Today's Top Five

1. U.S. Supreme Court: Don't remove cross—yet
The Supreme Court has repeatedly refused to get involved in the dispute over whether a 29-foot-tall cross at San Diego's Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial violates the constitutional ban on the establishment of religion. That changed Monday, when Justice Anthony M. Kennedy stayed a federal judge's order that the city remove the cross by August or face a $5,000 daily fine. The stay is in effect until the Court issues a further order—but that doesn't mean that the Supreme Court will hear the case. "I would cancel the funeral," city attorney Michael Aguirre told the San Diego Union-Tribune. "But I would not schedule the victory party yet." Pat Mahoney of a group called the Christian Defense Coalition had a different interpretation: "Yes, we're thankful to Justice Kennedy, but God did this. God the Sovereign intervened." So if the Supreme Court decides that the cross should be removed, will Mahoney claim that's an act of God, too, or will he attack "activist judges"?

2. A true American idol
There's something awfully syncretistic about the 72-foot Statue of Liberation Through Christ, created by World Overcomers Outreach in Memphis. It looks like the New York Harbor's Statue of Liberty, only instead of a torch, she's carrying a cross, and instead of the July 4, 1776, tablet, she carries the Ten Commandments. Her crown says "Jehovah," and a tear is running down her cheek. A tear indeed. World Overcomers pastor Alton Williams says the 12,000-pound statue, which cost $260,000, was created to fight "godlessness in America." The New York Times quotes him saying, "This statue proves that Jesus Christ is Lord over America, he is Lord over Tennessee, he is Lord over Memphis." The Commercial Appeal of Memphis reports that at the unveiling, Williams "faced the 72-foot statue and blessed the city of Memphis against disease, crime, intolerance and poverty."

 Weblog isn't sure the way to fight godlessness is to create what American Christians would see in any other culture as an idol. Perhaps next a nice Midwestern church can erect a statue of a giant gilded cow that says "Holy Cow! God Loves You!" or "Let Jesus Moooove Into Your Life."

3. Priest says college objected to his Catholicism
James A. Crowley says his department head at Naugatuck Valley Community College objected to him using "Catholic examples" while teaching business ethics classes. Crowley, who has been teaching at the college since 1971, is a Roman Catholic priest. The head of the business department also allegedly objected to Crowley wearing clerical clothing and references to him as "father." Crowley is now suing the school, along with his immediate supervisor, claiming religious discrimination and retaliation.

Article continues below

4. AIDS speaker arrested for fraud
Cassey Weierbach has toured the country, speaking to churches, youth groups, and the media about her rape, AIDS infection, and imminent death from progressive multifocal leucoencephalopathy. Now she may bring her tale to a new location: criminal court. Weierbach faces fraud charges, and the Pennsylvania Office of Inspector General says she never had AIDS.

The whistleblower, as it turns out, is Lois Randolph, former pastor of Lower Saucon United Church of Christ, who says she investigated Weierbach's claims after the congregation gave her money and other gifts. "She duped my church," Randolph told the Allentown Morning Call last month. Cassey claimed that Randolph was motivated by homophobia. "It seems like she is going to make my life living hell," she responded  "Do you hate me so much because I'm gay that you are willing to destroy my life?" Somehow, that charge rings hollow at a United Church of Christ congregation. "I believe God created us all to be loved and love one another," said Randolph. "I can't believe God made a mistake. I recognize that there are some people who are homosexuals, and I accept it." The  Morning Call reported that Weierbach took advantage of other churches, such as Bethlehem's First Baptist Church and the Lehigh Valley Church of Christ, both evangelical congregations.

5. Eviction notices
At least one Belgian church has been cleared of the illegal immigrants—mostly Muslim—that have been squatting there with the support of church leaders. Expatica reports that police raided Our Sweet Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Anderlecht, and arrested four dozen immigrant protesters. "Residents also claimed that they heard heated discussions and witnessed fights because only foreigners without proper identification documents were being allowed to enter the church," said the news service. About 40 other churches in Belgium are also occupied by immigrant protesters—with the support of Belgian church leaders.

Meanwhile, in Goa, India, church officials are the ones behind some new eviction notices. Tourism guides are no longer welcome at the Bom Jesus Basilica, the Herald reports. "The move comes in the backdrop of severe criticism voiced by the Catholic community that tourists were barging into the Basilica during religious services, while non-Christians were even found rushing to receive the Holy Communion, thus hurting the religious sentiments of the Catholics," says the paper. Tourists are still welcome. But tours must end at the basilica's entrance.

