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Another Colo. Megachurch Pastor Quits Over Gay Affairs

Plus: Another military uniform battle, Britain's blotto bishop, those airport Christmas trees, and many other stories from online sources around the world.

1. More resignations predicted
Paul Barnes has resigned as pastor of the 2,100-member Grace Chapel in Denver, confessing to sexual infidelity with other men. "Barnes is not a household name," The Denver Post notes, but his "admission is attracting more attention because it came a month after Colorado Springs pastor Ted Haggard was fired amid allegations that he had paid a male prostitute for sex."

The two cases may actually be tangentially related: Associate pastor Dave Palmer told the Post that the church received an anonymous call "last week from a person concerned for the welfare of Barnes and the church. The caller had overheard a conversation in which someone mentioned 'blowing the whistle' on evangelical preachers engaged in homosexuality, including Barnes."

Denver Seminary president Craig Williford told the Post he expects more pastors to fall as the Haggard scandal fallout continues. "When one person gets caught or confesses, it's almost like others get a new courage to face this dark side of their private lives," he said. "Not only that, but the person who is complicit with the pastor will come forward. We may not be done."

2. Christian Embassy under fire for Pentagon video
Having lost his suit against the Air Force Academy, Mikey Weinstein has turned his attention elsewhere. He's accusing seven Army and Air Force officers of violating military regulations "and possibly the Constitution" (says the Associated Press) by appearing in uniform in a promotional video for the Christian Embassy. "We don't think we did anything in violation," Robert Varney, executive director of the Bill Bright-founded organization, told the AP. "The Pentagon gave us permission to film the video, and I don't think they'd give us permission if it were in violation of the regulations." Still, Weinstein's complaint is getting widespread attention, with bloggers abuzz about a Christianist conspiracy behind the fellowship group.

3. Black-eyed bishop
"A bishop must be above reproach … not a drunkard," says 1 Timothy. Some in the Church of England say that's why the bishop of Southwark, Tom Butler, should resign. Butler initially complained that a mugging had left him bloodied (at church on Sunday, he sported a black eye and a bruise that prevented him from wearing his mitre). But more recent reports suggest that he was spotted drunk and behaving badly. Butler says he can't remember anything. Supporters say they think perhaps he really was mugged.

4. Another quick Christmas war ended
The Christmas trees are back up at Sea-Tac Airport, before Weblog even got a chance to talk about them being taken down. Christians everywhere can now rejoice that such an important religious icon will remain; there are even reports that passengers are removing the sandals from their feet in reverence of such holy ground.

Honestly, these Christmas battles are getting quite interesting: Weblog has recently received press releases from two different Christian organizations complaining that Home Depot deserves to be on the "naughty list"—not because it has banned the word Christmas (it hasn't), but because Christmas isn't as prominent at the store as the word holiday. In the words of one press release: Home Depot's "web site says 'Holiday Store' and 'Holiday Lighting' and only at bottom of [the] site says 'Make your Christmas decorations complete.'" Didn't these campaigns start as a protest against Orwellian language bans?

5. Newsweek: Jesus was Jewish!
"The Jewish family values that were prevalent in first-century Judea—the values of Mary and Joseph and of the young Jesus—became the values of Christianity, and of the regions of the world in which Christianity has long been a critical force," Lisa Miller writes in Newsweek. Family values, sexual values, religious values—they're all there in the Nativity story.

Here's one of her first paragraphs:

But whatever one's personal beliefs, no student of religion or culture should overlook the significance of the world of the Nativity, for the milieu into which Jesus was born—and in which he was raised—has fundamentally shaped the manners and morals of the ensuing two millennia. The Jewish family values that were prevalent in first-century Judea—the values of Mary and Joseph and of the young Jesus—became the values of Christianity, and of the regions of the world in which Christianity has long been a critical force.

