John Kerry told The New York Times in an interview on Monday, "The President and I have the same position, fundamentally, on gay marriage. We do. Same position."

Neglecting to mention that he opposes the Federal Marriage Amendment while Bush supports it, Kerry then characterized the difference between him and the President as a matter of energizing religious voters. Bush and other Republicans are "out there misleading people and exploiting it," The Times quoted Kerry as saying.

"Careful not to question the sincerity of Mr. Bush's faith or to criticize the mobilization of conservative religious forces on his behalf, Mr. Kerry nonetheless suggested his opponent's campaign had gone over the line with the way it frames some issues." The Times wrote. "Despite frequent invocations of the term 'values,' he has not connected his agenda to a deeper moral conviction, though in the interview Monday he declared, 'Faith is central to my life.'"

Still, a Time magazine poll found only 7 percent of voters thought Kerry was a "man of strong religious faith."

So where's the disconnect? The Times says, "Aides attribute Mr. Kerry's visible discomfort in discussing religion to his Catholic upbringing in reserved New England, a contrast to Mr. Bush's spiritual rebirth into the more confessional tradition of evangelical Christianity."

But on the kinds of social issues many religious conservatives vote on, Kerry's actions speak louder than explanations. When President Bush weighed in on embryonic stem-research, he viewed it as an ethical problem. He invited clergy, ethicists, and scientists to counsel him. While Kerry has "surrounded himself with university researchers and doctors in white laboratory coats and disease sufferers," says The Times. Kerry also brought out celebrities like Michael J. Fox and Christopher Reeve, not known for their religious values.

In addition, Kerry opposes his own church on life issues, which does not show a "strong religious faith."

Kerry's "scientific" stance may not even be helping him with disabled Americans, those who he says stand to benefit most from the kind of stem-cell research he incorrectly says Bush banned. A recent survey by Harris Interactive found Bush has a narrow lead over Kerry among disabled Americans. "This finding marks a dramatic shift in support among this voting bloc, which has historically supported the Democratic candidate in every election since Harris Interactive first measured it in 1988," according to The National Organization on Disability press release.

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"The single disability-rights issue on the liberal agenda is our right to die," writes Lucy Gwin, editor of Mouth magazine, a disability-rights oriented magazine. "That's nowhere near the top of the disability-rights-needed-here list."

"More at ease in the realm of secular facts, he seems to have scored some points recently by portraying Mr. Bush as a man of oblivious conviction and hard ideology, though he does not explicitly mention the religious roots of some of the stances," says The Times.

Both The Times and Kerry don't seem to recognize that religious people don't find "the realm of secular facts" opposed to religious conviction. Many people, such as Joni Eareckson Tada, would argue that it's not religion versus science, but it's religiously and ethically informed science that truly cares for the sick. Bush's restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research are not "right-wing ideology" or a result of "oblivious conviction." Such a description may rally the non-religious, but it offends those who take faith seriously.

"There are a lot of middle-of-the-road Catholics and middle-of-the-road Protestants who aren't over there with the Religious Right but who take their faith very seriously and who are open to appeal," Prof. John C. Green of the University of Akron told The Times. People of faith are concerned about the environment, the poor, corporate ethics, and the war in Iraq. And they may be willing to vote against Republicans because of their faith. However, Kerry's assurances that he is a man of faith while criticizing another man because of his faith make it difficult for people of faith to believe him.

Now, back to gay marriage. Polls suggest that while many oppose same-sex marriage, many also oppose an amendment banning it. Kerry says he and Bush have "fundamentally" the "same position." Bush's faith (not to mention his evangelical base) helped him to decide to support the Federal Marriage Amendment.

So how does Kerry's faith inform his policy? Kerry opposes the amendment, but what does he support? Leaving it to states to ban same-sex marriage, as he has suggested, does not seem like a workable solution if couples married in one state move to a state that doesn't recognize same-sex marriage. If Kerry's actions regarding same-sex marriage mirror his actions on stem-cell research, it will be hard for people of faith, concerned about traditional marriage, to take his "same position" comments seriously.

If Kerry could connect "his agenda to a deeper moral conviction," in a way that supports traditional marriage, he just might be able to take a major "wedge issue" away from the Republicans. By supporting civil unions or in some official way distinguishing marriage between a man and a woman, Kerry could court traditional-marriage-supporting voters who don't like the Federal Marriage Amendment. That is, if he takes seriously The Times advice and does in fact have the "same position" as Bush.

