Today's Top Five

1. Another attack against a Catholic priest in Turkey
It appears that the knife attack on French priest Pierre Brunissen is unrelated to two other recent attacks on Roman Catholic priests in Turkey. The two earlier attacks were allegedly committed by Muslim militants. The assailant in this case is a Muslim too, but the Turkish press are emphasizing that he's a schizophrenic. has an interview with Monsignor Luigi Padovese, the apostolic vicar for Anatolia. "These are isolated moves, which however express an exacerbated anti-Christian disposition, produced and kept alive by anti-Christian media that is very present here in Turkey," he says.

In other international persecution news, a church in Poso, Indonesia, was bombed Saturday night. Fortunately, there were no casualties.

2. Excommunication risk overstated?
 Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told the official Vatican magazine Famiglia Christiana last Thursday that the Roman Catholic Church should treat scientists and politicians engaged in stem-cell research the same way it treats those who engage in abortion. "Destroying an embryo is equivalent to abortion," he said. "Excommunication will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos [and to the] politicians that approve the law." That statement led to a flurry of headlines such as this one in the Telegraph: "Vatican vows to expel stem cell scientists from Church."

Take it easy, says Inside Higher Ed. First of all, the church isn't against stem-cell research. It's against embryonic stem-cell research. Second, as United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spokeswoman Deirdre McQuade, explained (in Inside Higher Ed's paraphrase): "The church clarified in 1988 that destroying an embryo, whether in vitro, or in utero, 'is on the same level as abortion.' She added that the cardinal's recent comments, as far as she knows, do not represent any 'gesture toward officially excommunicating anybody.'"

3. "Spiritual skate night" okay at roller rink
The New York Division of Human Rights has dropped its complaint against "Christian Skate" night at an Accord skating rink. A letter said that the rink's changing its ad from "Christian Skate" to "spiritual skate" and emphasizing Christian music instead of Christian customers no longer violate human rights.

4. Evangelicals and Witch Doctors Together
Religion News Service reports from South Africa:

Workers at the Baptist-affiliated [Living Hope Community Centre] jumped at the chance to align with powerful healers—also known as sangomas or witch doctors—and, in a controversial move, designed an eight-week course for the healers to simultaneously spread the gospel and AIDS awareness throughout the Cape Peninsula. The resulting partnership represents a marriage of convenience between evangelical and witch doctor that has rapidly bolstered the influence of both—and caused some concern about misplaced proselytizing. … [T]he 15 sangomas proceeded cautiously in their agreement to study the Gospel of John twice a week before receiving structured lessons in human anatomy, the tell-tale signs of AIDS and the function of antiretrovirals and other modern medications.
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5. Keith Richards, CCM artist?
Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell releasing a solo album into the Christian market, perhaps you can understand. But how about Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards? It turns out that his sister-in-law, Marsha Hansen, put together a book and CD collection of African American spirituals called My Soul Is a Witness. "Richards plays on a half-dozen tracks, including I Want Jesus to Walk with Me and Rock in Jerusalem," the Lexington Herald-Leader reports. "Also performing on the album is former Beach Boy Blondie Chaplin and Bob Dylan drummer George Receli."

Says Hansen, Richards "probably does not claim a particular affiliation, but he loves the music."

Quote of the day:
"Don't let people get away with nice words."

—Sen. Hillary Clinton, addressing her faith and politics at the Sojourners "Covenant for a New America" conference. She was quoted by CNN.

Note: We're taking U.S. Independence Day off and will return Wednesday.

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International religious freedom | Israel | Crime | Abuse | Pastor's wife murder trial | Richard Scrushy | Prison ministry and state | Church and state | Education | Religious displays | Barack Obama | Politics | Philippines | Stem-cell research | Life ethics | Abortion | Sexual ethics and family life | Homosexuality | Lesbian student suit | Anglican breakup | PCUSA | Catholicism | Church life | Church anniversaries | Church buildings | Missions & ministry | Giving | Money and business | Media | Film and theater | Music | Books | History | People | Spirituality | Other stories of interest

International religious freedom:

  1. Catholic priest knifed in Turkey | A French Roman Catholic priest has been stabbed by a knife-carrying attacker in the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun (BBC)

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  1. Also: Priest stabbed in Turkey - 3rd such attack | The French priest, Pierre Brunissen, 74, was injured in the hip and leg and rushed to a hospital (Associated Press)

  2. Bomb damages church in Poso | A bomb believed to be homemade exploded Saturday night at a church in the Central Sulawesi regency of Poso, but no casualties were reported (The Jakarta Post, Indonesia)

  3. Brazil releases suspect in nun's death | Brazil's Supreme Court ordered the release Thursday of a rancher who had been jailed pending trial in connection with the killing last year of American Nun Dorothy Stang. (Associated Press)

  4. Chhattisgarh mulls anti-conversion law | Chhattisgarh is planning to enact an anti-conversion law to deal with the growing number of conversions by 'force' in the tribal dominated state, Chief Minister Raman Singh has said (IANS, India)

  5. Hooligans attack Anglican Church | Chaos erupted at Nkhotakota Anglican Church Sunday after some young men entered the church armed with chains and started threatening the congregation (The Daily Times, Malawi)

