Yesterday, the European Union recommended that Turkey begin talks to put the country on the path to membership. Some European countries, especially France, were quick to point out there is no guarantee Turkey will become an EU member, and its future status is conditioned upon several reforms, particularly human-rights issues. For Christians suffering under strict oppression, Turkey's EU entrance may bring full religious freedom to the country, which it has not seen for centuries.
Turkey has already made significant progress. Guenter Verhuegen, the EU's enlargement commissioner told the Associated Press, "Turkey was simply too good (its) progress was too good [to say no]. We can trust Turkey that the country will continue improving the situation.'' Officially secular, Turkey is overwhelmingly Muslim.
"Turkey has undergone remarkable changes over the last few years, putting in place the extensive reforms the EU asked of it. The EU must now deliver its side of the bargain,'' said the British foreign secretary, Jack Straw.
Despite the changes, Christians still suffer in the country, which is home to cities where the apostle Paul addressed some of his epistles. Even today, a bomb explosion "shattered windows at the seat of the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians in Istanbul." The Associated Press writes, "The blast came weeks after police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing nationalist Turks who staged a protest outside the Patriarchate and burned an effigy of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, whom far-right groups accuse of working against Turkish interests."
Andrea Rombopoulos, a Christian, publishes Iho, one of two Greek-language daily newspapers still printing in Turkey. He is a descendant of Greeks from the Eastern Roman Empire, and hopes that EU membership will end the difficulties his community has defending its rights.
"We have about 60 foundations that run our schools and our churches," he told the Agence France Presse news service. "But for the past 37 years, the (Turkish) state has forbidden any elections to renew their management - has sometimes seized their property - and prevented them from functioning properly."
"Turkish membership in the EU," he said, "will be the best guarantee for the future of his dwindling community."
Rombopoulos said his community is on the verge of extinction, but EU membership could provide human-rights safeguards as well as economic development they need.
For the few evangelicals in Turkey, the country's efforts to clean up its human-rights record have made an appreciable difference. " The political atmosphere in Turkey has improved enough, he added, to allow Christians to meet openly, to have summer camps attracting several hundred people and to have public baptisms in the Mediterranean Sea," writes the Washington Times.
"We are relatively free and we are tolerated now," said Jerry Mattix, an American who pastors a 40-member church in the eastern part of the country. "What attracted me to Turkey is that here's a Muslim country that's relatively open to evangelism. We [evangelical Christians] ought to be all over this."
Mattix's congregation, Diyarbakir Kilisesi, "is made up of both Christians and Kurds, Turkey's main ethnic minority. Diyarbakir is in the heartland of a region known for its uprisings seeking self-rule for about 15 million Kurds."
The government, looking to quell potential uprisings, has displaced about 15 million Kurds. Because of their sufferings, Mattix says, they are open to accepting Christianity. However, they are still afraid to be open about their faith. "During lunch at a local restaurant," writes Julia Duin, "several members of his church were openly nervous about being asked within earshot of other patrons how they had become Christians."
"Unlike other mainly Islamic countries, Turkey does not follow provisions of Islamic law that forbid Muslims to change their religion or exact the death penalty on those who do. But conversion to Christianity is discouraged, and Diyarbakir Kilisesi has endured two lawsuits filed by the local governor's office to shut it down."
But the congregation won both lawsuits, which Mattix says may be because of Europe's pressure for Turkey to clean up its human-rights abuses.
Still there is a long way to go. "The laws aren't in place to make us fully legal," Mr. Mattix said. "We need full legality to function as a church and to run a children's program. But any work with children needs permission from the Ministry of Education. But this will take massive rewriting of Turkish law."
Giovanni Scognamillo, 75, believes his is the last generation of his community. "The young now go live abroad."
Hopefully, with EU membership, other Christian communities in Turkey will fare better.
