Associated Press)

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  1. Earlier: Female ministers rage over pageant | Female ministers are furious over Oslo vicar Einar Gelius' plans to sit on the jury of the committee to choose Norway's representative in the Miss Universe pageant (Aftenposten, Oslo)

  2. Art of the Inquisition's victims revealed in Sicily | Painstaking project unveils paintings and a glimpse into lives of tortured 'heretics' (The Guardian, London)

  3. Is Wales the resting place of the Holy Grail? | The Da Vinci Code might name Scotland as the home of the Holy Grail, but according to a Welsh academic, Wales' claim to the relic is much stronger (The Western Mail, Wales)

  4. A call to armoires | Two colleges have wardrobes that once belonged to C.S. Lewis, and each piece has been touted as the inspiration for the magical portal to Narnia (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

Related Elsewhere:

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January 13b | 13a | 10
January 6 | 5 | 4
December 28 | 21 | 16 | 14 | 12
December 9 | 7 | 6
December 2b | 2a | November 30
November 23 | 22 | 21

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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