Today's top five stories

1.Federal appeals courts in New York and San Francisco rule against partial-birth abortion ban
Both courts say the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act doesn't have enough of an exception for the health of the mother, but the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decision is particularly interesting for its interpretation of the Supreme Court's recent unanimous Ayotte decision. "Congress, notwithstanding existing Supreme Court law and the multiple opportunities it was given to limit the act's scope, passed an overly broad ban that it was aware likely violated the Constitution as construed by the Court," Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote. "In so doing, Congress left it to the judiciary to sort out which parts of the statute are constitutional and which are not. This is precisely what Ayotte reminded us Congress may not do." Let's hope the Supreme Court chooses to weigh in on whether that's a correct interpretation.

2.World Magazine questions Focus on the Family's ties to Abramoff
It appears that Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed enlisted James Dobson and Focus on the Family in their fight against expanded gambling in Louisiana. Abramoff and Reed's client, the Coushatta Tribe, wanted to fight off the gambing expansion to protect its own gambling interests in the state. That the article appears in the conservative magazine World is a bit of a surprise, especially given the article's edge. Here's how it ends:

Tom Minnery, a senior vice president at Focus on the Family … responded to the e-mails about Mr. Dobson by speculating that "it sounds like these guys were trying to take credit" for work Focus was already doing. He said Focus on the Family works on dozens of similar issues across the country each year, and that the organization had not become "an unwilling dupe of Jack Abramoff." Though Mr. Minnery said Mr. Reed "did the wrong thing by taking gambling money to fight gambling," he declined to comment specifically on Mr. Reed's participation in the e-mails about Mr. Dobson.
When asked if he found Mr. Reed's participation troubling, Mr. Minnery responded: "I'm not going to say any more about it."

3.Wolf and the Hound of Heaven?
Feminist icon Naomi Wolf has a new book out, but it's her interview with the Sunday Herald of Glasgow that's getting more attention. In "completely not the appropriate spiritual experience of someone of my background," Wolf said Jesus appeared to her a few years ago. She tells the paper:

I was completely dumbfounded, but I actually had this vision of … of Jesus, and I'm sure it was Jesus. But it wasn't this crazy theological thing; it was just this figure who was the most perfected human being—full of light and full of love. And completely accessible. Any of us could be like that. There was light coming out of him holographically, simply because he was unclouded. But any of us could become that as human beings. … On a mystical level, it was complete joy and happiness and there were tears running down my face. On a conscious level, when I came out of it I was absolutely horrified because I'm Jewish. This was not the thing I'm supposed to have confront me. …
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I opened the door and there he was. … I wasn't myself in this visual experience. I was a 13-year-old boy sitting next to him [Jesus] and feeling feelings I'd never felt in my lifetime, of a 13-year-old boy being with an older male who he really loves and admires and loves to be in the presence of. It was probably the most profound experience of my life. I haven't talked about it publicly.

Reckon Ms. Wolf just made a lot more prayer lists?

4.Billy Graham might preach in New Orleans
Graham spokesman A. Larry Ross tells The Times-Picayune he wants "to encourage pastors, churches, and the people" of the city after Hurricane Katrina, so he might show up to speak at Franklin Graham's Celebration of Hope on March 12. But don't count on it, Ross says.

5.The New York Times Magazine looks at African missions
The magazine has been intensely interested in religion of late. It's hard to summarize Daniel Bergner's story, which runs over 8,300 words, and it will have little new insights for evangelicals who are well aware of the many issues of African missions. But since it's a New York Times Magazine cover story, and it's well written, it's certainly worth a read.

Quote of the day:

"In the original version of this report, Newsweek misquoted Falwell as referring to 'assault ministry.' In fact, Falwell was referring to 'a salt ministry'—a reference to Matthew 5:13, where Jesus says 'Ye are the salt of the earth.' We regret the error."

Newsweek, Feb. 6 issue

More articles

State of the Union | Justice Alito | Abortion | Partial-birth abortion ban banned | Morning-after pill | Life ethics | RU486 in Australia | Australian politics | Politics | Ohio church politics dispute | Church and state | Jesus invocations | Interfaith Prayer breakfasts | Interfaith relations | Weaker U.K. hate bill passed | Church and state in Norway | Philippines | Palestine | Sudan | India | Haiti | Crime | Reducing crime | Kansas statutory rape fight | Trafficking | Abuse | Michael Wempe trial | Chicago's Daniel McCormack abuse case | New Jersey Haney case | Catholicism | Pope Benedict XVI | Pope on annulments | Sex and marriage | Homosexuality | Sam Brownback's "fruits" | Anglicanism | Church life | Jerry Vines retires | Church buildings | Money and business | Blessing Hooters | Missions & ministry | Billy Graham | Deaths | Spirituality | Naomi Wolf meets Jesus | Italy's Jesus trial | History | TV | BBC Passion | Jerry Springer: The Opera | Film | Books | Science | Evolution | Higher education | Education | Other stories of interest
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State of the Union:

  1. Catholic Charities CEO gets seat at speech | He listens to Bush from presidential box (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  2. Gathering at church brings faith perspective to address | For two hours Tuesday night, church and State of the Union came together at the Master's Bible Church in Denver (The Denver Post)

  3. Bipartisan gathering looks at speech from religious, moral perspective | They were united in faith but divided by politics - which made for a lively brew Tuesday for about 100 people from Denver's spiritual community who gathered to watch President Bush's State of the Union speech at The Master's Church (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

Justice Alito:

  1. Before court, religion is a non-issue | Not one committee member cared that Alito is Catholic (David Waters, The Commercial Appeal, Memphis)

  2. Alito vote may be decisive in marquee cases this term | A first taste of Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr.'s legal views on abortion could come before the end of the year (The New York Times)

  3. For pro-life bloggers, a new hubris | Relishing Samuel Alito's impact on the Supreme Court, pro-life bloggers are already laying strategies to win hearts and minds in a transformed legal landscape. (Esther Kaplan, The Nation)


  1. Abortion rights groups say battle being lost | Pro-choice groups find themselves facing a virtual avalanche of state legislation that ranges from laws banning abortions in almost all circumstances to laws limiting the disbursement of birth control and restricting sex education (Reuters)

  2. Reasons abound for pro-life movement's lack of minorities | Though repeated polls show the same number of African-Americans, Hispanics and Asians are opposed to abortion as whites, they continue to make up a tiny fraction of those who actively support the anti-abortion effort (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

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  1. Kline won't appeal judge's dismissal of abortion lawsuit | Kansas Atty. Gen. Phill Kline today said he wouldn't appeal a judge's dismissal of a lawsuit that sought to end state-funded abortions for Medicaid recipients (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  2. Abortion opponents share some values | Adults with strong views on abortion tend to exaggerate differences of opinion they have with their opponents, finds a University of Florida study (UPI)

  3. Also: Misperceptions in intergroup conflict | Disagreeing about what we disagree about (Psychological Science)

  4. State abortion bill has few models | Informed-consent measure is stricter than most (The Indianapolis Star)

  5. Also: Legislation intrudes into private affairs | Two abortion-related bills in the Indiana House stray from good public policy into government meddling (Editorial, The Indianapolis Star)

  6. Are Tennessee abortion laws strict enough? | Even choice leaves room for some limits (Frank H. Boehm, The Tennessean)

  7. In R.I, abortion could become primary issue | Sen. Lincoln D. Chafee yesterday guaranteed that it will be at stake in Rhode Island this election year when he said he decided to reject Samuel Alito, in large part, because he feared Alito's appointment to the Supreme Court would jeopardize a woman's right to a legal abortion (The Providence Journal, R.I.)

