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Billy Graham Hospitalized with Internal Bleeding

Plus: Amnesty Int'l lobbies for abortion rights, church becomes icon of Peru earthquake, and other stories from online sources around the world.

Today's Top Five

1. Billy Graham suffers repeated bouts of internal bleeding
The evangelist and founder of Christianity Today entered an Asheville, North Carolina, hospital Saturday night with intestinal bleeding. After reports that he was steadily improving, Graham experienced another bout of bleeding Monday morning. The bleeding "ceased soon afterwards," the hospital reported. "He stayed fully alert, and his condition quickly stabilized." Doctors are trying to determine the source of the bleeding.

Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross noted that Graham suffered from similar bleeding during a 1995 Toronto crusade, and recovered quickly. "His vital signs are good, and he's resting comfortably," Ross told the Asheville Citizen-Times.

2. Amnesty International supports "decriminalisation of abortion," "access to abortion"
Here's a section from Amnesty International's press release about its International Council Meeting:

With the prevention of violence against women as its major campaigning focus, Amnesty International's leaders committed themselves anew to work for universal respect for sexual and reproductive rights. Amnesty International committed itself to strengthening the organization's work on the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and other factors contributing to women's recourse to abortion and affirmed the organization's policy on selected aspects on abortion (to support the decriminalisation of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion and to defend women's access to abortion, within reasonable gestational limits, when their health or human rights are in danger), emphasizing that women and men must exercise their sexual and reproductive rights free from coercion, discrimination and violence.

The awkward sentence structure leaves some room for interpretation. Does Amnesty "support the decriminalisation of abortion" completely, or only "when [women's] health or human rights are in danger"? What does it mean by "reasonable gestational limits"?

Senior policy and campaigns director Widney Brown told the Kaiser Foundation that the "policy does not acknowledge abortion as a 'fundamental right' for women, and the organization supports the right of states to put 'reasonable limitations' on abortion providers and to prosecute those who risk women's lives by performing unsafe abortions."

Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Evans, who has done some prominent work on behalf of Amnesty (he composed a prayer for the organization's promotional postcards, for example) has resigned from the organization. "Our proper indignation regarding pervasive violence against women should not cloud our judgment about our duty to protect the most vulnerable and defenseless form of human life," he wrote. "In time Amnesty may seek to develop this policy further, but even this current limited decision makes it very difficult for Catholics to remain members of Amnesty or to give it any financial support."

Evans notes that the 1989 United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and the 1959 Declaration on the Rights of the Child emphasize that "the child, by reason of his physical and mental immaturity, needs special safeguards and care, including appropriate legal protection, before as well as after birth."

"This must surely be part of the body of international human rights law to which Amnesty International is committed," Evans said.

The Irish Times reports that the Irish branch of Amnesty will not promote the new policy.

Peter Benenson, who founded Amnesty International in 1961, converted to Roman Catholicism in 1958. He died in 2005.

3. Church of San Clemente was earthquake's deadliest spot
Between 200 and 300 people were inside the Church of San Clemente in Pisco, Peru, when the earthquake hit last Wednesday. Reports say 148 bodies have been removed from the church's rubble— about 23 percent of the quake's growing total death toll of 650. The Associated Press points to one small bright spot: All three generations of the immediate family of the man whose funeral it was survived.

4. A short hostage crisis in Afghanistan
Christina Meier, a German aid worker with the Christian organization ORA International, was abducted Saturday while eating lunch in a Kabul restaurant with her husband. Monday, more than 300 police freed Meier in a raid. The kidnappers were not Taliban and had asked for a $1 million ransom.

Meanwhile, there is little news about the South Korean aid workers being held by the Taliban as their abduction enters its second month. South Korean officials continued face-to-face talks with Taliban leaders, but have made no progress. Taliban leaders also continue to talk to the press.

"Even though talks with the Korean government are at a stalemate, we will continue to negotiate even if there is only a 10 percent possibility," one Taliban commander told the South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo. "The Korean government has asked for more time as they are doing their best to pressure the Afghan government to meet our demand of the release of Taliban prisoners. We agreed to give them more time."

