Conservative religious organizations: "This was a significant victory"
So far, few Christian political organizations on the right or left have offered analysis of yesterday's election. Two notable exceptions are Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council. "On balance, this was a significant victory for our pro-family issues," says council president Ken Connor in his daily Washington Update. "Prospects for the pro-family and pro-life legislative agenda, and confirmation of President Bush's judicial nominations, should improve. But there But there will still be plenty of heavy lifting to do in the Senate, where Democrats can be expected to exploit the rules to block pro-family legislation. Among the states, several ballot initiatives of interest were decided. Medical marijuana measures failed in several states, and Nevada passed a defense of marriage constitutional amendment for the second time. Gambling measures, unfortunately, passed in several states."

Focus on the Family's CitizenLink rounds up several comments that organizations haven't put online yet, including Phyllis Schlafly's Eagle Forum, Gary Bauer's Campaign for Working Families, and American Renewal (Family Research Council's partisan political action committee).

Everyone seems to agree that it's a big victory for the prolife movement.

"What this means is that the pro-family, pro-life legislation that was blocked in the Senate this session can be brought up next session with the knowledge that they will pass both houses and be signed by President Bush," Focus on the Family public policy issues analyst David Varnam says. "That means that we can get a partial-birth abortion ban, confirm conservative judges and not allow bad legislation to come up. … Pro-family voters should be very proud tonight because they were the swing votes in many key races across the nation."

Focus also mourns Tennessee's repeal of a statewide lottery ban. "You are going to see states that have said 'no' to this legislatively being pressured to put it on a ballot," Focus quotes National Coalition Against Legalized Gambling spokesman Tom Grey saying. "As religious leaders, we should be asking how faithful our people are at being our brother's keeper, because obviously we are willing to sacrifice the addicted and the poor in our communities so that we might derive a benefit, which is our kids being educated."

For a different evangelical perspective on things, Weblog wouldn't be surprised to see Sojourners have something later today, but there's no election analysis yet.

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James ossuary may not go on display as scheduled
Delays in fixing the damage to the limestone box that probably once held the bones of James, the brother of Jesus, may mean the ossuary won't be displayed at Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum as scheduled. Dan Rahimi, the ROM's director of collections management, told the Toronto Globe and Mail that the museum ""really, really has to start repair work by Monday" if it is going to start showing it November 16. But the museum hasn't heard from the owner's insurers. "If we don't hear … by this weekend, it does place the 16th in jeopardy," the museum's director of media relations told the paper. "And we'd have to schedule, then announce a new date."

Speaking of the crack, The National Post of Canada reports that the owner packed the priceless artifact (it is valued at $2 million) "in a cardboard box lined with plastic bubble wrap." It should have been packed in a double wooden crate.

Meanwhile, observers continue to question the ossuary inscription's veracity. John Lupia, editor of the Roman Catholic News, told the Globe and Mail he "immediately knew the inscription was a fake."

The paper also has an op-ed by historian Claude Cohen-Matlofsky, who says the inscription may have a kind of ancient typo. He says it wouldn't be the only one: "There are numerous examples of inscriptions containing grammatical or spelling errors, or that have misshaped letters due to the inability of the craftsmen to accurately follow instructions." But does he believe it's really evidence of Jesus' existence? "It may be, but much of the historical and archaeological evidence is not yet in," he says.

More articles

Life ethics:

  • The Year of the Woman? | Well, prolife women, anyway. (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)

  • 'Morning-after' foe gets to keep her nursing job | Louisiana state health officials have reversed themselves and have agreed to accommodate a public-health nurse who was threatened with job termination for refusing to dispense pregnancy-ending "morning after" pills because of religious objections (The Washington Times)

  • Inside the womb | What scientists have learned about those amazing first nine months—and what it means for mothers (Time)


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Church life:

Sexual ethics:

  • Gay-rights law has divided Tacoma's churches | Initiative 1, whose main backers are deeply religious, highlights the schism among churches in the city and around the country regarding homosexuality (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • From defeat, victory for gays | Ten years after the passing of Amendment 2, key players on both sides of the bitter battle agree that gays have gained the upper hand in the political and cultural war (The Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Homosexuality is biological, suggests gay sheep study (New Scientist)

  • Gay bias uproar puts school board on spot | Appeals Monday night on behalf of a popular black youth motivator --- and counterdemands to end harassment of gay students --- underscored DeKalb County schools' ongoing struggle with diversity (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Tory resigns over adoption vote | Conservative shadow cabinet member John Bercow has resigned over the party's opposition to allowing unmarried couples - heterosexual and gay - to adopt children (BBC)

  • Gay seminarian ban weighed | Vatican drafting a ruling expected in the next year (The Boston Globe)

  • Carey tells bishops to maintain tough stance on gay clergy | In a private letter sent to every member of the House of Bishops just before his retirement on Thursday, Dr Carey urged his colleagues to show leadership and warned them that the example of the Church of England would be crucial in preserving the unity of the worldwide Church (The Daily Telegraph, London)

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  • Ban of gay leader divides campus | A Christian group's decision to ban a gay student from its leadership has spurred a debate at Central College in Pella that has divided the largely Christian campus over conflicts between tolerance and religious belief (Des Moines Register)

  • Torn asunder | When George Carey stepped down as Archbishop of Canterbury, he left behind a church that is self-destructing over same-sex unions (Michael Valpy, The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

Other stories of interest:

  • Religion news in brief | Episcopal Church battles over gays and women, Muslim ousted as chaplain after Wiccan, Cincinnati Archdiocese criticizes Procter & Gamble on human embryo research, and other stories (Associated Press)

  • E-Mailing St. Francis | Received messages are collected (but not read) and placed under the pillow that supports the icon's head at Mission San Xavier del Bac (Newsday)

  • Motivator, author and Christian leader — in that order | Whatever you do, don't call Robert H. Schuller a teleevangelist (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Campolo delivers sermon of hope | The community must reach out to those in need and become builders of the kingdom of God on earth, Campolo said (Daily Citizen, Dalton, Ga.)

  • We may all have it in us to be fundamentalists | We humans, no matter how loudly we protest otherwise, are incorrigibly religious creatures (Chi-Dooh Li, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Where God is a welcome guest | Do creature comforts at home mean no place for spiritual sustenance? (Catherine Moye, The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • The faith to survive | Officer overcomes gunshot to head (The Tampa Tribune)

  • Critical faculties | Was Samson a terrorist? (The Boston Globe)

  • DNA tests for Swedish saint | Shrine contains the remains of three people — Birgitta, her daughter Katarina and Saint Ingrid — but only two skulls (BBC)

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