Today's Top Five
1. "We all hope it will be better, but it will never ever be good with Hamas"
"Masked gunmen used rocket-propelled grenades to storm the main entrances of the school and church," Roman Catholic priest Manuel Musalam (alt. spelling: Mussalem) told The Jerusalem Post. "Then they destroyed almost everything inside, including the Cross, the Holy Book, computers and other equipment." Every cross inside the church and school was destroyed, he said.
Musalam said Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called him to condemn the attack and to promise he'd work against future attacks on Christians. In a separate story, Abbas told the Post, "The torching of the church is one of the fruits of the bloody coup that Hamas staged in the Gaza Strip."
Hamas spokesmen told the Post and the Associated Press that Hamas had nothing to do with the attack and promised to "punish anyone who targets churches." But Christians in Gaza are still very worried about their future under Hamas.
"I can't predict what will happen, but one thing is for certain: There is a group within Hamas which is starting to talk of the Islamization of society. Right now they are a small group, but the more pressure is put on, the more extreme they will become," Omar Shaban, Catholic Relief Services project manager for Gaza, told Catholic News Service. "With Fatah as a secular organization we had no problems, but with Hamas I am not sure how they will perceive us."
One Christian teenager in Gaza told Catholic News Service, "We all hope it will be better, but it will never ever be good with Hamas."
The Jerusalem Post notes:
Several Christian institutions in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank have been targeted by masked gunmen over the past few months.
Last April, a bookstore run by the Bible Society in the Gaza Strip was bombed, but no one was hurt.
A group calling itself the Huda (Guidance) Army Organization threatened to target all Christians living in the Gaza Strip following remarks against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that were made last year by Pope Benedict XVI.
"We will target all Crusaders in the Gaza Strip," the group said in a leaflet, "until the pope issues an official apology."
The group also threatened to attack churches and Christian-owned institutions and homes.
"All centers belonging to Crusaders, including churches and institutions, will from now on be targeted," it said. "We will even attack the Crusaders as they sit intoxicated in their homes."
The Los Angeles Times reports that two of Abbas's cabinet members in his new emergency government are Christians.
The Christianity Today Liveblog has more updates on Christians in Gaza, including some relatively good news from Gaza Baptist Church.
2. Ruth Graham honored in Montreat, buried in Charlotte
"I wish you could look into the casket because she's so beautiful," Billy Graham told mourners at Saturday's public funeral. "I sat there for a long time just looking at her and praying because I know she had a great reception in heaven."
3. Brownback campaign staffer busted for Mormon questions
The religion-and-politics nom du jour is Emma Nemecek, the southeastern Iowa field director for Sam Brownback's presidential campaign. She forwarded an e-mail message from a separate interest group (she says it was from "an organization of conservative Asian Americans") to Iowa Republican leaders. She asked them to fact-check several statements in the e-mail, including, "Theologically, the only thing Christianity and the LDS church has in common is the name of Jesus Christ, and the LDS Jesus is not the same Jesus of the Christian faith," and, "The LDS church has never been accepted by the Christian Council of Churches."
"The e-mail appears to be a thinly veiled attempt to push negative talking points on Mormonism to influence power brokers in Iowa," The Washington Post reported. When asked about it, the Brownback campaign disavowed the e-mail message, said Nemecek was reprimanded, and said it wouldn't happen again.
"Although the forwarded e-mail did not originate from campaign staff and was not sent from a campaign account or on behalf of the campaign, it is unfortunate and regrettable that this e-mail was forwarded by someone working for the campaign, even if for fact-checking purposes on behalf of a publication," Brownback's Iowa communications director John Rankin told the Post. (Unanswered: What Brownback-related publication is/was looking at Mormon beliefs?)
The Los Angeles Times Saturday reported that some evangelicals are wary enough of Mormonism not to vote for Romney. Stephanie Simon writes, "This is not an arcane theological dispute; to some born-again Christians, it's at the very core of presidential leadership. If Romney does not understand what they take to be God's true nature, can he still receive divine guidance? If he doesn't accept the Trinity as they conceptualize it, can he still be filled with the strength of the Holy Spirit?"
Nemecek says she's actually not critical of Romney's faith. "I didn't intend to smear anyone," she told blogger John Deeth. "I don't think people should choose [a president] based on how a person worships I have six Mormon family members myself." She says she forwarded the e-mail "with no opinion of my own or anything."
