Norwegian killer confesses to bombings after viewing The Passion
They said The Passion of The Christ would provoke neo-Nazis, and they were right: in one case, it's provoking a neo-Nazi to confess to his sins and repent.

Johnny Olsen, whom the Oslo newspaper Aftenposten calls "one of Norway's most feared men," turned himself in to police on Saturday after watching the film.

"He said that it was the film that made him realize that he had to show his hand. He has been preoccupied with Christianity, guilt, punishment, atonement, suffering and conversion during the 10 years I have known him," Olsen's lawyer said. "It has been a long process but the Jesus film made the difference. Now he shows true regret and is ready to make amends."

Olsen served 12 years in prison for two murders in 1981. He has been suspected, but never charged, in the two bombings to which he confessed, against anarchist squatters in 1994 and 1995.

Even more shocking: it's not an isolated incident. A Texas man who'd gotten away with killing his wife turned himself in to police after seeing the film (though he may still plead not guilty), as did thieves in Arizona (video) and Florida.

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More on The Passion of The Christ:

  • The God squad | Mel Gibson has freed Hollywood's believers (Elihu Yale, The American Spectator)

  • Hostile mood awaits Gibson's Passion in France | Panned by the critics and local church leaders, the controversial film "The Passion of The Christ" opens in France on Wednesday after winning a court challenge and getting the backing of a Muslim businessman (Reuters)

  • 'Passion' hot in LatAm but Teutons yawn | Mel Gibson 's biblical epic is arousing very different passions around the world, ranging from wild fervor in Latin America and Poland to plenty of enthusiasm Down Under (although well below the manic level Stateside) and muted interest in Germany and Ireland (Variety)

  • Boulder Creek woman helped put Jesus in 'The Passion' | Cole, 39, is a Hollywood agent whose client, Jim Caviezel, starred as Jesus in Gibson's film (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Ca.)

  • Why all the fuss about "the Passion"? | "It is not to my knowledge that the Christians or the Jews have ever looked seriously at the Koranic version of the story of the Messiah. I think that if they have, they could have been spared a lot of nonsensical feuding over whodunit." (Hassan Al-Haifi, Yemen Times)

  • Panel ponders 'Passion' positives | After a month in theaters, Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" is still prompting dialogue concerning its anti-Semitic overtones. But a panel of experts meeting in Sarasota said the movie is also bringing Christians and Jews closer. (The Sarasota Herald, Fla.)

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  • Gibson film "Passion of the Christ" stirs religious controversy in Kuwait | Mel Gibson's film The Passion of the Christ has stirred a religious controversy in Kuwait between majority Sunni Muslims who oppose the movie and the emirate's Shiite Muslims who call for showing it (AFP)

  • Gibson's Passion gets blessing of Manila bishop | The head of the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines has urged Christians to watch Mel Gibson's controversial "The Passion of the Christ," calling it a film of genuine artistic and religious value (Reuters)

  • Paris court denies 'Passion' ban request | A Paris court Monday rejected a request by three Jewish brothers to ban Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" on the grounds it would foment anti-Semitism in France (Associated Press)

  • Has Mel Gibson displayed too much of his own passion? | You either accept the ineffable horror of the Crucifixion or you don't. Seeing it in broadscreen and full living colour won't lead you a millimetre closer to accepting what - undepictably—follows (Brian Morton, The Scotsman)

  • The power of the 'Passion' | The controversy surrounding Mel Gibson's religious epic could reach a fever pitch as the film rolls out in Europe (The Hollywood Reporter)

  • For many, Gibson's Jesus is a throwback | The story of Jesus is about a man whose commitment to the God of Israel led him to suffer the wrath of the religious and political authorities rather than become silent (Frank Reilly, Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Forget Mel Gibson, the Passion is to be found in Rwanda | Emotion is a poor trigger to finding the truth about good and evil. We need instead to think (Paul Handley, The Independent, London)

Local passion plays:

  • Passionate performances | Local Passion plays, though different than the movie, attract more attention (Rockford Register Star, Ill.)

  • Interest likely up in passion plays | Catholic and evangelical churches are sending press releases and publicizing their passion plays like never before (Chicago Tribune)


Final Left Behind book out:

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  • A passion for tales of end times | The Left Behind series' final novel is out today. Like "Passion," it mixes violence and prophecy (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • 'Left Behind' finale is The End, literally | The Second Coming, with a cast of billions of angels, millions of soldiers fighting the battle of Armageddon and one son of God on a white stallion in the heavens arrives in the nation's bookstores today (The Washington Times)

  • Christ's novel return is a US bestseller | An evangelical novel about the return of Jesus Christ based on an apocalyptic reading of the biblical book of Revelation is to hit the bookstores and bestseller lists in the US today (The Guardian, London)

  • Finale delivers for believers, thrill seekers | It's a glorious appearing indeed for fans of the Left Behind series (The Grand Rapids Press, Mi.)