More on Turkey & Christians:
- Explosion damages Istanbul cathedral | An explosion shattered windows at the seat of the spiritual leader of the world's Orthodox Christians in Istanbul on Thursday, officials said. There were no reports of injuries. (Associated Press)
- Turkish P.M. says people of different religions can worship freely in Turkey | Answering questions of members of Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), Erdogan said that all Christians and Jews could perform their religious ceremonies in Orthodox and Catholic churches, and synagogues, and noted that nobody could claim that religious ceremonies were obstructed in Turkey. (Turkish Press, Turkey)
- Christian church may hold key to European Union | Some governments among them those of Britain, Greece, Finland and Poland favor Turkey's admission to the union. Others, including Denmark and Austria, oppose it. Turkey's lackluster human rights record, especially regarding political prisoners, and slowness to allow religious freedom are two of the sticking points in the debate. (Washington Times)
Muslims in the U.S.:
- Mystery of the Islamic scholar who was barred by the U.S. | Nine days before his family's scheduled departure for the United States, Mr. Ramadan, 42, a Swiss theologian of Egyptian descent who is probably Europe's best-known Muslim intellectual, received an urgent message from the American consul in Switzerland: Washington had just revoked the visa granted him after a security review last spring. (The New York Times)
- Islam has place in U.S. studies, educator says | That governments should spend more money on education than weapons is a given, but if educators spent more time teaching about peaceful heroes, there might not be a need for weapons. (Gary Post Tribune, Ind.)
Iraq's women begin wearing head scarf:
- Secular Iraq women take up the head scarf | Many women who bared their heads and dressed in Western-style clothes in Saddam Hussein's secular Iraq have started covering up -- some out of Islamic devotion, others in a desperate bid to shield themselves from the torrent of violence that has swept the country since the dictator's fall. (Associated Press)
- Veil has only recently reappeared in Iraq | Although associated with Arab tradition, the head scarf came to modern Iraq relatively recently. (Associated Press)
France deports imam:
- France deports controversial imam | A Muslim preacher who defended wife-beating has been deported from France. (BBC)
- France deports Muslim cleric who 'defended wife-beating' | An Algerian cleric was flown out of here yesterday bound for Algeria as French authorities ordered him deported for publicly defending wife-beating. (Agence France Presse)
- Imam is deported after court ruling | An imam who advocated wife-beating was deported from France yesterday after the country's highest administrative court dismissed his claim that an expulsion order was unlawful. (Daily Telegraph, UK)
War & terrorism:
- Meddlesome priest unwise | Showing a distinct distrust in God delivering the right result on Saturday, Peter Carnley, the outgoing head of Australia's Anglican Church, announced last weekend that on Iraq and mandatory detention, Australia was a "nation hell-bent on a course of disturbingly questionable morality".(The Australian, Australia)
- Mo. mosque tries to clear terror link | Members of a mosque are fighting to keep their place of worship as the federal government probes a link between the Islamic Center of Springfield and a benefactor accused of financing terrorism around the world. (Associated Press)
Church & state:
- Ruling on Everett Ten Commandments case expected in three weeks | In a hearing Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Robert S. Lasnik focused on the history of the six-foot granite monument, erected in 1959 outside what was then City Hall by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. (Associated Press)
- Town curbs prayers | Culpeper ministers may challenge town's suggestion on dropping 'Jesus' from prayers at meetings (The Free Lance-Star, VA)
- Residents pack boardroom to discuss prayer at council meetings | Free speech flourished at Tuesday's meeting of the Culpeper Ministerial Association as local clergy and Town Attorney Bob Bendall offered different takes on the place of prayer at government meetings. (Culpeper Star Exponent, VA)
- Culture warrior or anti-Christ? | An interview with Reverend Barry Lynn (OldSpeak, The Rutherford Institute)
- Remove Christian nation nonsense | While no one would oppose the protection of our people's right to a religious faith or belief, a right to profess a religion of their choice, we feel it was madness to legislate faith and religion into the Republican Constitution. (Editorial, The Post, Lusaka)
- Bishop stands up to government | If a man of the cloth decides to fight a Prime Minister from the pulpit, then it seems that the prime minister can fight him with the minions of Canada Customs and Revenue Agency. Calgary Bishop Fred Henry was called and warned by Canada Customs and Revenue Agency not to engage in partisan rhetoric during an election. (Canada Free Press)
- Scholars bring biblical challenges to government to the fore | Bible scholars today are asking the same hard question that confronted early followers of Jesus living under the oppressive Roman Empire: Can you be loyal both to God and to your country or government? (Knight Ridder Newspapers)
Religion & politics:
- Both sides putting faith in appeals to religious voters | Spurred by such issues as gay marriage, abortion, the war in Iraq and by expectations of a close election, religion has taken on an unusually bare-knuckled political role in the contest between President Bush, a Methodist and born-again Christian, and Sen. John Kerry, only the third Roman Catholic nominated on a major ticket to run for the presidency. (Chicago Tribune)
- In polls we trust? | Is Gallup's poll pulling for Bush? (Salon.com)
- Obama defends his religious views, values | In a U.S. Senate race that looks increasingly like a grand philosophical debate about religion and government, Democrat Barack Obama stood before a packed church Tuesday and argued the case for keeping the two separate. (Post-Dispatch, St. Louis)
- Faith should matter at polls | According to the latest polls, religion is an important factor in the upcoming presidential election. (Gary L. Shultz Jr, News-Leader, MO)
- Pastor invited to Bethlehem to counter Christian right | Minister who spoke at Democratic convention will talk at Lehigh U. (Allentown Morning Call, Penn.)