Here's her conclusion:

No matter what one thinks of Jesus of Nazareth—that he was the Son of God, an interesting prophetic figure or a religious provocateur with particularly prolific followers—surely we can agree that he was no ordinary man. Yet at the end, in agony on Golgotha, Jesus affirmed the familial order he had spent so much of his public ministry arguing was about to be disrupted. … At the end of his life, then, Jesus took care of his mother, the penultimate act of a nice Jewish boy—and a blessing of the kinds of values that should endure, as his followers say even now, until his coming again.

Remarkably, the article does not quote Jesus saying, "I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law," "Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me, and whoever loves son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me," or "Who is my mother, and who are my brothers?" The emphasis on Christianity adopting Jewish family values is nice, but in such a cover story, why not raise the question of whether Christianity also differs in some of those values? Judaism, after all, is a religion about a family of blood—the children of Abraham. Christianity is not. Miller quotes Elaine Pagels, who argues that "Matthew recalibrated some of Jesus' more radical sayings to accommodate the familial concerns of regular people." Whatever. If you've got room for that, you have room to talk to Norwegian church historian O. M. Bakke, author of When Children Became People: The Birth of Childhood in Early Christianity, about how Judaism and early Christianity stood together against the social mores of Greco-Roman culture—and how the church fathers differed from their Jewish counterparts.

An online sidebar notes that many Nativity scenes "are historically inaccurate" and rarely portray the Holy Family as Semitic. ("It is a powerful human inclination to be drawn to people who look like ourselves.") Groundbreaking stuff. And by groundbreaking, I mean painfully obvious.

Juxtaposition of the day
"Jim Caviezel, star of The Passion of The Christ, is to reprise his role of Jesus in an audio Bible project for Thomas Nelson Publishers, according to a report in The New Yorker. Caviezel is to be joined by Seinfeld star Jason Alexander who will portray an unspecified Old Testament character in the project."

—From the December 11 "Christian Etailing" newsletter

"Thomas Nelson … wants to work with authors who profess a personal faith in Christ, embrace the central truths of historic Christianity and seek to live according to standards of biblical morality. 'We want people to have confidence that our books will be written from a Christian worldview, by people who profess to be Christians and are striving to walk the talk, regardless of the subject matter they may be addressing,' [Nelson CEO Michael] Hyatt said."

—From the same newsletter. (Read that New Yorker article on the Bible publishing business, by the way. It's good.)

Quote of the day
"But for most evangelicals, gay men and lesbians cannot truly be considered Christian, let alone evangelical."
— From an article by Neela Banerjee in today's New York Times. Her story suggests a major chasm over the understanding of the word "gay." Does it apply to a man who is sexually attracted only to other men, but chooses not to act on that attraction because he believes it's wrong to engage in homosexual sex? If so, her sentence is wrong, and astoundingly so. Does it apply to a man who is sexually attracted only to other men, but chooses not to act on that attraction because he believes it's wrong to engage in sex outside of a "long-term, religiously blessed relationship"? In Banerjee's article, it does.

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Paul Barnes and Ted Haggard | Sexual ethics | Life ethics | Iraq and terrorism | Christians and Islam | Qur'an oath | Middle East | Malaysia | China | Cuba | Religious freedom | Church and state | Sea-Tac's Christmas war | Christmas commerce | Newsweek's Nativity cover | More Christmas | Ring those bells | Pentagon video inquiry | Politics | Higher education | Church building growth | Church life | Milingo and Moon's married ministers | Catholicism | Anglicanism | No mugging | Crime | Abuse | Money and business | Books | Entertainment and media | Jay Bakker documentary | Missions & ministry | People | Other stories of interest

Paul Barnes and Ted Haggard:

  • Megachurch pastor resigns over homosexuality | In a tearful videotaped message Sunday to his congregation, Paul Barnes of Grace Chapel in south metro Denver confessed to sexual relations with other men and announced he had voluntarily resigned his pulpit (The Denver Post)

  • Update: Rev. Barnes, ex-church chart future | Grace Chapel takes a patient approach after the pastor's gay admission. Others weigh fallout (The Denver Post)

