"Bishops, in attempt to cut expenses, do not encourage people to read the Bible"

"Bishops, in attempt to cut expenses, do not encourage people to read the Bible"
That's the headline feared by Roman Catholic Bishop Joseph M. Sullivan of Brooklyn, New York, after the Conference of Catholic Bishops voted 137-102 to table plans for a statement urging Catholics to read their Bibles. Actually, the story may be worse than that.

The Boston Globe explains that the pastoral statement was "shelved" to "restrain spending and cut down on a crush of publications [the bishops] fear have little impact."

The Washington Times likewise summarizes bishops complaints that they are "burdened with multiple documents and expensive projects and … agreed Monday to reduce their workload."

Catholic News Service says the finance reason doesn't quite make sense on its own: "Task force chairman Bishop William B. Friend of Shreveport, Louisiana, noted in introducing the proposal that funding would be sought from outside sources to pay the costs of developing the pastoral statement. Sales of the publication would be expected to cover the costs of printing it."

Instead the cost factor is secondary. The bishops on Monday adopted new rules for considering such projects, and it's the financial and managerial cost of new projects in general that the bishops were concerned about.

But there may be more at work than that. Certainly, some bishops were concerned about both the program and the signal that tabling it might mean. Bishop John W. Yanta, of Amarillo, Texas, said, "Coming from a mission diocese, and also from the Bible Belt, I think it would be disastrous for us to vote against this, and I think it would be detrimental. The Word of God is essential to evangelization."

Archbishop Oscar H. Lipscomb of Mobile, Alabama, echoed the fear. "From my position, where the Bible is so much a part of any effort at evangelization, this would be a disaster public-relationswise."

Cincinnati Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk retorted that the conference of bishops doesn't exist "for good public relations, but to do the work of the church."

But encouraging the reading of the Bible is the work of the church, said his colleagues. It's also they said, key to ecumenical efforts with evangelicals.

Ah, those evangelicals. Here's where some trouble may lie. The Washington Times reports:

Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Richard J. Sklba, who favored the proposal, worried that Catholics were getting too "individualistic" in their Bible studies.
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"I worry a bit about an increasingly evangelical slant" among Catholics, he said.

"You can easily understand his concern," mocked CWN's weblog, Off the Record. "Why, these people might go out and bring their neighbors to the Gospel! They might—now brace yourself—convert Jews!"

A separate posting was similarly satirical. "This is a prudent decision," said the blogger, listing a few reasons.

  • Nobody would have read the statement anyway. They saved a few trees.
  • If anyone did read the statement, it would probably prove an embarrassment. If the bishops thought they could impress Bible-Belt Protestants by issuing a windy endorsement of read[ing] the Scriptures, they were mistaken. Evangelical Christians have already got the message, and they'd wonder why the bishops took so long (and so many words) to state the obvious.
  • Any time the U.S. bishops' conference decides not to issue a statement, it's a good thing.
  • Now the next time the USCCB puts out a statement on the Kyoto Treaty or the regulation of short-term interest rates, we can wonder aloud when they'll find time for a statement on the Word of God. Eventually even they might get the point.

Joking aside, this morning the bishops took what may be a significant step in ecumenical relations between Catholics and Protestants. In a 151-73 vote, they decided to join Christian Churches Together in the U.S.A., a new Christian alliance aimed at uniting Catholics, evangelicals, mainline Protestants, Pentecostals, and Eastern Orthodox.

"It's not to create some kind of megabody or megachurch," Bishop Stephen Blaire, chairman of the conference's ecumenical committee explained. "It is a forum for participation so that we can pray together, grow in our understanding together, and witness together our faith."

Among those on the Christian Churches Together steering committee are evangelicals Ron Sider of Evangelicals for Social Action, World Vision's Roberta Hestenes, The Salvation Army's W. Todd Bassett, and the Church of God in Christ's George McKinney. There are others, but they have all been heavily involved in earlier ecumenical efforts. The National Association of Evangelicals, which has historically been wary of ecumenical groups like the National Council of Churches (as has the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which is not a member of the NCC), has been pretty quiet about CCT, but former NAE head Kevin Mannoia is one of its biggest boosters.

In 2002, Christianity Today ran an article critical of CCT by executive editor Thomas C. Oden, along with a response from the CCT steering committee.

