Note: Due to a technical problem, this article from November 24 was not posted until November 29.

"We are fools for Christ's sake … We must pray for the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world," Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told a group of religious lawyers.

A Catholic, Scalia was invited to speak to the St. Thomas More Society, where he said the "wise" and "sophisticated" of the world consider faith foolish. According to the Chicago Tribune, "The 'wise' consider Christian fundamentalists to be 'simple-minded' and irrational because they believe in miracles and the resurrection of Jesus Christ, he said. But it is more irrational to reject the possibility of both, he said."

Later, Scalia spoke to the oldest Jewish community in the U.S. in New York. He told the crowd, "There is something wrong with the principle of neutrality." Neutrality as envisioned by the founding fathers "is not neutrality between religiousness and nonreligiousness; it is between denominations of religion."

The Jerusalem Post says Scalia may be in line for Chief Justice. "With speculation that Rehnquist is on the verge of retirement after a recent diagnosis of thyroid cancer, Scalia may be the leading candidate to take his place."

"I suggest that our jurisprudence should comport with our actions," he said. The Post writes, "If America's approach toward religion does change, it should be through democratic process, not 'judicial fiat.' America believes in 'a personal God who takes an interest in the affairs of man,' Scalia said. Quoting a line from Psalms that says the faithful will surely prosper, he added, 'I think it is no accident that America has prospered.'"

It doesn't seem that Scalia is really gunning for the Chief Justice job. Though many Christians agree with his views, he's right about others finding them foolish. Maybe he figures his deeply held beliefs have already disqualified him.

Religion at the drugstore

Religion at the drugstore
Deeply held beliefs also disqualify pharmacists from preparing medicine. According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, most people believe you should also check your religion at the door of the pharmacy. Only sixteen percent agreed, "pharmacists should be able to refuse to dispense birth control pills on religious grounds." And support is weak across the board. According to CBS News, only

  • 19 percent of men say pharmacists should have the right to refuse to fill a birth control prescription
  • 14 percent of women think so.
  • 25 percent of Americans age 45 to 64 say pharmacists should have the option of refusing to sell birth control pills because they are personally opposed to birth control.
Article continues below
  • 25 percent of those who call themselves Republicans, and the same number who classify themselves as conservatives, say it is OK for pharmacists to refuse a woman birth control pills based on his or her religious beliefs.
  • 21 percent of those who say they voted for President Bush in 2004 support the rights of pharmacists who refuse to dispense birth control pills, compared to 12 percent of those who voted for Sen. John Kerry.
  • 7 percent of those who never attend religious services support this right for pharmacists.
  • Catholics (21 percent) are a bit more likely than Protestants (17 percent) to support the rights of pharmacists who refuse to sell birth control pills because of religious beliefs. Also, 24 percent of white evangelical Christians also favor allowing pharmacists this choice.

Canadian Anglicans agree to 'flying bishops'

Canadian Anglicans agree to 'flying bishops'
According to the BBC, "Canadian bishops have now voted to allow 'episcopal visitors'—including from overseas—to intervene in dioceses where same sex blessings are allowed."

The plan goes against the Windsor Report, released last month.

"Others of the 43 individual churches that make up the Anglican Communion will watch closely to see whether any system of 'episcopal visitors' can help to keep liberals and traditionalists within the Canadian Church," the BBC writes.

"Even if the Canadian experiment is successful, 'flying bishops' may be more effective at preserving unity within Anglican Churches than between them."

News from Abyssinia

News from Abyssinia
The Discovery Channel is reporting on Italy's decision to return an obelisk "erected at Axum [sic] when Ethiopia adopted Christianity in the 4th century A.D." Benito Mussolini had stolen the monument after his forces attacked Abyssinia—now Ethiopia—before World War II. Since then, it has remained in Italy, despite Ethiopia's pleas to return it.

Also in Aksum is the cathedral of the Church of Mary Zion, where Ethiopian Christians believe the Ark of the Covenant lies. The story says that after the Queen of Sheba's visit to Solomon, she gave birth to a son, Menelik, who brought the ark back to Aksum. For more, see our interview with Edwin Yamauchi, a scholar of Africa and the Bible.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving. Weblog will return on Monday.

More Articles:

Religion & politics:

Article continues below
  • The black slate: race, religion and the DNC | In order to effectively compete with the GOP, Democrats need to better fuse their policies and programs with the values and morals that make states like Nebraska bleed red. (, Africa)
  • In Bush, some see a man of faith, others see a zealot | "No president," Bush declared, "should ever try to impose religion on our society." But that is precisely what a sizable number of his critics accuse him of doing. (The Sun Herald, Miss.)
  • Evangelicals seem to Democrats to belong to an alien `retro' America, whose values they do not share | Some analysts, stunned by the victory of George W. Bush in the 2004 election, suggested that he had won re-election because of the support of right-wing evangelical Christians or fundamentalists (the terms were used interchangeably). A few even braced for the introduction of an unwelcome theocracy and spoke darkly of secession. Amazingly, nobody laughed. (Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Ind.)
  • The next Phyllis Schlafly | With the attention of the political world now turning to the 2006 midterm elections, the GOP is already preparing one facet of their strategy: They're hoping to use the looming battles over judicial nominations to rile up their evangelical base and to paint Democrats as liberal obstructionists determined to block President George W. Bush's choices at any cost. (The American Prospect)
  • Americans show clear concerns on Bush agenda | After enduring a brutally fought election campaign, Americans are optimistic about the next four years under President Bush, but have reservations about central elements of the second-term agenda (The New York Times)
  • Presidential campaign said a lot about how we view religion | Oh, what an election campaign this was. By the time the votes were counted on Nov. 2 — Nov. 3 in Cameron County — the presidential race had become no less than a holy war. (Brownsville Herald, Texas)
  • Politics, Christianity part of GOP landscape in Alabama | Bob Riley or Roy Moore? Mainstream or more conservative? The names and the ideologies come up when people who track politics start talking about the 2006 gubernatorial race. (The Decatur Daily, Ala.)
  • Dobson shifts his agenda to conservative politics | Focus on the Family's founder enters a new arena to push his values (Houston Chronicle)
  • Black Pentecostals vote values, but not part of 'religious right' | Like other evangelical Christians, leaders of the Church of God in Christ want to limit abortion and bar same-sex marriage. But that doesn't mean the predominantly black Pentecostal denomination considers itself part of the "religious right" or supporters of the Republican Party. (WPTV, Fla.)
Article continues below
  • Bush boosted by black faithful | Support: African-American religious groups backed the president's stance on 'moral issues' such as abortion and gay marriage. (Baltimore Sun)
  • 67 Catholic Republicans most ever in Congress | A religious survey of the incoming U.S. Congress shows an all-time high of 67 Roman Catholic Republicans, including six of the nine new Catholics in the House. There are 86 Catholics from the Democratic Party, Catholics' longtime political home. (Toledo Blade)
  • Now the liberals don the mantle of zealots | Christian belief has become something to hide in 'free' Britain. (The Scotsman, UK)
  • New South leaders analyze rise of GOP | Participants cite religion as one reason for party's recent success (The State, S.C.)
  • New South proponents take stock as GOP redraws political map | A number of social progressives who helped shape the New South a generation ago gathered here this weekend to try to figure out what happened to it. (Associated Press)
  • Religious Left faces tough challenge | Progressives need to offer the faithful a clear moral vision worthy of broad support (Newsday, NY)

Religion & politics opinion:

