Commentary and more links return Tuesday. We're taking Monday off for U.S. Memorial Day.

Court allows assisted suicide:

  • Court rules on aided suicide | Appeals panel says Ashcroft overstepped bounds in Oregon (The Washington Post)

  • Ore. right-to-die law wins second battle | The state's landmark right-to-die law has survived a second challenge in federal court by the Bush administration and supporters hope that means the 10-year battle over the law has finally been settled (Associated Press)

  • Court defends Oregon euthanasia | A US appeals court has blocked attempts by the Bush administration to stop Oregon doctors helping terminally ill patients commit suicide (BBC)

  • Court upholds assisted suicide | A federal appeals court yesterday upheld Oregon's assisted-suicide law, saying U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's bid to outlaw it "far exceeds the scope of his authority under federal law." (The Washington Times)

  • Court upholds assisted suicide | A federal appeals court yesterday upheld Oregon's assisted-suicide law, saying U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft's bid to outlaw it "far exceeds the scope of his authority under federal law" (The Washington Times)

Life ethics:

  • Schiavo's struggle | Let her loving parents care for their living daughter (Delroy Murdock, National Review Online)

  • Inflated promise, distorted facts | As senators make moves, a walk through the stem-cell fray (Eric Cohen, National Review Online)

  • Bioethics bestseller | A government council revives the humanities (Claire Burgess, National Review Online)

Catholicism & politics:

  • Group asks IRS to probe Colo. diocese | Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, said the church should lose its tax-exempt status because it used church resources for political purposes (Associated Press)

  • A political sacrament | The nation's Roman Catholic bishops and the Democratic Party are headed for a politically charged collision over abortion (Kenneth L. Woodward, The New York Times)

  • No communion for contrary Catholics: a good idea? | For practicing Roman Catholics, to be denied communion is the most grievous punishment possible short of excommunication from the church (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Man objects to Communion for gay group | This Sunday at the Cathedral of St. Paul, a 1960s liberal anti-war activist turned orthodox church layman plans to stand — literally — in the way of gay Catholics and their supporters to prevent them from taking Holy Communion (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Protester plans to prevent gays from receiving Communion | Gay Roman Catholics and their supporters will have to get past David Pence on Sunday if they want to take Holy Communion on Pentecost at the Cathedral of St. Paul (Associated Press)

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  • Playing politics at the altar | Much is fueled by right-wing Catholics hoping to bolster Republicans in the elections and to distract attention from the church's sex-abuse crisis (Albert Hunt, The Wall Street Journal)

  • Cardinal Keeler calls for keeping politics out of Communion | Issue is between Catholic and conscience, he says (The Baltimore Sun)

  • Diocese may end donations to group | The Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs is threatening to withdraw its financial support for the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission unless the group takes a stand against abortion and homosexuality (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

  • Survey: Bishops shouldn't pressure voters | About 71 percent of American voters believe U.S. Roman Catholic bishops should not publicly pressure Catholic politicians on abortion, according to a survey released Thursday (Associated Press)

  • Catholic voters told abortion stance is key | Roman Catholic voters should consider backing candidates in elections who support church teaching, especially on issues such as abortion, senior bishops said (The Guardian, London)

  • Catholic church weighs into polls | The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales is urging voters to judge candidates for the local and European elections on their moral stances (BBC)

  • GOP recruiting Catholics to help defeat Democrats | The head of the Republican National Committee huddled with about 100 local Catholic activists yesterday to build support for President George W. Bush's re-election campaign and for other Republican candidates (Boston Herald)

  • Also: Church invites "all" to its Communion | The largest Methodist church in metro Denver is spending thousands of dollars on newspaper ads this week to counter Colorado Springs Roman Catholic Bishop Michael Sheridan's stance connecting voting to Communion worthiness (The Denver Post)


  • Catholic bishops decry Cuban price hikes | Poor Cuban families will suffer most under new U.S. measures to tighten an economic embargo and price increases imposed by the Cuban government, Cuba's Roman Catholic bishops said Wednesday (Associated Press)

  • Online journal offers forum for Catholic views | Australia's Catholics awoke yesterday to a new online journal dedicated to restoring liberal debate to the church. The journal plans to open up to debate issues suppressed by the church's official leadership (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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  • Chaput seeks to better serve Hispanics | In a report to Pope John Paul II in the coming days, Denver's Roman Catholic archbishop will prioritize serving the region's booming Hispanic population, urging more priestly vocations and "restoring a missionary spirit" in the faithful (The Denver Post)

  • Priest considered for administrative job | Former Terre Haute pastor Ashmore charged last year with indecent exposure (Tribune Star, Terre Haute, In.)

