Court: Police officers can't refuse a job because of their religious beliefs
Ben Endres, a lay leader at Community Baptist Church in South Bend, Indiana, believes gambling is sinful. But in March 2000, after about nine years as a police officer, his superiors assigned him to work full-time guarding a local casino.

"Ninety-nine percent of the time, a Christian does whatever his employer says," Endres said earlier. "But it's my conviction to not be involved in any form of gambling."

When he refused to work at the casino, he was fired. So he sued.

Yesterday, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with lower court rulings in rejecting Endes's discrimination claims.

"Many officers have religious scruples about particular activities," Judge Frank H. Easterbrook wrote in the court's ruling. "Does [the law] require the state police to assign Unitarians to guard the abortion clinic, Catholics to prevent thefts from liquor stores and Baptists to investigate claims that supermarkets mis-weigh bacon and shellfish? Must prostitutes be left exposed to slavery or murder at the hands of pimps because protecting them from crime would encourage them to ply their trade and thus offend almost every religious faith?"

The court ruled that the law does not require such accommodation, which would put an unreasonable burden on the police department. "Law-enforcement agencies need the cooperation of all members," the court said. "Beyond all of this is the need to hold police officers to their promise to enforce the law without favoritism. … Firefighters must extinguish all fires, even those in places of worship that the firefighter regards as heretical. Just so with police."

Endres is now a patrolman with the St. Joseph County Police Department, reports the South Bend Tribune.

Bush administration hopes to tap power of youth groups
Are church youth groups doing enough to stop drug abuse? The White House apparently believes they can do more, and, as part of President Bush's faith-based initiative, is launching a program (or perhaps just a pamphlet) to get the groups more involved.

"What we're recognizing is that religion is an institution that plays an important role in this effort," drug czar John P. Walters told the Los Angeles Times. "Faith communities are uniquely situated" to help at-risk youth, he said.

So far, the White House Office of National Drug Control has printed about 75,000 "Pathways to Prevention" booklets for the youth groups to use. The usual group of secularists are upset, blah blah blah.

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One-point-twenty-one gigawatts!
Be careful what you pray for. About ten minutes into the sermon of a guest evangelist, at First Baptist Church in Forest, Ohio, thunder started to roll outside. The preacher, Ronette Cheney told CNN,

said thunder is like God's voice, so we were kind of like, oh, all right, and we were sitting in the church trying to concentrate. He was talking about repentance, and as the thunder got louder, he said OK, speak to me, God, speak to me, tell me what you want me to say. And boom, lightning struck the church and everything lit up. … The lightning strike was so strong — the lightning [lit] up his cordless microphone, and it was kind of like a blue aura around him. Also the speakers had static come right out of them.

The lightning caused $20,000 in damage to the church.

More articles

Same-sex marriage:

  • For gay couples, marriage would unite love, law | Did you know—I didn't—that the U.S. General Accounting Office has identified 1,049 federal laws and programs in which a person's marital status confers a special benefit, right, privilege or obligation? (Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune)

  • The threat from gay marriage | It is not by coincidence or on a whim that human societies since time immemorial have restricted marriage to opposite-sex unions (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

  • Debate on gay unions splits along generations | Recent polls suggest that young adults and older people view gay rights in starkly different terms (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Just say I do to a traditional church wedding | Church weddings are in such decline that the Church of England is launching a campaign to promote their advantages over increasingly popular civil ceremonies in stately homes or hotels (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Study finds gay unions brief | A recent study on homosexual relationships finds they last 1-1/2 years on average — even as homosexual groups are pushing nationwide to legalize same-sex "/marriages." (The Washington Times)

  • Line in the sand | Profamily voters cannot compromise on homosexual marriage (Joel Belz, World)

  • Church coalition pushes for gay marriage | With a renewed national debate about gay marriage as a backdrop, a new coalition of liberal Protestant and Jewish leaders from Colorado announced plans Thursday to press for legalizing gay marriage and to fight a Colorado congresswoman's bill that would define marriage as strictly between a man and a woman (The Denver Post)

  • Also: Clergy back gay marriage | Calling Colorado's ban on gay marriage "discrimination at its worst," a newly formed coalition of clergy announced Thursday it will fight for equal marriage rights for same-sex couples in religion and law (The Rocky Mountain News)

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Church divisions over homosexuality:

Sexual ethics:

  • Boy Scouts lose case | State's delisting of charity because of its gay ban upheld (The Hartford Courant, Conn.)

