Jump directly to the Content



Benedict XVI Tests Brazil's Religious Climate

Also: Bishops clarify Mugabe statements, a priest-imam soccer game is cancelled, the spanking debate resumes, and more.

Top five news stories:

1) On May 9, Benedict XVI will visit a Brazil that's not so Catholic anymore.

2) African bishops say they weren't condoning Mugabe, but they don't retract their statement.

3) New Zealand and California consider legislation on smacking children

4) A priest-imam soccer game was cancelled because the priests' team included women.

5) Archaeologists say they have discovered Herod's tomb.

For commentary, be sure to check our CT Liveblog.

Index | Neurotheology | Healthcare | Fertility & adoption | Smacking | Commencement ceremonies | Education | Plan B | Abortion | US Supreme Court | Catholicism | Benedict XVI in Brazil | Hispanic Christians | Day of Prayer | Church life: US | Van wreck | Noise | Church life: non-US | Religious freedom | Anglicanism | Church property | Soccer game | Other religions | Atheists | People | Arts & entertainment | Books | Music | Museums | TV and radio | Jamestown | Herod's tomb | Turkey | Sudan | Zimbabwe | India | Lesbian polygamists | Sexual ethics | Politics | Hate crimes | 2008 campaigns | Giuliani | Romney | Mormonism | Immigration | Crime | Woman who fell while praying | Abuse | Cho | Prison | Church & state | Military | Missions & ministry | Other


  • Scientists rush in where angels may tread | Researchers with high-tech tools take on spiritual, moral topics (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Hearts & minds | Since Plato, scholars have drawn a clear distinction between thinking and feeling. Now science suggests that our emotions are what make thought possible (Jonah Lehrer, The Boston Globe)

Back to index


  • A not-so-divine intervention | Texas Catholic bishops fail to protect unwanted patients (Wesley J. Smith, National Review Online)

  • A struggle inside AA | Recovering alcoholics say a Washington, D.C., group has hijacked the 12-step program's name (Newsweek)

  • Cults are not the way to lose weight | Losing weight and being fit is always a good idea, as long as you stay healthy. Shamblin, on the other hand, seems to brainwash people into not eating as a way to get into heaven (Jennifer Bartlett, Kingman Daily Miner, Az.)

  • Her own leap of faith | Parents facing the possible death of their son draw the doctor into prayer. Healing has many sources (Los Angeles Times)

Back to index

Fertility & adoption:

  • The fertility maze | Two new books chart the ever-present pitfalls of assisted reproduction (Maggie Jones, Slate)

  • Study finds couples open to embryo donation | Spanish researchers found that of 97 couples who underwent treatment at two fertility clinics, 49 percent chose to donate their spare frozen embryos for stem cell research (Reuters)

  • Evangelicals start adoption push | Prominent evangelical Christians are urging churchgoers to strongly consider adoption or foster care, not just out of kindness or biblical calling but also to answer criticism that their movement, while condemning abortion and same-sex adoption, doesn't do enough for children without parents (Associated Press)

Back to index


Back to index

Commencement ceremonies:

  • Sen. McCaskill not welcome at Catholic school commencement | Sen. Claire McCaskill, who had been invited to speak at her daughter's Catholic high school commencement, was told last week that she was no longer invited because of church policy rejecting her positions on abortion and embryonic stem cell research (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Senator asked not to speak at graduation | An invitation to Sen. Claire McCaskill to speak at her daughter's graduation from a Roman Catholic high school was withdrawn because of her positions on abortion and stem cell research (Associated Press)

  • Mr. President: This place is not your place | St. Vincent College should not host a leader who has exhibited values antithetical to its mission (Maynard Brennan, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Back to index


  • Ga. schools cautious on Bible classes | Georgia's public schools walk a delicate line as they decide whether to offer the nation's first state-funded Bible classes — measuring the difference between preaching and teaching with the likelihood of costly lawsuits looming for those that miss the mark (Associated Press)

  • The end of an era in Elgin | But this fall begins a new one, as Judson College becomes Judson University (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)

  • Ousted MIT admissions dean had diploma | The popular MIT admissions dean ousted when officials learned she lied about her college education on her resume actually earned a diploma from a small Catholic college (Associated Press)

  • Christian program to launch in Alberta public school | The Bible will be one of the textbooks used in a new public school in Cochrane, Alta., this fall (CBC)

  • Church's school request should not have turned into such a drawn-out drama | The intractability of the situation was best characterized by the church's senior pastor's famous statement that God had ordained that a school be built on the site (Editorial, East Valley Tribune, Scottsdale, Az.)

Back to index

Plan B:

  • Connecticut legislators approve contraceptive pill for rape victims | All hospitals in Connecticut will be required to provide rape victims with emergency contraception under legislation approved by the state's General Assembly (Associated Press)

  • Conn. lawmakers pass Plan B pill | The state House on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved a bill to require all hospitals to offer rape victims emergency contraception, over objections from Catholic leaders who say it infringes on their religious rights (Associated Press)

  • School defends morning-after pill | A head teacher has defended his school's sexual health policy after admitting it handed out hundreds of morning-after pills to teenage girls (BBC)

Back to index


  • Strengthening abortion rights | Gov. Eliot Spitzer has produced a sound proposal aimed at shoring up women's reproductive rights in New York State (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Church urges Mexico MDs against abortion | The Roman Catholic Church has vowed to continue its anti-abortion campaign even through it is under investigation for possibly violating Mexican laws forbidding the church's participation in politics (Associated Press)

  • Out of the mainstream | It's mind-boggling that late-term abortions now enjoy the imprimatur of every one of the presidential candidates of one of the two main political parties (Kirsten Powers, The Wall Street Journal, sub. req'd.)