  6. PAF denies harassment allegations by Christians | Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Director of Public Relations Air Commodore Sarfaraz Ahmad Khan denied allegations made by the Secretary General Pakistan Christian National Party (PCNP) M Joseph Francis that many Christians had been roughed up, harassed and removed from their quarters at the PAF Islamabad Colony by PAF officers in retaliation against an FIR lodged by two Christian girls against five Muslim males of the colony (Daily Times, Pakistan)

  7. Four executed for gang-raping Christian girl | Four Muslim men convicted of raping a 14-year-old Christian girl seven years ago were hung early on Thursday morning after losing a six-year legal battle against the death sentence, officials said (Daily Times, Pakistan)

  8. Arguments in Malaysia's federal court in "Lina Joy" case | Joy converted from Islam to Christianity and wants the word "Islam" removed from her identity card, but the National Registration Department insists that she first furnish an apostasy certificate from the Sharia Court (Religion Clause)

  9. Witchcraft ban ends in Zimbabwe | Zimbabwe has lifted a ban on the practice of witchcraft, repealing legislation dating back to colonial rule (BBC)

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  1. Ultra-Orthodox Jews attack Christian tourists in Jerusalem | A group of 50 pro-Israel Christian tourists came under attack Wednesday from some 100 residents of the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Mea She'arim in Jerusalem (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

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  1. Christian pilgrims back Israeli troops | About 25 people, wearing white T-shirts that said "Your God is my God," waved Israeli flags and sang religious songs (Associated Press)

  2. Pope calls for Israeli, Palestinian peace talks | Pope Benedict on Sunday called for peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians and an end to spiraling violence in Iraq (Reuters)

  3. Church anti-Semitic | Jesus had something to say about such hypocrisy (Ezra Levant, The Calgary Sun)

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  1. Nun says theft charge is off-base | Sister Barbara Markey maintains her "full innocence" against accusations that she embezzled more than $300,000 from the Omaha Archdiocese (Omaha World-Herald, Neb.)

  2. Saturday: Nun surrenders to Omaha police | Sister Barbara Markey, suspected of using Omaha Archdiocese money for personal expenses including gambling, gifts and travel, has turned herself in to police (Omaha World-Herald, Neb.)

  3. Also: Nun accused of improper spending surrenders | A 71-year-old nun who co-wrote a popular marriage-preparation program was arrested on charges of improperly spending more than $300,000 on casinos, gifts and air travel. (Associated Press)

  4. Clergyman jailed for land flips | The lawyer for the Rev. Paul J. Starnes made no apologies for the misdeeds of Trinity Mortgage Brokerage Co., the company his client ran before being arrested on real estate fraud charges in 2005 (The Republican, Springfield, Mass.)

  5. Prayer for the down and out | A St. Petersburg televangelist does know the troubles they've seen: He spent three years in prison for fraud (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  6. Evangelicals defend local preacher | The Head of Redeemed Gospel Church Bishop Arthur Kitonga has defended an embattled City preacher over extortion claims levelled by former church members (Capital FM, Kenya)

  7. Couple behind 'religious scam' to be extradited to US | A Briton wanted by the FBI over allegations he set up a £16m religious-themed investment scam in the US is to be extradited (The Guardian, London)

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  1. Church case back in court this week | Recusal hearing Wednesday in Burlington for presiding judge (Rutland Herald, Vt.)

  2. Letters detail charges of abuse by priest | The handwritten letter by the Rev. Edward O. Paquette, a Westfield resident, to Bishop John A. Marshall of the Burlington, Vt., diocese, was a failed attempt to be honest about Paquette's sexual attraction toward boys (The Republican, Springfield, Mass.)

  3. Church suspends organist after ruling on sex claim | The Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland dismissed a longtime Waterville organist from her job Friday, after an investigation into a claim she had sex with a minor about 35 years ago (Portland Press Herald, Me.)

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  1. Also: Waterville woman dismissed from duties | The family of a longtime organist for the Parish of the Holy Spirit on Sunday blasted Maine's Roman Catholic Church as arrogant and unjust in dismissing their mother of her church duties for allegedly having inappropriate sexual contact with a minor about 30 years ago (Kennebec Journal, Me.)

  2. A worthy compromise | The Legislature's Joint Committee on Judiciary has at last reached a reasonable compromise on the issue of extending the statute of limitations on crimes involving the sexual abuse of children - one that should be passed before lawmakers adjourn later this month (Editorial, Boston Herald)

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Pastor's wife murder trial:

  1. Winkler wife describes fateful hours | The day before Church of Christ minister Matthew Winkler was killed, his wife, Mary, withdrew a total of $500 in cash from five accounts at two different banks and talked "incessantly" on her cell phone with bank officials as her financial problems mounted (Jackson Sun, Tenn.)

  2. Money motive shocks Selmer residents | But not everyone watching the case is convinced that money was the real root of the problems (Jackson Sun, Tenn.)

  3. Winkler: 'I just … snapped' | Mary Winkler: Financial woes led to the killing of beloved Selmer minister (Jackson Sun, Tenn.)

