Top Five Stories (Fri afternoon-Wed. morning):

1. Presbyterian court: "Conscience takes precedence over propriety"
Presbyterian Church (USA) minister Janet Edwards says her performing the marriage of a lesbian couple is an example of walking in the footsteps of her famous sixth-great grandfather, Jonathan Edwards. After all, she told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, he ministered to Native Americans, calling them virtuous when they were considered by the culture to be savages. ""I would say his acceptance of the Mohicans of the time is similar to my inclusion of gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered people now," she said.

There are a few differences, however. For example, Edwards's church didn't actually define Mohicans as savages. Today's Presbyterian Church (USA) doesn't define "gay-lesbian-bisexual-transgendered people" as savages, either, but the Book of Order does define marriage as "a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship."

That's "a definition, not a directive," the court of the Presbytery of the Redwoods ruled last Thursday in the church trial of Jane Adams Spahr. Neither, the court said, is the church's 1991 General Assembly instruction that "it would not be proper" for a minister to conduct same-sex unions. Since the church didn't use stronger language, the court ruled, "the issue remains unsettled." Ministers are to act on their conscience, and since "conscience takes precedence over propriety," ministers who believe that they should conduct same-sex marriages may do so. Hath the church truly said that ministers may not conduct same-sex marriages?

2. Pastor quits over terrorism grief
A Church of England minister has shown a different approach when one's personal attitudes differ with church teachings. She resigned. It's quite a sad story: Julie Nicholson's 24-year-old daughter was killed in the July 7 London terror bombings. Since then, she says, she has been unable to forgive the bombers. "I don't wish to," she said. "Forgiving another human being for violating your child is almost beyond human capabilities. It is very difficult for me to stand behind an altar and celebrate the Eucharist and lead people in words of peace and reconciliation and forgiveness when I feel very far from that myself." The trend in many church circles these days would have been to use those feelings to deny church doctrines on reconciliation and forgiveness, notes Anne Atkins in The Telegraph. "It is refreshing to find anyone resigning from anything these days; certainly for reasons of integrity." A Times editorial agrees: "Mouthing the words is one thing. Meaning them is another. To have forgiveness turned into the most prosaic of platitudes is to demean the concept." The same can be said of a number of doctrines.

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3. South Dakota bans almost all abortions
Surely you've seen this story by now. But if you haven't, be sure you check out our own news story, which was posted today.

4. Third strike for Indiana church
At first glance, the story seems like just another sad chapter in a common news theme these days: one more minister arrested on charges of child molestation. But Kevin Whitacre "is the third youth pastor at Good Shepherd [United Brethren Church in Huntington, Indiana] to be charged with such a crime in the past 10 years," notes The Journal Gazette. "Two other youth pastors were found guilty of their crimes."

5. Band sues over Christian label
When the band Mute Math signed with EMI Christian Music Group, it was to get "direct access to Capitol and Virgin" labels, says the band's lawyer. But instead, EMI released the band's EP on Word Records: a distinctly Christian label. "There's a credibility gap," the lawyer told Reuters. The band's members are all Christians, he says, but "Mute Math is not a worship artist. They don't preach from (the) stage. They don't preach in their interviews. Those things are required of you when you work in the Christian market." The band has sued Warner Bros. Records and Word for breach of contract and negligent misrepresentation.

Quote of the day
"This is better than lying on some beach."

—University of Toledo student Greg Hall, one of 7,000 Campus Crusade for Christ volunteers gutting and rebuilding Gulf Coast homes over their Spring Break. By contrast, notes Reuters, the United Way and MTV are sending only 100 spring breakers to Biloxi, Mississippi, and Foley, Alabama.

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PCUSA's Jane Spahr case | Homosexuality | Gay adoptions in Mass. | Plan B | South Dakota abortion ban | More on abortion | Life ethics | War and terrorism | Pastor quits over post-terror grief | Church of the Annunciation attack | Church life | Religious liberty | Right to religious hallucinogens | Church and state | U. Wisconsin RA Bible studies | Education | Evolution | Politics | Elections and candidates | Immigration | Catholicism | Abuse | Crime | Missions & ministry | Spirituality | Bible | Books | Da Vinci Code | Entertainment | Art | Money and business | Trinity Broadcasting Network gets tax windfall | People | Deaths | Other articles of interest
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Jane Spahr case:

  1. Minister found not guilty of misconduct | A longtime Presbyterian minister who was the first of her faith to be tried for officiating at the unions of gay couples was acquitted Friday of violating her denomination's position on same-sex marriage (Associated Press)

  2. Backers of gay marriage hopeful after trial | Friends and supporters of the Rev. Jane Adams Spahr are celebrating her victory in a Presbyterian court — but they're doing so with a dose of caution (Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.)

  3. Rochester church celebrates same-sex marriage court verdict | Jane Spahr's church is happy (WROC, Rochester, N.Y.)

  4. Embattled cleric cites ancestor's example | The Rev. Janet Edwards, 55, likens performing the lesbian wedding ceremony to her famously orthodox ancestor, Jonathan Edwards, preaching to the Mohicans in the 18th century, when racism made Native Americans the object of scorn and fear (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

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  1. Archbishop warns of split over gay bishops | Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, warned yesterday that the 77 million worldwide Anglican communion could split for a considerable period over the issue of homosexuality (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Episcopal election to set tone for church | Choices for bishop include gay, lesbian (San Jose Mercury News, Ca.)

