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'No Ultimatum' for Episcopalians, Says Anglican Head

Plus: IRS won't ding All Saints but says anti-war speech was illegal, Newsweek on wooing evangelical voters, and other stories from online sources around the world.

Today's Top Five

1. Rowan Williams seems to give Episcopal Church a pass
There will be news today out of New Orleans, where Episcopal bishops are working on a statement responding to … something.

"Anglican leaders set a Sept. 30 deadline for the Americans to pledge unequivocally not to consecrate another gay bishop or approve an official prayer service for same-gender couples," says the Associated Press.

Not so fast, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said at a press conference. "Despite what has been claimed, there is no 'ultimatum' involved. The Primates asked for a response by September 30 simply because we were aware that this was the meeting of the House likely to be formulating such a response."

Really? Sure sounded like an ultimatum back in February. That's why we headlined our story "Global Ultimatum,"and The New York Times headlined its story "Many Episcopalians wary, some defiant after ultimatum by Anglicans."

Here's the relevant part of the February document:

In particular, the Primates request, through the Presiding Bishop, that the House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church 1. make an unequivocal common covenant that the bishops will not authorise any Rite of Blessing for same-sex unions in their dioceses or through General Convention; and 2. confirm that the passing of Resolution B033 of the 75th General Convention means that a candidate for episcopal orders living in a same-sex union shall not receive the necessary consent; unless some new consensus on these matters emerges across the Communion.
The Primates request that the answer of the House of Bishops is conveyed to the Primates by the Presiding Bishop by 30th September 2007.
If the reassurances requested of the House of Bishops cannot in good conscience be given, the relationship between The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion as a whole remains damaged at best, and this has consequences for the full participation of the Church in the life of the Communion.

"You know, if that works for you. If not, that's cool," the document does not then add.

2. IRS drops investigation into All Saints anti-war speech
"Our examination of your activities concluded that your organization continues to qualify for exemption from Federal Income Tax," the Internal Revenue Service wrote to All Saints Church in Pasadena, California. The church had been under examination for an October 31, 2004, anti-war sermon. The church is "pleased that the IRS exam is over," pastor J. Edwin Bacon told the congregation Sunday, but he's upset about this section of the IRS letter:

"Based on the existing record, the Church's actions lead us to the conclusion that the Church intervened in the 2004 Presidential election campaign. We note that this appears to be a one-time occurrence and that you have policies in place to ensure that the Church complies with the prohibition against intervention in campaigns for public office."

But since the letter doesn't say what in the sermon constituted intervention into the campaign, the church has "no more guidance about the IRS rules now than when we started this process over two long years ago," Bacon said.

The IRS's rhetoric "requires a crazy reading of the actual text of the sermon, and calls into serious question what the IRS is up to — and who is directing its bureaucrats to so opine," an editorial in the Pasadena Star-News said. "All the IRS or anyone else has to do is go to the sermon, available for all to read on the church's Web site, to see that absolutely no endorsement was made."

Focus on the Family announced earlier this month that it had been cleared by the IRS.

3. Newsweek wonders if evangelical Republicans will really switch parties
The Democratic Party has undertaken "an audacious, if not quixotic, effort to win over a constituency that has been solidly Republican for a quarter century:" evangelicals. It bears repeating that more than one of three evangelicals voted for Bill Clinton over Bob Dole in 1996. But let's pretend that not-quite-two-thirds constitutes "solidly Republican."

"For now, the Democrats' best target may be Hispanics, the fastest-growing subset of evangelicals," Eve Conant writes. "They voted strongly in support of Bush in 2004, but many are now angered by the GOP's handling of immigration. … Luis Cortés, president of the Esperanza USA network of 10,000 evangelical churches … is flirting with the Democrats, or at least they're flirting with him."

Richard Land is skeptical about a sweeping change, but says, "If the Republicans are foolish enough to nominate the pro-choice Giuliani, that will give the Democratic Party license to hunt for evangelical votes. I don't know how successful they'll be, but at least they'll have that license."

