U.S. to be less than 50% Protestant by the end of the year:

  • Old-time religion on the decline | Fewer Americans identify with Protestant denominations, survey shows (San Francisco Chronicle)
  • Study finds number of Protestants is falling | Soon, less than 50% of Americans will claim the faith (Houston Chronicle)
  • U.S. Protestant population seen losing majority status | The United States will lose its historic status as a majority-Protestant nation as early as this year, according to a national survey released yesterday (The Washington Times)
  • Protestants are close to losing majority status | One by one, the demographic groups represented in the term "WASP" are losing their privileged place in American society (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)
  • Survey: USA's Protestant majority might soon be no more | New statistics on religious diversity show the USA's historic Protestant majority has plummeted to 52%, and by the end of 2004 it may no longer be the nation's dominant religious group (USA Today)

Indonesia church attack:

  • Bomb scare mars burial of minister | A bomb scare at the funeral of Reverend Susianti Tinulele in East Palu, Central Sulawesi, on Tuesday panicked Christians at the same church where the clergywoman was shot dead two days earlier (The Jakarta Post, Indonesia)
  • Indonesia sends more police to hunt church attacker | Some 20 to 30 police reinforcements were expected to arrive by air in Palu later Wednesday, said provincial police spokesman Victor Batara (AFP)
  • Indonesia orders intensive hunt for man who murdered priest (Radio Australia)
  • Church gunman was 'well-trained and unhurried' | Indonesian police were yesterday hunting a gunman following the murder of a woman priest in a packed church in Central Sulawesi province. (The Straits Times, Singapore)


  • Turmoil endangers Iraq's Christians | Roman Catholic Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman is accustomed to the news he hears these days in Baghdad (Chicago Tribune)
  • In Iraq, booze becomes a risky business | Fundamentalists blamed for wave of attacks on shops, owners (The Washington Post)
  • 'No place to go' | An immigration official says political changes in Iraq reduce the risk to the Christian couple (The London Free Press, Ontario, Canada)
  • Terrorists warn South Korean missionaries to stay out of Iraq | South Korea has received terrorist threats warning of retaliation against the Asian nation should South Korean Christian missionaries travel to Iraq, a Foreign Ministry official said (Bloomberg)


  • Hindu villagers seek nod to adopt Christianity | Over 100 residents in an Orissa village have applied to the government seeking permission to change their religion from Hinduism to Christianity (IANS, India)
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  • Red tape made Gladys leave: Christian bodies | Has the hostility of the local administration towards missionaries been a factor in Gladys Staines leaving for Australia? (The Times of India)
  • Dutch priest allowed to remain in Kashmir | A leading Christian body Sunday thanked the Indian government for rescinding an expulsion order against a Dutch priest working in Jammu and Kashmir and other parts of the country since 1963 (IANS, India)

Other religious conflicts abroad:

  • Group alleges fresh killings in Plateau | State Administrator Gen. Chris Alli visits Yelwa tomorrow (This Day, Nigeria)
  • Vietnam Montagnard refugees say fleeing death | Dishevelled, starving and scared, 79 more Montagnard asylum-seekers emerged from the Cambodian jungle late on Tuesday, fleeing what they said was death at the hands of Vietnamese troops and police (Reuters)


  • In Sudan crisis, a duty to intervene? | Americans are pained by a crisis more easily deplored than fixed (The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Saying no to killers | What would you do if you were caught in the middle of a genocide? (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)
  • World opens its eyes to tragedy of Sudan | First the men ventured out to fetch water and scavenge for firewood. They were shot dead. Then it was the turn of women and young girls. They were raped (The Times, London)

Social justice:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa poverty grows | Sub-Saharan Africa is the only region where the number of people living in abject poverty has grown over the past 20 years, says a United Nations report (BBC)
  • Christians fail to help 'the least' | There is a cacophony of voices about abortion, homosexuals and family values coming from many in that group. What bothers me as a Christian is I hear no voices from them concerned about the poor, the homeless, the starving children and the elderly (Doris Greenleaf, The Forum, Fargo, N.D.)