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More Articles:

Same-sex marriage:

  • Same-sex marriage, an issue to bring Americans together | When people ask me why I am not married, I tell them jokingly that it's against my religion. But all jokes aside, it sort of is, or at least I thought so. You see, I am an atheist. Why I can't believe in God I will save for another time. The point is, why would I want to get married if I had no religion? (Nicholas Malin-Adams, Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Ind.)
  • Dobson speaks against gay marriage, falls off stage | After his speech, Dobson fell off the six-foot-high stage and had to have five stitches for a gash above his right ankle. (The Advocate, gay magazine)
  • Federal lawyers argue in favour of gay marriage | Federal lawyers asked the Supreme Court of Canada Wednesday to support the government's proposed legislation on same-sex marriage, saying it's a matter of equality for gays in Canada. (CTV, Canada)
  • Ballot wars over same-sex marriage | Initiatives in 11 states, from Oregon to Ohio, are dividing electorates and shaping the Bush-Kerry race. (Christian Science Monitor)
  • Conservatives win gay marriage battle | Gay marriages and openly gay clergy have no place in the Anglican Church after the General Synod yesterday affirmed its fierce opposition to liberal elements that have exposed deep divisions in the church. (Advertiser, Australia)
  • Forging a pro-gay, pro-life alliance | Science is perilously close to where sexual orientation could be among the genetic traits that parents could "select." This should be a wakeup call for gays and lesbians worried about "our" future generations. It also demands outside-the-comfort-zone vigilance by pro-lifers who claim to believe in the fundamental right of every child to be born. Gays, lesbians and pro-lifers should be natural allies in protecting life. (Brian O'Leary Bennett, San Francisco Chronicle)

Britain's baby Wyatt to die:

  • Let baby Charlotte die, rules judge | Tragic baby Charlotte Wyatt, who weighed just one pound and measured only five inches when she was born three months premature, is to be allowed to die if her breathing stops a court ruled today. (The Mirror, UK)
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  • Ill baby 'should not be revived' | Doctors should not resuscitate a premature baby girl if she stops breathing, the High Court has ruled. (BBC)
  • Severely ill baby ought to be allowed to die, judge tells parents | Darren and Debbie Wyatt sat in a wooden pew at the Royal Courts of Justice, gripping each other's hands, barely able to look at the judge as he ruled that, despite their most fervent wishes, their 11-month-old daughter should be allowed to die. (Independent, UK)
  • 'Let baby Charlotte die in peace' | Charlotte Wyatt, the tiny premature baby clinging to life in a hospital oxygen box, should be allowed to die in peace in the arms of her loving parents, a High Court judge ruled yesterday. (The Herald, UK)
  • Severely ill baby ought to be allowed to die, judge tells parents | Darren and Debbie Wyatt sat in a wooden pew at the Royal Courts of Justice, gripping each other's hands, barely able to look at the judge as he ruled that, despite their most fervent wishes, their 11-month-old daughter should be allowed to die. (Belfast Telegraph, UK)
  • Let her rest in peace | Charlotte should be allowed to die 'with the TLC of those who love her most' (Glasgow Daily Record, UK)

Religion & politics:

  • Of pulpit, politics and the black vote | The subject was politics and same-sex marriage as the New York minister took the pulpit Tuesday night at First Baptist Church, Capitol Hill. (Dwight Lewis, The Tennessean)
  • Kerry avoids religious discussion | Sen. John Kerry in his U.S. presidential bid has avoided bringing religion into topics like the embryonic stem cell research but that may cost him. (UPI)
  • Religion news in brief | Archbishop Raymond Burke sparked a national debate earlier this year by announcing he would deny Holy Communion to Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry. Now, he says there is no justification for voters to back a candidate supporting abortion rights. (Associated Press)
  • Black churches and the election | Commentator Cornel West has been monitoring the role that African-American churches might play in this presidential election, and how Republicans are becoming more encouraged. (The Tavis Smiley Show, NPR)
  • Invoking God to defend policies can lead to trouble | Time and time again throughout history it has been shown that acting on the belief that God is on one's side leads to suffering, intolerance, lying, and corruption by events such as crusades, witch trials, murderers who believe they are carrying out God's will (why are they crazy and George Bush not?), and the current administration, which is ripe with examples of deceit and narrow-mindedness.
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  • Congress recognizes Ala. church bombing | More than four decades after a racially charged church bombing in Birmingham, Ala., Congress on Wednesday officially recognized for the first time the tragedy that helped create momentum for the civil rights movement. (Associated Press)
  • Politics & faith … Democrats celebrate love of God | Testimonials about faith-based persecution usually target pagan prejudices, but Rachel Aunspaugh described something different - Christian-on-Christian harassment - in a message delivered last week. (Gladstone Sun News, MO.)
  • Christians to pray for election | Christian church members will gather in the Great Hall of Parliament House tonight to pray for the nation as it heads to a federal election on Saturday. (Brisbane Courier Mail, Australia)