  • Leaving behind | Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins are wrapping up their popular Christian crossover series (The Kansas City Star)

  • Best-selling religious series comes to end | Focusing on the second coming of Jesus Christ, "Glorious Appearing" concludes a series that has been translated into 34 languages, has risen to the top of The New York Times best-seller list and has completely surprised authors Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins with its success (The Indianapolis Star)

Other books:

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Partial-birth abortion ban in courts:

  • Trials open across nation on abortion-procedure ban | The new federal law banning partial-birth abortion is vague and unconstitutional, a lawyer argued in New York, echoing statements made in California and Nebraska (The New York Times)

  • Partial-birth ban debated in court | The federal ban on partial-birth abortions is too broad and unconstitutionally threatens women's access to abortion, an attorney for plaintiffs argued at the beginning of one of three federal court challenges of the new law yesterday (Associated Press)

  • Abortion law battle begins in 3 cities | Legal challenges to the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act are under way in three courtrooms across the nation, with one government lawyer defending the law as an attempt to end an "inhumane and gruesome procedure that causes pain to the fetus" (Associated Press)

Life ethics:

  • U.S. panel about to weigh in on rules for assisted fertility | Twenty-five years after the birth of the first test-tube baby, an advisory panel wants to increase government scrutiny of assisted reproduction. (The New York Times)

  • Puncture wounds found on Terri Schiavo | A severely brain-damaged woman at the center of a right-to-die case was hospitalized after workers at her nursing home noticed puncture wounds on her arms apparently caused by a hypodermic needle, an attorney for the woman's husband said (Associated Press)

  • The invisible human victim | The Washington Post & the Senate recognize two murders (Douglas Johnson, National Review Online)

Ten Commandments moved in Idaho:

  • Tears precede arrests as the monument is moved | Ten Commandments stone finds new home at St. Michael's (The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Id.)

  • Comments about the monument | Here´s what some people thought about the controversy (The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Id.)

  • How we got here | Background information on the Boise commandments monument (The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Id.)

  • From arrests to final resting place | In a random survey of 10 monument protesters at Julia Davis Park Monday, none could think of another place where the Ten Commandments were publicly displayed outside of a church, and most didn´t know for sure if it was displayed at their place of worship (The Idaho Statesman, Boise, Id.)

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John Kerry's religion:

  • Kerry's dirty deeds | How, pray tell, do they comport with religious belief? (George Neumayr, The American Spectator)

  • Kerry's good works | John Kerry v. Martin Luther—and the Vatican (Christopher Orlet, The American Spectator)

  • Kerry's Catholic conundrum | Will newly formed Bishops Task Force aimed at holding Catholic politicians accountable hone in on John Kerry? (Bill Berkowitz, WorkingForChange)

  • The Catholic factor | Will John Kerry's fellow Catholics turn out for him the way they did for the last JFK? (Andrew Greeley,

  • New era lets Kerry quietly be Catholic | As John Kerry campaigned across Ohio in the week before the state's primary, some partisans and reporters did a double take after seeing a dark smudge on his forehead (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

Mass. gay marriage:

  • Mass. gay marriage ban passes hurdle | With one chapter closed in Massachusetts' gay marriage debate, several new ones now open, as gay couples look ahead to what may be a short-lived chance to tie the knot and lawmakers prepare for crucial November elections (Associated Press)

  • US state seeks gay marriage ban | Massachusetts lawmakers have agreed on a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and legalize civil unions (BBC)

  • Setback is dealt to gay marriage | The Massachusetts legislature approved a state constitutional amendment that would ban gay marriage and create same-sex civil unions instead. (The New York Times)

  • 'There's no middle ground' | For lawmakers and activists alike, the complicated political maneuvering at the Statehouse surrounding the gay-marriage debate has been exhausting and difficult to follow (Cape Cod Times)

  • Vote ties civil unions to gay-marriage ban | Romney to seek stay of SJC order (The Boston Globe)

  • In Mass., a vote to ban gay marriage | Constitutional amendment would allow civil unions (The Boston Globe)

  • Reilly gives governor a hurdle | Attorney General Thomas F. Reilly last night rejected Governor Mitt Romney's bid to seek a Supreme Judicial Court order to delay implementation of its gay marriage ruling, creating a major roadblock to the governor's plans to block same-sex marriages from taking place in May (The Boston Globe)

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  • A battle just begun for both supporters, foes | The opponents come face to face on Beacon Hill (The Boston Globe)

  • Both sides in gay marriage fight cite faith | Wearing clerical robes, clutching rosary beads and quoting chapter and verse from the Bible, protesters on both sides of the gay marriage debate said Monday that God was on their side (Associated Press)

  • A step back | Legislators who finally nudged a proposed constitutional amendment banning gay marriage over its first hurdle yesterday worked long and hard at getting to yes. But we on this page still hope the next Legislature, or the public in 2006, will vote no (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