  • Amnesty International's dirty little secret | Whereas AI used to take no position one way or the other on a woman's right to abortion or an unborn child's right to life—though they were always against forced abortion—they now have broadened their understanding of sexual and reproductive rights to include a "right" to abortion, although they'll strenuously deny it (Ryan T. Anderson, First Things)

  • Fifth of GPs want abortion ban | Opposition to abortions is growing among family doctors with nearly a quarter refusing to refer women for terminations and a fifth wanting the procedure banned outright, according to a survey published today (The Guardian, London)

  • Irish abortion plea in High Court | The High Court in Dublin is to hear a legal action on behalf of a pregnant 17-year-old girl, prevented from travelling to Britain for an abortion (BBC)

  • Irish teen asks judge to allow abortion | A government agency has no right to prevent a 17-year-old girl from traveling to England to have her brain-damaged fetus aborted, her lawyer argued Thursday, in a case that has reignited Ireland's perennial debate over abortion (Associated Press)

  • States see new fights on abortion | Both sides expect push for restrictions (Chicago Tribune)

  • Window to the womb | Antiabortion activists want bills that, in the words of Douglas Johnson of the National Right to Life Committee, "require the abortionist to offer the woman an opportunity to view an ultrasound" of her fetus (William Saletan, The Washington Post)

Back to index

US Supreme Court:

  • Moral plots and subplots in the latest ruling on abortion | There is wide disagreement of what the Supreme Court's decision upholding the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act really means (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)

  • Hoisted on their own petard | Unanchored to the intent of the Constitution's framers, abortion rights are whatever a majority on the High Court says they are. On that score, Gonzales is no different than its conflicting antecedents (Bruce Fein, The Washington Times)

  • Partial-birth bigotry | The know-nothing left blames the latest abortion ruling on Catholicism (John Yoo, The Wall Street Journal)

  • They know best | Melody Rose's book charts the rise of paternalism in Supreme Court doctrine on abortion (Scott Lemieux, The American Prospect)

  • Our faith-based justices | Here is a painfully awkward observation: All five justices in the majority in Gonzales are Roman Catholic. The four justices who are not all followed clear and settled precedent. It is distressing to have to point this out (Geoffrey R. Stone, Chicago Tribune)

  • Choice shots at Catholics | Welcome to something calling itself the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. (Mark Tooley, The American Spectator)

  • Did justices' Catholicism play part in abortion ruling? | The chatter continues (The Washington Post)

  • Richardson confuses justice's abortion view | Presidential hopeful Bill Richardson yesterday refused to accept that Justice Byron White was one of two Supreme Court members who dissented from the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a right to abortion (The Washington Times)

  • The Auth cartoon | I leave aside the anti-Catholic slur in Mr. Auth's cartoon because I find more worthy of attention the way in which he attempts to make his point. (Robert T. Miller, First Things)

Back to index


Back to index

Benedict XVI in Brazil:

  • As pope heads to Brazil, a rival theology persists | Liberation theology, which the pope once called "a fundamental threat," retains its appeal in Latin America. (The New York Times)

  • Brazil and the pope: an uneasy embrace | The pop-idol priest strides to the altar like the star that he is, a rock band pounding away to his right, cameras flashing to his left and the multitudes pulsating in this cavernous ex-factory that serves as a church. (The Los Angeles Times)

  • Brazil's giant basilica is backdrop for Pope visit | The Basilica of Our Lady of Aparecida, Latin America's most popular shrine and one of the world's largest cathedrals, will be the main backdrop for Pope Benedict's visit to Brazil this week. (Reuters)

  • Catholic decline stabilizing in Brazil | A steep decline in the number of Brazilian Catholics may be stabilizing after decades of losses, according to a survey released just days before Pope Benedict XVI's arrival in the world's largest Roman Catholic country (Associated Press)

  • Church faces shaky future in Latin America | Pope Benedict on Wednesday starts his first trip to Latin America, where a Church that is home to nearly half of the world's Catholics faces an uncertain future and falling numbers. (Reuters)

  • Lighting on new faiths or none | In his first Latin American visit, Pope Benedict XVI will find a less divided church facing stronger rivals (The Economist)

  • Papal goal: Keep the faithful | The pope's upcoming visit to Brazil is designed in part to curb the exodus of Latin Americans from Catholicism. (The Miami Herald)

  • Pope visits Brazil, church loses ground | Pope Benedict XVI is heading to the world's most populous Roman Catholic country at time when evangelical Christians are packing converted storefronts and cavernous churches every Sunday, thrusting their Bibles in the air. (Associated Press)

  • Pope's Brazil Visit Puts Social Justice in Spotlight | When Pope Benedict XVI arrives this week in Brazil, he will no doubt recall the stir he made in the world's largest Roman Catholic country two decades ago. (NPR's Morning Edition)

Back to index

Hispanic Christians:

  • Study says Hispanics alter U.S. Catholicism | The influx of Hispanic immigrants to the U.S. is transforming the nation's religious landscape, according to a study (The New York Times)

  • The Millennial vote | Balancing conservative beliefs on our culture, same-sex marriage, and abortion with a more liberal outlook on the environment and healthcare coverage, the influence of religious centrists is likely to grow over time as they are also the group with the highest percentage of African-Americans and Hispanics (The Boston Globe)

  • Religion, politics, and Hispanics | Recent trends may muddy the waters rather than provide more clarity about the link between religion and politics for this growing group of U.S. voters (Gary J. Andres, The Washington Times)

Back to index

Day of Prayer:

  • An expressway and a prayer | Chapel planned alongside Kennedy to offer expressions of faith 24/7 (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Bush appeal highlights National Day of Prayer | "A prayerful spirit has always been an important part of our national character," he said. "Americans of many faiths and traditions share a common belief that God hears the prayers of his children and shows grace to those who seek Him." (The Washington Times)

  • Colorado churches gear up for National Day of Prayer | Colorado's role in the National Day of Prayer is on a roll (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Controversy on menu at prayer breakfast | The keynote speaker at Thursday's Santa Clarita Mayor's Prayer Breakfast is an evangelical leader who called Catholicism a false religion and accused women legislators of abandoning their children (Los Angeles Daily News)

Back to index

Church life: US:

Back to index

Van wreck:

Back to index


  • Loud church refuses to tone it down | "What's our battle cry?!" "King of kings! Lord of lords - whoop!" With that exhortation, the Rev. Troy Sowell, senior pastor at Worshippers of Christ the Warrior King Church, made it clear that he has no intention of asking his parishioners to dial back on their exuberant style of worship (Canton Repository, Oh.)