But another Taliban leader's statement to the news agency AFP was more threatening. "The Korean nation must understand that if their hostages are harmed their government will be responsible, because it doesn't do much to gain their release," he said. "Their efforts are not sufficient. The Koreans are telling us that 'We're trying to persuade the Kabul administration and the US government to accept the Taliban demands' -- but it seems they can't."

5. That New York Times Magazine story on "The Politics of God"
The New York Times cover story this week, an excerpt from Mark Lilla's forthcoming The Stillborn God, is getting a fair bit of attention. Christopher Hitchens and Asia Times columnist Spengler had concurrent responses to the piece, Rod Dreher had a lengthy summary post, and the blogs are buzzing. Frankly, I wasn't terribly interested. It's one of those cases of The New York Times planting its flag on well-trod ground as if it's virgin territory: "Your attention please! The secularization hypothesis is mistaken!" Thank you, professor. Next up, perhaps: Coffee is quite expensive and confusing these days.

My problems with the piece, in a nutshell, are that Lilla still views political theology through a political lens and that he seems to wish very much that the secularization thesis really were true because religion is so dangerous and harmful to the public good. I'm sure that some wise Christian pundit will probably come up with some very profound response to this article or perhaps to Lilla's book once it is published. I just can't muster the interest.

Quote of the day
"This is a thousands-year-old problem, the question of who is a Jew. I don't anticipate being the answer."

Brad Greenberg, a regular Christianity Today news freelancer, staff writer for the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, and self-described "God-fearing Christian with devilishly good Jewish looks." He was interviewed by the Jewish newspaper Forward. And if you like the CT Weblog, you certainly should be reading his God Blog.

More articles

Billy Graham | Missing pastor found | Deaths | Peru earthquake | Afghanistan hostages | Abuse | Crime | Mo. church shooting | Elvira Arellano deported | Immigrants and refugees | Christianity and Islam | CNN's "God's Warriors" | NYTMag cover story | Church and state (non-U.S.) | Church and state (U.S.) | 2008 campaign | Amnesty International and abortion | Life ethics | Politics | Money and business | Education | AIDS | Books | Entertainment and media | Music | Mormonism and media | Missions and ministry | Youth | Church life | Sexual ethics | Anglicanism | Other stories of interest

Billy Graham:

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Missing pastor found:

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  • Also: Princes request special prayers for Diana | The Archbishop of Canterbury has composed two special prayers in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales at the request of Princes William and Harry (The Telegraph, London)

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Peru earthquake:

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Afghanistan hostages:

  • Afghan raid frees kidnapped German aid worker | The German woman was kidnapped Saturday in Kabul and freed early Monday in a joint raid by Afghan intelligence services and the police (The New York Times)

  • Afghanistan: Kidnap motive was ransom | Afghan police identified four kidnappers of a German aid worker as local criminals who had demanded a million-dollar ransom, and not Taliban militants (The New York Times)

  • German captive freed in Afghanistan | Four suspected kidnappers were captured Monday as Afghan police freed a German aid worker who had been snatched from a restaurant while she ate with her husband, officials said. Christina Meier worked for the Germany-based Christian organization Ora International in Kabul (Associated Press)

  • Taliban say Korean hostage talks fail | Negotiations to secure the release of 19 Korean church volunteers being held in Afghanistan by the Taliban have failed and the insurgents' leadership council are now considering their fate, a Taliban spokesman said on Saturday (Reuters)

  • Free Korean hostages, L.A. church envoys say | Members of Buddhist, Christian, Jewish and Muslim faiths say hostage-taking violates tenets of all religions (Los Angeles Times)

  • Dealing with the Taliban on humanitarian issues | "We do not have problems with the Taliban," Ghulam Mohammad Mujahid, the director of Afghan Red Crescent Society in Ghazni, told IRIN (IRIN, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs)

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  • Sex offender back in pulpit | Despite prison term, preacher welcomed by Baptist congregation (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Update: Double trouble | Preacher, sex offender tapped another child molester for a worship role at a Romeoville church rocked by upheaval (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Sex-abuse lawsuit vs. church to proceed | A $100 million lawsuit against St. Thomas Lutheran Church in Brick will proceed, after a judge Friday declined to dismiss complaints brought by 19 men who allege they were molested as children in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s by the church's one-time pastor (Asbury Park Press, N.J.)

