Anti-ID decision probably won't be appealed, but board members still might end up in court
There are countless discussion questions prompted by yesterday's court decision barring a Pennsylvania school district from requiring its schools to mention Intelligent Design and describe Darwin's theory of evolution as "a theory … not a fact."

We could discuss whether it's best to have a solitary judge rule on whether science requires methodological naturalism. We could discuss the propriety of a judge issuing a ruling that religion, and specifically with Christianity, are compatible with evolution. We could discuss William Saletan's interesting argument that Judge John Jones falls prey to the same "contrived dualism" that he condemns. We could talk about Jones's statement "no other tribunal in the United States is in a better position than are we to traipse into this controversial area" when Jones himself admits that the supposed supporters of Intelligent Design in this case "had utterly no grasp of ID" (one board member "consistently referred to ID as 'intelligence design' throughout her testimony.") And surely we could talk about the future of Intelligent Design as an academic pursuit in the wake of this ruling.

But first, before we talk about any of those things, let's talk about one of the major issues in Jones's ruling: honesty among the board members supporting Intelligent Design.

"Witnesses either testified inconsistently, or lied outright under oath on several occasions," Jones wrote. "The inescapable truth is that both [Alan] Bonsell and [William] Buckingham lied at their January 3, 2005 depositions. … Bonsell repeatedly failed to testify in a truthful manner. … Defendants have unceasingly attempted in vain to distance themselves from their own actions and statements, which culminated in repetitious, untruthful testimony."

Jones was particularly grieved that board members denied using the term "creationism" before switching the term to "Intelligent Design," and that some board members claimed not to know how copies of the book Of Pandas and People were donated to the school when Buckingham personally raised funds for the books at his church. If you're interested in the details, the York Daily Record has enough to choke a panda.

In Jones's conclusion (the entire 139-page decision is Scalia-like both in its readability and causticity, if not in its legal perspective), Jones twists the knife: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

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"Yes, ironic—at the very least. But also sinful according to the 9th Commandment. And perhaps also criminal," said an editorial in the York Daily Record. "We can only hope that the appropriate authorities are investigating possible perjury charges in this case. … The unintelligent designers of this fiasco should not walk away unscathed. They've damaged and divided this community, and there should be repercussions—a perjury investigation—beyond a lost election."

Bearing false witness?
Are these calls for perjury charges short-lived responses from a community angry at being "made a national laughingstock," as the editorial puts it? Or are Bonsell, Buckingham, and perhaps others at real risk of criminal charges?

It may be that the board members are safe, for the same reason that this case won't go higher in the court system: Eight of the nine school board members behind the ID policy were voted out in a recent election and replaced with members staunchly opposed to the policy.

"Those school board members have given conflicting statements as to whether they would allow the case to continue to the appeals courts in hopes of making it a national test case to ban intelligent design from the classroom," Time notes. But it's highly unlikely: The locals are really tired of being in national spotlight and have no desire to make their town an even larger issue. And because the town wishes this story would just go away, they may not want a criminal trial, either. But who knows?

In a separate news article, the Daily Record looks at the perjury question: Professor Richard Fallon of Harvard Law School said a judge wouldn't have the authority to level perjury charges in a case that he or she had tried. That authority would go to a prosecutor. Steve Harvey, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said Jones would be able to forward any such concerns to federal prosecutors."

The paper does not quote Bonsell on the subject, but paraphrases him saying "he disagreed with the judge that the board provided a disservice to the public and that members lied to cover their tracks."

Buckingham was more direct in an interview with The New York Times. "If the judge called me a liar, then he's a liar," the former board member said.

Meanwhile, it's worth remembering that other supporters of Intelligent Design, like the Discovery Institute, are being sullied by the board members' actions. (The Discovery Institute actually opposed the Dover policy and every other policy requiring the teaching of Intelligent Design.) In fact, closing arguments in the case claimed that the board members' dishonesty was an outgrowth of the deception of the Intelligent Design movement in its "shell game" attempt to say it's not religious.

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In an interview with the York Daily Record, Dover science teacher Rob Eshbach again equated the deception of the board members with the ID movement. "We are certainly glad that Judge Jones saw it for what it was," Eshbach said. He saw the lies that took place. The deception that took place. That's what we were hoping for."

Such equations are spurious, but expected. It is not terribly difficult to use the sins of a few to tar the intentions of the many. Nor is it difficult to criticize Darwinists for taking advantage of the opportunity.

What is more difficult is to recognize that so many of us are tempted to "forget" inconvenient facts, to retell events in a more positive light, to take shortcuts for the benefit of what we think is the greater good. When it comes down to it, though, which do you think God cares more about? That those who act in his name got a school district to call Darwinian evolution a theory, or that the entire world now considers them perjurers?

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Judge rules against Intelligent Design (news):

  1. Judge rules against teaching intelligent design | Tammy Kitzmiller said it is heartening to know that it's possible for "11 ordinary citizens" to take a step forward to make a difference. (York Daily Record

  2. 'The activism of an ill-informed faction' | A selection of quotes from Judge John E. Jones III's ruling in Kitzmiller v. Dover (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  3. Judge: Ex-members lied in testimony | Former member Buckingham said board did the right thing (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  4. 'Breathtaking inanity': How Intelligent Design flunked its test case | A federal judge minces no words as he comes down against evolution's rival (Time)

  5. Judge rules against 'Intelligent Design' | Dover, Pa., district can't teach evolution alternative (The Washington Post)

  6. Judge says 'Intelligent Design' is not science | He calls a school board's effort to teach it as an alternative to evolution unconstitutional (Los Angeles Times)

  7. Judge quashes 'intelligent design' | Judge Jones further held that several religious members of the Dover Area School Board lied when they claimed they sought to improve science education by exposing students to intelligent design (The Washington Times)

  8. Colo. groups split on ruling | "The First Amendment is the true loser today," says Focus on the Family(The Denver Post)

  9. Also: Judge says Intelligent Design has no place in public schools | Ruling says teachers should not disparage evolution (CitizenLink, Focus on the Family)

  10. Judge rules against Pa. biology curriculum (Associated Press)

  11. Judge bars ID from schools, says it's religion, not science (Newsday)

  12. Judge rejects teaching Intelligent Design | The judge ruled it was unconstitutional for a Pennsylvania school district to present intelligent design as an evolution alternative (The New York Times)

  13. Federal judge rules, in strongly worded opinion, that teaching Intelligent Design is unconstitutional (The Chronicle of Higher Education)

  14. Judge rules against Intelligent Design | A federal judge ruled this morning that intelligent design is not a scientific theory and should not be taught to public school students (The York Dispatch, Pa.)

  15. Survival of the fittest theory | Federal judge rejects intelligent design curriculum as religious and non-scientific (Inside Higher Ed)

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Judge rules against Intelligent Design (opinion):

  1. Investigate perjury in Dover ID case | Judge Jones issued a broad, sensible ruling - finding that some board members lied (Editorial, York Daily Record, Pa.)

  2. Intelligent decision | The resurgence of interest in religion in America is a laudable development and will enrich many lives. But it should not be thrust into public school science classes (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  3. Intelligent Design ruling dashed in Dover | The results were bad for ID - and good for democracy. They were good for those who read the Bible, those who read Darwin, and those who never read anything. This was a triumph for the Constitution, so it is one we all can share (Editorial, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  4. Is creationism destructible? | Where to go from Dover (William Saletan, Slate)

  5. Defending science by defining it | The opinion written by Judge John E. Jones III is a passionate paean to science. But it is also a strategic defense of Darwinian theory. (David Brown and Rick Weiss, The Washington Post)

  6. Darwin victorious | Time's Michael Lemonick assesses the theory of evolution after Intelligent Design is defeated in Pennsylvania (Time)

  7. It's God or Darwin | Competing designs (David Klinghoffer, National Review Online)

  8. The Lemon cliffs of Dover | I.D. and the establishment clause in the classroom (Lee J. Strang, National Review Online)

What's next for ID:

  1. New board isn't planning appeal | But members must find a way to pay for the trial their predecessors provoked (York Daily Record, Pa.)