  8. Abortion pill ban is latest move to woo Catholic vote | Silvio Berlusconi is trying to woo Catholic voters in the run-up to April's general elections by restricting imports of a controversial abortion pill (The Times, London)

  9. Women demand tougher laws to curb abortions | Poll reveals growing concern over late terminations (The Observer, London)

  10. Also: Public opinion fails to prompt abortion review | Prime Minister Tony Blair's government on Sunday rejected calls to tighten abortion laws after a poll showed a majority of women want changes to make it harder for them to end a pregnancy (Reuters)

  11. What about Bob? | How Bob Casey could ruin the abortion-rights movement (Jonathan V. Last, The Weekly Standard)

  12. Prochoice puritans | As prochoicers seek to reframe their arguments, injecting more moralism into the antiabortion debate will not keep abortion legal and accessible (Katha Pollitt, The Nation)

  13. A cowardly position | Talking about abortion time limits is just a new way of peddling the pro-life position (Zoe Williams, The Guardian, London)

  14. Is abortion bad? | Pro-choicers debate the merits of moralizing. (Katha Pollitt and William Saletan, Slate)

Parental involvement laws:

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  1. Battle over abortion health exception is legislative fight | Tallying votes on this issue is especially tricky because some who might vote to preserve an adult's unfettered access to an abortion believe parents should be involved in their children's decisions (Associated Press)

  2. Utah House approves parental consent bill | The Utah House passed a bill Friday requiring girls younger than 18 to get parental consent before they may undergo an abortion (Associated Press)

  3. Fathers back in abortion debate | Planned Parenthood v. Casey amounted to the biological disenfranchisement of dads and the radical delegitimization of fatherhood (Carey Roberts, The Washington Times)

Partial-birth abortion ban ruled unconstitutional:

  1. Appeals courts uphold abortion finding | Two federal appeals courts on opposite sides of the country declared the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act unconstitutional Tuesday, saying the measure lacks an exception for cases in which a woman's health is at stake (Associated Press)

  2. Partial birth abortion act ruled unconstitutional by U.S. courts | The courts upheld rulings that the act is unconstitutional because it doesn't include an exception when a pregnant woman's health is at risk (The New York Times)

  3. 'Partial birth' abortion ban held unconstitutional | Appeals courts in S.F. and N.Y. issue rulings hours apart (San Francisco Chronicle)

  4. Partial-birth abortion ban struck down | Two courts, including 9th Circuit in S.F., rule federal law too broad (Alameda Times-Star, Ca.)

  5. Two courts reject ban on abortion procedure | Appeals panels find the law unconstitutional. New faces on the high court may ultimately help restore the prohibition, experts say (Los Angeles Times)

Morning-after pill:

  1. Stance on 'morning-after' pill costs pharmacist her job | Pharmacist Heather Williams believes there's no middle ground when it comes to the so-called "morning-after" pill known as Plan B (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  2. Suit aims to force Wal-Mart to sell pill | Morning-after drug falls under Mass. law, women say (The Boston Globe)

  3. Just what the hospital didn't order | If House Bill 1212 becomes law, emergency contraception would be the only drug that pharmacists could distribute to patients without a doctor's prescription (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  4. Also: Morning after pill gets second chance at capitol | A bill requiring Colorado hospitals to make the contraception available was vetoed last year by Governor Bill Owens (KUSA, Denver)

  5. Topinka supports birth control rule | Illinois gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka broke with her Republican rivals Monday over requiring pharmacies to provide emergency birth control (Associated Press)

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Life ethics:

  1. Health workers' choice debated | Proposals back right not to treat (The Washington Post)

  2. Grief, gratitude and Baby Lee | 'Can I do this?' his mother agonized, knowing one of her newborns would not live. But for 43 hours, he was hers to cherish (Los Angeles Times)

  3. State laws bypass research ban | Stem-cell initiatives flowing from legislatures and governors' offices continue to gather steam, including some that permit controversial human cloning to generate embryonic stem cells (The Christian Science Monitor)

  4. Studies cast doubt on embryo selection method for IVF births | Screening technique 'no benefit to patients' (The Guardian, London)

  5. Embryo law update urged | Confidentiality clauses in fertility legislation forbid scientists from following the progress of babies born from screened embryos, so little is known about the medical problems they may face in the future. (The Guardian, London)

  6. Stem cell research regulations mulled | Egg donors would be reimbursed, not paid (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  7. Concern over 'spare part' babies | Children created as so-called "saviour siblings" to aid a sick brother or sister must be monitored to ensure their wellbeing, experts suggest (BBC)

  8. Anti-euthanasia alliance launched | A new alliance has been formed in the U.K. to promote palliative care, and oppose efforts to legalise euthanasia, or physician-assisted suicide (BBC)

  9. 'Powers over death' form proposed | Ministers have drawn up plans for a form authorising others to block life-saving treatment if the person signing the form becomes incapacitated (BBC)

  10. Also: Tick 'yes' for your right to die | A document being prepared by the Government could enable every adult to demand the right to die by ticking a box (The Times, London)

  11. Ask statesman's questions about physician-assisted suicide | The politician rightly asks the question, "How do we pass this legislation?" The statesman asks the more philosophical question, "Would this contribute to the common good?" (Frank E. Bognanno, Des Moines Register)

  12. 'Life altering' | South Dakota listens to women on the pain of a life-ender. (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)

  13. Misadventures in cloning | Woo-Suk Hwang's American collaborator (Pamela R. Winnick, The Weekly Standard)

  14. There is no stop button in the race for human re-engineering | Science will soon give some of us the tools to make ourselves cleverer and stronger. What will it mean for our humanity? (Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, London)

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RU486 in Australia:

  1. Abortion warning by drug's producer | The maker of a drug used to complete an abortion that has been brought on by the controversial drug RU486 warns that it cannot recommend its use in the termination of pregnancies because of potential risks (The Australian)

  2. Churches lead pill protest | Churches across Australia mounted a last-ditch battle against the abortion pill RU486 yesterday and said at least 75,000 signatures of protest had been collected for federal politicians (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  3. Abbott determined to keep ban on RU486 | With just over a week until federal parliament takes a vote on the issue, the Health Minister on Monday insisted that he was the right person to control the drug's use in Australia (AAP, Australia)

Australian politics:

  1. Church-state links in South Australia questioned | Questions are being asked about the close ties between the Catholic Church and the government of Mike Rann (The World Today, Australian Broadcasting Corp.)