So what would a Democrat need to be considered successful in an attempt to "woo" evangelicals? A Clintonesque 35 to 40 percent of the evangelical vote? Would less than that be considered failure? Do they need simply to do better than Kerry's 22 percent in 2004? What's the bar here? What's the goal?

4. Born alive?
Christy Lynn Freeman will not be charged with murder because, Maryland state's attorney explained, "In a homicide investigation, you have to prove that the victim had lived." She had reportedly admitted giving birth to a live baby and letting it die in the toilet. But a pathologist said there was no way to know if Freeman was right in believing the baby was really alive.

5. King Herod's quarry?
"Archaeologists have found an ancient quarry where King Herod's workers may have chiselled the giant stones used to rebuild the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago," Reuters reports.

Quote of the day
"It's certainly not the case that there's a prejudice that eliminates people with strong religious perspectives from the academy … People who are evangelical Christians can come in with an aggressive attitude that can cause a backlash, and then they do feel discriminated against."

— George Marsden, author of The Soul of the American University and The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship, quoted in The Chronicle of Higher Education.

More articles

Anglicanism | All Saints vs. IRS | Church and state | Politics | Environment | Life ethics | Canada faith schools fight | Education | Higher education | Books | Art and entertainment | Music | Kathy Griffin | Rex Humbard | People | Pope John Paul II | Pope Benedict XVI | Church life | Abuse | Crime | Mary Winkler | Jeffs polygamy trial | Homosexuality | Missions and ministry | China | Sudan | Israel | Money and business | Other stories of interest


  • Episcopalians try to prevent split | With the Anglican world anxiously waiting, Episcopal leaders weighed their response to demands that they bar any more gays from becoming bishops (Associated Press)

  • Gay issue looms over Episcopal Church | Bishops of the Episcopal Church are in New Orleans this week, tackling a job that may need a little divine intervention (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Episcopal bishops see "clear" statement on gays | U.S. Episcopal Church bishops, hammering out a response to a request by the broader Anglican Communion that it stop ordaining openly gay bishops, said on Monday its answer would be "clear and unambiguous" (Reuters)

  • Anglican showdown over gays looms in New Orleans (Reuters)

  • Anglican leader plays down schism | The head of the Anglican Communion offered words of encouragement yesterday to U.S. Episcopal bishops under fire for their support of gay men and lesbians, saying they aren't facing an "ultimatum," even as other leaders of the worldwide church insisted the Americans are teetering on being forced out of the communion (The Washington Post)

  • Archbishop holds out hope for compromise | Says Episcopal- Anglican schism can be avoided (The Boston Globe)

  • Archbishop addresses religious fissure | The Anglican Communion, torn by disputes over theology and church authority, must push for compromise or it would be "an admission of defeat," says Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the world's third largest Christian denomination (USA Today)

  • Anglican Church could split by end of year | The worldwide Anglican Church is expected to split radically by the end of the year under plans being drawn up by a leading conservative archbishop to "adopt" a breakaway group of American dioceses (The Telegraph, London)

  • US bishops try to find compromise on gay clergy | The move, which will be discussed within the US house of bishops at its meeting today, seeks to allow liberal clergy to continue offering pastoral support to gay couples while ruling out, at least for the present, formal blessings services or the appointment of more openly gay bishops (The Guardian, London)

  • Archbishop prays for miracle in gay rights row | "This is not a very comfortable place to be," he said. "It is somewhat like the situation for soldiers in the First World War in the trenches — we can't remember how we got here and most of us don't want to be here." (The Telegraph, London)

  • Homosexuality not a 'disease', says Archbishop | Warning that "violence against gay and lesbian people is inexcusable," he added: "Gay and lesbian people have a place in the Church as do all the baptised." (The Telegraph, London)

  • Internal bickering leaves Q-C Anglican churches in turmoil | The Rev. Steven McClaskey really didn't want to retire right now from his pastoral post at Trinity Church in Rock Island. Yet, he also didn't want to risk losing his pension, which advisers and he felt was endangered, by the continued dispute between Episcopal Church leaders and the worldwide Anglican Communion (Quad-Cities Online)