  • Also: Sermon: "Most of us … wear masks" | On Nov. 5, the Rev. Paul Barnes scrapped his prepared sermon. The Rev. Ted Haggard scandal was still unfolding, and he couldn't let it go unnoticed (The Denver Post)

  • Church soliciting scrutiny | As Ted Haggard begins his "restoration," churchgoers are asked to give details about him or others (The Denver Post)

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Sexual ethics:

  • Kirk move to bless gay partnerships hits barrier | The attempt by the Church of Scotland's general assembly to guarantee freedom of conscience to ministers wishing to bless same-sex relationships appears to have failed (The Herald, Glasgow)

  • Also: Presbyteries against 'gay marriage' rites | The Church of Scotland's presbyteries have overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to enshrine ministers' right to bless gay weddings (The Scotsman)

  • Nigeria's gay community faces new tests | Lawmakers in Nigeria are debating a bill that would ban gay marriage and any form of association between homosexuals, even sharing a meal at a restaurant (Associated Press)

  • Vatican paper blasts Italian proposal | Italy's left is seeking to "eradicate" the traditional family with its plan for a law that would give unmarried couples, including gays, some of the same rights as married couples, the Vatican newspaper said Saturday (Associated Press)

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Life ethics:

  • Fatherless babies in fertility revolution | One of the key proposals would allow research on test-tube embryos that were part-human, part-animal — referred to as "chimeras" (The Telegraph, London)

  • Child stem cell recipient heads home | Last month in Portland, Ore., doctors for the first time transplanted stem cells from aborted fetuses into Daniel Kerner's head in a desperate bid to reverse, or at least slow, a rare genetic disorder called Batten disease (Associated Press)

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Iraq and terrorism:

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Christians and Islam:

  • Germans see crossed signals on prayer with Muslims | Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne last week unexpectedly banned little Catholics from praying with Muslim classmates just as Catholic and state primary schools geared up for Christmas carols and Nativity plays that Muslim pupils often attend (Reuters)

  • Gun alert at Bible scandal school | An Islamic school where two boys desecrated the Bible has ordered 24-hour security after an armed man terrorised staff and bashed a member of the school board (The Australian)

  • Integrate? Tell that to the Christian church, Mr Blair | The Prime Minister rightly promotes tolerance and condemns 'the hate-makers', but he lets our bishops off too lightly (Mary Riddell, The Observer, London)

  • Also: Blair's muddled message | The PM's speech on multiculturalism asked faith communities to be more inclusive - but he was talking to Muslim groups, not Christians (Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, London)

  • Uniting over Jesus Christ | Despite mutually hostile perceptions, the two contending faiths share more in common than many of their followers appreciate. And one thing that could unite Muslims and Christians is, ironically, veneration of Jesus (Akbar Ahmed and Allen Hertzke, The Washington Times)

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Qur'an oath:

  • Religious freedom trumps all in congressman's case | The swearing-in ceremony is symbolic. Ellison has the right to choose the symbol that best suits his religious beliefs as one of the props (Editorial, Yakima Herald Republic, Wa.)

  • Bible as prop in official oaths | If the use of a Bible, Quran, Hindu Vedas or other sacred text helps a member of Congress to reinforce his commitment to upholding the principles of the Constitution -- including freedom of religion -- his book of choice, whatever it is, ought to be welcomed (Editorial, The Daily Herald, Provo, Ut.)

  • Litmus test is so un-American | Nothing could better illustrate the depths to which some of our more prominent conservative "thinkers" have sunk (Paul Campos, Scripps Howard News Service)

  • Muslim congressman would be hypocrite to take his oath on Bible | The free expression of opinion, no matter how outrageous, in the long run is a far better cure for ignorance and bigotry than forced feedings of political correctness (Harry Reynolds, Journal Gazette/Times-Courier, Mattoon, Ill.)