Article continues below

Quote of the day
"I don't think it is a sin to be rich; it's a sin to die rich. I want people to make as much money as they can as long as they give it away as much as they can."

—Rick Warren, quoted by the Sydney Morning Herald. The Saddleback Church pastor is in Australia for the Hillsong Conference.

More articles

Mt. Soledad cross | Graven images | Church and state | Politics | Obama's speech | Life ethics | Abortion | Sexual ethics | Anglicanism | Australia's Uniting Church | Crime and abuse | AIDS speaker busted | Education | America's founding fathers | History | Catholicism | Reclaiming churches abroad | Church life | Missions and ministry | Interfaith relations | India | Other stories of interest

Mt. Soledad cross:

  1. Cross gets high court reprieve | U.S. justice issues stay on Aug. 1 removal date (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  2. Supreme Court gives cross in San Diego a reprieve | The United States Supreme Court temporarily blocked a lower court's ruling that had ordered the city to remove a 29-foot-tall cross from one of its highest hills (The New York Times)

  3. Jurist puts hold on order to remove Mt. Soledad cross | U.S. Supreme Court justice says the San Diego landmark can remain until he or the entire panel issues a further ruling (Los Angeles Times)

  4. Court intervenes in Calif. cross fight (Associated Press)

Back to index

Graven images:

  1. Church's statue unveiled, blessed | Cross-bearing 'Liberty' receives mixed reviews (Commercial Appeal, Memphis, Tenn.)

  2. Also: Lady Liberty trades in some trappings | A Memphis church has built a giant replica of the Statue of Liberty, replacing the torch with a large gold cross (The New York Times)

  3. Fallen soldier gets a Bronze Star but no pagan star | More on the military memorial controversy (The Washington Post)

Back to index

Church and state:

  1. Stafford leaders want no more churches | The leaders of a small Texas town are hoping to put out the "no vacancy" sign for religious organizations hoping to build there (KPRC, Houston)

  2. Cowboy church remains in limbo | Bedford County officials and church leaders interpret a letter about the issue differently (The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  3. CBS4 investigates Arvada church's land battle | The city is preparing to use eminent domain to take the land and build a parking lot for its new library, a tactic city officials call a last resort (KCNC, Denver)

Article continues below
  1. Honor guard's new wrinkle | Air Force's flag folding ceremonies lose religious references (Las Vegas Review-Journal)

  2. Bans douse Indian fire ceremonies | No exemptions given for religious practices (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  3. Fayette County land owner claims concerts, parties are 'church' | William Pritts claims he founded his Church of Universal Love and Music in Bullskin, Fayette County, to "advance non-denominational religion through music" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  4. Also: Bullskin Twp. man sues county (Herald Standard, Uniontown, Pa.)

  5. The Lina Joy case: Right not infringed on | Compelling a Muslim to get an apostasy order from the Syariah Court to renounce his or her religion does not infringe on a person's Constitutional right to profess another religion, the Federal Court heard (The Malaysia Star)

  6. Update: Counsel: Law not divisive (The Malaysia Star)

Back to index


  1. Sunday morning ban urged Watertown clergy want time for God | Local clergy are asking their respective churchgoers to oppose a fields permit policy that recently freed up town-owned athletic areas for ball games on Sunday mornings (Republican-American, Waterbury, Ct.)

  2. Left's old ideas still stall society | Dems' values pitch merits no faith (Star Parker, Boston Herald)

  3. A peach of a scandal in Georgia | The chutzpah of Mr. Reed in wheedling money from Abramoff to snooker Christians against gambling is cold-hearted greed (Garrison Keillor, Chicago Tribune)

  4. 'One nation under God' doesn't say 'one religion' | I wonder if witch burnings aren't far off. (Desiree Cooper, Detroit Free Press)

  5. Foreign policy and faith | U.S. must understand the link between the two (William McKenzie, The Dallas Morning News)

  6. 'Don't drive rift between Palace, Church'—Bunye | A day after taking on the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines over a bishop's filing an impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the Palace backtracked Tuesday and called on unnamed parties not to drive a wedge between the prelates and the administration (The Philippine Inquirer)

Back to index

Obama's speech:

  1. Democrats should heed Senator Obama and get some religion | The party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans (Erick Wakiaga, Home News Tribune, East Brunswick, N.J.)