  • U.S. judge won't intervene in diocese case | Bankruptcy Court called proper venue, for now (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  • Lawyers bill church $19 million | Fees for the Portland Archdiocese's bankruptcy are in addition to legal fees in abuse cases (The Oregonian)

  • Diocese has paid $328,068 on abuse claims | Over the past two years, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno has paid $328,068 to at least seven local residents who say they were sexually abused by Reno priests, and officials are reviewing three additional claims recently reported to the church (Reno Gazette-Journal, Nev.)

  • Number of SC church accusers nears 80 | Nearly 80 people are now eligible to join a class-action sex abuse settlement with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston, an attorney for victims said Monday (Associated Press)

  • Sex abuse sends ex-Bible study leader to jail | Brian Goodrich Jr. turned Friday and faced the families of teenage boys he was convicted of sexually abusing and said he was sorry (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

  • Russian Orthodox leader faces sexual misconduct accusations | Former missionary makes claim against chancellor of Alaska diocese (Associated Press)

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  • Local churches pray for end to unrest in Nigeria | Leaders of local Christian agencies fear a recent bus massacre could re-ignite ethnic hostilities in rural Nigeria (The Grand Rapids Press, Mi.)

  • Cambodia's trial by fire | Kang Kek Ieu -- alias Comrade Duch, became a born-again ChristianAs a result of my finding him, and his extraordinary confession, he was arrested. Today, he remains the only Khmer Rouge in custody (Nic Dunlop, Los Angeles Times)

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Mo. church shooting:

  • Thousands turn out to remember slain pastors | Kelson Rehobson had a short message to the more than 500 family and friends who came to the Ozark Funeral Home chapel in Anderson to pay their final respects to the three victims of last Sunday's tragic church shooting at the First Congregational Church in downtown Neosho (The Neosho Daily News, Mo.)

  • A celebration of life, thanksgiving | Around 200 people of all races and creeds gathered at Neosho's First Congregational Church Sunday, a week to the day after a deadly church shooting, to celebrate the lives of Senior Pastor Kernel Rehobson, Pastor Intenson Rehobson, and Associate Pastor Kuhpes Jesse Ikosia (The Neosho Daily News, Mo.)

  • Neosho honors slain Micronesian ministers | On an overcast Sunday afternoon, 200 people gathered under two colorful tents to honor the lives of three Micronesian church leaders who were shot to death in church on Aug. 12 (The Joplin Globe, Mo.)

  • Men killed in church shooting remembered | Three men gunned down in church by a fellow Micronesian immigrant last weekend were remembered at a funeral service Saturday as leaders of their Pacific Islander community (Associated Press)

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Elvira Arellano deported:

  • Also: Debate the consequences | The abrupt arrival of law-enforcement agents outside a Los Angeles church is one more provocation for accelerating a strikingly divisive national debate (Editorial, Chicago Tribune)

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Immigrants and refugees:

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Christianity and Islam:

  • Does God care about names? | "Allah is a very beautiful word for God," said Bishop Muskens. "What does God care what we call him?" That is a very interesting question for a Christian leader to ask. According to the Christian Bible, there is an answer (Paul Gray, The Herald Sun, Australia)

  • Start using 'Allah' instead of 'God'? | It was bound to happen -- and it seems fitting that a cleric named Tiny would think of it (Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel)

  • The name of God | Muskens seems to imply that, on fundamentals, there is no difference between Muslims and Christians. (Robert T. Miller, First Things)

  • Religious fault line divides Europeans | Europe remains divided by attitudes to Muslims and to religion in general. Two issues stand out, both highlighted by a new poll (Financial Times)