  • Preparing for the Anglican summit | This week's meeting between Rowan Williams and the American bishops will be my swan-song as a religious affairs correspondent, after eight years covering the subject for The Guardian (Stephen Bates, Religious Intelligence)

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All Saints vs. IRS:

  • Pasadena church wants apology from IRS | All Saints' rector also demands that the agency clarify its findings after closing its probe into an antiwar sermon in 2004 (Los Angeles Times)

  • Minister: IRS has dropped investigation | The Rev. J. Edwin Bacon Jr. told the congregants at All Saints Episcopal Church that the Internal Revenue Service has closed a lengthy investigation into a speech by the church's former rector, the Rev. George F. Regas (Associated Press)

  • IRS ends church probe | The IRS has dropped an investigation into an anti-war sermon preached at All Saints Episcopal Church two days before the 2004 presidential election, the Rev. Ed Bacon told his cheering congregation Sunday (Pasadena Star News, Ca.)

  • A victory for free speech | Although it's certainly fine, fair and right that the IRS has dropped its investigation into a Pasadena church's anti-war sermon, delivered two days before the November 2004 presidential election, the federal tax agency is still trying to have it both ways on the issue (Editorial, Pasadena Star News, Ca.)

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Church and state:

  • Court says Halloween decorations are secular | A secretary in Puerto Rico's Department of Justice claimed that she was retaliated against for complaining that "pagan" office Halloween decorations offended her Pentecostal Christian religious beliefs (Religion Clause)

  • Prayer nixed at rite for victims | The Wisconsin Department of Justice has removed religious content from a memorial service for murder victims planned for next week after a watchdog group complained (The Capital Times, Madison, Wis.)

  • At State Dept., blog team joins Muslim debate | Two Arab-Americans have been hired to post on blogs and Internet forums in an effort to improve America's image (The New York Times)

  • Pentagon can't find major named in suit | Military officials are investigating an Army specialist's allegations that he was harassed for being an atheist but said Saturday they have found no trace of the officer listed as a defendant in the soldier's lawsuit (Associated Press)

  • Pair files suit after county withholds marriage license | Only those of the Quaker and Bah'ai faiths may perform their own weddings, says county register (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

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  • The miracle workers | For 25 years, evangelicals have voted Republican. But the Democrats are courting, and their efforts may have a prayer (Newsweek)

  • The Religious Left grapples with the war | Many progressive Protestants are struggling to reconcile their support for the troops with their moral opposition to war. They're making a fresh case for more religious-political dialogue (The American Prospect)

  • Christian right looks to rebound | Headed into the 2008 election season, Christian conservatives are weary (Associated Press)

  • Religious right summit draws prominent speakers | Conservative Christians from around the nation come to Brandon (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • Bauer disappointed by Dobson memo 'savaging' Fred Thompson | Prominent evangelical leader and former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer fears Dr. James Dobson's highly critical comments about presidential hopeful Fred Thompson will further divide conservative Christians (OneNewsNow.com, American Family Association)

  • Multi-faith prayers thrive in US politics | Bowing and mouthing prayers, Saleh Williams prostrates himself on a white sheet beside his colleagues. For these Muslims, Friday worship takes place not in a mosque, but a meeting room in the Capitol -- at the heart of US democracy (AFP)

  • For congressman, humanism matters | US Representative Pete Stark of California, a Unitarian who this year became the highest-ranking American politician to declare himself a nontheist, received the annual Humanist of the Year award from Harvard's humanist chaplaincy (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)

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  • Going green for God | Several Indy-area congregations integrate environmental stewardship into mission (The Indianapolis Star)

  • No faith in Howard's end, says priest | John Howard's pre-election bid to establish his green credentials by announcing clean energy targets of 15 per cent has failed to impress a leading international religious advocate for the environment (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • A pardoner's tale | Environmental climate initiative adopts one-size-fits-all indulgences to relieve carbon guilt. (Iain Murray, The American Spectator)