  • S.F. evangelical 'loudspeakers' lose court claim | Two Christian evangelicals who like to use amplified loudspeakers to broadcast religious outreach messages in San Francisco lost a claim of discrimination before a federal appeals court Monday (KPIX, San Francisco)

Back to index

Church life: non-US:

Back to index

Religious freedom:

  • East Java: 41 Christians arrested for blasphemy against Islam | They are charged with making a videotape in which the Qur'an is treated as the cause of all of Indonesia's ills. Another 60 people are wanted. Christian group confirms the tape's existence but does not endorse it. Muslim leaders try to appease emotions to avoid violent reactions (AsiaNews.it)

  • China rejects U.S. criticism on religion | Beijing accused a U.S. advisory panel on Tuesday of taking "potshots" at China in a report that accuses the government of imprisoning and torturing people for practicing their religion. (Associated Press)

  • Iraq's Christian minority flees violence | Despite the chaos and sectarian violence raging across Baghdad, Farouq Mansour felt relatively safe as a Christian living in a multiethnic neighborhood in the capital. (Associated Press)

  • Opening the door for us all | Jehovah's Witnesses have been a fixture at the Supreme Court, arguing for rights that are now guaranteed to all Americans. And yes, that includes the right to knock on your door. (USA Today)

Back to index


  • Enemy of liberal Anglicans was poisoned | A British missionary was fatally poisoned after helping to prevent a London vicar from becoming a bishop in Central Africa, The Times has learnt (The Times, London)

  • Episcopal bishop hits Anglican installation | Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is confronting Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola head-on with a new demand that he not install Truro Church rector Martyn Minns as head of a parallel denomination this coming weekend (The Washington Times)

  • Episcopal Church faces divisions over gay issues | A new conservative African-led group will provide a home for members of the splintered U.S. Episcopal Church who are upset over gay issues and looking to leave, the head of the new group said on Thursday (Reuters)

  • Minns' installation splits Episcopalians | Despite a general invitation to CANA-affiliated parishes in Virginia plus about 200 invitations to out-of-town church officials, most conservative Episcopal leaders are avoiding the rite (The Washington Times)

  • Nigerian Anglican helps U.S. group | A powerful Anglican leader from Nigeria is strengthening the network of U.S. parishes he formed as a conservative alternative to the liberal-leaning Episcopal Church (Associated Press)

  • Nigerian bishop criticizes Episcopal Church | In a letter to the archbishop of Canterbury, the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, Peter J. Akinola, harshly criticized the Episcopal Church (The New York Times)

  • This Saturday, dicey for Anglicans | Episcopal leaders view the planned visit of Archbishop Peter Akinola as an intrusion in their private affairs and say the visit threatens to strain further the already fragile relations between their church and the rest of the worldwide Anglican Communion (Daily Champion, Nigeria)

  • U.S. bishop, making it official, throws in lot with African churchman | The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria installed Bishop Martyn Minns of Virginia as the new leader of a diocese that would take in congregations around the country that want to leave the Episcopal Church. (The New York Times)

  • Visit by Anglican bishop draws Episcopal anger | The Anglican archbishop of Nigeria, Peter J. Akinola, a fierce critic of the Episcopal Church for its acceptance of homosexuality, is arriving in Washington next week (The New York Times)

Back to index

Church property:

  • A shroud of mystery at church | The building of Saint Mary Star of the Sea, recently sold to Universal Church of the Kingdom of God, is under repair, but the new owners are nowhere to be seen (The Boston Globe)

  • A parish rallies and, after many delays, a church is built | In a happy ending to a torturous tale, Long Island's newest Roman Catholic church, St. Therese of Lisieux in Montauk, has thrown open its doors after a construction project that would have tried the patience of, well, saints. (The New York Times)

Back to index

Soccer game:

  • Unholy row at clergy soccer game | A friendship-building football match between Muslim and Christian clergy in Norway was called off after a row over the participation of women players. (BBC News)

  • Soccer game for priests, imams canceled | A soccer game between Muslim imams and Christian priests at the end of a conference to promote interfaith dialogue was canceled Saturday because the teams could not agree on whether women priests should take part. (Associated Press)

  • Muslim-Christian soccer tie scrapped after sex row | Muslim and Christian leaders in Oslo scrapped a soccer match meant to foster understanding between religions Saturday after the imams refused to play a team that included women priests. (Reuters)

Back to index

Other religions:

  • Beyond the crusade and jihad | James Reston Jr. reviews Peace Be Upon You: The Story of Muslim, Christian, and Jewish Coexistence by Zachary Karabell (The Washington Post)

  • Christian-Muslim wounds still "very deep": Khatami | Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami met Pope Benedict on Friday and said the wounds between Christians and Muslims were still "very deep," including those caused by a controversial papal speech last September (Reuters)

  • For Muslim students, a drive to deem holy days as holidays | Muslim parents were dismayed that they were forced to choose between supporting their children's education and observing one of their holiest days as a family (The New York Times)

