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Weblog Links: Praying for a Critic's Death

Plus: CT freelancer Brad Greenberg gets Forwarded, changes at some key religion blogs, and other stories from online sources around the world.

"Today's Top Five" and other commentary will return with the next Weblog posting.

Church and state:

South Korea hostages:

Iraq and military:

  • Minority religions under attack in Iraq | The suicide bombings that ravaged the Yazidi sect in Iraq underscored the fears of violence and insecurity binding many of the nation's religious minorities, ranging from Christians who are fleeing their ancient enclaves to a dwindling sect that follows the teachings of John the Baptist (Associated Press)

  • Iraqi family hails Mary | Ms Askander's husband, Kamal, was one of three Iraqi diplomats working in the Iraqi embassy in Canberra who sought asylum in Australia after being told to return to Iraq when Baghdad decided to close the defence attache's office (The Australian)

  • Soldier's Bible stops sniper's bullet | A US soldier serving in iraq believes his Bible saved his life after it stopped a sniper's bullet (WTSP, Tampa Ba, Fla.)

  • DoD-connected Christian group draws fire | A religious group has abandoned plans to send packages to U.S. troops in Iraq with the controversial Christian video game, "Left Behind: Eternal Force," along with Christian books, Pentagon officials say (Navy Times)

  • One-man offensive | Attorney activist Mikey Weinstein is making war on evangelicals—and the Pentagon (World)

  • Christian evangelist Velarde backs Sulu offensive | Christian evangelist Brother Mariano "Mike'' Velarde on Thursday threw his support behind the military offensive in Mindanao, saying it was a justified reaction to the killing of soldiers by the Abu Sayyaf. (The Philippine Inquirer)


  • South Africa: SABC in Ncube smear probe | The SABC is investigating a report that alleges a relative of Robert Mugabe, who works as a correspondent for the broadcaster, used his SABC credentials to set up a sting interview with prominent Mugabe critic Archbishop Pius Ncube, which was made to look as if he had acknowledged having an affair (Cape Argus, South Africa)

  • Police disrupt Pius Ncube meeting | Archbishop Pius Ncube has spoken out for the first time since a $20 billion adultery lawsuit was filed against him by a Bulawayo man two months ago (Zimbabwe Independent)

Middle East:

  • Evangelical pastor told to leave Israel | Ron Cantrell, 59, and his wife Carol, 54, have run a small Jerusalem-based ministry, Shalom Shalom Jerusalem, for the past four years. Cantrell previously worked for Bridges for Peace, an evangelical organization, for 14 years (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Churches for a terror state | "Churches for Middle East Peace" push presidential candidates for "leadership" against Israel.(Mark D. Tooley, FrontPageMag.com)

Peru earthquake:

  • Rescuers seek survivors in quake rubble | Clouds of dust lingered over a hill of rubble Thursday that once was Pisco's San Clemente church before a powerful earthquake sent its soaring ceiling tumbling down on hundreds of worshippers during a special Mass. (Associated Press)

  • Death in house of worship | Town plaza serves as morgue for victims of earthquake that killed 500 in Peru, including scores in church (Reuters)

  • Pope prays for victims of Peru's earthquake | Pope Benedict offered prayers on Thursday for the victims of Peru's earthquake and called for immediate assistance for the hundreds of people who were injured or made homeless (Reuters)

2008 campaign:

  • Romney answers questions on wealth | Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney said Wednesday that the manager of his blind trust is sorting out conflicts between his investments and his policy positions (Associated Press)

  • Giuliani favors graduation prayer | A balance of constitutional protections is needed, the former mayor says (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  • It's okay for candidates to stay mum on religion | While religion is going to be a big issue in the upcoming presidential election, it's OK for candidates to opt out of talking about it — like Republican Rudolph Giuliani did (Joe Loconte, All Things Considered, NPR)


  • CARE turns down federal funds for food aid | CARE, one of the world's biggest charities, said that American food aid may hurt the people it aims to help (The New York Times)

  • Charity says U.S. food aid hurts poor | Tom Getman, executive director for international relations at the aid group World Vision, said he shared CARE's concern about the system but didn't want to turn away any kind of aid (Associated Press)


PNG apology:

Controversial preachers:


  • Atheists make a case against God | Comedienne Julia Sweeney talks about giving up on religion (CBS Sunday Morning)

  • God bless me, it's a best-seller! | The author's book tour—for God Is Not Great—takes a few miraculous turns, including the P.R. boost from Jerry Falwell's demise, a chance encounter with the Archbishop of Canterbury, and surprising support for an attack on religion (Christopher Hitchens, Vanity Fair)