  4. Testimony: Wife shot minister after fight | A minister's wife charged with murdering her husband told police she shot him after they argued over family finances and then told him "I'm sorry" as he lay dying in their bedroom, according to testimony at a bond hearing Friday (Associated Press)

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Richard Scrushy:

  1. Scrushy facing more HealthSouth trials | Richard Scrushy's felony convictions Thursday in a state bribery scheme linked to his days as chief executive of HealthSouth Corp. aren't the end of his legal troubles. (Associated Press)

  2. Also: Jury convicts HealthSouth founder in bribery trial | Scrushy paid Ala. politician for board seat, panel finds (Washington Post)

  3. Also: Ex-governor and executive convicted of bribery | A jury in Alabama convicted Don E. Siegelman and a former HealthSouth chief executive, Richard M. Scrushy (The New York Times)

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Prison ministry and state:

  1. Ohio prison system curtails religious programs | Department reaches tentative agreement with deputy warden who sued over proselytizing during employee training, other practices (Associated Press)

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  1. Striking down hope for inmates | The judge's message is this: Go away. Go away, even if your program is working and inmates are volunteering and asking for the services. (Mark L. Earley, The Washington Post)

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Church and state:

  1. State lets roller-rink owners skate by with Christian night | The state Division of Human Rights this week dropped its inquiry into a "Christian Skate" at Skate Time 209 (Times Herald-Record, N.Y.)

  2. Also: This is discrimination? | If someone objects to skating while Christian music is playing, then why doesn't that person just skate on another day? (Editorial, Times Reporter, Dover, Oh.)

  3. Bill may deter religious lawsuits | The bill would keep people who sue governments from collecting damages or fees (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  4. Task force may legalize church double parking | A D.C. task force is considering a plan that would make double parking legal at churches on Sundays. (Washington Times)

  5. Pagans have their rites, too | Does dancing in a circle, decked out in ancient garb, in the dead of night, while banging a tambourine, constitute a crime? This is the question many of the big-beards in the Greek Orthodox Church have been forced to ask as the realisation has dawned that Apollo-loving pagans are among us again (The Observer, London)

  6. Defamation claim against church and minister dismissed | Church discipline case in Oklahoma (Religion Clause)

  7. A prison of secular perception | Why are Christians being blocked from helping their fellow man? Ask the über-secularists (Linda White, The Free Lance-Star, Fredericksburg, Va.)

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  1. Court allows UC bias suit to proceed | A U.S. judge tentatively permits a Christian school to pursue its claim that the university discriminates in its admissions policies (Los Angeles Times)

  2. School Board found in contempt for prayers| | A federal judge has partially granted two civil contempt motions against the Tangipahoa Parish School Board for violating an August 2004 consent order regulating prayer in the school system, court documents show (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)

  3. Also: La. school board held in contempt for violating prayer ban | Federal judge finds prayers offered by students at two school banquets breached 2004 agreement between ACLU, Tangipahoa officials (Associated Press)

  4. Teen sues district after "Ave Maria" silenced | Kathryn Nurre was told the wind ensemble couldn't play "Ave Maria" at graduation (The Seattle Times)

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  1. Jewish family "forced to move" over school lawsuit | "Stop the ACLU Coalition" publicized home address, phone number (Bartholomew's Notes on Religion)

  2. A baptism in business for pastors, laypeople | Boston College program would be a first (The Boston Globe)

  3. Chaplain bid provocative and divisive | Christian clergy have no place in public schools (Judith Bessant, The Age, Melbourne)

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Religious displays:

  1. Church constructs monument to Christianity in likeness of Lady Liberty | 72-foot monument in Hickory Hill to be unveiled on July Fourth (Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

  2. Support for lighted cross rekindles an old debate | A tower at Pepperdine was supposed to be illuminated 33 years ago but critics blocked it (Los Angeles Times)

  3. 24 tons of controversy | Millions of dollars in legal fees and 15 years of litigation have not changed the original 1991 District Court's ruling. A federal judge has now ordered the Mount Soledad cross removed or the city of San Diego faces a $5,000 per day fine (Gail Chatfield, North County Times, San Diego)

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Barack Obama:

  1. Politics and religion | Bloggers have some Old Testament retribution for Barack Obama after a speech he gave advocating the fusion of liberal politics with religion. But their real wrath is reserved for James Dobson's most recent fulminations against gay marriage (Slate)

  2. Obama preaches to surly choir | Barack Obama, the first-term Illinois senator in whom most of his fellow Democrats have been well-pleased, had the temerity last week to suggest his party get right with God (Editorial, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  3. Obama's eloquent faith | Many Democrats discovered God in the 2004 exit polls. (E. J. Dionne Jr., Washington Post)

  4. What's the matter with Barack Obama? | Obama's rhetoric ends up reinforcing Republican myths about liberal Godlessness instead of challenging them (Michelle Goldberg, Huffington Post)

  5. Senator steps in it | Barack Obama, after leading a charmed political existence, has suddenly become controversial. Why? He talked about religion (Howard Kurtz, The Washington Post)

  6. For this pol, one nation under God | It strikes me that Obama is vice presidential material because he realizes that the donkeys need no longer wear the dunce cap when it comes to taking on the elephants and competing for the evangelical vote (Stanley Crouch, New York Daily News)