  • Risks in a Muslim Reformation | The Reformation was a time of intense focus on God and what He requires of people. As a movement, it was enthusiastic, narrow and far from tolerant. It and the Counter-Reformation brought two centuries of repression, war and massacre to the West. It's unlikely that anyone who lived through it would consider wishing a Reformation on Muslims (Diana Muir, The Washington Post)

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CNN's "God's Warriors":

  • Amanpour's `God's Warriors' airs on CNN | Christiane Amanpour's work on the documentary series "God's Warriors" took her directly to intersections of extreme religious and secular thinking (Associated Press)

  • Flawed 'God's Warriors' tries hard | The impulse behind "God's Warriors" is a noble one, and it is enlightening at times, but it often covers ground that has been trodden before, and I wish CNN had trusted its viewers more; not everything has to be "given a human face," as it were (Chicago Tribune)

  • Radical fundamentalism in three flavors | Christiane Amanpour, CNN's chief international correspondent, is more tour guide and history teacher than reporter in "CNN Presents: God's Warriors" (The New York Times)

  • Beliefs to die, or kill, for | CNN series looks at religious extremism (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  • CNN's Christiane Amanpour reports for 'God's Warriors' special | What's special about "God's Warriors" is the sheer totality of it (Newsday)

  • God's warriors | CNN will surely endure charges of moral equivalency from Christian groups, but it's a tough, smart, historically grounded look at the intractability of these issues (Variety)

  • 'God's Warriors' examines zealotry | CNN series focuses on Jewish, Muslim and Christian extremists (The Indianapolis Star)

  • The clash between faith and politics | Christiane Amanpour's work on the documentary series "God's Warriors" took her directly to intersections of extreme religious and secular thinking (Los Angeles Times)

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The New York Times Magazine cover story:

  • The politics of God | After centuries of strife, the West has learned to separate religion and politics — to establish the legitimacy of its leaders without referring to divine command. There is little reason to expect that the rest of the world — the Islamic world in particular — will follow (The New York Times Magazine)

  • It must be the end of secularism | Secular liberalism stands helpless before a new century of religious wars, Columbia University Professor Mark Lilla concedes in "The politics of God", a despairing vision of the political future published in the August 19 New York Times Magazine (Spengler, Asia Times)

  • God's still dead | Mark Lilla doesn't give us enough credit for shaking off the divine (Christopher Hitchens, Slate)

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Church and state (non-U.S.):

  • Religious leaders take on city hall | Permit policy would limit services to poor and homeless (Vancouver Sun)

  • Christian groups up in arms | A storm may be brewing what with Christian groups having decided to challenge the Andhra Pradesh government's order 747 that bans propagation of any religion other than Hinduism in Tirupati and other specified temple areas (The Times of India)

  • 'God Squad' enlisted in Polish corruption fight | It has been nicknamed — inevitably — "The God Squad" by Polish media, as the Government revealed plans to introduce priests into customs offices to keep officials from temptation (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • A voice stilled, but is it a sign? | A Catholic magazine's shift in Cuba arouses conjecture of political accommodation (Chicago Tribune)

  • Also: Cubans gaining a passion for church | Despite cultural differences and restrictions on religious freedoms, Christian Reformed youths in Cuba are as steadfast in their faith as their U.S. counterparts (The Grand Rapids Press, Mi.)

  • Buddhist supremacy | Thailand should not follow Sri Lanka's lead in sanctifying a state religion (Doug Bandow, National Review Online)

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Church and state (U.S.):

  • Homeland security enlists clergy to quell public unrest if martial law ever declared | If martial law were enacted here at home, like depicted in the movie "The Siege", easing public fears and quelling dissent would be critical. And that's exactly what the 'Clergy Response Team' helped accomplish in the wake of Katrina (KSLA, Shreveport, La.)