Life ethics:

  • When one is enough | Having learned that I was pregnant with triplets, I asked, Do I have to have all of them? (Amy Richards, The New York Times)
  • Iran's parliament approves abortion bill | Iran's conservative-dominated parliament approved a draft bill Tuesday that would allow abortion in the first four months of pregnancy if the woman's life is in danger or the fetus is malformed (Associated Press)
  • Schiavo's parents cite her faith in right-to-die case | A papal statement on people in a vegetative state requires that she be kept alive, they say (Associated Press)
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  • Earlier: Parents argue for Terry Schiavo's life | The parents of a brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die case contend her end-of-life wishes remain unresolved and that she has "the right to change her mind" about life support (Associated Press)
  • 'Designer baby' ruling expected | A decision on relaxing "designer baby" rules to allow more screening and selection of embryos is expected from the regulator on Wednesday (BBC, video)


  • Hating the crime, hating the criminal | Hate is not nice. Everybody knows that. But trying to define and eliminate hate with legislation is not as easy as the busybodies think it is. You could ask Tony Blair (Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times)
  • Right-wing politicians want to ban Islam | Central members of Kristiansand Progress party claims Hitler's Mein Kampf and the Koran are one of the same, and they want Islam banned in Norway (Nettavisen, Oslo)

Politics & religion:

  • The Issues: Faith-based charities | Comparing the Bush and Kerry positions on giving government funds to social programs run by religious groups (CBS Evening News)
  • Warner helped the Rev. Moon | Senator's office says he arranged for meeting space in March (The Washington Post)
  • A mighty fortress is his God | President Bush's form of American Evangelicalism enjoys massive popular appeal and, arguably, influences policy (Johnathan Steinberg, The Miami Herald)
  • The meaning of intolerance | To imply that religious believers have no right to engage moral questions in the public square or at the ballot is simply to establish a Reichian secularism as our state faith (Maggie Gallagher)
  • Mumba has conned God, charges Sata | Vice-President Nevers Mumba is a greedy conman who has conned God, charged Patriotic Front president Michael Sata yesterday (The Post of Zambia)
  • Kirchner reconciles with Church | The Catholic Church and Argentine President Nestor Kirchner Tuesday reconciled some of the ill words that have passed between them (UPI)
  • Rhetoric is not the same as debate | I am committed to being part of a renewed effort by Christians to offer to our society an example of civility where we listen, carefully speak with principled conviction, yet refuse to enter into verbal warfare to destroy someone whose perspective on life differs from our own (Byron D. Klaus, The News-Leader, Springfield, Mo.)

Churches and the election:

  • Politics and the pulpit | Bush campaign solicits church directories for registration drive (NBC Nightly News)
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  • Pulling strings from the pulpit? | Being too partisan can get a church's standing yanked by the IRS (The Kansas City Star)
  • Voter drive detours into churches | A speech to pastors in Eugene is part of the Bush campaign's goal to register evangelicals, a move that Democrats say goes too far (The Oregonian)
  • Thou shalt not endorse | But in this election, where the stakes are high, churches will see how closely they can preach and not cross line (Sunday News, Lancaster, Pa.)
  • Watchdog group monitors politics in the pulpit | Meanwhile, Americans United files complaint with the IRS over Jerry Falwell column endorsing President Bush. (Associated Press)
  • So much for church and state separation | Pastors seem willing to risk their church's tax-exempt status to elect God's chosen to political office (Bill Roy, The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)
  • All Catholics should unite behind universal principles | One of the most troubling aspects of the current debate over Catholic politicians and Communion has been the suggestion by some that they can separate their faith from their political actions. This, as I have said before, is a dangerous moral delusion. (Alexander J. Brunett, The Seattle Times)
  • The church of Bush | What liberal infidels will never understand about the president (Rick Perlstein, The Village Voice)

Public displays of religion:

  • Moore's monument removed | Motorcycle police with blue lights flashing led former Chief Justice Roy Moore's controversial Ten Commandments monument out of town on the back of a flatbed truck Monday (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
  • Also: Ten Commandments monument on tour | Beads of sweat dripped from their foreheads as the burly crew of men labored Monday evening to remove the 2-ton Ten Commandments monument from the site where it had, just one year ago, ignited a spiritual and political battle that left a judge without a job and his monument without a home (Montgomery Advertiser)
  • Also: Moore's tablets out of building | For state Supreme Court Justice Gorman Houston and former judicial building manager Graham George, removal of the controversial Ten Commandments monument from the building Monday night was a way to quietly close a fascinating, if frustrating, chapter of judicial history (The Decatur Daily, Ala.)
  • City seal sparks flap in California | "In God We Trust" is the national motto, and now one California town plans to make it part of its official seal (Fox News)
  • It is our cross to bear too | One might wonder why a number of Orthodox Jews, including me, felt compelled to attend a recent demonstration in downtown Los Angeles to protest the removal of a small cross on our county seal (Judy Gruen, Religion News Service)
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  • City won't fight ACLU | The City Council says it can't win a legal battle against the civil rights giant (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)
  • Council's cross to bear | Common ground on La Jolla landmark eludes officials (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • Also: San Diego City Council can't agree on Mt. Soledad cross plan | Following a four-hour public hearing, three separate motions to continue the issue were voted down (North County Times, San Diego)