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  1. Hillary Clinton talks religion | Appearing before a religious conference earlier this week, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton told the audience that as a child attending Sunday school she would baby-sit the children of migrant workers so that their older siblings could join their parents at work (CNN)

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  1. A Mormon for president? Voters balk | More than twice as many say they'd oppose a Muslim or a Latter-day Saint than a Jew or a Catholic. Mitt Romney could have a problem (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Also: Romney's religion may be hurdle in presidential bid, poll shows | More than a third of registered voters -- 35 percent -- say they wouldn't vote for a Mormon for president (Bloomberg)

  3. Group wants politics away from church | Rabbi says candidates often use congregations for political gain (Houston Chronicle)

  4. Melding faith and tolerance | Intolerance -- whether exercised by "Islamic" fundamentalists blowing up the mosques of other sects or by "Christian" activists blowing up abortion clinics -- is rapidly becoming a decisive force in domestic politics and foreign policy in nation after nation. (Jim Hoagland, The Washington Post)

  5. Cracks in the Christian ascendancy | Why it's too soon to panic about an American theocracy (Russell Cobb, Slate)

  6. Democrats, evangelicals team up on global warming | A fledgling alliance of Democrats and evangelical Christians is attempting to tackle global warming, motivated by the recent release of two documentaries on the subject, a solid scientific consensus and a growing concern over "creation care" (Religion News Service)

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  1. No answer to Arroyo's prayers | Despite a papal seal of approval, the Philippine President's woes aren't over (Time Asia)

  2. Prelate didn't violate church laws: bishops | The Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iniguez did not violate any policy of the Catholic Church when he filed last Wednesday an impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (Sun Star, Manila, Philippines)

  3. Impeachment and the Church | In filing the second "back-up impeachment complaint" against President Arroyo, Caloocan Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez went boldly where other top Catholic Church officials didn't dare to go before (Editorial, Sun Star, Manila, Philippines)

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Stem-cell research:

  1. Excommunication fears overstated | Stem-cell researchers say Vatican statements aren't leading to religious purges or change in scientific agenda (Inside Higher Ed)

  2. Vatican vows to expel stem cell scientists from Church | Scientists who carry out embryonic stem cell research and politicians who pass laws permitting the practice will be excommunicated, the Vatican said (The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Excommunication is sought for stem cell researchers | Stem cell researchers should be punished in the same way as women who have abortions and doctors who perform them, a senior Vatican official said (The New York Times)

  2. A 'hard stand on the preservation of life' | Roman Catholic scientists who conduct human-embryonic-stem-cell research could face excommunication, the head of the Vatican's family council told a Catholic magazine in Italy last week. While the interview made headlines around the world, it may not represent a shift for the Vatican, which has long considered embryonic-stem-cell experiments a grave sin (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

  3. Sen. Bill Frist revives stem cell bill | Urged anew by Nancy Reagan, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist on Thursday revived a bill to expand funding for embryonic stem cell research after conservatives who had blocked it withdrew their objections. (Associated Press)

  4. Senate to take up stem cell bill in July | The Senate on Thursday reached a breakthrough agreement to vote on legislation that would allow federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. (Reuters)

  5. Senate sees progress on stem-cell funding | The Senate last night reached an agreement that paves the way for the chamber to vote on House-passed legislation to allow federal funding for research on embryonic stem cells beyond what President Bush permitted under a 2001 order. (Washington Times)

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Life ethics:

  1. British doctors oppose assisted suicide | British doctors voted Thursday to restore their long-standing policy of opposing euthanasia, but advocates of medically assisted suicide accused religious pressure groups of exerting undue influence over the vote (Associated Press)

  2. I'll Dolly up the human brain | Jasper Gerard meets Ian Wilmut (The Times, London)

  3. The perils of cloning | Ten years after Dolly's birth, scientists are learning that clones may not be such perfect copies after all (Time)

  4. A clone by any other name | Missouri's deceptively worded ballot measure (Colleen Carroll Campbell, The Weekly Standard)

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  1. Tribal leader ousted over abortion clinic | A Sioux tribe ousted its president for proposing an abortion clinic on the reservation, which would be beyond the reach of South Dakota's strict new abortion ban (Associated Press)

  2. Operation Rescue buys, closes clinic | An anti-abortion group has bought and closed a Wichita clinic that provided abortions and was a focal point of the massive 1991 demonstrations known as the "Summer of Mercy" (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

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Sexual ethics and family life:

  1. World Cup brings little pleasure to German brothels | The World Cup has not generated the surge in demand for prostitution or the influx of temporary prostitutes that many experts predicted (The New York Times)

  2. Pope appeals for traditional families | Pope Benedict XVI appealed Sunday for peace in Middle East and for governments to help safeguard the traditional family structure (Associated Press)

  3. More couples choose to wed their way | While clergy still perform most weddings, the ceremonies are straying ever farther from tradition, reflecting a "do-it-yourself" attitude toward religious nuptials (The Washington Post)

  4. Annulment? Nothing to it | How did Nicole Kidman manage a Catholic wedding? (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Ark. governor seeks gay foster parent ban | Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said Friday he hopes the Legislature considers reimposing a ban on gay foster parents, struck down a day earlier by the state Supreme Court (Associated Press)