  • More than 1,600 churches tax-exempt | Some question whether religious institutions should be entirely exempt or pay a fee (The Indianapolis Star)

  • Dispute over monkey meat hits on religious freedom | What started as a late-night talk show joke topic — a New York woman originally from Liberia who was indicted for allegedly trying to smuggle steaks of monkey meat into America via John F. Kennedy International Airport — is shaping up into a potentially major religious freedom dispute (The New York Sun)

  • Federal judge accused of religious bias | Fort Lauderdale, Fla., attorney Loring Spolter is accusing U.S. District Judge William Zloch of bias in two employment discrimination cases, citing his deep religious beliefs, and wants the judge removed from the cases (Daily Business Review/Law.com)

  • Churches nurture hungry flocks | The Summer Food Service Program seeks to ensure healthy eating during the living-is-easy season (The Boston Globe)

  • Letting witches be witches in Salem | Boosters of the occult arts have won a relaxation of the town's strict limits on fortune tellers. But what does the future hold? (Time)

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2008 campaign:

  • Reassessing sexual politics | Stop asking Romney and the other Republican front runners about abortion and start asking them where they stand on family planning (Eleanor Clift, Newsweek)

  • Michael Bloomberg and his God problem | If New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg were to actually run for president one wonders how he would fare among those Americans for whom a candidate's personal religiosity ranks among their greatest concerns (Jacques Berlinerblau, On Faith)

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Amnesty International and abortion:

  • Amnesty ends abortion neutrality | Amnesty International has confirmed its controversial decision to back abortion in some circumstances, replacing its previous policy of neutrality (BBC)

  • Amnesty backs right to abortion despite church | At the end of its annual meeting in Mexico City, Amnesty said it would work to "support the decriminalization of abortion, to ensure women have access to heath care when complications arise from abortion and to defend women's access to abortion … when their health or human rights are in danger" (Reuters)

  • Senior bishop quits Amnesty in row over abortion | One of Britain's most senior Roman Catholic bishops has ended three decades of support for Amnesty International after the group backed a woman's right to abortion if her life is threatened or she has been raped (Reuters)

  • Bishop leaves Amnesty after 31 years over its stance on 'abortion violence' | Bishop Evans recently composed a prayer that has been printed on postcards for an Amnesty campaign (The Times, London)

  • Bishop resigns over Amnesty move | A bishop who has been a member of Amnesty International for 31 years has resigned from the organization over its changed attitude to abortion (BBC)

  • Do women matter to Catholics | Predictably, the Roman Catholic church has reacted with outrage at Amnesty International's support for abortion when women have been raped or when their health or human rights are in danger (Mindelle Jacbobs, Edmonton Sun)

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Life ethics:

  • Planned Parenthood sues over Mo. law | Planned Parenthood filed a lawsuit Monday seeking to strike down a new Missouri law that it claims could eliminate abortion services in large parts of the state by subjecting clinics to stringent state oversight (Associated Press)

  • Inspections of N.J. licensed abortion clinics are rare | Health officials inspected only one of the state's six licensed abortion clinics in the past two years - despite a requirement that they be investigated every other year - before complaints eventually brought inspectors to two of the clinics, a Press investigation has revealed (Press of Atlantic City, N.J.)

  • Scientists seek definition of 'life' | Scientists still can't define life, but they can tinker with, search for, maybe create it (Associated Press)

  • Plan to introduce 'adoption' of IVF embryos | Couples who donate their excess IVF embryos may be able to choose the prospective recipients under a radical policy change being considered by Victorian health authorities (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Remember 'Ms. Lee'| As state nears 400th execution, focus on victim (Editorial, The Dallas Morning News)

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  • As democracy push falters, Bush feels like a 'dissident' | Ambassador to China "threw a fit" over meeting with Chinese religious rights activists (The Washington Post)

  • Lawmaker apologizes for Muslim remarks | Rep. Bill Sali has apologized to a Muslim colleague for remarks suggesting the nation's founders never intended for Muslims to serve in Congress (Associated Press)

  • Robertson: Iraq invasion a mistake | "I had strong misgivings about this war. I said so publicly," Robertson said in an interview with the Tulsa World before speaking at Word Explosion on Sunday night at Victory Christian Center (The Tulsa World, Okla.)