  • "Santeria" lures tourist cash to Cuba | After a few minutes tossing a string of flat beads and chanting, Rogelio Castellano decides his tourist client is emotionally scarred by an old conflict. Only a $500 ritual goat sacrifice will put it right. (Reuters)

  • Jesus and the Jews | The subject of the "festival of ideas" held last Sunday at the Center for Jewish History was "Jesus in Jewish Culture." But the tone of the event was best captured in its half-joking title: "What's He Doing Here?" (The New York Sun)

  • Latin Mass may offend Jews | Some fear that the Pope may not exclude traditional prayers from the rite that call for the conversion of Jews, an area of sensitivity since the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s sought to lessen friction between faiths (The Telegraph, London)

  • Interrupting the intellectuals | Can Jews debate Jesus dispassionately? Should they? (Jordanna Horn, The Wall Street Journal)

Back to index


  • Are you there, God? It's me, Hitchens. | Christopher Hitchens on religion (no thanks), Iraq (not a mistake), and his own loud reputation (New York)

  • Religion be damned | Richard Dawkins defends the godless among us (Wired)

  • Hitchens' glaring error | How could he include the Orthodox Jews "hole in the sheet" claim? (Mark Oppenheimer, The Huffington Post)

  • The contrarian delusion: How Hitchens poisons everything | If Hitchens had any principles at all - if he truly feared the cultural and political consequences of the encroachment of religion into public life - he would have used his still-considerable influence to support organizations and causes that shore up the wall between church and state and which defend the rights of non-believers. Instead, Hitchens has done exactly the opposite. (Max Blumenthal, HuffingtonPost)

Back to index


  • Ozzie on Ozzie | Sox manager speaks about politics, his family and religion (The Beacon News, Aurora, Ill.)

  • Have the Cruises persuaded Posh to take up scientology? | Victoria Beckham has apparently agreed to study Scientology, it was claimed last night. Her decision comes after relations with new friends Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes cooled over the Beckhams' apparent lack of interest in the religion (Daily Mail, U.K.)

  • News of future plans for John Stott | Retirement and Move (Press release, All Souls Langham Place)

  • 'Luis Who?' is inventing new model for American evangelists | Palau's beliefs are familiar Christian ideals. But he has refused to make the fiery issues of homosexuality and abortion major topics at his pulpit or to become involved in the divisive politics that surround such issues (Associated Press)

  • Archbishop quits hospital board over Sheryl Crow | On Wednesday, Burke said Crow "promotes moral evils." (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • Bishops have a right to speak out, too | Ever since Archbishop Raymond Burke resigned as board chairman of the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation last week, he has been clobbered with criticism (Colleen Carroll Campbell, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • 2 cited at sit-in at Focus on the Family | Soulforce member Chris Hubble says he and Leigh Lyon were among about 20 people who went to Focus on the Family Saturday hoping to speak with founder James Dobson. He wasn't there. (Associated Press)

Back to index

Arts & entertainment:

  • Sacred texts that reveal a common heritage | British Library exhibition celebrates the links between three monotheistic faiths (The Guardian, London)g

  • Touched by the divine | In his later works, executed with an extraordinary delicacy and intensity, Philippe de Champaigne was as much a theologian as an artist, as a new retrospective thrillingly demonstrates. Don't miss it (Richard Dorment, The Telegraph, London)

  • Newspaper backed for refusing religious ad | A Sunday newspaper's decision not to print a lengthy piece of religious writing as an advertisement has been backed by the Court of Appeal (The New Zealand Herald)

  • Touring the spirit world | New Age-style sacred travel, or metaphysical touring, is a growing branch of tourism (The New York Times)

  • 21st-century religious travel: Leave the sackcloth at home | While religious-oriented travel has been around since the first pilgrimages, in recent years it has developed into a much larger and more segmented market (The New York Times)

  • Losing faith in church art | Marc Quinn's new sculpture is fairly mundane - despite its sacred context - so why do we look at art differently in churches? (The Guardian, London)

  • Christian art from Ethiopia on display in New York | Visitors to Angels of Light: Ethiopian Art from the Walters Art Museum said they were fascinated at its glimpse into a distinctive medieval Christian culture in sub-Saharan Africa (Voice of America)

  • Jesus hates Rupert Murdoch | Not overly interested in winning converts to Christianity, the UCC's latest campaign is against Rupert Murdoch's media empire (Mark D. Tooley, FrontPageMag)

  • Age of innocence revisited | A lot of those girls "gone wild" are disturbingly young. Why we should raise the age of consent from 18 to 21--"consent," in this case, referring not to sexual relations but to providing erotic content on film (Garance Franke-Ruta, The Wall Street Journal)

  • GodTube - where the rightwing Christians surf | Imagine for a moment a parallel universe where everything looks familiar, but where everyone is a rightwing fundamentalist Christian and Darwinism is widely seen as a crackpot fairytale (The Guardian, London)

  • Making a killing | As responsible Americans put their heads down on their desks and reflect on the calamity at Virginia Tech, should the creators of violent popular entertainment be excused to the playground? (Mike White, The New York Times)

  • Left Behind Games cans execs | The company has already seen the resignation of senior vice president David J. Klein, and has ended the employment of previous president, Jeffrey S. Frichner. LBG CEO Troy Lyndon also asked that the company's three other board members resign last Friday (Christian Post)

Back to index


  • Rowan Williams on the side of the angels | Angels get an enthusiastic write-up from the Archbishop of Canterbury in a new book he has written on the Creed (Christopher Howse, The Telegraph, London)

  • Leafing through some tiny treasures | In 1896, in Padua, Italy, a publisher created a marvel of the book world. It was "Galileo a Madama Cristina de Lorena." The content: a 1615 letter by the great astronomer that argued passionately for the harmony of science and religion, written to the Swedish Princess Christina, who was one of Galileo's patrons. The marvel is not the content of the book, or the idea of publishing it, but that it is only 18 by 13 millimeters (The Boston Globe)