  • Also: Court: Conn. may bar Boy Scouts from list | Connecticut did not violate the rights of the Boy Scouts when it deleted the group from a list of charities that state employees contribute to through a payroll deduction plan, a federal appeals court ruled Thursday. (Associated Press)

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Life ethics:


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Religious freedom and discrimination:


  • Korea grants refugee status to three more African dissidents | One, an Ethiopian, was persecuted in his native country for engaging in Christian evangelical activities (The Korea Times)

  • Pastor welcomed home | The pastor's wife and their four children welcomed him with hugs during a low-key greeting at midday at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport before shuttling to their home on St. Paul's East Side for a private reunion (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Also: St. Paul pastor held in Laos is reunited with family | His family has scheduled a news conference Saturday (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Archbishop raps attack on church | A Ugandan Roman Catholic archbishop on Thursday charged that church officials and property were being targeted by the warring parties in the East African country's conflict (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

  • Uganda's lost innocents | In some parts of town the little bodies are so closely huddled together that you tiptoe and balance your way through them, hard pressed to pick a place to put your foot (BBC)

  • Bishop's war with China's 'evil system' | Meet the man leading protests against Hong Kong's new anti-subversion laws (The Daily Telegraph, London)

Church and state:

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Politics and law:

  • Far from the Promised Land, faith initiatives are starving | Bush "armies of compassion" get just pennies from heaven (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Our Christian in Chief | Bush's certitude is frightening because it implies that he will do as he pleases, confident that God is steering him, with no possibility for error (Clay Evans, Boulder Daily Camera, Colo.)

  • For some, Christianity and civic duties do mix | Dozens of state and national public officials— not just conservative Christian Republicans—talk openly about their faith these days (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Temperament wars | We live in a culture that values brazen certainty and loud conviction, no matter how wrongheaded (James Traub, The New York Times Magazine)

  • Suit targets Salem's new ordinance | Restrictions on protests called unconstitutional (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Initiative targets child exploitation | The Department of Homeland Security yesterday announced a law enforcement initiative known as Operation Predator, aimed at protecting children from pornographers, child prostitution rings, Internet predators and human traffickers (The Washington Times\)

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  • U.S. religious groups urge action on child tax credit | About two dozen Christian groups told Bush in a letter that denying the increase in the child tax credit to low-income families would be "unjust and morally unacceptable" when checks of up to $400 per child are to go out this month to millions of other families (Reuters)

  • Nominee for U.S. appeals court is deeply religious, antiabortion, pro state's rights | Bill Pryor presents himself as a deeply religious, anti-abortion conservative eager to restrain what he calls the overweening power of the federal government (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Blasphemy law strikes again | The internationally abominated blasphemy law in Pakistan has, in one case after another, been exposed by judges who are either too scared to stand up to extremist religious elements or overly keen to prove their "pious credentials" (Editorial, The Daily Times, Pakistan)

  • Fighting the US adoption system | A female priest desperate to adopt has told of her battle against discrimination in the US adoption system (BBC)

Church life:

  • Emotional devotion | While the majority of immigrants to the United States from Spanish-speaking countries identify themselves as Catholic, an increasing number of Latino Christians are being drawn to Pentecostal and evangelical churches (The Advertiser, Lafayette, La.)

  • First Presbyterian Church takes up housing cause | Saddened by the escalating home prices on the Peninsula, the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Monterey is preparing to advocate for affordable housing at Fort Ord (The Monterey Herald, Calif.)

  • UCC to launch identity campaign | Leaders of the United Church of Christ will meet in Minneapolis beginning today, not to conduct business "for'' the denomination but to speak "to'' its 1.4 million members (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Taking gluten-free Communion? | Vatican doctrine forbids alternative wafers and Spanish bishops have recommended that the faithful take Communion from the cup only (Los Angeles Times)

  • God's own country…is in west Cumbria | According to the office for national statistics, in the 2001 census 91.6% of residents in the Hillcrest district described themselves as Christian - reaching a level 20% higher than the national average (The Guardian, London)

  • Preaching to both sides of the aisle on Long Island | There is a bit of the performance artist in the Rev. Allan B. Ramirez as he demonstrates the stress of playing shepherd to two far-flung flocks (The New York Times)

  • Women bishops a step closer | The Anglican Church in Australia has moved a significant step closer to having its first woman bishop (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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Missions and ministries:

  • Economic slowdown cuts into Cornerstone | Overall attendance down about 2,000 from previous turnout. (The Peoria (Il.) Journal Star)

  • Evangecube co-inventor is missionary, artist, businessman | Though he is listed as a co-inventor, Nathan Sheets hesitates to take credit for the creation of Evangecube, a puzzle used to teach others about the principles of Christianity (Plano Star Courier, Tex.)

  • Aid groups in Iraq also under attack | Although international aid groups are used to working in crisis environments, some worry that the symbols of military occupation in Iraq are mixed with those of humanitarian work to an unprecedented degree. And that may be prompting a backlash (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Excessive evangelism invites a backlash in the Muslim world | Any religious group can seek converts through persuasion. But the American evangelists are likely to undermine U.S. foreign policy, given their close political links with the present administration (Hussain Haqqani, Gulf News, UAE)

  • God's architect on road to sainthood | Antonio Gaudi is called God's architect, though he is renowned for leaving his most important creation less than half finished (The Guardian, London)

  • Carpentersville ministry to aid ex-convicts | Life House Ministries is an extension of a similar program offered in Cook County jail and other detention facilities across the country (Daily Herald, Chicago suburbs)

  • Once upon a time… | Storytellers convey vitality of biblical tales (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Christian rock with a hard edge | Radial Angel set to 'vent' about issues at Visalia concert (Visalia Times-Delta, Calif.)