Vote values guides:

  • What 'guide' doesn't preach | The Rev. Ralph J. Chieffo encouraged parishioners to not only vote in the Nov. 2 election, but to vote in accordance with church teachings. The priest said literature would be handed out as congregants left church. (John Grogan, Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Nile angers author of 'Christian values' list | A "Christian values" checklist used by morals campaigner Fred Nile in his party's federal election campaign has angered the author of the widely distributed list. (Daily Telegraph, Australia)

Catholic vote:

  • Kerry, Bush have trouble wooing Catholics | 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)
  • The Catholic vote | Religious beliefs could shift Pa., N.J. outcome of presidential election (The Express-Times, Penn.)


  • Theologian rejects religious relativism in lecture | Rev. Gerald O'Collins, S.J., emphasized the need for balance between the assertion of Catholic faith and recognition of its similarities to other religions in a lecture in Riggs Library yesterday. (The Georgetown Hoya, Georgetown University)
  • Cardinal gives talks at Tulane | The appearance of Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, Austria, in New Orleans to deliver two talks has caused a buzz among local Catholics. (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)
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Closing Catholic parishes:

  • Housing plan OK'd by board | The issue is taking on heightened prominence in light of the presumed sale of Our Lady Help of Christians Church by the Boston Archdiocese. (Concord Journal, Mass.)
  • Symbols of faith will move with parish | In the time since the Boston Archdiocese announced Our Lady Help of Christians church in West Concord would close, parishioners have been searching for a fitting remembrance of their nearly century-old church. (Concord Journal, Mass.)

Church & state:

  • Pastor ponders school prayer | Much has been said during our national history about the church -- state -- education inter-relationship, and the debate continues. (Fergus Falls Daily Journal, Minn.)
  • Ehrlich bypasses assembly to aid faith-based groups | Maryland Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) announced the creation of an Office of Community Initiatives yesterday, reconciling a 2002 campaign promise to champion "faith-based initiatives" with the political realities he faces in Annapolis. (Washington Post)
  • 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)

Church life:

  • Protestant churches losing their majority status in US | HALF a century ago, Bethany Presbyterian Church in Wichita, Kansas, had to open an overflow area to accommodate the 350 worshippers who regularly turned up for Sunday service. This summer, the 117-year-old church held its final communion, gave away its altar cross, pulpit and baptismal font, then closed its doors for good. (The Scotsman, UK)
  • Vangen Lutheran churches celebrate 140th anniversary | Thanks to the Norwegian Evangelical Lutheran Congregation of the Dakota Territory, the churches of Vangen Lutheran in Mission Hill, Bergen Lutheran near Meckling and Gayville Lutheran have been going strong for more than a century. (Yankton Daily Press, SD)
  • 'Storefront church' flap sidesteps lapse in judgment | Recently, I was told by a minister that I had offended a group of 25 other ministers when I used the phrase "storefront church" to describe a West Side church. I used that reference in a column about the tragic loss suffered by the Rev. Dwayne Funches and his wife, Emily. (Mary Mitchell, Sun-Times, Chicago)
  • Church unveils expansion plan | Westfield Evangelical Free Church unveiled plans Tuesday evening to add a 37,075-square-foot addition to its building on Southwick Road. (The Republican, Mass.)
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  • Religious festival cuts across colour lines | It is a new way to worship - out of the four walls of the church, crying out to the Lord, giving Him radical praises that anyone in their natural mind would describe as foolish. (Nassau Guardian, Bahamas)

Missions & ministry:

  • About 500 see actor share Christian message | Nearly 500 people, most of them college age and younger, gathered for two hours Wednesday evening in the parking lot outside the Spring Arbor University fieldhouse. They were there to watch skateboarding, listen to actor Stephen Baldwin and learn more about Jesus Christ. (The Jackson Citizen Patriot, Mich.)
  • Christians chip in RM100,000 | The money that thousands of Christians saved through fasting made it possible for the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship (NECF) to donate RM100,000 to the Darfur Children's Fund. (The Malaysia Star, Malaysia)
  • Festival to focus on mission work | Ministering to people in this community and around the world will be the focus of the St. Cloud Area Missions Festival this weekend at Hope Covenant Church in St. Cloud. (St. Cloud Times, Minn.)
  • Faith has a place at the fair | Churches, religious groups staff booths where they share their beliefs (The State, SC)
  • Churches to hold blood donation drive | Baptist churches nationwide will be joining hands in a blood donation drive to ease the expected shortfall when Muslims observe Ramadan in about two weeks. (The Malaysia Star, Malaysia)

Billy Graham in KC:

  • The faithful, troubled gather to hear Graham | Those gathered for the opening of the Heart of America Billy Graham Crusade on Thursday night had clapped and danced in place to the pounding beat of Latin music. They'd sung old-time hymns. They'd stood, eyes closed, and prayed with their arms held up to the heavens spilling rain. (Kansas City Star)
  • Billy Graham a blessing to Christian and non-Christian alike | It is the Ozarks' privilege that Billy Graham is holding one of his last crusades nearby this weekend in Kansas City. (News-Leader, MO)

Religious freedom:

  • US Congress examines religious freedom; Iran among countries of particular concern | The U.S. Congress has again focused attention on violations of religious freedom around the world. A congressional committee on Wednesday examined an annual report by the State Department that identifies countries of particular concern. (Payvand, Iran)
  • Grenade rocks Istanbul's Orthodox patriarchate | A hand grenade shattered church and monastery windows at the Greek Orthodox patriarchate in the Turkish city of Istanbul early on Thursday but no one was hurt, officials said. (Reuters)
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  • Assyrian boy beheaded, burned in north Iraq | On October 5 the Christian residents of Ba'asheeqa and Bahzani, near Mosul in north Iraq, were shocked when they discovered the body of Fadi Shamoon. The 'Aaid Khidir Shamoon family was devastated as they witnessed the body of their 15-years-old son, who was found burned after he was beheaded. (Assyrian International News Agency)
  • Pakistan bans public meetings after 40 die in a car bombing | The authorities announced a nationwide ban on all political and religious meetings except Friday Prayer after a car bombing early Thursday in the central city of Multan killed 40 people and wounded at least 100. (The New York Times)
  • Long-awaited step for Turkey | Most important of all, Turkey is proof that Islam and democracy can be compatible. (Editorial, The New York Times)

Mideast Christians booted from U.S.:

  • Not exactly a Valley Girl, she feels she belongs here | She was born in Iran in 1982. Her family — all Christians — fled Ayatollah Khomeini's Islamic fundamentalist regime in 1985. She wants to stay here. But the U.S. Department of Homeland Security wants to deport her to Germany, which, she fears, would send her to certain death in her birthplace of Iran. (Modesto Bee, Calif.)
  • His future hinges on political asylum | Today, Louis is a man without a country -- and in a most precarious situation. And Joe is working to persuade the Immigration and Naturalization Service that, unless it grants Louis political asylum, he'll be deported to Lebanon, where he would be imprisoned, tortured and never heard from again. (Cincinnati Post)

Human rights:

  • House of Representatives expected to call for UN action on Burma | The House of Representatives is expected to approve a resolution calling on the U.N. Security Council to take action to deal with what it calls dangers posed by Burma's military government to the people of Burma, and to Southeast Asia. (Voice of America)
  • Chinese hyperbole, Korean snobbery | Many senseless Korean Christians are crazy about disseminating Christian doctrine there against Chinese law. The prohibition of missionary activities is based on the circumstances of Chinese history. (Lee Keun-yup, Korea Times)


  • Sudan agrees to resume peace talks with rebels in its south | Even as violence continues in the western region of Darfur, Sudan's government on Thursday agreed to restart long-delayed peace talks relating to a separate war in the south. (The New York Times)
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  • Sudan resumes peace talks with southern rebels | Sudan's government and southern rebels resumed talks on a final peace deal on Thursday amid fears that tensions in the oil-producing south and the newer Darfur crisis could plunge Africa's biggest country into chaos. (Reuters)

Report—53,000 killed so far in Nigeria:

  • More than 53,000 reported killed in three years of violence in Nigerian state | Violence between Christians and Muslims over the last three years has left more than 53,000 people dead in a central Nigerian state, officials said Thursday. It was the first official death toll from sectarian violence in the region. (Associated Press)
  • Nigerian clashes: '50,000 killed' | More than 50,000 people have been killed in communal clashes in one Nigerian state in less than three years, a new government study says. (BBC)

Interfaith & other religions:

  • Interfaith group teaches tolerance | The Rev. Joe Mayher of the Congregational Church of Weston has "twin passions" - interfaith work and youth ministry. On Sunday night, people had a chance to see them both at work when the Weston-Wayland Interfaith Action met to present "Building a Better Tomorrow: Camp IF and the Interfaith Youth Leadership Forum." (Weston Town Crier, Mass.)
  • Penn law students tackle Islamic law case | As part of a project sponsored by the United Nations, the class's sole task would be to craft an updated crime code for the Republic of Maldives, an island nation of 278,000 people in the Indian Ocean. The code was to be based on the Shariah, a body of Islamic law that fundamentalist nations have used to subjugate women, crush free religious expression and impose personal behavior laws criminalizing homosexuality, alcohol consumption and sex outside marriage. (Associated Press)
  • Religion today | The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks emboldened many outside the Muslim community to demand Islamic leaders re-examine religious teachings on matters from war to women's rights. But in the United States, the latest call for reform is coming from within. (Associated Press)
  • Should Jews oppose evangelical help? | In Israel this week, televangelist Pat Robertson inveighed against giving territory to the Palestinians, claiming that the goal of Islam is to "destroy Israel and take the land from the Jews and give East Jerusalem to Yasser Arafat. I see that as Satan's plan to prevent the return of Jesus Christ the Lord." It would be hard to find a more revealing expression of why most Jews continue to feel uneasy about the evangelicals. (The Jewish Journal, Calif.)
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  • Mormon missionaries target Iqaluit | "In Iqaluit there's a warmth in the midst of the cold" (Nunatsiaq News, Canada)
  • Missionaries not welcome in classrooms | "What it would open the door to is in question"(Nunatsiaq News, Canada)


  • The trouble with religion | Convincing a non-believer that God exists in light of the recent mass loss of life in Haiti by natural disaster or by the hundreds that are dying from starvation in Darfur, Sudan, is hard. (Becki Patterson, Jamaica Observer, Jamaica)
  • A perspective on death penalty | The second part of the speech given by Bishop Peter Fox, head of the Anglican Church of PNG, at a seminar last Wednesday. (The National, Papua New Guinea)
  • Faithful both to God and to the common good | For too long we in the faith community have let others relegate us to obscurity or stereotype us as those who take positions only on hot-button issues of private morality. But Christians, Jews, Muslims and many others who believe in the goodness of God are not fringe fanatics but people who want to join hands in a common hope and a common vision of the public good. (Grant Stevensen, Minneapolis Star Tribune)


  • Search for spiritual awareness has Brits looking in Turlock | British spiritualists have returned this fall to share their visions of the afterlife, clairvoyance and Christianity. They have been coming to the Spiritual Science Church here since 2001 to conduct readings, workshops and services. (Modesto Bee, Calif.)
  • Readers seek more religion amid uncertain times | Feeling adrift in an increasingly confusing world? Then join a growing trend among bookworms -- pick up a tome on religion or spirituality. (Reuters)


  • Pastor spins gripping tale out of real Sudan tragedy | While working on a documentary film in India a few years ago, Ayris was horrified when someone tried to sell him a little girl. He also witnessed the evils of child prostitution while filming an undercover video project in Brazil. (Ocala Star-Banner, Fla.)
  • Carlin remains equal-opportunity offender | At first glance, the title of comedian George Carlin's latest book makes no sense: "When Will Jesus Bring the Pork Chops?" "About a week later, I realized that one nice thing about it is that it offends all three major religious groups" -- Christians because it feels sacrilegious, Jews and Muslims because they are forbidden from eating pork. (Daytona Beach News-Journal, Fla.)
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  • Seminar scans religion debate | Oxford philosopher points out difference between Europe, U.S. (Knoxville News Sentinel, Tenn.)


