Articles and commentary from Thursday, August 10.

1. Christians to be executed so Bali bombers can be, too

The execution of three Indonesian Christians for their part in murdering more than 200 Muslims during religious fighting in 2000 has become politically tied to the execution of the Bali bombers of 2002. "Two government officials said that for political reasons, it would be very difficult for the government to proceed with the execution of the Bali bombers, if it did not first execute the Christians," reports The New York Times.

But the trial of the Christians was less than fair. The trial was marked by troubling "irregularities," said David McRae, a specialist on the Poso violence at the Australia National University in Canberra. Another expert, Sidney Jones, director of the International Crises Group office in Jakarta, said, "It seems giving the death penalty in this case is just extraordinarily over the top."

2. Christians in Lebanon shocked they're bombed

From the U.K.'s Telegraph:

"A 15-minute air raid soon after dawn yesterday on the attractive port of Jounieh destroyed the complacency of the Christians and served to turn them against the Israelis. The capital of Lebanon's Christian heartland is unused to such violence.

"Even during the 15 years of the 1975-1990 civil war, when Christian and Muslim militias sowed destruction across the country, Jounieh survived unscathed—a party zone of nightclubs and beach resorts 10 miles from Beirut."

3. Bill Hybels, always taking stock

This Chicago Tribune profile of Bill Hybels celebrates the many ways in which the influential pastor has not only changed the direction of evangelicalism, but has also changed his church and himself. In the 1990s,

the church's growth also took a professional and personal toll on Hybels, who had married his longtime sweetheart in 1974 and quickly had children.
By 1990 he felt he had to recharge. Piloting a borrowed sailboat, he renewed a lifelong love of the water and spent more of his summers reconnecting with his family and with God.
In 1994 about a quarter of the church's staff and a third of the lay leadership left, saying they were burned out by the church's fast pace and lack of personal touch. The exodus inspired Hybels to further examine his management style and his expectations. After a long discussion with his wife, he bought a sailboat of his own and started spending his summers at a cottage in South Haven, Mich.

And now, Hybels is changing his approach to race relations and international ministry. "Hybels has contemplated his wife's vision of expanding Willow Creek's global outreach. After a trip to Africa, she challenged her husband to respond to the AIDS crisis there by providing medical and hospice care. Hybels has also used the downtime to develop his vision of building a more multicultural church. Last year he and seven pastors from predominantly white, black, Latino and Asian evangelical churches around Chicago began meeting monthly to collaborate on a community service project," the Tribune reports.

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4. Christian school versus U. of California suit to proceed

The University of California lost its effort to dismiss several allegations brought against the university system by a Christian high school. "The plaintiffs—Calvary Chapel Christian School of Murrieta, several of its students and a group representing 4,000 Christian schools nationwide—filed suit last summer accusing UC of discriminating against them by setting admissions rules that violate their freedom of speech and religion," reports the L.A. Times.

"The plaintiffs allege that UC is biased in its admissions standards against courses taught from a conservative Christian viewpoint, while generally approving those from other religious and political perspectives."

The case is being watched closely around the country due to the influence the decision could have on Christian schools elsewhere.

5. Susan B. Anthony—pro-lifer

Feminists for Life is planning on turning the home of Susan B. Anthony into a museum highlighting the work of early American pro-life feminists.

Carol Crossed (who bought the building for Feminists for Life) said the group's pro-life stance will likely help attract the public to the house, reports the Associated Press.

"'They feel this is sort of a niche that will make the house viable,' she said."

Abortion | Morning after pill | AIDS | Politics | ID in Kansas | Church and state | Homosexuality | Lebanon/Israel war | U.S. evangelical response | International affairs | Religious freedom | Disputes | Cuba | Entertainment and media | Family | Sex abuse | Financial scandal | People | Mel Gibson | Church life | Anglicanism | Evangelism | Ministry | Catholicism | Technology | Sin | Crime | Other articles of interest


  1. Abortion foe allen faulted for stock in morning-after pill maker | A leading conservative antiabortion group has joined Democrat James Webb in criticizing Republican Sen. George Allen for opposing abortion while owning stock in the manufacturer of the morning-after pill. (Washington Post)

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  1. In a shift, union group backs abortion rights | The California Labor Federation votes to oppose Prop. 85, which would direct doctors to notify minors' parents (Los Angeles Times)

  2. The doctor is out | In this novel, an abortion provider is murdered. Danielle Trussoni reviews The Abortionist's Daughter (The New York Times)

  3. Indian couple accused of aborting girls | Authorities arrested a former army soldier and his wife for allegedly aborting female fetuses, several of which were found dumped in a well behind an illegal clinic the couple are charged with running, a police officer said Thursday. (Associated Press)