  2. 'Harlot' church chiefs get apology | A senior MP has apologised for calling two of South Australia's Catholic leaders "political harlots and goons" but maintains that the church is compromised by its close ties with the state Government (The Australian)


  1. Evangelicals branch out politically | A growing movement sees myriad causes beyond abortion and gay marriage. What about helping the poor and global warming? (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Focus on the finances | Ralph Reed may face criminal investigation; released e-mail raises questions about Abramoff and family group (World)

  3. Democrats courting Catholics | Va. governor seen as standard-bearer (The Boston Globe)

  4. Romney says his faith would help possible candidacy | Confronting head-on one of the biggest question marks around his possible presidential candidacy, Governor Mitt Romney declared yesterday that his Mormon faith would help him among evangelical Christians if he chooses to run for president in 2008 (The Boston Globe)

  5. Senator's pitch draws complaint | Ken Pruitt attacks 'anti-God, left-wing liberals' in a letter seeking funds (The Orlando Sentinel)

  6. 5 states consider bans on protests at funerals | Proposals aimed at anti-gay demonstrations (The Washington Post)

  7. Utahns and the War: A religious divide | Almost as an article of faith, Utah's Mormons and non-Mormons take opposite sides (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  8. Strong faith does not hinder a judge's work | Judge Pryor is right about Catholic judges (Editorial, The Mobile Register, Ala.)

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  1. Playing the 'God' card | To a large degree, religious-talking Republicans have brought the hypocrisy charges on themselves in their rush to position their party as God's chosen (Tom Krattenmaker, USA Today)

  2. Who ever said God and politics don't mix? | Both parties looking for voters among the pews (Tim Funk, The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

Ohio church politics dispute:

  1. Faith group defends criticism of megachurches' politics | Religious leaders who recently accused two central Ohio evangelical ministers of using their pulpits to promote conservative politics defended their criticism Wednesday and vowed to keep pushing their claims (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  2. Church leaders come forward to defend call for IRS audit | Religious leaders who accused two evangelical pastors of illegally playing politics came forward yesterday and reaffirmed their decision to challenge the tax-exempt status of the pastors' churches (The Columbus Dispatch, Oh.)

  3. Experts: Churches under fire haven't illegally endorsed candidates (Associated Press)

  4. The bully pulpit | This week highlighted two incidents—one involving the governor of Kentucky, the other a Republican who wants to become governor of Ohio— that moved even religious leaders to publicly complain (Editorial, The Kentucky Post)

Church and state:

  1. Church parking lots win tax plea | High court ruling could affect property throughout state (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  2. Massachusetts House rejects disclosure of religious funds | By a lopsided vote of 147 to 3, the House shot down the measure after an intense lobbying campaign against the bill by a wide range of religious organizations (The Boston Globe)

  3. Also: US state lawmakers defeat bill on church finances | Lawmakers in Massachusetts, a state at the heart of the pedophile priests scandal, overwhelmingly rejected a bill on Wednesday that would have forced the Roman Catholic Church to open its financial books (Reuters)

  4. Bill on religious postings changed | House might display 'In God We Trust' (The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  5. 'Forgivable' loan to church raises questions | Metro councilman unsure about plan to buy land for trailers (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)

  6. Federal court grants Ark. inmate access to prayer feather | Officials had denied Cherokee prisoner's request on security grounds, but judge says Billy Joe Wolfe demonstrated feather is necessary to practice his religion (Associated Press)

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Jesus invocations:

  1. Sectarian invocations illegal, group says | Prayers at village council meetings that include references to Jesus Christ are unconstitutional, says a leading national organization combating anti-Semitism (Palm Beach Post, Fla.)

  2. Rights group urges Wellington Village Council to set rules on religious invocations | A concern about overly religious invocations at Village Council meetings has prompted a national civil rights group to warn village officials that such public prayers are unconstitutional (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

Interfaith Prayer breakfasts:

  1. Jew to lead National Prayer Breakfast | The annual National Prayer Breakfast will be co-chaired by Sen. Norm Coleman, the first time in memory that a Jew will lead the gathering, and at a time when some rabbis have expressed misgivings about what they see as the event's overtly Christian tone (Associated Press)

  2. Breakfast to have interfaith flavor | Tomorrow's National Prayer Breakfast, traditionally an evangelical Christian event, will be a demonstration of interfaith worship (The Washington Times)

  3. Non-Christians left out of Fletcher breakfast | Religious leaders call for more inclusiveness (Lexington Herald-Leader, Ky.)

Interfaith relations:

  1. In Africa, Islam and Christianity are growing - and blending | Amid intense sectarian violence in this half- Muslim, half-Christian country, these groups serve as tolerant peacemakers (The Christian Science Monitor)

  2. Akbar Ahmed in dialogue with Christian leader | The Pakistani academic Dr Akbar Ahmed rejected propaganda against Islam as a violent religion in a dialogue held over the weekend with leading evangelist Luis Palau (Daily Times, Pakistan)

  3. Orthodox rabbi meets with evangelicals in Colorado Springs | A rabbi told members of Colorado's largest church that both Israel and the post-September 11 United States are threatened in today's world, and that Jews and Christians need to "reverse history" and support one another (Associated Press)

  4. Throwing cold water on the 'hell' gripe | 'They say we're all going to hell!" That is the most frequent complaint Jews make about Christians (Dennis Prager, Los Angeles Times)

Weaker U.K. hate bill passed:

  1. Britain amends proposed anti-hate law | Britain's upper chamber Tuesday eliminated the ban on insults and abuse, and inserted a provision allowing proselytizing, discussion, criticism, and ridicule of religion, belief or religious practice. (Associated Press)

  2. Government suffers chaotic double defeat over bill to combat religious hatred | Blair's missing vote could have been decisive (The Guardian, London)

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  1. Missing MPs and rebels leave Blair humiliated over religious hate Bill | Tony Blair's authority was gravely weakened last night after the Government crashed to a double defeat over the religious hatred Bill (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Ministers lose religious bill bid | The government has suffered two shock defeats over attempts to overturn Lords changes to the controversial Racial and Religious Hatred Bill (BBC)

  3. Religious hate Bill lost after Blair fails to vote | Tony Blair's authority was shaken by two surprise defeats last night that weakened his Bill to create the crime of inciting racial hatred. Key measures were lost by a majority of just one after he failed to stay for the crucial vote (The Times, London)

  4. Balancing protection and freedom | How do other countries balance protecting individuals and the right to freedom of speech? (BBC)

  5. Q&A: Religious hatred law | The government has suffered a double defeat over its plans to ban people from stirring up religious hatred - which means a "watered down" version of the new offence becoming law (BBC)

  6. Rowan Atkinson celebrates Government defeat | Comic Rowan Atkinson was among the first to welcome the Government's defeat on its Bill to combat religious hatred today, and to applaud the enshrining in law of the right to ridicule religion (The Times, London)

  7. Singing from the same hymn sheet | It was one of Westminster's more tuneful demonstrations, said one police officer as evangelical groups belted out hymns in protest at planned religious hate laws (BBC)

  8. Earlier: Evangelical Alliance warns return to previous Racial and Religious Hatred Bill proposals poses major threat (Press release)