Gay marriage:

  • Gay Bradenton couple submit federal lawsuit | Couple filed a federal lawsuit Tuesday seeking nationwide recognition for gay or lesbian couples legally wed in any state (Bradenton Herald, Fla.)
  • Also: Couple sues to recognize gay wedding | The Bradenton women want other states to treat their Massachusetts marriage as legal. The suit may make Florida a battleground (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)
  • Also: Gay couple sues to have union recognized | A lesbian couple who married in Massachusetts sued the federal government on Tuesday to have their union legally recognized in the rest of the country (Associated Press)
  • Same-sex marriage debate to continue | Despite a setback last week for the Federal Marriage Amendment proposal in the U.S. Senate, Alabama clergy leading the charge against gay marriage said they expect Christians to rise up over the issue (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
  • The gay war rolls on | John Thune is betting the marriage issue will bring South Dakotans to the polls. At stake: Senate control (Newsweek)
  • Missouri Synod affirms marriage as 1 man, 1 woman | The resolution was adopted this week in St. Louis by a vote of 1,163 to 22, gaining the affirmation of about 98 percent of the voting delegates (Religion News Service)
  • The gay marriage debate | Gay marriage is not 'the new abortion'—nor will it be the new civil rights movement anytime soon (Melinda Henneberger, Newsweek)
  • A new gay marriage debate | The battle may be over, but the fight has just begun. And a truce seems impossible (Cynthia Hall Clements, The Lufkin Daily News, Tex.)
  • Time for straight talk about the reasons for marriage's decline | Narrow-minded preachers and pandering politicians have propagated a lot of foolish notions; among the most foolish is the idea of a connection between the faltering state of traditional marriage and the growing movement for gay rights (Cynthia Tucker, The Baltimore Sun)
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Sexual ethics:

  • Homosexuality and Christianity | In light of the gay cruise to The Bahamas, the controversial issue of homosexuality has become a national discussion, so has the question of whether a homosexual or lesbian can also be a Christian (The Nassau Guardian, Bahamas)
  • Parents 'under-estimate' net risks | Parents are still largely unaware of the risks their children take on the net, even though 75% of teenagers use the net at home, says a report (BBC)
  • Children view porn online—study | Campaigners have warned parents to be wary after a survey showed more than half of children surfing the web at least once a week have come into contact with pornography (PA, U.K.)

A different kind of church cheesecake:

  • Calendar gals do it on faith | Women in their 70s to early 80s bare some skin to raise money for St. Peter's-by-the-Sea Episcopal Church's capital campaign (Narragansett Times, R.I.)
  • Church's 'calendar girls' get the green light | "I love this project," declares the Rev. Russell G. Ruffino, after seeing photos of the over-70 models (The Providence Journal, R.I.)

Church life:

  • More Americans seek God on their terms, and in their homes | In some cases, the groups are nascent churches, perhaps fledgling global movements. In others, they're more akin to a book club where informality is the glue that holds a group together for discussions of divine grace (The Christian Science Monitor)
  • Christ Community losing Rev. Thune | The Rev. Bob Thune, senior pastor of Omaha's Christ Community Church, is leaving the place he led to megachurch status to head a congregation in California (Omaha World-Herald, Neb.)
  • Tim becomes first Buchan Orthodox priest since 900ad | Many people have heard of the Russian or Greek Orthodox churches but few know that there is a growing movement of Scots embracing the ancient and unchanging faith of the Orthodox Christian Church (The Buchan Observer, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)
  • Breaking Catholic ties | The church that Hugo Arteaga built is bursting at its seams. Sitting on a small hill next to a Citgo gas station in Silver Spring, El Calvario church is so tightly packed that Mr. Arteaga can't fit inside (The Washington Times)
  • Retiring bishop sees growth, uncertainty | United Methodist Bishop Alfred L. Norris is retiring Aug. 31 after four years of leading the Houston-based Texas Annual Conference, which includes more than 725 churches from Galveston to Texarkana (Houston Chronicle)
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  • Faith, Fidel and the feds | Two Cuban pastors walk tough line (Myriam Marquez, The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.)
  • Should churches lead or follow the culture? | When the world looks at Christians, it often sees disunity (Raymond J. Keating, Newsday)
  • Denver's Mongolians set to welcome delegation | Large population to meet president, religious leader, among others (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