  • Christian exodus from Israel troubles Vatican | Increasing Christian emigration from the Holy Land in general and Bethlehem in particular is troubling to the Vatican, Cardinal Walter Kasper, President of the Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews said in Jerusalem on Thursday (The Jerusalem Post)

  • Web-savvy monks | Catholic monastery finds multimillion-dollar dot-com bonanza (

  • Ahead of visit, most Swiss think Pope should quit | Three out of four people in Switzerland, which is preparing for a visit by Pope John Paul next month, think he should resign due to age and ill-health (Reuters)

Bernard Law named to Vatican post:

  • Boston's ex-cardinal Law gets new job in Rome | A Vatican statement said the pope had appointed Bernard Law to be the archpriest of the Rome Basilica of St Mary Major, one of the most important churches in the Italian capital (Reuters)

  • Pope names Law to ceremonial position in Rome | The appointment, which will indefinitely provide Law with a job and an apartment at the heart of Rome, infuriated critics who blame Law for the clergy sexual abuse scandal and believe that the ensuing crisis in the church led to the need for the sweeping parish closings announced this week (The Boston Globe)

  • Cardinal Law given post at Vatican | Cardinal Bernard F. Law was forced to resign in 2002 as leader of the Archdiocese of Boston after a long and painful sexual abuse scandal involving clergy members (The New York Times)


  • Franciscan pleads guilty in sex assaults | Fidelis DeBerardinis, 76, has been sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted eight altar boys at a Boston church in the 1960s and 1970s (Associated Press)

  • Youth minister sued for sexual abuse | Youth for Christ also named in suit (Chicago Tribune)

  • Pastor charged with sex abuse | Mark John Hogan was a missionary with Sports Ambassadors, worked with many local churches (Canton Repository, Oh.)

  • Diocese cuts off funds to ex-priest | The Roman Catholic diocese of Springfield said yesterday it will end all financial support to Richard R. Lavigne, a defrocked priest who was convicted of molesting children and is the prime suspect in the 1972 slaying of a Springfield altar boy (The Boston Globe)

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Nigeria violence:

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  • Kano riot victims deserve decent burial | Ohaneze Youth Movement yesterday rose from an emergency meeting demanding that the remains of all ndigbo killed in the Kano crisis be returned to enable the victims get decent burial. It also condemned the mass burial given the victims as an affront on Igbo custom and values (This Day,. Nigeria)

  • Religious unrest in Nigeria | The following is an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government (Voice of America)


  • Sudan threatens to be the next Rwanda | As more of Africa turns to desert, there are fears that one civil war over land and water is turning into genocide (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • A partial peace | Western and African governments should now exert all the pressure they can on Sudan's leaders to bring the Darfur rebel movements and other marginalised factions into a more inclusive negotiating process on the country's future (Editorial, Financial Times)

  • War that claimed two million lives ends after 50 years | Decades of recrimination were put aside as the two factions inched towards agreement on how to share power in a new transitional government, as well as on the future of three contested regions (The Telegraph, London)

  • Sudan government, rebels sign peace pact | Sudan's government and rebels signed key agreements on Wednesday, resolving the last remaining issues needed to end Africa's longest-running conflict (Associated Press)

  • Rebels sign pact with Sudan's government to end 21-year war | The accord provides for political power-sharing and a future referendum allowing southerners to decide whether to remain part of Sudan or secede (The New York Times)

  • Episcopalians protest Sudanese | More than 100 protesters gathered in front of the Sudanese Embassy yesterday to protest the expulsion of the Episcopal Church from its Khartoum headquarters and human rights abuses in the African nation (The Washington Times)

  • Sudan: Another step towards lasting peace | Sudan has edged closer to a final peace deal after the government and rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army signed three protocols Wednesday night (May 26) that are crucial to ending Africa's longest-running civil war (Inter Press Service, South Africa)

  • World hails Sudan peace deal | The world is hailing the peace deal in Sudan between the government and a southern rebel movement to end a war that has claimed two million lives. But observers say fighting is still going on in Sudan and much needs to be done to revive a country devastated by years of war (Voice of America)

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  • Sudan priest is tortured | A Sudanese Catholic priest serving in the Diocese of El Obeid in Kauda, Nuba Mountain, was on April 16, 2004 picked up by heavily armed men under tight security, following the alleged discovery of a human body nearby (Catholic Information Service for Africa)

  • Documenting 'ethnic cleansing' in Sudan | Human Rights Watch has released a major study on the growing humanitarian crisis in the Darfur region of western Sudan, charging that Janjaweed militiamen, armed and backed by the Sudanese army, had mounted attacks against African tribal villages in a war of "ethnic cleansing" (The Washington Post)

  • Sudan accused of blocking Darfur relief | Less than a week after the Sudanese government agreed to allow U.N. relief agencies into Darfur province to care for more than a million homeless civilians, Khartoum has raised new obstacles that could delay the delivery of lifesaving supplies to the area for months, according to a senior U.N. official (The Washington Post)

War & terrorism:

Gen. Boykin investigation concluding:

American sought by F.B.I. found Islam:

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Call to prayer in Hamtramck, Mich.:

Church & state:

  • Carole's lips to God's ear | On second thought—or maybe it was on first thought, second reflex—the office of Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has decided that Unitarian Universalism is a religion after all (Austin Chronicle, Tex.)