  9. Oh God, how I hate these debates on religious rights | There is nothing like a debate on religious hatred to stir up hatred of debates on religious hatred (Ann Treneman, The Times, London)

  10. What's at stake is the right to insult and cause offence | The religious hatred bill shifts the cultural balance away from free speech and towards appeasement (Polly Toynbee, The Guardian, London)

  11. The price is not right | There is a compromise to be struck, but MPs must not sell our right to criticise religions for too low a price just so that Labour can try to rebuild its credibility with Muslim voters (Editorial, The Guardian, London)

Church and state in Norway:

  1. State-church split looms | Moves to separate church and state in Norway continue to gather steam. An overwhelming majority of a commission set up to study the issue recommends that the current state church structure be abolished (Aftenposten, Norway)

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  1. Commission in favour of state-church split | A majority of the members of an official commission are in favour of abolishing the present system with a state church in Norway (The Norway Post)


  1. Philippine mining industry calls on church | Wants it to reconsider call for repeal of mining law (Associated Press)

  2. Bishops told: Church materials come from mining operations | A congressman from a mineral-rich province reminded the country's bishops yesterday that the Church materials they used-from chalices and bells to scepters and the very rings on their fingers-came from mining operations (Philippine Daily Inquirer)

  3. President seeks US evangelist's advice on political crisis | President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has sought spiritual advice from Franklin Graham to end the political crisis hounding her administration, according to a local religious leader (Asian Journal)

  4. Also: 'Don't give up, continue reaching out,' Arroyo told | Bishop Efraim Tendero, national director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches, said continued dialogue "could contribute towards healing and rebuilding the nation" (Asian Journal)


  1. Knesset Christian Caucus blasts Hamas | The hawkish Jewish parliamentarian Yuri Shtern told a gathering of Christian representatives to the Holy Land that the upset Hamas victory represented not just a physical danger to Israel and the western world comparable to what happened in Europe seventy years ago, but a spiritual and religious threat to Judaism's and Christianity's "civil beliefs, religion and faith." (The Jerusalem Post)

  2. U.S. evangelists to boost Israel support in wake of Hamas win | The victory of Hamas in last week's Palestinian election will likely strengthen the relationship between Israel and evangelicals, Knesset members and Christian leaders said Monday. (Associated Press)


  1. Plan to end Darfur violence is failing, officials say | The broad strategy for ending the carnage in Darfur, Sudan, is collapsing as the violence and chaos in the region seem to grow with every passing week, U.S. and U.N. officials say (The New York Times)

  2. In Sudan, faith guides their work | State missionaries offer aid for body, soul (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)


  1. Conversion-linked activities shielded in MP: VHP | Alleging that conversion-linked activities were being shielded in Madhya Pradesh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad today said that hence forward such activities must be checked for the sake of communal harmony (UNI, India)

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  1. Vandalism of cross at Aldona | Every alternate day Churches are being robbed and vandalized, crosses are being desecrated. This is a systematic campaign being carried out by the communal forces in Goa (Herald, Goa, India)

  2. Government asked to curb 'hate campaign' against Christians | The government was Tuesday asked to take decisive steps to instil confidence among the Christian community that has been "hit by violence from radical Hindu groups" (IANS, India)

  3. 'Christians beaten up' in Bhopal | Twenty-five Christians have been beaten up by attackers in the central Indian city of Bhopal, police say (BBC)

  4. Christian prayer meet attacked in Bhopal, 8 hurt | At least eight Christians were injured on Saturday morning when a group of men attacked them with sticks and iron rods during a prayer meeting at a house in Kailashnagar locality (The Indian Express)

  5. Christians beaten up in Madhya Pradesh | About 24 Christians who had gathered for prayers at a house in Bhopal were allegedly beaten up by Bajrang Dal activists (Sify, India)


  1. Two missionaries, two Haitians kidnapped | Two French missionaries and two Haitians were kidnapped near a volatile slum in Haiti's capital, a U.N. official said Thursday (Associated Press)

  2. Freed Haiti priest in U.S. for treatment | A politically influential Roman Catholic priest arrived in Miami on Sunday after Haiti's government granted him a temporary release from jail to be treated for leukemia and pneumonia (Associated Press)


  1. Sex charges cast pall on Bishop Paulk | Once revered Georgia clergyman faces new charges of adultery (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  2. Evangelists set to testify - in federal court | On eve of fraud trial, Christian investors say they were betrayed (The Dallas Morning News)

  3. Pastor solicited sex, police say | Garden View Baptist Church preacher is arrested in a prostitution sting (The Times-Union, Jacksonville, Fla.)

  4. Pastor's plight challenges church | Duplin County parishioners agonize as an elder is charged in the rape of girl, 12 (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

  5. Pastor gets 18 months for selling church | A pastor accused of selling oldest church in Manteca, California, pleaded guilty to embezzlement on Monday and agreed to 18 months in prison, court officials said (Associated Press)

  6. Inmate convicted of murdering defrocked priest | A Massachusetts jury rejected an insanity defense for Joseph L. Druce and convicted him of killing John J. Geoghan, accused of molesting 150 boys (The New York Times)

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  1. Police: Church secretary torched church | Motive unknown (Associated Press)

  2. Church: Jailed homeless man not 'nice guy' | All Saints Episcopal Church parishioners say a homeless man arrested for sleeping inside the church was dangerous (The Miami Herald)

  3. Ken Lay attends church as media prepares for trial nearby | At a few minutes past 11 a.m. Sunday, Ken Lay quickly climbed the stairs to the balcony at the First United Methodist Church in downtown Houston (Houston Chronicle)

  4. Police: Man prefers 'church bandit' | Frank Zdanowski Jr. didn't like being known as the "Church Burglar" (Associated Press)

  5. Vicar chases youths after theft | A Cornish vicar chased a group of teenagers who fled from a church after alledgedly stealing a woman's handbag (BBC)

  6. Also: Thieves dog-collared | A robed vicar chased a group of teenage suspects who fled from his church after allegedly stealing an elderly worshipper's handbag during an evening service (The Telegraph, London)

Reducing crime:

  1. Sheriff says character-based training decreasing crime, increasing trust | Bill Gothard's Character Training Institute is attracting attention and criticism (The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg, S.C.)

  2. Churches call on congregations, consultants in efforts to curb crime | Worried that their soft-hearted ways leave them soft targets for crime, a growing number of churches are making security a priority by hiring professional consultants, bolstering defenses such as locks and lights, or starting volunteer security teams (The Virginian-Pilot, Hampton Roads, Va.)

