Rounding up the Supreme Court's oral arguments in the Pledge of Allegiance case is taking more time than expected. Later this afternoon, we'll have a full roundup of the news, analysis, and opinion over the "under God" issue. Until then, here's the rest of the day's religion news.

Life ethics:

  • U.S. pushes for abortion records | Even if their names are blacked out, can 45 women who had late-term abortions at Northwestern Memorial Hospital be identified by medical files the government wants to inspect? (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Court rules against 'Choose Life' plates | Appeals judges say anti-abortion slogan on vehicles goes against First Amendment (Associated Press)

  • Battle over rights for fetuses | Whether a pregnant woman has the right to refuse surgery to save the child she is carrying has become the subject of America's latest culture war (BBC)

  • Two victims for fetal violence | This week, the Senate is expected to debate legislation giving federal protection to society's most vulnerable individuals, unborn children (Editorial, The Washington Times)

Religion and politics:

  • Man files complaint over mayor's proclamation | A Wauconda Township man filed a discrimination complaint with the state because he says a Bible Week proclamation made at a Wauconda Village Board meeting last year violates his rights (Lake Zurich Courier, Ill.)

  • CARE-less | Democrats' obstructionist tactics not only dam the streams of compassion in America, but also create large pools of suspicion that Democratic leaders care more about national politics than the politics of caring (Gary J. Andres, The Washington Times)

  • The Christian Left | For the last two decades, the Christian right has defined religious politics in America, but liberal Christians were once an influential voice (Odyssey, NPR, link via The Revealer)

  • Start council meetings with moment of silence | People deserve to have an option (Editorial, Chronicle-Tribune, Marion, Ind,)

  • Good Friday: A good day for racing? | A row has erupted over Gold Circle's decision to stage a horse race meeting on Good Friday, which is a religious day among Christians and Hindus (Daily News, South Africa)

  • Their will be done | Creating a theocracy in America (James Heflin, Valley Advocate, Easthampton, Mass.)

Kenya constitution:

  • Church leaders call for referendum | Catholic leaders yesterday proposed that the contentious issues in the draft constitution be subjected to a referendum (The East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)

  • US embassy blamed for recent demo | Muslim leaders in Mombasa yesterday accused the US embassy in Nairobi of inciting Christians to demonstrate against the recognition of Kadhi's courts in the draft Constitution (The East African Standard, Nairobi, Kenya)

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  • Trial opens for Znetix trio | Attorney says defendants were duped; prosecution says they cheated others (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Group targets common | Churchgoers and ethnic groups are often preferred marks for con artists who know people want to trust folks who are much like themselves, warns an expert in investment fraud (London Free Press, Ontario, Canada)

  • Charismatic pastor 'singled out victims for sex attacks' | Evangelical pastor Douglas Goodman returned to the Old Bailey today to face a retrial on sex charges (PA, U.K.)

  • Against a parent's will | After a murder and arson, an East Hartford church family took in one of the surviving children. Now, the DCF says the family is unfit to care for him (Hartford Advocate, Conn.)



Church life:

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  • Also: Naples to get largest seating-capacity Catholic church in U.S. | The church, built of glass, steel and aluminum, will seat at least 3,300 worshippers and soar 150 feet above the town and college, officials at Ave Maria University said (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Kirk deacons may perform weddings | Couples soon could be married by Church of Scotland deacons in a move that has been triggered by the sharp decline in the number of kirk ministers (The Herald, Glasgow)

  • Reverend vows to fight eviction | St. Patrick Abbey helps (Tri-Valley Herald, Pleasanton, Cal.)

  • Mediation ordered in civil suit | Mediation was ordered Wednesday morning by 71st District Judge Bonnie Leggat for the parties in civil litigation styled John Alfred Doe versus Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (The Marshall News Messenger, Tex.)

United Methodist trial:

  • Schism looms after lesbian Methodist acquittal | Conservative members of the United Methodist Church warned on Wednesday that the decision to allow an openly gay woman to remain a minister in the Church may tear apart the nation's third-largest Christian denomination (Reuters)

  • Praise for church's ecclesiastical trial | Regional church leaders have earned the public's respect, not its wrath, for not merely allowing but inviting the community to share in their soul searching (Editorial, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  • Pulpit of pain | After decision in favor of gay pastor, struggle isn't over in Methodist church (David C. Steinmetz, The Orlando Sentinel)

Indecency in media:

  • Clean-air policy | Christian radio banks family-friendly alternative to targeted shock shows (Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Mancow's indecency foe 'rolling up his sleeves' | The man at the center of the battle over indecency and censorship with Mancow Muller is quitting his job with a South Side alderman to join the Illinois Family Institute (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • G, PG clean up at the box office | Christian Film & Television Commission says films that stressed "strong moral content" made an average $92,546,413 — six times the revenue of those that focused on "immoral, negative content" (The Washington Times)

The Passion of The Christ:

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  • Could cinema be the savior of Christianity? | The wild success of The Passion of the Christ has forced us to revise our assumptions about the inevitability of secularization. If such a bad film can do this, what might a good one achieve? (Damian Thompson, The Telegraph, London)

  • Misplaced compassion for Mel Gibson | Holocaust deniers justifiably might feel that they have their own movie star poster boy. And this may not be the group hug in which conservatives want to participate (Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Controversial, but Passion leaves no one unmoved | It's interesting that a movie about the violent death of Jesus will attract so much more attention than one about his birth, or even his life and teachings (Cape Argus, South Africa)

  • Resurrected tale v tale of resurrection | Comparing The Passion and Dawn of the Dead (Financial Times)

  • Lost luggage, rattlesnakes and that old-time religion | Spray hate on them all, God will recognize his own. (Slinger, Toronto Star)

  • Bringing Christ's Passion to life | This Easter season, church congregations and religious organizations are once again reviving a centuries-old tradition: presenting Passion plays that re-enact Christ's last days on earth and celebrate his resurrection (Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Fla.)