Or apparently any knowledge that the "Christian Council of Churches" doesn't even exist. (If the e-mail meant the National Council of Churches, it could add almost every evangelical church to the list of non-members.)
4. The face of Regent University
"What is the real face of Regent's law school?" asks its hometown paper, The Virginian-Pilot. The newspaper juxtaposes a local billboard for Regent Law, featuring two students who had just won the American Bar Association's national negotiation competition, with coverage of Monica Goodling, the Regent grad at the center of the Justice Department firing scandal. Though writer Steven G. Vegh never directly spells it out, the underlying message is that to outsiders, the real face of Regent is its founder, Pat Robertson. But Robertson isn't a big factor inside the school itself or even a big draw for students. "There are a number of people attending that school who do so strictly because of what Pat Robertson represents to them," 1994 graduate Joe Migliozzi Jr. told the paper. "I don't think that is a majority anymore." Stephen Pfeiffer, one of the two faces on that billboard, says he hadn't even heard of Robertson before he enrolled at the school.
5. Wine, wine, wine
Public schools renting space out to churches is controversial in several parts of the country, but in Wake County, North Carolina, it's not for the usual reason. The school board policy absolutely forbids all alcohol on school premises at all times which means that Roman Catholic churches renting space in one of the schools can't use sacramental wine. (Another church says it has been using wine at services in another school without any complaints.) A board member is seeking to change the policy.
Quote of the day
"I am both Muslim and Christian, just like I'm both an American of African descent and a woman. I'm 100 percent both. At the most basic level, I understand the two religions to be compatible. That's all I need."
Ann Holmes Redding, an Episcopal priest in the Episcopal Church's Olympia diocese. Bishop Vincent Warner says he "finds the interfaith possibilities exciting" with a priest who is Christian and Muslim. In the diocesan newspaper, Redding explained a key step in her "becoming a human being" and embracing Islam was in rejecting the traditional doctrines of her church:
The affirmations [that Christians make at their baptism] are tough for any Christian who is at all progressive because there are certain of us [Christians] who have taken these and made them in to something like fraternity hazingyou have to say these words in order to be part of the club. I see them as taking Jesus as the human example to follow toward God. Most Muslims see Mohammed rather than Jesus as the pattern of life to follow, and I do not see him as the only example. I just am not willing to put 'onlys' in front of all those affirmations about Jesus.
I think she's just trying to provoke Peter Akinola.
If you're using an RSS reader to monitor new Weblog postings, you probably missed Friday's Weblog. Sorry about that.
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- Gaza's Christians fear for their lives | Christians living in Gaza City on Monday appealed to the international community to protect them against increased attacks by Muslim extremists. Many Christians said they were prepared to leave the Gaza Strip as soon as the border crossings are reopened (The Jerusalem Post)
- Catholic compound ransacked in Gaza | A school and convent belonging to the Gaza Strip's tiny Roman Catholic community were ransacked, burned and looted during clashes around a major security headquarters, the head of the community said Monday (Associated Press)
- As divide deepens, Gaza's fate uncertain | U.S., Israel back new regime in West Bank. Funding likely to follow (Los Angeles Times)
- Philippine rebels criticize new government negotiator | Muslim rebels negotiating to end rebellion in the southern Philippines criticized the government on Sunday for naming a Roman Catholic priest to head its peace panel, saying the decision would downgrade the talks (Reuters)
- MILF establishes contact with priest's abductorsmilitary | Bossi 'physically okay' (The Philippine Inquirer)
- Gunmen demand ransom for release of Italian priest (AFP)
- Chaldean priest abducted in Baghdad is free and in good health | Fr Hani Abdel Ahad is released after 12 days. "He is very tired but was not mistreated," says someone who met him. Persecution of Christians now moves to the al-Amariya and Hai al-Jamiya neighbourhoods with bombs placed in a home garden and threats of beheading (AsiaNews.it)
- Kaiser inquest concludes after more than three years of hearing | An inquest into the death of Catholic Priest John Anthony Kaiser finally concluded after a three year hearing. A Magistrate's Court that was conducting the inquest is now expected to rule on the 18th of July whether Father Kaiser committed suicide or was murdered (Capital FM, Kenya)
- Six arrested after Egypt sectarian clash | Thirteen people were injured and six arrested in southern Egypt on Saturday when a land dispute sparked a clash between Muslims and Christians, a security source said, in a sign of growing tensions between both communities (AFP)
- Wife takes bishop to court for adultery | The wife of a Ugandan bishop has filed for divorce in the High Court. Citing adultery, cruelty and attempted murder, Catherine Oboketch wants court to dissolve her marriage to John Oboketch, a bishop of the Charismatic Church of Uganda (The Monitor, Uganda)
- Woman shot, killed in Oconto church | Husband charged with wife's murder (Green Bay Press Gazette, Wis.)