  2. Earlier: Arkansas court backs gay foster parents | Arkansas cannot ban homosexuals from becoming foster parents because there is no link between their sexual orientation and a child's well-being, the state's high court ruled Thursday. (Associated Press)

  3. Governor pushes law for foster parents | After the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled that homosexuals can be foster parents, Gov. Mike Huckabee urged state lawmakers to consider writing a law banning the practice (The Washington Times)

  4. Reilly presses for vote on gay marriage ban | Only Democrat to do so at debate (Boston Globe)

  5. Romney helps push for S.C. gay marriage ban | Governor Mitt Romney, a leading campaigner to outlaw gay marriage in Massachusetts, is now involving himself in a like-minded effort in South Carolina, where voters will decide this fall whether to add a similar ban to their state constitution (The Boston Globe)

  6. End of adoptions as one agency protests gay parents | Boston religious charity shuts down over conflict with state law (World News Tonight, ABC News)

  7. Same-sex marriage debate drives intense fundraising efforts | The proposed state constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage in Virginia has sparked an aggressive fundraising effort, with each side of the debate hoping to secure hundreds of thousands of dollars for their cause (The Washington Post)

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  1. 'Gay wedding' MP attacks Church | Ben Bradshaw, one of the first MPs to have a civil partnership ceremony, has criticised the Church of England for not recognizing same-sex partnerships (BBC)

  2. So what if they're born gay? | A study that shows younger brothers are more likely to be gay shouldn't alter the fact that homosexuals deserve equal rights (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

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Lesbian student suit:

  1. Parents sue for school's actions | On behalf of two students, a lawsuit claims discrimination and invasion of privacy (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

  2. Girls' suit allowed to proceed | Christian school believed they were lesbians, let them go (San Francisco Chronicle)

  3. Calif. court OKs teens' suit vs. school | Two teens expelled from a Lutheran high school because of an alleged lesbian relationship can sue the school even though it is a private religious institution, the California Supreme Court ruled (Associated Press)

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Anglican breakup (news):

  1. African branch criticizes Anglican plan | Africa's largest Anglican church is criticizing a proposal from the archbishop of Canterbury for two-tier membership in the global Anglican fellowship, a plan aimed at keeping the group together despite differences over homosexuality and the Bible (Associated Press)

  2. Liberals may split from Canterbury over homosexuals | Liberal clergy in Britain are preparing to turn to America's Anglican bishops for leadership in a move that could produce "civil war" and destroy the Church of England (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Episcopalians shaken by division in church | A conflict over permitting gay bishops and ceremonies for same-sex unions has cracked open a fault line running under the Episcopal Church (The New York Times)

  4. Episcopal protest of top bishop increases | More dioceses reject new female leader (The Washington Post)

  5. Episcopal rift over gay bishops widens | Two more Episcopal dioceses that consider gay relationships sinful are distancing themselves from the denomination by seeking oversight from fellow Anglicans overseas instead of the American church (Associated Press)

  6. Revolt under way within Episcopal church | Six conservative Episcopalian bishops opposed to the liberal drift in the U.S. branch of the Anglican Communion are asking for a trial separation, a move hinting at an eventual divorce over irreconcilable differences, some analysts say (Reuters)

  7. Virginia Episcopal bishop slams Nigerian appointment | The election of a Virginia clergyman to lead Anglican Nigerian immigrants in the U.S. is being criticized by the Episcopal bishop of Virginia and the archbishop of Canterbury as "an affront" and "neither timely nor constructive." (The Washington Times)

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  1. 3 Episcopal dioceses seek release | San Joaquin, two others ask to be placed outside U.S. church jurisdiction (Los Angeles Times)

Anglican breakup: Australia:

  1. Anglican head admits split | Australia's leading conservative Anglican has pronounced the global church officially "separated" after the Archbishop of Canterbury conceded it may have to break apart to survive the fractures over gay clergy (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  2. Two-tier Anglican church absurd: Jensen | Sydney's Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen says a proposal to create a two-tier church catering to conservative and liberal Anglicans will not work (AAP, Australia)

  3. Losing their religion | The split in the Anglican communion is a win for conservatives, but it may be costly (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  4. US church leader could not preach here: Jensen | The liberal teachings of the new female leader of US branch of the Anglican Church would make it difficult for her to preach in Sydney, says the Archbishop of Sydney (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  5. Church is split, declares Jensen | Australia's leading conservative Anglican has pronounced the global church officially "separated" after the Archbishop of Canterbury conceded it may have to break apart to survive the fractures over gay clergy (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  6. A battle for hearts and souls | It is official: the Anglican Church has split. It is not a divorce, says the Archbishop of Sydney, Peter Jensen - not yet, anyway. It's a separation (Editorial, The Sydney Morning Herald)

Anglican breakup (opinion and analysis):

  1. Crisis of Faith: Episcopal schism reflects wider culture war | The battle over homosexuality is really a contest over the nature of moral truth and authority. It's the root cause of the culture war, in which the Anglican battle royal is merely one front. (Editorial, The Dallas Morning News)