Kansas statutory rape fight:

  1. Teen-sex case falters over interpretation | The lawyer who helped the Kansas attorney general write a controversial opinion about teenagers' sexual privacy says it has been misunderstood (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

  2. State: Arguments open on juvenile sex law | Federal court hears testimony concerning law's constitutionality (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  3. Trial opens in challenge to law over teenage sex | In debate: Whether a Kansas law prohibiting virtually all sexual activity by people under age 16 means health care professionals must report such behavior to state authorities (The New York Times)

  4. Court hears challenge to directive on teenage sex | Health workers in Kansas have launched a class action lawsuit against a directive forcing them to report to the state authorities all sexual activity by under-16s (The Guardian, London)

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  1. Related: Linking statutory rape and abortion | We no longer speak of statutory rape. Instead, pro-choice literature speaks about minors having "unwanted" and "non-voluntary" sex, as if it weren't so bad (Dennis Byrne, Chicago Tribune)


  1. The new abolitionist movement | Donna Hughes on progress fighting sex trafficking (National Review Online)

  2. Working together | Fighting the sex-trafficking menace (Donna M. Hughes, National Review Online)

  3. Sexual gulags | Facing and fighting sex trafficking. An interview with the Salvation Army's Lisa I. Thompson (National Review Online)

  4. Emancipation 2006 | Saving innocents from modern-day slavery (a work in progress). (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)


  1. Ky. church abuse deal may be $85 million | A judge approved a settlement of up to $85 million Tuesday between sexual abuse victims and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington, one of the largest deals the church has reached with U.S. parishioners who were molested by clergy (Associated Press)

  2. Catholics oppose confessional bill | Catholics are again mounting strong opposition to legislation stripping away an exemption to child abuse reporting laws for church officials to report any allegations that arise in a confessional (Foster's Daily Democrat, Dover, N.H.)

  3. Triple whammy against sex abuse | Three bills would put more pressure on churches, nonprofits (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  4. Also: Window for abuse lawsuits proposed | A bill would give alleged victims two years to file in old cases. Catholic Church leaders are opposed (The Denver Post)

Michael Wempe trial:

  1. Witness against priest turns defiant | Jayson B. refuses to change his testimony after the suspect's lawyer questions the accuracy of his memory about alleged molestations (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Earlier: Accuser says he hid abuse by priest | The man whose accusations could finally land admitted molester Michael Edwin Wempe in jail took the witness stand Monday and testified that he hid his abuse by the priest from everybody, even his mother (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Witness breaks down on stand | A sexual abuse victim of Father Michael Wempe becomes distraught during testimony (Los Angeles Times)

  4. Man testifies to rage after court freed priests | A witness in the trial of retired Catholic cleric Michael Wempe says he broke furniture. The defendant is accused of a later molestation (Los Angeles Times)

  5. Wempe weeps as witness testifies | A man describes actions by the then-priest when he was a student in Lancaster. Others testify about molestations (Los Angeles Times)

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  1. Alleged victim testifies against ex-priest | A young man who was allegedly molested by former priest Michael Wempe testified Friday about twice being fondled by the clergyman, declaring "I hate Wempe!" and bursting into tears on the witness stand (Associated Press)

Chicago's Daniel McCormack abuse case:

  1. Cardinal hears parents' rage | Parishioners: Why weren't we told? (Chicago Tribune)

  2. Cardinal: I should've done more | Cardinal Francis George was peppered with the same question again and again Monday night: Why would a priest interrogated by police about allegations of child molestation be allowed to continue teaching and ministering at a Roman Catholic church and school? (Chicago Sun-Times)

  3. Sex-abuse case a test for parish's faithful | Not once during mass at St. Agatha Catholic Church in Chicago on Sunday did celebrants utter the name of Rev. Daniel McCormack, the priest removed from the pulpit more than a week ago when Cook County prosecutors charged him with sexually abusing two children (Chicago Tribune)

  4. Victims, priests' rights put church in middle | Its inquiry is stifled if accusers go to police (Chicago Tribune)

  5. Cardinal: Process `failed' in abuse case | George says he'll push for guideline changes (Chicago Tribune)

  6. Priest case will spur review of guidelines | Critics say church was slow to remove pastor (Chicago Tribune)

  7. Contrite cardinal offers answers | Somberly, in a voice tempered by pain and contrition, Cardinal Francis George for more than an hour Saturday afternoon answered questions from reporters for the first time about the Rev. Daniel McCormack, a Chicago priest who was charged last week with sexually abusing two boys (Chicago Sun-Times)

New Jersey Haney case:

  1. Molester's neighbors say church should have told them | Church officials said they didn't know until last weekend that former priest James Hanley had moved, but even if they had, they said, they would not have said anything (Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)

  2. Admitted molester confronts accusers | Fliers warn drivers of defrocked priest (Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)

  3. Sins of the father | James Thomas Hanley is the most notorious clerical sex abuser in northern New Jersey. Last month, he contacted a reporter to tell his story publicly for the first time (


  1. Vatican may reach out to other religions | The Vatican is exploring whether to expand its Catholic-Jewish dialogue to include Muslims, although talks are at a very initial stage, a Vatican official said Friday (Associated Press)

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  1. Latin returning to Mass | More and more Catholics are longing for Latin, the language of scholars, Gregorian chant and the Mass (The Washington Times)

  2. Possible miracle tied to Pope John Paul II | A nun's apparently inexplicable recovery in France from Parkinson's disease, the same affliction suffered by Pope John Paul II, looks very promising as the miracle needed to beatify the late pontiff, a Polish cleric said (Associated Press)

  3. Also: Vatican may have found Pope John Paul's "miracle" | The Vatican may have found the "miracle" they need to put the late Pope John Paul one step closer to sainthood -- the medically inexplicable healing of a French nun with the same Parkinson's disease that afflicted him (Reuters)

  4. New pastor will leave embattled Newton parish | The former spokesman for Cardinal Bernard F. Law said last night that he is quitting as pastor of a Newton parish after four months during which numerous parishioners, angry over the ouster of their previous pastor, withheld contributions or stopped attending Mass (The Boston Globe)

  5. Court backs Catholic Church critic | The European Court of Human Rights ruled today that a French historian fined for calling the Catholic Church anti-Semitic and partly responsible for the Holocaust had been deprived of his right to free speech (Reuters)

  6. Chicago cardinal hospitalized briefly | Cardinal Francis George, the head of the nation's third-largest Catholic diocese, was hospitalized for medical tests after several recent bouts of dizziness, a spokesman for the archdiocese said (Associated Press)

Pope Benedict XVI:

  1. Benedict: A man of his words | Are words enough in a papacy? Do the words themselves constitute a plan? Is it simply still too early to judge the reign of Pope Benedict XVI? (The New York Times)

  2. Combing through the Pope's first encyclical |Those who have been holding their breath in anticipation of an encyclical that would be a map of Benedict XVI's papacy are still waiting (Peter Steinfels, The New York Times)

  3. Pope urges world to unite against poverty | From his studio window overlooking the square, Benedict offered a special greeting to those who suffer from leprosy, a disfiguring condition also known as Hansen's disease that affects hundreds of thousands of people worldwide (Associated Press)

  4. Pope: Church duty is to influence leaders | Pope Benedict XVI focused his first encyclical on love, saying Wednesday that the Roman Catholic Church has a duty through its charitable work to influence political leaders to ease suffering and promote justice (Associated Press)

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  1. In style and substance, Pope displays a return to essentials | First encyclical examines spiritual love and charitable giving (The Washington Post)