  2. In good faith | The real meaning of Barack Obama's speech on religion and politics (Amy Sullivan, Slate)

Article continues below
  1. Efforts to get the Word out can be tricky | Evangelism, political and spiritual (Dawn Turner Trice, Chicago Tribune)

Back to index

Life ethics:

  1. Irish woman sues over frozen embryos | A landmark lawsuit seeking to confirm a frozen embryo's right to life opened in an Irish court Monday, a touchstone issue in a predominantly Roman Catholic country whose constitution outlaws abortion and commits the state to defend the unborn (Associated Press)

  2. Also: Frozen embryos' rightful place with her, says mother (Irish Examiner)

  3. Hwang accepts faked clone blame | But Hwang Woo-suk, who is charged with fraud and embezzlement, repeated a claim that the fabrications were the work of junior researchers (BBC)

Back to index


  1. Abortion time limit rethink urged | More than 60 MPs have now signed a Commons motion backing a review after scientific and medical changes (BBC)

  2. I have. I'm not ashamed | If we can get women to speak about it without embarrassment, we can break the abortion taboo (Zoe Williams, The Guardian, London)

  3. Don't speak of it?! | Silencing an abortion debate (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)

Back to index

Sexual ethics:

  1. Church preaches how 'Jesus loves porn stars' | A Christian missionary group making the rounds at US adult entertainment conventions hands out Bibles with "Jesus loves porn stars" stamped on their covers (AFP)

  2. Top state court's ruling on gay and lesbian marriage is awaited | The case, representing 44 gay and lesbian couples around New York State, is said to be a contest between judicial hearts and minds (The New York Times)

  3. In Lexington, fear surrounds players in flap over gay teachings | Schools chief threatened; boy's safety a concern (The Boston Globe)

  4. Anti-gay marriage leader dies | The head of the ballot effort to prohibit gay marriage and define traditional unions in Arizona was killed in a car wreck early Monday (The Arizona Republic)

  5. Sexually-based issues dividing black churches | High-profile black ministers continue to employ an agenda focused solely on sexually-based themes, like denying a women's right to choose an abortion or a gay couple's right to marry, to rally their congregations and drive a wedge through our people (Al Sharpton, CNN)

  6. Viral effect | The campaign for abstinence hits a dead end on HPV (Amanda Schaffer, Slate)

Back to index


  1. African leaders attack divided church plan | The leaders of Africa's largest Anglican church have attacked plans for a new division in the Communion, comparing liberal attitudes about gays to a "cancerous lump" within the global church (The Telegraph, London)

Article continues below
  1. Also: Nigeria bishops scorn US 'cancer' | Nigeria's Anglican Church says the US branch of the church is "a cancerous lump" that should be "excised" (BBC)

  2. Is it all over for the Anglican Communion? | The Archbishop of Canterbury and the Archbishop of Sydney on the state of Anglican Communion (The Religion Report, ABC, Australia)

  3. Things fall apart | Rowan Williams's plea to the Anglican communion to hold together appears to have fallen on deaf ears (Stephen Bates, The Guardian, London)

  4. Your church or mine? | The pros and cons of Anglican schism (Chloe Breyer, Slate)

  5. Schism on the horizon | The Episcopal Church's general convention has aggravated relations with the larger Anglican Communion (Jamie Deal, The Weekly Standard)

Back to index

Australia's Uniting Church:

  1. Rebels warn of church split | Rebel Uniting Church members are likely to propose a split unless the three-yearly assembly that begins today in Brisbane outlaws gay clergy (The Australian)

  2. 'Divisive' Christians rebuked | The new president of the Uniting Church has rebuked members of his church for "shameful behaviour not worthy of Christians" in their deep divisions over gay clergy (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  3. Also: End the abuse, leader tells divided Uniting Church | The new national leader of the Uniting Church has lashed some parts of his church for engaging in "shameful behaviours" in the debate over gay clergy and for failing to engage non-churchgoers (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  4. Church lobbies to have Hicks tried in Australia | The Uniting Church will lobby the Federal Government to have Guantanamo Bay detainee David Hicks returned to Australia and tried under international law (ABC, Australia)

Back to index

Crime and abuse:

  1. Legislators to consider compromise on sex abuse bill | Grants more time to victims (The Boston Globe)

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

  3. Mosque incident suspect arrested | Police on Tuesday arrested a man they say desecrated a local mosque by throwing a pig head into the center during evening prayers (Sun Journal, Lewiston, Me.)

  4. Tuesday: Pig's head thrown into mosque during prayers1 (Sun Journal, Lewiston, Me.)

  5. Local pastor under investigation | Fresno police say they detained Bishop Charles Dickerson for a short time on Tuesday before letting him go. He is under investigation but neither police nor Dickerson will reveal why (KSFN, Fresno, Ca.)