  • No poet is an island: a new life of John Donne | Michael Dirda reviews the new biography by John Stubbs (The Washington Post)

Back to index


Back to index


  • Museum created for Germans who hid Jews | Barbara Preusch vividly remembers the day the Nazis searched her Berlin home for hidden Jews — and left without finding the mother and daughter her family was sheltering. (Associated Press)

  • Legislation to help fund Bible park on today's agenda | The Rutherford County commissioner who represents the Blackman area where a proposed $180 million Bible-story theme park could be built opposes paying for the development with state-approved taxes on park visitors. (The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, TN)

  • Museums, God and man | At evolution exhibits, a growing feature of science museums around the country, the options for learning about human origins are more varied than you'd think (The New York Times)

Back to index

TV and Radio:

  • The greatest stories ever told on radio? | A new kind of Catholic radio seeks to be funny and fresh before holier-than-thou (USA Today)

  • Nightline debates existence of God | ABC is launching a new series called Nightline Face-Off. Not easing into the format, Nightline's inaugural face-off will be between atheists and Christians over the existence of God (Broadcasting & Cable)

  • Is your child watching enough? | Clint Witchalls grew up in South Africa, the land that banned 'Satan's box'. Which may be why he distrusts anyone who speaks of the evils of TV (The Guardian, London)

  • Gospel Channel nets Black Family Channel | The Black Family Channel will shut down and has sold its space on cable systems to the Gospel Music Channel, the networks said Tuesday (Associated Press)

Back to index


  • Jamestown's uneasy birthday | The Jamestown settlers, nearly all of them men, came for one reason: to seek their fortune, they hoped, by panning for gold. In contrast, the Pilgrims, in family groups, sought to preserve their English culture while being free to practice their religion (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

Back to index

Herod's tomb:

Back to index


In Turkey, fear and discomfort about religious lifestyle | Secular Turks fear that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a secret agenda to impose Islamic law on Turkey (The New York Times)

Four street evangelists jailed in Turkey | Three released, one could be deported; top Muslim official defends missionary work (Compass Direct)

Back to index


  • Sudan: Evangelists killed in Nuba mountains | Religious motive still unclear; local government to investigate attack (Compass Direct)

  • UN renews Sudan mission; condemns Darfur violence | The U.N. Security Council on Monday extended the U.N. mission in southern Sudan for six months, lamented the lack of a chief U.N. envoy and called for an end to atrocities in the Darfur region (Reuters)

  • ICC issues Darfur arrest warrants | The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for a Sudanese minister and a militia leader suspected of war crimes in the Darfur region (BBC)

  • Rape in Darfur | In every conflict zone in the world, women bear the brunt of the burden. The situation in Sudan is no exception (Kathryn Cameron Porter, The Washington Times)

Back to index


  • Anglican statement not meant to be pro-Mugabe, says bishop | But they don't retract statements (Church Times, U.K.)

  • Zimbabwe president warns bishops | President Mugabe has described the pastoral letter released recently by Catholic bishops as "political nonsense" and warned that the Government will treat them as political entities for taking that route (The Zimbabwe Herald)

  • Opposition mulls amnesty for Mugabe | For the first time, Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said he is ready to discuss an amnesty for President Robert Mugabe if that would clear the way for the authoritarian 83-year-old leader to cede power (The Washington Times)

  • Whose agenda is the Roman Catholic Church pushing? | The recent political outbursts from the Roman Catholic Church show that it has allowed itself to be used as a tool for championing the opposition agenda under the guise of upholding Christian values. (Mukanya Makwira, The Zimbabwe Herald)

  • Mugabe warns Catholic bishops over politics | President Robert Mugabe has dismissed criticism from the country's Catholic bishops over his controversial rule as "nonsense" and warned that his government could start treating the clergy as political foes (Reuters)

  • Gov't agents warn priests against distributing pastoral letter | Officers from Zimbabwe's security agency have warned Catholic priests not to distribute local language versions of a pastoral letter that is highly critical of the deepening political and economic crisis here (National Catholic Reporter)

  • Cleric calls for Mugabe to resign | One of the most outspoken clerics in Zimbabwe has again called for President Robert Mugabe to resign. (BBC News)

Back to index


  • Christian preacher attacked in Jaipur | Masked intruders go on rampage in house in the vicinity of Chief Minister's official residence (The Hindu, India)

  • Noughts and crosses | The attack on Walter Massey, a pastor in Jaipur, by the VHP is not the first of its kind. Nor is it likely to be the last in the series of attacks on Christians by Sangh parivar stalwarts, known for their disregard and insolence towards constitutional bodies of India (Dominic Emmanuel, Hindustan Times)

  • Update: Two more arrested for assaulting pastor | Seven of about 20 attackers arrested so far (PTI, India)

Back to index

Lesbian polygamists:

Back to index

Sexual ethics:

  • Lawful incest may be on its way | When the BBC invited me onto one of its talk shows recently to talk about the day's hot topic -- legalizing adult incest -- I thought of Rick Santorum (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

Back to index


  • Christian parties in clash | The two Christian parties contesting the Holyrood elections have clashed over a letter to voters that one side claims is intended to mislead its supporters into thinking it has given up campaigning (The Herald, Glasgow)

  • Bush much greater | A hideous incident in Phoenix reminds us that as a defender of life, this president is right up there with Reagan (Ben Stein, The American Spectator)

  • Bush Warns of Vetoes Over Abortion Issue | President Bush said his threat would apply to any measures that "allow taxpayer dollars to be used for the destruction of human life" (The New York Times)