  • No 'American' holy book | Both sides should back off in the spirit of all-American tolerance and mutual respect for differences (Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune)

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Middle East:

  • Hamas vows $50K for Bethlehem Christmas | Islamic militants may be in charge, but that doesn't mean there won't be Christmas this year. The cash-strapped Hamas government is promising $50,000 to dress up Jesus' traditional birthplace for the holiday, more than twice the amount spent in previous years (Associated Press)

  • Also: Bethlehem mayor invites Christmas visits | Mayor Victor Batarseh said the town of 30,000 has been hard hit by Israel's West Bank separation barrier, which cuts Bethlehem residents off from jobs, studies, medical facilities and relatives in nearby Jerusalem (Associated Press)

  • Mideast may save Dead Sea with Red Sea | The surface level of the Dead Sea — the saltiest water in the world at the lowest point on Earth that is estimated at 1,200 feet below sea level — has fallen about three feet a year in the past 20 years because of evaporation and allegedly the diversion of rivers by Syria and Israel. (Associated Press)

  • It's often dismissed, but Jordan offers much for Christians | Why does Jordan often get downplayed as a destination for religious pilgrims and those interested in archaeological and historic treasures? (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

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  • Rayappan's family to sue MAIS and JAIS | The family of A. Rayappan on Monday withdrew its suit against Kuala Lumpur Hospital and the government, but planned to sue the Selangor Islamic Religious Council and the Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Sun2Surf, Malaysia)

  • Why council dropped its claim | The Selangor Islamic Affairs Council secretary Muhammed Khusrin Munawi gave four reasons why Rayappan Anthony was not buried a Muslim (New Straits Times, Malaysia)

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Religious freedom:

  • Churches must report on offerings, services | Churchgoers who drop money in the collection plate might want to consider the consequences of their generosity, lest their places of worship be shut down in April amid a blizzard of bureaucracy. Under new rules that Protestants fear will threaten religious freedom, churches must start counting how much of their tithe and offerings come from Russians and foreigners. (The Moscow Times)

  • Turkey at odds with faithful | Secular state limits religious expression (The Boston Globe)

  • Concern over Kazakh religious row | Local authorities say the decision had nothing to do with religion, but with the fact that the Hare Krishna community is occupying the land illegally. But it is an argument no-one in the village seems to believe (BBC)

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Church and state:

  • Religion for a captive audience, paid for by taxes | A growing number of programs use tax dollars to pay for religious activities aimed at prisoners, recovering addicts, job seekers, teenagers and children (The New York Times)

  • Defense calls for mistrial after Bible left in jury room | Judge overruled the request, but the request for a Bible, and having the request granted, will almost without a doubt lay the groundwork for an appeals process which could stretch years (The Commercial Dispatch, Columbus, Miss.)

  • Also: Bible's presence in jury room may spell another sentencing trial | Fulgham's appeal may have some other implications centering on a Bible left in the jury room while the 12 deliberated on whether to sentence her to life in prison or death for capital murder (Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal)

  • Minister sues 2 city cops | A minister dubbed the "Bible Belter" for his unabashed use of corporal punishment has filed a federal lawsuit against police who arrested him for flogging two misbehaving boys with a belt (New Haven Register, Ct.)

  • No official policy | Court tosses out lawsuit over peyote use right (The Salt Lake Tribune)

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Sea-Tac's Christmas war:

  • Christmas trees returned to Sea-Tac Airport | The decision came shortly after Rabbi Elazar Bogomilsky told port officials that his organization would not file the suit to get an 8-foot menorah added to the public display, ending a flap that Port Commissioner Alec Fisken said made Seattle "an international joke" (The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Treeless in Seattle? The port stumbles | Officials at Sea-Tac Airport say they just didn't have time to think as cultural anthropologists. But they found time to act as cultural police (Robert L. Jamieson Jr., The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Christmas trees going back up at Sea-Tac | A menorah will not be displayed this year (The Seattle Times)

  • Trees being returned to SeaTac airport | Port officials received word Monday afternoon that Bogomilsky's organization would not file a lawsuit at this time over the placement of a menorah (Associated Press)