  • John Calvin: Green Socialist? | Yes, says his representative at the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (Mark D. Tooley, FrontPageMag.com)

  • "What Would Jesus Drive?" | Electrified evangelical theological confusion (Jay W. Richards, National Review Online)

  • Offset away our guilt | If we can buy 'carbon offsets' for our environmental missteps, why not for our other sins? (Peter Schweizer, USA Today)

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Life ethics:

  • Freeman case needed proof of live birth | A pathologist who examined skeletal infant remains found at Christy Lynn Freeman's Ocean City home concluded there was no way to tell if the babies had been born alive, the medical examiner's office said yesterday (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Judges scrutinize Missouri inmate abortion policy | Federal appeals judges asked pointed questions Monday of lawyers defending Missouri's 2-year-old policy banning inmates from obtaining abortions unless medically necessary (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • The real estate of abortion politics | The fight over building permits for the Aurora, Ill. Planned Parenthood clinic is just one more example of how the fight over reproductive health is coming down to questions of infrastructure (The American Prospect)

  • The light's on, but is anybody home? | An extraordinary brain study concludes that a woman in a vegetative state is aware of herself. It's a dangerous claim that could throw families and physicians into turmoil (Robert Burton, Salon.com)

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Canada faith schools fight:

  • Caucus dissent grows over schools policy | A candidate says he won't vote for the measure, but Leader John Tory dismisses the remarks of a 'maverick' (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

  • Ontario election race may turn on religious schools | The premier of the province of Ontario, Canada's industrial heartland, admitted during a tough televised debate on Thursday night that he has broken promises, but that may not spoil his chances in the October 10 election as religious school issues come to the fore (Reuters)

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Higher education:

  • Three more staff to leave Wycliffe | Another five academics have left the institution in recent months (Religious Intelligence)

  • Religious intolerance? | Some evangelical professors say they are discriminated against, but others ask whether that is because of faith — or politics (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

  • Adjuncts and God: Why are 2 instructors out of jobs? | Instructor at Southwestern Community College says he lost job for not taking Bible literally. Colorado AAUP says instructor lost job for taking faith too seriously (Inside Higher Ed)

  • Teacher: I was fired, said Bible isn't literal | The community college instructor says the school sided with students offended by his explanation of Adam and Eve (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  • Update: Students: Teacher's style, not faith, led to firing | Students of a fired Iowa community college instructor say they were offended more by his brash teaching style than the remarks about the Bible that he claims led to his dismissal last week (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  • Catholic character | After years of planning, a new generation of ideological colleges takes shape, in purposeful counterpoint to traditional institutions they see as having lost the way (Inside Higher Ed)

  • Chinese to study online with Dallas seminary | Dallas Theological Seminary, responding to the rapid growth of Christianity in China, will soon offer online theological training to Chinese pastors and leaders all over the globe (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • Seminary responds to reported conflict | Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary's administration responded via a six-paragraph statement Sept. 21 to a reported conflict between MBTS President R. Philip Roberts and trustee chairman Gene Downing of Oklahoma City (Baptist Press)

  • Methodists mount Bush library fight | It urges Methodists to rescind support of policy center at SMU (The Dallas Morning News)

  • 'God got my attention' | New president of the Salt Lake Theological Seminary will help the school beat back the odds and stay afloat (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Study: College campuses may nurture faith | For any who think that the university is hostile territory to religion, there is new evidence that Jesus is still a big man on campus (The Denver Post)

  • Does God want women to stay home? | Southern Baptist seminary offers B.A. concentrating on homemaking, stirring a pot of theological questions (Mary Zeiss Stange, USA Today)

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  • Prisoners in S.C. to get 'Purpose' | Church groups bought special copies to donate (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  • Graham's gift | John M. Buchanan reviews The Preacher and the Presidents: Billy Graham in the White House, by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy (The Christian Century)