  2. A town in the spotlight wants out of it | With the intelligent design case resolved, residents of Dover, Pa., hoped stereotypes of the town as a place of nonstop cultural warfare would be dispelled (The New York Times)

  3. Evolution debate moving to new battlegrounds | 'Intelligent design' movement dealt a blow, but not mortally wounded (MSNBC)

  4. Districts look anew at policies | Many districts across the country wrestling with the issue have paid close attention to the case (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  5. Ruling may create new interest in intelligent design movement | While some saw a federal ruling Tuesday as a major blow to the proponents of "intelligent design," a Seattle organization that is one of the movement's key figures slammed the decision as a futile attempt at government censorship that could actually further its message (Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  6. Ruling addresses broader controversy | The sweeping federal court decision yesterday against "intelligent design" went far beyond the narrow issues in Dover, Pa., and gave new hope to American science teachers who have increasingly been on the defensive in the teaching of evolution (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Intelligent Design & evolution:

  1. Republicans design gain mainly on the plains | In Kansas, everyone you meet seems to have an opinion about what the board did in November and about how reporters from all over the world have been to Topeka, some of whom ridiculed Kansans, and there is bitterness and passion beneath the politeness and Kansan hospitality (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  2. Creationists say fossils back them up | Members of a Florida family use their finds to dispute evolution and the age of Earth (The Orlando Sentinel)

  3. Survival of the unfittest | A Pennsylvania judge has ruled that intelligent design is not fit for science classes. But I.D. remains rooted in U.S. schools, where science teachers are pressured to address God in the classroom (Gordy Slack,

  4. What's so scary about intelligent design? | The reality today is that when theology, philosophy or religion dares to examine the Big Question, its practitioners find themselves increasingly bumping heads with scientific claims of exclusive competence (Dennis Byrne, Chicago Tribune)

  5. Intelligent design is not smart | While the religious right wrings its hands over what to topple first, education or the courts, think about the implications of allowing alternatives to accepted scientific theories to be taught in school (Bethany L. Ruhe, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  6. Supposing … There were fun illnesses | If you're looking for proof that God doesn't exist, don't bother investigating the big stuff, like earthquakes or famines or the tsunami. Start small. Right now I've got a sore throat and as far as I'm concerned that's evidence enough (Charlie Brooker, The Guardian, London)

  7. The designs of science | In July 2005 the New York Times published my short essay "Finding Design in Nature." The reaction has been overwhelming, and not overwhelmingly positive (Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, First Things)

Cobb County evolution stickers ruling:

  1. 11th circuit skeptical of evolution sticker ruling | Judges decry inconsistencies in lower court's timeline of events (Fulton County Daily Report, Ga.)

  2. Man who fought evolution stickers won't be silent | While awaiting a Court of Appeals ruling on the sticker suit, Selman busied himself gathering ammunition for a lawsuit to stop Christian prayers at government meetings (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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  1. Appeals judges skeptical about Cobb ruling | Evolution disclaimers were 'literally accurate' (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  2. Appeals panel criticizes evolution ruling | A federal district judge had ordered the removal of stickers in a Georgia county's science textbooks that called evolution a theory (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Federal judges consider evolution stickers | A federal appeals panel Thursday questioned the accuracy of a judge's ruling that a disclaimer in school textbooks describing evolution as "a theory, not a fact" represents an endorsement of religion (Associated Press)


  1. Ousted girls sue church school | The lawsuit says they were suspended because the principal suspected they were gay (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

  2. ECISD to choose Bible course | Eyes turn toward district's decision on curriculum (Odessa American, Tex.)

  3. State to push abstinence in schools | Romney to use US grant; other sex-ed will stay (The Boston Globe)

  4. Abstinence speaker wins over students | The visit by Jason Evert, 29, of the Catholic Answers evangelical organization, based in El Cajon, Calif., had worried some parents, who feared he would inject religion into his talk. But Evert had said beforehand that, for public school visits, he omits any mention of God, sin, faith or religion (Detroit Free Press, Mi.)

  5. Faith in their community | A Catholic sixth-form college is popular with Sikh and Muslim students, too (The Guardian, London)

  6. Panel awaits sex-ed course | The chairwoman of a new advisory committee on sex education for Montgomery County public schools said her panel will not hold substantive meetings until school officials devise a curriculum that can be reviewed (The Washington Times)

  7. School boards support book on city's faiths | Saskatoon public school board trustees have agreed to provide $600 to Multi-Faith Saskatoon to help cover the costs of colour illustrations for a new book about nine faiths in Saskatoon (The Star Phoenix, Saskatoon)

  8. Taxpayers billed for trip to church event | State Board of Education member John Bacon has charged taxpayers for expenses he incurred while attending a church-school sponsored event that featured leaders of the movement to make the Bible the foundation of public life (Topeka Capital-Journal, Kan.)

  9. Gay clubs issue dominates school forum | Amid the rising clamor over the legitimacy of Gay-Straight Alliances, concerns such as school crowding get shoved aside at a town hall meeting (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

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  1. Teach, don't preach, the Bible | A nonsectarian way to educate young people about faith (Bruce Feiler, The New York Times)

Higher education:

  1. Students bridge science, faith at Christian colleges | But intersection of Bible, biology lab not free of collisions (Chicago Tribune)

  2. Lawmakers still consider hearings | The offending professor has resigned over his comments, but holding legislative hearings about anti-religious bias at Kansas universities remains a valid idea, Rep. Kay O'Connor, R-Olathe, said Monday (The Johnson County Sun, Ks.)

  3. Postcard repudiates Mirecki's remarks | Religious studies board aims to inform department donors about recent controversy (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  4. CSUSB group drawing notice | University rejects club's charter (San Bernardino Sun, Ca.)

  5. Also: Christian group denied Cal State charter | The university says the group cannot form because it would exclude some students (The Press-Enterprise, Riverside, Ca.)

  6. Rights clash in bias suit against UC | A Christian school says admissions policies violate its freedom of speech and religion. The university defends its role in setting standards (Los Angeles Times)

  7. Failing the science test | Students who head off to college knowing nothing about evolution except that they shouldn't believe in it, and thinking that dinosaurs and people lived together, are not ready for university-level science courses. That is why the University of California is justified in rejecting a Christian school's creationism-based science course as college-prep material (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

Christmas at school:

  1. Student allowed to share Christian message | A fourth-grader who was initially told he could not share candy canes with religious messages did so at his class party Thursday morning (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  2. "Winter break" at school brings a blizzard of debate | The calendar discussion in Colorado Springs is one of the latest salvos in the decades-old battle over public expression of the celebration of Jesus' birth (The Denver Post)

  3. Schools' concerts don't water down Christmas | I did not expect to hear sacred music or carols or any references to angels, a babe and a manger (Ruth Holladay, The Indianapolis Star)

  4. Morris School goes multicultural | Fest replaces school's Christmas show (Belleville News-Democrat, Ill.)

  5. Pageant's name spurs petition | Some not so merry at Berkeley High switch (The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  6. Do you hear what I hear? | There has been no controversy this year regarding the choice of holiday music being performed at school events, officials say (Home News Tribune, East Brunswick, N.J.)

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Christmas & state:

  1. Congress moves to protect holiday's symbols | The lopsided vote, 401-22 in favor of a resolution applauding "the symbols and traditions of Christmas," masked sharp and emotional divisions among lawmakers over religion's place in American culture (The Virginian-Pilot, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  2. Also: Legislator tries to put Christmas back in holiday | Rep. Jo Ann Davis introduced a congressional resolution in defense of traditional Christmas celebration and well-wishing (Fauquier Times-Democrat, Va.)

  3. Chula Vista city staff at holiday fest bar 'Jesus Christ Dancers' from performing | At the city's annual holiday celebration, a rabbi lighted a menorah. A dance troupe performed a traditional prayer to the gods. But six young girls were told they they couldn't perform because they were wearing shirts emblazoned with a silver cross and the words "Jesus Christ" on the front (San Diego Union-Tribune, Ca.)

  4. Holiday displays fuel legal feud | Christmas tree prompts call for menorah, which prompts call for nativity, which prompts call for lawsuit (CBS Evening News)

  5. No art controversy this time; Southington library displays Morley's works | Two years after a controversy that led the Meriden Public Library to restrict its art exhibitions, the library doesn't appear close to re-establishing an open forum for local artists (Record-Journal, Meriden, Ct.)

  6. Reclaiming Christmas takes on a local twist | Baltimore County man challenges calendar for including Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, but not Easter and Christmas (The Baltimore Sun)

  7. Christmas back on city's calendar | Christmas and Good Friday are going back on the calendar in Greencastle, Indiana, after a community uproar over a City Council decision to adopt generic holiday names (Associated Press)

  8. Call for more peace, fewer cribs | Religious leaders have called on John Howard to do more to promote peace and tolerance at Christmas after the Prime Minister called for more public Christian decorations to be displayed during the festival (The Australian)

  9. We'll be dry for Christmas | Christmas is the only holiday on which the state enforces a ban on sales (Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press)

Christmas wars:

  1. The poll says … Merry Christmas! | A USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll taken Friday through Sunday finds that 69% of adults surveyed say "Merry Christmas" is the greeting they most likely would use this time of year when first meeting someone. That's up from 56% in 2004 (USA Today)

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  1. Most Americans like Christmas cheer | It's nearly unanimous: 97 percent of Americans say they are not bothered by public references to Christmas according to a new Gallup poll (The Washington Times)

  2. A holiday hot button | Use or exclusion of Christmas in ads spurs strong feelings (The Indianapolis Star)

  3. Have a holly, jolly holiday | Conservatives, others angry over removals of word 'Christmas' (The Washington Post)

  4. Battles rage in US over celebrating holidays | Ebenezer Scrooge would enjoy Christmas in America this year (Reuters)

  5. Christmas or holiday tree? | Question becomes flashpoint in debate over role of religion this time of year (The Tennessean, Nashville)

  6. Tread lightly in the season of good cheer | The simplest holiday wish can be packed with societal subtext and political correctness. Or is it really just a simple holiday wish? (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  7. Faux faux faux | Resentment of inclusive holiday greetings contradicts the true spirit of Christmas (Editorial, Houston Chronicle)

  8. Bah humbug | Hendrik Hertzberg examines the War on Christmas (The New Yorker)

Christmas wars opinion:

  1. Lighten up | How about a cease-fire in the Christmas war? (Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal)

  2. Let there be lights | During holidays, the government needs to be inclusive (Jon Kaiman, The New York Times)

  3. The Grinch factor | The Whos down in Who-ville /Were a tolerant lot (Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles Times)

  4. Merry mobs sound the same playing the blame game (Greg Sagan, Amarillo Globe News, Texas)

  5. Christmas doesn't need special protection | This crusade by Fox News and the Rev. Jerry Falwell to win their so-called Christmas war is a joke compared to what my father went through in the 1950s (Ken Braiterman, The Concord Monitor, N.H.)