  • Earlier: Wash. airline workers defy tree ban | Customer service agents with Frontier Airlines pooled their money Monday morning to buy four 1-foot-high Christmas trees, which they placed on the airline's ticketing counter. Atop a Delta counter, workers put up a tree several feet tall (Associated Press)

  • Christmas tree latest symbol in religion debate | But the question of whether a Christmas tree symbolizes the Christian religion is as complicated and cloudy as the history of the evergreen tradition (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  • Treeless in Seattle | The greatest threat to America's essential freedoms is not excluding a menorah from an airport, but trivializing important issues (Marc Gellman, Newsweek)

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Christmas commerce:

  • Is that a menorah or, well, just a snowflake? | "There seems to be confusion," said Janet Wells, the town supervisor, who received several phone calls and e-mail messages last week from residents upset that a hamlet as religiously diverse as Chappaqua would pay for flags that appear, at first glance, to be inspired by a particular faith. (The New York Times)

  • A holiday whiteout for stores | Retailers choose to deck the halls with white and silver, in a back-to-basics approach that can appeal to shoppers of all religious faiths (Chicago Tribune)

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Newsweek's Nativity cover:

  • Holy family values | The world into which Jesus was born and raised has shaped morals for two millennia. How Jewish mores became Christianity's customs (Newsweek)

  • Nativity of the Jews | We came into being with a collective responsibility. Together, we work and wait (Susannah Heschel, Newsweek)

  • How white was my savior? | Why has the portrayal of Jesus in art drifted far from the likelihood he was a brown-skinned Semitic Jew? (Matthew Philips, Newsweek)

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More Christmas:

  • Church ban for Father Christmas | Reverend Tim Storey, who was leading the service at St Peter and St Paul's Church in Blandford, asked Henry Cuff to remove a costume he was wearing (BBC)

  • Also: Vicar defends church Santa ban | Pope Benedict XVI stepped into an increasingly international debate on the display of religious symbols at the weekend, saying: "Religion, like the church, must be recognised as a public, community presence" (The Guardian, London)

  • Where are those weapons of 'mas destruction? | A long story short: the war on Christmas wanes (Greg Beato, Los Angeles Times)

  • The gifts of Christmas | It stays the same. That's what I love about Christmas (Beverly Beckham, The Boston Globe)

  • Christmas, pagans and religious divergence | America prides itself in allowing, even demanding, freedom of religion — until that religion doesn't feel like a religion. Neo-pagan Wiccas, for example. But the Christmas celebration is wrapped in pagan symbolism. So where does that leave us? (Mary Zeiss Stange, USA Today)

  • Let's have more bishops lit up like Christmas trees | If you felt plausibility was undermined by the sheer number of candidates for that Dallas cliff-hanger 'Who shot JR?', what about all those suspected of shooting JC - Jesus Christ? (Jasper Gerard, The Observer, London)

  • ACLU not Grinch stealing Christmas | We at the American Civil Liberties Union also get hot in the run-up to the Christmas and holiday season, knowing that some extremist groups know it is in their political and economic interest to pretend that the ACLU has challenged holiday greetings (Rebecca A. Rauber, North County Times, San Diego, Ca.)

  • A modest proposal for the holidaze | If you want to put Christ back into Christmas, then instead of battling the mall crowd to spend outrageous amounts of money on presents that will be forgotten by Easter, use that time and money to feed the hungry, clothe the poor and visit the infirmed (J.R. Labbe, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • No holy night | As the right-wing punditocracy knows, banning Christmas is the linchpin of the entire liberal agenda (Brad Reed, The American Prospect)

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Ring those bells:

  • Jewett City officials will not stop holiday music | The Jewett City Board of Warden and Burgesses took no action on a request by an atheist group to halt the playing of religious holiday music from the bell tower of the Jewett City Baptist Church today (Norwich Bulletin, Ct.)

  • The music will play on in Jewett City | Borough officials this morning decided that music will continue to be broadcast from the Jewett City Baptist Church (The Day, New London, Ct.)