  • Mailer talks about God in new book | On God: An Uncommon Conversation, a series of "Platonic dialogues" between the author and literary executor Michael Lennon, will be published by Random House on Oct. 16 (Associated Press)

  • Desert storm | Understanding the capricious God of the Psalms. James Wood reviews Robert Alter's translation of The Book of Psalms (The New Yorker)

  • Divine politics | In The Stillborn God, a history of the separation of church and state, Mark Lilla urges the West to remember the religious fanaticism in its past -- or risk its return (Laura Miller, Salon.com)

  • Extreme makeover | What if you spent one year following every rule in the Bible? A. J. Jacobs did exactly that (Newsweek)

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Art and entertainment:

  • "Reaper" a devilishly fun piece of nonsense | In the pilot, Sam Oliver (Bret Harrison), a kindhearted slacker of whom little is expected, learns a terrible secret on his 21st birthday. His parents sold his soul to the devil (Reuters)

  • Bible schooling | Documentary delves into emotional religious issues surrounding gays (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  • Pot-bellied Jesus ad irks Church | Catholic bishops in Belgium have protested against a TV ad depicting Jesus as a pot-bellied hippy picking up half-naked women in a nightclub (BBC)

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  • Tracing the evolution of sacred song | Whatever its organizational and conceptual shortcomings, the celebration is offering a broad survey of early repertory, with focused explorations by groups that specialize in specific corners of it (The New York Times)

  • Does simple music form simple faith? | Interesting music does not tell us to be good or bad. It asks only to be admired. Getting great music and simple faith together happens, but with difficulty (The New York Times)

  • Skaggs, the Whites share family values on "Earth" | Some collaborations are so obvious, yet for whatever reason, it takes them a long while to come to fruition. "Salt of the Earth," the new album from Ricky Skaggs and the Whites, is an example of a long-anticipated project that was well worth the wait (Reuters)

  • Joni Mitchell attacks Catholic Church | "Shine on the Catholic Church/And the prisons that it owns," she sings. "Shine on all the Churches/that love less and less." (Fox News)

  • Nothing compares 2 normalcy | After years of controversy and depression, Sinéad O'Connor gets right with God, her family and her fans. (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

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Kathy Griffin:

  • Profane | The 'D-List' star uttered a profanity about Jesus. Controversy ensues (Newsweek)

  • Make fun of faith? Sure. Jesus? Uh, no | Comedian Kathy Griffin dissed the Christian Messiah in her (censored) Emmy speech, revealing a sensitive part of Hollywood's funny bone (The Washington Post)

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Rex Humbard:

  • Rex Humbard, TV evangelist, dies at 88 | Mr. Humbard, a guitar-strumming revival preacher, became a pioneer of television evangelism in the 1950s and remained a familiar Sunday morning presence in millions of American homes (The New York Times)

  • Televangelist Rex Humbard dies at 88 | His ministry once reached more parts of the globe than any other religious program (Associated Press)

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  • Mormon ousted as an apostate | Being excommunicated for apostasy by the Mormon church is one thing, but Lyndon Lamborn is livid that his stake president has ordered bishops in eight Mesa wards to take the rare step of announcing disciplinary action against him to church members today (The East Valley Tribune, Mesa, Az.)

  • Fight the good fight | Preacher who knows more than most about Bible-bashing (The Independent, London)

  • The ennui of Saint Teresa | On average, religious people are much happier than others. (Arthur C. Brooks, The Wall Street Journal)

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Pope John Paul II:

  • Pope's robe cut up for 100,000 'holy relics' | Fragments of a cassock worn by Pope John Paul II are being offered for sale to the faithful, causing concern in the Vatican over the resurgence in the veneration of relics (The Times, London)

  • Clamour for free Pope John Paul II relics | The Vatican has been inundated with more than 160,000 requests for "relics" of the late Pope John Paul II, after offering them free on the internet (The Telegraph, London)

  • John Paul II relics online not for sale | Roman Catholic officials reminded the faithful Monday it is sacrilegious to buy or sell religious relics, after news reports and a church Web site suggested fans of Pope John Paul II could get a piece of his white cassock by making an online donation (Associated Press)

  • Was John Paul II euthanized? | In a provocative article, an Italian medical professor argues that Pope John Paul II didn't just simply slip away as his weakness and illness overtook him in April 2005 (Time)

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Pope Benedict XVI:

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Church life:

  • Church not macho enough for men | Despite the proliferation of churches in Jamaica, there has been a distinct absence of men in the pews (Jamaica Gleaner)

  • Longmont petition seeks to halt church plan | Opponents want the council to repeal its OK of LifeBridge's huge development or let voters decide (The Denver Post)

  • Church dispute moves to court | Ouster vote's propriety at issue for Jackson Street Missionary Baptist Church (The Tennessean)

  • Edward Cardinal Egan ducks irate E. Harlem parishioners | Edward Cardinal Egan bypassed protesters yesterday and curtly dismissed questions about a shuttered East Harlem church - telling reporters to "grow up" (New York Daily News)

  • Also: Cardinal sees red | Egan stormed by angry Spanish Harlem parishioners (New York Post)

  • National Cathedral celebrates centennial year | In its centennial year, the National Cathedral has accumulated an impressive guest list (Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR)

  • In God's name | Call them wolves in sheep's skin if you like but today more than ever before, men of the Cloth are seeking carnal pleasures under the guise of the Word of God (Mangoa Mosota And Nicholas Asego, The East African Standard, Kenya)

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  • Priest named in sex lawsuit | A former Windham resident has filed a lawsuit against a former priest and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland, saying he was sexually abused by a man church officials knew was a threat to children (Kennebec Journal, Me.)

  • Former Island Pond church teacher gets time served in sex case | Molested as a child, a 23-year-old man wept in court Monday as he confronted the former church teacher who abused him when he was 11, telling him: "Don't you ever do it to anyone else." (Associated Press)

  • Finding forgiveness instead of vengeance | Lori Haigh has a change of heart toward the priest she says 25 years ago ignored her cries of abuse by another clergyman (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)

  • Shining the light on church misbehavior | Public disclosure of church sex-abuse scandal is an antidote to years of secrecy and cynicism (Steven Greenhut, The Orange County Register, Ca.)

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Mary Winkler:

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Jeffs polygamy trial:

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Missions and ministry:

  • Church mission to get people back to pews | Campaign aimed at lapsed churchgoers; Department store trains priests to be more inviting (The Guardian, London)

  • Church nurses aim to fill in U.S. health care gaps | Parish nursing, which is also called faith community and congregational nursing, has been around since the mid-1980s but it has grown recently to plug some of the health care gaps in a nation where 47 million people lack insurance (Reuters)

  • To East Africa with love | Louisville's Father John Judie Ministries becomes a force for education and relief (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Pastor brings Jesus into an L.A. dance club | Dancing and singing are typical at the Mayan, but on Sundays it's dancing and singing for God (News & Notes, NPR)

  • Good news goes whole hog | And lo, the disciples rode in with great noise to carry a message to their brethren (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  • Connecting with the Almighty | Colorado is "an area of intense spiritual warfare," said world-famous revivalist Steve Hill — and he was here to do battle (The Denver Post)

  • Christian council blasted | A senior Anglican clergyman on Sunday lashed out at The Bahamas Christian Council, accusing it of compromising the word of God and failing to speak out against injustices plaguing The Bahamas (The Bahama Journal)

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  • The Vatican quietly signals its approval of a new bishop for Beijing | The move was an apparent shift for the Vatican, which has long struggled with the Chinese government over the authority to appoint bishops in China (The New York Times)

  • China Catholics throng to church | Beijing's Southern Cathedral has the kind of congregation many Catholic churches in Europe can only dream of attracting (BBC)

  • Bush and China's 'Genocide Olympics' | China's merciless Communist dictators, eager to sanitize their image around the world, are now gladdened by President Bush's acceptance of an invitation from China's president, Hu Jintao, to attend the Summer Olympics in Beijing (Nat Hentoff, The Washington Times)