Gay marriage:

Gay rights activism:

  • Gay ex-Baylor student protests fund loss | Supporters of a former Baylor University seminary student who lost his scholarship because he is gay rallied Saturday to protest the school's decision (Associated Press)

  • Brazil withdraws gay rights resolution | Brazil withdrew a resolution championing gay rights at a meeting of the U.N. Human Rights Commission on Monday, saying there wasn't enough international support for the document for a second year in a row (Associated Press)

Gay marriage opposition:

  • Evangelicals: Gay marriage debate needs all info | We regret that the current debate on same-gender marriage is running on emotion, accusation and sloganeering. Therefore, we here raise these important questions that need to be answered if this debate is to yield more light than heat (Dane County Association of Evangelicals, The Capital Times, Madison, Wi.)

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Gay, the new black?:

  • Religious right plays the race card in gay marriage war | Recent history contains several examples of failed attempts by religious right organizations to engage African Americans (Bill Berkowitz, AlterNet)

  • Gays are not the nation's new African Americans | What is this world coming to? Another day brings another definition of love, marriage, religion, truth, civil rights and the church (Ken Hutcherson, The Seattle Times)

  • No votes here | Conservatives have touted polls showing that African-Americans hold conservative views on gay rights, abortion, the death penalty and school vouchers. And yet I can't think of a single election in which any of those issues has hurt a liberal black politician among black voters (Peter Beinart, The New Republic)

Anti-anti-gay speech law in Canada:

  • Bill C-250 means end of free speech | Track record of activist judges shows opposition to gay agenda will soon be illegal (Lorne Gunter, The Edmonton Journal)

  • Gay rights 1, free speech 0 | This week, the Senate is expected to pass an amendment to the Criminal Code that will limit religious freedom and freedom of expression in Canada (Editorial, National Post, Canada)

LDS conference:

  • City defends LDS conference buffers, speech zones | Salt Lake City argued Monday that it must protect street preachers from a possible "violent reaction of a hostile crowd" at this weekend's LDS Church worldwide conference—whether the preachers want guarding or not (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Street preachers prepare for LDS conference | To some, they are obnoxious and offensive (KSL, Salt Lake City, Ut.)

  • Preachers rebuff LDS buffer zones | Representatives of the group vowed Friday that they will not abide by the city's latest buffer plans, and the fellowship sought a temporary restraining order in U.S. District Court (Deseret Morning News, Ut.)


  • Convicted Catholic bishop sets help line | Bishop Thomas O'Brien, convicted in a fatal hit-and-run accident, established a help line Monday as part of his probation so the public can call to ask him to visit someone who is seriously injured or dying (Associated Press)

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  • Nuns of fun | No order has had more impact and success than the Little Sisters of Hoboken enshrined in the Nunsense franchise, which has grossed $300 million since its debut in 1984 (The Dallas Morning News)

  • From abroad, but 'they're still like nuns' | Six nuns from overseas—five from India and one from Africa—have been teaching at St. Thomas More for the last five years, the largest number at any parish in the Chicago Roman Catholic Archdiocese (Tom McNamee, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Roman Catholic Church—A matter of faith | First there was the priest sexual abuse scandal, then controversy over the statue at Washburn. Despite all the recent travails, local Catholics say they remain committed (The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)

Church life:

  • In the spirit of hip | To prepare for Sunday's premiere church service, Nadya Wurm helps smooth a leopard-skin cover over a couch cushion. Her daughter Jenica touches up the women's bathroom with lime-green paint (Tallahassee Democrat, Fla.)

  • Blessed union: Churches to merge | The fate of the two old churches is a reflection of changes across the innermost sections of the city, brought about by the decline of many neighborhood churches, the growth of suburbs, and the rise in Hispanic and Vietnamese families who choose to worship in their own buildings (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • Deal tipped on women bishops | Women bishops are increasingly likely in Australia's Anglican church, Sydney Archbishop Peter Jensen said last week (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Newsmaker: The Rev. Rus Howard | Washington County pastor seeks top Presbyterian church position (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Church merger could unite a mission | If it were part of the Boston Archdiocese, St. Stephen's would be in a precarious position. But because it is considered a missionary church - the headquarters of the St. James Society - St. Stephen's exists apart from the rest (Monica Collins, Boston Herald)

  • Survey: One in ten Lutheran Church workers question aspects of doctrine | About ten percent of employees of the Finnish Lutheran Church admit that they feel only slightly or not at all committed to the teachings of the church (Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki, Finland)

  • Maxwell Street fixture fades | Old holy site now a sight to be sold (Chicago Tribune)

  • Misconceptions abound about Orthodox church | I cannot blame the misconceptions and false assumptions entirely on the West; for too long the Eastern Church has been an enclosed enclave of immigrants tightly trying to hold on to their ethnic identities amidst the cultural differences of the Western world (Gregory MacGregor, Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

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