- Also: Alleged shooter of Oconto woman in critical condition | A man who allegedly shot and killed his estranged wife in an Oconto church was in critical condition Saturday at a Milwaukee-area hospital (Green Bay Press Gazette, Wis.)
- Police still searching for male who held up store and church | Several people were held up at First Apostolic Church. The robbers got away with about four wallets and some cell phones (The News Star, Monroe, La.)
- Cops: Man pushed wife in church | A man was arrested Sunday at church after police officers say he accosted his common-law wife and their 17-day-old child inside a church (The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)
- LA clergy abuse trials loom | After years of legal wrangling, the nation's largest Roman Catholic archdiocese may finally move to settle hundreds of clergy sex abuse claims against it following several legal setbacks and the prospect of jury trials in the months ahead (Associated Press)
- Victims of priest's abuse seek accountability from church | Tim Evans is behind bars, but his victims want more. (The Coloradoan, Ft. Collins)
- Limits on sex abuse suits set for debate | Del. House to consider proposal on Tuesday (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del.)
- Protest at church is called off as controversial plaque is removed | Members of the Balboa Island community planned to distribute fliers Saturday at the church to protest the plaque and naming of St. Vianney Plaza after alleged child molester Msgr. Joseph F. Sharpe, but their efforts weren't needed (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
- Pope hopeful on Catholic-Orthodox unity | Pope Benedict XVI told a visiting Cypriot Orthodox leader Saturday that he holds hope that the Catholic and Orthodox churches can be united, despite centuries of painful division (Associated Press)
- Pope, Orthodox leader to work for Middle East peace | Pope Benedict and the leader of the Cypriot Orthodox Church pledged on Saturday to work for peace in the Middle East, saying they feared a widening crisis with "disastrous consequences" (Reuters)
- Pope Benedict makes pilgrimage to Assisi | Pope Benedict XVI began a pilgrimage to this hill town Sunday to mark the 800th anniversary of the conversion of St. Francis from the life of a medieval playboy into a man who stripped away his worldly wealth to serve God (Associated Press)
- Also: Pope urges end to Mideast wars, terror | Pope Benedict made one of his strongest peace appeals on Sunday, calling for an end to all wars and saying the people of the Middle East have had enough of "the horrors of combat, terrorism and blind violence" (Reuters)
- A return to the Latin Mass | Clashes with congregants may erupt as a growing number of young priests push for a revival of pre-Vatican II customs (U.S. News & World Report)
- Catholic bishops resist advance of Latin Mass | The Roman Catholic bishops in England and Wales are resisting the Pope's plans to liberalise the use of the traditional Latin Mass (The Telegraph, London)
- Nun resigns, rather than prove she is in 'good standing' | Sister Regina Werntz was offended, she said, by a requirement by the diocese that all teachers, including nuns, furnish a letter from a pastor attesting to being Catholics in good standing (The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.)