  2. Pope has message of love | Benedict XVI goes back to the Christian basics in his first major writing as pontiff, emphasizing the importance of eros, agape and caritas (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Love is everywhere - just ask the Pope | Amid all the steamy, noisy scrum of Gaydar, lap-dancing clubs and scantily clad tweenies, we need to hear someone say: watch out. Don't confuse, don't cheapen, don't despair (Cristina Odone, The Observer, London)

Pope on annulments:

  1. Pope: Annulment decisions must be rapid | Pope Benedict XVI acknowledged concern about the plight of divorced Catholics, who are not permitted to receive Communion after remarriage, and appealed to a Vatican tribunal Saturday to issue "rapid" rulings on annulment requests (Associated Press)

  2. Pope's olive branch to divorcees | Benedict surprises critics with decision to help fast-track annulments of failed marriages (The Observer, London)

  3. Pope calls for speedy annulments as he softens Church's stance on divorce | Pope Benedict acknowledged concern for the plight of divorcees who are banned from taking communion after remarriage and urged a Vatican tribunal yesterday to rule promptly on requests for annulment (The Telegraph, London)

Sex and marriage:

  1. Clergy push strong marriages | Christian leaders will require long couples counseling and will urge sex-free courtship in an effort to reduce divorce (The Denver Post)

  2. Why the Catholic Church is wise to ban condoms | Condoms can't protect societies--or spouses--from AIDS all the time. The loving thing to do is abstain from sex (Brian Saint-Paul, Beliefnet)

  3. Shouldn't sexual sinners at least have safe sex? | When promiscuous people ignore Catholic teaching, and are at risk from HIV, should they use condoms to prevent infection? (Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, The Tablet, via Beliefnet)

  4. No more high court nod in Christian divorces | Divorcing Christian couples no longer need to approach the Bombay high court to confirm the dissolution of the marriage (The Times of India)


  1. Gay marriage amendment seen eroding current rights | Professor says Md. bill could outlaw divorce (The Washington Post)

  2. $13 million raised in '04 marriage campaigns | Activists raised more than $13 million for marriage amendment campaigns in 2004, with conservative groups slightly outpacing homosexual rights groups, a study said last week (The Washington Times)

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  1. The gay divorcees | First came gay marriage. Now comes the inevitable - and a slew of unprecedented legal questions (The Boston Globe)

  2. Washington state okays gay civil rights law | First introduced in the 1970s, the measure adds "sexual orientation" to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment and insurance, making Washington the 17th state passing a law covering gays and lesbians. It is the seventh to protect transgender people (Associated Press)

  3. Gay marriage ban advances toward Va. referendum | Md. lawmakers offer similar bill (The Washington Post)

  4. House panel eyes gay 'marriage' ban | Hundreds of people crowded a Md. House committee hearing yesterday in support of a proposed constitutional amendment by Republicans to ban homosexual "marriage" (The Washington Times)

  5. Gay unions fracture Md.'s black caucus | Civil rights pull as strong as church's (The Washington Post)

  6. State's marriage proposal hits home in Arlington | Gay county board member, others decry amendment (The Washington Post)

  7. Defending marriage in Virginia | Virginia took a major step toward defending the institution of marriage this week when the state Senate overwhelmingly approved a constitutional amendment defining marriage as the union between a man and a woman (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  8. Gay marriage politics | The amendments could have cruel and discriminatory effects, but that is of little moment to some of their advocates, who, confident that the wind of popular opinion is at their backs, assert a monopolistic claim on morality and God's law (Editorial, The Washington Post)

Sam Brownback's "fruits":

  1. God's senator | Who would Jesus vote for? Meet Sam Brownback (Jeff Sharlet, Rolling Stone)

  2. Brownback: 'Fruits' comment not gay joke | "You'll know them by their fruits," Brownback said, quoting a biblical passage from Matthew 7:16 (Associated Press)

  3. Brownback 'fruit' slur prompts demands for apology | Comments about same-sex marriage by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) has prompted angry demands by LGBT groups for an apology (


  1. Episcopal bishop says he'll stay | The diocese's entire standing committee asked him to step down. One member called the reason a "matter of trust." (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  2. Pastor to preach, defy Episcopal bishop's order | Leader of the former All Saints Episcopal plans to speak Sunday (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, N.Y.)

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  1. Also: All Saints Church renamed | A local priest continues to defy the bishop of the Episcopal Church. Sunday, he renamed his church, something the Episcopal Diocese says is no longer his to rename (WROC, Rochester)

  2. D.C. Episcopal diocese OKs same-sex blessings | The Episcopal Diocese of Washington voted Saturday to approve same-sex blessing ceremonies at its annual convention at the Washington National Cathedral, while the Diocese of Virginia, meeting in Richmond, passed an omnibus resolution that touted unity (The Washington Times)

  3. Va. Episcopalians struggle with possibility of schism | Homosexuality issue shadows convention debate (The Washington Post)

  4. Church delegates agree to disagree | Virginia Episcopalians vote to respect differing views in dispute over gay bishop (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.)

  5. Episcopal diocese approves credit line | After fewer pledges were received, delegates debated how to resolve this year's budget (The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  6. Episcopal bishop calls for unity | Conservative churches "need to get on with their mission in as close a unity as possible" with the rest of the Diocese of Virginia, Bishop Peter J. Lee said yesterday at the annual diocesan convention (The Washington Times)

  7. Episcopalians weigh sainthood for Marshall | Delegates at diocese's convention to vote on initiating process to honor former justice (The Washington Post)

  8. Also: Marshall may be headed for sainthood | The Episcopal Diocese of Washington, D.C., voted last week at its annual meeting to propose the civil rights giant for sainthood when the national church holds its general conference in June (USA Today)

  9. Church of England has 'reaped a harvest of plagues' | The Church of England has "reaped a harvest of plagues" after abandoning the historic faith and ordaining women as priests, the bishop who leads its traditionalist wing will tell a 2,000-strong rally today (The Telegraph, London)

  10. The dangers of unbalancing the 'broad church' of Anglicanism | The Church of England may bea "broad church", but it is, and always has been, a broad church within a given structure of order and ministry (Geoffrey Rowell, The Times, London)

Church life:

  1. No-nonsense advice attracting a growing and diverse audience to Miami's the Rev. Albert Cutié | In the Spanish-speaking world, where he is known as Padre Alberto, the Rev. Albert Cutié is a bona fide media star (Houston Chronicle)

  2. Reaching out in a new direction | A suburban mega-church with a mostly white congregation formed a Spanish prayer group a few years ago; now it has evolved into a church (Chicago Tribune)

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  1. Second area church drops out of ELCA | Concerns center on a study conducted by the ELCA on ordaining homosexuals and providing blessings for couples in homosexual relationships, as well as the document Called to Common Mission, an agreement between the ELCA and the Episcopal Church, USA (Columbus Telegram, Neb.)

  2. Who'd be a vicar? | The priesthood is not an easy option, says John Crace—but the free hotline to heaven can come in useful (The Guardian, London)

Jerry Vines retires:

  1. It was routine things -- for the last time | Vines gives final Sunday sermon at First Baptist (The Jacksonville Times-Union, Fla.)