  6. Happy Christmahanakwanzikah? | How shall we greet you on the front page of the Post-Dispatch on Dec. 25? (Kurt Greenbaum, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  7. Saner heads starting to prevail in debate over Christmas | I'm not opposed to someone saying "Happy Holidays." I don't boycott certain stores or ask that you boycott them. What I am opposed to is the de facto condemnation of Christmas disguised as political correctness (Larry Grooms, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)

  8. Time to recall that Santa isn't the Savior | Very few of the images we've come to associate with Christmas have anything to do with the birth of a baby boy in Bethlehem. And it doesn't seem that the Christians most ardent about the holiday even notice (Wendi C. Thomas, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

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  1. And a merry Christmas to anyone who wants one | Those who pursue a Christmas-less public square are seeing too small a picture. They end up robbing everyone of a grand demonstration of our inalienable rights to worship as well as denying everyone -- including themselves -- these brief respites from ordinary day-to-day living. (John P. Araujo, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  2. How the liberals stole Christmas (or) A visit from St. Dick | Twas the month before Christmas / And as I lit candles, / Conservatives stirred / They were onto a scandal (Kevin Horrigan, St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  3. Christmas is just another word for | When there is a critical mass of people who don't, for whatever reason, celebrate the religious part, we have to either (a) find a non-religious name for the holiday on the marvelous and intelligently designed day of Dec. 25 (or rediscover its original name) or (b) continue to use the word Christmas as the name for the day, with the understanding that the connection with a religion is optional, primarily etymological and inessential - what medieval Christian philosophers would call an accidental property (David Hagner, The Concord Monitor, N.H.)

  4. Season's silliest brouhaha | Bless me, father, for I have sinned. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of times I have said or written "Happy Holidays" around this time of the year (Bob Bestler, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

War on Christmas is fake:

  1. 'Christmas' still thriving in public | There are only a few times of the year when banks, governmental offices, public and private schools, businesses big and small, and retailers all simultaneously either shut their doors in celebration or out of reverence - or shift work and production schedules to observe a holiday. And two of those are centered on the most sacred events in Christian tradition (Issac J. Bailey, The Sun News, Myrtle Beach, S.C.)

  2. A fictional 'war on Christmas' | Merry Christmas from the ACLU! And for believers in all other traditions: Thank you for enriching our world! (T. Jeremy Gunn, USA Today)

  3. "War on Christmas" is just hype | The so-called War on Christmas is a load of headline-grabbing hype. Most shoppers don't care how the advertising reads or what store clerks say - as long as the price is right (Al Lewis, The Denver Post)

Bill O'Reilly & Christmas:

  1. A challenge for Bill O'Reilly | When you've seen what real war does, you don't lightly use the word to describe disagreements about Christmas greetings (Nicholas D. Kristof, The New York Times)

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  1. A mixed holiday message from Fox News | Bill O' Reilly's message hasn't gotten to the corporate office, apparently (Broadcasting & Cable)

Christmas wars posters, etc.:

  1. Name that holiday, some say | Clothing urges 'Christmas' greeting (The Ann Arbor News, Mi.)

  2. Posters put Christ into Christmas | A Midlands Church of England diocese says it is fighting back against the "politically correct" approach to Christmas with a new poster campaign (BBC)

  3. Signs of the times | Placards promoting Christmas spirit a hit (Asbury Park Press, N.J.)

Christmas & Jews:

  1. Will Jews be blamed for stealing Christmas? | Evangelical leaders don't cast the Jewish community as the Scrooge, yet efforts to highlight Christian themes and celebrations at Christmas historically have come at the expense of religious diversity and tolerance - and Jewish leaders fear that stressing Christmas' religious significance could highlight Jews' minority status in the United States (The Jerusalem Post)

  2. Hanukkah: It's big. And it's beginning to look less like Christmas | Many Jews seeking more traditional ways to celebrate (The Boston Globe)

  3. Also: Holidays' convergence adds to December dilemma | This year, Christmas and the first day of Hanukkah fall on the same day, posing a logistical challenge to blended families (The New York Times)

  4. It's Jews for Jesus (his b'day, that is) | "Merry Christmas!" New York's Jewish mascot, comedian Jackie Mason, shouted from the steps of St. Patrick's Cathedral (New York Post)

  5. Holiday horticulture recalls Christmas past | Buying plants shouldn't be difficult, but I recently spent 20 perplexing minutes in the flower section of the Acton Trader Joe's (The Boston Globe)

  6. The Christmas he dreamed for all of us | The white Christmases that Irving Berlin dreamed of weren't the earliest ones he used to know. He spent his first five Christmases in czarist Russia, and his only recollection of that time, at least the only one he'd acknowledge as an adult, was that of watching his neighbors burn his family's house to the ground in a good old-fashioned, Jew-hating pogrom (Harold Meyerson, The Washington Post)

  7. 'Half-Jew, half-Christmas' | Non-Christian reflects on how it feels during holy days (Lennard J. Davis, Chicago Tribune)

  8. What would Cardinal Cushing do? | There is undercurrent of antisemitism in today's exclusivist claims for a Christian meaning of ''the holidays" (James Carroll, The Boston Globe)

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Christmas history lessons:

  1. The secretary of Christmas | In 1985, Mary Seeley's husband bought a presidential Christmas card. That put her on the path to becoming the authority on White House holidays (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  2. The travellers' tale | Most people know very little about St Nicholas, even after 1,500 years (The Economist)

  3. Merry winter solstice festival | We get a kick out of the people who, trying to secularize Christmas, say "Happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas." Holiday means "holy day." If you want to take the religion out of Christmas, you'll have to come up with another term (Editorial, Union Leader, Manchester, N.H.)

  4. The war on Christmas, the prequel | When the holiday was banned (Andrew Santella, Slate)

  5. Christmas is safe with the pagans | Christmas has always been a weird blend of traditions anyway. It has never been simply a calm reflection on the incarnation. (Andrew Sullivan, The Times, London)

  6. Don't take the attack on 'Christmas' personally | Christmas doesn't really have anything to do with "Christmas." (Betsy Hart, Seattle Post-Intelligencer)

  7. Christmas didn't just materialize in its modern form | The first thing I learned is Christmas isn't the birthday of Christ (Fred Barton, Lansing State Journal, Mi.)

Archbishops condemn PC Christmas:

  1. Stand up for Christmas, archbishops tell their flock | Political correctness or fear of offending other religions should not be allowed to cloud the fact that Christianity lies at the heart of British culture, the Archbishop of Canterbury and his predecessor said yesterday (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Archbishop attacks 'PC' Christmas | Christian leaders have condemned politically correct approaches to Christmas for stifling religious expression (BBC)

  3. Also: Don't stifle Christianity by political correctness, says Carey (The Times, London)

Non-western Christmas:

  1. Asia celebrates Christmas with a twist | Few Asians are Christian but people across the vast continent are embracing the holiday as a great excuse for shopping, partying and even romance (Reuters)

  2. A holiday by any name, Kenyans will celebrate | With a population of more than 40 ethnic groups encompassing a cornucopia of religions, Kenyans say they are a model of religious tolerance (Reuters)


  1. Bleak outlook as Silent Night slips | The carol In the Bleak Mid-winter has supplanted Silent Night as the nation's favourite, says a survey (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Carol singers are wrapped in red tape herald angels can't sing | Carol singers have found themselves tied up in red tape this Christmas because of confusion over new licensing laws (The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Here they come a-caroling, sans message | Despite rumor, singers back at mall -- without service (Albany Times-Union, N.Y.)

  2. Reclaiming holiday gets warm greeting | Concert organizer urges 'proper respect' for Jesus (The Huntsville Times, Ala.)