- Also: Nun leaves teaching post over pastoral endorsement | Sister Regina Werntz agonized over the words for days (Citizens Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
- Document: Long-standing sisters should not have to prove their faith (Regina Werntz, Citizens Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)
- Catholic 'witch-hunt' to expose gay clergy | A newsletter , Catholic Truth, has so far confronted up to a dozen priests about their alleged homosexuality and has named at least four as being gay or allegedly associating with gay men (The Times, London)
- Wuerl paves own path | Almost a year into his job as the spiritual leader of the Washington area's 560,000 Catholics, Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl has set a personal agenda and style that are worlds apart from those of his more flamboyant predecessor (The Washington Times)
- Groundbreaking female Waco pastor moving on to job in Georgia | An interview with Julie Pennington-Russell, the first woman to have served as senior pastor at a Baptist General Convention of Texas church (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)
- 9/11 attacks begot a different kind of church | The September 11 terrorist attacks hit just 10 days after the Rev. Bill Shuler and his family moved from Oklahoma to the D.C. area, prompting him to start a ministry that eventually would blossom into Capital Life Church (The Washington Times)
- First Presbyterian, others view changing affiliation | "Around the world God is working and the church of Jesus Christ is growing, but the American church is kind of stuck in our infighting over theology, in our inward focus, in our accommodation of culture," said Garrett Dawson, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge and co-moderator of the New Wineskins Association (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)
- No protests at church with blackface skit | Protesters on Sunday apparently stayed away from a Gastonia church that had been publicly criticized for a blackface performance (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)
- Church planting cultivates Christians | Restoration House Ministries is trying to do for Christianity what Johnny Appleseed did for horticulture (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)
- Police evict worshippers from church | Police lobbed teargas canisters to disperse worshippers from the Full Gospel Church in Mogotio. The officers in full riot gear battled with the worshippers before forcefully evicting them as the national officials of Full Gospel Churches of Kenya moved to take over the church's management (East African Standard, Kenya)
- Church struggles for unity | Topics for synod show UCC tensions (Hartford Courant, Ct.)
- Jewish groups rebuke United Church of Christ | Eight Jewish groups rebuked the United Church of Christ for what they said was an imbalanced statement on Israel (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)
- God still speaks | This week, for many in Connecticut, the UCC will be synonymous with "Barack Obama." But the Democratic presidential candidate's appearance Saturday is not the main reason twice as many people as usual have signed up for the UCC's General Synod, its national biennial conference, being held Friday through June 26 in Hartford (New Haven Register, Ct.)
- "I am both Muslim and Christian" | Ann Holmes Redding, who until recently was director of faith formation at St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral, has been an Episcopal priest for more than 20 years. Now she's ready to tell people that, for the last 15 months, she's also been a Muslim drawn to the faith after an introduction to Islamic prayers left her profoundly moved (The Seattle Times)
- More U.S. Episcopalians look abroad amid rift | Overseas prelates lead 200 to 250 congregations (The Washington Post)
- Anglican Kenyans name U.S. bishop | The Anglican Province of Kenya has appointed its own bishop to oversee about 30 churches in the United States -- the third such effort by conservative African bishops to carve out pieces of the U.S. Episcopal Church (The Washington Times)
- Navigating challenges | Episcopal Church's 1st female leader has faced objections to female priests and gay bishops (The Indianapolis Star)
- Anglicans to vote this week on priests blessing same-sex unions | Church leaders came up with a clever compromise for gay couple's wedding: Before they were legally married by a Federal Court judge at the end of a regular Sunday mass, they were prayed for by the entire congregation of St. John the Evangelist in Ottawa - instead of just the priest (Canadian Press)
- Divided Anglicans to vote on issue of same-sex union | The religious world will be watching Winnipeg as Canada's oldest Protestant church struggles to avoid a schism in the church (The Ottawa Citizen)
- Some Anglican gays switching churches, as same-sex vote looms | The Anglican church's longtime indecision over the issue has served to alienate supporters on both sides, some say ) CanWest News Service/Edmonton Journal)
- Don't tear apart our church | As the Canadian Anglican bishops gather to decide whether to bless homosexual unions, I hope and pray that our discussion will be civil and kind, and that their decision will leave the church intact. (Michael Fleming, Ottawa Citizen)
- Church of England 'institutionally racist' | The Church of England is "institutionally racist", a damning internal report has concluded (The Telegraph, London)
- Also: Report: Church of England is racist | Black and Asian clergy members are unlikely to reach high office in the Church of England and minorities are sometimes marginalized in parish churches, an internal review will show (Associated Press)
- New ground in debate on 'curing' gays | Christian ministries who see homosexuality as a treatable disorder are starting to think that choice may not be a factor (Los Angeles Times)
- S.F. ELCA church to ordain noncelibate lesbian | Ordination of Dawn Roginski will mark the third such challenge to the policy in eight months (The Advocate, gay magazine)
- Colombia to recognize gay unions with extension of health, other benefits | The measure would make Colombia the first country in Latin America to extend such rights to gay couples (The Washington Post)
- Waves of change swept away bid vs. gay nuptials | Until last week, gay marriage advocates never once believed they could defeat a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage on its merits (The Boston Globe)
- Gays aim to expand Massachusetts 'marriages' | The defeat of a Massachusetts marriage amendment last week may re-energize efforts to repeal a law blocking same-sex couples from out of state from "marrying" there, warns the leader of a group that seeks to protect marriage in the U.S. Constitution (The Washington Times)
- Impounded fathers | Are children left orphaned by U.S. immigration laws? (Edwidge Danticat, The New York Times)
- Employers, not family, drive area immigration | D.C. could offer glimpse of life under Senate bill (The Washington Post)
- Broad effort to resurrect immigration bill | Various groups had complained about provisions of a comprehensive immigration bill, but when it appeared to be dying, they were flummoxed (The New York Times)
- Obama says religion has place in politics | Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama insisted Saturday that religious faith can play a central role in politics, but only if it's used to tackle moral issues and not to divide the nation (Sioux City Journal, S.D.)
