Alito & abortion:

  • Alito downplays 1985 abortion statement | Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito distanced himself Tuesday from his 1985 comments that there was no constitutional right to abortion, telling a senator in private that he had been "an advocate seeking a job" (Associated Press)
  • Also: Alito downplays anti-abortion memo | "'I don't give heed to my personal view. What I do is interpret the law'," Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California quoted Alito, a federal appeals judge the past 15 years, as telling her (Reuters)
  • Liberals rap Alito's anti-Roe stance | Liberals said yesterday that Supreme Court nominee Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s 1985 claim that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" proves that he would try to outlaw the practice (The Washington Times)
  • '85 document opens window to Alito views | Judge Samuel Alito Jr. wrote that "the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion," documents showed (The New York Times)
  • No right to abortion, Alito argued in 1985 | Reagan-era papers show staunch conservatism (The Washington Post)
  • Alito papers dispute right to abortion | Samuel A. Alito Jr., the nominee for the Supreme Court, wrote in a 1985 application for a senior position in the Reagan administration that ''the Constitution does not protect a right to an abortion" (The Boston Globe)
  • Alito's beliefs, then and now | This time Karl Rove doesn't have to call Dr. Dobson to whisper to him that the Supreme Court nominee goes to an evangelical church (CBS News)
  • Three-quarter truths | The sloppy mischaracterizations of Alito's abortion decisions (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)

Religion & politics:

  • Mulling the limits of freedom of speech in churches | The IRS is investigating whether a church in Pasadena, Calif., is abusing its non-profit status by promoting its outspoken antiwar stance. The development has other churches debating how their leaders should walk the line between free speech and preaching (Day to Day, NPR)
  • Former Sen. John Danforth to pen book | Danforth's Faith and Politics, to be published in fall 2006, "will explore the widening rift between left and right, conservative and liberal, believer and nonbeliever," Viking said Monday in a press release (Associated Press)
  • Carter's views | If hindsight is 20-20, Carter knows how to win the presidency as both a deeply religious man and a Democrat, and how to lose it to a Republican conservative touting family values and national security (Editorial, The Patriot-News, Harrisburg, Pa.)
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  • Why does Foxman tout 'menace' of evangelicals? To raise more money | Devoted to fighting anti-Jewish bigotry, the Anti-Defamation League is America's most influential Jewish group. So what are we to make of the weird air of unreality in the ADL's public statements about Christians? (David Klinghoffer, Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

FDA Plan B ruling criticized:

  • Review of 'Plan B' pill is faulted | Report calls FDA actions 'unusual' (The Washington Post)
  • Report details FDA rejection of next-day pill | The Government Accountability Office said it was told the decision came before a scientific review was completed (The New York Times)
  • Audit faults FDA on morning-after pill | Lawmakers are again accusing the Food and Drug Administration of putting politics over science in the long-running saga over whether the morning-after pill should sell without a prescription (Associated Press)
  • Review process 'unusual,' GAO says of contraceptive | Federal health officials used an "unusual" review process last year when they decided to continue requiring a prescription for an "emergency" birth-control product considered by some to be an abortion drug, a federal watchdog said yesterday (The Washington Times)
  • Ban on abortion pill to stay | A report for the federal Minister for Health, Tony Abbott, finding that the abortion drug RU486 poses increased risks for women has been contradicted by medical specialists and dismissed as misleading by his political opponents (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • Morning-after, months later | Everybody knew it anyway, but it's worthwhile to have a respected government office make it official: Anomalies surrounded the decision to refuse over-the-counter status to the morning-after pill (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

Life ethics:

  • One woman's choice | After a prenatal test shows Down Syndrome, a wrenching decision (The Washington Post)
  • N.H. living wills proposal advances, but not without controversy | Legislature wonders under what circumstances people can refuse medical care that would prolong their lives (Associated Press)
  • Embryo pioneer denies breaking ethics rules | South Korean stem cell pioneer Hwang Woo-Suk said yesterday that he had strictly followed government guidelines, amid allegations that he obtained donor eggs from a junior scientist at his laboratory in violation of ethics rules (The Guardian, London)

Persecution & human rights:

  • Call for repeal of blasphemy laws | Outraged at the burning of two churches after alleged desecration of Islam's holy book by a Christian man, minority groups and human rights watchdogs in Pakistan on Monday demanded repeal of the country's blasphemy law, which they said was being misused frequently (Reuters/IRIN)
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  • Christian women and abortion rights | In India, "women's rights" is about Hindus. "Minority women's rights" is about Muslims. But don't forget Christians (Flavia Agnes, The Asian Age)