  4. Susan B. Anthony birthplace is sold | A member of Feminists for Life of America, an anti-abortion and feminist organization she belongs to, will live in the house, and may eventually open to the public (Associated Press)

  5. Criminals, like me | Parental consent for an abortion puts girls in further danger (Lynn Harris, The New York Times)

Morning after pill:

  1. Maker revives 'morning-after' fight | The maker of the Plan B "morning-after pill" says that within two weeks, it will submit an amended petition to sell the emergency contraception without a prescription. (Washington Times)

  2. Barr to refile Plan B contraceptive application | Barr Pharmaceuticals Inc. will resubmit a request to sell its morning-after contraceptive pill without prescription, the company said on Tuesday after meeting with U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials. (Reuters)

  3. Plan B: To shelve, or not to shelve | Emergency contraception is on the hot seat again (US News & World Report)


  1. When a pill is not enough | Shame, stigma and the pathologies of intimate relationships are the new frontier in the fight against AIDS in Africa. How do you treat what is lodged in people's minds? (The New York Times Magazine)

  2. Call to boost churches' AIDS role | The Christian aid agency Tearfund is calling for more recognition and more international funding for Africa's churches in the fight against HIV/AIDS. (BBC)


  1. So far, candidates fail to fire up evangelicals | Tom Gallagher insists he can still pull off a comeback win in next month's Republican primary for governor with his anti-abortion and pro-family views. (Orlando Sentinel)

  2. The evangelical left | Reverend Gregory Boyd goes after the Religious Right. (Weekly Standard)

  3. Evangelical Christian Says Religious Right `Distorts' Faith | "I write as a jilted lover,'' begins a provocative new book about politics and religion by Randall Balmer, an evangelical Christian and professor of American religious history at Barnard College in New York. (Bloomberg)

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  1. So far, candidates fail to fire up evangelicals | Tom Gallagher insists he can still pull off a comeback win in next month's Republican primary for governor with his anti-abortion and pro-family view but the potentially powerful voting bloc of evangelical Christians is showing little interest in the race. (Orlando Sentinel)

  2. Christian MPs meeting hits back at secularism | Christianity has been under "consistent attack" and should be re-established as the dominant belief system in Australia, according to more than a dozen politicians of all hues at a Christian conference in Canberra. (The Australian)

  3. Voter sticker's intent debated | The ``I Voted Today'' sticker -- the seemingly innocuous emblem that voters slap on their chests after casting their ballot -- has been changed by Ohio Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell. (The Beacon Journal, Akron, Ohio)

  4. Election officials question voting sticker language | Election officials in a northeast Ohio county are reconsidering the use of a new variation of the "I Voted Today" sticker given to voters at the polls. (Associated Press)

  5. Bell bases stem cell research support on his Christian faith | Democratic gubernatorial nominee Chris Bell invoked his Christian faith on Thursday, saying he is sure Jesus would have supported embryonic stem cell research. (Houston Chronicle)

  6. Christian Coalition apologizes to Hall | A Christian political lobbying group sent a second letter this week attacking a Greeley state Senate candidate, the same day it apologized for errors in earlier campaign material that attacked him. (The Greeley Tribune, Greeley, Colorado)

  7. Candidates continue religious wrangling, job talks | Ted Strickland comes prepared these days when Ken Blackwell's supporters cast doubts on Strickland's credentials as a minister. (Dayton Daily News)

  8. Conservatives no holier than Labor: Rudd | Labor's Kevin Rudd will tell a Christianity forum in Canberra tomorrow that conservative politicians try to hijack religious voters. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  9. Labor courts the Christian vote | The battle for the votes of Christians in Australia has heated up with a Labor frontbencher declaring Christians have a responsibility to vote for compassion and conservation. (Australian Associated Press)

  10. Cardinal attacks 'state-sponsored' bigotry | Cardinal Keith O'Brien, the leader of Scotland's Roman Catholics, has launched an attack on "state sponsored sectarian discrimination" which he claimed doomed to failure government attempts to tackle bigotry in Scottish society (The Times, London)

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  1. Culture wars seen within political parties | The combat of America's "culture wars" takes place within political parties instead of between them (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)

  2. The Christians are coming! The Christians are coming! | Rest assured: Bush isn't preparing for Armageddon (Kathleen Parker, Dallas Morning News)

ID in Kansas:

  1. Nothing wrong with Kansas | State voters move science education out of the Victorian era (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  2. The culture crusade of Kansas | The culture war will remain with us, both in Kansas and in the nation, because it is larger than any of its leaders, citizen activists and particular causes (Thomas Frank, The New York Times)

Church and state:

  1. ACLU wants parish to forget cross | Katrina memorial bears Jesus' face (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  2. Earlier: Marker to honor Katrina victims | Dedication will mark one-year anniversary (The Times-Picayune, July 26)