- Evangelicals uneasy with Romney's faith | The candidate's Mormonism worries a key GOP voting bloc (Los Angeles Times)
- Brownback aide chided on anti-Mormon bid | An aide to GOP presidential candidate Sam Brownback has been reprimanded for sending e-mail to Iowa Republican leaders in an apparent attempt to draw unfavorable scrutiny to rival Mitt Romney's Mormonism (Associated Press)
- Romney's Mormonism attracts more scrutiny
and a whisper campaign | Mitt Romney's Mormonism isn't something his rivals for the Republican presidential nomination talk much about in public, but his faith appears to have stoked a whisper campaign, engineered by an Iowa staffer for Sen. Sam Brownback (The Washington Post)
- Romney: Anti-abortion activists won him over | U.S. presidential hopeful Mitt Romney sought to turn his shifting views on abortion to his advantage on Friday, bringing social conservatives to their feet in a speech in which he said they helped convert him to their cause (Reuters)
- Mitt's recent double speak presidential | On close inspection, it appears Romney was just employing a good bit of double speak and what could be more presidential? when he answered that LDS Second Coming doctrine corresponds with other Christian tradition (Lee Benson, Deseret Morning News, Ut.)
- Southern Baptist split over politics | A small but vocal number of pastors believe the denomination is too cozy with Republicans and too political in general (Associated Press)
- An advocate lends a hand as social justice goals unify faiths | United Power for Action and Justice puts Muslims within an array of Roman Catholic, Jewish, Lutheran, Baptist, Episcopalian, Pentecostal and secular constituents (The New York Times)
- African American coalition seeking political influence | Concerned about losing influence and air time to the religious right, about 100 African American clerics gathered in Washington this week to begin crafting a plan of action to have an impact on the 2008 presidential election (The Washington Post)
- Christian group to refocus debate | Washington Family Policy Council will launch next month (Jerry Cornfield, The Daily Herald, Everett, Wa.)
- Kiwis say `no' to official religion | The majority of New Zealanders are against Christianity being the country's official religion, according to a poll (The Dominion Post, New Zealand)
- Lockout sparks unholy row | An international conference aimed at countering "religious radicals" opens at Waitangi today - with New Zealand's Christian radicals led by the Destiny Church consigned to the streets (The New Zealand Herald)
- MPs asked to consider scrapping daily prayer | New Zealand MPs are being asked to consider scrapping or revising Parliament's daily prayer (The New Zealand Herald)
- MPs want prayer changes to reflect religious diversity | Some MPs have started a push to rewrite the prayer that starts each day's proceedings at Parliament (The New Zealand Herald)
- Replace MPs' prayer with Aussie statement - Locke says | Adopting Canberra's government statement to replace the prayer at the start of Parliament sittings may keep Christian and secular people happy, Green MP Keith Locke says (NZPA)
- Prayer too much of a sacred cow | Parliament's prayer is now unlikely to be removed, or de-Christianised. (Editorial, The New Zealand Herald)
- I refuse to be silenced | Pell lambasts MPs as intolerant (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Investigation like Stalinism, claims Pell | The Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, George Pell, says there is a "whiff of Stalinism" about an investigation into whether his comments on stem cell research amount to contempt of Parliament (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Separation of church and state is fundamental - when it suits | It is understandable why many, including some Catholics, disagree with the likes of Pell and Hickey on such issues as embryonic stem cell research and abortion. However, it is not understandable why some in politics, the media and elsewhere object to church leaders running the church's line on matters relating to human life. That is their job (Gerard Henderson, The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Keep religion out of politics | Former senator Amanda Vanstone has called for MPs to keep religion out of politics, saying faith does not bring moral superiority to law-making (The Advertiser, Adelaide, Australia)
- Survey: Many pharmacies don't carry 'morning after pill' | The emergency contraceptive widely known as the "morning-after pill," which has been available over the counter since August, isn't carried in about 40 percent of North Carolina pharmacies, according to a survey conducted by an abortion rights group (Associated Press)
- Clinton speaks out on stem cell research | "This is not a religious issue," he said. "It's really about a little boy who's 10 years old, and another 100 million Americans who could benefit from this research" (Associated Press)
- Christian Coalition wins church tax battle in Ala. legislature | Alabama Education Association Executive Secretary Paul Hubbert said the battle over church taxes is not likely to be repeated in future legislative sessions, even though it means the loss of an undetermined amount of state sales taxes that pay for public schools and colleges (Associated Press)
- Prayer at Greece meetings criticized | Town Board oversteps bounds, ACLU charges (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, N.Y.)
