Texas football prayer protest fizzles

"The crowd is much, much, much smaller than we had feared it would be," Gary Causey, principal of Santa Fe High School tells The New York Times. "In fact it's a much smaller crowd than we'd expect for an opening-night game. I think a lot of the locals stayed home because they didn't want to deal with a mess." Hordes of Christians were expected to show up at the school's opening football game to "spontaneously" recite the Lord's Prayer in protest of a Supreme Court decision barring student-led, student-initiated prayer before football games. One organizing group expected 10,000 to rally. But as The Washington Post reports, "Only a few clusters of fans joined hands and did so. They were mostly drowned out by loudspeaker announcements as the teams took the field. Outside the gate to the stadium, about 100 people gathered to pray and sing hymns amid a few signs and two 12-foot crosses dragged there by two men. See related news stories by The Dallas Morning News, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, and CNN, and opinion pieces from the Houston Chronicle, The Freedom Forum, and syndicated columnist William Raspberry.

In defending exclusive claims of Christianity, Catholic Church offends Protestants

The Vatican has just released " Dominus Iesus," a declaration reiterating Catholic teachings on the uniqueness of Christianity, and more specifically the Roman Catholic Church. The point of the document, says Roman Catholic Archbishop Cormac Murphy O'Connor, "is to warn against a tendency to regard all religions as equivalent." Though Protestant leaders might like that notion in theory, they're upset with such statements in the document as "The ecclesial communities which have not preserved the valid Episcopate and the genuine and integral substance of the Eucharistic mystery are not Churches in the proper sense." George Carey, Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, made headlines worldwide today by criticizing the document. "The idea that Anglican and other churches are not 'proper churches' seems to question the considerable ecumenical gains we have made," he said. "Of course, the Church of England, and the worldwide Anglican Communion, does not for one moment accept that its orders of ministry and Eucharist are deficient in any way." See more coverage by the Associated Press, Irish Independent (here's anotherIndependent story), The Times (here's anotherTimes story), The Telegraph, and South Africa's News24.

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China denies "church" arrests as Catholic bishop, others detained

"The so-called … church is a cult organization that has been banned by the government," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Sun Yuxi said regarding 130 members of the evangelical Fangcheng church arrested August 23. Meanwhile, the Vatican says a Roman Catholic bishop has been arrested as well.

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