  3. Conservative Jews to consider ending a ban on same-sex unions and gay rabbis | The direction taken by Conservative Jews will be closely watched at a time when many Christian denominations are torn over the same issue (The New York Times)

  4. Report: Gay prevention programs harm teens | A national gay and lesbian group is accusing several religious organizations of harming homosexual teens by offering parents what they say are bogus therapies to keep children from becoming gay (Associated Press)

  5. Gay-marriage opponent wants judge ousted | A state lawmaker Tuesday called for a Baltimore judge to be impeached for a ruling in favor of gay couples (Associated Press)

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Gay adoptions in Mass.:

  1. Romney looking for gay adoption exemption for Catholic church | Gov. Mitt Romney said Monday he's trying to find a way to exempt Catholic social services agencies from a law requiring them to consider gays as adoptive parents (Associated Press)

  2. Bishops' gay ban may cost millions | Private donors wary of adoption policy (The Boston Globe)

  3. In this family, normal means two fathers | Since it is clear that Massachusetts has not become Sodom and Gomorrah after legalizing gay marriage two years ago, the Christian right is now zeroing in on the ''victims" of some of those marriages: their children (Bella English, The Boston Globe)

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  1. Adoption flap a tragedy for children | If Catholic Charities is forced out of the adoption field, those kids will go on languishing and aching for God knows how much longer (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

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Plan B:

  1. Wal-Mart decides to carry Plan B pill | Officials of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. announced Friday the company will reverse its earlier policy and stock emergency contraception pills in all of its pharmacies effective March 20, saying the giant retailer could not justify being the country's only major pharmacy chain not to carry the morning-after pill (Associated Press)

  2. No middle ground for pharmacist | John Menges refused to abide by a new state rule that he fill prescriptions for the 'morning-after' pill. Now he's out of a job (Chicago Tribune)

  3. Catholic hospitals' Plan B policies argued | Pill backers mention rape victims, others defend religious freedom (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  4. State victim advocate opposes morning after pill legislation | State Victim Advocate James F. Papillo called on lawmakers Monday to oppose a bill requiring Connecticut hospitals, including Catholic institutions, to provide the "morning after pill" to rape victims (Associated Press)

  5. Update: Victim advocate urged to quit | Lt. Gov. criticizes stand on Plan B (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

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South Dakota abortion ban:

  1. South Dakota bans abortion, setting up a battle | The nation's most sweeping state abortion ban is an intentional provocation to set up a direct legal challenge to Roe v. Wade (The New York Times)

  2. South Dakota bans most abortions | South Dakota's governor signed a near-total ban on abortions in the state into law in what the governor called a "direct frontal assault" on the U.S. Supreme Court decision to legalize the practice 33 years ago (Associated Press)

  3. Abortion ban puts strategies in doubt | South Dakota's test of Roe v. Wade has both sides wondering if they've moved too fast (Los Angeles Times)

  4. Some abortion foes question S.D. tactics | Even some anti-abortion activists elated by South Dakota's new law are unsure whether it will survive the legal challenges that could put it before the U.S. Supreme Court (Associated Press)

  5. Changes in high court spur anti-abortion bills | Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia are considering measures similar to South Dakota's (Associated Press)

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  1. Groups counterattack strict S. Dakota abortion law | Abortion rights supporters on Tuesday responded to South Dakota's strict new abortion law by organizing protests, raising money and debating whether to use legal action or a statewide vote to try to strike down the law (Reuters)

  2. Bishop hopes law calls attention to 'immorality' of abortion | The leader of Maine's Roman Catholics said he hopes a new abortion law in South Dakota will call attention to a procedure that he calls immoral (Associated Press)

  3. Life after Roe | The impending legal battles put us on the verge of repeating the last two decades of the abortion war: anti-abortion victory, abortion rights backlash. At the end of the cycle 20 years from now, we'll be right back where we are today. Unless, that is, we find a way out. And that means moving beyond Roe (William Saletan, The Washington Post)

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More on abortion:

  1. Court allows suits over genetic screenings | Parents can sue a doctor if a genetic screening misses a severe or fatal condition that would have caused them to seek an abortion, a divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled Friday (Associated Press)

  2. Scant drop seen in abortion rate if parents are told | Parental notification laws have not produced the sharp drop in abortions that advocates had hoped for, a Times analysis shows (The New York Times)

  3. Annual pro-life rally draws hundreds to State House | Hundreds of pro-life activists attended an annual rally at the State House last night, a large turnout that organizers say highlights the movement's momentum—even in heavily Democratic Maryland—now that a more conservative U.S. Supreme Court will consider abortion laws (The Washington Times)

  4. Mexico rape victims often denied right to abortion | A report by Human Rights Watch to be released later on Tuesday details how courts, medical workers and others systematically break Mexican law allowing abortion in rape cases (Reuters)

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Life ethics:

  1. Holland to allow 'baby euthanasia' | A committee set up to regulate the practice will begin operating in the next few weeks, effectively making Holland, where adult euthanasia is legal, the first country in the world to allow "baby euthanasia" as well (The Times, London)