- Oakley council ponders motto options | After one Oakley City Council member proposed adding the national motto in the design details for the emerging Oakley Civic Center, the council is now considering the inclusion of both the original and current United States mottos (Contra Costa Times, Ca.)
- Earlier: 'In God We Trust' topic of discussion | City Council is considering adopting the national motto for new civic center (Contra Costa Times, Ca.)
- Religious freedom bill raises concerns | Some worry it doesn't go far enough; others warn of threat to separation of church, state (Albany Times-Union, N.Y.)
- A war on memory | An attack on religious symbolism has been waged for several years now on a barren hilltop in California. A simple cross to honor fallen soldiers is simply too much for militant 'separationists,' who seem intent on disassembling this country's Christian past (Michael Medved, USA Today)
- What is the real face of Regent's law school? | What Regent has called an achievement has been used by liberal commentators and comedians as an opportunity to criticize or mock the law school and its founder, Christian broadcaster Pat Robertson (The Virginian-Pilot)
- Schools revisit Mass policy | Churches can't use wine on property (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
- FWCS petitions: Crossing church-state divide? | Fort Wayne Community Schools' petition drive on whether to spend $500 million upgrading public school buildings may seem like the stuff of politics. But it's an issue that's also being played out in the community's churches (The Journal Gazette, Fort Wayne, Ind.)
- Critics: Hallandale charter school oversteps church-state line | Depending on who you ask, the Ben Gamla school will either be a secular bilingual charter school or a taxpayer-funded religious school that violates the U.S. Constitution's separation of church and state (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
- Agent of change steers teens toward college | Christopher Yanov started Reality Changers after he grew frustrated seeing smart children transforming into gang members. It is a ministry of the Presbyterian Church, and part of its mission is "to improve each member's relationship with God." (San Diego Union-Tribune)
- Muslims won't fund footbaths | Leaders cite ACLU's decision not to oppose use of public money for UM-Dearborn project (The Detroit News)
- Benefit of the doubt | I bent over backward to be fair in grading a conservative student. Now I fear I bent over too far (John D. Barbour, The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)
- Southern Baptist classes for wives? Holy smoke | Paige Patterson announced at the recent SBC meeting in San Antonio that his school was offering an academic program to train women how to make a Christian home (Robert Parham, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
- Stephen's gets only 6 Dalit aspirants | St Stephen's College has reserved 10 percent seats for Dalit Christians but received applications from only six Dalits this year. The BA programme seems to be a popular choice though a few have also applied for English and History (The Times of India)
- Blair priest's fundraising angers Church | Tony Blair's personal priest, who has taken a vow of poverty, has helped raise millions of pounds for the Prime Minister's flagship city academies - to the dismay of the Church hierarchy (The Telegraph, London)
- Inclusion? Not in Samuel's case | He might be in a wheelchair but Jonathan Bartley's son has excelled at his local nursery. So why can't he go to the school across the road with his sisters? (The Telegraph, London)
- Religious classes fail to adapt to change | The U.K.'s religious education program fails to meet modern-day needs because it is still centred around ethics instead of reflecting a changing world, the schools inspector Ofsted said (Reuters)
- Call for 'post-9/11' Religious Education teaching | Ofsted says teachers should include ways in which religion is not always a force for good (BBC)
- State curriculum urged for school RE lessons | Teaching of Christianity could be betterOfsted (The Guardian, London)
- Pastor banned from seeing baby he found | A pastor who found an abandoned newborn baby on the steps of his inner-western Sydney church has been told by authorities to stop visiting her in hospital (AAP, Australia)
- Also: Policy on baby girl left at church defended | A Sydney pastor who found an abandoned baby at the door of his Baptist church recently cannot adopt the child because he and his wife are not trained carers, the NSW Department of Community Services says (AAP, Australia)
- Earthquake sets back Solomon Islands Bible project | It took Richmond theology student Alpheaus Zobule nearly a decade to make the New Testament available to the people of the tiny South Pacific island where he grew up. But in one April day, a magnitude 8.1 earthquake dealt his work a powerful blow (The Washington Post)
- Habitat for Humanity's homes faulted in Florida | Residents say the charity has been unresponsive to problems at one of its developments that is crumbling (The New York Times)
