Expensive book burning

Expensive book burning
Anglican priest Graham Taylor's bestselling fantasy novels deal with occult themes, including human sacrifice. So one may not be surprised to hear that, just as copies of Harry Potter novels were burned in earlier years, Taylor's novels too have been put to the flame.

But these weren't just any copies of Taylor's books. These were original manuscripts: one for Shadowmancer, one of only two originals for the sequel, Wormwood, and the full manuscript of his new book, Tersias, which wasn't due to be published until fall 2005.

And the book burner? Taylor himself. He says he accidentally destroyed them when cleaning out his house, which he'll be moving out of shortly.

They're now "a very expensive pile of ash," he told the BBC.

Meanwhile, it appears that the film versions of Shadowmancer and Wormwood may be animated. Variety reports that Fortitude Films, which bought the rights in July, just bought Film Roman, an animation studio run by former Simpsons and King of the Hill producer and Charlie Brown director Phil Roman. Fortitude executives had earlier told Variety that it planned to ask Mel Gibson to direct.


The Supreme Court will consider the prisoners' religious freedom case after all. See yesterday's Weblog for commentary on this case.

More articles


  • Faith-boosting genes | Dean Hamer's The God Gene details the search for the genetic basis of spirituality (Scientific American)
  • Blood in the aisles | Jonathan Bartley assesses Stephen Bates's straight-talking account of the profound divisions in the Church of England, A Church at War (The Guardian, London)
  • Theologian delves into what's holy in Hobbits | Ralph Wood found himself turning to Tolkien in the 1970s when he wanted to revitalize theology classes for students who had adopted a more secular outlook on life (The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.)


  • Suit planned over gender definition | Westminster School District trustees say a new law allowing people to define their own sex is unconstitutionally vague (Los Angeles Times)
  • Safe-sex activists oppose abstinence-only texts in Texas | Texas education officials and activists on all sides of the sex-education debate are battling over the adoption of new health textbooks for the state's 7,800 public schools (The Washington Times)
  • Creationist sees clear proof in volcano | Ex-pastor's small museum lets doctrine speak for itself (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)
  • Home school parents sue state over religious freedom | Four Pennsylvania families have filed suits across the state, saying the home-schooling law restricts their religious freedom in a way that violates the law (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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  • In a shift, Catholic U. approves NAACP | Chapter must obey church teachings (The Washington Post)
  • Christian school 'failing pupils' | A privately-run Christian school in North Lanarkshire is the subject of a critical report by inspectors (BBC)

School board proposals:

  • School board considers censoring books, handing out Bibles, teaching creationism | Some teachers decry list of ideas as attempt to inject Christian values into curriculum (The Washington Post)
  • School board considers censoring books, handing out Bibles (Associated Press)
  • 'Value in diversity' | The proposals in Charles County, taken together, seem more about advancing a sectarian agenda than reinforcing the diversity to which the Board of Education pays lip service (Editorial, The Washington Post)

Catholic teacher alleges loses job for not marrying in church:

  • Catholic teacher loses job after civil wedding | A teacher at a Roman Catholic primary school lost her job after she decided to marry in a civil ceremony in a country house (The Telegraph, London)
  • I was not prepared to change my wedding plans for anyone, says school row teacher (Western Mail, Wales)

Same-sex marriage:

  • Cardinal compares gay marriage to family with cats, dogs | A prominent Mexican cardinal denounced legalization of same-sex weddings in an interview published Tuesday, saying it would be like considering cats or cockroaches part of a family (Associated Press)
  • Partners bill 'is not law for gay marriage' | Minister fights Lords attempt to wreck measure which continues 'long journey' from decriminalisation of homosexuality (The Guardian, London)
  • Gay marriage plan divides Metro clergy | Prop 2 says wedlock is between man, woman (The Detroit News)

Homosexuality & religion:

  • Spiritual coming out | Increasing numbers of gay Christians are becoming more active in both liberal and conservative churches (The New York Times)
  • Christian group settles with Fla. transit | Focus on the Family will be permitted to promote its anti-homosexuality conference on bus shelter ads under a settlement reached in a federal lawsuit (Associated Press)
  • Activist pushes change | Jason Arnold-Burke runs a support group in his Rolling Meadows church, Harvest Bible Chapel, for other adults who want to overcome homosexual attractions (RedEye, Chicago)
  • Homosexual link to fertility genes | Homosexuality is a natural side-effect of genetic factors that help women to have more children, a study suggests (The Telegraph, London)
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  • Also: How homosexuality is 'inherited' | Scientists say they have shown how male homosexuality could be passed from generation to generation (BBC)
  • Also: So it is down to mother | Gay gene survives because it boosts fertility (The Times, London)