  2. Life of sick baby 'intolerable' | A baby at the centre of a landmark case over whether life support can be withdrawn has an "intolerable life", the High Court has heard (BBC)

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  1. Md. House passes stem cell funding bill | The Maryland House of Delegates passed a bill yesterday that would provide $25 million a year in state money for stem cell research, a science that proponents say holds great promise for debilitating conditions but whose funding has been limited by President Bush on the federal level (The Washington Post)

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War and terrorism:

  1. Faith groups talking tough to halt torture | A national conference on torture held several weeks ago at Princeton Theological Seminary in New Jersey concluded that "nothing less is at stake in the torture-abuse crisis than the soul of our nation" (The Kansas City Star)

  2. Three of four Christian Peacemaker Teams activists shown in video | Arab television broadcast a new videotape Tuesday showing three Christian peace activists taken hostage in Iraq last year, but a fourth — the only American abducted — was not seen in the footage (Associated Press)

  3. Blair invokes God in decision to send British troops to Iraq | Prime Minister Tony Blair has indicated that God influenced his deliberations when he committed British troops to fight alongside American forces in Iraq (The New York Times)

  4. Also: Blair says God will judge Iraq war decision | In a rare reference to his Christian religious faith, Blair told broadcaster Michael Parkinson he had struggled with his conscience over the decision (Reuters)

  5. Also: People are looking for Blair's 'God told me to do it' moment | But this isn't it. He used his own reason to wage a false war (Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian, London)

  6. Guantanamo worries England's Archbishop | The Church of England's senior clergyman said in comments broadcast Sunday that he worried that the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay has set a dangerous precedent in international law (Associated Press)

  7. Also: Anglican leader criticizes Guantanamo, terrorism | The leader of the world's Anglicans branded the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay an "extraordinary legal anomaly" on Sunday and said it set a dangerous precedent for dictators around the world (Reuters)

  8. Also: Williams attacks Guantanamo camp | The Archbishop of Canterbury has launched a scathing attack on Guantanamo Bay, branding the US prison camp an "extraordinary legal anomaly" (BBC)

  9. South Sudan militias, army clash, killing seven | Some seven people were killed in southern Sudan in clashes between renegade armed militias and the south Sudan army, despite a 2005 peace deal to end Africa's longest civil war there, officials said on Monday (Reuters)

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  1. Arson, rape, massacres … and the strange silence of the archbishop | Tough talk for Israel, but no rebuke for Sudan? (Nick Cohen, The Observer, London)

  2. Onitsha crisis: Refugees give conditions for return | Thousands of people displaced in the sectarian crisis in Anambra State are still in camps in Onitsha and Asaba vowing not to return unless their security is assured (Daily Trust, Nigeria)

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Pastor quits over post-terror grief:

  1. Vicar who can't forgive steps down from pulpit | A vicar whose daughter was killed in the London bombings has resigned because she finds it hard to forgive the men who carried out the suicide attacks (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Vicar grappling with grief stands down over bombers who took her daughter's life | 'It's hard to preach forgiveness when I feel far from it myself' (The Times, London)

  3. Vicar quits over London bombing | A female vicar whose daughter was killed in last year's London suicide bombings has stepped down from her parish role, saying she can not and does not want to forgive the killers (Reuters)

  4. Conscience and honesty | To 'forgive and forget' is not always possible or desirable (Editorial, The Times, London)

  5. Brave, but she can't forgive the bombers | Occasionally—very occasionally, alas—one hears of someone who takes a stand so brave, so honest or so principled that it gives the rest of us strength and hope to carry on (Anne Atkins, The Telegraph, London)

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Church of the Annunciation attack:

  1. Thousands of Israeli Arabs protest attack | Thousands of Israeli Arab protesters marched through the streets of this biblical town Saturday demanding better protection for holy sites after a troubled family set off firecrackers inside a major Christian shrine (Associated Press)

  2. Thousands of Israeli Arabs protest church incident | Police said the motives in Friday's incident were personal, not political, but attacks on holy sites nearly always spark tensions in Israel whose Arab minority has been targeted in the past by extremists and often complains of discrimination (Reuters)

  3. Israeli Arab leaders blame gov't for Nazareth church attack | President Moshe Katsav condemned Saturday a Jewish family's attack on a major Catholic holy site the night before, urging religious leaders to not let the incident harm relations between Jews and Christians in Israel (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

  4. Residents protest, FM tries to calm storm | On Saturday, 13,500 people marched the streets of Nazareth to protest the Friday attack on the Basilica of the Annunciation, carrying signs that said "Death to the Jews" and that Christians should keep away from the area, police said (The Jerusalem Post)

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  1. Israel church attackers 'sorry' | An Israeli couple who triggered riots after discharging fireworks in a revered church in Nazareth have expressed remorse for their actions (BBC)

  2. Vatican offers forgiveness to Havivis | A representative of the Catholic Church in Israel, Pierre Batista Piza'bella, met with the couple (The Jerusalem Post)

  3. Also: Vatican envoy: Holy See forgives Habibi couple for Nazareth church incident | Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, the Roman Catholic Church's custodian of holy sites in Israel and the Palestinian territories, met Monday afternoon with Haim and Violet Habibi and their adult daughter Odelia (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)