North Korea:

  • A vigil against faith in N. Korea | Believers allege brutal repression in the 1990s. Christianity may be crossing the border (Los Angeles Times)
  • Panel: No religious freedom in N. Korea | There is no freedom of religion in North Korea although there are four churches in the capital of Pyongyang, where some elderly people worship, an independent federal commission reported Tuesday (Associated Press)

War & terrorism:

  • Congressman slams farm subsidy provision | A Colorado congressman says a provision in a farm subsidy law intended to protect churches where illegal immigrants work as volunteers could instead help religious groups harbor terrorists (Associated Press)
  • Bishop backs 'shoot-to-kill' police for suicide bombers | A senior bishop in the Church of England today endorsed the "shoot-to-kill" policy of the Metropolitan police against suspected suicide bombers (The Times, London)

Church & state:

  • Supreme Court passes on N.C. county case | Leaders of a North Carolina county can keep "In God We Trust" on their government building, after challengers lost a Supreme Court appeal on Monday (Associated Press)
  • ACLU: Extend tax break to all religious books | A retired Atlanta librarian and a Sandy Springs bookshop owner are challenging a state law that grants a sales tax exemption for purchases of the Bible and other books pertaining to "Holy Scripture" (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)
  • Alarm in prisons at Scientology drug cures aimed at inmates | Officials unable to stop advice sent to inmates; experts criticize sauna and vitamin therapies (The Guardian, London)

Intelligent Design & evolution:

  • At some colleges, classes questioning evolution take hold | 'Intelligent Design' doctrine leaves room for creator (The Wall Street Journal; alt site)
  • End to Dover suit sought | But fellow school board members halted David Napierskie's attempt (York Daily Record, Pa.)
  • Philosophers notwithstanding, Kansas school board redefines science | In the course of revising the state's science standards to include criticism of evolution, the board promulgated a new definition of science itself (The New York Times)
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  • A board adapts after voters select | The intelligent design debate continues after eight proponents on a school panel are ousted (Los Angeles Times)
  • Monkeying with minds | Eighty years after Darwin won a stay in US schools comes a push to oust him (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • True believers smite theory of evolution | Let's be honest and agree that the argument over evolution has nothing to do with science. Can you really argue the science of evolution? (Mike Littwin, Rocky Mountain News, Denver, Co.)


  • When classes are out, religious clubs increasingly are in | They're a growing presence in public schools (The Boston Globe)
  • Catholic schools in fight for life | Archdiocesan effort to save those in peril (Chicago Tribune)
  • Curriculum design as intelligent as flying spaghetti monsters | So let's keep the pirate costumes and stripper factories at bay and corral Christians into the correct classroom (Emma Tom, The Australian)

Higher education:

  • Georgia Baptist Convention votes to cut Mercer ties | But under the convention's rules, the split from the Baptist-affiliated college of 7,000 students will not become final unless the convention votes a second time to sever ties during its annual meeting in November 2006 (Associated Press)
  • Students to vote at Baptist meeting | Georgetown College expected to become self-governing (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)
  • College Makeover: When ideas kill | I would make morality central to any plan to revitalize general education (Alan Wolfe, Slate)
  • Regent program draws students with passion for cartoons, art | Sixteen students this fall entered Regent University's new bachelor's program in animation (The Virginian-Pilot)


  • Diocese official resigns | An official with the Roman Catholic Diocese of Colorado Springs who angered many with a column suggesting Catholics should not attend Protestant worship services has resigned (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)
  • Catholic bishops turn to lay ministers | Faced with a serious and continuing decline in the number of Roman Catholic priests, the nation's bishops are acting Tuesday on new guidelines for more than 30,000 lay employees who help fill the gap (Associated Press)
  • Head Catholic bishop defends U.S. priests | The president of America's Roman Catholic bishops defended American priests Monday, saying a "handful" of miscreants who sexually abused minors have forced the rest of the clergy "to endure an avalanche of negative public attention" (Associated Press)
  • U.S. bishops disagree over changes in liturgy | Sexual abuse issues still a concern, cropping up in many other discussions (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
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  • Bishops try to surpass scandal | Catholic bishops distanced themselves from a nearly four-year-old sex-abuse crisis yesterday during opening sessions of their annual fall business meeting, but were foiled by demonstrators and a $1.8 million budget deficit (The Washington Times)
  • N.O. archdiocese is seeking donations | Private, corporate gift-givers needed (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