  2. Vines is among leading church voices retiring | The Rev. Jerry Vines' retirement from First Baptist Church in Jacksonville represents the end of an era for the downtown megachurch and for its denomination, the 16.2 million-member Southern Baptist Convention (The Jacksonville Times-Union, Fla.)

Church buildings:

  1. Rectory renovations tally more than $100K | 13 years of animal feces, neglect damage building (The Times, Munster, Ind.)

  2. Wanted: saviour for the Catholic church | St Peter's Seminary is one of Scotland's finest buildings but no one knows what to do with it (The Observer, London)

Money and business:

  1. Christian CEOs bond for love and profit | God's network: How Christian business owners help each other get rich and go to heaven (Fortune)

  2. Store for the soul, Sheehan's packs up earthly possessions | Sheehan's, Boston's largest religious goods store, turns 100 this year. But instead of basking in the milestone, its owners are closing its doors (The Boston Globe)

  3. Christian gaming company prepares launch | Left Behind Games is basing its products on the best-selling Left Behind series of novels, whose modern-day characters live out the end of time (North County Times, San Diego, Ca.)

  4. A leap of faith | Sandy Christie's decision to join the Church of England put him decidedly outside the mainstream (Time Asia)

Blessing Hooters:

  1. Hooters to receive blessing—from priest | The new Hooters restaurant may have gotten an unwelcome reception from some of the community's religious leaders, but tonight it will get a little help from above (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

  2. He who sayeth, 'Bless this Hooters' | This dispute seems to be about the whole loving God vs. vengeful God thing, which may be the Adam and Eve of all religious arguments (John Young, Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

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Missions & ministry:

  1. The call | Today's American evangelicals are trying to convert the remaining non-Christians of Africa. What brought the Maples family from suburban California to Kurungu, and what they bring, and don't, to the Samburu (The New York Times Magazine)

  2. Poor nations complain not all charity reaches victims | Poor countries hit by disasters are raising questions about where the money donated to international charities for relief is going (The New York Times)

  3. Religious groups get chunk of AIDS money | Traditional players and religious groups are joining forces to improve their chances in a competition that already has targeted nearly a quarter of its grants for faith-based organizations (Associated Press)

  4. Christian wrestlers fight for Bible Belt | Ultimate Christian Wrestling, founded in 2003, tours churches and venues around the South, in what is - even by the Bible Belt's standards - an unorthodox drive to win converts (The Telegraph, London)

  5. Seahawks coach's family choose mission to Africa over Superbowl | The wife and daughter of Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Mike Holmgren have decided to skip Super Bowl XL in Detroit for something they consider more important -- a faith-based humanitarian trip to Africa (Religion News Service)

  6. Fellowship resurrected | Media members share beliefs (Las Vegas Sun)

  7. Anti-poverty campaign is made history | Grassroots supporters of Make Poverty History were yesterday defeated in their attempts to keep the campaign going when a conference in London formally wound up the organization (The Guardian, London)

Billy Graham:

  1. Graham might preach in N.O. | He is determined to 'encourage' city (The Times-Picayune, New Orleans)

  2. Is Graham returning to pulpit? | Billy Graham hopes to join his son Franklin at an event in New Orleans in March—and may preach, an associate said (The Dallas Morning News)


  1. Assassins kill Anglican cleric | Assistant Bishop of the Anglican Church in Bida, Niger State, Ven. Elijah Yisa was assassinated Tuesday night when he was shot in the head by two people in his residence in the church premises at about 10:20 p.m., he died on the spot (Daily Champion, Nigeria)

  2. Hundreds at church for Fla. crash funeral | Mourners were met by a sign that read: "Bad things do happen. But God is still good" as hundreds packed into a church Monday to bid farewell to four of seven children killed last week in a fiery crash (Associated Press)


  1. Traditional view of an angry God has softened | The concept of earthly woes as divine vengeance goes back to antiquity. Some suggest God is to be found in acts of comfort after calamity (Los Angeles Times)

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  1. Strong in body and faith | Fitness teacher Kathryn Linehan incorporates biblical teachings into her routines, turning exercise classes into movement-based Christian meditation (Los Angeles Times)

  2. If you're going to be an atheist, at least get it right | God is the basis for good and evil, and once you reject him and his rules, you're left with nothing but self-serving and self-preservation (Dale Reich, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

Naomi Wolf meets Jesus:

  1. Wolf and the Hound of Heaven | Revered as a feminist icon, then slated for being an intellectual lightweight, Naomi Wolf has experienced highs as well as lows … and then she met Jesus (Sunday Herald, Glasgow)

  2. Naomi Wolf gets religion | Given our history, perhaps it's inevitable that many a modern midlife crisis will culminate in a spiritual awakening. But in our religion-saturated culture, I worry that we're losing touch with another great American tradition: the tradition of skepticism, rebellion and good old-fashioned orneriness (Rosa Brooks, Los Angeles Times)

Italy's Jesus trial:

  1. Italian atheist sues priest over Jesus' existence | The hearing in a court in Viterbo, a city located in a valley 25 miles northwest of Rome, opened Friday and could take weeks to decide. (USA Today)

  2. Christ, Darwin on trial | Italian atheist putting others' faith to test--in court (Ron Grossman, Chicago Tribune)

  3. Judge to rule on merit of Christ case | An Italian judge heard arguments Friday on whether a small-town parish priest should stand trial for asserting that Jesus Christ existed (Associated Press)

  4. Court asked to decide: Did Christ exist? | Italian lawyer Severo Bruno does not usually have such important clients but yesterday he found himself representing Jesus Christ in court in a small town north of Rome. The central claim is whether Christ existed (The Guardian, London)


  1. TV series casts 'black legend' of the Inquisition in a new light | Vatican on the defensive after archive revelations (The Guardian, London)

  2. Also: Inquisition was a mistake but legally justified, claims Vatican official | The Vatican is preparing for fresh controversy over the Inquisition after allowing an official to appear in a television documentary to offer a defense of the "Holy Terror" (The Telegraph, London)

  3. Theologian struggled with courage vs. conscience | Dietrich Bonhoeffer's story, recalled widely at events honoring the centenary of his birthday Feb. 4, leads from his post as a double agent inside the Third Reich to the concentration camp at Flossenbürg where the Nazis hanged him and his co-conspirators (USA Today)

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  1. Bid to buy portrait of iconic English poet Donne | Britain's National Portrait Gallery launched a public appeal on Friday to buy a unique picture of iconic 16th century English poet John Donne (Reuters)

  2. One reporter's futile attempt to see the Shroud of Turin | A bit of advice for English-speaking visitors to this city who want to find the Shroud of Turin: Don't try asking locals, "Where can I find the Shroud of Turin?" (Associated Press)


  1. God and man on television | For the networks, Friday is the new Sunday (Hanna Rosin, Slate)

  2. Religion-based shows fear yet more remoteness in TV wilderness | After being rebuffed recently by the Federal Communications Commission and Congress, those Bible-study, church-service, gospel-music and other religiously oriented TV programs face a potential future of even greater obscurity (Scripps Howard News Service)

  3. Prophet and Loss: NBC drops 'Daniel' | NBC has closed the book on the religious drama "The Book of Daniel," pulling the series off its schedule after three episodes (The Washington Post)