  4. Throw the bums out | If you want to put your figure on a big part of the problem of Israel's more than a million Arab citizens, you only have to put it on the behavior of their political leaders in the wake of the firecracker incident in Nazareth's Church of the Annunciation last Friday (Hillel Halkin, The New York Sun)

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Church life:

  1. A little child shall lead them | Trynae Lawson, 13, says God told her to stand up at the pulpit. She listened—and so did the congregation (Chicago Tribune)

  2. Serving God—and time | By phone from prison, James Tramel preaches at a Berkeley church. The convicted murderer has been ordained and hopes to be paroled (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Episcopal bishop back to work after rehab | Episcopal Bishop V. Gene Robinson is back on the job after spending a month receiving treatment for an alcohol problem (Associated Press)

  4. Diocese files suit against All Saints Episcopal | The local Episcopal diocese filed a lawsuit Monday asking for the property of the former All Saints Protestant Episcopal Church (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, N.Y.)

  5. After battle forces priest out, Scarsdale congregation is divided and bitter as ever | The Rev. Robert J. Verrigni, accused of squandering the parish's money, has resigned but the rancor in the parish is hardly gone (The New York Times)

  6. Church wonders if it should follow faithful | Neighborhood changes leave century-old Greek Orthodox parish in a predicament (Chicago Tribune)

  7. Church seeks time to chill | Expansion plans have divided Snowmass community, pastor says (Aspen Daily News, Co.)

  8. Bishop says sorry over diocese's £10m debt | A Roman Catholic bishop who sold his £1 million house to live a simpler life has apologized to churchgoers after discovering that his diocese has slipped £10.2 million into the red (The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Bishop's split from church 'caused pain' | A senior Church of Ireland clergyman has said the former Bishop of Cashel and Ossory, the Rt Rev Peter Barrett, has caused pain to his colleagues and diocese in deciding to resign from his position and leave his wife and family (The Belfast Telegraph)

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Religious liberty:

  1. Colony fights driver's licence photo requirement | A Hutterite colony in southern Alberta is challenging a provincial law that requires drivers to have their photos on their driver's licence (CBC, Canada)

  2. France says Sikhs must remove turbans | France's highest administrative body ruled Monday that Sikhs must remove their turbans for driver's license photos, calling it a question of public security and not a restriction on freedom of religion (Associated Press)

  3. Dutch consider burqa ban to Muslim dismay | If the Netherlands becomes the first European country to ban the burqa and other Muslim face veils this month, Hope says she'll resort to wearing a surgical mask to dress in accordance with her religious beliefs (Reuters)

  4. Limits on religious travel to Cuba questioned | More than 100 members of Congress have signed a letter to Treasury Secretary John Snow questioning changes in his department's rules that have halted the ability of some religious organizations to travel to Cuba (The Washington Post)

  5. China church killings trial ends, verdict not yet announced | A trial of leaders of an underground Christian church in China accused of killing 20 members of a rival group has ended, but no verdict has yet been given, a defense lawyer said Monday (Associated Press)

  6. BJP chief slams missionaries for conversions | Raising Hindutva concerns ahead of the assembly polls, Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh on Monday charged Christian missionaries with indulging in conversions and demanded a blanket ban on them (, India)

  7. Vietnam's religious revival | Catholic worship is flourishing in Vietnam, a sign that the Communist Party's repression of religion is easing. (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

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Right to religious hallucinogens:

  1. Church seeks probe of peyote prosecutions | Utah County: Members claim officials unduly burdened the free practice of their religion (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  2. Religious freedom: inherent right or gift of the state? | Supreme Court decision upholding church's right to use hallucinogenic tea should have been decided under First Amendment's free-exercise clause (Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center)

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Church and state:

  1. McFadden to return contributions | A second state lawmaker who received political contributions from Maryland churches has agreed to return the money, saying he fears jeopardizing the religious institutions' tax-exempt classifications (The Baltimore Sun)

  2. Also: Delegate to return gifts from churches | Jones got $2,000 in campaign funds (The Baltimore Sun)

  3. Proposed House resolution on religion irks some here | Some religious leaders on Friday blasted a proposed Missouri House resolution that supports prayer in schools and recognizes a "Christian God," saying legislators are pushing Christianity as a state religion (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  4. Also: Religion resolution | A resolution in the Missouri House would make Christianity the majority religion for the Show Me State (KFVS, Cape Girardeau, Mo.)

  5. 'In God' to go up in Yadkin | Commissioners approve slogan for exterior of county courthouse (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)

  6. Wiccan case can proceed, court decides | The Florida Supreme Court on Monday refused to let the Central Florida-based Liberty Counsel, a legal organization that specializes in religious-freedom cases, intervene in a Wiccan challenge to a tax exemption for Bibles, religious publications and ceremonial items (Associated Press)

  7. Church cited for storing items for a city task force | Corner Stone Christian Center members thought they were doing a good deed last fall when they let the city's Hurricane Katrina Relief Task Force store furniture and clothing on the church's loading dock. On Monday morning, the city gave the Great Bridge church's pastor a citation, ordering him to move the task force property or be taken to court for storing the items in an "unauthorized section of the building." (The Virginian-Pilot)

  8. Report: Jails paid Christian groups | The ACLU probes Hampton, Virginia Beach and Portsmouth after reports that public money was used for Christian services (Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  9. Also: Jails shouldn't tithe to prison ministries | In his last two years in office, Sheriff Gary Waters used public funds to make $46,000 in donations to private Christian groups for Bible study and counseling behind bars. This revelation raises two questions: Why should the public pick up the tab for proselytizing? And why are ministries accepting it? (Editorial, The Virginian-Pilot)

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U. Wisconsin RA Bible studies:

  1. UW System plan pleases religious group | Campus Crusade for Christ likes proposal (Wisconsin State Journal)

  2. Religious studies proposal respects everyone's rights | A compromise proposal before the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents resolves a potential church-state problem in a positive and common-sense way (Editorial, La Crosse Tribune, Wis.)