Sex tourism:

  • Ads exposes American child-sex tourists | The U.S. government and World Vision on Tuesday announced an advertising campaign aimed at deterring American tourists from sexually exploiting children overseas (Associated Press)
  • Program targets child-sex tourism | "I am not a tourist attraction. It's a crime to make me one," says one message in a campaign against child abuse announced yesterday by the private aid group, World Vision, and the State Department and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (The Washington Times)


  • Priest testifies in Okla. slander lawsuit | A Roman Catholic priest accused of molesting two boys 25 years ago denied the allegations Tuesday as testimony began in his slander lawsuit against his accusers (Associated Press)
  • College president denies abuse allegations | The president of a Roman Catholic college denied allegations he sexually abused six men when they were minors, including four when he was their church basketball coach (Associated Press)
  • Priests' work files may become public | A judge indicated Tuesday he intends to make public the employment files of Roman Catholic priests accused of sexual abuse (Associated Press)
  • Alleged Shanley victim testifies | A man who says he was molested decades ago by now-defrocked priest Paul Shanley testified Tuesday that he began to recover memories of his abuse after seeing news coverage of the sex scandal that has engulfed the Boston Archdiocese (Associated Press)
  • Plaintiffs vow to continue church lawsuit | Four men who filed a lawsuit alleging sexual abuse by a former Felton priest vow to appeal a recent decision by an Alameda County judge who threw their suit out of court (Santa Cruz Sentinel, Ca.)


  • Blood brothers | Why the leading practitioners of late abortion wrote checks to Kerry (Douglas Johnson, The Weekly Standard)
  • Abortion foes call Bush's Dred Scott reference perfectly clear | President Bush left many viewers mystified last week when, answering a question in his debate with Democratic challenger John F. Kerry, he invoked the 1857 Dred Scott decision that upheld slavery (Los Angeles Times)
  • Also: Why Bush opposes Dred Scott | It's code for Roe v. Wade (Timothy Noah, Slate)
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  • Clinic buffer zone law upheld | US court decides rule applied fairly (The Boston Globe)
  • Also: Court denies Mass. clinic buffer challenge | A federal appeals court on Tuesday denied a second challenge by anti-abortion protesters testing the legality of state-mandated buffer zones around abortion clinics (Associated Press)

Stem cells & cloning:

  • An indecent proposition | Do Californians really want to subsidize stem cell research? (Wesley J. Smith, The Weekly Standard)
  • Man of Steel | Exploiting Christopher Reeve's legacy (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)
  • Harvard teams want OK to clone | Human-cell work would be first in nation (The Boston Globe)

Religion & politics:

  • Questions on religion suggested | Moderator is urged to address topic at candidate debate (The Kansas City Star)
  • Less piety, more plans | John Kerry and George Bush are not applying to be church deacons. They are running for president of the United States (Eileen McNamara, The Boston Globe)
  • Europe's secular Inquisition | There are fundamentalists on the left, too (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal Europe)
  • When topic is politics, pastors are careful | Approach to social issues and politics varies (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)
  • Belief and the ballot box | Will voters' religious devotion factor heavily on Election Day? (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • Evangelist says nation in war for soul | Drawing a comparison with the American Revolution, nationally known evangelist and author Peter Marshall told an Evansville crowd Monday the nation is today in the midst of a "titanic battle" (Courier & Press, Evansville, Ind.)
  • Tallying the religious vote is no simple task | Clerical leaders seek common ground on major moral issues (The Day, New London, Conn.)
  • Babylon a go-go | The fundamentalist Bible Belt got the war it wanted in Iraq—and look what they've done with it (Matt Taibbi, AlterNet)
  • Will politics from the pulpit affect the vote? | Religious leaders walk fine line on political message (ABCNews.com)

Bush & religion:

  • Faith without works | After four years, the president's faith-based policies have proven to be neither compassionate nor conservative (Amy Sullivan, Washington Monthly)
  • Response: The real reason liberals fear the faith-based initiative | The former Christian Coalition head responds to a Beliefnet story about the faith-based initiative and defends Bush's policies (Ralph Reed, Beliefnet)
  • Bush not practicing what he preaches | The black church has been the center of African-American survival and struggle throughout our history in America (Jesse Jackson, Chicago Sun-Times)
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  • Bush touts religious values | President Bush struck a deeply conservative social note today as he rallied supporters in this bastion of evangelical Christians, hoping it will help propel him to victory on Nov. 2 (Los Angeles Times)