  3. Church and team: Where to draw the line? | Ambiguity persists over whether prayer in the locker room is appropriate (The New York Times)

  4. When students speak | Does the First Amendment protect public school students who want to bait gays? (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  5. UC loses bid to stop Christian school suit | A federal judge rules that the case alleging that admissions rules violate student freedoms can proceed to trial. (Los Angeles Times)


  1. State Supreme Court rejects bid to enter gay marriage fight | The state Supreme Court has denied a conservative group's request to intervene in a lawsuit over whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry in Connecticut. (Associated Press)

  2. Parental rights upheld for lesbian ex-partner | Isabella Miller-Jenkins has two mothers, the Vermont Supreme Court ruled yesterday (The New York Times)

  3. For diocese, picking bishop means facing diocesan rift | Of the six candidates under consideration to head the Diocese of Newark, one of them is gay (The New York Times)

  4. Ind. high court lets gay adoption stand | Indiana's Supreme Court let stand a ruling that allows unmarried couples, including those of the same sex, to adopt children through a joint petition that gives both partners equal custody (Associated Press)

  5. For gays, new math | Rethinking tactics after a series of setbacks nationwide (US News & World Report)

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  1. Feeling unwelcome, some gays vacate Virginia | November ballot ban helps fuel migration (The Washington Post)

  2. Priest says relief agency dropped him because he's gay | A Catholic priest says Catholic Relief Services dismissed him from its volunteer program in Africa because he is openly gay (Religion News Service)

  3. Marriage battle takes new shape in Colorado | A new strategy to win legal recognition for same-sex couples is emerging in Colorado, a state that is a bulwark of the conservative Christian movement. (The San Francisco Chronicle)

  4. Are you gay or straight? Admit it, you are most likely an in-between | Sexuality is a supple thing, and sometimes can be influenced, even promoted (Matthew Parris, The Times, London)

Lebanon/Israel war:

  1. Muslim charities say fear is damming flow of money | In a Detroit warehouse, boxes of diapers, water-purification tablets, lentils, rice, powdered milk and cooking oil are stacked almost to the ceiling, destined for Lebanon. More packages, mostly from individual donors across the country, arrive every day. (Washington Post)

  2. Israeli Arabs seek refuge in Bethlehem | The fighting between Hezbollah and Israel has turned tourists away from Bethlehem, threatening the backbone of the town's economy (Associated Press)

  3. Pope presses bid to end Mideast fighting | Pope Benedict XVI called Saturday on Christians and others touched by his words to mobilize against the widening warfare in the Middle East, saying no good comes out of war, not even for the victors (Associated Press)

  4. Israeli town unified in face of rockets | As a Christian Arab, Yousef Yaroni knows he is not the target of the Hezbollah attacks, but it makes no difference to him. "I feel like every Jewish citizen in Israel," he said. "We are brothers. What happens to them happens to us." (Associated Press)

  5. Airstrikes hit Christian area north of Beirut | Israel says it aims to block arms supplies to Hezbollah. Commandos land on the beach near Tyre, and rockets strike 30 miles from Tel Aviv (Los Angeles Times)

  6. Israeli warplanes hit Lebanon's Christian areas | 30 farmworkers also die; rockets kill three Israelis (The Washington Post)

  7. 'We hardly notice the blasts now' - a journey through Lebanon's ravaged south | Amid the ruins, a Hizbullah fighter gathers breath while a Christian family recalls the Israelis warmly (The Guardian, London)

  8. The voices of the innocent must be heard above the din of war | Even a few days is a long time in the Middle East, not only because of the cycle of slaughter, but because of the mounting humanitarian crisis (Rowan Williams, The Observer, London)

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  1. Lebanon's Christians turn on Israel as bombs rain down | It was the most astonishing escalation on a particularly bloody day (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Sanctuary for Muslim deportees | Hassan Raza and his wife say they have been warned that a warrant for their arrest may be issued after they and their six kids took sanctuary in a Winnipeg church rather than board a flight to Pakistan Friday morning. (The Edmonton Sun)

  3. Muslim charities say fear is damming flow of money | In a Detroit warehouse, boxes of diapers, water-purification tablets, lentils, rice, powdered milk and cooking oil are stacked almost to the ceiling, destined for Lebanon. More packages, mostly from individual donors across the country, arrive every day. (Washington Post)

U.S. Evangelical response:

  1. 'Evangelicals the world over are praying for Israel' | Wearing white and trusting that God will watch over him in a war zone, the American Christian Evangelical leader Pat Robertson is visiting Israel this week to offer his support for a country whose very existence he believes is threatened by Hizbullah in Lebanon. (Jerusalem Post)