  3. When freedoms clash | The new policy strikes a better balance. It would permit the assistants to host political or religious events provided they don't pressure the students in their charge to attend (Editorial, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

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  1. Seminaries threaten to stop sending chaplains to military | At least two seminaries are signaling they may stop sending chaplains to the military because of what they believe are restrictions placed on their clergy's rights to pray (Army Times)

  2. Socializing with Christ | Men's group at UGA turns fraternity life on its head (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  3. Parent questions choice of sex-ed speaker | Abstinence lecture could include religious message, he says (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

  4. Academy's credentials are subject of scrutiny | Lutheran Christian Academy, a school in Philadelphia for college basketball prospects, draws attention from an attorney general (The New York Times)

  5. International curriculum in Pa. spotlight | School board members in a Minnesota district call International Baccalaureate anti-American and anti-Christian. In New Jersey, members of one school board argue it's a waste of money. Now, a suburban Pittsburgh school district is abolishing it over questions of politics and cost (Associated Press)

  6. Parents complain about book's undertones | A children's book about two male penguins that raise a baby penguin has been moved to the nonfiction section of two public library branches after parents complained it had homosexual undertones (Associated Press)

  7. Neighbors to appeal school plans at church | School in Lodi hopes to use module classrooms to teach (Lodi News-Sentinel, Ca.)

  8. Does FAIR decision implicate Christian student group cases? | Court's language might be read to suggest that placing a school's imprimatur on a student group by formally recognizing it does make it one of the "members of the school's expressive association", and forcing the school to recognize it would therefore unconstitutionally impair the school's associational rights (Howard Friedman, Religion Clause)

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  1. Turning textbooks into the Good Book | Accelerated Christian Education teaches that liberal elected officials don't understand biblical principles and that that all liberals worship man rather than God (Steve Blow, The Dallas Morning News)

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  1. Profile of ministries rises as intelligent design debate grows | Traveling creationism workshops take aim at secular teaching (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Miss.)

  2. When evolutionists attack | Two of the leading philosophers of evolution have been caught in an email slanging match that has been printed on the blog of their mutual enemy William Dembski, a supporter of the rebranded creationism known as intelligent design (Andrew Brown, The Guardian, London)

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  1. Hispanic evangelical offering GOP a bridge to future | Sees undocumented as potential citizens, Republican voters (The Boston Globe)

  2. Religious groups divided over U.S. role regarding Hamas | Religious groups, who frequently have a limited but respected voice on foreign policy, say the emergence of Hamas moves the Israel story beyond pure politics (Religion News Service)

  3. The contentious battle for religious values | Two books on the religious right call upon a new generation of leaders on the spiritual left to take back values from conservatives (The Miami Herald)

  4. Iowa Christian Coalition changes name | Renamed Iowa Christian Alliance to indicate break from national group (Radio Iowa)

  5. Religion issues fill legislative agenda | The line between the role of government and the role of faith in society, a flash point nationwide, has taken center stage at the General Assembly this year as lawmakers consider several bills with religious overtones (Augusta Chronicle, Ga.)

  6. Virginia budget another venue to push social issues | Failed bills on abortion, homosexuality get second shot as amendments (The Washington Post)

  7. A green Judas goat | The jury of reputable scientists still is deliberating with no hint of a verdict about global warming or cooling, and the Evangelical Environmental Network is heavily funded by extreme left-wing donors (Editorial, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  8. Do congregations have a duty to take action on global warming? | Washington Post readers respond (The Washington Post)

  9. Church fight, party fight | The Lib Dem leadership race threw up some surprising parallels with liberal Christianity (Ian Bradley, The Guardian, London)

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Elections and candidates:

  1. Survey questions politicians on Jesus | Jeff Sharp, county attorney for Barren County, and a church youth group are surveying all Kentucky legislators and legislative candidates with a single question: "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior?" (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

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  1. E-mails undermine Reed claim | Ralph Reed has said he didn't know it until last year, but emails suggest he was informed that eLot — a firm then in the online lottery business — was behind his effort to fend off a ban against internet gambling in 2000 (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  2. To Democrats hungry for Senate, a Pennsylvania seat looks ripe | No other race in the nation has so focused the Democratic Party's energy or raw hunger as the Senate race in Pennsylvania. (The New York Times)

  3. Moore draws applause in area sermon | Candidate speaks at church's 'God and Country' Sunday (The Huntsville Times, Ala.)