  2. Divine divisions | What happens next is not about gay bishops, nor same-sex weddings, nor polygamy. Rather it is about the church's architecture and the degree of autonomy enjoyed by its constituent parts. In the end, though, Dr Williams will have to choose between unity - and bigotry (Editorial, The Guardian, London)

  3. A church divided cannot stand -- can it? | Episcopalians' dysfunction is ominous (Frank E. Lockwood, Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

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  1. Love and generosity should guide fractured Anglican Church | The careful portrait sketched last week by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, of the crisis facing the Anglican Church is to be welcomed for careful study and reflection (Roger Herft, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  2. Better to run away than burn in hell | Why on earth would a lesbian want to belong to any church? (Terry Lane, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  3. Crises of faith | Anglican leader Rowan Williams labors hard for the King, but even he cannot put Humpty Dumpty back together again (Barney Zwartz, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  4. Once-great churches are falling apart | It's a sad state of affairs, one has to admit, but news of the last week makes it hard to doubt Canadians are currently watching the demise of two great churches -- the United and the Anglican (Ted Byfield, The Calgary Sun)

  5. Coming very soon … women bishops | For Christina Rees and Bishop Jefferts Schori, perhaps for Rowan Williams, the ordination of women into the episcopacy and the ordination of gay priests are connected in a very basic way (Mary Wakefield, The Telegraph, London)

  6. Dr Williams should abolish bishops and end this missionary creep | Although absurd, the Church of England schism matters because religious institutions still have political influence (Simon Jenkins, The Guardian, London)

  7. The archbishop, we can only deduce, is a humanist mole | Once Rowan Williams had many gay friends, but he has turned against them as he moves ever further to the right (Andrew Brown, The Guardian, London)

  8. Church compromise on homosexual issue problematic | How can either denomination find middle ground when each point is so far removed? (Charity Gordon, Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal)

  9. God's girls | When Nevada Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori this month became the head of the U.S. Episcopal Church, she wasn't just the first presiding bishop of that faith—she became the first woman in American history elected to lead a major Christian denomination (Newsweek)

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  1. Presbyterians and the Holy Trinity: Let us phrase | Delegates to the U.S. church's policy-making body endorse other wordings to describe a 'triune God' (Los Angeles Times)

  2. I believe in Larry, Moe and Curly Joe | Ever attentive to the world's evolving feelings -- I guess -- delegates to the PCUSA's national assembly recently voted to "receive" a policy paper on gender that would allow a little flexibility on the Holy Trinity (Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel)

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  1. Vatican files to cast new light on Pius XII, Jews | Wartime Pope Pius XII's views on the Jews, one of the sorest points in Catholic-Jewish relations, could be in for an important reappraisal when archives from his years as Vatican prime minister are opened in Rome in September (Reuters)

  2. Vatican opens inter-war archives | The Vatican is to open its archives to allow historians to access documents from 1922 to 1939 (BBC)

  3. Vatican to release files on Pope Pius XI | The Vatican said Friday it will release from its secret archives years of files on Pope Pius XI, whose pontificate spanned most of the period between the world wars (Associated Press)

  4. Brazil wants visiting Pope to canonize first saint | Brazil's Catholic Church expects Pope Benedict to canonize the first Brazil-born saint during his first visit to the world's largest Roman Catholic country next May, a top bishop said on Thursday (Reuters)

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Church life:

  1. Small church born again | Abbott Methodist reopened thanks to Willie Nelson and his sister (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  2. A spiritual home far away from home | Every Sunday, more than 400 people, most of them immigrants from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries, spend three hours worshipping inside this abandoned bakery at Route 1 and East West Highway in Riverdale Park (The Washington Post)

  3. Church plays central role in Haitian life | For most Haitians in Southwest Florida, church is the center of religious, family and social life (The News-Press, Ft. Myers, Fla.)

  4. Church battles fires with faith | Pontiac church aims to rebuild after 2 arsons (The Detroit News)

  5. Megachurches have wrong focus, black leaders say | Concentrating on wealth is turning Christianity on its head and ignoring the poor, they say (Associated Press)

  6. AME bishops seek more ways to help Africa | Conference ends on international note (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  7. Also: AME church ready to stress core values | Denomination ends conference with call to overhaul the governing board (The State, Columbia, S.C.)

  8. Christian Reformed speak up for peace, stall on women | Conscientious objector standards urged (The Christian Century)

  9. Hillsong avoids the politicians | Today's opening of the annual convention of Sydney's largest evangelical congregation is to be a politician-free zone (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  10. Without Walls looks next to Big Apple | The Tampa megachurch is on a real estate hunt for a new sanctuary in New York (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

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  1. Sex, work and singleness | Women were once the backbone of the church. No more. A reality show in a convent shows why (Kristin Aune, The Guardian, London)

  2. Churches insulated from war's harsh reality | Three years after the invasion of Iraq, stories of bloody bombings and mounting casualties still top each day's news, but remain conspicuously absent from the discourse of most neighborhood churches (Barbara Brown Taylor, Religion News Service)

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Church anniversaries:

  1. Fifty years in the making | As the wee hours of Sunday morning gave way to opening day of the new Thomas Road Baptist Church, frantic workers were putting the finishing touches on the new $20 million building (Lynchburg News & Advance, Va.)

  2. Also: 50 years of Falwell | A special report (Lynchburg News & Advance, Va.)

  3. Also: A new beginning | The Rev. Jerry Falwell celebrates 50 years at the helm of his church in a brand-new sanctuary (The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  4. Potter's House: 10 and growing | More than 10,000 people packed The Potter's House on Sunday morning in southwest Dallas to celebrate the church's 10th anniversary (The Dallas Morning News)

  5. Soul Factory marks decade with giveaways | 'You want to be a blessing' to people in need, leader of 5,000-member church says (The Washington Post)

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Church buildings:

  1. Seeking salvation | Too modern architecturally to be historic, Boulder's First Christian Church faces demolition. Preservationists want to save it and others (The Denver Post)

  2. Manhattan: Way clear for church demolition | The Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court has upheld a lower court's dismissal of a lawsuit brought by former parishioners of St. Brigid's Roman Catholic Church in the East Village (The New York Times)

  3. Churches fear signs may be a roadblock | Road construction sparks confusion among visitors (Pensacola News Journal, Fla.)

  4. Charges unlikely in church collapse | State officials are still studying the cause of the June 22 roof collapse at a Chilton County church, but said they don't expect any criminal charges (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

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Missions & ministry:

  1. Project helps prostitutes escape the streets | Mary Magdalene Project offers housing and job training to help prostitutes change their lives (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Spreading the word | Door-to-door evangelists don't get a lot of hugs in response to their ministry (Kennebec Journal, Me.)

  3. Religion in the news: Women of Faith and joy | During the two-day meeting, speakers and special guests shared motivational stories with attendees and led them in song and prayer. At times, however — such as when the Grammy-nominated Christian group, Avalon, took the stage — it felt more like a concert than a religious conference (Associated Press)

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  1. Evangelical Alliance: A model organization | Evangelical Alliance is the name of one of the United Kingdom's most powerful church-based organisations which has been highly influential in articulating a Christian worldview in the public square (The Jamaica Gleaner)

  2. Web site matches people to churches | Stephani and Chad Olson are in the matchmaking game, but not in the way you may think (The Arizona Republic)

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  1. Pro-lifers against Buffett-Gates alliance | Warren Buffett's new philanthropic alliance with fellow billionaire Bill Gates won widespread praise this week, but anti-abortion activists did not join in, instead assailing the two donors for their longtime support of Planned Parenthood and international birth-control programs. (Associated Press)

  2. The ultra-rich give differently from you and me | Giving by the richest Americans has fallen in recent years, with the biggest declines at the very top (The New York Times)

  3. The decisions behind the donations | A range of strategies can guide donors' choices (The Washington Post)

  4. Church-goers lead way when it comes to charity | Churchgoers give about twice as much to charity as non-believers, with people aged 25 to 44 the most generous, according to research on donations in Australia (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  5. Do unto others | Congregations can live out faith by volunteering (Daily Times-Call, Co.)

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Money and business:

  1. The moral burden of bankruptcy | With more people buried in debt, Christians argue over forgiveness versus responsibility (The Christian Science Monitor)

  2. A conscience of corporations | Religious organizations are prodding corporations on social issues, and winning ever more shareholder support (The New York Times)

  3. GuideOne Insurance offers special benefits for churchgoers | After a year, the company said it is adding FaithGuard endorsements at a rate of more than 160 per day (Journal Star, Lincoln, Neb.)

  4. God's business | Some religious organisations are taking advantage of lax taxation to the cost of ordinary Australians (BRW, Australia, via The Age)

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  1. Radio station's sale generates lively debate | The pending sale of KTPB 88.7 FM, a public radio station operated by Kilgore College, has drawn international attention - and angst (Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tex.)

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  1. Radio station's sale could still stay in local hands (Tyler Morning Telegraph, Tex.)

  2. Songs of Praise man to be BBC's religious head | A Methodist lay preacher who is a BBC producer has been chosen as the BBC's new head of religion and ethics, the corporation announced yesterday (BBC)

  3. Church's radio tower request faces opposition | The Newport News Planning Commission has urged the Council to vote against the proposal (Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

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Film and theater:

  1. Lawmakers decry Christian film's PG rating | House Majority Whip Roy Blunt, R-Mo., and other lawmakers are demanding explanations after hearing complaints that the movie "Facing the Giants" was rated PG instead of G due to religious content (Associated Press)

  2. For Singer, a hero with many faces | Singer even compares the film's subtext of salvation (and its sub-theme of sacrifice) to the not-so-thinly veiled Christian allegory centering around the Aslan character in "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe." (Washington Post)

  3. Battling Babylon | Why Christians should be watching, not boycotting, movies (S.T. Karnick, The Weekly Standard)

  4. This is your last chance to offend the holy zealots | The story of Jerry Springer the Opera reveals a cowardly shift that lets religious intimidation triumph (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, London)

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  1. From rock to revival, Keith Richards shines | Rolling Stones' guitarist plays on Lutheran CD (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  2. Bias against Bluegrass overcome | David Crowder came to respect, enjoy religious themes (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  3. A nod to God | Some of country music's earliest stars expressed a spiritual side; today, a new wave of singers is finding religion can inspire and sell (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  4. Gospel star Sheard stays cool as career heats up | 18-year-old Kierra "Kiki" Sheard, a third-generation gospel artist, was the epitome of graciousness and cool (Reuters)

  5. Inspiring recovery one song, one step at a time | Seth and the Intervention Band is more than just a local Christian rock band. They're also part of an emerging music genre that's been gaining recognition lately: recovery music (The Boston Globe)

  6. Rocking for Jesus | Christian soldiers now can march to a different, earthier rhythm (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

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  1. Bible in the eyes of Africans | Africa Bible Commentary is the most ambitious and comprehensive biblical project to have come out of Africa (Joseph Ngunjiri, The Nation, Kenya)

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  1. The variety show of religious experience | J. C. Hallman hangs out with Wiccans, Satanists and other members of the spiritual fringe. Stephen Prothero reviews The Devil Is a Gentleman (The New York Times Book Review)

  2. And also with you | In a spiritual coming-of-age memoir, John Cornwell recalls studying for the priesthood. Norah Vincent reviews Seminary Boy (The New York Times Book Review)

  3. Prayer of a chance for Earth | Jean E. Barker reviews A Greener Faith: Religious Environmentalism and Our Planet's Future by Roger S. Gottlieb (San Francisco Chronicle)

  4. Life vs. Death | The religion of the 'Right to Choose.' Wesley J. Smith reviews The Party of Death by Ramesh Ponnuru (The Weekly Standard)

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  1. This year, lots of fireworks over the Founders' faith | America's Founding Fathers often kept their religious beliefs close to the vest, historians say, but that just won't cut it anymore (The Christian Science Monitor)

  2. The forgotten founder: John Witherspoon | (Roger Kimball, The New Criterion, also at

  3. Tolerance in the age of Ann Coulter | Deist or Christian, the founders were united against an established national church. They wanted religion to be one factor in our public life, but not the dominant one (Jon Meacham, The Washington Post)

  4. Bishop Ajayi Crowther's birthplace, Osoogun, in ruins | Threatened by 'second slavery' (Vanguard, Nigeria)

  5. Relic search ends near home | Dave Bailey was hunting museums in New York for the bronze relic he believes could shed new light on 17th-century Spanish expeditions in Colorado (The Denver Post)

  6. Also: Pueblo priest holds answer to lost artifact | For the past 37 years, Monsignor Howard Delaney has had the prized piece of metal (Pueblo Chieftain, Colo.)

  7. St Alban is holier than St George | The Church of England will debate making St Alban an alternative patron saint because critics claim St George is too militaristic, potentially offensive to Muslims — and foreign (The Times, London)

  8. Texans part of possible Noah's Ark discovery | A group of men, including several north Texans, believes it has found the remains of Noah's Ark, but it's not where most think (KTVT, Dallas)

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  1. Baldwin slams Bono's charity work | "You would do far more good if you just preached the gospel of Jesus rather than trying to get rid of Third World debt relief." (

  2. Rick Warren heads to North Korea | Also: Religious groups seek allies against poverty (The Washington Post)

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  1. A man of faith | Away from football, OSU's Penton finds his calling in the ministry (The Columbus Dispatch, Oh.)

  2. Meera Jasmine sparks new row by entering temple | Christian actress offers prayers at Hindu temple (PTI, India)

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  1. Desert prayer with Egyptian roots | Life at North America's only Coptic Orthodox monastery is rigorous and strictly for worship. It draws those who seek a deeper insight into Christianity (Los Angeles Times)

  2. A call to honor the Sabbath | The problem with ignoring the Sabbath is that it hurts us as individuals, families and communities (Henry G. Brinton, USA Today)

  3. True colours of modern Christianity | The West is no longer the heart and soul of the Christian movement, (Michael Duffy, The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Other stories of interest:

  1. Witch doctors join in AIDS fight | South Africa's traditional healers read gospel in exchange for Baptists' medical help (Religion News Service)

  2. 'July 7 bombers took my daughter and my mission' | A vicar whose daughter was killed in the London bombings said that she doubted she could ever forgive the men who carried out the suicide attacks (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Pentagon releases detainee abuse report | The Pentagon on Friday released a 2005 military review of prisoner interrogation policies that concluded that no uniformed or civilian leaders directed or encouraged the prisoner abuses committed in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (Associated Press)

  4. Panel unanimously recommends cervical cancer vaccine for girls 11 and up | The vote all but commits the federal government to buy the vaccine for the nation's poorest girls from 11 to 18 (The New York Times)

  5. Peace for Sudanese | The ever-expanding charnel house of Darfur and now Chad will exceed even the rivers of blood in Rwanda as the signature of Mr. Annan's U.N. reign, as well as the shame of all the countries, including the United States, that piously deplored this genocide known to all, and let it go on and on and on so that the precious sovereignty of the monstrous government of Khartoum would not be disrespected (Nat Hentoff, The Washington Times)

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June 29b | 29a | 28
June 23 | 22 | 21
June 16 | 15 | 14 | 13b | 13
June 9 | 8 | 7 | 6
June 2b | 2a | May 31
May 26 | 24
May 19 | 18 | 17
May 11 | 10 | 9 | 8

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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