  • A better way to feed the hungry | A cash-based food aid system could save as much as $33 million that is now lost to shipping and transaction costs. That money could be far better spent fighting hunger (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Sinful | The politics of envy (Jonah Goldberg, National Review Online)

  • Our religious destiny | The salience of religion in our presidential politics perplexes Europeans (Arthur C. Brooks, The Wall Street Journal)

  • A matter of faith | Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been associated with evangelical Protestantism for decades, but it is an aspect of his political agenda about which he seldom talks publicly (Vancouver Sun)

  • Foolish mistake: Rudd | Australian Christian Lobby managing director Jim Wallace said everyone made mistakes (AAP, Australia)

  • To err is only human | So, what would Dietrich Bonhoeffer have thought of Kevin Rudd's initiation into the night life of New York? And what will be the reaction of the increasingly politically muscular Christian movement in Australia? (Glenn Milne, The Australian)

  • Hey, I wrote that! But the president said it — out loud! | There's never been a speechwriter tell-all quite like the one in the current issue of The Atlantic (Carolyn Curiel, The New York Times)

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Money and business:

  • Churches declare billions | Pentecostal churches are rated among the organisations with highest incomes in the country (New Vision, Uganda)

  • Lawsuit aims to stop Cobb church plan | Johnson Ferry Baptist wants land deal with hospital firm (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Tuesday's special: word of God | Dallas man's barbecue joint is open for lunch—and no-holds-barred worship (The Dallas Morning News)

  • IRS posts reactions to proposed revisions to Form 990 | Many of the public comments released today raise questions about some of the new disclosures or point out discrepancies or problems with the proposed wording of the instructions. But some of the commentary is more general in tone (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

  • A new generation reinvents philanthropy | Blogs, social-networking sites give 20-somethings a means to push, fund favorite causes (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Tasteless, vulgar, 'pro-choice' | The abortionist left cannot even recognize its own hypocrisy. It harps on Domino's Pizza founder Thomas Monaghan and other successful entrepreneurs for their personal pro-life activities — whereas it now applauds Manhattan Mini-Storage's direct commercialization of abortion politics, as long as it's pro-choice (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  • No salvation for lending in God's name | America's evangelical banks find that faith cannot move debt mountains (James Doran, The Observer, London)

  • Transparent church | Catholics taking lead in regaining public trust (Editorial, The Korea Times)

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  • New look at Christianity | College-level classes offered at high school will explore its relevance in today's world (The Indianapolis Star)

  • In regrouping, a Catholic academy rises | A regional model for elementary schools (The Boston Globe)

  • CPS pushes 1st-day attendance | Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan hit seven church pulpits Sunday to preach a simple message: Kids should be at school for the first day, on time, ready to learn (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Homeschooling today - The new homeschool | Many newcomers are homeschoolers of practicality rather than principle (The Anniston Star, Ala.)

  • Home chooling today - The Joshua Generation | TeenPact, and organizations like it, want to provide the ideological backbone for a Joshua Generation - an assemblage of Christian homeschoolers who will claim the culture much like the biblical Joshua led the Israelites to claim Canaan (The Anniston Star, Ala.)

  • University toes the line | The University of Michigan may have stepped over the line in constructing footbaths for Muslim students (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  • Christians and capitalism | An evangelical college declines to renew the contract of a liberal professor, much to the dismay of left-wing evangelicals. (Mark Tooley, The American Spectator)

  • Should schools teach foe smiting? | Would a public school's zero-violence rule include Wiley Drake's call for prayer for the deaths of his opponents? (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)

  • British civics class asks, what would Muhammad do? | A civics class in Britain uses the Koran to answer questions about daily life, with the aim of reaching students who might be vulnerable to Islamic extremism (The New York Times)

  • Sikh girl in Catholic school row | The parents of a Teesside Sikh girl say they will convert her to Catholicism in order to get her into the best school in the area (BBC)