  2. Pat Robertson prays for Israeli victory | U.S. televangelist Pat Robertson said he joined hands Wednesday with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to pray for victory in Lebanon. (Associated Press)

  3. American evangelists see God at work in Israel | Fiery television evangelist Pastor John Hagee has become the rallying voice for thousands of American Christians who believe Israel is doing God's work in a "war of good versus evil". (The Age, Australia)

  4. S. Florida Christians give relief aid to Israel, Lebanon | South Florida Christians are offering their time, influence and money to support relief efforts in Israel and in Lebanon. (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  5. For some evangelicals, Mideast war stirs hope | Believing the Mideast conflict is a sign that Christ will return soon, some evangelical groups have cheered Israel's military actions. (Miami Herald)

International affairs:

  1. Indonesia anti-Israel rallies draw wide spectrum | The demonstration attracted not just Muslims but senior Protestant, Catholic and Buddhist officials and various non-governmental and labor organization representatives (Reuters)

  2. Christian Alliance leaders released without charge | The four leaders from the Christian Alliance who were arrested last Friday were released without charge after being questioned about the activities of their organization. (SW Radio Africa)

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  1. Grenades found near Kupang church | A villager has found two grenades near a church, some 200 meters from the East Nusa Tenggara Police dormitory in Kupang on Saturday. (The Jakarta Post)

  2. Ugandan rebels claim cease-fire | Vincent Otti, deputy leader of The Lord's Resistance Army said Friday his group has declared a unilateral cease-fire but government negotiators said they have not yet agreed to peace (Associated Press)

  3. Catholic church hit by shortage of bishops | The Catholic church in Kenya is hit by a shortage of bishops—with the church finding it difficult to fill vacant posts, the Pope's representative to Kenya disclosed yesterday. (Kenya Times)


  1. Cubans offer numerous prayers for Castro | Cubans are publicly praying to the African gods of Santeria, the saints of Roman Catholicism and the God of Protestant faiths in appeals for the health of ailing leader Fidel Castro and peace on the island (Associated Press)

  2. Churches pray for Castro | Cubans across the island turned to prayer Sunday as the nation tried to cope with an uncertain future and still unclear leadership. (Miami Herald)

Religious freedom:

  1. Coast Guard to allow religious clothing | The Coast Guard is changing its regulations to allow religious head coverings such as skullcaps, but Sikh turbans still will be excluded, officials said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

  2. Death sentences for Christians questioned in Indonesia | The planned executions of three Christian men convicted in connection with sectarian violence that killed hundreds of people in Indonesia several years ago are raising questions about the role that their religion has in their facing a firing squad on Saturday, as well as broader questions about the Indonesian judicial system. (The New York Times)

  3. Indonesia to execute Christian militants on Saturday | Three Indonesian Christians on death row for leading a mob that killed Muslims during inter-religious violence in Central Sulawesi province are to be executed on Saturday, the Attorney General's office said. (Reuters)


  1. Southern Jews and evangelicals: Coming together | Decades of distrust have largely subsided. (Mark I. Pinsky, USA Today)

  2. Christian vs. Muslim: Bad times and good | "Sea of Faith" dips back to the Middle Ages for historical context to a complex relationship. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

Entertainment and media:

  1. Fans cheer Madonna at Rome concert | Religious leaders may have snubbed Madonna, but Italian fans cheered the pop star as she staged a mock crucifixion at her concert in Rome (Associated Press)

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  1. Madonna's "diabolical" Duomo ad to stay | Is it appropriate for one of the Roman Catholic church's best known cathedrals to be draped with the giant picture of a pop artist who has made millions from hit songs about sex? (Reuters)

  2. Degrading lyrics lead to early sex, study says | Common sense says exposing children to sexually degrading song lyrics cannot be a good thing. Now, a multiyear study of teen sexual behavior and listening habits, led by a researcher in Pittsburgh, is setting out to prove it scientifically (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  3. Sexual lyrics prompt teens to have sex (Associated Press)

  4. Study: Exposure to degrading versus nondegrading music lyrics and sexual behavior among youth (Pediatrics)

  5. Not-so-new member of Christian pop-rock Newsboys | You can call singer-songwriter Paul Colman the new guy in the Christian pop-rock band Newsboys. But he's not really "new." (The Grand Rapids Press)

  6. Religion top theme as Edinburgh Fringe Festival turns 60 | Fringe performers revel in controversy and 2006 should be no exception with "We Don't Know Shi'ite" about British ignorance of Islam and "Jesus: The Guantanamo Years." (Reuters)

  7. Sam: 'I Am' | Zondervan, the Christian publishing house, is introducing "The Bible Experience," an audio version of the Bible that will feature Samuel L. Jackson as God (Chicago Tribune)


