Today's Top Five

1. Among latest illegal immigrants: Iraqi Christians
Saturday, as immigration advocates around the country prepared for Monday's rallies, U.S. Border Patrol agents near Brownsville, Texas, arrested three men who had illegally crossed the U.S.-Mexico border. But these aren't Mexicans: They are Iraqis. What's more, they are Chaldean Christians, who told the immigration officials that they're seeking religious asylum after death threats were made against them.

"The first words out of their mouth were, 'Iraqi Christian, Iraqi Christian, Iraqi Christian,'" their lawyer, Humberto Yzaguirre, told The Brownsville Herald. "They said Baghdad was a mess. … They told me that they have seen some of the terrorists kill Christians within their sight." One of the men owned a liquor store, which was burned down by Iraqi Muslims.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom in October reported that such religious asylum seekers from Iraq "may not be receiving the protection to which they are entitled under the Refugee Convention." Assistant Secretary of State Richard Greene responded to the commission, saying that the government would work with the UN refugee agency "to ensure that vulnerable Iraqis receive appropriate protection and assistance until durable solutions can be found."

The Iraqis, who pled guilty to illegal entry, will be sentenced on Friday.

2. Appeals court backs ban on social worker's evangelism Daniel Berry, an employee at the Tehama County (Calif.) Department of Social Services, kept a Spanish Bible on his desk and, in December 2001, put a "Happy Birthday, Jesus" sign in his cubicle. Not acceptable, said his employers. Citing a 1997 memo, they told him, "the Bible and other religious non-verbal ...

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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 editorial director. 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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