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In other news from the USCCB meeting, the Catholic bishops decided not to make any major changes to reforms they made in response to the sexual-abuse crisis (despite some early buzz to the contrary). They also surprisingly chose Bishop Donald Trautman of Erie to head the bishops committee on liturgy instead of Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia. Trautman wants to see major changes to Catholic liturgy, including making it more gender inclusive. Rigali, on the other hand, is critical of such efforts.

Weblog has waited 20 years for this article

Weblog has waited 20 years for this article
Big-time musicians have re-recorded the 1984 charity song "Do They Know It's Christmas?" and it will be released November 29. Thankfully, Reuters has issued a story questioning whether the song (originally recorded with biggies like Bono, Sting, and David Bowie, and long-forgotten folks like Ultravox's Midge Ure and Heaven 17's Glenn Gregory) should have been completely overhauled or left to the dustbin of history. The reason: The lyrics are absolutely idiotic. Here's the chorus:

There won't be snow in Africa this Christmastime
The greatest gift they'll get this year is life
Where nothing ever grows
No rain or rivers flow
Do they know it's Christmastime at all?

Well, it's true that there won't be much snowfall in Africa this Christmas. But given that the only part of the continent in the northern hemisphere is also in the tropics, that's hardly surprising. There won't be snow in Australia this Christmas time, either. In winter, South Africa does get some snow. And of course Tanzania's Mount Kilimanjaro is perpetually covered in snow and ice.

Things do actually grow there, including coffee, cotton, and cocoa. In fact, most Africans work in agriculture. That's partly because of the rain and rivers that flow there.

Oh, and as for them knowing whether it's Christmas—"Millions of devout African Christians celebrate Christmas with a zeal unmatched by its often commercialized version in the rich world," reports Reuters. "Countless churches have sprung up across the continent and Africans are even exporting missionaries to the West who might ask if Europeans 'know it's Christmas.'"

Indeed. Do they even know where Africa is?

Warfare watch

Warfare watch
Weblog can handle overstatements. Rhetoric has its place. Metaphor is useful at times. But boy, Joseph Farah sure sounds like he's advocating actual violence in his latest column, "The ACLU must be destroyed." He writes:

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The ACLU is never going to change. It is an anti-American organization. It is a group that seeks to destroy all that makes America a unique experiment in freedom. It is an organization in league with all of America's enemies. It is an organization that hates God, hates what is right, decent, and morally upright. It is an organization in league with the Devil, as far as I am concerned.
And the ACLU is an organization that needs to be isolated, exposed for what it is, recognized for what it is, and destroyed if necessary.

He also calls it a "organized, well-funded conspiracy" and "enemies of freedom, morality and responsibility," and concludes, "Let the barricades be erected. I'm not retreating — not another inch."

Does anyone else find such language troubling in a time of an actual shooting war that the government describes in almost exactly the same terms?

A home school smear

The Akron (Oh.) Beacon Journal has been running a series on home schooling that started out interesting. The theme is that there's little hard data on home schooling, whether you're talking about its growth, academic success, or other issues. But it quickly took some bad turns. "Some parents use laws as easy way to give up on education,' said the headline for an article on truancy. Uh-oh. "Racists can use home schools to train youths," said another. Yikes! Today, it gets even worse: "Home schoolers may be no safer in their homes." "Marcus Wesson had 16 children," the story begins. And he allegedly shot nine of them. The reporters write, ""Perhaps if the children had been in school rather than home-schooled, one of them would have whispered to a teacher hints of incest at home. Maybe one would have revealed that Wesson was stockpiling coffins."

Wha? The article continues:

The U.S. Department of Justice knows how many crimes occur at school, on the way to school and at home. Statistics show that, despite the events at Columbine, public school buildings remain among the safest places for a child.
But the department keeps no records on children schooled at home.
Consequently, crime experts can't answer the question: Are home-schooled children more or less at risk of violence than other school-age children?
Many school officials and social workers believe that a growing number of parents are operating under the guise of home schooling although they have no interest in educating their children, may have psychological problems, or, worse, are a threat to their children.
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Frankly, it's an absurd article that seems to conflate abuse issues with education issues. The implication is that the state should force children into public schools to get them away from their parents. Can't wait to read the letters on this one.


The November 16 weblog, Ravi Zacharias, Rich Mouw Speak in Mormon Tabernacle, included a quote from an unnamed pastor in The Deseret Morning News. The pastor was actually Craig Hazen, Director of the M.A. Program in Christian Apologetics at Biola University. And the bigger place right across the street he was referring to was apparently a 21,000-seat conference center, not the Mormon Temple. Sorry for the confusion.