  • Church-state flap likely moot in Jewett City | Before the flap about the music emanating from the belfry of the Jewett City Baptist Church heats up any further, let's answer this question: Who owns the sound system? (Editorial, Norwich Bulletin, Ct.)

  • Chiming in on church vs. state | The entertainment William Russell unintentionally provided is hard to come by in this business (John Foley, The Day, New London, Ct.)

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Pentagon video inquiry:

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  • New Congress brings with it religious firsts | The new Congress will, for the first time, include a Muslim, two Buddhists, more Jews than Episcopalians, and the highest-ranking Mormon in congressional history (Religion News Service)

  • Christian teens active in elections | Now that the dust has started to settle on the political power shift in Washington, it is a good time to take a look behind the scenes and see what happened in the country. Specifically, what can we deduce about the involvement of Christian teens in the political process? (The Washington Times)

  • Presidential candidate stays in the pen | Sen. Sam Brownback took his budding presidential campaign to prison this weekend, spent a restless night among inmates and pressed his message that faith can work even to improve the lives of hardened criminals (Associated Press)

  • Also: Saint Sam finds votes in the God gap | After much "prayerful" thought a devout senator known as "Saint Sam" has entered the American presidential race, hoping to fill a gap in the Republican party for a candidate who can appeal to its Christian conservative base (The Times, London)

  • In politics, the 'God gap' overshadows other differences | Why is there so much fascination with the so-called God gap, the finding that the more religiously observant Americans are, the more likely they are to vote Republican? (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)

  • The rascals on the Right | While religious leaders and social conservatives have claimed veto power over Republican presidential candidates for 2008, there are at least three reasons to doubt this will take place (Thomas B. Edsall, The New York Times)

  • Protesters raise voices for Darfur civilians | Protesters rallied yesterday outside the Sudanese Embassy, shouting "Save Darfur" and "Stop the Genocide Now," to draw attention to the ongoing problems in the western Sudan region (The Washington Times)

  • Christian soldiers | Political foes John Howard and Kevin Rudd are locked in a battle to harness a resurgent interest in Christianity in a way that will provide them with political capital and ultimately votes, according to a major new paper on religion and politics (The Australian)

  • God at the heart of ALP's new strategy | Kevin Rudd is determined to outflank John Howard by championing Christian values (Paul Kelly, The Australian)

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Higher education:

  • Claremont seminary loses, regains, accreditation | Claremont (Calif.) School of Theology, A United Methodist theological school that lost and regained its accreditation this year has until February 2008 to show that it can operate within its budget and a new business plan (United Methodist News Service)

  • Student loses religious discrimination suit against private university | A Minnesota federal district court rejected religious discrimination claims by a Christian student who was dismissed from a graduate psychology program at Argosy University, a private college, because of his verbal impulsivity and lack of social awareness (Religion Clause)

  • University backs down after Christian group's legal threat | University chiefs have backed down after being threatened with legal action for stopping Christian students holding classes branded "homophobic" on campus (Edinburgh Evening News)

  • Christian frat shouldn't press its case further | It's clear the fraternity now has what it wanted from the university. Any further legal action on behalf of BYX would quite correctly be seen as undue harassment of the school (Editorial, Athens Banner-Herald, Ga.)

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Church building growth:

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Church life:

  • Whose church is it? | Court case could have broad implications for relationship between local congregations and their denominations (Kalamazoo Gazette, Mi.)

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Milingo and Moon's married ministers:

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  • Vatican upholds Neb. excommunications | A Vatican official has upheld the 1996 mass excommunication of perhaps hundreds of people in the Lincoln Diocese affiliated with a church reform group and 10 other organizations the diocese considers anti-Catholic (Associated Press)

  • Celebrating 500 years as pope's guard | A new exhibition in New Haven features the famously uniforms of the Swiss Guard, the pope's private army (The New York Times)

  • New missions for old churches | Majestic buildings that once anchored their neighborhoods face uncertain fates as the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany closes them down (Albany Times Union, N.Y.)