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  • Quarry used for Jewish temple unearthed in Israel | Archaeologists have found an ancient quarry where King Herod's workers may have chiselled the giant stones used to rebuild the second Jewish temple in Jerusalem some 2,000 years ago (Reuters)

  • Israeli rabbis to shun Christian event | Israeli rabbinic authorities have abruptly called on Jews to shun a major Christian tourism event, baffling and upsetting evangelical groups that traditionally have been big supporters of the Jewish state (Associated Press)

  • Welcome Christian friends | It's gratifying to note that Jerusalem's municipality has paid no heed to dire assertions by the Rabbinate's Committee for the Prevention of the Spread of Missionary Activity in Israel. (Editorial, The Jerusalem Post)

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Money and business:

  • Order from above: Thou shalt not run raffles | Sydney Anglicans have condemned the State Government's reliance on gaming revenue and voted to practise what they preach by seeking to ban raffles for fund-raising in their own parishes (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Also: Hooked in the shadow of casinos | Gaming addiction poses heavy costs (The Boston Globe)

  • Ex-employee alleges religious bias | She says co-workers mocked Christian faith (Concord Monitor, N.H.)

  • Halo to Christian profits | Christian bookselling is a rapidly growing business. Sales in the UK through these stores has nearly doubled in ten years. Jesus might save, but he also sells (The Telegraph, London)

  • Why churches make good business sense | Churches, once associated with charity, are turning out to be big business in Kenya. And urban centres such as Nairobi are literally bursting at the seams with them. Every available space from beer halls to metal containers are being converted into churches (The Nation, Kenya)

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Other stories of interest:

  • Public expresses mixed views of Islam, Mormonism | Benedict XVI Viewed Favorably But Faulted on Religious Outreach (Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life)

  • Merck's experimental AIDS vaccine fails | In a disappointing setback, a promising experimental AIDS vaccine failed to work in a large international test, leading the developer to halt the study. Merck & Co. said Friday that it is ending enrollment and vaccination of volunteers in the study, which was partly funded by the National Institutes of Health (Associated Press)

  • Creationist vs. atheist YouTube war marks new breed of copyright claim | A dispute between an atheist group and a creationist group over some postings on YouTube has critics of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act crying foul. They say it's a new and inappropriate use of DMCA, which is becoming a frequent weapon in nasty political and cultural battles (Wired News)

  • Also: Youtube backs creationist complaints | Orders evolution video take downs (The Inquirer)

  • Clearwater, Fla.: Scientology stronghold | Folks in this picturesque Gulf Coast city have come to accept that Clearwater is to Scientologists what Salt Lake City is to Mormons, what Mecca is to Muslims. Though not everybody is happy about it (Associated Press)

  • Earlier: Building Scientopolis | How Scientology remade Clearwater, Florida—and what local Christians learned in the process (Christianity Today, Sept. 8, 2000)

  • Africa's sudden splash of good news | I am far more optimistic about Africa's future than I was when I started working in Africa's worst war zones a quarter-century ago (John Prendergast, The Washington Post)

  • National extinction and natural law | The debate between "natural theology" and "command ethics" continues around the circle, and I see no end to it (Spengler, Asia Times)

  • Are religious fasts ruining your health? | While there is no danger to healthy people who fast during Ramadan, many people still feel sluggish without regular food. Research has, not surprisingly, also linked the lack of food and water to increased irritability, changes in mood and a lack of concentration (Homa Khaleeli, The Mail & Guardian, South Africa)

  • The link between porno and war | It's time to admit that the subordination of women perpetuates the very conditions of repression and violence liberals abhor (Riane Eisler, AlterNet)

  • Catholic & cohabiting | The increasing acceptance and practice of cohabitation poses numerous challenges for the Catholic Church, not the least being pastoral issues: how to prepare men and women for marriage in this environment, whether the couple live together or not (Pete Vere, The Washington Times)

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