  • 'Christian' values not exclusive property of any party | I can think of two things I have in common with President Bush. I was active in the United Methodist church for a number of years, and I was a Republican for most of my adult life. These are both now parts of my past. (Helen Breon Volz, Centre Daily Times, Penn.)
  • Predictions for next four years | Empowered by the debt that he owes to the evangelical Christians, Bush might even look to replace the Constitution with the Bible. (Robert M. Prowler, Sun-Sentinel, Fla.)
  • Harnessing religion for political gain | What is wrong with what is transpiring in American politics is the harnessing of religious (or pseudo-religious) organizations for political gain. (Rick Anderson, Toronto Star)
  • The slumbering giant of Christianity awakens | If secular liberalism is relegated to a virtual political ash heap for the next 20 years, historians may cite two dates in 2003 as pivotal to their decline … September 4th and November 18th. Perhaps as much as anything else that impacted the outcome of the 2004 election, the events that took place on those two days assured the defeat of John Kerry and the loss of six more Democratic U.S. senators. (Gary Palmer, Demopolis Times, Ala.)
Article continues below
  • Values voters and the left | Over the last eight days I have been interviewed at least 50 times by reporters seeking an answer to the apparently difficult question: "Who are these values voters?" (Gary L. Bauer, Washington Times)
  • The protocols of evangelicals | There's a new bigotry in town. It comes equipped with an epithet or two — "religious right" is the favorite term now — and will no doubt soon produce something equivalent to the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion." (Jay Ambrose, Washington Times)
  • Give me the old-time religion? | Evangelicals and the Democratic Party (David C. Steinmetz, Orlando Sentinel)
  • The illusion of 'either-or' politics | The argument over whether Republicans won in 2004 by appealing to their base, pumping up turnout especially among evangelical Christians, or by reaching to the middle, where they made gains among women, Catholics, etc., continues apace. (Tod Lindberg, Washington Times)
  • From the Christian perspective, does the religious right really have it right? | In David Burchett's book, "When Bad Christians Happen to Good People," he points out that Christians are to examine their actions in light of whether the love and compassion of Christ is central in their everyday relationship with other people. (John Edwards, Asheville Citizen-Times, N.C.)
  • Hitting the Road | A lot of people are upset about the outcome of this year's election. The prospect of having to share their country with people who voted for Bush and oppose same-sex "marriage" has left them unhinged. (Chuck Colson)
  • Among the believers, near and far | Some of the same readers were deeply offended by a recent column in which I explicitly equated hard-line Christian evangelical leaders (such as Bob Jones III) with Islamic fundamentalists (such as the 26 Islamic scholars in Saudi Arabia who recently issued a fatwa urging Iraqis to support the insurgents resisting coalition forces in Fallujah and Mosul). (Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press)

'Moral values':

  • Many who voted for 'values' still like their television sin | Network executives say the election will have little impact on which shows they decide to put on television (The New York Times)
  • No Christian left behind | Evangelical Christians have come to personify Americans with values, including the belief that homosexuality is a sin. But there's another kind of Christian with a very different set of values. (Anchorage Press, Alaska)
  • A nation split down a religious fault line | After months of intense media speculation about the political ramifications of the war in Iraq and the tepid US economy, the post-presidential election debate has been unexpectedly dominated by two words: moral values. (Al-Jazeera)
Article continues below
  • Striking yet another blow for moral values | House Republicans have rewritten the ethics rules so Tom DeLay won't have to resign if indicted after all. Let's hear it for moral values. DeLay is one of the leading forces in making "Republican ethics" into an oxymoron. (Molly Ivins)
  • Postelection perspectives | 'Holy war' over moral values or contempt for opinion? (Morris P. Fiorina, San Francisco Chronicle)

Air Force's Christian banner removed:

  • Air Force coach to remove Christian banner | The Air Force Academy's longtime football coach has agreed to remove a Christian banner from the team's locker room after school administrators announced they would do more to fight religious intolerance. (Associated Press)
  • Religious sign begets inspiration, tension | Players on Air Force's football team voted to hang a sign in the team's locker room that read, in part, "I am a member of Team Jesus Christ," coach Fisher DeBerry said Saturday after the Falcons' 47-17 win over Colorado State. (San Jose Mercury News)
  • Religious bias complaint went higher | The complaint outlined a culture "systematically biased against any cadet that does not overtly espouse Christianity." (Colorado Springs Gazette)

Church & state:

  • ACLU forum focuses on church, state separation | The program was sponsored by the Monmouth County Friends of the American Civil Liberties Union-New Jersey (ACLU-NJ), whose stated mission is to support, protect and defend the rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States by promoting an understanding of the meaning of civil liberties. (Colts Neck News Transcript, N.J.)
  • Christian-Republican alliance: Faustian bargain? | Inside the First Amendment (Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center)
  • God's Top 10 | I don't often dabble in literature that has been deemed as illegal, unsavory or unfit for public consumption. But I must confess that temptation got the best of me, and I plunged into that realm of forbidden fruit. Yes, I decided to revisit the Ten Commandments (Richard W. Budd,, Va.)
  • Angels herald discord | Town commissioner Leslie Peck-Epstein collects angels, but she also thinks it's time for the town's angels to fly away. She says the angels hanging from the town's light poles can be viewed as symbols of Christianity and could offend. (Tampa Bay's 10)
Article continues below
  • Church sues city for use of public schools | A conservative law group has filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Peabody on behalf of an evangelical church that was denied use of a public school for worship services. (Associated Press)
  • Ruling limiting prayers at public meetings causes stir in Bible Belt | Two months ago, leaders of this northern Virginia community reluctantly stopped their generations-old practice of opening council meetings with prayers after a federal appeals court ruled that invoking specific religions in public prayers is unconstitutional. (Associated Press)
  • Political ventures hold pitfalls for churches | Before conservative Christians get too comfortable with this church-state alliance, they would do well to remember a bit of familiar wisdom: Those who seek power by riding the back of the tiger end up inside. (Charles Haynes, Springfield News-Leader, Missouri)


  • Can god see the future? | Some evangelical scholars are taking worldly heat for suggesting that divine knowledge has its limits (Chronicle of Higher Education)
  • Charter schools fall short in public schools matchup | A new study commissioned by the Department of Education, which compares the achievement of students in charter schools with those attending traditional public schools in five states, has concluded that the charter schools were less likely to meet state performance standards. (The New York Times)
  • College life should be about diversity | Ashland University recently instituted a policy of hiring only Christians and Jews as full-time faculty members. This unfair policy stabs at the heart of what a college education is supposed to be all about. (Lancaster Eagle Gazette, Ohio)
  • Caring wasn't enough to save Essex Catholic | Essex Catholic High School is no more (Newark Star Ledger, N.J.)
  • Students free to thank anybody, except God | Maryland public school students are free to thank anyone they want while learning about the 17th century celebration of Thanksgiving -- as long as it's not God. And that is how it should be, administrators say. (WTOP, D.C.)
  • Revision marches to social agenda | Conservative state Board of Education leans on publishers to tweak marriage and sexuality references in public school health textbooks. (The Los Angeles Times)
  • Battle on gay pride shirts leads to suit against school | The American Civil Liberties Union filed suit yesterday against a Missouri high school that twice admonished a gay student for wearing T-shirts bearing gay pride messages. The suit charges that the school violated the youth's constitutional right to free expression. (New York Times)
Article continues below
  • College back from brink | Grand Canyon University, the small Christian liberal arts school that was millions in debt and nearly closed its doors in January, has been reborn. (The Arizona Republic)
  • Pa. town puts Darwin on notice | In Dover Area High School biology classes, the Creator will get equal billing with Charles Darwin. (Philadelphia Inquirer)