  4. Huckabee courts social conservatives | In the political equivalent of preaching to the choir, Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee introduced himself Monday to many of the Iowa social conservatives whose support he will need should he run for president (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  5. Political storm in Italy over papal audience | Italian opposition leaders accused the Vatican of meddling in politics on Monday after Pope Benedict agreed to receive Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi in the run up to an April general election (Reuters)

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  1. Catholic leaders hope to sway immigration debate | Despite upsetting some parishioners opposed to mixing politics and religion, Cardinal Roger M. Mahony's recent call for more tolerant and humane immigration reform is part of a larger and well-orchestrated campaign by Roman Catholic Church leaders to influence new policies now being debated by Congress (Los Angeles Times)

  2. 'God's law' backed after 2 Masses | Although they are not unanimous, most parishioners agree with Mahony on immigrants (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Church and state | The government is forcing churches and other religious institutions to choose between taking a moral stand and breaking a law they find immoral. (Editorial, The Baltimore Sun)

  4. Mahony jumps gun on civil disobedience | Certainly, the cardinal of the Los Angeles Archdiocese has a right to speak out about matters of public policy, including immigration. But his talk of civil disobedience may have been needlessly provocative (Editorial, Daily Breeze, Los Angeles)

  5. No green card, no Holy Eucharist | It's one thing when an average citizen defies the law. It's another when a Cardinal of the Catholic Church orders all priests of his archdiocese to defy the law. But that's exactly what Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles did. And he's right (Bill Press, Ocala Star Tribune, Fla.)

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  1. New Pope invited to visit Britain | Pope Benedict XVI has been invited to visit Britain by the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales (BBC)

  2. A quiet archbishop shows colorful side | In O'Malley, many see wit, charm (The Boston Globe)

  3. Archbishop O'Malley speaks to women's conference | Speaking to Roman Catholic women Friday night, Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley sidestepped gay adoption and other hot-button topics, saying the biggest issue for Christians is finding the time to connect with God (Associated Press)

  4. Diocese locks doors on parishioners | Hope ends for tiny Seneca County church battling to stay open (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  5. Priest shortage will shift power to Catholic laity | Lay men and women are more likely than previous generations to think of the church as another big institution in a world of intrusive government. (A. E. P. Wall, The Orlando Sentinel)

  6. Should liberals leave Catholic Church? | The red cardinal's hat on its way to Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley sends a clear message to liberal Catholics who still hope the Catholic Church will shift their way: It isn't shifting (Joan Vennochi, The Boston Globe)

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  1. Youth pastor faces 2 sex counts | 3rd staffer at Huntington church hit by scandal (The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

  2. Kissing feet to pay off bet wins principal walking papers | Robert Holloway, 49, of Parma, principal of St. Anthony of Padua School in Lorain, paid off a bet last week on a volleyball game by giving three boys $15 apiece and kissing each of them on the foot 50 times, according to a police report (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  3. Also: Catholic school principal in Ohio quits | A principal in northeastern Ohio has resigned after acknowledging to police that he kissed the feet of three teenage students to make good on a bet (Associated Press)

  4. 3 priest abuse suits filed | Plaintiff alleges cleric sent him gifts from sex-treatment facility (Chicago Tribune)

  5. Church memos detail reports of nuns' abuse | Vatican was told in '90s of incidents, said problem was isolated (The Dallas Morning News)

  6. Also: Asylum case puts spotlight on nuns' allegations of sex abuse | Dallas Diocese aided woman who was fearful after accusing bishop (The Dallas Morning News)

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  1. Christian school shocked over arrest of former teacher on child-sex charges | The Summit Christian School community is praying for its families and cooperating with law enforcement officials after the weekend arrest of a former teacher on sex charges involving a child, headmaster Sam Skelton's office said Monday (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  2. Also: Ex-Summit Christian teacher arrested in student sex case | On Saturday, Chad Stoffel, a former math and music teacher at Summit Christian School, fell from grace (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  3. Church suit bill is abuse of justice | Colorado Senate President Joan Fitz-Gerald's recent bill targeting the church may appear to offer justice for those sexual abuse victims, but in reality it is transparently discriminatory and trashes a basic civil right of the accused (David Harsanyi, The Denver Post)

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  1. Church arsonists lying low, authorities say | It's been a month since arsonists burned a string of churches in quick-hit succession, leading federal authorities to believe suspects are trying to avoid an alert law enforcement presence in central Alabama (Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.)

  2. Cyprus priest in 'confessions blackmail' scandal | A Greek Orthodox priest has been suspended in Cyprus after allegations he broke his sacred vows by using information from confessions to blackmail those who confided in him, media reports said (AFP)

  3. Wichita church group attacked during Haiti mission | A Wichita church group traveled to Haiti hoping to help, but an attack by rebels leaves at least one member shot and others scared for their lives (KAKE, Wichita, Kan.)

  4. For churches, charities, hard-luck tale had sting | Police say the duo are crack addicts and unusually gifted con artists who have coaxed thousands of dollars from churches and charities in at least 17 North Shore communities since early November (The Boston Globe)

  5. Also: Victims of 'serial scammers' still coming forward | Many look to churches and charities for guidance, faith and support. But one local couple repeatedly saw easy money when they visited the North Shore's most benevolent locations (The Salem News, Mass.)