Kerry & religion:

  • Kerry is criticized for church drive | Liberal religious groups criticized Senator John Kerry yesterday as politicizing religion by campaigning in African-American churches (The New York Times)
  • Guide urges Catholics to shun Kerry | A political guide is urging Catholics to vote against candidates who support abortion rights, stem-cell research and other "evil" issues — an appeal that could undercut Democratic Sen. John Kerry's candidacy (Associated Press)

Religion & politics in Australia:

  • Christianity the new political force | Labor should heed the lessons of this election and listen to the growing church lobby (Jim Wallace, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
  • Path to White House must go through heaven | Surveys suggest that in 2004 evangelicals, who make up a quarter of all registered voters, are more disposed to vote - and to vote conservative (The Australian)
  • With God on their side | Say what you like, but please don't call the country's newest political force — Family First — a fundamentalist Christian party (Cameron Stewart, The Australian)

Supreme Court to decide on Ten Commandments/inmate freedom:

  • Justices agree to hear 2 cases on display of Commandments | Court's 1980 ruling on subject has spawned varying interpretations (The Washington Post)
  • Justices will hear 2 church-state cases | In a turnabout, the Supreme Court agreed to examine a heavily freighted symbol of religion in public life: the Ten Commandments (The New York Times)
  • High court tackles religion | The justices will decide on the display of the Ten Commandments on public property as it applies to the 1st Amendment (Los Angeles Times)
  • A long road for man behind the case from Texas | The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to hear a challenge to a Ten Commandments monument that sits on the Texas Capitol grounds represents the completion of one man's remarkable odyssey (Los Angeles Times)
  • Top court to consider Commandments cases | The U.S. Supreme Court yesterday agreed to consider two cases in the highly charged issue of whether the Ten Commandments can be posted in public buildings or public lands (The Washington Times)
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  • Also: Official laments moving Decalog | A county administrator in Maryland who ordered the removal of a Ten Commandments statue from the grounds of the courthouse earlier this week said yesterday he would not have done so if he knew the U.S. Supreme Court was going to review the First Amendment issue such monuments raise (The Washington Times)
  • Supreme Court to hear commandments case | Texas challenge is among those that may affect displays nationally (Houston Chronicle)
  • Court tackles church and state | Does display in government buildings constitute an 'establishment of religion'? (Editorial, Las Vegas Review-Journal)
  • Kansas has seen spats over commandments | Local reaction to Supreme Court news (The Wichita Eagle)

Church & state:

  • Park Service sticks with biblical explanation for Grand Canyon | Promised legal review on creationist book is shelved (Press release, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility)
  • Religious groups differ on tax cap | Christian Civic League favors, Council of Churches opposes (Bangor Daily News, Me.)
  • Could Christmas be cancelled in South Africa? | Not likely, but a glut of holidays has led the nation to consider calling some of them off (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)
  • County menorah display would be unenlightened | Prominent Jews see the menorah as a sacred religious symbol, one that would be debased by being treated as a cultural symbol, not necessarily religious, of the holiday season (Robert Rivas, Tallahassee Democrat, Fla.)

San Diego cross dispute:

  • Ruling puts cross site in city's hands | A federal judge yesterday ruled that the city of San Diego owns the land around the Mount Soledad cross, ensuring that voters will have a say in authorizing a new sale of the property on the Nov. 2 ballot (San Diego Union-Tribune)
  • City rigged sale of cross site, judge rules | For the second time, a federal judge Tuesday ruled that the city, in effect, rigged the sale of public property on Mt. Soledad to ensure that a 43-foot-tall cross would remain on the site (Los Angeles Times)

EU nominee rejected:

  • Italian EU nominee fails to win support | Rocco Buttiglione vowed to defend the rights of gays but told the Justice and Home Affairs Committee he considered homosexuality a sin (Associated Press)
  • MEPs reject anti-gay commission candidate (The Guardian, London)
  • Barroso stands by anti-gay EU nominee | José Manuel Barroso, the new European commission president, has strongly defended Rocco Buttiglione, his choice as the justice and home affairs commissioner and a professed opponent of gay rights, saying he had full confidence in him (The Guardian, London)
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Nuns' habits banned along with Muslim headscarves:

  • German nuns 'face headscarf ban' | A German court has ruled that a regional ban on Muslim teachers wearing headscarves in state schools must also apply to Christian nuns, reports say (BBC)
  • Teaching nuns hit by Muslim headscarf ban | Nuns who teach in state schools in the Black Forest region of Germany are to be banned from wearing their habits in the classroom in line with a judgment on Muslim headscarves, a federal court has ruled (The Guardian, London)

Jews spitting on Christians:

  • Christians in Jerusalem want Jews to stop spitting on them | Many Jerusalem clergy have been subjected to abuse of this kind. For the most part, they ignore it but sometimes they cannot (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)
  • Poraz blasts `intolerable' spitting incidents | Interior Minister Avraham Poraz issued a strongly worded statement yesterday condemning recent incidents of Jews spitting at Christian clergy in Jerusalem, saying he was "revolted" by the attacks (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)
  • Israel's Christians spitting mad | Christians in Jerusalem have attacked what they say is the increasingly common phenomenon of ultra-orthodox Jews spitting on them (The Telegraph, London)

Jews & Christians:

  • A new anti-Semitism | The original sin of the Christian church, and the culture that derives from it, is contempt for Jews, a disorder that continues to infect religious belief and popular attitudes (James Carroll, The Boston Globe)
  • Jewish-Christian rift? | Liberal churches have become irrationally hostile to Israel (Rod Dreher, The Dallas Morning News)
  • A Jewish-Christian rift? | Mainline Protestants have become more supportive of Israel (William McKenzie, The Dallas Morning News)
  • The messiah wars | When Jews for Jesus fanned out in the U.S. capital in recent weeks in an attempt to win people over, the Jewish community swiftly united to counter them (Haaretz, Tel Aviv)
  • Save a Jew, save yourself! | Sixty-five million Evangelicals can't be wrong (Mark Ames, New York Press)

Church life:

  • Churches 'deny racism' | The Churches in Northern Ireland are " in denial" on racism, according to the official magazine of a leading evangelical group in the province (The Belfast Telegraph)
  • Archbishop to talk options with doctors | Archbishop Patrick Flores might not face further surgery to treat the inner-ear problem that made him dizzy and nauseated several times in recent months, an archdiocese spokesman said Tuesday (San Antonio Express-News)
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  • 'Holy' golf balls will drive home Christian message | Gadgets, including "holy" golf balls, solar-powered speaking Bibles and "magic" candles used in the Harry Potter films could help attract new followers to Christianity, it was claimed today (PA, U.K.)
  • Grief flows as boys bid farewell | Slavic weddings, Russian songfests and meals begun with homemade borscht. Such are the celebratory times enjoyed by metro Atlanta's close-knit community of Eastern European evangelicals (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Conservative Anglicans oppose liberal bishops:

  • Parishes to boycott pro-gay bishops | Church of England evangelicals prepared for guerrilla warfare over homosexuality yesterday by backing plans to boycott liberal bishops (The Telegraph, London)
  • Evangelicals call Williams a prostitute | Conservative evangelicals flexed their muscles yesterday by denouncing the Church of England and its leader, the Most Rev Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, as sinful and corrupt, and threatening to refuse to recognise the authority of liberal bishops (The Guardian, London)
  • Dean Jensen lays into Prince and church leader | The Anglican Dean of Sydney yesterday denounced the Archbishop of Canterbury, the world leader of his church, as a theological prostitute who was taking his salary under false pretences (The Sydney Morning Herald, alt.)

Missions & ministry:

  • Religious leaders go to bat for social services | Most faith leaders are happy to see baseball coming to the nation's capital. But they don't want resources diverted from the city's other responsibilities, such as educating its young, caring for its sick and uplifting its needy (The Washington Post)
  • Between gourds and God, a way for church to reach out | These pumpkins answer to a higher calling (The Washington Post)
  • Former official leads Voice of the Faithful | Biding time' while looking for new job (The Boston Globe)
  • Preaching to end hate among gangs | Every Wednesday night, Friday night and Sunday morning, 50 to 100 young people get together to worship with an emphasis on song - gospel, rock and rap (Cindy Rodriguez, Denver Post)
  • Mozambique religious leaders tackle Aids | In an unprecedented show of solidarity, 16 faith-based organisations in Mozambique have united to tackle the HIV/AIDS epidemic, coming up with a national action plan (UNIRIN)
  • Doubts taint aid to Haiti | Pembroke Pines plans to give surplus ambulances and medical equipment to the Haitian government. Watchdogs have questions about the nonprofit that will deliver the items to Haiti (The Miami Herald)
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  • Woman helps needy clients with ministry's meals, pantry | When God called Juanita Bryant, she answered. (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)
  • Pastor ministers while wife does military duty (Austin Daily Herald, Minn.)