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  • Waterford Anglican church splits off | Parishioners and the minister at Waterford's Anglican church have become the first congregation in Ontario to break away from the Canadian synod because of what they say is the church's liberal drift (The London Free Press, Ont.)

  • Episcopal Church sees first defection | All Saints Episcopal Church in Dale City, whose members voted 402-6 on Sunday to leave the Episcopal Church, has become the first Northern Virginia church to flee the denomination out of several expected defections (The Washington Times)

  • Church faces issue of land in split from Episcopalians | Every parish that quits the Episcopal Church has to deal with the same question facing breakaway Church of the Messiah in Chesapeake: Who owns the church building and grounds? (The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Liberal bishops face evangelical backlash | Liberal bishops who support homosexual priests are to be barred from entering some churches and money intended for Anglican coffers will be withheld (The Telegraph, London)

  • Diocese like cult: minister | The Anglican diocese of Sydney is in danger of acting more like a cult than a church in its attempts to suppress dissent and diversity, says one of its ministers (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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No mugging:

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  • Pastor pleads not guilty in death | Judge schedules hearings on prosecutor's challenge, request to unseal records (The Modesto Bee, Ca.)

  • Algiers teen gets 30 years in killing | Brawl over drugs led to '05 shooting at Christian school (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  • Minister's passion for helping needy is recalled | Last night, those who knew The Rev. Milton L. Moore, worked with him and benefited from his ministry gathered at Bowie New Life Assembly to remember the minister, husband and father of four (The Washington Post)

  • Knutby nanny seeks release | In 2004 Sara Svenssson, 'the nanny' in the Knutby courtroom drama, was convicted of murder and attempted murder and sentenced to institutional care. Soon however she may be ushered back into the community, and staff at Vadstena clinic in central Sweden have already moved her one step closer to the outside world (The Local, Sweden)

  • Churches take to the streets | City's worst crime sites hear pleas to Almighty for way to a safer city (Akron Beacon Journal, Oh.)

  • St. Ann official suspended amid battery charges | Police: Religious education director had inappropriate contact with students (The Times, Munster, Ind.)

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  • Archdiocese settles more sex cases | The Portland church could exit bankruptcy in 2007 under a deal mediators say resolves nearly 150 clergy abuse claims (The Oregonian, Portland)

  • Ore. settlements spare church property | Roman Catholic church and school property are not expected to be part of the settlement agreement reached with the Archdiocese of Portland and 150 people who claim to have been sexually abused by priests who once worked in Western Oregon (Associated Press)

  • Diocese to sell off properties | The home of Bishop Martin Amos and the headquarters of the Catholic Diocese of Davenport top the list of assets to be sold to raise funds to help victims of sexual abuse (Quad-City Times, Davenport, Ia.)

  • Clergy will be profiled | Future Anglican Church clergy will endure tough new psychological profiling to weed out potential pedophiles (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Australia)

  • Abuse victims get $2.9M | 117 claims paid so far; more coming every day (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

  • Former priest to appear in court | Hearing scheduled today for Michael Baker comes amid speculation over the direction of the abuse investigation (Los Angeles Times)

  • Book led to alleged rape recollection | Teen says she remembered incident after reading novel (The Day, New London, Ct.)

  • Priest removed amid sex claims | The Rev. Michael McKenna, who has served as a priest for more than 30 years, no longer is allowed to wear clerical garments or present himself as a priest, said Grand Rapids Bishop Walter Hurley (The Grand Rapids Press, Mi.)

  • Ex-priest declines deal on charges in motel case | James Hanley, the former Catholic priest who admitted molesting about a dozen boys in what was New Jersey's most notorious clergy sex abuse case, declined a prosecutor's plea offer yesterday on charges in an unrelated March incident at a Secaucus motel (The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)

  • Also: Ex-priest still jailed in incident with bat | Hanley remains held on $50,000 bail after Hudson County clash (Daily Record, Parsippany, N.J.)