Church discipline:

  • Daring to discipline | Archbishop Joseph Francis Rummel's decision to excommunicate three segregationists in 1962 is being re-examined during the debate about pro-choice Catholic politicians (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)
  • Alterations rebuke for vicar | An evangelical Midlands vicar and his church wardens face legal costs of up to £20,000 after flouting ecclesiastical planning regulations by moving the font and carpeting over rare Victorian floor tiles in his historic parish church without permission (The Guardian, London)
  • Also: The church spruce-up that split a community | Senior church figures in Staffordshire may need to take action to try to unite a community divided by a landmark court case (The Sentinel, Staffordshire, England)


  • Catholic Church speaks up in Spain | Bishops, worried about dwindling influence, clash with government on gay marriage plan (Los Angeles Times)
  • Vatican cardinal to speak here | Cardinal Arinze supports family group (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
  • Modern saint loved fashion, family, fast cars | Gianna Emanuela Molla, her sister and brother may be the only people in the world who can say it without fear of stretching the truth: My mother is a saint. Really (Toronto Star)


  • Vatican to investigate pornography accusations | A special investigator will look into accusations of homosexual behavior and child pornography at a Roman Catholic seminary in Austria (The New York Times)
  • Also: Pope names investigator for Austrian sex scandal (Reuters)
  • Boston archdiocese, wary of precedent, cools to bankruptcy | An $85 million property that the archdiocese sold to Boston College, a Catholic institution, is a luxury Portland doesn't have (The Oregonian)
  • Sex abuse charges dropped against Vestavia minister | A Jefferson County judge Monday dismissed sex abuse charges against a former Vestavia Hills minister after the prosecutor cited major credibility problems with the accuser (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
  • Former priest publishes book from prison with help of local supporters | José Superiaso, 49, a former priest at St. Francis Cathedral, has tried his hand at paintings of mountains, rivers, and pine trees as he awaits trial on charges of sexually molesting a 12-year-old Filipino immigrant girl (The New Mexican, Santa Fe)
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  • Christians plan day of prayer to halt crime | More than 10,000 Christians led by over 200 pastors are expected to converge on the St William Grant Park in downtown Kingston on August 1, Emancipation Day, for fasting and intercessory prayers asking God to halt the rise in murders, crime and other problems affecting the country (The Jamaica Observer)
  • Guilty plea in church vandalism case | Andrew Studebaker, 18, pleaded guilty to charges including breaking and entering in the nighttime, destruction of a place of worship, and larceny in connection with the vandalism in January and February at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Stoughton (Associated Press)
  • Cult leader detained on fraud charges | Park Bo-hi, 74, allegedly the second-ranking official of the Unification Church, has been arrested and detained by prosecutors in Seoul on charges of fraud (JoongAng Daily, South Korea)

Missions & ministry:

  • Zimbabwe plans clampdown on charities | President Robert Mugabe castigated private charities, religious groups and other aid organizations Tuesday for interfering in Zimbabwe's domestic politics and said legislators would be asked to pass a law allowing authorities to close some groups and arrest officials (Associated Press)
  • Faith-based clinics sprouting up across U.S. | In Dallas, the number of faith-based clinics doubled last year -- and nationwide there are now more than 150. Faith-based doctors also credit the clinics with improving everyone's hospital experience (Fox News)
  • Serving in style at salon | Amy Stahovich of Shear Attitude in Newport Beach donates her time to serve various charities since learning the hairstyling craft (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • Pastor weaves ministry with jeans company | Besides his ministry in the poorer, crime-ridden neighborhoods of Opp, Pastor Roderick Caldwell and his wife Melanie have their own business, designing jeans and other youth-oriented clothing and distributing them (The Andalusia Star-News, Ala.)
  • Rodeo chaplains help athletes | The Fellowship of Christian Cowboys is a group of God-fearing rodeo riders who help out at professional and amateur competitions, trying to spread the gospel between go-rounds (The News-Record, Gillette, Wy.)
  • Ministry brings its message to rodeo crowd, Western-style | Cowboy Cathedral services held at Idaho Center (Idaho Statesman, Boise)
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Fellowship of Christian Athletes:

  • Founder marvels at FCA's success | What started as letters to 19 men Don McClanen read about in newspapers is now an organization with 600 full-time staff members and a $143 million budget (The Oklahoman)
  • Oklahoma is a trend setter for FCA | The Fellowship of Christian Athletes traces its roots here (The Oklahoman)
  • FCA's impact | Several Oklahomans tell their stories (The Oklahoman)

Battle for Baylor:

  • Baylor unbearable: Feud besmirches a proud institution | This has to end. No institution can carry on indefinitely with its top leader facing up-or-down votes every time its board meets. Here's a prayer for the Baylor family: Someone back down, or you'll end up like the gingham dog and calico cat and do the university no good (Editorial, The Dallas Morning News)
  • Baylor vote on Sloan's future up in air | On the eve of today's Baylor University regents meeting, some are predicting President Robert B. Sloan Jr. will be ousted, while others are sticking behind the school leadership (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)
  • Baylor alumni group still rankled at administrators | Despite proclamations that Baylor University and the independent Baylor Alumni Association have mended fences, the association's leadership says friction still exists (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)
  • Sloan faces 3rd vote to oust him | For the third time in less than a year, the employment of Baylor University President Robert Sloan is in question (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)
  • Baylor president defends record | Amid critics' repeated calls to oust him, Baylor University's president said Tuesday that he remains confident in how he is leading the world's largest Baptist university (Associated Press)
  • Private agenda put before faculty | Sloan has listened to two groups: selected regents and potential donors. He has never understood that universities are about a relationship between inspired faculty and students who seek to get an education (Clifton Williams, Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

Interfaith relationships:

  • Common ground: Local pastor travels globe in search of it | Gordon Morrison has traveled some 30,000 miles and interviewed hundreds of people over the last 10 weeks in search of answers (The Gleaner, Henderson, Ky.)
  • Religion's double-edged sword | 7,000 of the world's faithful gather in Spain to talk about violence and healing (The Vancouver Sun)
  • Catholics and Jews cement relationship | A total of 50 Catholic and Jewish delegates from 26 nations were in Buenos Aires for the 18th International Catholic-Jewish Liaison Committee Meeting (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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  • Southern religion becoming more diverse | Neighboring the traditional mainline Christian churches are Buddhist, Hindu, Baha'i, Muslim, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist worship and meditation centers (Tribune-Times, Simpsonville, SC)
  • Let's get past religious prejudices | Religious folks, if you must, go through your rituals of ringing bells, lighting candles, blowing horns and chanting daily prayers, but it is time to stop the ritual of discrimination and hatred of those who are different (Bob Ray Sanders, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

Media and pop culture:

  • Christian comic book ventures into video | Gaylord artist's creation in 14th year (Traverse City Record Eagle, Mi.)
  • Losing my religion? | Steeple made famous by R.E.M. needs rescue (Associated Press)
  • Pop icon resurrected | 34 years after musical's debut, Jesus still pulls them in (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)
  • Local Christian's fury over film's dope-smoking Jesus portrayal | Scott Morrison has started an online petition against George A. Romero's Diamond Dead (The Buchan Observer, Peterhead, Aberdeenshire, Scotland)


  • Lessons are shared from 'The DaVinci Code' | Valley pastor a leading teacher, says book hits 'something deep within' (The Arizona Republic)
  • Are Left Behind books dangerous? | No. The novels aren't Scripture (Robert Spencer, The Dallas Morning News)

Other stories of interest:

  • Collector's cross purposes | World's largest trove is a museum in waiting (San Jose Mercury News, Ca.)
  • When children find their faith | If teens and young adults choose deeper beliefs, their parents may be either disconcerted or encouraged by the changes in their family (The Orlando Sentinel, Fla.)
  • Unlocking the mystery of Amish baby deaths | Yesterday, researchers announced that they had found the reason: a gene that causes a form of sudden infant death syndrome and that may help explain some SIDS cases in the general population (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Scouting adapts to religion | All girls are welcome to join, but right now all the members of Troop 597 are Orthodox Jews (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)
  • Cultural titans share thoughts on Bible | Publication links Hebrew professor Frank Moore Cross, Holocaust victim Elie Wiesel (Associated Press)
  • Cremation insulting to Christians—academic | Cremation was an insult to the belief of Christians who comprised 80 percent of the population of South Africa, a senior academic at the University of KwaZulu-Natal said in Durban at the weekend (The Mercury, South Africa)

Related Elsewhere:

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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