Article continues below
  1. Update: New details in local pastor investigation | Police are not saying why they questioned Pastor Charles Dickerson last week, but Action News has learned that on Sunday, Dickerson asked for his congregation's prayers, and in his sermon said "everyone has skeletons in their closet." (KSFN, Fresno, Ca.)

  2. 4 men are arrested in missionary attacks | Police in South Africa have arrested four men in connection with the rape of two female missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. One of the missionaries was also shot, an LDS Church official said late Monday (Deseret News, Salt Lake City)

  3. Cardinal says Turkey not ready for Europe: report | Walter Kasper, head of the Vatican's department for Christian Unity, said a knife attack on a Roman Catholic priest in Turkey showed that the EU candidate country was not yet ready for integration with Europe (Reuters)

  4. 10 arrested in Anglican fracas | Police in Nkhotakota on Monday arrested 10 people in connection with a fracas that disrupted a Sunday mass at the All Saints Anglican Cathedral following disagreements between supporters of newly-enthroned Bishop Leonard Mwenda and rejected British clergyman Paul Nicholas Henderson (The Nation, Malawi)

  5. Tuesday: Anglicans fight in church | The ongoing feud within the Anglican Diocese of Lake Malawi reared another ugly face Sunday when Christians fought with pangas during mass at the All Saints Cathedral in Nkhotakota (The Nation, Malawi)

Back to index

AIDS speaker busted:

  1. Charges: AIDS case was faked | Cassey Weierbach accused of duping state on health claims (The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.)

  2. Doubts about Cassey | An Allentown woman's tragic account of rape and AIDS has evoked the sympathy and help of people in the Lehigh Valley for a decade. But her support crumbles after a pastor's shocking accusation (The Morning Call, June 4)

  3. These churches can be proud they reached out | What would be really tragic is if — smarting from this experience — they decided to lock the church door, so to speak, depriving others of their help (Margie Peterson, The Morning Call, June 8)

  4. Also: AIDS speaker charged with feigning illness (Associated Press)

Back to index


  1. Priest suing city college | Suit charges discrimination and retaliation by administrators and campus police (Republican-American, Waterbury, Ct.)

  2. Armstrong opts for college post | Former U.S. senator accepts presidency of evangelical Colorado Christian University (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

Article continues below
  1. With academy flock, chaplain tends many faiths | Lt. Cmdr. Kimberly Sawatsky is Navy Chaplain of the Year (The Baltimore Sun)

  2. US, EU clash over Yongsan Foreign School | With the European Union Chamber of Commerce in Korea (EUCCK) withdrawing from the Yongsan Foreign School, Seoul, board of directors Thursday, American and European expatriates here are divided over who should run the school. American-style International Christian School was picked to run the foreign school instead of the British International School (The Korea Times)

Back to index

America's founding fathers:

  1. Fireworks over faith of founders | Even now, after years of reviewing diaries, letters and other papers, historians still disagree about who practiced what faith publicly and what they privately believed (The Sacramento Bee)

  2. Washington's faith unfurled | The Founding Father was Christian—not a deist, as myth might have people believe (Peter A. Lillback, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Back to index


  1. Sunlight on the Vatican's dark hours | Pope takes a good, if limited and overdue, first step in opening the Church's pre-war archives (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  2. Nazi ship to become vehicle of faith | Croatia's defense ministry has donated a World War II Nazi ship to a local Roman Catholic monastery, which will turn it into a sailing church (Associated Press)

  3. Original article: Desantni brod postaje ploveća crkva za mlade (Jutarnji List, Croatia, link via Open Book)

Back to index


  1. Catholicism 'faces biggest crisis since Reformation' | Over three decades Mass attendance has slumped by 40 percent, baptisms by 50 percent, Catholic marriages by 60 percent and confirmations by 60 percent (The Times, London)

  2. Holy war of words | The Pope's planned visit to Spain is a volley in his battle against secularism (Time Europe)

  3. Sacred burden | Priest Mark Nolette serves four parishes in Maine and Canada (Bangor Daily News, Me.)

  4. Zambia's Vatican envoy to check Milingo's whereabouts | Archbishop Milingo disappeared from his Zagarolo residence on the outskirts of Rome in bizarre circumstances two weeks ago (Times of Zambia)

  5. I owe a lot to Nigeria - Cardinal Arinze | The Pope's Minister for Congregational Prayer, Cardinal Francis Arinze, says he owes the country a lot for giving him an identity (This Day, Nigeria)

Back to index

Reclaiming churches abroad:

  1. Police raid Brussels church, evict immigrant protestors | Brussels South police raided the church Our Sweet Lady of the Immaculate Conception in Anderlecht on Tuesday and cleared the building of 48 illegal immigrants (Expatica)

Article continues below
  1. Guides 'evicted' from Basilica | In a drastic move, tourist guiding activities inside the Bom Jesus Basilica have now been banned with immediate effect. The move comes in the backdrop of severe criticism voiced by the Catholic community that tourists were barging into the Basilica during religious services, while non-Christians were even found rushing to receive the Holy Communion, thus hurting the religious sentiments of the Catholics (Herald, Goa, India)

Back to index

Church life:

  1. Bishop condemns night prayers | The Bishop of North Kigezi Diocese, the Rev. Edward Muhima, on June 25 condemned people who hold night prayers as perpetuators of sin, who should be shunned (The Monitor, Uganda)

  2. Immigrants turning to churches | Brazilians find social guidance during U.S. policy uncertainty (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  3. Egyptians sue new church leader | A group of Coptic Christians have started legal proceedings against a bishop who has said he is setting up an alternative Orthodox church in Egypt (BBC)

  4. Go forth and make a buck but for God's sake don't keep it, faithful told | There is nothing wrong with being Christian and rich, says the Californian preacher Rick Warren, just so long as you give most of your wealth away (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  5. Also: 40,000-strong makes a merry throng at Hillsong | Seventy-one countries and 21 denominations are represented at the evangelical Christians' Hillsong Conference in Sydney this week (The Daily Telegraph, NSW, Australia)

  6. Willie's church | That's a tough act to follow at the Abbott Methodist Church. But at least there will be acts to follow (Editorial, Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

Back to index

Missions and ministry:

  1. Jews for Jesus hit town and find a tough crowd | Jewish groups have united in opposition to a campaign that has set off debates about religion, ethnicity, and culture (The New York Times)

  2. Graham son brings word to Baltimore | Health permitting, Billy Graham will preach a brief message Sunday. But the unmistakable leader of the event will be Franklin Graham (The Baltimore Sun)

  3. Churches, saying lessons learned, prepare for next disaster | Many religious leaders acknowledge their response wasn't well-organized. This time, they'll be ready (Associated Press)

Back to index

Interfaith relations:

  1. Mediating the mosque dispute | Panel calls for quiet resolution (The Boston Globe)

  2. Israel's version of 'Wife Swap,' in which cultures and religions collide | In a country where Jews and Arabs rarely mix, a reality television show brings together unlikely religious bedfellows, with mixed results (The New York Times)

Article continues below
  1. Putin warns of Christian-Islam conflict | Christians, Jews, Muslims and Buddhists from several dozen countries including Iran, Israel and the United States have gathered in Moscow for the World Summit of Religious Leaders (The New York Times)

Back to index


  1. Priests, nuns can practise as advocates: SC | Priests and nuns can continue practise law in addition to performing their church duties. The SC on Tuesday refused to stay a Kerala HC ruling in favour of priests and nuns, despite reservations expressed by Bar Council of India (The Times of India)

  2. Nuns, priests cannot enroll as advocates: Bar Council | Special Leave Petitions against Kerala High Court verdict admitted (The Hindu, India)

Back to index

Other stories of interest:

  1. Rebel who preyed on children is offered amnesty | Uganda delivered a stinging rebuff to the International Criminal Court yesterday by offering an amnesty to Joseph Kony, the notorious rebel leader, despite his formal indictment for war crimes (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Faith-based coverage | An Iowa insurer's policies for churchgoers are attracting an increasing number of Christians (The Denver Post)

  3. Couple ends trek for morals | The Rev. Rick McKinney and his wife, Jane, crossed the Arlington Memorial Bridge into Washington yesterday, completing a 2,800-mile trek from Los Angeles in the name of moral and spiritual values (The Washington Times)

  4. Nearly 500 Bibles buried in sacred ceremony | The idea for the respectful disposal of the bibles, mostly in Gaelic, came from the Ness Charity shop which had become overwhelmed by the number handed in (BBC)

  5. NFA impounds church timber | The National Forest Authority (NFA) is in a bitter row with the Catholic community of Nyakaji in Odupi sub-county, Arua district for impounding timber that the Christians had collected to roof their chapel (New Vision, Uganda)

  6. Singling out Israel | Leaders of the United Church of Canada's Toronto section have blundered into the Middle East mess by calling for a one-sided boycott of companies and products from Israeli settlements on occupied land (Editorial, The Toronto Star)

Back to index

Related Elsewhere:

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to

What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

July 3
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

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.
Previous Weblog Columns: