Religious Freedom Commission: Punish China for religious persecution
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom released its first annual report Monday. Among its recommendations was "the U.S. Congress should grant China Permanent Normal Trade Relations status only after China makes substantial improvement in respect for religious freedom." It also singled out the Sudan and Russia for special criticism. The commission also charges that the U.S. State Department withheld documents related to Sudan despite the Commission's security clearance for such materials. The report is available at the commission's Web site. Newsweek describes 'What Teens Believe'
This week's cover story says today's teens are "spiritual, optimistic, and ambitious." In fact, writes Sharon Begley, "This generation of teens is more spiritual than their parents, but often less conventionally so." This seems to contradict an earlier Barna survey that said "Faith is a passing fancy of young people," but may not, as a lengthy secondary article by John Leland on teen religion—or, more accurately, spirituality—notes. "The unsung story of today's teenagers may be how religious or spiritual they are," Leland writes, but notes that "in place of strict adherence to doctrine, many teens embrace a spirit of eclecticism and a suspicion of absolute truths." There's nothing particularly new in this article, but it's still a well-written overview of the growing relativistic faith among youths. The Web site includes extra audio interviews and other resources. The gay Mormon who killed himself in shame
A saddening, frustrating, and a bit manipulative article in the teen issue of Newsweek tells the story of Stuary Matis, a gay Mormon who committed suicide after two decades of praying for God to make him straight. One wishes that writer Mark Miller would have tried harder to speak to a Mormon theologian about the theological implications for Matis's unanswered prayers. The article has implications for conservative Christians, as well. Prolife group takes aim at abortion site
The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS), a family planning organization, owns the URL But because it's a British site, many Web surfers may try instead. If they do, they'll be redirected to an anti-abortion site. BPAS is considering a copyright infringement suit, says The Telegraph. A priest's crusade against the child sex trade
Shay Cullen, an Irish priest, not only runs a community for child victims of sexual abuse, but he is convincing governments in the Philippines and elsewhere to attack the problem at its source, pursuing sex tourists and other pedophilic foreigners. The U.S. News article profiling Cullen and his work is both sickening and inspiring. Anglican head goes to Sudan
In Sudan to install a new archbishop, Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey called for peace: "I do not believe there is any reason either here in Sudan or anywhere else in the world for Christians and Muslims to commit violence against each other." Polish mystic canonized by Roman Catholic Church
Pope John Paul II made Faustina Kowalska (1905-38) the first saint canonized in this jubilee year. The pope had actually initiated the campaign for her beatification back in the 1960s when he was the archbishop of Krakow, and had prayed at her grave shortly after she died. Both of the required miracles required for canonization occurred in the United States; The Boston Globe looks at one case, the healing of a Baltimore priest with heart problems. South Park has morality message, says Colorado parent
"When my face lands on the cover of Negligent Father magazine, that will be the headline: 'He Lets His Kids Watch South Park,'" writes Barry Fagin of the often-criticized, potty-mouthed, animated television series. "[But] contrary to popular belief, South Park is loaded with moral content, whether or not the show's writers planned it that way." A warning to bored men in church
Checking out female parishioners during church services can get you killed. Just ask 24-year-old Tushaun Jamel Thompson. His wife, Sedonia Renee Martin, caught him with "a wandering eye" Sunday during services at St. James Baptist Church in Covington, Louisiana. After the service, the two got in the car and started arguing over the incident. When Thompson got out of the car, police say, Martin tried to run him over. She missed. So she tried again. And missed. The third time, she got him. Thompson was treated and released for "moderate" injuries. Martin says it was an accident. (See also the Reuters coverage.)

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