- 'God is not a Republican or a Democrat' | This column's headline is the title for a full-page petition that has appeared in major U.S. newspapers and magazines for the past several weeks. The statement was prepared and sponsored by Sojourners, a Christian action organization that publishes a monthly magazine with the same name. The original advertisement is signed by 44 mainline and evangelical Christian scholars and leaders. (Knight Ridder Newspapers)
- The twelve tribes of American politics | The religious groups that comprise the U.S. electorate. (John Green and Steven Waldman, Beliefnet)
- Media can't handle truth | Pell is detested because he favours a muscular Christianity, not the limp-wristed social justice variety and Abbott is detested because he wants to inject Christian values into politics and this is ultimate sin for the secular religionists. (The Australian, Australia)
- Kerry reaching out to black leaders | Determined to avoid any erosion in support, Sen. John Kerry is reaching out to black voters, a core Democratic constituency, in the campaign's final month, meeting with black religious leaders and traveling with Jesse Jackson. (Associated Press)
Religion & Republicans:
- Support for Israel drives evangelical vote, poll finds | Support for Israel is a decisive factor in evangelical Christians' choice between President Bush and Senator Kerry in the upcoming presidential election, according to a poll conducted Sept. 27-Oct.4 by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. (press release, Religion News Service)
- Pastor Bush | Why do so many Americans dismiss the evidence that the occupation of Iraq has gone disastrously wrong? Because the US has a long tradition of putting faith before facts. Jonathan Raban on George Bush's debt to the Puritans (The Guardian, UK)
Catholics & politics:
- Cover Story: Catholic Voters | Catholics used to be a foundational part of the old Democratic Party coalition -- but not any more. In the 2000 election, Al Gore received just 50 percent of the overall Catholic vote, while George Bush got 46 percent. This time, as the November 2004 election nears, polls suggest Catholics are still almost evenly divided between the parties, with a significant percentage swinging back and forth between the two candidates. (Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, PBS)
- Catholics courted in presidential election | Heading into the final weeks of the U.S. presidential race, Republicans are making headway with America's Roman Catholics, who comprise about a quarter of the population and once were considered die-hard Democrats, polls show. (Reuters)
- Catholics resist wooing by Kerry and Bush | Sen. John Kerry is having trouble wooing fellow Roman Catholics in Iowa and Wisconsin. President Bush is short of his expected Catholic count in Michigan and Minnesota. Once reliably Democratic, Catholics have become one of the most complicated and coveted swing voting blocs. (Associated Press)
- Catholics courted in presidential election | Heading into the final weeks of the U.S. presidential race, Republicans are making headway with America's Roman Catholics, who comprise about a quarter of the population and once were considered die-hard Democrats, polls show. (Reuters)
- Quotes on the Catholic vote | Quotes from voters, strategists, analysts on the Catholic vote (Associated Press)
- St. Louis Catholics debate political directive | Voting for a politician who backs same-sex unions or abortion is a 'grave sin,' bishop says. (Los Angeles Times)
Religion & politics elsewhere:
- Brazil elections reveal religious competition | More than 120 million Brazilians went to the polls on Sunday for nationwide municipal elections but appeals from some candidates for support from Evangelical churches provoked the ire of Roman Catholic leaders. (Ecumenical News International, Switzerland)
- Christian party now a force in Australian election | It is an impressive army: a political party lodged firmly in the creationism and social conservatism of the nation's evangelical and charismatic Christian faiths, tapping into values shared by Prime Minister Howard and many of his supporters. (New Zealand Herald)
Passion posters & politics in India:
- Church objects to use of 'Passion' posters in Mah campaign | The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has strongly objected to the use of posters of 'The Passion of Christ' during the campaigning for the Maharashtra Assembly elections and said it was against the very ethos of Christianity. (Deepika, India)
- Passion on streets in run-up to polls | Scores of posters of the The Passion of the Christ have appeared in several Christian-dominated areas in the Mumbai suburb of Varsai in the run-up to the Maharashtra polls on October 13. (Calcutta Telegraph, India)
- Weekend violence kills 57 in India, halting peace plans | Militants bombed utilities, a tea plantation and a crowded marketplace in northeastern India on Sunday, intensifying violence that has killed 57 people in two days and snarling efforts to bring cease-fires in a region where dozens of ethnic rebel groups are fighting for separate homelands. (Associated Press)