St. Bernards out of work:

  • Rescue Saint Bernard dogs out of work | Heavy and slow in the deep Alpine snow, expensive to feed and their jobs largely taken over by helicopters and heat sensors, the once-proud dogs have found themselves obsolete and a drain on the resources of the religious order that has raised and trained them for centuries (Associated Press)
  • Monks seek homes for St Bernards | Monks at the St Bernard's Hospice in the Swiss Alps are planning to sell the world-famous rescue dogs to devote more time to needy people (BBC)


  • Award for pioneering priest | A priest from Northern Ireland who was the first person in Africa to be injected with a HIV vaccine, has won a major award (BBC)
  • New tradition for African healthcare | In September, the Ugandan government brought traditional medicine - herbs, animal parts, and minerals, with a dash of prayer - out of the bush and began to integrate it into its health system (The Christian Science Monitor)

Prayer & spirituality:

  • Can prayers heal? Critics say studies go past science's reach | The government has spent $2.3 million in the past four years to study something that critics say has nothing to do with science (The New York Times)
  • Churchgoers tap hidden gifts | A growing number of Christians who are discovering the "spiritual gifts inventory," a tool that identifies personal attributes that will best serve the church (The Dallas Morning News)


  • Churches launch climate campaign | A coalition of churches has begun a campaign to curb climate change, by reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (BBC)
  • Deciphering companies' same-sex benefits policies | As the regulations are sorted out, things can be a bit confusing for workers, who might find it best to assess employers individually (The Washington Post)
  • Stores of faith | Many merchants proclaim they're Christian, but experts warn it's no guarantee of honesty (The Dallas Morning News)


  • "Holy hip-hop" aims for mainstream | Christian ethos has been filling hip-hop radio and television airwaves the past six months (The Denver Post)
  • Balokole clash at Namboole awards | Born-again Christians (Balokole) clashed at the annual Gospel Music Awards on Friday at Namboole Stadium and almost ruined the overnight prayers that attracted President Yoweri Museveni (The Monitor, Uganda)
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  • Fake presidency, at least, captured by a conservative | In a novelty warm-up to the presidential election, some Christian groups helped a born-again conservative who home-schools his children win the mock election ending Showtime's reality television series "American Candidate" on Sunday night (The New York Times)
  • Will Paul Crouch earn reward in heaven? Listen in | Based on his body of work, Pastor Crouch probably will slip in, but that doesn't mean St. Peter has to give the guy one of the better tables (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)


  • Edward McAteer dies at 78 | Founded conservative Religious Roundtable (Los Angeles Times)
  • Brazil: At least 20 religious pilgrims die | Bus veered off the road as they were heading to Juazeiro do Norte to visit the statue of Roman Catholic priest Cicero Batista (UPI)

More articles of interest:

  • Around 1,500 Tutsis died when church demolished on orders of a priest | The witness code-named CBJ to protect his identity claimed that, "shortly before the event which took place on April 16, 1994, a driver named Anastase asked the priest three times, 'Father do you accept that I should destroy this church?" The witness alleged that, Father Seromba responded by nodding during the first two times and the third time he told the driver, "Unless you yourself are Inyenzi, destroy it". Inyenzi is a Tutsi word for cockroach which was used to refer to Tutsis during the genocide (Hirondelle News Agency, Switzerland)
  • Prophets and the Ghanaian elections | Kofi Akosah-Sarpong examines the problems prophets and other spiritual mediums pose to the impending Ghanaian presidential and parliamentary election (Concord Times, Sierra Leone)
  • Boston Public Library shows off restored Sargent murals | ''The Triumph of Religion,'' which took nearly three decades to complete, portray the evolution of religion, from heathen gods through Judaism to Christianity (Associated Press)
  • Hubbard says priest shortage on Pope's mind | Leader of Albany Diocese discussed issue with pontiff during pilgrimage (Times Union, Albany, N.Y.)
  • Hecklers interrupt Spanish conference to reconcile faiths | A conference called to further mutual understanding between Christians and Muslims over their shared history on the Iberian peninsula has been marred by catcalling and acrimony (The Telegraph, London)
  • 7-foot robot used in Black Sea expedition | Four years ago, scientists thought they had found the perfect place to settle the Noah flood debate (Associated Press)
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  • For devout Bears, faith is personal | Bears players keep religion close to their hearts but under wraps in locker room (Chicago Tribune)

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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.
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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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