More articles

Arlen Specter:

  • Specter closer to leading judiciary panel | Despite protests from anti-abortion activists, Sen. Arlen Specter is moving closer to locking down the spot as next year's Judiciary Committee chairman and shepherd to President Bush's judicial nominees in the Senate (Associated Press)
  • Specter seeks, gets support | GOP senators expected to approve chairmanship (The Washington Post)
  • Specter projected to lead panel | Hatch gives him nod; move likely to enrage conservative groups (The Boston Globe)
  • Hatch backs Specter for judiciary post | Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, Utah Republican, said yesterday that Sen. Arlen Specter, Pennsylvania Republican, likely will succeed him as chairman of the Judiciary Committee with Mr. Hatch's full support (The Washington Times)
  • Specter gets Hatch support to chair panel | Sen. Arlen Specter gained ground Tuesday toward winning the Senate Judiciary Committee chairmanship, which was thrown into doubt after he said judges who oppose abortion rights would face confirmation problems (Associated Press)
  • Hatch predicts Specter will chair U.S. Senate panel (Reuters)
  • Hatch throws support to Specter (The Salt Lake Tribune)
  • Conservatives build up campaign against Specter | The Pennsylvania senator is in line to become chairman of the Judiciary Committee (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

Religion & politics:

  • Priest asks lawmaker to quit choir post | Views on abortion, gay marriage cited (The Boston Globe)
  • `God gap' blocks understanding of `moral values' phenomenon | A believer offers a glimpse into what moves evangelical voters (Mercury News, Calif.)
  • The Christian Right's humble servant | For the religious right, Bush was like any other stealth candidate. No matter his unqualifications, he delivered for them in his first term, and so they rewarded him with their votes in record numbers (Max Blumenthal, AlterNet)
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  • Moral of the story | For presidential candidates to garner the conservative Christian vote — which is the block of voters we're mostly talking about here — they can't get too far just promoting any issue and wrapping it in the language of morality (David Limbaugh, The Washington Times)
  • The evangelical mantra - 'But it doesn't matter' | Like most Americans, we believe deeply in God, country and family. We just believe in a different kind of America than the one Bush is building with all deliberate speed. (Bill Roy, The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)
  • Clueless media propagates myth | Following days of spin and commentary, we can confidently declare a new urban legend: George W. Bush was elected by right-wing, science-hating, vengeful Christian zealots -- "revved up by rectitude," as one pundit put it -- and America is embarked on a hatchet-wielding jihad against heathens, pagans and infidels (Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel)
  • 'Christian left' could become important in politics | Whatever else comes of the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush as president, it could be viewed in hindsight as the moment that gave birth to the "Christian left," for lack of a better term, as a full-fledged movement. (Jim Thompson, Athens Banner-Herald, Ga.)

Evangelicals & politics:

  • Christian Coalition was a force in election politics | Roberta Combs, head of the Christian Coalition in America, isn't stunned President Bush won re-election as a faith and values candidate. (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)
  • Onward Christian voters | We must remain on guard against missionary elements seeking to proselytize Jews. But it would be unfair, and even wrong, to suspect all Christian supporters of Israel as being surreptitious soul-snatchers (Michael Freund, The Jerusalem Post)
  • Moderate Christians speak out to be counted | As a moderate Christian pastor, the Rev. Dr. John E. Maxwell often feels "extremely lonely and isolated" on a post-election landscape where the loudest and proudest claims of morality sound a far cry from love thy neighbor (Susan Paynter. Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
  • An attack on American tolerance | Religious fundamentalists have lately become more absolutist and more insistent (Robert Kuttner, The Boston Globe)
  • Right to believe, or not, under siege | Some people who call themselves Evangelical Christians are openly demanding that George W. Bush and members of Congress pay up for their help by loosening the strictures between church and state (Joyce Mullins, Delaware Coast Press)
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  • Evangelize the vote | Meet the conservative Christian pastor who spearheaded the Bush voter registration campaign in Washington (Seattle Weekly)

Democrats & religion:

  • Some Democrats believe the party should get religion | Bested by a Republican campaign emphasizing Christian faith, some Democrats are stepping up efforts to organize the "religious left" (The New York Times)
  • Democrats lose sympathetic evangelicals on values issues | What the Democrats do not seem to get is that there are a number of issues regarding aspects of social concern, justice and human rights that many in the heartland, especially evangelical Christians, may have more in common with them than they do with the Republican Party (Don Williams, Fort Wayne News-Sentinel, Ind.)
  • The harsh theology of the elites | Our tutors in the silk-stocking precincts imagine that the only way to rid the world of religious bigotry is to smother it under the weight of secular dogma and temporal zealotry (Wesley Pruden, The Washington Times)
  • Liberals' insincere 'sincerity' won't work | Do liberals really think that by being able to quote Scripture or to understand liturgy, they can win over the values voters? (Paul M. Weyrich, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Politicians can't fake religious faith | Through their post-election soul-searching, Democratic leaders claim to have seen the light. The reason they lost -- and the way to win -- is God (Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel)

Church & state:

  • Judging the Commandments | When it comes to public display, should differing versions matter? (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Where do you find separation of church and state? | How true the statement, "There is nothing so absurd but if you repeat it often enough people will believe it." (Linda Thornbrugh, The Orlando Sentinel)

Crime & abuse:

  • Drunken priest goes on rampage | A Croatian priest beat a member of his parish, threatened others with a rifle and crashed his car in a night of drunken rage, press reports said today (AFP)
  • Apply here for scholarship, and prepare to be smeared | Students who applied for a college scholarship from "National Academy" have been slandered online and had their personal information released publicly (The New York Times)
  • Arlington will monitor foundation's 2 dorms | The Arlington County Board approved a plan last night to let a publicity-shy but powerful religious foundation continue operating two youth dormitories in its North Arlington neighborhood despite concerns raised by neighbors after one of the organization's young members committed a string of burglaries there last year (The Washington Post)
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  • Church teacher charged with importuning and showing porn to 3 boys | A Sunday School teacher at Cornerstone Foursquare Fellowship was arrested Friday after he showed 12- and 13-year-old boys pornography and asked if he could touch them, police said (Canton Repository, Oh.)


  • Crazy brave Abbott | The Health Minister's abortion crusade raised eyebrows and ire among his colleagues (Michelle Grattan, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Teen abortion girl pregnant again | A Mansfield girl who sparked national debate by having an abortion without her mother's knowledge is pregnant again — and plans to keep the baby (BBC)
  • A contraceptive injection for teenagers | Let's get real. If jabbing teenagers with a needle prevents unwanted pregnancies I say get on with it (Lucy Mangan, The Guardian, London)
  • The living answers to abortion | I remember when it used to be argued, rightly, before the law was changed, that there should be no 'illegitimate' children. (Fr Seán Coyle, Irish Examiner)

Life ethics:

  • Big biotech's voracious appetite | Forget the old stem-cell research debate--laws in New Jersey, Illinois, Delaware, and California have moved the goal posts into brave new territory (Wesley J. Smith, The Weekly Standard)
  • Diabetes unit wins first stem cells license | The Prince of Wales Hospital will be the first public institution in the country to extract stem cells from human embryos (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • UN wars on clones | And the Bush Administration backs up the internationalist bureaucrats (Ronald Bailey, Reason)

Abortion pill remains on market after death:

  • FDA: Abortion pill safe enough for sale | The abortion pill RU-486 is safe enough to remain on the market with strengthened warnings, the government said Tuesday despite a third death after the drug's use (Associated Press)
  • Abortion pill to stay on market | The FDA said yesterday the abortion pill RU-486 will remain on the market despite criticisms from opponents who want the pill banned because they say three women have died after taking it (The Washington Times)


  • Texas schools scrap 'cross-dressing' day | A homecoming tradition in which boys dress like girls and vice versa in a tiny Texas school district won't be held Wednesday after a parent complained about what she regarded as the event's homosexual overtones (Associated Press)
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  • School board takes up issue of church activity | Armed with petitions, parents and teachers reiterated their concerns about alleged religious activities in schools to the Desert Sands Unified School District board Tuesday (The Desert Sun, Palm Springs, Ca.)
  • Baptist trustees promise reforms | Louisiana College at risk of sanctions (The Times-Picayune, New Orelans)
  • Web site spikes interest in god among college students | Site receives frequent hits from Iowa Staters (KCCI, Des Moines, Iowa)

Air Force Academy:

  • Non-Christian Air Force Academy cadets feel religious pressure, board told | The Air Force Academy, criticized last year for inattention to sexual assaults, now is troubled by cadets who are overzealous about religion, the academy superintendent said Tuesday (The Denver Post)
  • AFA will increase tolerance training | Cadets' complaints spur focus on religion (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