  6. Shooting at church shocks congregation | Horry PD chief: Case fell to county after local police arrived, then left (The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

  7. Also: 'Where were their police?' | Parishioners and children cowered in the back of an Atlantic Beach church Saturday while a killer paced outside, near the body of a woman fatally shot in the face (The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

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Missions & ministry:

  1. US students toil on Katrina relief for spring break | Campus Crusade for Christ marshals 7,000 for gutting and rebuilding homes (Reuters)

  2. Indian tribe sends a missionary to tackle spiritual void in Wales | Indian tribes who were converted to Christianity by missionaries from Wales are now returning to evangelise the Welsh because they believe that the country is in a state of religious decline (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Also: Missionaries spread word of God in Wales | Welsh missionaries travelled thousands of miles to spread the word of God, but the roles are reversed today as Indian missionaries arrive in Wales to offer spiritual guidance (Daily Mail, Wales)

  4. In Stoughton, they join hands to wash out hate | A faith community erases swastikas (The Boston Globe)

  5. Healing through prayer | The Rev. Nigel Mumford said he is preaching the kingdom of God and healing the sick, as Jesus instructed his followers to do (The Washington Times)

  6. Minister champions religion and boxing out of barn | Seeking new challenge, Peace moved to Nebraska (Associated Press)

  7. Fellowship brings church to rodeo | The services are tailored for cowboys on the move (Houston Chronicle)

  8. Fiji churches give support to questionable bank operation | The Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji says it fully supports the illusive organization which claims to have offered $3.5 billion to set up a bank for indigenous Fijians (Radio New Zealand)

  9. Friday: Allow charities funding: Council | Charitable organisations should be allowed to sustain themselves through funding activities, says the Fiji Council of Churches (Fiji Times)

  10. As surgeons clasped the heart, he reached for the soul | The Rev. Dan Tormey was always available in times of need, seemingly airlifted to the hospital by feathers, angel wings (Larry Zaroff, M.D., The New York Times)

  11. A church hears call of the sea | The pastor has a thing for sailors (Julia Spitz, MetroWest Daily News, Framingham, Mass.)

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  1. Life's on-call butler: how teens view God | Teenagers no longer fear the existence of God, believing instead that a higher power is more like a "butler", to be called on whenever they are in strife (The Australian)

  2. Misery loves optimism in Africa | A recent survey of 50,000 people across the world found that in the face of unyielding misery Africans are the most optimistic people (The New York Times)

  3. Hooked on online psychics | The impulse to consult the paranormal for guidance in life can, like gambling fever, strike people of any level of education, intelligence or social status (The New York Times)

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  1. Q&A with Alan Dershowitz | "You need not to have religion to have morality. Morality based on religion is often no morality at all" (The Boston Globe)

  2. Believers flock to Tignish | Dozens of people visited the Parish of St. Simon and St. Jude in Tignish following reports that the face of Jesus had appeared in a Lenten decoration in the church (CBC, Canada)

  3. Also: Dozens report seeing face of Jesus on cloth in P.E.I. church (Canadian Press)

  4. 'Put religion under the microscope' | The debate about teaching creationism/intelligent design as a scientific theory has missed the point. First, we need to use science to understand what religion is and why it evolved (Daniel Dennett, The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Drawing on the past for new Bible | Illustrated, handwritten edition is a first in recent times (Religion News Service)

  2. Time to read about Adam and Eve | I was telling my two boys last week about a creationist I had met who believed that Adam and Eve played with dinosaurs and they turned to me and said: "Who was Adam?" I paused and asked in reply: "Do you know who Eve was?" They shook their heads. (The Telegraph, London)

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  1. The Book of Bart | In the bestseller 'Misquoting Jesus,' agnostic author Bart Ehrman picks apart the gospels that made a disbeliever out of him (The Washington Post)

  2. A gospel's rocky path from Egypt's desert to print | When the Gospel of Judas first surfaced in Geneva in 1983, scholars wondered if the mysterious text could trigger a reappraisal of history's most infamous traitor (The Christian Science Monitor)

  3. Can hope save you from hell? | Christopher Howse reviews Hell and Other Destinations by Piers Paul Read (The Telegraph, London)

  4. The doctor will see you | A son's story of his father, a gynecologist targeted by Operation Rescue. Kevin Boyle reviews Absolute Convictions by Eyal Press (The New York Times)

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Da Vinci Code:

  1. Korean Christians want 'Da Vinci Code' movie pulled | On Feb. 28, the Christian Council of Korea decided to mobilize all its resources to prevent a Korean release of the Tom Hanks vehicle they say "disparages the divinity of Jesus Christ" (Chosun Ilbo, South Korea)

  2. Writer insists 'Da Vinci' echoes his work | A writer who claims "The Da Vinci Code" copied from his work insisted in a British court on Wednesday there were specific echoes of his book in the best-selling thriller (Associated Press)

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  1. Author admits inflating 'Da Vinci' claims | An author who is suing the publishers of the best-selling thriller "The Da Vinci Code" admitted in court Tuesday to exaggerating his claims that the novel borrowed from his own work (Associated Press)

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  1. Buzz band takes legal action over religious tag | Rock act Mute Math is so frustrated at being branded a Christian band by Warner Music Group's Christian outlet Word Records, it has taken matters into its own hands, self-releasing its debut album February 1. And last September, Billboard has learned, Teleprompt Records—a label co-founded by Mute Math keyboardist Paul Meany—filed suit against Warner Bros. Records and Word (Billboard/Reuters)