Murder victim's family seek priest reform:

  • Slay victims' families seek priest reform | The families of two men allegedly killed by a Roman Catholic priest in Hudson, Wis., urged the nation's bishops to adopt changes aimed at weeding out troubled priests, and asked the bishops to arrange a meeting for them with Pope Benedict XVI (Associated Press)
  • Families try, fail to talk to bishops | Relatives of two slain men press staffer on abuse cases (The Washington Post)
  • Bishops' gathering draws protest | Families of slain Wisconsin men demand changes (The Boston Globe)

Church life:

  • Baptists elect first black president | Last-minute challenge mars Texas convention (Houston Chronicle)
  • Churches confront 'dirty little secret' in midst: porn | With anonymous Internet, the 24-hour sex store is luring all (The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)
  • Lutheran pastor faces sex charges | The complaint says the Rev. James Michael Holthus had sex with a boy; the clergyman's lawyer says his client is innocent (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
  • It's getting really weird out there | In many charismatic ministries today, basic Christian morality has been hijacked (J. Lee Grady, Charisma)

Missions & ministry:

  • Be confrontational in spreading God's word, former Muslim says | Evangelizing for Jesus Christ in other cultures overseas requires a missionary to be confrontational, confident, compassionate and mindful of the cost, Emir Fethi Caner said yesterday (The Tennessean, Nashville)
  • Praying to Jesus in a Jewish setting | Messianic Jews part of growing movement (Florida Today, Melbourne)
  • Pastor leading effort to unify churches to respond to disasters | John Wells, pastor of Temecula-based Mountain View Community Church, wants houses of faith from Murrieta and Temecula to come together and create a disaster preparedness plan (The Californian)

Marriage & family:

  • The children left behind | A pioneering study finds that loneliness and inner conflict are part of the legacy of divorce, no matter how amicable the split (Elizabeth Marquardt, Los Angeles Times)
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  • Wedded bliss for all or none | To protest ban on gay unions, Arlington pastor refuses to conduct marriages (The Washington Post)

Religion & homosexuality:

  • Gay minister ordained in Dobbs Ferry | When asked if he would abide by the church's constitution, Raymond Bagnuolo said he had one exception (The Journal News, White Plains, N.Y.)
  • Also: Gay Presbyterian minister ordained in N.Y. | A Presbyterian congregation has ordained a gay man who refuses to embrace celibacy despite the denomination's ban on sexually active homosexuals joining the clergy (Associated Press)
  • Uniting Church offers conservatives the right to reject gay ministers | In a bid to defuse threats of a walkout, the NSW and Queensland leaders of Australia's third-largest denomination have proposed giving the church's theological conservatives autonomy on issues of sexuality and leadership (The Sydney Morning Herald)
  • The peculiar peculations of PECUSA | Last week in Pittsburgh, the wayward Protestant Episcopal Church suffers further humiliation (Thomas Lipscomb, The American Spectator)


  • Born again | When it comes to the abortion issue, TV shows are where they were 30 years ago (The Village Voice)
  • Televangelism | Several observers have become concerned over the fact that with the advent of the private media in Pakistan, religion is being marketed like a soap and people are buying it in extraordinary numbers (Afiya Shehrbano, The News International, Pakistan)


  • Cliche hampers songwriter Earle's first play | Perhaps Steve Earle's own renewal led him to the tale of Karla Faye Tucker, a drug-addicted Texas prostitute who murdered two people with a pickaxe and in 1998 became the first woman executed by the Lone Star State since the Civil War (Reuters)
  • A rally for purpose | Author Rick Warren urges Central Floridians to use their religious faith to serve others (The Orlando Sentinel)
  • Peter Drucker's contributions | Teaching nonprofit managers to focus on the common good (Leslie Lenkowsky, The Chronicle of Philanthropy)
  • The rebirth of a band | Collective Soul's guitarist Dean Roland talks about the band's album, 'Youth' and why God is a tease (Beliefnet)

More articles of interest:

  • Do-it-yourself religion | A history of spirituality from Emerson to Oprah--and a defense of it (Stephen Prothero, The Wall Street Journal)
  • Critic: Painting's distinction is its title | "The controversy should be over its originality. There's nothing original about it," said Phyllis Tuchman, who has written for Town & Country and Smithsonian magazines. "It's a great sculpture, poorly painted" (Poughkeepsie Journal, N.Y.)

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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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