- Reconversions on in Staines' district | Orissa's Mayurbhanj district, home to late Australian missionary Graham Staines, is witnessing another proselytisation drive. Close on the heels of last month's reconversion ceremony at Sarat where 75 Christians were brought back into the Hindu fold, a second ceremony will be held on October 20 at Bhajakia in the same district. (Hindustan Times, India)
- N Korea angry at US rights bill | North Korea has responded angrily to a new human rights bill approved by the US House of Representatives. (BBC)
- House passes North Korea human rights bill | On Wednesday, July 21, 2004, the House unanimously passed the most significant human rights legislation of the year: H.R. 4011, the North Korean Human Rights Act, which extends humanitarian aid to North Korea. (Press release, Wilberforce Forum)
- Stop these gospel preachers | The Omanhene, of the Sunyani Traditional Area, Nana Busumah Asor Nkrawiri II has abhorred the kind of gospel preach nowadays on the airwaves by some religious groups. (Ghanaian Chronicle, Accra)
- Zimbabwe: Bishops call for credible electoral process in 2005 | The Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe have called on the government to ensure a credible electoral Process in order to achieve free and fair elections in 2005. (Catholic Information Service for Africa, Nairobi)
- Kenya: Priest asks Christians to allow Islamic courts in new constitution | A Catholic Priest has asked the faiths-led pressure-group on constitutional affairs and the National Council of Churches of Kenya (NCCK) to allow for the entrenchment of Islamic (Kadhi's) Courts in the new constitution under preparation. (Catholic Information Service for Africa, Nairobi)
- Cleric sues Christians | The Rev. Canon Maiteki has sued 85 Christians for defamation. Maiteki, who lost the leadership of the newly-created Masindi Kitara diocese to the Rev. Canon Stanley Ntagali, sued the Christians for accusing him, in a letter, of being adulterous and unfit to be bishop. (New Vision, Kampala)
- Speaking up for those who can't | America is very blessed. We are allowed to worship God in churches. We are allowed to have Bibles. We are allowed to talk about God and Jesus Christ in public. This is not the case in many other nations. (Cindy Ott, The Times and Democrat, SC)
- Neo-Nazis go on trial over Munich synagogue bomb plot | Amid concern over right-wing extremists in Germany, four neo-Nazis go on trial Wednesday on terrorism charges in connection with a plot to blow up a Munich synagogue last year. (Deutsche Presse-Agentur)
- A nun not content to observe traditional limits | Sister Deignan, a member of the Congregation of Notre Dame, finds herself part of the contentious public debate about the future of genetic science and is keenly aware that the intersection of genetics and faith is fraught with distrust and suspicion. (The New York Times)
- Stem cell first for British company | An unlimited supply of human nerve stem cells that can be used for brain and eye repair is being grown for the first time in the laboratory by a British company. (Daily Telegraph, UK)
Parents of Charlotte Wyatt fight for her life in Britain:
- Baby's 'right-to-life' ruling due | A High Court judge will announce on Thursday whether a seriously ill premature baby should be resuscitated if her condition deteriorates. (BBC)
- Charlotte parents urge more time | The parents of tragic "right to life" case baby Charlotte Wyatt are praying that a High Court judge will give them more time to spend with their critically-ill daughter. (The Guardian, UK)
- Judge to rule on baby's right to life | The parents of baby Charlotte Wyatt are expected to hear this afternoon whether a high court judge has supported their case for their daughter's right to life. (The Guardian, UK)
- Life or death decision for baby Charlotte today | The parents of tragic "right to life" case baby Charlotte Wyatt were praying today that a High Court judge will give them more time to spend with their critically-ill daughter. (Times, London)
- Abortion letter still an issue | Two years after Sen. Tom Daschle sent out a fund- raising letter for the National Abortion Rights Action League saying he had "stood up for a woman's right to choose," Daschle refuses to say whether he is pro-choice on abortion. (Rapid City Journal, SD)
- 30 states said at risk of abortion ban | Thirty states are poised to make abortion illegal within a year if the Supreme Court reversed its 1973 ruling establishing a woman's legal right to an abortion, an advocacy group said yesterday. (Associated Press)
- Tenn. wrangles with 'choose life' plates | License plates proclaiming "Choose Life" are causing Tennessee and a dozen other states to rethink very popular and very profitable programs that let drivers promote just about anything from the Girl Scouts to the preservation of wild turkeys. (Associated Press)