Principal fired after having himself whipped:

  • Principal fired after voluntary whipping | A principal at a Christian school who was fired for being voluntarily whipped in front of two students does not regret his decision (Associated Press)
  • Principal is whipped to punish two teens | Palmer: Christian school fires educator who says Jesus inspired him. (Anchorage Daily News)

Creation & evolution:

  • In science, no such thing as 'just' a theory | In ordinary English, a theoretical idea is one that is not well-grounded in fact. But a scientific theory refers to a mental model that scientists develop that allows predictions that can be tested by experiments or observations. (Robert L. Dehaan, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Teaching policy unclear | Calls for lessons in theories other than evolution (Pioneer Press, Minn.)
  • Faith-based parks? | Creationists meet the Grand Canyon (Leon Jaroff, Time)

December dilemma:

  • Holiday display said not pushing religion | A holiday display at Cranston (R.I.) City Hall that included a menorah, a Nativity scene and plastic pink flamingos in Santa hats didn't violate the separation of church and state, but the mayor's restrictions on what went into it did hinder free speech, a judge ruled (Associated Press)
  • Retailer discord rings over charity's bells | This holiday season's retail conundrum: to silence the bells, or let them ring (The Boston Globe)
  • Schools okay with season, not reason | Even in the Bible Belt, our public schools have become so worried about breaching that poorly understood "wall" separating church and state, they have gone to absurd lengths to suppress all religious expression during the holidays (Shaunti Feldhahn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
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  • Santa coming after all | Whitgift Centre management has sleigh-ed inaccurate claims that Father Christmas will not be appearing at the shopping centre this year (Croydon Guardian, England)
  • Santa is coming, it's official | Whitgift Centre bosses have rubbished reports that Father Christmas would not be visiting the shopping mall centre over the festive season (icCroydon, England)

Same-sex marriage & civil unions:

  • Voters define marriage | On Nov. 2, voters in 11 states passed amendments to their state constitutions that define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. The margins were from overwhelming (86 percent) to comfortable (56 percent). (Dale A. Oesterle, Daily Camera, Boulder, CO)
  • Repeal of gay union ban urged | The Charlottesville City Council passed a resolution Monday urging the repeal of a state law banning same-sex civil unions (The Daily Progress, Charlottesville, Va.)
  • Gay marriage ruling reverberates in churches around the country | Religious faiths had long wrestled with the place of gays in religious life. But until the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court legalized same-sex marriages in the state, the debate was strictly theoretical (Associated Press)
  • Uncivil union | Gay marriage isn't political death (Andrew Sullivan, The New Republic)
  • Clergy differ on gay rights | Topeka clergy members offered opposing views Friday of a proposed city ordinance that would prohibit discrimination of gay people. (The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)
  • Gay rights ordinance draws list of speakers | More than 80 people want to have their say before the Topeka City Council votes this evening on an ordinance that would prohibit discrimination of gay people. (The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)

  • Gay rights ordinance draws list of speakers | More than 80 people want to have their say before the Topeka City Council votes this evening on an ordinance that would ban discrimination against gay people. (The Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)

  • Institution of marriage needs help | It's time to take up the challenge about marriage. (Tom Schaefer, Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio)

Religious liberty:

  • Boy Scouts Jamboree to stay at Army base | The Boy Scouts Jamboree, which draws tens of thousands of Scouts and their leaders to Virginia's Fort A.P. Hill Army base every four years, will go on as planned this summer, despite a court settlement announced Monday that requires military bases and units to withhold official support from the Boy Scouts (The Washington Times)

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Religious freedom elsewhere:

Russian republics can't use own alphabets:

  • Tatarstan ordered to use Cyrillic | The Constitutional Court on Tuesday ruled that Tatarstan cannot switch the Tatar language's alphabet from Cyrillic to Latin, saying regional authorities have no jurisdiction over the alphabets of ethnic groups and peoples (The Moscow Times)

  • Russia court sticks to letter law | Russia's highest court has ruled that the country's ethnic republics cannot choose which alphabet to use for their languages (BBC)


  • Diplomacy and Darfur | The considered judgment of Sudan's rulers is that they can flout international commitments with impunity. Unless that judgment can be changed, the Security Council session in Kenya will not achieve anything (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  • Bush pushes for progress in Sudan talks | President Bush talked by telephone Tuesday with leaders in Sudan, pushing for progress in peace talks to end a 21-year civil war in southern Sudan (Associated Press)

War & terrorism:

  • IRA to let church view disarmament moves | The Irish Republican Army has agreed to let two Catholic and Protestant church officials witness the outlawed group's next act of disarmament and describe it afterward, officials in the British and Irish governments indicated Tuesday (Associated Press)

  • Nothing Islamic about human sacrifice | For all of their Muslim trappings, the terrorists of al-Qaeda and its affiliates have returned to pre-Islamic practices, to behaviors that Moses, Christ and Mohammed uniformly rejected: They practice human sacrifice (Ralph Peters, USA Today)

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Church life:

  • A Southern-based faith speaks out | Quick. Name this large Protestant Christian denomination: It's rooted in the South. It strongly opposes abortion. It views homosexuality as a sin and strongly opposes same-sex marriage. It has serious reservations about stem-cell research. It opposes the ordination of women. It abhors war and instructs all its members not to enlist or otherwise engage in acts of war. Thought you had it until the last one, didn't you? No, I'm not referring to the Southern Baptist Convention. I'm referring to America's fifth-largest Protestant denomination, the Church of God in Christ (David Waters, Scripps Howard News Service)

  • Expansion begets expansion | St. Andrew's Church is breaking a 20-year-old promise (Monica Mazur, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Baptists select new president | York edges Ellison at state meeting (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Seminar will stress Christ-centered leadership | 4,000 expected at Southeast church seminar led by Ken Blanchard (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • Anglican Bishop N.T Wright: | The Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, is one of the leading intellectuals in the Anglican Church today, a New Testament scholar who describes himself as "a good Calvinist". He speaks about what St Paul understood about homosexuality, and what he meant by "Justification" and Christ being "the end of the Torah" (The Religion Report, Radio National, Australia)

Billy Graham in Pasadena:

Anne Graham Lotz at N.C. Baptist convention:


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  • Wenski replaces Dorsey as bishop of Orlando Diocese | Pope John Paul II on Saturday named Bishop Thomas Wenski to succeed Bishop Norbert Dorsey as head of the Catholic Diocese of Orlando, effective immediately (The Orlando Sentinel)

  • Pope considering Ireland trip | Pope John Paul's health has stabilised recently, so much so that the Pontiff has expressed a desire to make at least two major trips abroad next year, including one to Northern Ireland.(Reuters)

  • Boston torn by parish closings | As some churches get reprieve, bishop strives to heal rift (The Washington Post)

Virgin Mary in grilled cheese:

Catholic schools:

  • Catholic school teachers picket | About a dozen teachers carrying protest signs stood in front of St. Anthony's Catholic school yesterday morning in an informational picket that they plan to continue each school morning until the Archdiocese of New York has settled their expired contract (The Journal News, White Plains, NY)

  • A parochial anxiety | Catholic school changes force hundreds of parents to wonder what's next for kids (Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y.)


  • New Bible translation returns to Hebrew roots | Biblical scholar Robert Alter's major new English translation of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible -- alternately called the Five Books of Moses, the Torah or Pentateuch -- has some critics manning the barricades while others are applauding his efforts to return the work to its original Hebrew meanings and majestic repetitions (Reuters)

  • The Da Vinci codswallop | World's best-selling novel got its key facts wrong (The Mirror, U.K.)


Film & television:

  • Journey to Bible times | A 90-minute documentary, released Sept. 15, journeys into the life of the Pharisee turned apostle, by "taking the audience to never-before-filmed sites where St. Paul lived and worked over 2,000 years ago," said Steve Ray, the film's creator (The Washington Times)

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  • No idol worshipper | Australian Idol star Guy Sebastian attends the Paradise Community Church (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • 'Values' win stokes clash on indecency | Fresh off what some have coined their "moral values" electoral victory, congressional Republicans moved quickly to pass so-called indecency legislation this week, but the bill has become bogged down in the Senate amid opposition from entertainers and broadcasters (The Hill, D.C.)

More articles of interest:

  • Decorations shine light on new understanding | Two weeks ago I wrote a column about holiday lights, and since then, I've gotten a little enlightenment myself (Angie Francalancia, Palm Beach Post)

  • Religion reporters scarce at networks | The closest thing most outlets have to a morals reporter is the person who works the religion beat, which is common at major newspapers but almost nonexistent in TV newsrooms (The Washington Times)

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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