  1. Isolated Americans trying to connect | Some call it social isolation or disconnectedness. Often, it's just plain loneliness. An age-old ailment, to be sure, and yet by various measures — census figures on one-person households, a new study documenting Americans' shrinking circle of intimate friends — it is worsening (Associated Press)

  2. Facing middle age with no degree, and no wife | Many American men without college degrees are finding themselves still single as they approach middle age (The New York Times)

Sex abuse:

  1. Pastor pleads guilty to sexual relationship with teen | A pastor accused of raping a teenager in his congregation pleaded guilty to a lesser charge Wednesday. (Associated Press)

  2. Judge, lawyers clash on names of victims | Attorney Stan Chesley promised confidentiality to more than 350 people who said they were sexually abused by priests. Then a judge ordered him to reveal their names, along with contact information and a description of the abuse (Associated Press)

  3. Lawyers spar over Calif. abuse records | Lawyers sparred in court Friday over access to records held by the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese, and the outcome could impact hundreds of pending molestation cases involving current and former southern California priests (Associated Press)

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  1. Paedophile priest was given post at school for the deaf | Campaigners demand inquiry into 'reign of sexual terror' (The Observer, London)

  2. Victim bolts as bishop apologizes | A Roman Catholic bishop will petition to have a retired priest defrocked for sexually abusing at least 47 girls over four decades. (The Toronto Star)

  3. Church sorry for sex abuse | A woman whose sexual abuse claims led to the resignation of former governor-general Peter Hollingworth finally has received an apology from the Anglican church. (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  4. Ex-head of Halifax school faces charges | The founder and former CEO of a now-defunct school for boys in Halifax County faces 36 federal charges related to his handling of school and personal funds. (The Richmond Times-Dispatch).

  5. Wendelboe links church mergers to priest child abuse | A state legislator has appealed the merger of three Roman Catholic parishes to the Vatican, linking the merger to a loss of respect for the state's two bishops because of the priest sex abuse scandal. (Associated Press)

  6. Lawsuit demands U.S. Catholic church name sex abusers | The family of a man murdered by a pedophile priest filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Roman Catholic church demanding it disclose the names of all of its U.S. clergy accused of sexual abuse. (Reuters)

Financial scandal:

  1. Church consultant pleads guilty to fraud | Joseph DeRusso admitted in federal court Friday that he took part in a plot that diverted $1 million in funds meant for food programs for parochial school children, and that he took more than $1.2 million in kickbacks from vendors doing business with the church (Associated Press)

  2. Scam leaves faithful out thousands | God, maybe, could provide an 800 percent return on $5,000 in 30 days, but a city woman couldn't live up to such a promise, police said (The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.)

  3. Church that says it was duped clings to hope of a home | Her Ethiopian church began collecting money to buy its own building nine years ago, and Tsige estimates that she contributed $3,500 to the church's building fund - that's aside from the $50 monthly membership dues and the weekly collection offerings. (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  4. Members of Ethiopian church allege pastor swindled them | The members of Debre Nazreth St. Mary and St. Gabriel Ethiopian Orthodox Church had hoped to worship here but the unfinished building they wanted to buy has been condemned and likely will be demolished. (Associated Press)

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  1. Lot sale scheme widens | 38 more parcels sold without owners' consent, records show (Chicago Tribune)


  1. Pilgrim's progress | In the twilight, Billy Graham shares what he's learned in reflecting on politics and Scripture, old age and death, mysteries and moderation (Newsweek)

  2. Something to shout about | The new head of the YMCA is the sole black woman in charge of a major charity. She talks to Annie Kelly about the voluntary sector's derisory record on racial equality and why it should resist becoming an arm of the state (The Guardian, London)

  3. US evangelist leads the millions seeking a battle with Islam | Fiery television evangelist Pastor John Hagee has emerged as the rallying voice for thousands of American Christians who believe Israel is doing God's work in a "war of good versus evil" (The Telegraph, London)

  4. Tribune profile: Rev. Bill Hybels, the father of Willow Creek | His South Barrington ministry inspired the megachurch movement. Now he seeks to widen its reach--both at home and abroad (Chicago Tribune)

  5. Obituary: Cardinal Johannes Willebrands | Ecumenical champion who for 20 years led the Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity (The Times, London)

  6. Spiritual journey segues into retirement | After only two dates, he agreed to go to church with the girl of his dreams -- not because he really wanted to go, but because she asked him. And that question led to not only 48 years of marriage for Robert and his bride, Bonnie, but also 38 years of church ministry. (Orlando Sentinel)

  7. Bush taps Hoosier for faith-based office | Jay Hein was not originally on the short list of people being considered to run President Bush's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (The Indianapolis Star)

Mel Gibson:

  1. The future of Gibson | Road to redemption—or highway to Mel? (Newsweek)

  2. A tale of 2 stories about anti-Semitism | Incident A involved a guy spewing crude anti-Semitic slurs when he was arrested for drunk driving; after sobering up, he publicly and profusely apologized. Incident B involved a Muslim gunman's premeditated assault on a prominent Jewish institution; his attack left one woman dead and sent five to the hospital, three of them in critical condition. Which would you say was the bigger story? (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

  3. TV lacks passion for Mel Gibson | As expansive as he can be on many other subjects — perhaps you've lately gleaned some of his random musings on Judaism — Mel Gibson has been uncharacteristically shy in discussing his TV career (Los Angeles Times)

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  1. Awaiting the other apologies | Will Christian leaders, including some prominent Catholic bishops, apologize for applauding and recommending his earlier, more-far-reaching expression of anti-Semitism, the movie "The Passion of the Christ"? (Tom Grubisich, The Washington Post)

  2. Driving while anti-Semitic | Instead of getting angry over Mel Gibson's bigotry, let's look at the real moral outrage: drunk driving (Marc Gellman, Newsweek)

  3. Accept Gibson's apologies -- and re-examine your own life | What is it with kicking someone when they're down? Why do so many people want to jump on the bandwagon of wagging their fingers? Does it make them feel bigger to criticize someone bigger than themselves, or is it just an easy cheap shot? (Mary Laney, Chicago Sun-Times)

  4. Maybe we should just make Mel happy | Attacking anti-Semitism hasn't got us far in 3,000 years. It's time for some changes (Joel Stein, Time)

  5. Mel's PC plea | Gibson will hit the skids only if he can't deliver at the box office (Gloria Borger, US News & World Report)

  6. Bigotry pins blame on Jews | What was Mel Gibson's catch-all solution to his woes? `Jews are bad.' (David Mamet, Chicago Tribune)

  7. A damaged man's showdown with the devil | To those who have followed Gibson's confused trail of excess and moral absolutism, the incident is revealing of a persecution complex that has been played out in private and on screen (The Times, London)

  8. Clues dismissed in time of 'Passion' | Why hasn't the press reopened the discussion of Gibson's financially successful but controversial movie, "The Passion of the Christ"? (Tim Rutten, Los Angeles Times)

  9. Mel Gibson's late-night apology | There's no slur a live studio audience can't absolve (John Kenney, Los Angeles Times)

  10. Modern parable of Mel Gibson | As a Christian, I should be forgiving of Gibson. Give him the benefit of the doubt. But I'm finding that a little tough, and anyway, I'm not the one sinned against (James Martin, Chicago Tribune)

  11. Why are we crucifying Mel Gibson? | The actor's drink-fuelled outburst was odious but should not blind us to other, more dangerous, zealots (Mary Riddell, The Guardian, London)

Church life:

  1. Church's urban mission lifts it to lofty heights | Loop skyscraper holds congregation whose 175-year-old goal of city ministry predates city (Chicago Tribune)

  2. Churches join forces to help aid center | Nauck activist beset by code violations (Washington Post)

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  1. Between custom and Christianity | Throughout Ghana, spiritual leaders are merging adopted Christian practices with their own ethnic group's traditional customs. (BBC)

  2. Pastor weaves tale of redemption in farewell | Putting past plagiarism behind him, preacher sets out to lead N.Y. church (The Washington Post)

  3. Ministering with new maturity | 'Good with kids' isn't enough in youth ministry posts (The Washington Post)

  4. Scattered by Katrina, linked by a church | Pastor and his wife keep tabs on their far-flung flock (The Washington Post)

  5. Methodist church bid raises concern | The United Methodist Conference of Western Pennsylvania is concerned about reports that a church connected to an outspoken anti-Semite plans to buy one of its buildings in Westmoreland County, but a conference official says he has no proof that the buyer is from that church. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  6. A church's big plans barely register, so far | Major project on tap, but its details elusive (The Boston Globe)

  7. With pastor gone, church members try to heal rift | A popular Bellevue church that underwent a public upheaval with the ousting of its charismatic pastor met in music-only services this weekend in what regulars said began healing the church's deep divisions. (The Tennessean)

  8. Chicago church, Katrina evacuee at odds | The story started out as a feel-good example of a community reaching out to a woman who didn't have any options. But it has turned into a nasty argument with the sides disagreeing over when evacuee should leave (Associated Press)

  9. Rev. Fox resigns, startling his flock | The Rev. Terry Fox, who helped lead the successful push last year for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage, resigned Sunday as senior pastor of Wichita's Immanuel Baptist Church. (The Wichita Eagle)

  10. Looking forward, looking back: church celebrates bicentennial | Survival remains a struggle, though (Associated Press)