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  • Jonathan Edwards: Soul on fire | It may not stretch the evidence to call Jonathan Edwards the most important religious figure in American history (Garry Wills, The New York Times Book Review)

  • Deciding the world does not revolve around Galileo | In the confrontation between Galileo and the Catholic Church, Wade Rowland maintains that the church's position is more defensible (The New York Times)

  • For a clue, look up | A mystery writer confesses to religious conviction (The Wall Street Journal)



  • Do today's films accurately portray religious faith? | Readers respond (The Washington Post)

  • Face of an angel | Hollywood is frequently casting African-Americans in spiritual roles. Is this positive or patronizing? (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Zambia churches slams Big Brother Africa | "Immoral, indecent and dishonest - that is how you will end up," the churches are warning, if you watch the South Africa-based show making headlines from Cape to Cairo (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Human or not? | Sci-fi films are grappling with humanity's future. Can a non-human can be a person? (Reed Johnson, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Narnia may deliver Rings-like riches | New Zealand's doubling as the fantasy world of Narnia would boost our film industry and tourism in the way that The Lord of the Rings has, its director says (Stuff, New Zealand)

Mel Gibson's Passion:

  • Mel Gibson looks right for movie on Jesus | The filmmaker, whose upcoming movie on the last 12 hours in the life of Jesus has drawn charges of anti-Semitism from Jewish and Catholic scholars, is shopping his film to a more receptive audience: evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics and Orthodox Jews (The Washington Times)

  • Capturing the passion | A new film by Mel Gibson, to be released next year, depicts Jesus' last few hours. Jews and Catholics are raising concerns about its potential for stoking anti-Semitism (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Gibson's passionate movie critics have cross to bear | There's nothing like antagonistic opposition, based on dirty tricks and disinformation, and then unmasked, to cast a favorable light on something or somebody (Frank Devine, The Australian)

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Bonhoeffer: The movie

History and artifacts:

  • Nazareth construction crew finds cistern | Crusaders might have built it 1,000 years ago, archaeologists said (Associated Press)

  • Tomb references John the Baptist's father | The discovery was a stroke of luck: the light of the setting sun hit an ancient tomb at just the right angle and revealed hints of a worn inscription, unnoticed for centuries, commemorating the father of John the Baptist (Associated Press)


  • Lords overturn ownership ban | The House of Lords has voted to overturn a government ban on religious bodies owning national TV or radio stations, theoretically opening up ITV or Classic FM to bids from Christian, Muslim or Jewish groups (The Guardian, London)

  • Too sexy for this store | Wal-Mart's strange decision to blackball Redbook (Dana Goodyear,

  • Media ethics according to Deuteronomy | God gave us the core ethic in the words "You shall not bear false witness" (John McCandlish Phillips, The Washington Post)

  • Media vs. Christian worldview | Less than ten percent of America's teenagers have a biblical worldview, according to a new survey of the California-based Barna Research Institute. Who is to blame? (UPI)



  • Sex, the Bible and the real world | It is time we recognized the Bible for what it is - a thing of three testaments, not two (Brian Sewell, Evening Standard, London)

  • A good book | An Orthodox Jewish rabbi believes the Bible should be seen as a great work of fiction—and a racy read (Newsweek)

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Clergy sex scandals:


Retreats and travel destinations:

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Money and business:

  • Blessing or blasphemy? Some businesses wear faith on their sleeves | From Faith Electric Inc. to Alpha-Omega Plumbing Co., hundreds of businesses across the nation wear their faith on their sleeves—literally (Associated Press)

  • Pa. man opens music church to bypass laws | Feed maker William "Willy" Pritts wants to make music, but his local government says he can't because his property isn't zoned for moneymaking concerts (Associated Press)

  • Meijer vows faith-friendly policy for workers | After firing a cake decorator who refused to work on a Sunday, retailer pledged to improve the way it accommodates employees' religious practices (The Grand Rapids Press, Mich.)

  • 'God wants you to be physically fit' | Increasingly, many are choosing to pursue a path apart from the American mainstream. From education, to music and entertainment, even to the theme park they'll visit in Orlando, religious conservatives are flocking to Christian-themed options such as the Lord's Gym here in South Florida (USA Today)

Science and health:


Interfaith relations and other religions:

  • You can't compel me to respect the risible | It is self-deceiving to think that we can expunge the tendency to discriminate by ordering us all to show respect for the stupid, the deluded, the gullible and the moral fascists (Terry Lane, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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