  • Texas, taxes, and churches | That thump! … whew! you heard was the sound of a dropped ball, followed by a sigh of relief, as the office of state Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn recovered from a policy fumble (Editorial, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • Politics and religion start to mix | A coalition of churches in West Yorkshire is calling on voters to shun the BNP in the June elections (BBC)

  • ACLU may sue L.A. County over seal | County officials say the cross represents the Spanish missions , which are part of California's history (Fox News)

  • Indiana high school drops graduation prayer | ICLU had threatened to sue if Avon officials included invocation in upcoming ceremony (Associated Press)

  • Silence speaks far better than any partisan political prayers | Downingtown council was right to reject using a meeting ritual as a platform (Tom Krattenmaker, The Philadelphia Inquirer)


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  • After the Passion | For many people, the experience is lasting long after the credits have run (WTOC, Savannah, Ga.)

  • The Passion's passionate despisers | What are we to make of l'affaire Gibson now that his film has turned out to be a huge box-office success? Those who, like me, were deeply moved by The Passion of the Christ and judged it to be not anti-Semitic have no reason to gloat (Kenneth L. Woodward, First Things)

  • Silence of the flock | From liberal Catholics, a strange silence on Mel Gibson's Passion (Mary Gordon, The American Prospect)

  • Chick flick flirts with faith | Religion meets romance in Raising Helen (Steve Beard, National Review Online)


  • 'Saved!': A divine comedy | In religious school, Queen Bees find lots to pray on (The Washington Post)

  • 'Saved!': Beyond redemption | To the list of exclamatory adjectives that are being applied to the religious satire "Saved!" (including "wicked," "irreverent" and "subversive") allow me to add another: condescending (The Washington Post)

  • In 'Saved,' satire's divine | As an answer to the spreading cultural virus of evangelical conformity, Brian Dannelly's teen farce "Saved!" is about three teeth short of a full bite (New York Daily News)

  • Thou shalt find controversy | On the surface of it, "Saved" looks like something that's more likely to outrage fundamentalists than entertain them. But the filmmakers insist that they don't see it that way. (San Bernardino County Sun, Ca.)

  • 'Saved' by satire? | Questions to mull this weekend: Is it safe to satirize Christianity when Christians have proven such a formidable market force? (The Washington Times)

  • Stars show faith in film | Attending a Christian rock concert proved an eye-opener for the stars of the new Christian school satire, "Saved!" (The Washington Times)

  • 'Saved!' by redeeming virtues | Saved! is the antidote to the lugubrious and savage piety of The Passion of the Christ. It also is a departure from the insipid teen comedies that Hollywood routinely churns out (USA Today)

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Monty Python's Life of Brian:


  • New theory suggests people are attracted to religion for 16 reasons | People are not drawn to religion just because of a fear of death or any other single reason, according to a new comprehensive, psychological theory of religion (Press release, Ohio State University)

  • Small Bible groups increase in popularity | Format adds intimacy to Bible studies (The News Leader, Staunton, Va.)

  • Many turn to prayer for healing | Prayer is the most commonly used "alternative medicine," according to a survey of more than 31,000 adults released by the National Institutes of Health yesterday — more popular than acupuncture, chiropractic care, yoga, vitamins and other complementary medical therapies (The Washington Times)

  • Religious questions fascinate pollster | Gallup Jr. retiring, but work will go on (Religion News Service)

  • What's with Jesus tees? | What's unclear is whether the wearers are professing their faith, following a fad or putting on what an overpaid stylist handed them (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

Mission & ministry:

  • 'On a wing and prayer' | Allison Smith-Nowlin's path to the ministry was one that led her to the depths of heroin addiction, crime and jail before the comforting words of the Lord's Prayer gave her something to cling to. Now, almost two decades later, this high-school dropout has earned advanced degrees and has committed herself to being what she describes as a "radical community activist." (Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  • Testing her faith | Julianne Smartt, who will graduate from Dayspring Christian Academy on Saturday, is ready for the challenges ahead (The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  • The satirist is sincere | Tony Hendra talks about the monk who saved his soul (Tom Nolan, The Wall Street Journal)