Pope John Paul II:

  • Pope's latest book coming out in May | Italian publishing giant Mondadori announced Wednesday it is negotiating worldwide rights for Pope John Paul II's new book, a recollection of his years as bishop in Poland (Associated Press)

  • Also: Pope writes second autobiography | The Pope's previous autobiography, covering his youth and priesthood, sold millions of copies worldwide. The new work starts from the period when he was ordained as a bishop (BBC)

  • Pope receives Charlemagne Peace Prize | The German city of Aachen on Wednesday bestowed its ultimate honor—the Charlemagne Peace Prize—on Pope John Paul II (Deutsche Welle, Germany)


  • Catholic seminarian in Yakima valley slain in Colombia | A seminarian who was studying to become a priest for the Catholic Diocese of Yakima was killed last week in his native Colombia. Luis Fernando Varela Perea died March 18 from wounds he received in a stabbing, the Yakima Diocese said Wednesday (Yakima Herald-Republic, Wa.)

  • Women risk excommunication for Dublin service | Over 30 Catholics will risk excommunication tonight by attending the first Eucharistic service performed by two women in Dublin (Irish Examiner)

  • The Catholic war against gay marriage | The Catholic Church has cultivated a campaign of harassment against Catholic legislators who support marriage rights for same-sex couples. Will it work? (The Boston Phoenix)

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  • Accountant's report accuses L.I. diocese of hoarding funds | Critics are accusing Long Island's Roman Catholic diocese of accumulating $119 million in reserve funds, an amount they say is grossly excessive and should be used for worthy causes (The New York Times)

  • Camden bishop promises vigilance | Bishop Joseph A. Galante, the Camden Catholic Diocese's newly appointed bishop, is a genial, self-declared "chubby" guy. But he's hardly soft on the issues that trouble him (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Statue and its caretaker make journeys of faith | Carl Malburg and the statue—known as the International Pilgrim Virgin Statue of Our Lady of Fatima, a stunningly lifelike sculpture that has traveled the world since the late 1940s—have spent months in India and Australia, weeks in the Caribbean and countless hours in his humble sedan crisscrossing the country (Chicago Tribune)

Gay marriage:

  • Most Latinos back gay marriage bans | Catholic roots shape support of traditional family, polls say (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Gay marriage a thorny issue for reporters | The debate over marriage for same-sex couples has forced journalists to rethink long-standing notions about objectivity, language and their audience, according to a panel of media professionals (Associated Press)

  • Gay marriages, gay money | Those gay couples who think they have gotten married in recent weeks may have been making personal statements and political statements, but they haven't moved much closer to joint bank account statements (Reuters)

  • If I could marry my partner | Commentator David Traupman is a gay man who has been living with his partner for 16 years. He says if he were allow to marry his partner, he would no longer be discriminated against and it would help his family understand how much he and his partner mean to each other (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Against gay marriage | NPR's Renee Montagne talks with Peter Sprigg, the Director of the Family Research Council's Center for Marriage and Family Studies. Sprigg is firmly against gay marriage. He says allowing gays to marry pulls marriage further away from what he believes to be its main function: a stable institution for raising children (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • Try marriage-rights shoe on other foot | Imagine if evangelical Christians—the loudest critics of granting civil marriage rights to gay Americans—were the minority seeking such rights. Would it be OK to say about them what they say about gay Americans? (Ken Darling, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

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Gay marriage in Oregon:

  • Lawsuit challenges Oregon on marriage | The claim, filed in Multnomah County on behalf of nine same-sex couples, aims to expedite the issue to the state Supreme Court (The Oregonian)

  • Oregon gay married couples sue state | Nine gay couples sued the state of Oregon on Wednesday for refusing to recognize their marriages; a legal test case intended to prompt the state's highest court to hand down a ruling on the hot-button issue (Reuters)

  • Oregonians look to one suit to settle gay marriage issue | The suit, brought on behalf of nine same-sex couples and a gay rights group, contends that an Oregon law limiting marriage to a man and woman violates the State Constitution (The New York Times)

  • Multnomah County marriage license hearings will start today | Commissioners are hosting three public meetings on the decision to issue the licenses to same-sex couples (The Oregonian)

  • The upside-down Oregon | Badgered into backing down on issuing wedding licenses to same-sex couples this week, Benton County—population 78,000—has come up with a bold compromise on gay marriage (Editorial, The Oregonian)

Other stories of interest:

  • In God's name | Like the new worlds of past centuries, Iraq has become fertile ground as missionaries spread their word (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Paying heed to the light inside | Prayer may not be a conversation with God at all. Maybe it is listening to that light inside you (Heather Lende, Anchorage Daily News)

  • Why special foods for Lent | Many persons are asking, why all this talk about Lent at this time every year and why some persons eat special foods or even temporarily suspend some foods, from their diets (Jamaica Observer)

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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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