  3. O come off it, all ye faithful . . . | The beauty of language in traditional hymns is what inspires, not modern banalities (Magnus Linklater, The Times, London)

  4. In praise of … Christmas carols | All Christmas carols are sentimental—but the best of them have a dash of astringency which raises them above the level of religious pop songs with their harmless but undemanding insistence on tidings of comfort and joy (Editorial, The Guardian, London)

Trees, wreaths, and candles:

  1. 3 quit gym over fetus Christmas Tree | Birthright provided tree with plastic dolls (KMBC, Kansas City)

  2. Holiday season is the time of the year for candles | The $2 billion candle industry, which enjoyed its heyday in the 1990s, has shown signs of maturing in recent years. Annual sales growth, once 10 to 15 percent, has slowed to 2 to 3 percent (Associated Press)

  3. Wreaths | The demure symbol of Christmas (Slate)

  4. Reporters on the Job: Christmas Trees in Iraq | Holiday in Baghdad (The Christian Science Monitor)

Christmas cards:

  1. Is a Supreme Court Card political? You be the judge. | Richard Land's notable card (The Washington Post)

  2. With most governors, 'Happy Holidays' is in the cards | Amid the intense controversy over the appropriate greetings to be made this time of year, the nation's governors have overwhelmingly opted for "Happy Holidays" greetings over "Merry Christmas" in their annual cards (The Washington Post)

  3. Also: Your governor wishes you a (fill in blank) | Forget Red state vs. Blue state. For governors, the split that's in vogue this season is between those offering "Christmas" wishes and those sending "holiday" tidings in their annual greeting cards (

  4. White House plays card right | Though it angers some, greeting is a small victory for pluralism (Javeed Akhter, Chicago Tribune)

  5. Merry whatever, dudes and dudettes | The fuss over the White House's generic holiday card—which conservatives blasted for omitting reference to religion—got us rushing to our mailbox every day in search of fresh Christmas controversies. Alas, we found that most VIPs were playing it safe! (Amy Argetsinger and Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post)

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  1. For this holiday, religious themes are in the cards | Move over, Santa, and take a flying leap, Rudolph: Christmas or Hanukkah greetings in the mail these days often reflect the sender's faith (Los Angeles Times)

Christmas commercialization:

  1. O come, all ye (well-heeled) faithful | A St. Paul church is raising money for its school by selling access to front-row pews at a Christmas Eve mass. Some question the practice (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  2. 'Tis the season to be jolly angry … | Where would Jesus shop? The Bible gives little clue as to whether Our Saviour preferred his local hardware store for his carpentry supplies or a larger wholesaler (David Litterick, The Telegraph, London)

  3. Santa v Jesus | St Nick is winning the fight but advertisers and marketers say Christ is making a comeback (The Australian)

  4. Give peace a chance in the Santa battle | Is materialism really ruining Christmas? Pope Benedict seems to think so (Julia Baird, The Sydney Morning Herald)

  5. Holy holiday hullabaloo! | What really brings Americans of all races, creeds, income together? Low, low prices (Maggie Gallagher)

Pope's Christmas comments:

  1. Pope says true gift of Christmas is joy | Pope Benedict XVI urged people to spread joy through smiles and acts of kindness, saying it was an antidote to the ills of society (Reuters)

  2. Pope decries commercialization of Christmas | Pope Benedict urged Roman Catholics on Sunday not to commercialize Christmas, saying joy -- not expensive objects -- was the real gift of the season (Reuters)

  3. Pope doesn't have U.S. spirit of Christmas | I hate to say this, but Pope Benedict XVI is starting to meddle with Christmas (Bill Wineke, Wisconsin State Journal)

Midnight mass:

  1. For some local Catholic churches, Midnight Mass isn't necessarily at that time | Only two of the city's Catholic churches still offer a true midnight Mass these days (Racine Journal Times, Wi.)

  2. Debatable -- Does it matter if the midnight Mass isn't at midnight? | Years ago, the first Mass to celebrate Jesus' birth in Catholic churches was always held at midnight (Racine Journal Times, Wi.)

Closing church on Christmas:

  1. Church reverses decision to cancel Christmas services | Bowing to public pressure, the pastor of South Florida's largest church reversed position and announced that he would, after all, hold Christmas Day worship (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  2. Fewer attending Christmas services | Churches closing for the holiday might be just following trend (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

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  1. Churches cite family in Christmas closing | Eve services, in lieu of Sunday, reflect needs of togetherness, travel (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

  2. The Christmas divide: family or church? | Local clergy weigh priorities as holiday falls on Sunday (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  3. Cuts in Christmas Day service at Salem churches anger some | Lower attendance is expected Sunday (Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.)

  4. Churches struggle with the true meaning of Christmas | Only a handful of local churches will be closed (The Virginian-Pilot, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  5. A Sunday Christmas alters worship plans | Some churches will close that day, citing value of family time, low turnout; many change schedules, add Saturday services (Akron Beacon-Journal, Oh.)

  6. Churches closed for Christmas? | Worshippers will encounter schedule changes, cancellations next Sunday (Cincinnati Enquirer)

  7. Some churches drop Christmas services | Cancelling Christmas Day services allowed Orchard Hill members and staff to "have a day with their family," Kurt Bjorklund said (Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  8. Many churches cancel Dec. 25 services | It is almost unheard of for a Christian church to cancel services on a Sunday, and opponents of the closings are accusing these congregations of bowing to secular culture (El Paso Times, Tex.)

  9. Closed for Christmas? | Most Baton Rouge churches will hold services, but will scale back (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)

  10. More churches skipping Christmas Day service | Worship shifts to days before to let staff, parishioners enjoy holiday with families (The Arizona Republic)

  11. Full hearts, empty pews | Christmas, one of the biggest days in the Christian faith, falls on Sunday this year, but some megachurches across the U.S. won't be joining in the party (Appeal-Democrat, Marysville-Yuba City, Ca.)

  12. Churches' plans to take Christmas Day off draws mixed reviews | Some call it innovation, others apostasy (The Ledger-Enquirer, Columbus, Oh.)

  13. No service on Christmas Sunday? It's just wrong | Canceling worship on the Lord's Day is a violation of the fourth of the Ten Commandments that so many of these churches so vehemently champion. Hypocrisy joins blasphemy in the church's stocking this year (Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  14. Corporatised churches shun Christmas | At least in Australia, where debate ensues each year about the secularisation of Christmas celebrations in schools and communities, the churches all still insist on Jesus' birth as "the reason for the season" (Muriel Porter, The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

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  1. Word that best describes closed churches this Sunday | Sad (Jon Mark Beliue, Amarillo Globe News, Texas)

Christmas at church:

  1. This year's Christmas must-have: a church service | As well as cramming into the shops for a frenzy of consumer spending, Britons will be going to church in increasing numbers this Christmas, according to an opinion poll (AFP)

  2. Churches eliminate, reduce Christmas Day services | Across Southwest County, at least three churches reported this week that they will forgo Christmas Day services—despite the fact that it falls on a Sunday—while others will hold fewer services than normal (North County Times, San Diego)

  3. Cheasters, relax: 'Twice a year is better than zero' | Twice a year, you find yourself in unfamiliar and discomforting surroundings in a church pew, on Christmas and Easter (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)

The meaning of Christmas:

  1. Taking the Christmas out of Christ | Even as conservatives rail against what they say is secularization of the holiday, some Christian churches forbid its observance (Los Angeles Times)

  2. 'Who do you say I am?' | From faith to faith, visions of Jesus vary (The Kansas City Star)

  3. Christmas: When love overcame power | Christmas shatters the image of a harsh God. Out of love, God limited his power and chose to be born as a baby (Tony Campolo, Beliefnet)

  4. Christmas has been about contrasts | If you look closely, Christmas is about the sacred and the secular living alongside each other (William McKenzie, The Dallas Morning News)

More Christmas:

  1. Little Christmas cheer in Cuba; Santa blacklisted | Eight years after Communist Cuba restored December 25 as a national holiday in a gesture to Pope John Paul II, there is not much Christmas spirit to show for it (Reuters)

  2. Good will took a holiday, whatever you call it | As politics and Christmas mix, there is a sense of impending loss among those who shop and listen to the Chipmunks sing (The New York Times)

  3. St Nicholas returns to take on his red imposter | The lay canon reacquainting children with their patron saint (The Times, London)

  4. Go ahead, move his day | Maybe we should move the birthday of Jesus out of the holidays and celebrate it with the Festival of the Magi on Jan. 6, as did the Greeks in the church of long ago (Andrew Greeley, Chicago Sun-Times)

  5. This year, Christmas should last a lifetime | Christmas is here to stay. It demonstrates God's persistence with the human race (John Sentamu, The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Christian rhyme and unreason | Love thy neighbour as thyself? That sounds about as likely as having a stress-free post-Christian Christmas (Stuart Jeffries, The Guardian)

  2. Witches' brew at winter solstice | How Wiccans do themselves in (Mark Oppenheimer, Slate)


  1. Gunmen briefly seize Bethlehem's city hall | Palestinian gunmen disrupted Christmas preparations in Bethlehem on Tuesday, briefly taking over the municipality building across from the Church of Nativity, leading clergy to close the ancient shrine for several hours (Associated Press)

  2. Militants, seeking jobs and aid, briefly seize offices in Bethlehem | Members of the Fatah movement's militant faction demanded financial assistance and jobs in the Palestinian security forces (The New York Times)