  • Schools' religious bent should never be a given | To what extent should schools be allowed to encourage deference to authority when it comes to moral and religious matters? To what extent should they be able to suppress independent, critical thought? (Stephen Law, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Torture in church school: Nuns nabbed | Best example of torture and harassment of students inside the white walls of Christian church has come out to picture (Organiser, India, Hindutva newspaper)

  • All pastors need theological training | The current storm in the fellowship of born-again pastors could have been avoided if they had taken heed of my call about the importance of theological training (Solomon Nkesiga, New Vision, Uganda)

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  • Nigeria probes HIV graduate test | Authorities are investigating a church-owned Nigerian university which has imposed compulsory HIV testing for its graduates, officials say (BBC)

  • Also: HIV test before Nigerian marriage | Couples are being advised to take an HIV test before they marry, the Anglican Church in Nigeria says (BBC)

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  • Another way to talk about faith | Public radio host Krista Tippett models constructive conversation. Jeff Crosby reviews Speaking of Faith (Books & Culture)

  • How it began | David Novak reviews Jesus in the Talmud by Peter Schäfe (The New Republic)

  • Final payments | In her new memoir, Mary Gordon calculates her debt to her flawed, beloved mother (The Boston Globe)

  • The Sacred States of America | Arguing that the nation's ideals constitute a major religion. Jim Sleeper reviews Americanism (The Boston Globe)

  • Bypassing young women's abortion rights | In her new book, Girls on the Stand: How Courts Fail Pregnant Minors, Helena Silverstein looks at the thicket of parental notification laws faced by young women seeking an abortion (The American Prospect)

  • Attackers of religion display their own fundamentalist zeal | Richard Dawkins has done more than all religious people together to put God on the current public agenda. I think he's seriously misguided, at best, and that his campaign is dangerous (Margaret Somerville, The Vancouver Sun)

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Entertainment and media:

  • Movie benefiting 'generations' | Royalties from Facing the Giants DVD sales will be used by Sherwood Baptist Church to help fund its Generations outreach campaign (Albany Herald, Ga.)

  • Faith in his art as a filmmaker | To make '7 Días,' Fernando Kalife just had to believe in himself. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Kidman denies film is anti-church | "I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic," she says of The Golden Compass. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Also: Movie preview: The Golden Compass | ''It has been watered down a little, I was raised Catholic. The Catholic Church is part of my essence. I wouldn't be able to do this film if I thought it were at all anti-Catholic.'' (Entertainment Weekly)

  • In praise of scoops on Heaven, Hell and, yes, God | No one has sufficiently mourned the loss to religion reporting resulting from the closing of the Weekly World News (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)

  • Should God go to the ballgame? | Events such as 'faith day' at Dodger Stadium signal the Christianization of pro sports (Tom Krattenmaker, Los Angeles Times)

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Mormonism and media:

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Missions and ministry:

  • Church seeking zoning for parolee halfway house in Waco neighborhood | Waco city leaders are considering whether a local church's expanding ministry to help non-violent parolees is a proper fit for McLennan County's abandoned juvenile center and an established neighborhood bordered on at least one side by open drug dealing and prostitution (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

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Church life:

  • Church bells fall silent | The controversial church bells of the Holy Margarita Maria Church in Tilburg did not ring out on Monday morning (Expatica, Netherlands)

  • Foul-mouthed Dean quits | The senior Catholic priest caught on digital video hurling racist and sexually explicit abuse at a group of teenagers has resigned as Dean of Melbourne's St Patrick's Cathedral (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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Sexual ethics:

  • Vows | Why the Dems should not shut up about gays and marriage (Evan Wolfson, The New Republic)

  • The false modesty movement | What is it about the growing "modesty movement" that makes me so nervous? (Anne K. Ream, Los Angeles Times)

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Other stories of interest:

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Related Elsewhere:

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

Our most recent Weblogs include:

Praying for a Critic's Death (Links Only) | Plus: CT freelancer Brad Greenberg gets Forwarded, changes at some key religion blogs, and more (Aug. 17)
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)

See also the Christianity Today Liveblog.

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