  11. Vicar shatters village peace with plan for church facelift | Residents and parishioners are unhappy about plans to modernise the Grade I listed medieval church (The Telegraph, London)

  12. Does attending church threaten a man's masculinity? | Next time you're in church, take a look around. Do you see more men or women in the pews? If your church is typical, you'll tally a higher number of women. Have you ever wondered why that is? And if it's true, does it make any difference? (Tom Schaefer, The Wichita Eagle)

  13. Mega churches miss the boat | Should the church speak out about the moral issues of our day? Many pastors of mega-churches think not. (Family News in Focus)

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  1. Consecration set for this month | The rector of Truro Episcopal Church announced yesterday that he will be consecrated a bishop on Aug. 20 at the Anglican cathedral in Abuja, Nigeria, a move that could lead to further schism among U.S. Episcopalians (The Washington Times)

  2. Anglican/Episcopal rift prompts restructuring talk | A plan is in the works to try to preserve unity despite conservatives' discomfort with some American churches' liberal policies (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Bishops fly to US for summit of Anglican hard-liners | Two senior Church of England bishops are to attend a summit of leading American conservatives next month as pressure grows for the liberal leadership of the US branch of Anglicanism to be ousted from the worldwide Church (The Telegraph, London)

  4. Church and state face similar issues | The is that many of the same liberals in the Episcopal Church who denounced President Bush for "going it alone" on Iraq are themselves espousing defiance of international Anglican opinion. On church policy, this too amounts to unilateralism. (Donald Nuechterlein, The Roanoke Times)


  1. In Afghanistan, a crackdown on imported pleasures | In the same week that the government sent alleged prostitutes back to China, it faced a different foreign challenge to Islamic culture -- the arrival of about 1,200 evangelical Christians from South Korea (The Washington Post)

  2. Biker ministry shares the faith | Earl Owens is a big, bearded man who knows well the traditional hard-living biker lifestyle. But the Borger, Texas, man became emotional Sunday when he told how 10 years ago his life changed under the same blue-and-white-striped tent set up for a church service at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (Associated Press)

  3. Yousuf puts strong case for faith improving your conversion rate | Our correspondent on how a change of religion has inspired the Pakistan batsman to reach new heights (The Times, London)


  1. Armed with saws, spirit, a youth army mobilizes | Eight clean cut teenage boys and girls -- members of the United Methodist Church's UM Army -- spent a week in mid-July building a 70-foot ramp at the white garrison house that Pepin shares with his mother-in-law, Rita Evicci. (Boston Globe)

  2. AIDS inspires mission for Africa | 5 men travel U.S. to inform, raise money for schools (Washington Post)

  3. Promise Keepers draws thousands to worship | Gerald Orgeron, of Lockport, La., traveled to Jackson this weekend after a chance encounter at a gas station with his former high school football coach. (The Clarion-Ledger, Jackson, Mississippi)

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  1. A ministry on the march | In New Jersey, members of an evangelical Christian denomination have been especially busy, quietly creating congregations in some unlikely places. (The Record, New Jersey)


  1. Wisconsin woman faces excommunication | A 64-year-old woman faces excommunication for seeking the priesthood in an unsanctioned ordination ceremony in Pittsburgh last month, the Milwaukee Archibishop said. (Associated Press)

  2. Parish overseer takes a leave | Priest sends note at Newton church (Boston Globe)

  3. Pilgrims collect water at papal monument | Pilgrims are flocking to a new monument to Pope John Paul II in his hometown, touching the water that runs over its base and collecting it in bottles in the belief that it carries healing powers. (Associated Press)

  4. Voice of Faithful, O'Malley meet | Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley met yesterday with local leaders of Voice of the Faithful, the first sit-down meeting he has had with the lay group since they were banned from meeting in parishes in 2002 (The Boston Globe)

  5. Vatican keeps eye to the heavens | Jesuits staff Arizona mountain observatory (Chicago Tribune)

  6. Catholic Church expresses concern at falling birth rate | The Catholic church has voiced serious concern at the falling birth rate in the Christian community in Kerala and criticised the growing tendency to avoid having children. (The Hindu News, India)

  7. 'Miracles' set to make British cardinal a saint | The Vatican is examining claims that Cardinal John Henry Newman intervened to aid the recovery of a 17-year-old schoolboy who nearly died last year after falling from a car (The Times, London)


  1. Symantec atones for church spyware mistake | The antivirus vendor has seen the light, after it caused disruption by tagging a sermon-writing application as spyware. (ZDnet UK)

  2. Symantec atones for church spyware mistake | Many Church of England vicars use a software tool called Visual Liturgy to plan, create and deliver church services. On July 8, Symantec issued a new virus definition that had "a significant detrimental effect on Visual Liturgy." (CNET News)