- Church offers spiritual pit stop revival for drivers | More Than Conquerors Faith Church has been leading a street revival since last week that offered an unusual feature: A spiritual pit stop for commuters (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
- Fighting weight with faith | Study: Religion with diet aids black women (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)
- Food pantry closes under pressure | Church in zoning dispute with Calvert (The Washington Post)
- Many sex offenders end up at shelters | Some say state should help house ex-inmates; church-run shelters are saying they won't (The Boston Globe)
- Int'l Christian Embassy in Jerusalem aiding Sudanese | A prominent Jerusalem based Evangelical Christian organization is assisting three dozen Sudanese refugees who slipped into Israel from Egypt last week, the group announced Sunday (The Jerusalem Post)
- Touched by the Hands of Christ | Faithful followers of Hands of Christ Ministries gather twice a week to pray with - and for - anyone who walks in the door of their two-story Cape Cod style house in Ardsley Park (Savannah Morning News, Ga.)
- Tribal traditions of worship | The Anawim Center, backed by the Catholic church, gives Native Americans a chance to celebrate their faiths, customs and cultures in a common setting (Chicago Tribune)
- Spiritual guidance and smooth sailing for the fire dept. | Three ships led a procession of eight New York Fire Department boats in a longtime ritual: the blessing of the fleet (The New York Times)
- Also: Prayers for safety on the sea | Clergymen bless boats, fishermen (Asbury Park Press, N.J.)
- New CAN president emerges tomorrow | Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) will tomorrow elect new national president (The Tide, Nigeria)
- Robert E. Lee and Sister Aimee | A general's religion, and an evangelist's politics (The Washington Times)
- Steinberg's religious about humour in bio | Book of David offers a faux biblical take on Canadian comic's 40 years in the business (The Toronto Star)
- When bashing God, author shouldn't act like one himself | If Christopher Hitchens did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him (Tony Brown, The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)
- A revolution about religion | Today, we look upon the bloodbath in Iraq between Sunnis and Shiites as almost pathetically backward. But Michael Barone's book on the 1688 "Glorious Revolution" is a healthy reminder that it took much suffering before today's idea of religious toleration took hold in the Western world (Editorial, The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)
- Plans to sell radio station upset church | First Baptist says Criswell College must get OK on KCBI sale (The Dallas Morning News)
- Pigs with cellphones, but no condoms | Fox, which along with CBS rejected a Trojan commercial, said that "contraceptive advertising must stress health-related uses rather than the prevention of pregnancy." (The New York Times)
- Studios choose to play it safe | Hollywood may vote pro-choice, but the message of three current films seems closer to Florida's anti-abortion license plate (The Boston Globe)
- "Evan" a less than mighty comedy | In Hollywood's newfound desire to court Christian audiences, nothing apparently is too over the top (Reuters)
- His movie company is far from Hollywood in many ways | Walden Media films like Bridge to Terabithia and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe are earnest without being treacly and seem to appeal across gender and age lines. An interview with co-founder Michael Flaherty (The Wall Street Journal)
- Sony: Sorry for Cathedral shootout game | "It was not our intention to cause offense by using a representation of Manchester Cathedral in chapter eight of the work," the letter said. "If we have done so, we sincerely apologize." (Associated Press)
- Finding religion in Second Life's virtual universe | Religion has a growing presence in the online game, users say, and religious diversity and participation have skyrocketed since last June, when basic membership to Second Life became free (Religion News Service)
- Christians permitted to work at Justice Department | Any point Lewis might have had doesn't hold up when the facts are brought to light (Mollie Z. Hemingway, Get Religion)
- Jars of Clay exits label to launch new imprint | After 12 years on Essential Records, Jars of Clay is exiting to launch a new imprint, Gray Matters, under the Nettwerk Music Group umbrella (Reuters)
- Christian composer, inspired by Allah's 99 names | John Tavener remains devotedly Christian. But his mind and ears have opened out (The New York Times)
- Sinead alights with 'Theology' | "By blood and by birth I am a Catholic, and I am extremely inspired by that," she says in a telephone interview from Dublin. "I wanted to acknowledge music as a way of talking to God" (Religion News Service)
- Outpouring of love for Ruth Graham | Graham's life saluted by family, friends and community (Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.)