  • Study: Abortion pills don't bring risks | Women who use abortion pills rather than the more common surgical method seem to face no greater risk of tubal pregnancy or miscarriage in later pregnancies, according to a new study (Associated Press)

  • Also: Study finds abortion pill safe | The new paper contradicts an earlier study, of women in the Auvergne region of France, published in 2003 in the American Journal of Epidemiology, which found an association between medical abortion and a nearly threefold greater risk of ectopic pregnancy — a condition that accounts for about 9% of all pregnancy-related deaths in the U.S. (Time)


  • Abuse vicar is sacked by Church of England | A vicar jailed for sexually abusing six boys over a 30-year period has been removed from office. (BBC)

  • Vatican's #2 criticizes those who profit by the U.S. sex-abuse scandal | "While I was still at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and then as the archbishop of Genoa, I accompanied the American church through this trial," said Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican secretary of state. "I repeat that they faced this trial with dignity and courage." (Catholic News Agency)

  • Arlington pastor charged in Internet sting | The pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Arlington arrived in Denton for what he believed was a sex date with a 15-year-old girl Thursday evening, police say, and was arrested by the sergeant who had posed as a teen on an Internet sting (Denton Record-Chronicle, Tex.)


  • Apartheid minister pleads guilty | "I would like to say, 'Obey the Lord and He will heal the land," said Adriaan Vlok, who is now 70 and deeply religious (Associated Press)

  • Brothers in Christ | Church pastor recalls events of fateful afternoon (The Neosho Daily News, Mo.)

  • Boot camp workers indicted | Officials accused of dragging girl behind a vehicle (Corpus Christi Caller-Times, Tex.)

  • Also: Two are charged in girl's dragging in Nueces County | A Nueces County grand jury indicted a San Antonio pastor and an employee of his Christian Boot Camp on aggravated assault charges Thursday, alleging the pair dragged a girl behind a van to motivate her to run faster (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

  • Ex-pastors plead not guilty | Richard and Philip Cunningham are accused of taking millions from Calvary Baptist Church of Yorba Linda (The Orange County Register)

  • Earlier: Former O.C. pastors face $1 million theft charges | Arraignment is today for father, son accused of taking money from Calvary Baptist in Yorba Linda (The Orange County Register)

  • Joliet priest admits he stole from his church | Former pastor is given probation (Chicago Tribune)

  • Biker and the Bible | Gerard Tobin led Bible studies in his Calgary home, prayer meetings at work and dreamed of becoming a missionary before moving to England with his wife. Nine years later, he was a tattooed member of the Hells Angels, the world's most notorious biker gang, and the victim of a daring murder when he was shot off his motorcycle on a busy highway (National Post, Canada)

  • Polygamy prosecutors see unfinished job | As the criminal trials against eight members of a polygamous sect slowly come to an end, the Arizona authorities who brought them to court predict that other practitioners will continue to skirt the law (Associated Press)




  • He didn't worship the market | Colorado Christian University professor's contract is not renewed, apparently because he criticized capitalism in the classroom (Inside Higher Ed)

  • Andrew Paquin and CCU - my own thoughts | It has been fascinating - and I admit - a bit self-indulgent to not only read the story in the Rocky Mountain News regarding my situation at Colorado Christian University, but to watch the internet chatter that it has produced (Andrew Paquin/Syed, Nomadic Musings blog)

  • 'Founded by Friends' | New book explores the various ways in which colleges have manifested Quaker heritage (Inside Higher Ed)

  • Crisis averted | Baylor avoids repeating an anti-ID purge from years before (World)

Other articles of interest:

  • Vacationing with Jesus | A refuge for frazzled parents, an opportunity for churches (Jennifer Graham, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Medieval cross turns up in trash | A medieval cross that was hidden from the Nazis and ended up in the trash could be worth more than a half-million dollars, police said Thursday (Associated Press)

  • Religion Today: A chaplain for sudden tragedy | Kate Braestrup shows up at the scene of drownings, snowmobile crashes and search-and-rescue efforts for hunters and hikers lost in the woods, comforting survivors and sometimes the wardens themselves (Associated Press)

  • Earlier: 'Here If You Need Me': a memoir and love story | When Kate Braestrup's husband is killed, she steps in to fulfill his dream (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Evangelicals support conversion code | Evangelical groups have joined efforts spearheaded by Roman Catholic, Orthodox and mainstream Protestant churches to create a common code of conduct for religious conversions that would preserve the right of Christians to spread their religion while avoiding conflict among different faiths (Associated Press)

  • Bible Park opponents speak out at meeting | Nine residents opposed to the proposed Bible-story theme park in the Blackman community brought their message before the Rutherford County Commission Thursday night (The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