War & terrorism:

  • Whitworth-affiliated church opposes war | The Presbyterian Church (USA) called the war in Iraq "unwise, immoral and illegal" at its annual general assembly meeting in Richmond, Va. this summer. By doing so, the church is in agreement with other religious bodies (The Whitworthian, Spokane, Was.)
  • Extremist threats put Netherlands in turmoil | The Nov. 2 killing of director Theo van Gogh, whose latest film had denounced mistreatment of women in Muslim communities, set off a wave of arson attacks against mosques and churches (Los Angeles Times)
  • Pakistan verifies arrest of suspected extremist | Authorities on Friday confirmed the arrest of a militant suspected of involvement in a March 2002 grenade attack on a church near the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad that killed five people, including the wife and daughter of an American diplomat (Los Angeles Times)
  • France scorns beheading claim | France has scornfully rejected a claim by Ivory Coast's president and its top Roman Catholic cleric that French troops beheaded young protesters there. (BBC)


  • Poll shows Muslims do not feel respected | British Muslims feel disconnected from government and society to an alarming degree, research has revealed. (The Guardian, UK)
  • Islamophobia makes British Muslims feel increasingly 'isolated' in their own country | Muslims in Britain are suffering soaring levels of Islamophobia and discrimination based on their faith, rather than the colour of their skin, a report published today says. (The Independent, UK)
  • Germany: Muslim group stages march against terror | About 20,000 people marched through the western German city of Cologne Sunday in a demonstration against Islamic terrorism that was organized by a Muslim group. (Associated Press)
  • Muslim anguish and Western hypocrisy | European authorities have demanded that resident Muslims repudiate violence. Many mainstream Muslim leaders, though, cannot bring themselves to denounce the murderer of van Gogh, whose film Submission showed Koranic verses superimposed on the naked skin of Muslim women. Smugness oozes from European politicians who demand that Muslims repudiate violence as a precondition for residence in the West. (Asia Times, Hong Kong)
Article continues below
  • Turban ban provokes protests in Malaysia | Malaysia's second highest court has upheld the right of government schools to bar male Muslim students from wearing turbans to class, drawing protests from the Islamic opposition. (AAP)
  • Ultra-radical Muslims draw scrutiny | An ultra-radical Islamic ideology mixing zealot-like devotion and holy war creed is drawing more scrutiny in anti-terrorist probes from the Middle East to Europe — with increasing indications that its base on the fringes of Islamic extremism could be widening. (Associated Press)
  • Muslims 'facing most faith bias' | Muslims in the UK are more likely to face discrimination based on religion rather than race, a study says. (BBC)
  • Muslims split on extremists' brutal tactics | When the news broke last week of the reported execution-style shooting of a longtime and highly respected humanitarian aid worker in Iraq, it raised to a new level a growing debate in the Arab and Muslim world about the brutal methods being used by extremist groups that often claim to be acting in the name of Islam. (San Francisco Chronicle)

Muslims in Britain:

  • Festival aims to boost respect for Muslims | A national festival aimed at increasing community respect and appreciation of Muslims will be launched tonight. (The Scotsman, UK)
  • In Britain, moderates struggle to repair image | Hunched in black robes over his microphone, Sheikh Omar Bakri suddenly heaves himself upright in rhetorical climax and pounds the table. "Embrace capitalism or Christianity, you go to hellfire!" he bellows. The crowd of men seated before him nod in agreement as Sheikh Bakri warns against misplaced sympathy for Western society. "Don't think that because the unbelievers give us income support, we should have less hate," he continues. "Because we hate not for our sakes, but for the sake of Allah." (Seattle Times)
  • British Muslims push to integrate | Members of Britain's growing Muslim population are working to repair an image tattered by homegrown radicals - and to find a place in mainstream society. (Christian Science Monitor)

Britain's religious discrimination bill:

  • Britain plans to outlaw religious discrimination | Britain unveiled plans today to stamp out religious discrimination, but critics warned that the proposed new laws could open a Pandora's Box, pitting the rights of one minority against those of another. (Reuters)
Article continues below
  • Human rights: faiths to be protected from discrimination | A decade of campaigning by faith communities had its reward when incitement to religious hatred was named as a criminal offence and religious discrimination was outlawed. Under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Bill — which will apply to England, Wales and Scotland — any action deemed to stir up such hatred could land the perpetrator in court. (Times, London)

Religious freedom:

  • Thin line between love and hate | I Wish to raise my concern about the booklet produced for the National Day of Prayer by the Assembly of Christian Churches in Fiji (ACCF) in association with the Ministry of National Reconciliation and Unity. I find it very worrying. (Fiji Times, Fiji)
  • UN committee approves draft resolution calling for end to religious intolerance | A key United Nations committee has approved a draft resolution voicing concern at the overall rise in religious intolerance globally, including cases motivated by animosity towards Jews, Muslims and Christians, and urging countries to cultivate respect for all belief systems. (UN News Centre)
  • UNHCR, Cambodia working together to help Christian Montagnards | An influx of ethnic Montagnards from Vietnam to Cambodia over the last few months is creating a difficult challenge for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (Christian Post)
  • Montagnard problem needs a political solution | Montagnard hill tribes in Vietnam have long encountered discrimination from Hanoi. Many of them helped the U.S. during the Vietnam war. They are Christians in a communist country. (Reuters)
  • As peace returns, Lebanese Americans visit ancestral homeland | Lebanese Americans, the largest group within Michigan's about 350,000-member Arab-American community, are making more visits to their ancestral homeland as it emerges from years of civil war into peace and prosperity. (Associated Press)
  • Being Hindu in the Bible Belt | Ketki Shah recalls the day that classmates at her daughter's school told the young girl she and her family were going to hell. (Associated Press)
  • Catholics twice as likely to suffer abuse in Scotland | Roman Catholics are twice as likely as Protestants to be the targets of sectarian abuse, the first detailed study of crimes involving bigotry in Scotland found yesterday. (Times, London)
  • Catholics 'most likely victims of sectarian abuse attacks' | Renewed calls were made yesterday for a clampdown on sectarian violence after a study showed Catholics were twice as likely as Protestants to suffer abuse and a pub packed with Celtic supporters was attacked by scores of football hooligans. (The Herald, UK)
Article continues below

Human rights:

  • Babies-for-sale trade faces a global crackdown | Attempts by Western families to adopt children from poor nations have fuelled a rogue market in young lives. But at last action is being taken. (The Observer, UK)
  • Death threats force controversial Dutch MP underground | Geert Wilders, the Dutch MP and controversial critic of Islam, has two policemen by his side even when in his high-security parliamentary office in case someone tries to decapitate him. Each day, he does not know where he is going to sleep that night, as he is taken from safe house to safe house in a convoy of armoured cars. (Times, London)

Turkey (the country):

  • Some hard-liners in Turkey see diversity as divisive | Under pressure from the European Union and civil rights advocates, Turkey has started to reassess the way it has treated religious minorities (The New York Times)
  • Muslims and Christians condemn Dutch attacks | People of various religions gathered together at a mosque in Gent, Belgium to condemn the inter-faith tension that started in The Netherlands when the Dutch movie director Theo Van Gogh was murdered and spread to Belgium with setting a mosque on fire. (Zaman Online, Turkey)


  • Mr. Bush's better world | The Bush administration shrugged its shoulders last week at the genocide in Sudan's western province of Darfur (Editorial, The Washington Post)
  • Can the UN achieve peace in Sudan? | The United Nations will provide aid to Sudan's government and southern rebels if they fulfil their promise to finalise a peace deal by the end of the year. (BBC)
  • Aid charity 'committed' to Sudan | The head of a charity whose workers were flown to safety in Sudan on Monday has spoken of its commitment to staying in the war-torn country. (BBC)
  • Aid workers flee Darfur violence | Aid workers in Sudan's Darfur region have been airlifted to safety amid new fighting between government and rebel troops in a major town. (BBC)
  • A Christmas challenge to give | Congregation urged to detour holiday spending to Sudan relief (Corvallis Gazette Times, Ore.)