  • Faith + physics | John Polkinghorne, physicist and Anglican priest, explores the common ground between science and religion. (Roanoke Times, VA)
  • Weather's impact on poor addressed | After taking part in a briefing by environmental experts this week, officials of evangelical Christian relief groups said they expect to address the impact of global warming on the poor. (Chicago Tribune)


  • Gospel group to 'rock' Bahrain | Gospel group Kontagious, is to perform in Bahrain next week. (Gulf Daily News, Bahrain)
  • Once mocked, Christian rockers now top the bill | Mocked by followers of mainstream pop music, evangelical rockers have kept the faith and become a huge business in the United States. (AFP)


  • Temperature rising: Moore on DVD | The DVD - 3.5 million copies of which are being released today - comes with 80 minutes of extras, including seven new scenes stand-up performances by Arab American comedians; and Condoleezza Rice's most awkward moments before the 9/11 Commission. (Columbus Ledger-Enquirer, GA)
  • 'Passion of the Christ' gets 2-month run in Muslim nation | More than 40,000 Malaysians have watched Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" after authorities in this mostly Muslim nation allowed the movie to be shown to Christians in designated movie theaters. (Associated Press)
  • Faith in the White House | "George W. Bush: Faith in the White House" outlines the significant role of fundamentalist Christianity in the life and presidency of George W. Bush. (WBUR, Boston)
  • Good God | A bishop's book becomes a powerful movie about hypocrisy and salvation (Houston Press)


  • Baseball, Judaism, Christianity are `team' events | Dodgers' Green is right to honor holy day; faith should be communal (Charlotte Observer, NC)
  • Graham Spiers' sports diary | Some people, I believe, have been offended by coverage of yet another Andrews evangelising outburst, this time following his sterling performance against Kilmarnock on Sunday, which appeared in this newspaper (under my by-line) and others. (The Herald, UK)


  • Thoroughbred investment firm skips hearing, denies it's a scam | Despite being shut down in July by California fraud regulators accusing it of bilking investors out of $15 million, a Tennessee company claiming to invest in thoroughbred racehorses is continuing to operate under a different name while its lawyers say company did nothing wrong. (Associated Press)
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  • Pastor gets probation for biting officer | A minister convicted of biting a police officer during a traffic stop avoided two years in prison after a judge gave him 10 years of probation and ordered him to enroll in an anger management program. (The New York Times)


  • Judge rules in Calif. clergy abuse cases | A judge presiding over 160 northern California clergy sex-abuse cases issued a number of key decisions Thursday, setting trial dates for some plaintiffs, throwing out claims made by others and allowing punitive damages in one case. (Associated Press)
  • Deadline for claims against diocese is set | Federal bankruptcy Judge James Marlar gave victims of sexual abuse until April 15, 2005, to come forward with claims against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson. (Los Angeles Times)

More articles of interest:

  • City folks in Amish country | With its gentle rolling hills, one-room schoolhouses and covered bridges, Lancaster County looks like an ever-changing picture postcard of rural America. Five million tourists pass through each year; most know the region as Pennsylvania Dutch Country, home of the Amish, or Plain People, who shun electricity and clip-clop in horse-drawn buggies along the winding country roads. (The New York Times)
  • Speed dating helps thin the herd | Twelve women and 12 men each pay $34 for the privilege of going on six-minute dates with each other across a table at the restaurant. There is speed dating for athletic-minded people, Christians, Jews, Latins, tall people, African-Americans and single parents. (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)
  • Store's decision to ban Salvation Army misses the target | Call it a safe bet -- maybe even a bright-red, bull's-eye, fashionable, smartly priced bet -- that American life has become too corporate or complex when Target banishes the Salvation Army's bell ringers. (Ruth Holladay, Indianapolis Star)
  • Evangelicals are strict, not stupid | The impression is often given that evangelical Christians are de facto bigoted, ignorant and, not to put too fine a point on it, downright stupid. Their protests against what they regard as unorthodox developments in the church are seen as boorish and, sometimes, fuelled by hate rather than love. (Colin Sedgwick, The Guardian, UK)
  • When it comes to consumer boycotts, companies will even listen—sometimes | Don't buy Crest. Don't buy Tide. That is the message of Focus on the Family and the American Family Association, which are calling for a boycott of those Proctor & Gamble products. That company contributed $10,000 to overturn a Cincinnati ordinance approved by voters that prevents homosexuals from receiving preferential treatment. The boycott is intended to pressure P&G and other American corporations to stop supporting the homosexual cause. (World)
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  • The crusade against evolution | In the beginning there was Darwin. And then there was intelligent design. How the next generation of "creation science" is invading America's classrooms. (Wired)

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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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