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Church life:

  • A neighborly heads-up would have been nice | As a longtime neighbor of St. Andrew's, I respectfully suggest to Pastor Huffman that they're still not "doing it right" (Terry Botros, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Rural, old churches losing congregations | Across the country, rural churches are struggling to maintain their congregations while facing a tough fact — it's hard to get new members in old churches (Associated Press)

  • Movement away from church | As Barbados moves on economically and people get more money and build houses they are moving away from the church (The Barbados Advocate)

Church strife:

  • Father, Son and duelling bishops | Sydney's Anglicans are accustomed to internal conflict, but now - with cries of heresy - it's getting personal (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Trinity at the centre of a divide | Theological niceties are stopping women's ordination (Kevin Giles, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Bishop is a sinner, says RDC | Jinja resident district commissioner Mugisha Muhwezi has irked Christians by saying Jinja Diocese Bishop Joseph Willigers is a sinner (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

Homosexuality & religion:

  • Gay rights group: Church broke law | Gay rights advocates filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Political Practices against the Canyon Ferry Road Baptist Church Wednesday, saying the church inappropriately held an event to support a proposed constitutional ban on gay marriage (Billings Gazette, Mont.)

  • Anglican leaders tackle same-sex unions | General synod to chart course of Church this week (National Post, Canada)

Out-of-state gay weddings banned in Mass:

  • Provincetown won't let out-of-staters wed | Under pressure from Gov. Mitt Romney, Provincetown officials backed down Wednesday and said they will stop issuing marriage licenses to out-of-state gay couples (Associated Press)

  • Governor's office seeks records from two additional cities | Gov. Mitt Romney's legal office has requested marriage documents from Attleboro and Fall River after clerks there acknowledged issuing licenses to out-of-state gay couples in defiance of the governor's residency requirement, the clerks said Thursday (Associated Press)

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Gay marriage in Australia:

  • PM targets gays in marriage law | Gay couples will be banned from marrying or adopting children from overseas but will be allowed to inherit their partner's superannuation under proposed changes to marriage laws announced today. (The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)

  • Australia bans same-sex marriages, gay adoptions | Same-sex marriages in Australia will be outlawed and gay couples blocked from adopting children from overseas under laws proposed by the conservative government on Thursday that are likely to be approved by parliament (Reuters)

  • Australian government moves to ban gay marriages (AFP)

  • Australia to prevent gay marriage | Prime Minister John Howard wants Australia's marriage law clarified to stop homosexual couples marrying (BBC, video)

  • Labor backs gay marriage ban | Labor today backed the Federal Government's plans to ban gay couples from marrying but allow them to inherit their partner's superannuation. However, Labor frontbencher Nicola Roxon said the ALP had not yet made up its mind on the Government's plan to ban gay couples adopting children born overseas (The Australian)

International gay marriage:

  • French move to ban gay marriage | Authorities in south-west France have told a mayor not to go ahead with plans for the country's first gay marriage (BBC)

  • Gays in Brazilian state quietly tie knot | Unlike the controversy raging in the United States over gay marriages, a landmark judicial decision two months ago allowing civil unions in Brazil's southernmost state has generated little tension in Porto Alegre (Associated Press)


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Boston parish closings:

More articles:

  • Vietnam's Montagnards in fear of torture, arrest: rights group | Human Rights Watch says hundreds of ethnic minority Christians in Vietnam's Central Highlands have gone into hiding fearing torture and arrest by authorities (Voice of America)

  • Nothing neutral in the music | Don't take modern rhythms like gangsta rap, hip hop, rock and hardcore dub in Gospel music lightly, since they are geared towards certain moods and mindsets—at this particular time (Ricky Jordan, Daily Nation, Barbados)

  • Religion news in brief | Woman withdraws candidacy for primate of Canadian Anglicans; Catholic, Jewish leaders discuss impact of Gibson movie; Home to Army unit in prisoner abuse scandal holds prayer service; Texas reverses tax decision on Unitarians based on church beliefs (Associated Press)

  • When Europe fought over the nature of God | Protestant militants failed to win all of Europe, but their spirit still reigns in America (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Tiny Azusa Pacific has big-time talent in African shot-putter | Vivian Chukwuemeka holds four NAIA records and is seeking to repeat as the Outstanding Female Performer in the outdoors competition (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Ban on religious broadcast, move to Islamize Nigeria—PFN | The National Broadcasting Commission's blanket ban on airing of religious programs having to do with miracles by broadcast media houses is a practical step towards the complete Islamization of the country, the Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria has said (Daily Times, Nigeria)

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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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