Father of dead Saudi to sue scholars who encouraged jihad:

  • Saudi 'to sue jihadist scholars' | The father of a young Saudi man killed in Iraq is reported to be planning to sue 26 Saudi religious scholars who called for jihad against US forces. (BBC)
Article continues below
  • Bereaved father to sue over jihad call | The father of a young Saudi fighter who died in Falluja is planning to sue religious scholars who have called for jihad against the US-led occupation of Iraq, a Saudi newspaper reported yesterday. (The Guardian, UK)


  • Human-rights body urged to take head-scarf stand | Some private schools in Quebec continue to forbid Muslim students from wearing head scarves, and critics pressed the province's top human-rights body yesterday to take a position on the controversial practice. (Globe & Mail, Canada)
  • Malaysia court upholds school ban on Muslim turban | A court in mainly Muslim Malaysia has upheld a ban on schoolboys wearing a serban, a turban that has become a symbol of Muslim piety, in a new twist to international controversies over religious dress in schools. (Reuters)


  • As attacks rise in France, Jews flock to Israel | In France, rising anti-Semitic attacks by Muslim immigrants and the anti-Israel bias of the French government and media had made life increasingly uncomfortable for them. (USA Today)
  • UN includes anti-Semitism in resolution on tolerance | The UN Third Commission on Human Rights has approved for the first time a resolution on religious tolerance that incudes condemnation of anti-Semitism and concern about its spread. (Ha'aretz, Israel)
  • U.N. panel urges religious tolerance | A U.N. General Assembly committee approved for the first time Monday a resolution decrying an increase in anti-Semitism along with rising intolerance and violence directed at other religions. (Reuters)
  • French PM denounces hate crimes | Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin expressed his "revulsion" Sunday at an increase in anti-Semitic and other hate crimes in France as he marked the 60th anniversary of the liberation of this eastern French city from Hitler's troops. (Associated Press)
  • Also: Suburban man fights for a lost fortune | Holocaust descendant learns how family's business was taken in Nazi Germany (Chicago Tribune)

Jews & Christians:

  • Jewish, Presbyterian clerics bond in pulpit | Although they worship directly across the street from each other in Birmingham, sometimes the gulf between Jews and Presbyterians seems wider than Highland Avenue. (Associated Press)
  • Scriptures at 10 paces for city's Jews and Christians | The intermittent turf war between Sydney's Jewish community and a Christian missionary group has reignited. The San Francisco-based evangelical group Jews for Jesus drew fresh criticism from Jewish leaders this week after shifting its national headquarters to the heart of Sydney's largest Jewish community. (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)
Article continues below
  • The enemy of my enemy | John Hagee supports Zionism to the detriment of Israel and Jewish Americans (San Antonio Current)
  • Jewish leaders react to Presbyterian Church divestment from Israel | When Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, executive director of Sacred Heart University's Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding, heard about resolutions voted on by the Presbyterian Church (USA) last summer -- including one that calls for a divestment from Israeli businesses he was stunned. (Connecticut Jewish Ledger)

The Holy Land:

  • In the footsteps of the prophets | Our correspondent follows the pilgrims discovering a part of the Holy Land rich in biblical sites (Times, London)
  • Talks on with Palestinians to improve Christmas tourism | Tourism Minister Gideon Ezra said during a weekend visit to Nazareth that he has begun talks with Palestinian Tourism Minister Matri Abu Aita about holding a joint press conference where they will call on Christians throughout the world to visit Jerusalem and Bethlehem. (Ha'aretz, Israel)


  • Feathers ruffled as Pell picked for peace pilgrimage | Australia will send a religious delegation to Indonesia that includes the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney but snubs the country's most senior Muslim leader. (The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)
  • Raleigh churches seek common ground | Uniting in an interfaith Thanksgiving service to sow the seeds of trust (News & Observer, N.C.)
  • 'We have sinned against you' | A leading evangelical speaks at the Mormon Tabernacle and says evangelicals have spread lies about LDS beliefs. (Richard Mouw, Beliefnet)
  • Interfaith event draws more than expected | the event drew nearly 250 from the Monterey Peninsula. While the afternoon was promoted as an interfaith dialogue among Christians, Muslims, and Jews, including presentations and a question-and-answer session on each religion, as well as a signing of a declaration of peace, organizers only hoped for a successful gathering of people of different faiths. (Monterey County Herald, Calif.)
  • Sheikh Al Hilaly angry at being left out of interfaith delegation | A leading Muslim cleric, Sheikh Taj el-Din Al Hilaly, has described the Foreign Affairs minister Alexander Downer as "racist" and "vindictive". Mr Downer has chosen the heads of religious organisations to represent Australia at a regional interfaith delegation in Indonesia next month. But the Mufti has been left out of the delegation. (The World Today, ABC, Australia)
Article continues below

Same-sex marriage:

  • Irish official promotes civil partnerships | Ireland should legalize civil partnerships between unmarried couples, including homosexuals, but not pursue full-fledged "gay marriage," Justice Minister Michael McDowell said Saturday in his first major policy speech on the matter (Associated Press)
  • Court says both in gay union are parents | A Vermont family court has ruled that both parties in a same-sex civil union are legal parents of a child, a contradiction of an earlier Virginia court ruling that awarded custody to the biological parent (The Washington Post)
  • ACLU shifts argument in Oregon gay marriage case | Group will argue for legal civil unions instead of same-sex marriage rights (Reuters)
  • Bishops turn blind eye to gay wedding ceremonies in church | The Church of England is yielding to increasing pressure to conduct gay "weddings" as the Civil Partnerships Act recognising same-sex unions comes into force next year. (Times, London)
  • US court rules same-sex partners have same rights over kids as married couples | Same-sex couples joined together in a civil union have the same rights regarding their children as do heterosexual couples, a judge in Vermont ruled, contradicting an earlier court decision in Virginia, according to a newspaper report. (AFP)

Marriage & family:

  • Absent fathers need not just be seen as walking wallets | The child support agency's decline mirrors the rise of militant fathers (Adrienne Burgess, The Guardian, UK)
  • To avoid divorce, avoid the Bible Belt | If blue states care less about moral values, why are divorce rates so low in this bluest of the blue states? It's a question that intrigues conservatives, as much as it emboldens liberals. (Dallas Morning News)
  • Sound, golden, godly marriages are alive and well | Whoever said marriage "ain't what it used to be" doesn't know the couples my wife and I had the privilege of having breakfast with this past weekend. (Warren Bolton, The State, S.C.)
  • Dozen doesn't faze them: Family with six children makes room for six more | Corlee Winkler says her family didn't think twice about housing and home-schooling six children of a friend whose Gulf Coast home in Florida suffered hurricane damage this past summer. (Kingston Daily Freeman, N.Y.)
  • Conservatives urge broader look at factors threatening marriage | "Protection of marriage" is now the watchword for many activists fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. Some conservatives, however, say marriage in America began unraveling long before the latest gay-rights push and are pleading for a fresh, soul- searching look at the institution. (Associated Press)
Article continues below
  • Pope warns against changes to marriage | Pope John Paul II warned against attempts to tamper with what he called "the irreplaceable" institution of marriage-based family, saying Saturday that such efforts would deeply wound society (Associated Press)
  • State of matrimony | The other 49 states haven't been looking to Massachusetts for marriage advice, but maybe they should. It seems we lead the pack when it comes to a key element in the definition of traditional marriage. (Rick Holmes, Dover-Sherborn Press, Mass.)
  • Amid gay debate, some urge broader look at marriage | "Protection of marriage" is now the watchword for many activists fighting to prevent gays and lesbians from marrying. Some conservatives, however, say marriage in America began unraveling long before the latest gay-rights push and are pleading for a fresh, soul-searching look at the institution. (Daytona Beach News-Journal)