  3. Also: Palestinian gunmen end standoff in Bethlehem (Reuters)

  4. Israeli army to ease access to Bethlehem | Israel will ease access to Bethlehem during Christmas in a "calculated risk" meant to let Christian pilgrims celebrate the holiday freely in the West Bank town, security officials said Monday (Associated Press)

  5. Also: Bethlehem walled off by Israel this Christmas | Pilgrims traveling the ancient route from Jerusalem to Bethlehem this Christmas will find themselves hitting a dead end—a towering concrete wall and metal gate under the lock and key of the Israeli army (Reuters)

  6. Wall casts shadow on Arabs in Bethlehem | Israeli security barrier isolates Palestinian residents as pilgrims are allowed easy entry (Chicago Tribune)


  1. Fears after Indonesia beheadings | The attackers seemed to be sending a chilling message (BBC)

  2. Alos: Indonesia police tells churches to dig bomb holes | Police have urged churches in and around the Indonesian city of Solo to dig holes for disposing of suspicious objects that might be bombs, an officer said on Friday amid fears of Christmas-related attacks (Reuters)

  3. The real war on Christmas | Being a Christian can be deadly (Nina Shea, National Review Online)

  4. You call this persecution? | Religious persecution is alive and well in America, we hear all over these days - and it is Christians who are the victims. (Janice M. Eisen, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)


  1. Iraq expats narrowly favor Christian slate | Iraqi expatriates, some traveling hundreds of miles to participate in their war-torn homeland's national elections, cast the most ballots for a slate of Assyrian and Chaldean Christians in a second round of U.S.-based voting (Associated Press)

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  1. Colleague hopeful for hostages in Iraq | A Baghdad-based colleague of four Christian peace activists kidnapped in Iraq says she remains hopeful despite eight days passing since the expiry of a deadline on their lives (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  2. Hostages' friends still 'waiting and praying' | Candles lit for four hostages held in Iraq were extinguished partway through a prayer service yesterday in Toronto, but hope for the safe release of the Christian aid workers still burns bright (The London Free Press, Ont.)

  3. Pray for captives, not the captors (Rosie Dimanno, Toronto Star)


  1. No plan seen for more Darfur funds | Rice lobbies, but Congress aides say budget stretched (The Boston Globe)

  2. Sudanese refugees head home from Kenya | The voluntary repatriation of 147 refugees is the first such return by some of the hundreds of thousands of Sudanese who fled the country during its long-running civil war (Associated Press)

Australian riots:

  1. Riot and attacks a blemish, says Pell | Australia has pockets of racism but overall it is not racist, and any racism is criminal, "idiotic" and borne of ignorance, says the Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  2. Religious leaders embrace for peace - and point finger at radio station | As police prepared for further outbreaks of mob violence this weekend, many religious leaders met by the charred ruins of Auburn Uniting Church to call for calm (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  3. All quiet on Sydney's southern riot front | One hundred Christians gathered at dawn on North Cronulla beach to lay out a sign reading "peace", and pray that the past week's violence in Sydney had ended (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  4. Riots in Australia spur introspection | Ethnic and religious tensions seen as linked to war on terror (The Washington Post)

Stem cells (Australia):

  1. Embryo cloning gains backing | Scientists could soon be creating cloned embryos for stem cell research after a Government committee yesterday backed the controversial technique of "therapeutic cloning" (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  2. Stem cell research ban may be lifted | Scientists will be able clone human stem cells for scientific research under controversial recommendations for new laws that will entrench ethical divisions in parliament. (The Australian)

  3. One step closer to embryo cloning | The easing of laws on cloning and embryo research to permit controversial procedures, including the creation of cloned human embryos for scientific study and mixing of animal and human material to obtain stem cells, have been urged by an independent revieweasing of laws on cloning and embryo research to permit controversial procedures, including the creation of cloned human embryos for scientific study and mixing of animal and human material to obtain stem cells, have been urged by an independent review (The Sydney Morning Herald)

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  1. Libs clash over stem cells | Senior Howard Government ministers are divided over the contentious issue of cloning embryos for stem cell research, with Treasurer Peter Costello saying he does not believe potential lives should be created and destroyed (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  2. Review redefines embryo | Researchers and fertility experts will have a brand new definition of an embryo if the federal Government accepts the recommendations of the Lockhart review into Australia's embryo research and anti-cloning legislation (The Australian)

  3. Time is ripe to ponder freedom and our future | Liberty of action and speech comes from having a moral society, (Peter Jensen, The Sydney Morning Herald)

Stem cells (U.S.):

  1. Votes back use of adult stem cells | Bush to OK easier access to umbilical tissue (The Baltimore Sun)

  2. Senate approves umbilical cord blood bill | The Senate on Friday passed legislation to promote collection and expand therapeutic use of umbilical cord blood, which can be used to treat such diseases as leukemia (Reuters)

  3. New Jersey awards $5 million in grants for stem cell research | The grants represent an important step in New Jersey's effort to establish a stem cell research industry (The New York Times)

Life ethics:

  1. Federal survey shows unwanted births up | More American women are having babies they didn't want, a survey indicates, but federal researchers say they don't know if that means attitudes about abortion are changing (Associated Press)

  2. Contraception drug policy protested | Demonstrators call Target's ruling on 'morning-after' pill discriminatory (Houston Chronicle)

  3. Suit challenges state rule on morning-after pill | The American Center for Law and Justice said it filed a lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield that challenges the Illinois rule mandating all pharmacies in the state dispense the morning-after pill without delay (Belleville News-Democrat, Ill.)

  4. Swiss hospital to allow assisted suicide | A Swiss hospital has agreed to let an assisted-suicide organization help terminally ill patients take their own lives on its premises (Associated Press)

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  1. Faith and consequences | What Terri's Law cost the Republicans in Congress (St. Petersburg Times, Fla.)

  2. Bioethics on trial | At the first national bioethics conference held in Mumbai, the discussions centred on India as a hot destination for clinical trials and medical research (Frontline, India)

  3. Bishop: Arroyo backing Church on birth control | President Macapagal-Arroyo has assured that her administration would promote only natural family planning methods as legislators set debates on a population management bill, the chair of the Catholic Church's commission on family life said on Sunday (Philippine Daily Inquirer)


  1. Lawyers want to question Vatican official | Attorneys for alleged victims of sex abuse asked a federal judge Friday to let them question a top-ranking Vatican official about a church doctrine that might permit him to lie under oath (Associated Press)

  2. Appeals court reverses sex-crime conviction in Fall River case | Assistant district attorney shouldn't have invoked the clergy sex-abuse scandal, says court (The Boston Globe)

  3. Also: Appeals court: Prosecutor wrong to mention clergy sex scandal | The Massachusetts Appeals Court has overturned the sex abuse conviction of a Fall River man, saying the prosecutor made an improper reference to the clergy sex abuse scandal during her closing argument (Associated Press)

  4. Archbishop pledges to make church 'safe for children' | Catholic Archbishop Seán Brady yesterday committed the church in Ireland to implementing child protection guidelines that aim "to ensure that where the church is, children are safe" (The Irish Times)

  5. Maine bishop suspends priest accused of groping teen | Maine's Catholic bishop has suspended a retired priest who was charged with groping a teenage boy in a Texas movie theater last week (Portland Press Herald, Me.)

  6. Earlier: Texas priest accused of groping teen | A Roman Catholic priest accused of groping a 16-year-old boy at a movie theater during a showing of King Kong has been charged with indecency with a child by sexual contact (Associated Press)

  7. Poet: Catholic cult of virginity made me keep rape a secret | Tom Leonard, the poet and essayist, has attacked what he calls a "cult of virginity" surrounding the institution, a mindset he claims prevents the church from providing solace to survivors of child abuse (The Herald, Glasgow)

  8. Strict pact bound victim | Breaking church's sex-abuse secrecy deal (The Denver Post)

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  1. Priest charged over girl's rape | A County Fermanagh priest has been remanded in custody charged with indecent assault and facilitating the rape of a 12-year-old girl (BBC)

  2. 'Secret projects' were cover for sex abuse, accusers say | Fourteen former students have filed a total of 13 suits in Missouri and Colorado, alleging that the psychological experiments were a cover for sexual abuse (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)


  1. Warner protects gays in Va. hiring | State workers given right to challenge (The Washington Post)

  2. Gay rights issue splits Christians | Second Council vote on ordinance is expected tonight (The Indianapolis Star)

  3. Cliff: 'Church must accept gays exist' | Christian pop legend Cliff Richard has urged the Church to "learn to deal" with homosexuality, and accept the world is very different from when Jesus Christ was alive (Ireland Online)

Same-sex marriage:

  1. First civil-union couple parting ways | A lesbian couple who entered into the nation's first same-sex civil union are splitting up amid allegations of violent behavior (Associated Press)

  2. N. Ireland begins granting gay unions | Two lesbians become the first gay couple in the United Kingdom to win legal recognition under a civil partnership Monday, a ceremony that attracted scorn from evangelical Christian protesters but praise from gay rights activists (Associated Press)

  3. Opposition attacked over same sex marriage | Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin took his main election opponent to task on Friday over his opposition to laws allowing gay marriage as party leaders clashed in a second debate ahead of January's vote (Reuters)

  4. Czech MPs approve law on same-sex partnerships | The lower house of the Czech parliament approved a law legalizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples on Friday, in spite of strong opposition inside Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek's coalition government (Reuters)

  5. Here come the brides | Plural marriage is waiting in the wings (Stanley Kurtz, The Weekly Standard)

  6. In support of marriage | Last week, South Africa's Constitutional Court ordered that the definition of marriage be changed from a "union between a man and a woman" to a "union between two persons," which should remind us that we in America still have not arrived at a final answer to this question. And the electorate does not have to wait until our Supreme Court discovers their answer (David Wilkinson and Chris Stevenson, The Washington Times)

  7. Civil partnerships are divorced from reality | Today's rich variety of relationships and lifestyles is not reflected by this new one-size-fits-all legislation (Peter Tatchell, The Guardian, London)

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  1. Here comes the religious gay right | Civil partnerships will lead to the introduction of a new morality into the gay and lesbian community (David Self, The Guardian, London)

Dick Otterstad, Fred Phelps wannabe?