- A time to adore Ruth | Nearly festive service honors her devotion to family, Christ (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)
- Graham says wife beautiful in death | Ruth Graham retained her beauty even in death and surely "had a great reception in heaven," an ailing Billy Graham told mourners who gathered Saturday to remember his beloved wife (Associated Press)
- La. prisoner built Graham's coffin | Shortly before he died, convicted murderer Richard Liggett was asked to make two of the simple plywood coffins he meticulously crafted for fellow prisoners. Except the caskets would be for Billy and Ruth Graham (Associated Press)
- Ruth Graham saw wife's role as a calling | Today, ministers' wives are forging a different role, through their own careers or as very public, equal partners with their husbands (Associated Press)
- Ruth Bell Graham, the soul mate of the preacher | The world will never know what else Ruth Graham, who as a wife and mother reared five children and wrote 14 books, could have accomplished had she not been Billy Graham's "helpmeet," as her friend June Carter Cash once described the wifely role (The Washington Post)
- The evangelist's partner | Ruth Bell Graham's influence on the world was considerable, even if it was easy to miss (Editorial, The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
- Do best fathers choose religion over recreation? | Religious involvement is highly beneficial for dads, study says (Deseret Morning News, Ut.)
- A native son discusses dads | Influential minister James Forbes returns to Raleigh with a Father's Day message of responsibility (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
- The devout doctor's prescription | How Donald Landry reconciled science with religion and got the attention of Washington (The Wall Street Journal)
- Cecil B. Knight, former Church of God overseer, dies at 81 | Was also president of Church of God Theological Seminary (Cleveland Daily Banner, Tenn.)
- Hell is beautiful? Benigni's fired up over Dante's 'Inferno' | "Tutto Dante," an unlikely hit featuring the 14th-century "Inferno," which has been filling up theaters and sports arenas throughout Italy, "just like Bruce Springsteen," as Benigni says (The Washington Post)
- Got faith? | Paris Hilton finds God (Newsweek)
- Patriarch visit for archbishop | Ecumenical Patriarch Vartholomaios, the spiritual leader of Orthodox Christians, put his differences with Archbishop Christodoulos aside as he visited the head of the Church of Greece in hospital on Saturday (Kathimerini, Athens)
- Pickup game with legend ended with a tragic death | Remembering the death of Pete Maravich (Los Angeles Times)
- A graduate with true grit | Churchill student dodges paralysis, puts faith first after diving accident (Detroit Free Press)
- Business woes cast cloud over pastor | Beloved leader of a burgeoning Okolona church linked to legal storms over roofing businesses in six states (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)
- Jesus T-shirt sales continue to thrive | What started out as a group of students making a stand for Christian prayer at their high school graduation has grown into a full-time responsibility for one Monroe family (The News Star, Monroe, La.)
- On display for the first time in Jerusalem, papers show religious side of Newton | In a new Jerusalem exhibit, he appears as a scholar of deep faith who also found time to write on Jewish law even penning a few phrases in careful Hebrew letters and combing the Old Testament's Book of Daniel for clues about the world's end (Associated Press)
- Solitary refinement | Leave your BlackBerry behind: Local Retreats offer a serene reprieve from the workaday grind (The Washington Post)
- Mystery deaths at Christian prayer centre | Kerala High Court orders probe (Organiser, India)
- Creation museum beckons atheists | Anti-religion movement would have a heyday (Todd Babiak, Edmonton Journal)
- Dinner with a warlord | One hint that this would be an unusual interview came when the warlord walked in wearing a button reading "Rebels For Christ" (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times, sub. req'd.)
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