  • The governor speaks from a new pulpit | After the April 16 shootings at Virginia Tech, Kaine seems to have perfected the political art of connecting with religious voters, even though he maintains strong ties to the socially liberal, and somewhat secular, base of the Democratic Party (The Washington Post)

  • Rove prober blasts questions about his religious conservative beliefs as 'offensive' | Scott J. Bloch, a "deeply religious conservative" and "lifelong Republican" who "runs an agency — the Office of Special Counsel — that is turning its investigative spotlight on the White House, in particular the political operation headed by Karl Rove," believes that critics are way off-base when it comes to harping on his beliefs. (Raw Story)

  • McGreevey's life journey is taking a spiritual turn | Ex-governor enrolls in Episcopal seminary (The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)

  • Closing one door, opening another | Nearly 30 years after religious conservatives decided to re-enter the political arena -- after abandoning it as "dirty" and leading to compromise -- what do they have to show for it? (Cal Thomas, The Washington Times)

  • 'Family-values' cloak lifted from GOP | The perverse antics of some high-level Bush appointees and his party's power elite are lifting the cloak of "family values" from the GOP (Bonnie Erbe, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • In God they trust | God, war, and the presidency (Newsweek)

  • Facing the facts in Washington | There's something worse than hypocrisy, surely worse than finding another bureaucrat who can't practice what he promoted. It's an administration willfully rolling out programs that don't work (Ellen Goodman, The Boston Globe)

  • Jesus Christ's superstars | America's holiest congressmen (Radar)

  • Why can May mix pulpit, Parliament? | If a Conservative politician had said what she said, the media would have pounced (Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton Journal)

  • Travels with Condi | David Samuels on Rice's religion and other aspects (The Atlantic)

  • Mississippi turning? | John Arthur Eaves, a holy-roller Democrat (Dan Gilgoff, The Washington Post)

  • A split emerges as conservatives discuss Darwin | Evolution has long generated bitter fights between the left and the right about whether God or science better explains the origins of life. But now a dispute has cropped up within conservative circles, not over science, but over political ideology. (The New York Times)

  • Religious right at political crossroads | Coral Ridge Ministries' decision to disband its political arm has raised questions about how the conservative Christian movement will define its national agenda in the coming years. (The Miami Herald)

Back to index

Hate crimes:

  • House Votes to Expand Hate-Crime Protection | The House of Representatives voted to extend hate-crime protection to people victimized because of their sexuality, which may set up another veto showdown (The New York Times)

  • Hating hate | A new federal law in this area is unnecessary and dangerous, and ought to be defeated (Editorial, National Review)

  • Hate this | Mr. President, get ready for another veto (Timothy Lynch, National Review Online)

Back to index

2008 campaigns:

  • Newcomers reshape South Carolina's GOP | The candidate with the best strategy for bridging the gap between longtime residents and a big influx of newcomers may well be the one who wins South Carolina's Republican presidential primary — one of the few early contests expected to have an outsized impact on the 2008 race. (Associated Press)

  • Brownback: 'Bleeding-heart conservative' | "I want to expand the compassionate conservative agenda," Brownback said. "I believe life begins in the womb, and we should protect it. But it extends to a child in Darfur or someone living in poverty." (Politico.com)

  • Gay Republicans optimistic about '08 | The Log Cabin Republicans had cause for optimism at their annual convention over the weekend, something that hasn't always been the case with the homosexual organization. (The Washington Times)

Back to index


  • Rudy was not okay | The most memorable moment in last night's Republican presidential debate came when the candidates were asked about Roe v. Wade (John Tabin, The American Spectator)

  • Giuliani wary of repeal of Roe | He'd be okay with repeal. Or not. (The Washington Times)

  • GOP debate focuses on Iraq war, abortion | Alone among 10 Republican presidential contenders, Rudy Giuliani said in campaign debate Thursday night "it would be OK" if the Supreme Court upholds Roe (Associated Press)

  • Abortion rises anew for Giuliani | Rudolph Giuliani did not cite values as a theme of his campaign at a gathering of conservatives Monday. (The New York Times)

  • Can Giuliani overcome abortion stand? | Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani may be able to overcome his support for abortion rights with primary voters who oppose abortion, GOP lawmakers said Sunday. (Associated Press)

  • Pro-choice Giuliani called acceptable | Two leading Republican lawmakers said yesterday that former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's pro-choice stance on abortion should not disqualify him from becoming their party's presidential nominee or from receiving the support of conservative voters. (The Washington Times)

  • Tancredo: Abortion view not sure to derail Giuliani | Presidential candidate Tom Tancredo said Sunday that fellow Republican Rudy Giuliani could still win the GOP nomination despite his support of abortion rights. (The Denver Post)

Back to index


Back to index


  • "The Mormons" a fascinating PBS documentary | The collaboration between Frontline and American Experience -- while comprehensive, well-researched, nicely balanced, thoroughly organized and fascinating to watch -- is far from seamless (Reuters)

  • Modern-day look at history of the Latter-Day Saints | If your beliefs are any good, you needn't be afraid to bring them out into the light. The proof: "The Mormons," a thoughtful two-part series on PBS (The New York Times)

  • 'Mormons' elicits a mixed response | Some praise the broadcast, others find it offensive (Deseret Morning News, Ut.)

  • Mormons in the spotlight | A presidential candidate, a documentary and an upcoming feature film about the Utah massacre has put the secretive religion under scrutiny once more (ABC News)

  • Mormons, in a flattering light | Documentary failed to convincingly address the questions about this organization and its adherents (Nicholas von Hoffman, The Nation)

Back to index


  • Christians eye immigration reform | A new Christian group touting liberal immigration reform has begun an extensive nationwide advertising campaign, days before Capitol Hill lawmakers are expected to begin debate on proposed changes to U.S. immigration laws. (The Washington Times)

  • New coalition of Christians seeks changes at borders | A new coalition of evangelical Christian leaders asked Congress on Monday to strengthen border controls but also give illegal immigrants ways to gain residency. (The New York Times)

Back to index


  • Poway Unified sued over removal of teacher's 'God' signs | Michigan public interest law firm filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Poway Unified School District on Monday, arguing that school officials violated a math teacher's constitutional rights when they order him to remove two banners with the words "God" and "Creator" on them from his classroom walls (North County Times, Ca.)

  • Christian non-profit co-owner indicted | Ed Purvis, co-owner of Nakami Chi Group Ministries International, faces 20 years in prison if convicted on four counts of harassing public officials and one count of bribing a Chandler police officer (The Arizona Republic)

  • Woman accused of conning church pastor with jewelry | Hundreds of dollars worth of stolen jewelry ended up at a Lee County church. A 52-year-old North Fort Myers woman bought the jewelry from Edison Mall with a stolen credit card and sold it to the church pastor at a cheaper price (WBBH, Fort Myers, Fla.)

  • Woman charged with embezzling James Island church funds arrested | Just before Kristen Barnes Warren left Harbor Light Baptist Church last year, the administrative assistant showed church leaders that the bank accounts totalled $40,000, the pastor said Wednesday. Actually, there was only 98 cents (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  • Man jailed in e-mail threat case | Police: Disgruntled webmaster sent several e-mails describing his plans to kill parishioners (The Detroit News)

  • Shut church prays — and sues | Supporters of a shuttered Lithuanian immigrant church in lower Manhattan are suing the New York Archdiocese to get it reopened and to stop the removal of its items (New York Post)

  • Killer's return shreds peace in tiny Amish community | Nestled at a dirt crossroads in Crawford County, the Gingerich farm is a picture of peaceful Amish life, with a red barn, muscular workhorses and a birdhouse perched high atop a pole. But in the farmhouse of Daniel and Mary Gingerich lives a family torn by grief and fear (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Man arrested for bomb at Texas abortion clinic | A 27-year-old Austin man was arrested on Friday and charged with placing an unexploded bomb containing some 2,000 nails outside an abortion clinic in the state's capital (Reuters)

  • Final verdict | Nicaragua: American Eric Volz awaits an end to his case that U.S. friends—and U.S. officials—have so far been powerless to sway (World)

  • Man pleads guilty to spiking juice used at church | A city man faces up to five years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to spiking grape juice at CVS that eventually poisoned 40 members of a Darien church last year (Stamford Advocate, Ct.)

  • Abducted girl's parents pray for her safe return | The parents of a three-year-old British girl abducted from a holiday beach resort in Portugal prayed on Sunday for her safe return, saying they continued to hope she would be found. (Reuters)

Back to index

Woman who fell while praying:

  • Doctor testifies in Mount Hope Church trial | Dr. Charles Seigerman reviewed Judith Dadd's medical history and also examined her. He said it appeared she had suffered a concussion in the fall and also suffered from post-concussion syndrome (Lansing State Journal, Mi.)

Back to index


  • Priest accused of sex abuse is sued | A Greek Orthodox priest who was pastor of a church in Olympia Fields in the late 1960s and early '70s is being sued by two men who allege that he sexually abused them as youths when he served a Dallas church nearly 30 years ago. (Chicago Tribune)

  • Launching $14m drive, archdiocese raises bar | Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley , speaking yesterday at the site where a thriving parish is rebuilding a church that burned to the ground nearly two years ago, launched the archdiocese's most ambitious fund drive since the clergy sexual abuse crisis badly damaged diocesan finances (The Boston Globe)

  • Catholics detail Irish sex abuses | The Roman Catholic Church in Ireland has revealed figures showing the extent to which priests in its largest archdiocese may have abused children (BBC)

  • Pastor's removal stuns flock | An evaluation of the Rev. Stephen M. Garrity will see whether he misused his influence in sexual relationships 25 years ago (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

  • Pastor faces more abuse charges | The 41-year-old woman is one of eight who have come forward recently with allegations about the Rev. Sherman Clifton Allen after learning from news reports that a former church member, Davina Kelly, has sued him, alleging that he paddled and sexually assaulted her (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • Priest gets 30-day jail term for fondling teen | A Lyndonville priest was sentenced to 30 days in jail Monday for inappropriately touching an 18-year-old parishioner in early 2005 after a night of drinking at a restaurant and pool hall in Quebec (Burlington Free Press, Vt.)

  • Vicar denies abusing young boys | The Rev David Smith, 52, of St. John's Road, Clevedon denies 14 charges involving seven boys between 1976 and 2005 (BBC)

  • Archbishop's sorrow for child abuse victims | The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken of his 'deep sorrow' for the suffering of victims of child abuse involving the Church of England (The Observer, London)

  • Bishops knew of priest's abuse | A confession from a pedophile priest in the late 1970s indicates that the St. Louis Archdiocese knew about the priest's crimes, yet two archbishops allowed him to continue working with children in new parishes for years afterward (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Back to index


Back to index


Back to index

Church & state:

  • In Indiana, a fight over 'In God We Trust' license plates| In Indiana, the extra fee for specialty tags doesn't apply to one that invokes the divine. Critics go to court (Los Angeles Times)

  • Church gives woman sanctuary from deportation | In Chicago, one woman has avoided deportation for eight months by taking refuge in a church (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • House approves expanded Head Start | Democrats blocked a Republican amendment that would have solidified the ability of faith-based Head Start providers to hire workers of one particular faith (The Washington Times)

  • A right for one is a right for all | Two court victories by religious groups this month remind us that government must stay neutral toward religion (Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center)

  • Christian postings' removal upheld | School officials did not violate a teacher's First Amendment rights when they removed Christian-themed postings from his classroom, a federal appeals court ruled Wednesday (Associated Press)

  • Geneva settles advertising lawsuit | College will be able to specify religious criteria on in state-sponsored employment listings, after the Beaver Falls college settled a lawsuit against state and federal labor departments (Beaver County Times, Pa.)

  • Postal services, proselytizing don't mix | There's nothing wrong with a church exhibiting religious displays but not while it conducts duties for the Postal Service, in other words, for the U.S. government (Editorial, Knoxville News Sentinel)

Back to index


  • Court upholds Navy chaplain selection policy | In a doctrinally important decision yesterday, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected claims by three non-liturgical Protestant ministers that the composition of the Navy's chaplain corps violates the First Amendment (Religion Clause)

  • Chaplains: The calm in the chaos | They inspire, give comfort and pray for safety. Throughout America's history, chaplains have 'come nigh unto the battle' (Newsweek)

  • One flag, many faiths | Jewish and Muslim chaplains have dual roles: tending to their flocks and educating everyone about different traditions (Newsweek)

  • Suit: Chaplain job violates constitutions | National atheist group sues FSSA For using state funds to pay pastor (The Indianapolis Star)

  • The military: Faith under fire | How chaplains, soldiers keep faith during war (Newsweek)

  • Not all troops would report abuse, study says | Only 40 percent of American marines and 55 percent of soldiers in Iraq say they would report a fellow service member for killing or injuring an innocent Iraqi, a Pentagon study published Friday showed. (The New York Times)

Back to index

Missions & ministry:

  • Religion in the news: Ministry uses golf to share gospel | In His Grip Golf Association founder Scott Lehman said he got the idea from driving by golf courses on Sunday mornings and seeing men teeing off instead of going to church (Associated Press)

  • Virtual ministry helps those addicted to online porn | XXXChurch.com thinks online porn is a slippery slope and can quickly spiral out of control and lead to dissolved marriages, debt or worse (CBS Evening News)

  • IRS revamps a key oversight tool | The Form 990, a crucial tool for donors hoping to see how a charity handles gifts, is about to get a long-overdue makeover. But the move has stirred a debate over the best way to hold charities accountable to the public (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Private charity outpaces, outperforms foreign aid | In 2005, Americans donated more than $95 billion to the developing world. That is almost four times what the U.S. government gives in foreign aid and many times more than what Europeans give in public and private donations, according to a study by the Hudson Institute, to be released next month (The Washington Times)

Back to index


  • Wimps, wussies, and W. | How Americans' infatuation with masculinity has perilous consequences (Mark Dery, Los Angeles Times)

  • Religion news in brief | This year's new crop of Roman Catholic priests; Court says N.H. state prison inmate should get kosher diet; and other stories (Associated Press)

  • Stomping the n-word | Movement ignites passions in churches, campuses, and beyond (The Washington Post)

  • Worried about rising seas levels? | Dutchman builds working replica of Noah's Ark (Associated Press)

  • Navigating grief | A Minneapolis pastor who lost his wife discovers that his mourning has sharpened his appreciation for the beautiful, transient things in life (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Holy alliance embarks on tax crusade | Treasury refuses to answer FOI questions (The Observer, London)

  • A dove of peace taken down by religious birds of prey | If good stuff can come from disaster, St. Peter, Minn., seemed to have found a gift in the wreckage left by the tornado that flattened the city in 1998 (Nick Coleman, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Australian outcry over women jibe | An Australian senator has caused a storm of protest for describing a female politician as "deliberately barren" and therefore unfit to govern (BBC)

  • Dispute over power of the church still reigns in Spain | Spain is once again divided on the same issue that has divided it for 200 years (Andrew Greeley, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Junk the junk mail | And do something really significant with what's left over (Joel Belz, World)

  • The gods that failed | History was made in Moscow last week. For the first time since the funeral of Czar Alexander III in 1894, a Russian head of state was laid to rest according to the rites of the Orthodox Church (James Carroll, The Boston Globe)

  • Generation tolerant | A cellphone poll of California youth shows remarkably liberal attitudes toward race but conservative beliefs on family values (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  • Family forums delve into two sides of debate | Council on Contemporary Families vs. World Congress of Families (The Washington Times)

  • Interfaith group visits surface mines | Decries destruction of environment (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  • Las Vegas woman fights religious group to save her daughter | An anguished mother can't understand why her daughter has abandoned family and friends for the confines of a local evangelical church. Loved ones say 19-year-old Sharona Dagani isn't the same person since becoming involved with the church (KLAS, Las Vegas)

  • Faithful come to hear 'Antichrist' | The storefront worship center was packed with more than 100 of the faithful clutching their Bibles, but this was not a typical Sunday-morning service by any stretch of the imagination. (The Sun-Sentinel)

  • Tornado's death toll hits 10 in Kansas | The death toll from one of the strongest tornadoes to hit the U.S. in the past eight years climbed to 10 on Tuesday when a critically injured police officer from a nearby town was removed from life support. (Associated Press)

  • Families await news on plane crash | Kezzia Musimbi Kadurenge clutched a crumpled tissue and wailed for her youngest child, who was a flight attendant on the Kenya Airways flight that crashed in a foggy and remote central African rainforest. (Associated Press)

  • Worker fired after playing Bible verse at Fort Lauderdale airport | Airport officials have fired a luggage attendant who admitted playing a Bible verse that offended a gay couple over an public speaker system. (The Associated Press)

Back to index

Related Elsewhere:

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to weblog@christianitytoday.com

What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

April 26 | 18 | 5 | March 28

March 23 | 15 | 14 | 9 | 2

February 26 | 14 | 2

January 24 | 19 | 17 | 12 | 9

January 5 | 4 | 2

December 29 | 22

Support Our Work

Subscribe to CT for less than $4.25/month

Read These Next