  1. Group fights Wal-Mart on 'happy holidays' | A group of religious protesters demonstrated outside a Wal-Mart superstore Saturday, hoping to turn away customers by calling attention to the retailer's decision to use "Happy Holidays" rather than "Merry Christmas" in its seasonal advertising (Associated Press)

  2. Earlier: Church group faces off against another over subsidized gas | Protesters say they object to 'merchandising' activity (Auburn Journal, Ca., Nov. 14)

  3. Anti-gay trucks stir controversy in EDH | El Dorado Hills residents and visitors couldn't help but notice the three so-called "truth trucks" parked on El Dorado Hills Boulevard last Wednesday and Thursday (Village Life, El Dorado Hills, Ca., Mar. 9)


  1. Former pastor tries for pulpit, gets arrested for trespassing | Pastor who quit gets trespassing charge (Winston-Salem Journal, N.C.)

  2. Minister faces jail in beating of his son | Some say corporal punishment a right (San Bernardino Sun, Ca.)

  3. Colo. judge resentences convicted killer | A man convicted in the slaying of a cocktail waitress was resentenced to life in prison Monday, nearly nine months after his death sentence was overturned because a juror consulted the Bible during deliberations (Associated Press)

  4. You've suffered enough, judge tells parents of dead child | David and Cathy Tribble were convicted in the High Court at Whangarei last month of failing to provide medical care for their sick baby boy Caleb, who died in December 2003 of an undiagnosed kidney complaint (The New Zealand Herald)

  5. Nativity theft probed as hate crime | Balthasar, one of the wise men in a Holbrook church's nativity scene, has disappeared for the second year in a row—this time, being replaced by a white sheet hanging from a pole, in what Suffolk police believe is a hate crime (Newsday)

  6. Police nab robbery suspect at church event | Man 'tried to blend in' with Sunday school class eating breakfast (Knoxville News-Sentinel)

  7. Taunton suspect nabbed in church | An off-duty police officer attending Sunday church services with his wife arrested a man caught sneaking into the church bathroom to use cocaine, police said (The Enterprise, Mass.)

  8. The nun who died for the Amazon | The case of murdered nun and activist Dorothy Stang has brought into sharp focus the vigilante violence that accompanies the destruction of Brazil's rainforest (BBC)

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  1. Pope says French riots were "a message" from youth | Pope Benedict said on Monday that France had to heed the warning from the riots that rocked cities across the country last month and urged the French to do more to promote racial integration (Reuters)

Osteens booted off plane after dispute:

  1. Osteen family leaves plane after dispute | FBI agent says the pastor's wife didn't follow a flight attendant's instructions (Houston Chronicle)

  2. Wife of Joel Osteen asked to leave plane | The wife of the pastor of the nation's largest church was asked to leave a plane after she failed to comply with a flight attendant's instructions, the FBI said Tuesday (Associated Press)

Ralph Reed:

  1. County attorney weighs Ralph Reed inquiry | Georgia candidate may have lobbied in Texas (Cox News Service)

  2. Reed admits misstep in work | Says he shouldn't have taken job for Abramoff (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  3. Ralph Reed regrets taking Abramoff money | Reed did not mention Abramoff by name, but said the efforts "associated my long-standing opposition to gambling with those who did not share it and has caused difficulty for the faith community with whom I worked, which I deeply regret" (Associated Press)


  1. AP: Frist AIDS charity paid consultants | Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's AIDS charity paid nearly a half-million dollars in consulting fees to members of his political inner circle, according to tax returns providing the first financial accounting of the presidential hopeful's nonprofit (Associated Press)

  2. Pastor leads his flock to President's promised land of family values | Pastor Russell Johnson of the Fairfield Christian Church in Lancaster, just south of Columbus, the capital of Ohio, is a man of few doubts, indeed of no doubts at all (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  3. Religious groups join national fight against smoking | Interfaith organizations in New Jersey, Ohio and other states have joined efforts to discourage smoking and broaden tobacco regulation. (Chicago Tribune)

  4. Alito would likely be religion's best friend on U.S. high court | Supreme Court nominee supported religious practice at almost every opportunity as an appellate judge, whether it meant lowering the barrier between church and state or protecting individual freedom to worship -- and whether the case involved Christianity or a minority faith (Bloomberg)

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  1. Is the court Catholic? | If the Senate confirms Alito, a majority of the justices would share a faith tradition (Marci A. Hamilton, Los Angeles Times)

  2. Nussle's budget sells out the vulnerable to benefit the wealthy | Religious groups, including evangelicals who would normally side with Republicans against abortion or same-sex marriage, were this week talking about the lack of morality in the budget (Rekha Basu, Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  3. Latter-day politics | Is Mitt Romney's religion a problem? (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)

  4. The power that made Rosa Parks | The civil rights leader's act of resistance was not a spur-of-the-moment decision but nurtured in a faith community (Diane Winston, Los Angeles Times)

  5. Why do they hate us? | No state makes the rest of the country squirm like ours. Is that because we're a bunch of Kennedy-votin', stem-cell-lovin', clergy-bashin', gay-marryin' human clones? (Charles P. Pierce, The Boston Globe)

Church & state:

  1. Plano woman sues over Christian pamphlets | A woman who was told she couldn't hand out religious materials on a sidewalk in front of a school sued the Crowley Independent School District today (Associated Press)

  2. Loud church music, then stunning reverberations | In New Haven, the legal and political smackdowns are still playing out three years after a police officer responded to a noise complaint at a church (The New York Times)

  3. Church leaders uneasy | Several non-Catholic religious leaders are speaking out against the bill requiring religious institutions to disclose their finances (Lowell Sun, Mass.)

  4. Prayers stay atop agendas | Area governments hold firm on calls to faith (The Brunswick News, Ga.)

  5. The wall that unites us | To derive morals from religious teachings is natural, but to claim one tradition as the basis for civil law is wrong (Stephen Julius Stein, Los Angeles Times)

  6. Decision singles out Christians | Judge Hamilton's recent decision enjoining House Speaker Bosma from allowing sectarian prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives is a violation of the very establishment clause it tries to enforce (Kelly L. Persall, The Journal Gazette, Ft. Wayne, Ind.)

  7. Why does government bar parolee from church? | While A few Americans complain the government is trying to force religion down their throats by putting up a Christmas tree in the town square, John Mostiller III is complaining the government is blocking him from going to church (Stu Bykofsky, Philadelphia Daily News)

Ten Commandments:

  1. Court allows Mercer display | Judges rule that it's historic, not religious (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

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  1. 6th Circuit upholds Ky. Ten Commandments display | Three-judge panel finds courthouse posting is constitutionally acceptable because other historic documents are also included (Associated Press)


  1. Unholy alliance | The "Christianity as a threat" theme in the Times ad echoes campaigns by the American Civil Liberties Union and others (Investors Business Daily)

  2. Stop apologizing for being Christian | The modern Left exercises a militant anti-Christianity not so much because of a cultural cringe in the face of immigrant minorities, but because of its general wish to dismantle history (Simon Heffer, The Telegraph, London)

Military chaplains:

  1. Lawmakers take issue with Air Force guidelines on prayer | Members of Congress on Wednesday again called for a presidential order supporting the religious freedom of Christian military chaplains, labeling proposed Air Force guidelines on prayer "absolutely un-American" (Stars & Stripes)

  2. Military chaplains told to shy from Jesus | To pray—or not to pray—in Jesus' name is the question plaguing an increasing number of U.S. military chaplains, one of whom began a multiday hunger strike outside the White House yesterday (The Washington Times)

Missions & ministry:

  1. In Swaziland, U.S. preacher sees his dream vanish | Bruce Wilkinson hits wall trying to push 'orphan village'; rodeo stars, safari guides (The Wall Street Journal)