- Judge rejects Catholic land move challenge | A judge rejected a challenge to a transfer of property by the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego, saying the plaintiffs lacked standing to claim that the diocese was trying to protect its assets from alleged sex-abuse victims. (Associated Press)
- Deal heads off church occupation | Closing parish wins concession (Boston Globe)
- Pope names new Austria bishop | Pope John Paul II has named the bishop who investigated the seminary child pornography scandal in Austria to replace the man who resigned over the case, the Vatican said Thursday. (Associated Press)
- Pope unveils new book on philosophy of history | Pope John Paul, already the most prolific pontiff in history, will publish a new book next year of philosophical conversations on 20th century history, a Vatican official said on Wednesday. (Reuters)
- Pope to publish his 'last testament' | The 84-year-old Pope is to publish a book on European history and the future of humanity. Memory and Identity is aimed at a worldwide audience rather than just the Roman Catholic faithful and is certain to become a bestseller when published next year. (Times, London)
- Church bells cleared to chime | A vicar who feared he could face prosecution because his church bells were keeping people awake has escaped being hauled before the courts.(BBC)
- First Congregational Church in DeKalb is celebrating 150 years | Today, it's the First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ, in DeKalb, and it's celebrating its 150th anniversary, with a membership of 400-500withstanding a remarkable test of time in an era when opinions change from one day's poll to the next. (MidWeek, Ill.)
- Christ the Savior Orthodox Church opens doors | But Southbury gained a new and vigorous Orthodox presence when Christ the Savior Orthodox Church opened its doors recently at 1070 Roxbury Rd. (Voices, Conn.)
- Anglican Church of Canada does not support divestment from Israel | Jim Boyeles, Archdeacon of The Anglican Church of Canada said, "No action in regards to divestment from Israel is planned at this time from the Anglican Church of Canada." (Press release)
- A house blend featuring social, economic justice | This yen for caffeine among the faithful, combined with a divine command to help the poor, has created a thriving market for "fair-trade" coffee. This product is sold at above-market prices to give small farmers in developing nations a better chance at a sustainable life. (Bremerton Sun, Wash.)
- Hopperstad stave church replica dedicated | After King Olav II had converted Norway to Christianity by decree (1015-1030), stave churches were built around the country. (Norway.org, Norway)
- 125th anniversary for Wesley United | Since 1879, the congregation of Wesley United Methodist Church in Crookston has remained strong, going through 41 pastors, seven locations and six church buildings during that time. Now consisting of more than 160 members, the congregation is proud of its history and would like to invite the public to join in celebrating its anniversary. (Crookston Daily Times, Minn.)
- Name change will not alter church's mission | Serving community is key component for Christian center (Colts Neck News Transcript, NJ)
- Ohio Baptist Church turns 200 | It was 1804 and the state of Ohio was just a 1-year-old infant when Lewis and Clark set out on their legendary journey to discover the West, but another historic event took place right here in Lawrence County. (Ironton Tribune, Ohio)
- A Russian Orthodox church goes up in Pyongyang | Will it be a "showcase" church or one for "foreigners only"? Whatever the answer, four North Koreans are studying at the Moscow Patriarchate seminary. (AsiaNews)
- Big-thinking US churches wield mounting power | Mega-churchs now play pivotal roles in local communities. Their success is a testament to a sign of religion's strength and some slick marketing. (AFP)
Nigerian archbishop wants alternative oversight for Nigerian Anglicans in America:
- Archbishop from Africa wants U.S. churches | Archbishop Peter Akinola of Nigeria, who has been sharply critical of the U.S. Episcopal Church's decision last year to consecrate Bishop V. Gene Robinson in New Hampshire, said Tuesday he feels obliged to provide a spiritual home to Nigerians in America who are leaving the church over the issue. (Associated Press)
- Nigeria's top Anglican proposes U.S. parishes | An influential Anglican prelate from Nigeria yesterday proposed establishing new U.S. parishes under his jurisdiction to minister to Anglicans upset by last year's elevation of an openly gay Episcopal bishop. (Washington Post)
- Nigerian bishop forms U.S. denomination | Nigerian Anglican Bishop Peter J. Akinola, leader of the world's largest Anglican province with 17 million adherents and growing, announced the formation of a parallel denomination yesterday for an estimated 250,000 Nigerian Anglicans in the United States who find the Episcopal Church too liberal. (Washington Times)