  • Ministry from on high | On a helicopter dubbed Prayer One, the faithful reach a new awareness of God and community (Los Angeles Times)

  • Running on faith | If you have walked to Fenway Park from Kenmore Square, you have walked past the street evangelist Bob Whetstone. He has been on the sidewalk, every game, for the last 14 years, as much a part of the landscape as the Citgo sign (Kevin Cullen, The Boston Globe)

  • Arrests and accusations | A once protected—and ancient—Christian community in Egypt faces new threats (World)

  • Mary: different assumptions | Greek Orthodox mark her death -- some Catholics say she never died (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • The race and the not-so-swift | Missionary work, Universalist-postmodern style. (Lars Walker, The American Spectator)

  • The Gospel according to Czechs | With Bible translation, Alexandr Flek seeks to restore 'cultural literacy' (The Prague Post)

  • Discovering fellowship in faith | Movement calls lay faithful to live, minister together (Chicago Tribune)

  • If only Jesus were an ecosystem | When it comes to Jesus there is an incredible mismatch between popular perception and academic consensus, that is, between what theologians such as Spong can get away with when speaking and writing for a general audience and what mainstream historians discuss in their peer review literature (John Dickson, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Arthur Miller's missing act | Playwright Arthur Miller stood as a moral beacon for his time. But he had a dark secret. Suzanna Andrews reveals how the playwright cut his son, born with Down syndrome, from his own private drama (Vanity Fair)

  • The August drumbeat | Whose agenda matters most? Mine, yours, or God's? (Marvin Olasky, World, alt. site)

  • Can US diplomacy get religion? | In a world where religion is pushing events, US diplomats need a greater expertise in it (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Church bans broadband over porn fears | A church in southern Sweden has refused to allow a wireless broadband antenna to be installed on its tower, after fears were raised that parishoners would stay home surfing for porn instead of attending services (The Local, Sweden)

  • Church cleanup | Street sleepers skedaddle (New York Post)

  • Members opposed to Two Rivers pastor state their case | Two Rivers Baptist Church rift continues (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  • Local chapter breaks with ADL position | Armenian genocide at issue (The Boston Globe)

  • "Prince of Darkness" sets up Christian center | Alice Cooper is throwing his energy into building a Christian teen center in Phoenix for at-risk youths from the area, hoping to break ground by November (Reuters)

  • Ned Flanders, hero | An interesting thing happens during "The Simpsons Movie," which recently opened at No. 1 at the box office in the United States and Canada: Ned Flanders, often mocked in the television series for his Christian beliefs and strict moral standards, plays the most important role in the story (Ted Baehr and Tom Snyder, The Denver Post)

  • Faith as ideology | On reading Christian Hunters & Anglers Magazine (Rod Dreher, Crunch Con, Beliefnet)

  • Bishops support book attacking the Pope | The Catholic Church in England and Wales has helped commission a withering attack on Pope Benedict XVI that also refers to the atrocities of 9/11 as "the 'terrorist' attacks" in inverted commas (Damian Thompson, The Telegraph, London)

  • What the Beatitudes teach | Jesus's community of goodwill (Tod Lindberg, Policy Review)

  • Corzine charity gave $4.2 million last year | Multimillionaire Gov. Jon S. Corzine's charity donated $4.2 million last year, including $600,000 to a southern New Jersey minister featured in a television program shown on Black Entertainment Television and other networks (Associated Press)

  • State removes woman from Talbot school board | Maryann Judy, appointed to the board in 2003, was removed from the board after she allegedly tried to submit a negative review of the county's superintendent after a deadline. (Associated Press)

Related Elsewhere:

I'm still soliciting comments on how to improve Weblog.

Our most recent Weblogs include:

Motive still unclear in deadly Mo. church shooting | Plus: What's next after Taliban release of two Korean hostages, Catholic bishop suggests calling God Allah, and other stories from online sources around the world (August 15)
Taliban, South Korea Start Direct Talks | Also: U.S. missionary killed in Honduras, WEA announces Iraq branch, a commercial cross fight, and links to many other articles (August 10)
South Korea Orders All Aid Groups Out of Afghanistan | Plus: Military ministry video faulted, all eyes on Christian voters (in Lebanon), and other stories (August 9)
Afghanistan Kidnappers Kill Hostage as South Korea Debates Mission Work | Plus: Malaysia changes course on Shari'ah courts, remembering Tammy Faye, a church is attacked by Christian terrorists, and other stories from online sources around the world (July 26)
Taliban Kidnaps South Korean Christians | Plus: Priest freed in Philippines, Israeli cable to drop Christian network Daystar, and more (July 20)

See also the Christianity Today Liveblog.

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