  2. Cash film's missing ingredient: Religion | "Walk the Line" makes surprisingly little of the abiding faith that Johnny Cash always credited, along with June Carter, for saving his life (The New York Times)

  3. Stones play L.A. venue for first time in 30 years | The Rolling Stones got religion in Los Angeles, returning for the first time in more than 30 years to the Forum, a concert venue that now doubles as a church (Reuters)

  4. Women fans may sue over pop idol who 'wasn't all he seemed' | A group of disillusioned "Claymates," as Clay Aiken's devotees call themselves, have lodged a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) after a less straightforward version of Aiken emerged in the tabloid press (The Telegraph, London)

  5. Protesters voice anger at controversial Jerry Springer opera | Around 300 Christian campaigners turned out in force to protest at the opening night of Jerry Springer—The Opera in Glasgow (Glasgow Evening Times)

  6. Atheism with a smile | In "Letting Go of God," Julia Sweeney spends nearly two hours engaged with such questions of meaning and demonstrates along the way why "unaffiliated" is the fastest-growing segment of American religious life (Diane Winston, Los Angeles Times)

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  1. Dark portrait of a 'Painter of Light' | Christian-themed artist Thomas Kinkade is accused of ruthless tactics and seamy personal conduct. He disputes the allegations (Los Angeles Times)

  2. The spirit moves this man of faith | Nicolas Majdalani's fascination with icons was born in a Beirut church. When he's 'writing' them, he feels the hand of God (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Justices won't intervene in art flap from Kan. university | 10th Circuit earlier rejected argument from Washburn professor, student who said school's display of sculpture — which they contend is anti-Catholic — violated their religious freedom (Associated Press)

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Money and business:

  1. Company-paid chaplains face challenge in some state legislatures | Lawmakers in several states, concerned that chaplains will evangelize on the factory floor or open the door to political and anti-union campaigns, are considering legislation banning the practice (Associated Press)

  2. Shoppers balance beliefs, business | Directory identifies Christian firms (The Washington Post)

  3. Getting lawyers to reset moral compass | The idea that lawyers need a dose of spirituality finds a modern prophet in Northeastern University law professor David Hall, who says his profession is in depression and must openly reclaim spiritual values to reconnect with its noble mission (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)

  4. Restaurant, Baptist church battle over liquor license | A vegetarian restaurant and lounge and a Baptist church in Northwest are battling over the restaurant's application for a liquor license. The church says the restaurant is located near a school and cannot have the license (The Washington Times)

  5. Spotlight on 'mega church' business management | Black Enterprise will focus on business and religion (KTVT, Dallas)

  6. Do faith-driven investors risk screening out profits? | They come in many flavors: mutual funds for Catholics, Lutherans, Mennonites, even followers of Islam. But how do religious investors balance moral principles with the need to earn decent returns? (The Christian Science Monitor)

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Trinity Broadcasting Network gets tax windfall:

  1. Trinity tax refund bigger than expected | Church exemption means $396,000 from city, county (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  2. Sunday: Christian TV empire savors a tax blessing | Trinity gets 'church' status, a refund (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  3. Trinity Broadcasting has wealth and critics | The wealth of Trinity Broadcasting Network has raised eyebrows and added to criticism about its operation (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  4. Trinity programs seen in 'just about every country' | Trinity Broadcasting Network today owns about 36 full-power stations, is carried via about 40 satellites around the world and is broadcast in "just about every country," TBN attorney John Casoria said (The Tennessean, Nashville)

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  1. A powerful preacher who tries to deflect public acclaim | The Rev. John Stott, who appeared in Manhattan, is seen by many as one of the two or three top figures in evangelical Christianity over the last half-century (The New York Times)

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  1. The fall and rise of Carlton Pearson | Followers, media spotlight are returning to outcast preacher (The Dallas Morning News)

  2. Q&A with David Coffey | 'There are 6 million Nigerian Baptists' says president of the Baptist World Alliance (The Dallas Morning News)

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  1. Rev. Earl Stallings, 89, pastor praised by jailed Dr. King, dies | In 1963 the Rev. Earl Stallings risked the rejection of his own white congregation, and worse, by seating African-American worshipers among them at his Easter service (The New York Times)

  2. Henry M. Morris, 87, a theorist of creationism, dies | Dr. Morris's writings provided the intellectual underpinnings for attacks on evolution as an account of world history (The New York Times)

  3. His voice led the way | Accident at city church takes minister's life and leaves his good friend 'inconsolable' (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

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Other articles of interest:

  1. Religion news in brief | Aid to Palestinians defended; Richmond loses Methodist forum; Initiative links faith, foreign policy (The Washington Post)

  2. World must stand up to religious censors | Hold groups accountable for their actions (Marci A. Hamilton, USA Today)

  3. The return of the happy housewife | The more traditional a marriage is, sociologists found, the higher the percentage of happy wives (Charlotte Allen, Los Angeles Times)

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March 3 | 2 | 1
February 24 | 23 | 22 | 21
February 17 | 16 | 15 | 14 | 13
February 10 | 9 | 7
February 3 | 2 | 1
January 25 | 20 | 19 | 18 | 17
January 13b | 13a | 10
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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's 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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