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Money and business:

  • The Good Book business | Why publishers love the Bible (The New Yorker)

  • Thrivent's bold ambitions take center stage | The financial firm says its $4.4 billion in revenue and a new ad campaign fuel its mission to serve Lutherans. But critics question its focus (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • A once-feared kingmaker called to a different battle | David Kirkpatrick, a former studio executive, is applying Christian beliefs to a new company (The New York Times)

  • Eats of Eden | The Hallelujah Diet is based on a single Bible verse and promoted by a multimillion dollar company that's about to launch a major expansion of its headquarters in this town in the North Carolina foothills (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

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Entertainment and media:

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Jay Bakker documentary:

  • Jay Bakker: `Punk' preacher on Sundance | Jay is the focus of "One Punk Under God: the Prodigal Son of Jim & Tammy Faye," a reality series about the back-to-basics church he calls Revolution, which, notwithstanding his decade-long sobriety, holds services in an Atlanta bar (Associated Press)

  • Jay Bakker's path from lost soul to punk pastor | "One Punk Under God," subtitled "The Prodigal Son of Jim and Tammy Faye," starts Wednesday on the Sundance Channel (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  • Punk pastor | Jay Bakker, son of Jim and Tammy Faye, leads a flock on the fringes of society (Detroit Free Press)

  • Earlier: Semi-Amazing Grace | Jay Bakker (yes, Jim and Tammy Faye's son) describes his continuing recovery from church-inflicted wounds (Christianity Today, Jan. 23, 2001)

  • Official site (Sundance Channel)

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Missions & ministry:

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  • Christian leders not well known: survey | No one could identify Jim Dotson, Rich Warren, or Billy Gram (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  • Would killer Dahmer have been an evangelist? | The minister who presided over his jailhouse baptism and conversion who has recounted his months with Dahmer in a newly released book, Dark Journey, Deep Grace (Reuters)

  • A family of fighters | Ray Hammond, his wife, Gloria, and their two daughters are all uniters - even though they're not always united. Now, at a pivotal moment in Boston's history of race relations, they are the one family that is poised to affect this city's future more than any other (The Boston Globe)

  • Church 'the only place I have peace about Josh' | Family at service 1 year after son died at Midway (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Critics go after the wrong pastor | As backward or sexist as some of Driscoll's statements may seem, the bigger offense is this: the folks in "progressive" Seattle who recently called for him to be booted from the pulpit (Robert L. Jamieson Jr., The Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

More articles of interest

Other stories of interest:

  • Cross on hill lights up controversy all over | Some say the 25-year-old cross on Highway 74 is too bright and needs to be dimmed (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Ca.)

  • Stan State prof suspected of cult link | Ex-members describe sexual crimes; instructor, school won't comment (The Modesto Bee, Ca.)

  • Also: The Family International founded in '60s Jesus movement (The Modesto Bee, Ca.)

  • Vatican unearths apparent tomb of Paul | Vatican experts, announcing Monday that the coffin had been unearthed, said they hoped to be able to examine it more closely and maybe even look inside (Associated Press)

  • Cross with the cartoon martyr | The City Art Centre is hosting an exhaustive exhibition charting the creation of Peter Howson's new painting of the crucifixion of St Andrew (Scotland on Sunday)

  • When angels descend | Angels seem to be everywhere at Christmas, appearing on Christmas trees and in manger scenes. They are the subject of carols and holiday films. However, few people take time to think about who angels really are, said Judith MacNutt, vice president and founding director of Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville, Fla. (The Washington Times)

  • Creation museum pushes 'true history' | A new high-tech temple to fundamentalist Christianity is due to open in heart of Middle America next May, aiming to provide the grandest riposte yet to Darwinian evolutionary theory (BBC)

  • Finding spirituality through sobriety | A consensus that addiction lacerates the addict's spirit, as well as body and mind, and that addressing that spiritual wound is essential (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)

  • Who gives | A new book appears to show that religious folks, mostly conservatives, are more charitable than secular liberal types -- until you look closely at the numbers (Christopher Shea, The Boston Globe)

More articles of interest

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