  2. Desert samaritans stand by duty | Move to outlaw aid for immigrants called contrary to Bible (The Washington Post)

  3. Helping North Koreans defect is easy part, missionaries find | For South Korea's missionaries, converting people from the North dovetails with their dream of a reunified peninsula (The New York Times)

  4. City, church reach agreement on meals | The city and Hill-n-Dale Christian Church have reached an agreement that will allow the church to continue to feed poor and homeless people in Phoenix Park on Sundays (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

  5. Clergy, city leaders step up effort to protect witnesses | Representatives from the Ten Point Coalition and the Black Ministerial Alliance urged community residents to help break the code of silence on the streets (The Boston Globe)

  6. Doing godly work | Hindu couple's gift helps fund church soup kitchens (David Crumm, Detroit Free Press)

Wrestling evangelism:

  1. Spreading the gospel through pro wrestling | Evangelical Christianity's new and unusual outreach approach (World News Tonight, ABC)

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  1. ABC News to feature local evangelical wrestling | Harvest Church of Athens (Athens Banner-Herald)

Tsunami ministry:

  1. Much tsunami aid still unspent, report says | Groups cite unexpected snags in coordination and distribution, and the recovery effort's transition to long-term rebuilding programs (Los Angeles Times)

  2. God finds converts in wake of tsunami | As the first anniversary approaches there are a score of churches where there once were none, mostly set up by United States-based evangelical groups that moved in following the deluge (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Claims tsunami aid used as evangelical opportunity | As Thailand prepares to hold commemorations to mark the first anniversary of the tsunami, Christian aid groups in the mainly Buddhist kingdom are being accused of exploiting the tragedy for their own ends (The World Today, ABC, Australia)


  1. Donations for victims of South Asian earthquake exceed $50-million | But the pace of giving has slowed even as relief workers prepare for additional challenges in providing aid during the winter months (The Chronicle of Philanthropy)

  2. Study shows the superrich are not the most generous | Working-age Americans who make $50,000 to $100,000 a year are two to six times more generous in the share of their investment assets that they give to charity than those Americans who make more than $10 million, a pioneering study of federal tax data shows. (The New York Times)

  3. Outbreak of faith | Wherever disaster has struck this year, compassion has quickly followed (Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, The Observer, London)

Money & business:

  1. Double-crossed | Fund manager accused of breaking faith with investors (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  2. Should the American Girl doll company partner with a pro-choice group? | (Diane Glass and Shaunti Feldhahn, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  3. Corporate America caught in culture tug-of-war | Businesses face wrath for supporting a cause (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  4. Christmas cheer abounds for Church of England fund | It might be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get on the guest list for Heaven, but CCLA Investment Management thinks making money can still be an ethical enterprise (Reuters)

  5. Group may reinstate boycott against Ford | The conservative American Family Association said Thursday it will consider reinstating a boycott against Ford Motor Co. because the automaker plans to continue running advertisements in gay publications (Associated Press)

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  1. Times-Dispatch accepts ad; publisher apologizes | It's fine to declare in a Richmond Times-Dispatch personal ad that you're looking for a "spiritual man who puts God first," or that you love "lobster and church," as two recent examples said. But what about help-wanted ads? (Style Weekly, Richmond, Va.)

  2. Catholics hope to get in on religious radio boom | Among the 2,014 religious stations in the country, Catholic stations number only about 120 (Associated Press)

  3. Christian pop culture on the upswing | We now have confirmation from entertainment circles abroad that spiritual productions are on a roll (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

Christian gaming:

  1. Christians converting video games to reflect their beliefs | Video games, long berated for explicit content and nihilistic themes, are gaining popularity in an unexpected arena: the Christian marketplace (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  2. Video games rated 'G' for God | Though some Christian-themed PC games have been around for years, this fall Los Angeles-based Crave Entertainment became the first to break the console Bible barrier (The Kansas City Star, Mo.)


  1. 'Idol' worship shapes Christian, gospel genres | The power of the "American Idol" franchise is clearly evident at the peak of this year's Christian and gospel music charts (Reuters)

  2. Clear Channel converts Austin rock station to Christian | Clear Channel Communications Inc. has switched Austin classic rock station KPEZ-FM 102.3's music format to create the company's first contemporary Christian radio station in the United States (Austin Business Journal)

  3. Murphey lets his faith ride tall in the saddle | What was new this year was Michael Martin Murphey's candid, and frequent, declarations of his own Christian faith (Jim Jones, Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  4. Switched | Rock grows up (Mark Joseph, National Review Online)


  1. Cookbooks offer food for the soul | A spate of cookbooks with a spiritual spin has been adding flavor to bookshelves lately (The Dallas Morning News)

  2. JPII, she loves you | Peggy Noonan's brush with a phenom (National Review Online)

  3. Also: Devotional | Peggy Noonan's book is a valentine sent to a man she knew mainly from watching television, written in the idiom of spiritual gush. Kenneth L. Woodward reviews John Paul the Great (The New York Times Book Review)

  4. Also: The first chapter of John Paul the Great (The New York Times Book Review)

  5. Hidden meanings in priest's poems that stayed secret for 375 years | Poetry by George Herbert, the 17th-century priest, contains innumerable acrostics and anagrams, discoverable by reading the first letter of each line down the left-hand column of text, an American academic has found (The Times, London)

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  1. His ad here | A biography of Bruce Barton, who gave Jesus a modern makeover. Michael Kazin reviews The Man Everybody Knew: Bruce Barton and the Making of Modern America (The New York Times Book Review)

  2. Jesus skeptics on the run | Anne Rice's latest novel relies on a biblical scholarship more trusting of the New Testament. (Charlotte Allen, Los Angeles Times)

C. S. Lewis and Narnia:

  1. A religious plot | The Chronicles of Narnia has done the unthinkable - it's put Christianity smack-bang in the middle of a pop-cultural debate (The Age, Melbourne)

  2. Disney's marketing menagerie | A mouse, a dim bear, a messianic lion; they all turn children into compulsive consumers (David Rowan, The Times, London)

  3. Gentleman Lewis | No Powerpuff Narnia (R. Andrew Newman, National Review Online)

  4. The faerie king | The Passion according to C.S. Lewis (Richard Jenkyns, The New Republic)

  5. Lion, witch and censor? Unfortunately for all, yes | And adults are wondering why children don't read (Ashley Herzog, Houston Chronicle)


  1. The 'Code' breakers | The most popular—and controversial—novel of our time hits the screen in May. An exclusive report on the second coming of The Da Vinci Code (Newsweek)

  2. Two gay cowboys hit a home run | Brokeback Mountain arrived at a time when America's attitude toward homosexuality has shifted (Frank Rich, The New York Times)

  3. Looking for similarities where others see differences | The thought-provoking documentary Three Faiths, One God sets out to prove that the three world faiths involved in current global conflicts are really one big religion (The New York Times)


  1. When you ride with Jesus, don't tailgate | A new NBC drama that features a walking, talking Jesus is already stirring up a lot of controversy in a country that takes its religion seriously (The New York Times)

  2. FCC to delay new rules on children's TV | The FCC said Friday it would delay implementation of new rules governing children's programming on digital television to consider an agreement struck by entertainment companies and children's advocates (Associated Press)

Barbara Walters on heaven:

  1. You'll never get to heaven watching this | Here's the problem: the title, "Heaven: Where Is It? How Do We Get There?" implicitly and explicitly states that not only does heaven exist, but that you, the viewer, will learn how to get to there if you spend two hours watching this broadcast (Newsday)

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  1. Switch channel: 'Heaven' can wait, eternally | Fake "news" programs such as Heaven are basically insulting to all involved (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  2. What to expect when expecting heaven | This Barbara Walters special is a semi-serious survey of eschatological beliefs in various religions (The New York Times)

  3. Where is heaven? In the jeans … er, genes | This just in … ABC News has learned … faith exists. Christians believe in Jesus, and Buddhists believe in reincarnation? Get out of town! (Chicago Sun-Times)

  4. Walters looks to stars for 'Heaven' | Walters isn't out to break ties or offer solutions, but to point out similarities and differences between various faiths in the way they depict heaven (New York Daily News)

  5. Barbara Walters ponders heaven | Celebrities (natch) have opinions as to where is it and how we can get there, as do terrorists and theologians (Los Angeles Times)

  6. 'Heaven is a place where you are happy' | Barbara Walters explains what heaven means in different religions, whether she'll go to heaven or not, and what happens there (Beliefnet)

  7. Knowing precious little about so much | 'Do you believe experiences of an afterlife by people who have had a near-death experience are real?" The impish TV talk-show host and his panel of celebrity guests posited to the audience. (Alicia Reynolds, Ventura County Star)

  8. Walters searches for stairway to heaven | The topic seems impossibly broad and the questions unanswerable, although that doesn't stop many from trying (Associated Press)

  9. It's heaven on Earth - or at least on television | Holiday shows say amen to a pop-culture wave of spiritual awareness (The Denver Post)


  1. Memento mori | The abolition of Limbo, and the importance of eternity (Ross Douthat, The Weekly Standard)

  2. Church silent on bishop's marriage comments | The Catholic Church was staying silent last night on comments from one of its bishops that priests should be allowed to marry (The Irish Examiner)