  • Motherhood climbs back on the pedestal | Many women feel heavy pressure - from peers, church, themselves - to be 'perfect' moms (Christian Science Monitor)
  • High-fliers still 'marginalised by motherhood' | Highly qualified working women with pre-school children are suffering widespread 'hidden' discrimination by their employers, according to one of the most comprehensive studies of Britain's work-life balance. (The Guardian, UK)

Pre-nups in Britain:

  • Family lawyers back pre-nuptial divorce agreements | Pre-nuptial agreements should become legally binding in England and Wales, a group of family lawyers recommends today. (Daily Telegraph, UK)
  • Make pre-nuptial agreements binding, family lawyers say | Britain's biggest group of family lawyers is calling for prenuptial agreements to be made legally binding. (The Guardian, UK)

Sexual ethics:

  • Law to target men who fuel sex trade | Men who use prostitutes smuggled into Britain will face prosecution for exploiting victims of the international sex trade. (The Guardian, UK)
  • Teen births decline, report shows | A new federal report on birth statistics shows a "thrilling" 12-year decline in teen births — and a "very alarming" jump in the portion of births that occur out of wedlock. (Washington Times)


  • Rolling back women's rights | Dispensing with legislative niceties like holding hearings or full and open debate, President Bush and the Republican Congress have used the cover of a must-pass spending bill to mount a disgraceful sneak attack on women's health and freedom. (Editorial, The New York Times)
Article continues below
  • Congress approves anti-abortion clause | America's religious right has scored its first legislative victory since George Bush's re-election by inserting a clause into a spending bill to undermine state laws requiring hospitals to provide abortions. (The Guardian, UK)
  • Pro-life groups celebrate 'major victory' in Congress | Pro-life groups won a key victory this weekend when Congress passed legislation stipulating that state and local governments can't coerce hospitals, insurers and other health care groups into performing or supporting abortions. (The Washington Times)
  • Key battles brewing over abortion | Judges, legislation are likely to be flash points in the coming months. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Battle over US abortion rights sparked in Congress | Weeks after President George W. Bush's reelection, the battle over US abortion rights has been reignited, after Congress approved a measure freeing hospitals from statewide provisions to offer abortion services. (AFP)
  • Gay unions, stem cell research remain hot topics | Wow, it certainly didn't take the newly re-elected Bush theocracy long to start spending the political capital of their "perceived" mandate. We haven't even had the coronation yet. A front page news report in Saturday's New York Times, is headed, "Negotiators Add Abortion Clause To Spending Bill." (Murvale H. Moore Jr., Lincoln Journal, Mass.)
  • Babies-in-river trial splits Kenya | A grisly discovery has led to one of the most emotive murder cases in Kenya's recent history and split the medical and religious establishments on the issue of abortion. (Times, London)
  • British doctor admits arranging abortions in eighth month | A senior GP has admitted arranging a termination for a healthy patient who was 31.5-weeks pregnant at the Spanish clinic exposed by The Sunday Telegraph for carrying out illegal late-term abortions. (Daily Telegraph, UK)

Life ethics:

  • Religion at the drugstore | According to a CBS News/New York Times poll, eight out of ten Americans believe pharmacists who personally oppose birth control for religious reasons should not refuse to sell oral contraceptives. (CBS News)
  • IVF 'needs more research' | The health of test tube babies and their mothers should be tracked more closely to ensure that the growing use of assisted fertility techniques is safe, scientific and ethical advisers said yesterday. (The Guardian, UK)
Article continues below
  • 'How could I switch off his life support machine?' | When her brother Malcolm fell gravely ill, doctors told Christine Aziz that he was brain dead. Yet his body was warm, he was breathing - and the decision she faced seemed impossibly cruel (The Independent, UK)
  • UN deadlock defeats cloning ban | The United Nations has shelved efforts to draft a treaty banning the cloning of human embryos in a setback for the Bush administration. (BBC)
  • Group condemns condom promo, seeks abstinence | Nigeria Fellowship of Evangelical Students (NIFES), has condemned tcampaign for the use of condom among youth by various NGOs and government organisations, as against abstinence, reiterating that glamourisation of Condom will not help youth and their future. (This Day, Lagos, Nigeria)
  • Suicide is not painless, but it can be brave, right and rational | Whatever that haunting song from M*A*S*H may have claimed, suicide is not painless. Few fateful decisions are. To take one's own life can hurt others grievously. But it may be rational, it may be brave and it may be right; and even when it is wrong — and it is usually wrong — there is something noble about this most awesome of decisions which I can respect. (Matthew Parris, Times, London)

HIV spreading among women:

  • Number of women with HIV on rise | Traditional ways of fighting illness called inadequate (Boston Globe)
  • Female cases of H.I.V. found rising worldwide | The number of women infected with H.I.V. has risen in every region of the world over the last two years as the global AIDS epidemic continues to expand, the United Nations said yesterday. (New York Times)
  • HIV increasing faster among women than men, report finds | The epidemic of human immunodeficiency virus infection is growing more rapidly in women than in men in almost every part of the world, according to a new report. (Washington Post)
  • HIV rates rise among women | Male and female infection is now nearly equal. Asia and Eastern Europe see the biggest increases, and the U.S. is following the trend. (Los Angeles Times)
  • HIV: now it is a woman's disease | Study urges action to counter a surge in infection rates (Times, London)
  • Reid delivers crisis alert on sex disease | Sexually transmitted disease is reaching "epidemic proportions" among young women and requires a Government response on the scale of the 1980s' Aids warnings, says John Reid, the Health Secretary. (Daily Telegraph, UK)

Church life:

  • Canada's overtaxed clergy look for the union label | Citing tough working conditions, some United Church ministers are joining with the Canadian Auto Workers. (Christian Science Monitor)Christian scholar to visit | One of India's top Christian scholars and thinkers, the Reverend Valson Thampu, will address a series of meetings in Bahrain next week. His visit is being hosted by YMCA Bahrain. (Gulf Daily News, Bahrain)
Article continues below
  • Church to hold bazaar | The Bahrain Christian Congregation, which falls under the National Evangelical Church (NEC), is organising a Church Bazaar on Friday. (Gulf Daily News, Bahrain)
  • Local churches evaluating liturgies | Two area churches are among a select few in the nation to test proposed liturgies for holy communion and a partial collection of hymns that could lead to a new Lutheran worship book proposed for 2006. (Shamokin News Item, Penn.)
  • Reuniting a congregation | Epworth pastor celebrates a year at the helm (South Bend Tribune, Ind.)
  • New church at St. John's awaits dedication | At the new St. Thomas More Church on the St. John's University campus in Jamaica, Queens, it is the smallest cross that looms the largest (The New York Times)
  • Ascending a pulpit of greater prominence | National Cathedral's new dean leaves Boston eager to embrace a 'daunting challenge' (The Washington Post)
  • Commission ties terms to church expansion | The 22,000-square-foot addition would come with conditions that have drawn mixed reactions from both sides of the debate (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • Praises be to the Planning Commission | The clouds seem to be parting, and the light is near (Editorial, Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • No more Christmas candles? Church air poses risk | A visit to church may be good for the soul but not so good for the lungs, a new study shows. (Reuters)
  • Volunteers arrive to help hurting church heal | It's been a hard few months for the New Creation Missionary Baptist Church at the corner of Seventh Street and Sapodilla Avenue. Few have come for Sunday's service. The torn carpet smells musty. The roof has been leaking since Hurricane Frances. Collections are slim. And a week ago and five blocks away, Terrance White, 18, became the latest victim in a spree of shootings in the neighborhood. (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)
  • Rock Harbor of ages | After seven years and 36 part-time homes, the church known to many for its love of song moves into its first permanent residence, in Costa Mesa (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)
  • 'Miracle of God' brings message of Russian pastor to United States | When Peter Rumachik stood before the parishioners of Faith Baptist Church Saturday evening, he said it was a miracle of God. The 73-year-old Russian pastor had spent more than 18 years in a Soviet Gulag for practicing his faith. (Yuma Sun, Ariz.)
Article continues below

Candles pollute churches:

  • Church candles are linked to pollution | Dutch researchers warn that tapers and incense emit minute particles that may harm lungs (Los Angeles Times)
  • Church air is 'threat to health' | Air inside churches may be a bigger health risk than that beside major roads, research suggests. (BBC)

Denominational life:

  • Northern diocese celebrates 100 years of Christianity | The Bishop of the Northern Uganda Diocese, the Rev. Nelson Onono-Onweng, led a procession of believers to open the week-long activities, while the Christ Church Choir coloured the ocassion. (New Vision, Kampala)
  • 'Flying bishops' offer unity to Anglicans | Anglican bishops in Canada have agreed on a system of 'flying bishops' which could provide a model for preventing the worldwide Church disintegrating over the issue of homosexuality. (BBC)
  • Expo Center to host Methodists | Four-day annual conference will bring 1,600 church delegates to the Ozarks. (Corvallis Gazette Times, Ore.)
  • Lutheran, Episcopal churches merge | Lutheran and Episcopal churches in Estero merged officially Sunday in a symbolic liturgy, making the united church the second of its kind in the nation. (The News-Press, Fla.)


  • Church rebuked for 'new' baptism | Archbishop of Brisbane John Bathersby has accused the St Mary's Church at South Brisbane of baptising "invalidly" by using the words "Creator, Liberator, and Sustainer" instead of "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (The Courier-Mail, Brisbane, Australia)
  • Revising a magisterial creation | It's the most magisterial opening sentence in English literature: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." But now a major revisionist translation of the Bible would have the cosmos begin with a more conversational clause: "When God began to create heaven and earth . … " (Reuters)
  • Hebrews Chapter 11 teaches lessons of faith | Faith is certainly of God. Faith believes that God interacts with people and intervenes in their lives as they obey him. (The Record-Courier, Nev.)


  • Deaf Cafe seeks to reach out with religious message | it's not hip-hop pouring from the speakers. It's the sound of about 75 people praising God at the monthly Deaf Cafe, which brings hearing-impaired Christians together for fellowship. (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Kent.)
Article continues below
  • Africa may re-evangelise the West | Plans to ease Britain's acute shortage of Roman Catholic priests by importing scores of African clergy are being discussed by senior bishops with the Pope's blessing. (Daily Telegraph, UK)
  • Billy Graham wraps up historic crusade | The Rev. Billy Graham delivered a 45-minute sermon at the Rose Bowl to wrap up a crusade marking the 55th anniversary of the Los Angeles revival that propelled him to national fame. (Associated Press)


  • Clergy try to keep flu from faithful | Health: Some traditions like shaking hands are made optional. Experts downplay the dangers. (Press-Enterprise, Calif.)
  • Blue Angel Finds God: Pilot offers witness to powers of Christian faith, prayer | Jim Horsley flew more than 150 air shows with the Blue Angels, in his opinion the best pilots around with perhaps one exception. But, he told the audience at Tuesday's 15th annual Community Prayer Breakfast, it wasn't enough - despite the hero-like image his job enabled him to project, he didn't feel anything like heroic. (Amarillo Globe News, Texas)
  • Storage unit as shelter not unique, workers say | Girls found in Md. shed spotlight housing woes (Washington Post)
  • 'SoupMan' offers food, hope to homeless | The theme from "Rocky'' blares from a rickety white van that David Timothy calls his "SoupMobile.'' The music alerts hundreds of the homeless that it's time to eat, and in a more subtle way, tells them that they -- like Sylvester Stallone's boxer character, Rocky Balboa -- can overcome challenges. (Associated Press)
  • Prayer rally leaders give food to needy families | The evangelical Christian leaders of the "City, Thou Art Loosed" prayer rally collaborated again Saturday morning, handing out food to families in need. (The Birmingham News, Ala.)
  • Poll finds increased concern among Christians for AIDS crisis | Two years after U-2's Bono challenged American Christians to become engaged in the AIDS pandemic, a new survey reveals a small but significant increase among evangelicals willing to donate money to help and support children orphaned by AIDS. (press release, World Vision)
  • Skate Church | Earlier this year, the First Baptist Church of Spiro started reaching out to the youth in the community through Skate Church (Fort Smith Times Record, Ark.)
  • Mall stores, Evangelical hospital join forces on Evening for Giving | It was a great night for shopping for a cause, as many Susquehanna Valley Mall merchants and Evangelical Community Hospital got together for an Evening for Giving on Sunday. (Sunbury Daily Item, Penn.)
Article continues below
  • 'I lost a son, but I gained 4000 children' | Ulsterman Michael McGoldrick tells Sunday Life how he came back from the brink of despair after his son was murdered, to help deliver a lifeline to more than 800 desperate families. "Christianity isn't people standing in pulpits or banging their fists. It's about going out and doing something. (Sunday Life, UK)
  • Beneficence built on faith | Hoosiers bestow bulk of giving on churches, religious charities (Indianapolis Star)


  • Maine parish is elevated to basilica | Saints Peter and Paul Parish, whose graceful steeples have become a city landmark, has been elevated to the status of basilica (Associated Press)
  • Papal contender attacks secularism | A leading contender to become the next Pope has launched a fierce attack on the forces of secularism, arguing that they were fostering intolerance in Europe and forcing Christianity underground. (The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)
  • Stand erect, hold your heads high | Our respect, admiration and love for the leadership of the Catholic Church from the pope himself to the lowest ranking priest or nun is ever growing. They continue to take very progressive positions on the challenges facing their congregations, the Zambian people and humanity in general. (Editorial, The Post, Lusaka)

Closing Catholic parishes:

  • Parish in line to close welcomes time to heal | St. Florence among 18 that secured extensions (The Boston Globe)
  • 2 local church sites on market | St. Peter Parish in Malden and St. Joseph Parish in Salem are among 16 closed Catholic church properties put up for sale by the Archdiocese of Boston. (The Boston Globe)
  • Lay figure to head church sale panel | Group will oversee how proceeds spent (Boston Globe)

Pope receives honorary degree:

  • Pope hails 'sign of dialogue' with science | Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II received an honorary degree Tuesday from Nicholas Copernicus University in his native Poland, calling it a "sign of dialogue" between science and faith (Associated Press)
  • Pope receives honorary degree in Poland | Pope John Paul II received an honorary degree Tuesday from Nicholas Copernicus University in his native Poland, calling it a ``sign of dialogue'' between science and faith. (Associated Press)

An Asian Pope?