  4. NBC resurrects Daniel online | NBC will temporarily resurrect The Book of Daniel by streaming the show's three unaired episodes online for free (Broadcasting & Cable)

  5. Episcopalians gone wild | NBC's "Book of Daniel" didn't get much right about the Episcopal church (Mark D. Tooley, The Weekly Standard)

BBC Passion:

  1. Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now | Forget J S Bach: the BBC has come up with an alternative Passion this Easter in which pop performers will dramatise the last hours of the life of Christ with the misery-laden lyrics of bands from Oasis to The Smiths (The Telegraph, London)

  2. Jesus and Judas in pop Passion | The BBC will mark Easter with a procession through Manchester that will feature Jesus singing the Robbie Williams hit Angels, accompanied by last year's Celebrity Big Brother winner Bez, from the Happy Mondays, as one of his disciples (The Times, London)

Jerry Springer: The Opera:

  1. Christian group blamed for poor Springer sales | The producers of the controversial Jerry Springer: The Opera believe protests by Christian Voice have dented ticket sales for a national tour which begins today (The Guardian, London)

  2. Springer opera creators fume at Christian protests | There is such a thing as bad publicity after all (Reuters)

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  1. Big-screen religion | Mormon filmmakers balance faith with their hopes for secular appeal (The Washington Post)

  2. The tortured Jesus? That was a different movie | Unlike its very distant cinematic cousin "The Passion of the Christ," which focused on Christ's persecution, torture and crucifixion, the new movie "Son of Man" celebrates Christ as a benevolent teacher and peacemaker (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Ready for their closeup | A new flick draws Evangelicals by replaying a watershed moment in their history (Time)

  4. Love the film, hate the sin? | Christians debate the casting of Chad Allen (Newsweek)


  1. Some Christian retailers left behind | Books now account for only 40 percent of sales in Christian retail stores (Knoxville News-Sentinel, Tenn.)

  2. 'How to Read the Bible' through history | The modern Bible is the product of translations and interpretations that span centuries. But a true understanding of its meaning should take into account its origins in Jewish culture, according to biblical scholar Marc Zvi Brettler, author of How to Read the Bible (Fresh Air, NPR)

  3. Opus Dei 101 | Investigating a "history" class (Susan Vigilante, National Review Online)


  1. Supernatural selection | A Tufts philosopher and famed Darwinist wants us to study religion like any other human behavior - as a 'natural phenomenon.' Scientists, meanwhile, may be on the way to explaining how, and why, we got religion (The Boston Globe)

  2. Science doesn't deny the existence of God | Even to those who have never heard of Pierre Laplace, it's easy to get the idea that science starts with an atheistic, or at least agnostic, presumption (Sharon Begley, The Wall Street Journal, via Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)


  1. Speaker: Evolution not open to debate among scientists | Intelligent design is religiously motivated, nonprofit official says (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  2. Is Kansas court battle over intelligent design next? | Attorneys in Pa. case see similar arguments from creationists (Lawrence Journal-World, Kan.)

  3. Britons unconvinced on evolution | Just under half of Britons accept the theory of evolution as the best description for the development of life, according to an opinion poll (BBC)

  4. Discovery's creation | A Seattle think tank launched the modern intelligent-design movement with a simple memo. The idea has evolved into a media sensation. And the cause has mutated beyond rational control (Roger Downey, Seattle Weekly)

  5. Intelligent design is not creationism | Contrary to media reports, ID is not a religious-based idea, but an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins. (Stephen C Meyer, The Telegraph, London)

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  1. Tribal America defends right to ignore facts | What is it about the United States that makes us particularly vulnerable to this particular foolishness of "intelligent design"? (Jon Margolis, Chicago Tribune)

  2. Teaching the controversy necessary to teaching science | By making the discussion of evolution taboo, we never address the doubts of creationists with the logic that is seemingly self-evident for most scientists (Nathan Yan, San Francisco Chronicle)

Higher education:

  1. Students ban Christians in row over gays | A University Christian Union has been suspended and had its bank account frozen after refusing to open its membership to people of all religions (The Times, London)

  2. Faith on the quad | 25 scholars — from a range of disciplines and faiths — have been working on a new statement about the role of religion on campuses. (Inside Higher Ed)

  3. Cut, thrust, and Christ | Why evangelicals are mastering the art of college debate (Newsweek)

  4. A church-state clash over college requirements | A Christian high school has sued the U. of California for not certifying 3 courses taught from a religious viewpoint (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  5. A new Baptist higher education | The last year has been a tense one for many Baptist institutions, including Mercer University (Inside Higher Ed)

  6. An outsider looks in at Mormonism | Seth Perry, a non-Mormon scholar at the University of Chicago Divinity School who is writing his dissertation on Mormonism, finds that few people think his interest in the church is purely scholarly (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  7. Pastor whose ouster caused rift is given Brandeis post | The Rev. Walter H. Cuenin, the popular pastor of a vibrant Newton parish who was forced to resign over a contested allegation of financial impropriety, is being appointed by the Archdiocese of Boston as Catholic chaplain at Brandeis University (The Boston Globe)

  8. Faith, scholarship, and the college classroom | The rewards of a career at a Christian college (Ronald P. Mahurin, Inside Higher Ed)

  9. Keeping the faith | Diversity goals should include respect for religious identity (J. Stanley Oakes Jr., National Review Online)

  10. ACLU sues to let Muslim scholar enter U.S. | In a federal lawsuit filed Wednesday, Tariq Ramadan accuses the government of manipulating the Patriot Act to muzzle him (Associated Press)


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  1. Democrats in 2 southern states push bills on Bible study | Democrats in Georgia and Alabama, borrowing an idea usually advanced by conservative Republicans, are promoting Bible classes in the public schools (The New York Times)

  2. The home schooling industry | As trend picks up steam, businesses and services compete for piece of $650m market (Associated Press)

  3. Muslims choose Christian schools | An increasing number of Muslims living in Norway have over the past few years chosen to send their children to private Christian schools (NRK, Norway)

  4. Scotland introduces school twinning plan to beat sectarianism | Roman Catholic and non-denominational schools in Scotland are to be twinned in an attempt to tackle the country's sectarian divide (The Guardian, London)

  5. Without a prayer | There's a successful, popular comprehensive school right on Ruth Kelly's doorstep - a model for the future. But local children haven't a hope of getting a place (The Guardian, London)

Other stories of interest:

  1. Displaced Christian conference finds site | A Christian conference that was disinvited from the Roman Catholic cathedral in Los Angeles because it was to feature a self-proclaimed mystic will be held Saturday at the Alex Theater in Glendale, organizers said (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Drug shows promise in curbing compulsive gambling, study says | In the largest clinical study of its kind, researchers at the University of Minnesota found that daily doses of an experimental drug called nalmefene, often used to treat alcoholism, appeared to curb the craving to gamble (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Religion news in brief | United Church of Christ fallout may not be as pronounced as originally feared; King of Jordan to speak at evangelical lunch; Bishops rank 'Narnia' among top films of '05 (The Washington Post)

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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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