  3. Also: 'Let priests marry' bishop 'will escape sanction' | A bishop who called for priests to be allowed to marry will not fear any potential sanction from the Vatican, it was claimed (Ireland On-Line)

  4. Castro wants Pope to visit Cuba, cardinal says | Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa, who visited Cuba in October and met Castro, told the Italian Catholic business magazine "Il Consulente Re" that Castro told him he was impressed by Benedict, who was elected last April (Reuters)

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  1. Vatican affirms closing of East Toledo parish | An East Toledo parish that appealed its closing to the Vatican has won a partial victory from Rome and now plans to plead its case to the church's highest court, according to a parishioner leading the effort (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  2. Catholic choir sings a different tune | Gospel is a popular music form in evangelical Protestantism. But these were Catholics. (The Boston Globe)

  3. Pope names new S.F. archbishop | The Most Rev. George H. Niederauer, currently the bishop of Salt Lake City, will move to his new post in February (Los Angeles Times)

  4. Mary = Homegirl? | Ave Maria University students wear religious beliefs on their T-shirts (The News-Press, Fla.)

  5. Touched by the Pope | This season inspires reflection among all faiths. In that spirit, we ask people who met John Paul II before he passed away this year to share their moving stories (USA Weekend)

  6. Seeing Mary all over again | A combination of Mexican immigration, popular feminism and a growing need among spiritual seekers to make God more accessible has led to a resurgence in the presence of the figure of Mary (Gregory Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times)

St. Louis Archbishop excommunicates priest, board after turf fight:

  1. A Catholic parish pays high price for independence | Dispute with archbishop over property, control leads to excommunication (The Wall Street Journal)

  2. Board and priest have been excommunicated | St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke said Friday that the six lay members of the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church and a priest they had hired to be their pastor had been excommunicated (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  3. Service as usual for St. Stanislaus | The Sunday service at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church drew a regular crowd of more than 100 parishioners and included the usual prayers and psalms - in English and in Polish - with little hint that anything was amiss (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  4. Burke excommunicates St. Stan board | St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has notified the six lay members of the board of directors of St. Stanislaus Kostka parish and a priest from the diocese of Springfield Cape-Girardeau who they had hired to be their pastor that they have been excommunicated (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  5. Also : History of the dispute (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  6. Earlier: Defiant priest joins St. Stanislaus | When the Rev. Marek B. Bozek was in college seminary, he decided there were plenty of priests in his native Poland and that he needed to shepherd a flock where priests were scarce (St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Dec. 3)

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Church life:

  1. Jesus, CEO | America's most successful churches are modelling themselves on businesses (The Economist)

  2. Lutheran congregation votes to leave ELCA | (Associated Press)

  3. Outspoken pastor is out of the pulpit | M. Robinson-Gaither, who preached politics and protest at his small South L.A. church, says he was ousted because of his AIDS ministry (Los Angeles Times)

  4. These Shakers won't be movers | Final four members of America's only populated Shaker village, in rural Maine, agree to a preservation plan to protect the enclave from subdivisions (The Christian Science Monitor)

  5. In Miss., 4 churches band together for holidays | The thick ring of trees outside the Mt. Zion United Methodist Church is bowed as if the winds from Hurricane Katrina are still blowing. But the tiny building still stands, offering a spiritual sanctuary to its members and worshippers from three other congregations (Associated Press)

  6. Church falls on Christians | Child dies, 38 injured (The Nation, Malawi)

  7. On a mission to lead the nation's church | |As dean of the National Cathedral, Rev. Samuel Lloyd III has also become an architect of sorts, designing a mission of reconciliation that honors the nation's diverse faiths (Chicago Tribune)

  8. Kirk minister sacked over affair wins right to lodge sex bias claim | A former Church of Scotland minister who says she was forced out of her job after being accused of having an affair with a married church elder has won the right to claim compensation for sex discrimination (The Guardian, London)

  9. Church gives ground to Muslims | In a surprising change of opinion, the Church of Greece said yesterday that it would support the building of a Muslim cemetery and mosque in Attica but its opposition to the possible separation of Church and state led to heavy criticism in Parliament (Kathimerini, Athens)

  10. Pastor urges war against 'evil' temple | An Anglican pastor has called for a holy war of prayer against plans to build a lucrative Buddhist temple on the NSW south coast (The Australian)

  11. Spirit in the skylight | Mario Botta designs buildings to worship in—no matter if you are Christian, Jewish or Muslim (The Guardian, London)

  12. See the light, see the sun | I resign myself to carrying the jacket—as nonchalantly as possible—into my parents' house, knowing that doing so implies I will join them for services at their new church home (K. David Dixon, The Washington Post)

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Anglican Communion:

  1. Excised All Saints church aligns with Church of Uganda | A church that was recently voted out of the local Episcopal diocese has aligned itself with the Church of Uganda (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, N.Y.)

  2. Resignation of priest 1st sign of rift in S.D. | An Episcopal priest has resigned from his church and taken much of his congregation with him in the first significant sign that the divisions between the U.S. Episcopal Church and its Anglican counterpart have arrived in San Diego (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  3. Nigerian Anglicans seeing gay challenge to orthodoxy | The Christian population of the developing world is standing up for orthodoxy in the face of increasing liberalism in the West (The New York Times)


  1. Murdered bishop gets Kenyan honour | President Mwai Kibaki has posthumously honoured an Italian bishop who was murdered in northern Kenya this year with one of the country's highest awards for public service (The Mercury, South Africa)

  2. Haitian priest said to need U.S. doctor | A jailed Catholic priest who had been considered a potential candidate for Haiti's presidency may have cancer and should be released to seek medical treatment in the United States, his lawyer said Thursday (Associated Press)

  3. Living with a true Mother | Raymond Arroyo on Mother Angelica, an unlikely woman who built an unlikely empire (National Review Online)

  4. A man with a mission | From October 1771 until March 1816, Francis Asbury was a traveling evangelist in the American Colonies and fledgling United States. No American during that period is known to have traveled as widely as he (The Washington Post)

Other religions:

  1. Religions stand to be counted | Non-Christian faiths such as Islam are the fastest growing religions in Victoria, a new report reveals (Herald Sun, Melbourne, Australia)

  2. The hard sell | Jews consider proselytizing to fight assimilation (Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Wall Street Journal)

  3. Muslim leader forges interfaith accord | Popular imam boosts Islam in Md., beyond (The Washington Post)


  1. 'Your body is a temple,' class urges | "PraiseMoves" marketed as a Christian alternative to yoga (The News-Dispatch, via South Bend Tribune, Ind.)

  2. Rooney pipped by God in survey of under-10s | Forget holidays by the sea, computer games and religion. According to a survey of under-10s released today, "money and getting rich" is the top priority for the nation's children (The Guardian, London)

  3. Peer into today's Aladdin's cave and try to detect a spiritual life | The opium of the masses was in fact the vitamin supplement of the poor, whether in terms of providing a code of values or practical help and a sense of moral worth to even the most disadvantaged (Michael Burleigh, The Times, London)

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  1. Philip Roth was wrong | How simplistic to blame our innate human aggression on religion (Robert Winston, The Guardian, London)

  2. Trust in God … or Jamie | We live in an age of illusion where faith in just about anything has replaced rationalism (Mary Riddell, The Guardian, London)

  3. Last of the true believers | Christianity in Britain tends to become a repository of presumed goodness and wisdom which has no, or at best a very distant, God, but owes a lot to Him (John Lloyd, Financial Times)

More articles of interest:

  1. Christians strip to build a new Eden | In the beginning was the word of God and God never said anything about brassieres or boxer shorts. Thus was born Natura, America's first Christian nudist camp (The Times, London)

  2. Amish struggle to adapt to tourism | They are unwillingly becoming one of most popular tourist attractions in the United States (BBC)

  3. Zimbabwean evictees return, find no refuge | Many displaced when the government razed squatter camps are back, desperate and fearful (Los Angeles Times)

  4. Jesus and the Gospel—What really happened? | Believe only the embarrassing (Alan F. Segal, Larry Hurtado, and John S. Kloppenborg, Slate)

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Launched in 1999, Christianity Today’s Weblog was not just one of the first religion-oriented weblogs, but one of the first published by a media organization. (Hence its rather bland title.) Mostly compiled by then-online editor Ted Olsen, Weblog rounded up religion news and opinion pieces from publications around the world. As Christianity Today’s website grew, it launched other blogs. Olsen took on management responsibilities, and the Weblog feature as such was mothballed. But CT’s efforts to round up important news and opinion from around the web continues, especially on our Gleanings feature.
Ted Olsen
Ted Olsen is Christianity Today's executive editor. He wrote the magazine's Weblog—a collection of news and opinion articles from mainstream news sources around the world—from 1999 to 2006. In 2004, the magazine launched Weblog in Print, which looks for unexpected connections and trends in articles appearing in the mainstream press. The column was later renamed "Tidings" and ran until 2007.
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