  3. Clerical error leaves Church without an internet service | Clergymen are well acquainted with floods, plagues of locusts and other manifestations of a wrathful Deity. Now it is their turn to be angry at a virus that has played havoc with their Sunday service planning (The Times, London)

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  1. The guilty party | While men happily embrace their vices, women treat their hard-earned freedoms as a sin. Stephanie Merritt on the modern addiction to guilt (The Observer, London)

  2. Confession is not the end | Forgiving should not always mean forgetting a sin. It is merely the beginning of the process of recovery and reform (John Penny, The Guardian, London)

  3. Forget Judas, let's have sympathy for the Devil | A medievalist professor from California says that Satan is not really bad, just misunderstood (The Times, London)


  1. Death sentences for Christians questioned in Indonesia | The planned executions of three Christian men convicted in connection with sectarian violence that killed hundreds of people in Indonesia several years ago are raising questions about the role that their religion has in their facing a firing squad on Saturday, as well as broader questions about the Indonesian judicial system. (The New York Times)

  2. Indonesia to execute Christian militants on Saturday | Three Indonesian Christians on death row for leading a mob that killed Muslims during inter-religious violence in Central Sulawesi province are to be executed on Saturday, the Attorney General's office said. (Reuters)

  3. Woman sentenced for Bible coke smuggling | There was more than Good News in Amy Duckworth's Bible. Duckworth, 28, was sentenced Monday to six months in prison for smuggling cocaine to her jailed husband inside two Bibles. (Associated Press)

  4. Woman sentenced in charity scam | No prison time for addict who duped churches (Boston Globe)

  5. Russian police hold two Hermitage heist suspects | Police have detained the husband and son of a museum curator on suspicion of stealing hundreds of artworks from Russia's world-famous Hermitage Museum, Interfax news agency said on Saturday (Reuters)

  6. Thefts at Hermitage expose a `pattern' | Inside jobs plague Russian museums (Associated Press)

  7. Christianity under siege in our caves | Since 1887, a cave on Davaar Island in Campbeltown Loch has featured a painting on one of its walls of Christ on the cross. Quite why one Archibald MacKinnon, a local teacher, executed this painting we will never know. It was discovered last week, though, that the painting had been defaced — an image of Che Guevara had been spray-painted over it (The Times, London)

  8. Pastor's wife wants statements tossed | Attorneys for a minister's wife accused of killing her husband in their small-town parsonage asked a judge Wednesday to throw out her statements to police, claiming she was arrested illegally. (Associated Press)

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Other articles of interest:

  1. Beams reveal Archimedes' hidden writings | Previously hidden writings of the ancient Greek mathematician Archimedes are being uncovered with powerful X-ray beams nearly 800 years after a Christian monk scrubbed off the text and wrote over it with prayers (Associated Press)

  2. Same stories, different beliefs -- what rapture! | How, in the 21st century, do we still have such an epic divide between people who believe that the Rapture may soon be upon us and others who think those folks are nuts? (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)

  3. Underwhelmed by it all | For the 12-to-24 set, boredom is a recreational hazard (Los Angeles Times)

  4. Religion off the agenda in 'church of laughter' | For those who are curious about Christianity but disillusioned by the institutional Church, there is a novel solution - drop the religion (The Telegraph, London)

  5. Mast workers barred from 'bat' church | When contractors arrived to put mobile phone mast equipment on top of a church where protesters believe bats are nesting, leading objector Audrey Booth sat down in front of the lorry and told them: "Thou shalt not." (Yorkshire Post)

  6. Cemetery loses key fight | Chicago's plan to uproot a 157-year-old religious cemetery and demolish hundreds of suburban homes in the way of expanding O'Hare International Airport survived one of its last legal challenges Friday. (The Chicago Tribune)

  7. Congress passes legislation on charitable giving, tax-law abuse | Under the legislation, donors age 70½ and older would be allowed to withdraw up to $100,000 from their individual retirement accounts tax-free if they give the money directly to a charity.

  8. Iranian doctors say they cloned a sheep | Iranian doctors have overseen the country's first animal cloning—a lamb that died minutes after birth—and plan future experiments in genetics and stem cell research, a member of the team said Wednesday. (Associated Press)

  9. Younger blacks absorb a wariness of marriage | As African-American teenagers in a Mission Hill conference room talk about their opinions of marriage, their comments reveal a dreary view of the institution. (Boston Globe)

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What is Weblog?

See our past Weblog updates:

August 4 | 1
July 28 | 27 | 26
July 21 | 19
July 14 | 13 | 12b | 12a | 10
July 7 | 6 | 5 | 3
June 29b | 29a | 28
June 23 | 22 | 21
June 16 | 15 | 14 | 13b | 13

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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