Australian Anglicans reject female bishops:
- Anglicans say no to female bishops | Anglican progressives were dealt a crushing blow last night when the church's General Synod rejected a bid to allow the consecration of women bishops. (The Australian, Australia)
- Rift likely after ban on female bishops | The Anglican Church in Australia has rejected legislation paving the way for the country's first women bishops, after the bill collapsed on the general synod floor last night. (Sydney Morning Herald, Australia)
- Rift likely after ban on female bishops | The Anglican Church in Australia has rejected legislation paving the way for the country's first women bishops, after the bill collapsed on the general synod floor last night. (Sydney Morning Herald)
- Anglicans reject women bishops | Australia's Anglicans yesterday rejected women bishops, with the yes vote falling just short of the two-thirds majority needed to pass the bill. (The Age, Australia)
- Racism conference removes references to Arabs, Jews and Christians | Delegates at racism conference have removed reference to Arabs, Jews and Christians from a document summing up past abuses against blacks, deciding it would too divisive, officials said Tuesday. (Associated Press)
- Religious leader champions interfaith events | For a long time, Rev. William Gipson had planned a certain future for himself. But somewhere in the middle of his plans, a series of twists brought Gipson to the Office of the Chaplain, where he has been the leader of Penn's religious community for the past eight years. (Daily Pennsylvanian, Penn.)
- Peacemakers visit the Bluegrass | Christian-Muslim duo from Egypt promotes understanding (Herald-Leader, Lexington, Kentucky)
- Just add followers | Brahma Kumaris ("sisters of God") is one of more than 800 new religious movements operating in the United States. Most are New Age amalgams of many traditions. Some, like Brahma Kumaris, are obvious spinoffs from of older religions (in this case, Hinduism). (Knight Ridder Newspapers)
- Moonies knee-deep in faith-based funds | Pushing celibacy, marriage counseling under Bush plan (San Francisco Chronicle)
- Educator, former pilot on Mormon council | An Idaho educator and a former German airline pilot were named Saturday to leadership positions in the Mormon church. (Associated Press)
- Mormons become major Nebraska landowners | The Mormon church has become one of Nebraska's largest landowners with the purchase of 88,000 acres in the western part of the state it will use to raise cattle. (Associated Press)
Religion & homosexuality:
- Baptist official leaves over gay policy | The director of student life at Richmond's Baptist Theological Seminary has resigned, saying he could not enforce a policy that excludes practicing homosexuals, including those in committed relationships. (Associated Press)
- Spiritual coming out | A year ago, Cortada, a former altar boy, left the church over its stance on homosexuality. Though he and his partner felt at home at Gesu Catholic Church in downtown Miami, the Vatican's position on gay marriage convinced him he could no longer attend a church that discriminated against him, he said. (Knight Ridder Newspapers)
- 'Everyone has felt queer' | At this church, which has grown fourfold in six years, Christ has breasts Minister stands firm despite hate mail over gay stance. (Toronto Star)
- Pastor targets trouble in hood's hot spots | Rev. Long of True Faith Baptist working to set up hot line for residents (Alameda Times-Star, Calif.)
- Experience at Ground Zero colored local Episcopal priest's understanding of gospel | Lucas recently came to St. Timothy's Episcopal Church as deacon-in-charge and is to be ordained a transitional deacon in June. On Dec. 2, he will be officially ordained a priest. (News Courier, Ala.)
Billy Graham in Kansas City:
- Christian soldier mounts K.C. crusade | The Rev. Billy Graham rode in a golf cart around Kansas City's Arrowhead Stadium on Wednesday and surveyed the platform where he will deliver his Heart of America Crusade. (News-Leader, MO)
- Graham prepares to return to evangelical limelight | Making his first public appearance since a series of medical problems sidelined him this spring, evangelist Billy Graham on Wednesday toured preparations for his weekend crusade in Kansas City. (Associated Press)
- Priest charged with sex abuse in Australia | News reported he had been working in Samoa despite charges (The Dallas Morning News)
- Priest facing more charges in Australia | A Roman Catholic priest who had been working in ministry in the South Pacific island of Samoa despite being wanted on sex abuse charges in Australia has been accused of molesting seven more boys. The priest's background was exposed earlier this year in a story by The Dallas Morning News. (Associated Press)
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