  • 'Asian Pope is a possibility' | An Asian Pope cannot be ruled out, Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, the first tribal in Asia to be included in the College of Cardinals that elects the Pope, said in Kolkata on Wednesday. (Rediff, India)
Article continues below
  • Asian Pope a possibility: Cardinal Toppo | The Roman Catholic Church has come to a stage wherein the possibility of a non-European or even an Asian Pope cannot be ruled out, Cardinal Telesphore Placidus Toppo, the first tribal in Asia to be included in the College of Cardinals that elects the Pope, said. (Hindustan Times, India)

Miracle sandwich:

  • Casino bites on sandwich | Looks like Diana Duyser's going to get some really nice bread for her EBay item — $28,000 for a 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich that she believes bears the image of the Virgin Mary. The winning bidder wasn't disclosed on the website, but was identified by the Miami Herald as, an online casino. (Associated Press)
  • 'Virgin Mary' toast fetches $28,000 | A decade-old toasted cheese sandwich said to bear an image of the Virgin Mary has sold on the eBay auction website for $28,000. (BBC)
  • Cheese sandwich bought for $28,000 | An online casino won the eBay bidding for a decade-old cheese sandwich bearing what some people consider a likeness of the Virgin Mary and immediately began hawking Virgin Mary Grilled Cheese T-shirts. (Reuters)
  • 'Virgin Mary' sandwich sold for £15,000 | A 10-year-old grilled cheese sandwich said to bear the image of the Virgin Mary has been sold for £15,000. (Daily Telegraph, UK)


  • Tomb may shed light on 10th plague | This skull — Weeks believes, and new scientific evidence suggests — may be that of the oldest son of Rameses II, the pharaoh who most historians agree was the ruler of ancient Egypt more than 3,000 years ago at the time of the biblical story of the Exodus. If so, this is the skull of a man who the Hebrew Bible says was killed by the 10th of the horrible plagues (Boston Globe)
  • Hiding place | UofH archaeologist believes cave stored property rescued from sacked temple (Hartford Courant, Conn.)
  • Exposition of relics of St Xavier gets underway in old Goa | The exposition of the sacred relics of St Francis Xavier, considered one of the most important religious and spiritual events for the Christians, got underway at the Basilica of Bom Jesus in old Goa today amidst tight security. (Team India, India)
  • Italy returns stolen obelisk to Ethiopia | The monument is one of a group of six obelisks erected at Axum when Ethiopia adopted Christianity in the 4th century A.D. It was stolen by the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in 1937 and turned into a symbol of fascist power during his short-lived efforts to revive the grandeur of imperial Rome. (Discovery Channel)
Article continues below
  • A queen but not a saint | Upholding the purity of your faith by denouncing heretics within it and unbelievers outside it - long considered a sure path to heaven - no longer sits well in a multicultural society that preaches interfaith dialogue. This shift is epitomised by reactions to the 500th anniversary this week of the death of Spain's Queen Isabella. (The Guardian, UK)

Money & business:

  • Why work | A hundred years of "The Protestant Ethic" (Elizabeth Kolbert, The New Yorker)
  • Not all spiritual e-mail is sent with divine intentions | Get ready for spiritual spam. An e-mail security company Friday reported an uptick in evangelical missives crusading across the Internet (Los Angeles Times)
  • Suit accuses business of religious discrimination | A Muslim woman says she was fired because she wanted to wear her hijab on the job. (The Roanoke Times, Va.)
  • Faith on display | Civil Rights Act requires fair accommodation for religion. Before kicking Baby Jesus out of workplace manger, check the law (Akron Beacon Journal, Ohio)
  • Brewing a robust blend of church, commerce | In a startling mix of religion and chain-store culture, Starbucks has become a prime attraction at the Pentecostal church a few miles from New Hampshire's capital city. Reflecting a philosophy that emphasizes a wide range of enticements to get Christians to come to church, Grace Capital leaders have installed a kiosk in the atrium to sell the premium coffee cafe-style. (Boston Globe)


  • Churches urged to help tackle gun crime | Churches of all denominations are being urged to join forces in an effort to fight the growing menace of gun crime. (Yorkshire Post Today, UK)
  • Calif. scheme targeting blacks netted $25M | An investment scheme that targeted Los Angeles' black community bilked at least 1,273 people of more than $25.7 million, triple the amount first believed, a court-appointed receiver said Tuesday. (Associated Press)
  • Thieves take Mass - and handbags | Nothing, it seems, is sacred any more for Dublin's petty criminals - and that includes Mass. (The Observer, UK)
  • Bandits rob churchgoers just before early mass | City police promised beefed-up protection for religious services during the holidays after two masked thieves burst into a Catholic Church just before Monday's morning mass, assaulting two parishioners and stealing their wallets as others ran for the doors. (Chicago Tribune)
Article continues below
  • Church burglaries continue | The number of North Platte churches burglarized since Nov. 12 is now up to 14, with burglars hitting one church twice early Tuesday morning. (The North Platte Telegraph, Neb.)
  • Pair deny vicar terror campaign | A doctor and a village undertaker carried out an eight-month campaign of terror on a vicar, a court was told. (BBC)
  • Undertaker and village GP 'ran campaign of hate against vicar' | A country vicar endured an eight-month hate campaign after a village undertaker and a rural doctor joined forces to threaten and humiliate him, a court was told yesterday. (Times, London)
  • Where execution feels like relic, death looms | Michael Bruce Ross's will be the first execution in Connecticut in 40 years (The New York Times)


  • Police: Organist's victims were teens Suspect had risk of injury convictions | The four girls whom state police have accused a Naugatuck church organist of molesting range in age from 13 to 16, troopers said Tuesday in releasing further details of the man's arrest last Friday. (Waterbury Republican American, Conn.)
  • S. Texas DA refuses to pursue ex-priest | 1960 murder case remains unsolved despite new witnesses (Dallas Morning News)

Television & video games:

  • 'Sex in the City' star gets cover - up in Israel | "Sex in the City'' star Sarah Jessica Parker's fashion sense raised the ire of ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel who demanded that billboards featuring the actress in a skimpy dress be covered up. (Reuters)
  • Group cites video games for violence, sex | Video games that have players shoot rival gang members, watch bare-breasted women and recreate the assassination of President Kennedy were criticized Tuesday by advocacy groups that said, at the least, they should be kept away from children. (Associated Press)

Religion & spirituality:

  • Apocalypse (almost) now | The "Left Behind" series, the best-selling novels for adults in the U.S., enthusiastically depict Jesus returning to slaughter everyone who is not a born-again Christian. The world's Hindus, Muslims, Jews and agnostics, along with many Catholics and Unitarians, are heaved into everlasting fire: "Jesus merely raised one hand a few inches and . . . they tumbled in, howling and screeching." Gosh, what an uplifting scene! (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)
  • Give me that new-time religion | Some young adults are turning to Christianity, but under different terms than their parents (The Oregonian)
  • When hatred is necessary | I have great respect for that faith and a deep appreciation for the good that Christians and Christianity have accomplished in the world. But my faith, Judaism, teaches a fundamentally different lesson about evil and how to respond to it. (Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe)
Article continues below
  • There are multitudes of aspects to religion | Belief might cause one person to say God exists and another to say no. But I want to embrace the perspectives of both. (Vern Barnet, Kansas City Star)
  • End of the world - but not sex and DIY - is nigh | Such is the decline of organised religion that almost three out of four do not belong to a religious group, yet more than half describe themselves as 'spiritual'. (The Observer, UK)


  • Gratitude and prayer | Prayer is a tough subject. Thanksgiving shouldn't be. (Austin Bay, Washington Times)
  • Thanksgiving—A pilgrimage of faith | For Christians this national holiday is a holy day. We have much to be thankful for—shelter, safety, freedom, future. However, the root of our gratitude is grounded in our life with Jesus. (Guy Wilson, Bainbridge Post Searchlight, Georgia)
  • Meals for the needy | As Neponset area residents finalize their own Thanksgiving plans, local groups are busy pulling together to provide for those in need. (Daily News Transcript, Mass.)
  • Holiday brings all faiths together to give thanks | Seven area congregations. Three interfaith services. One purpose. To give thanks. (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)
  • YC church thanks by giving to troops | The care packages contained a variety of goods donated by Lenyard and other church members. Lenyard said most of the goods are items that are hard to find in Iraq, such as sunflower seeds. (Appeal-Democrat, Calif.)
  • Pilgrims' progress | With their first Thanksgiving, Somali refugees continue a journey of discovery (Chicago Tribune)
  • Valley's faithful unite to give thanks at ecumenical service | Practitioners of more than 7 religions share thoughts on gratitude. (Allentown MorningCall, Penn.)


  • Creche, menorah to join Christmas tree in Nyack park | The annual Christmas tree that sits in Nyack's Veteran's Memorial Park during the holiday season will have a little more company this year. (The Journal News, N.Y.)
  • Church sets example of holiday love | Small Fairfield congregation hosts a free holiday party for hundreds (The Herald-Dispatch, W.V.)


  • Theologian, author, and educator Langdon Gilkey dies | Langdon Gilkey, 85, an eminent Protestant theologian who wrote of the relevance of God in a "time of troubles," died of meningitis Nov. 19 at the University of Virginia hospital in Charlottesville (The Washington Post)
Article continues below
  • How a young conscript became a Russian saint | When Yevgeny Rodionov was beheaded by Chechen rebels, he was hailed as a contemporary Russian martyr. (Belfast Telegraph)
  • A low profile and a large footprint | Anschutz Makes Mark on Area With Soccer, Newspapers (The Washington Post)
  • Vanunu runs for rector at Glasgow | Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu has been nominated to become rector of one of Britain's top universities, it emerged today. (The Guardian, UK)
  • Father of Liberation Theology speaks of 'beautiful' unity effort | World-renowned Peruvian Roman Catholic Priest Gustavo Gutiérrez denounces oppression of the poor (Oregon Daily Emerald)
  • A new arrival vows Old South tradition: trouble-making | Nancy Taylor is a woman on the verge. As the first woman and 20th senior minister in 335 years to lead Old South Church in Copley Square, she's poised to become a major voice in the city's spiritual life, and, she says, to stir up a little trouble. (Boston Globe)
  • Service to honor Sharon priest | Hundreds of Jews, Christians and Muslims will gather today in Sharon to honor the memory of the Rev. Robert W. Bullock, a popular Catholic priest who worked to bring together members of the community's diverse religions. (Boston Globe)


  • Christian music and teens: is it a match? | Music has always been an integral aspect society and the identity of a people. Peoples of all traditions possess a genre of music, which is uniquely theirs. This is also true of Christians who identify themselves with gospel music as an aspect of worship and general lifestyle. (Jamaica Observer, Jamaica)
  • New studio program puts music in focus | It's three in the morning and on a knoll overlooking Seth's Pond in West Tisbury, packs of college kids are still wide awake. It's not spring break, and they're not cramming for a test. They're writing songs, splicing together music videos on the iMac or even banging a set of drums. (Martha's Vineyard Gazette, Mass.)
  • Nashville guitarist Buddy Miller | Guitarist Buddy Miller has been a fixture in Nashville's country music scene for more than 20 years. Miller speaks to NPR's Noah Adams about his new album, titled Universal United House of Prayer. (Day to Day, npr)


  • Young writers offer voices | Two books edited by my friend Maren Tirabassi speak - loudly, clearly, thoughtfully and passionately - to both these issues, or are they trends? Except she doesn't tell you how to vote. What she does is show how Christians can and do embrace differences. (Nashua Telegraph, N.H.)
Article continues below
  • Cigarettes: 0 Alcohol units: 0 Sex: not until I'm married | They wear big knickers, but only take them off to sleep. For the heroines of America's latest brand of women's fiction, the missionary position means a career sending Bibles to Africa. (Daily Telegraph, UK)

Da Vinci Code:

  • 'Da Vinci Code' clobbered | In yet another critique of "The Da Vinci Code," Ben Witherington tackles not just Dan Brown's historical inaccuracies, but the larger issues the novel raises, such as validity of Scriptural canon and the role of women in Christianity. (Detroit Free Press)
  • The Dan Brown code | Bart D. Ehram, chairman of the department of religious studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, talks about problems in The Da Vinci Code (The New York Times)


  • Conservatives outraged as Hollywood talks about sex | American conservative groups are outraged over a new film starring Liam Neeson about controversial sex researcher Alfred Kinsey whom they accuse of being a closet pornographer. (China Daily, China)
  • Christian groups unite against Neeson movie | Portrayal of sex researcher attacked (Belfast Telegraph)

Big religion:

  • Giant Jesus makes many stop | Rising dramatically out of the earth at Solid Rock Church, a 62-foot-tall statue of Jesus gazes toward the heavens with hands open, thrusting high. The visually stunning sight of what's billed as America's largest Jesus statue soon will draw more attention to Monroe, as church officials prepare to light up the six-story-tall religious figure each night. (Cincinnati Enquirer)
  • Steel cross erected near I-75 cut down | The 50-foot-high steel cross near the Clinton-Norris exit ran afoul of Anderson County zoning laws, and a ruling by a judge on Monday left Potter with two options - move the cross to another location on the same property or take it down. (Knoxville News Sentinel, Tenn.)

More articles of interest:

  • If it's supernatural it isn't science | National media attention focused on suburban Cobb County, Ga., last week as a federal court heard constitutional challenges to a school district policy requiring that a biology textbook carry this disclaimer: "Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully, and critically considered." Plaintiffs complain that the disclaimer, which is similar to others popping up in school districts from Alabama to Wisconsin, violates the separation of church and state. But scientists themselves call evolution a theory. Why can't a school district? (Edward J. Larson, Los Angeles Times)
Article continues below
  • Filtering priests' sins through two prisms | It is perhaps no surprise that playwrights have used the revelations of decades of sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Church as material (The New York Times)
  • Church leaders urged to help save wildlife | The Executive Director of the Wildlife Division of the Ministry of Lands and Forestry, Mr Yaw Ofori-Frimpong, has urged church leaders to work together to secure the future of wildlife in the country. (GhanaWeb, Ghana)

Related Elsewhere:

Suggest links and stories by sending e-mail to

What is Weblog?

Check out Books & Culture's weekly weblog, Content & Context.

See our past Weblog updates:

November 23 | 22
November 19 | 18 | 17 | 16
November 12 | 11 | 10
November 5 | 3b | 3a | 2 | 1
October 29 | 28 | 27 | 26 | 25
October 22 | 21b | 21a | 18b | 18a
October 15 | 13 | 12 | 11

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.
Previous Weblog Columns: