Today's Top Five

1. What can Brown do for your faith?
The most interesting press release Weblog has seen on The Da Vinci Code comes from Carlton Pearson, the Pentecostal preacher whose megachurch went bust after he started preaching universalism. "The panic of the religious right is obvious in their knee-jerk reaction to The Da Vinci Code or to anything else that challenges their often idolatrous traditions," Pearson says. "What is the difference between the Christian response to The Da Vinci Code and the Islamic world's response to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses?"

Well, for one thing, "religious right" leaders seem to be telling Christians to "engage the culture" by watching the movie. Oh, and then there's the whole not calling for the death of Dan Brown thing.

Incidentally, it's in the Islamic world, not the area formerly known as Christendom, where the film is actually being banned. That doesn't stop Movieguide's Ted Baehr from telling readers that the movie is a Muslim scheme: "If Christians pay to go see Ron Howard's movie based on the book, they will be paying Mohammed to attack Jesus Christ and His Church."

What Weblog doesn't quite understand is the use of the term boycott in talking about one particular movie. Is saying "don't see this movie" or "this movie stinks" the same as calling for a boycott? If so, then why are critics described as "panning" the film but pastors and bishops are "calling for a boycott"? And is choosing not to see a film the same as taking part in a boycott? Because I'm not reading a lot about the big R.V. and Just My Luck boycotts. And if it's a boycott to refuse to see a film, what do you call Sony's refusal to let people who want to see the film (namely film critics who aren't in Cannes) do so?

Anyway, if you have no interest in sifting through hundreds of articles about Christians and The Da Vinci Code (Weblog has decided not to link to the myriad articles about local clergy reactions) and just want one non-CT article, Peter Boyer's New Yorker piece works well.

2. The other religion-and-immigration debate
Think the religious debate on immigration is contentious? Be glad you're not in Europe, where the debate over immigration isn't just taking place in the churches—it's literally taking place in the churches. Dozens of Afghan refugees have holed up in Dublin's St. Patrick's Cathedral, and begun a hunger strike. They promise to starve to death unless they're granted asylum. Church of Ireland archbishop John Neill said using the church as a place to stage such a protest is "not appropriate."

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In Belgium, however, Catholic bishops have backed a similar occupation of more than two dozen churches by illegal immigrants.

Immigrants have similarly occupied Paris's Church of St. Merri, notes the National Catholic Reporter.

Paul Belien of the Brussels Journal weblog notes that the immigrants—mostly Muslims—have made interesting changes to some of the churches they're occupying. In Brussels's Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, protesters have hung a green banner reading "Allah" in Arabic, moved the altar, and covered the statue of "Our Lady" with a shroud. Meanwhile, they're holding Muslim prayer services. "The Belgian Bishops are so ignorant that they do not see what is going on," writes Belien. "Their churches are being turned into mosques before their very eyes."

3. Who attacked a Christian radio station in Nairobi?
On Friday, after Muslim prayers, Nairobi's Hope FM radio station aired a program comparing the Qur'an and the Bible. In the middle of the broadcast, five hooded gunmen attacked the station, which is housed at Nairobi Pentecostal Church, shot two guards and a mechanic, and hurled a Molotov cocktail into the studio. One of the guards died and the station had to shut down for 10 hours. Church officials blame Muslim militants, but Kenyan Security Minister John Michuki isn't helping matters—he has promised to raid further media outlets if they "demean" the government. "No body will be allowed to harm the government and if they do that we will teach them a lesson," he said. Two months ago, Michuki ordered a raid by armed, masked police against The Standard newspaper after it published cartoons mocking him. Kenyan media outlets are connecting Michuki's comments and the Hope FM raid.

4. Christian Peacemaker Teams leaving Iraq
The pacifist group tells the London Times it has too high a profile after four of its members were kidnapped, and its continued presence in the country may be putting its Iraqi partners in danger. "The kidnapping caused us to reflect on what we are doing," an unnamed spokesperson tells the paper. "Sometimes the presence of internationals will draw more attention to local individuals or organisations and perhaps put them in danger."

5. McCain goes to Falwell's university
Is the Arizona senator a sellout? Has he always been a fan of religious conservative values? The real question, says The Wall Street Journal's Naomi Schaefer Riley, is why McCain went to Liberty if he wanted to court religious conservatives: "Why doesn't Mr. McCain just go to Wheaton? Or Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago, whose 7,000 members more closely mirror mainstream evangelicals? Or Saddleback, the Southern California church led by Rick Warren, whose The Purpose Driven Life has sold more than 20 million copies? Or how about a meeting of World Vision, a Christian relief organization operating in 99 countries? … McCain may feel he has to go to Liberty because he has criticized Mr. Falwell in the past, but it's hard not to wonder whether the senator is just digging himself in deeper." The reason may be that Wheaton, Willow Creek, Saddleback, and World Vision didn't invite McCain. Falwell did.

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Quote of the day
"I no longer study Kabbalah, my baby is my religion."

—Britney Spears, in a message on her official website. Spears was raised as a Southern Baptist.

More articles

Da Vinci Code reviews | Banning Da Vinci Code | Da Vinci ministry | "Controversy" | Oddness | More on Da Vinci Code | Books | Jaroslav Pelikan | Money and business | Media | Kenya Christian radio station attacked | War, terrorism, and persecution | Military | Church, state, and religious liberty | Cross displays | Politics | McCain at Liberty | Immigration | Life ethics | Abortion | U.K. assisted suicide bill killed | Sudan | China-Vatican relations | Catholicism | New Catholic leaders | Sexual ethics, family values | Homosexuality and the Church | Abuse | Priest murder verdict | Crime | Church life | Education | Patrick Henry College | Evolution | People | Other stories of interest

Da Vinci Code reviews:

  1. Da Vinci Code meets with catcalls | Film inspires protest -- and negative reviews (CNN)

  2. The Da Vinci Code secret is out: critics hate it | Critics panned The Da Vinci Code on Wednesday ahead of the world premiere of the year's most eagerly awaited movie (Reuters)

  3. Da Vinci Code misses the mark for critics | The Da Vinci Code drew lukewarm praise, shrugs of indifference, some jeering laughter and a few derisive jabs Tuesday from arguably the world's toughest movie crowd: critics at the Cannes Film Festival (Associated Press)

  4. Da Vinci disaster | Critics paint ugly picture of a broken Code (New York Daily News)

  5. Da Vinci Code an unwieldy, bloated puzzle | For those who hate Dan Brown's best-selling symbology thriller "The Da Vinci Code," the eagerly awaited and much-hyped movie version beautifully exposes all its flaws and nightmares of logic (Reuters)

  6. Review: The Da Vinci Code | A pulpy page-turner in its original incarnation as a huge international bestseller has become a stodgy, grim thing in the exceedingly literal-minded film version (Variety)

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  1. Da Vinci Code seen as cursory and rushed | As sturdy and versatile an actor as Hanks can be, he can't work miracles when he's got nothing to work with (Associated Press)

  2. A Code that takes longer to watch than read | The Da Vinci Code takes a while to establish who is who, what they're doing and why (The New York Times)

  3. Review: Da Vinci Code | But the truth is, the wide appeal of The Da Vinci Code book coated the film in critic-proof armour long before it was even made (BBC)

  4. A review for all seasons | Three assessments of The Da Vinci Code — according to taste (Editorial, The Times, London)

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Banning Da Vinci Code:

  1. Christian leaders in Asia denounce Da Vinci Code | Christians in India, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, and Thailand have protested or expressed concern about the film (Associated Press)

  2. Lawsuit to stop Da Vinci Code fails | A local court turned down a petition by a Christian organization to ban the screening of the Hollywood movie, The Da Vinci Code (The Korea Times)

  3. India puts hold on Da Vinci Code | The government Tuesday temporarily held up the release of the movie The Da Vinci Code in India after receiving complaints from Catholic groups, even though the national censor had cleared the film (Associated Press)

  4. Also: Da Vinci unites Indian Muslims and Christians | A powerful organization of Indian Islamic clerics promised on Monday to help Christian groups launch protests if the authorities did not ban the screening of the controversial film, The Da Vinci Code (Reuters)

  5. Censors reverse tack, Da Vinci Code approved | The police censorship board has upheld the appeal of film distributors, and will allow The Da Vinci Code to be shown uncut and unchanged (The Bangkok Post, Thailand)

  6. Also: Thai appeal restores Da Vinci Code cuts | Thais will be able to see the unexpurgated version of the controversial movie The Da Vinci Code after a successful appeal on Wednesday against a censor's order that the last 10 minutes be sliced off (Reuters)

  7. Earlier: Christians win right to censor Da Vinci Code | The police censorship committee in charge of movies has agreed to censor the climax of the movie The Da Vinci Code, even though the distributor promised to put a special notice on all copies stating the film was a work of fiction (Bangkok Post, Thailand)

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  1. Da Vinci unlikely to pass Egypt censors | The Da Vinci Code, the film based on Dan Brown's best-selling book, will not be seen in Egypt when it is released worldwide Friday. Nor will the long-awaited film play in Jordan or Lebanon, which banned Arabic translations of the book (Betsy Hiel, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review)

  2. Philippines gives Da Vinci Code adult rating | The Philippine censor gave The Da Vinci Code film an "adults only" certificate on Tuesday, banning under-18s in the Catholic country from seeing the controversial religious thriller (Reuters)

  3. Da Vinci protests, boycotts spread | With days left until The Da Vinci Code opens in theaters worldwide, calls for boycotts and bans of the highly anticipated Vatican thriller are getting louder -- although some say such strategies are likely to backfire (Reuters)

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Da Vinci ministry:

  1. Code as a blessing in heretical disguise | In a shift, some Christians see movie as bridge to nonbelievers (The Washington Post)

  2. Da Vinci Code movie a target for US evangelicals | Largely forgoing boycotts or protests, leaders of Christians who believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible are turning out professional videos with titles such as The Da Vinci Delusion and The Da Vinci Deception Experience (Reuters)

  3. Da Vinci surprise: Both sides of controversy may win | Hanks and Sony Pictures are shrewd to use the flap as PR, but so are churches and their flocks (The Boston Globe)

  4. Evangelicals hope to break the Code | Evangelicals hone media savvy to counter Da Vinci 'heresy' (The Toronto Star)

  5. Debating Da Vinci | With the arrival of the movie, criticism of the Dan Brown blockbuster heats up (U.S. News & World Report)

  6. Evangelicals engage | Evangelical leaders have attempted to seize on Brown's success as an opportunity to reinforce the faith of believers and to win new souls (U.S. News & World Report)

  7. Evangelical passion for Da Vinci | Outreach Inc., a Christian marketing firm in Southern California hired by Mel Gibson's production company to market The Passion of the Christ to evangelicals, reported that 67 percent of churches planned to do something in response to the "Da Vinci" film (Chicago Sun-Times)

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  1. Hollywood heresy | Marketing The Da Vinci Code to Christians (Peter J. Boyer, The New Yorker)

  2. Ron Howard answers Da Vinci critics | Director Ron Howard had a suggestion Wednesday for people riled by the way Christian history is depicted in The Da Vinci Code: If you suspect the movie will upset you, don't go see it (Reuters)

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  1. Vatican officials grappling with Da Vinci Code | The release of the movie adds to the urgency of those who challenge "Dan Brown's fiction" (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Archbishop okays The Da Vinci Code for Catholics | Catholics were free to watch The Da Vinci Code movie to be released in Melbourne tomorrow, but should remember its central claims were entirely untrue, Melbourne Archbishop Denis Hart said yesterday (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  3. He has faith in the faithful | Eugene O'Toole on The Da Vinci Code (Dana Parsons, Los Angeles Times)

  4. Contentious notions: Are they true? | Here are some statements made in The Da Vinci Code and what scholars have said about them (The Washington Post)

  5. The Da Vinci Code flap | On a crusade against mere fiction, some evangelists' multimedia opposition to The Da Vinci Code suggests they are insecure (Patrick Kampert, Chicago Tribune)

  6. The Code: Solid thriller, needs a smart audience | The Da Vinci Code is a direct descendant of ancient mystery cults and the arguments that would proclaim Christianity a mystery cult (John Carney, The New York Sun)

  7. Where's the passion over Da Vinci Code? | I sometimes think that the secular media are afraid to take this nonsense on and, frankly, mock it for the silliness it is because the news media might then be perceived as giving support to narrow-minded conservative Christians. (Amy Welborn, USA Today)

  8. Discrediting faith | The release Friday of the film version of Dan Brown's book The Da Vinci Code, and its prophesied status as a "blockbuster," once more brings to the forefront a story line that is a frontal assault upon the central truths of the Christian message (Robert Norris, The Washington Times)

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  1. Bishop Carlton Pearson asks: Why all the paranoia over The Da Vinci Code? | "What is the difference between the Christian response to The Da Vinci Code and the Islamic world's response to Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses?" (Press release)

  2. Earlier: Too inclusive |Church loses building after members flee pastor's universalism (Christianity Today, Feb. 9, 2006)

  3. Will Christians pay Mohammed to attack Jesus? | If Christians pay to go see Ron Howard's movie based on the book, they will be paying Mohammed to attack Jesus Christ and His Church (Ted Baehr, WorldNetDaily)

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More on Da Vinci Code:

  1. Da Vinci Code backs away from book | The Da Vinci Code movie deviates only subtly from the best-selling book on which it is based by making the lead character a man of some faith (USA Today)

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  1. Reading Da Vinci Code does alter beliefs: survey | People are now twice as likely to believe Jesus Christ fathered children after reading the Dan Brown blockbuster and four times as likely to think the conservative Catholic group Opus Dei is a murderous sect (Reuters)

  2. Most Da Vinci Code readers believe Jesus fathered a child, poll finds | Two thirds of Britons who have read Dan Brown's thriller believe that Jesus fathered a child with Mary Magdalene, a claim rejected as baseless by historians and Bible scholars (The Telegraph, London)

  3. A spiritual decadence opens Da Vinci door | Anti-Catholicism is the last respectable prejudice in the USA. The church remains an easy target because it doesn't play by the rules laid down for modern institutions. Its lack of transparency and accountability give rise to popular resentments and paranoia that are exploited by Brown. (Dennis P. McCann, USA Today)

  4. 'U-turn' by Abbey on Da Vinci Code | Westminster Abbey famously turned down £100,000 and a starring role in the Hollywood adaptation of The Da Vinci Code, denouncing it as "wayward and inappropriate". But now the Abbey, which features in Dan Brown's global best-seller, is charging £25 a head for two events that aim to embrace the book's success (The Telegraph, London)

  5. Also: Da Vinci double standards | Clergy may condemn the book and film, but their churches are raking it in (Adam Edwards, The Telegraph, London)

  6. Da Vinci Code: The mystery of the missing screenings | Sony's Da Vinci Code will be released without first undergoing test screenings, to preserve a climate of mystery and excitement around the movie (The New York Times)

  7. Also: Have you seen The Da Vinci Code? | Hollywood wonders why Sony hasn't shown anyone its controversial movie (Slate)

  8. Looking behind the Code | The fact that the major elements compiling the "new" picture of Mary Magdalene have been brought together now in the way they have been shows us more about ourselves than her. (Bruce Chilton, The New York Sun)

  9. Damien's second coming is a bad omen for Church | First the Da Vinci Code and now this. The remake of a 1970s horror film presents another test of faith (The Times, London)

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  1. Beliefwatch: Good word | What's curious is how many of the Jesus books reject or revise Bible teachings and pose radically different versions of Jesus' story (Newsweek)

  2. What would Jesus eat? Bible tells us | New publication offers tips on healthy food based on Scriptures (The Denver Post)

  3. The God factor | A former secretary of state argues that we dare not ignore religion's role in foreign policy. Noah Feldman reviews The Mighty and the Almighty by Madeleine Albright (The Washington Post)

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  1. A belief in Providence | Our Founding Fathers' faith was anything but simple. James D. Fairbanks  reviews The Faiths of the Founding Fathers by David L. Holmes (Houston Chronicle)

  2. Grappling with God | The faith of a famous poet. Wilfred M. McClay reviews Auden and Christianity by Arthur Kirsch (The Weekly Standard)

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Jaroslav Pelikan:

  1. Yale theologian Pelikan dies at 82 | Yale professor Jaroslav Pelikan, one of the world's foremost scholars of the history of Christianity, has died of lung cancer, his son said Monday. He was 82 (Associated Press)

  2. Jaroslav Pelikan, wide-ranging historian of Christian traditions, dies at 82 | Jaroslav Jan Pelikan, a Yale scholar, interpreted Christian tenets to a vast lay audience in the English-speaking world (The New York Times)

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Money and business:

  1. Preachers of profit | An emerging role for big-name church pastors: mainstream product pitchman for personal gain (The Tampa Tribune)

  2. Deputies sue over roll call group | Ministry talks don't belong in work shift, union says (Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel)

  3. Good book as guide | Investing based on faith (New York Daily News)

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  1. Churches embrace the web in bid to attract members | In a bid to attract new members and shed their persistently Luddite image, churches are embracing technology and Web sites like MySpace (The Wall Street Journal)

  2. God's call comes by cellphone | Bible verses on a BlackBerry, sermons on an MP3—an explosion in digitalized spirituality is making true believers of online e-vangelists (Los Angeles Times)

  3. 'Can I get a Hallelujah?' Israel gets 24/7 evangelical broadcast | Daystar comes to Israel (Jewish Telegraphic Agency)

  4. Indecency broadcast bill faces delay in Senate | The Senate Commerce Committee will not mark up a bill this week that raises the maximum fine for broadcasters of indecent TV content, dealing a blow to religious conservatives growing restive about a perceived lack of action on their key issues (The Hill, D.C.)

  5. Angels with ammo | The Bible gets fully automatic in a new video game offering a dress rehearsal for the apocalypse (Joel Stein, Los Angeles Times)

  6. Blogging the Bible | What's really in the Good Book (David Plotz, Slate)

  7. Also: Blogging the Bible | What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book (David Plotz, Slate)

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Kenya Christian radio station attacked:

  1. 1 dead in Kenya religious station attack | Gunmen attacked a Pentecostal church radio station during a program that compared teachings of the Bible and the Quran, killing one person and setting the building on fire (Associated Press)

  2. Govt, church condemn 'Hope' raid | The two hooded men said to have been with seven others forced their way into the station at the Nairobi Pentecostal Church, Valley Road, at about 10:20pm (Kenya Broadcasting Corp)

  3. Police probe phone link in church radio attack | Police yesterday said they had useful clues which could help them track down the hooded gunmen who raided Nairobi's Hope FM station on Friday night (The Nation, Kenya)

  4. Guard killed as hooded gang raids church radio | Hooded gunmen on Friday night stormed a Nairobi radio station, shot a watchman dead, and wounded two others, before torching part of the broadcasting studios (The Nation, Kenya)

  5. Kenya warns of more media raids | Kenyan Security Minister John Michuki has warned he may order new raids against the media just days after a deadly attack on a radio station (BBC)

  6. We'll raid you again, Michuki warns | Cabinet minister John Michuki yesterday threatened a new terror raid against the media only two days after the mysterious bloody attack on a Christian radio station (Daily Nation, Kenya)

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War, terrorism, and persecution:

  1. Christian Peacemaker Teams pulls out of Iraq | Charity says it has too high a profile to operate safely now (The Times, London)

  2. Four churches set ablaze during intra-Christian clash | Four catholic churches were set ablaze allegedly by Baptist Christians at Yairipok Pechi village in interior Thoubal district of Manipur, official sources said today (PTI, India)

  3. Pressure on multi-faith Malaysia | Malaysia is considering its multi-cultural credentials after a crowd of Muslims on Sunday broke up a meeting called to defend the rights of religious minorities (BBC)

  4. In Egypt, an old beacon of tolerance flickers | Fatal stabbings underline growing sectarian tensions in historic port city of Alexandria (The Washington Post)

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  1. House injects prayer into defense bill | The House passed a $513 billion defense authorization bill last Thursday that includes language intended to allow chaplains to pray in the name of Jesus at public military ceremonies, undercutting new Air Force and Navy guidelines on religion (The Washington Post)

  2. Old time religion, again | The lawmakers who introduced the prayer clause into the defense bill are not fundamentally opportunistic; they're clueless (Bruce Fleming,

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Church, state, and religious liberty:

  1. World faiths call conversion basic religious right | "Freedom of religion connotes the freedom, without any obstruction, to practice one's own faith, freedom to propagate the teachings of one's faith to people of one's own and other faiths … ," the statement said (Reuters)

  2. Bosma appeals prayer ruling | He wants ban on religious content to be overturned (The Indianapolis Star)

  3. Valley church being shut down by township for zoning violation | A fledgling church that was meeting in a funeral parlor in Valley is being shut down by the township because of a zoning violation (The Daily Local, West Chester, Pa.)

  4. Ala. official accused of religious activity wins settlement | Former assistant attorney general said to have prayed with a co-worker who was ill receives $150,000; his lawyers get $101,000 (Associated Press)

  5. Local Bible study issue takes off | A sliver of the national spotlight shone on Spartanburg as residents' small Bible study group questioned why it could no longer use an apartment complex meeting room, prompting state and federal officials and nonprofit agencies to involve themselves (Spartanburg Herald-Journal, S.C.)

  6. Edgewood says no to megachurch | In a blow to proponents of a proposed "megachurch," the City Council late Tuesday rejected pleas to allow the Orlando Church of Christ to be built in the Holden Avenue neighborhood (The Orlando Sentinel)

  7. Cherie explains Catholic choice | Prime minister's wife Cherie Blair has said her children have been brought up Catholics to prevent them becoming "simply part of the Establishment" (BBC)

  8. Row over Bibles in hospitals | The Queensland Government has denied that Bibles have been banned from hospital bedsides because health bosses fear they offend non-Christians (AAP, Australia)

  9. A church-state rescue mission | Earthquake-damaged Mission San Miguel Arcangel needs an engineer, not an ugly 1st Amendment fight (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

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Cross displays:

  1. Cross-shaped ruin to stay at Ground Zero | The foundation in charge of developing ground zero's memorial and museum pledged to permanently display the two pieces of steel left standing in the shape of a cross after the World Trade Center collapsed (Associated Press)

  2. Bush asked to help save San Diego cross | The House Armed Services Committee chairman asked President Bush to help save a 29-foot cross standing on city property from being removed by a court order (Associated Press)

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  1. Also: Officials turn to U.S. to save cross | San Diego's mayor and a congressman appeal to President Bush to designate the Mt. Soledad landmark as a war memorial (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Cross case brings mountain of hate mail | Mount Soledad attorney no stranger to controversy (San Diego Union-Tribune)

  3. The Mount Soledad controversy | Is an illegal cross acceptable if only one complains? (Robert Steinback, San Diego Union-Tribune)

  4. Monumental debate | Arguments for and against the Mt. Soledad Cross (Edwin Decker, San Diego City Beat)

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  1. GOP voters to be target of radio ads by Democrats | House Democrats are reaching out to Christian voters with advertisements critical of Republican proposals to overhaul Social Security (The New York Times)

  2. Democrats plan to inject spirituality into agenda | The "Spiritual Activism Conference" aims to equip liberals to operate in a political arena where religion has played a more prominent role since 2000, says Rabbi Michael Lerner, founder of the Jewish magazine Tikkun and a chief conference organizer (The Washington Times)

  3. Conservative Christians criticize Republicans | Influential Christians say they are dissatisfied and may withhold their support in the midterm elections (The New York Times)

  4. Dean flubs another faith test | Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean has a funny way of doing outreach (CQ Weekly, via Pew Forum)

  5. Saving secular society | A mass movement aims to supplant Enlightenment rationalism with what it calls the "Christian worldview" (Michelle Goldberg, In These Times)

  6. Also: "Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism" | Across the United States, religious activists are organizing to establish an American theocracy. A frightening look inside the growing right-wing movement (Michelle Goldberg,

  7. Expert: Falsehoods fuel debate about the role of faith in the military | A perceived war on Christians in America is a myth driven by politics, a top official from the American Civil Liberties Union told cadets and professors at the Air Force Academy on Thursday (Colorado Springs Gazette)

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McCain at Liberty:

  1. McCain earns goodwill with evangelicals | Sen. John McCain's address at Liberty University Saturday may help improve his standing with religious conservatives (The Christian Science Monitor)

  2. McCain reconnects with Liberty University | Senator may have an eye toward 2008 as he reaches out to religious conservatives (The Washington Post)

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  1. Analysts say McCain wooing religious right | Senator to address Falwell's college (The Boston Globe)

  2. McCain urges respect for different views | Sen. John McCain, looking to heal a rift with the religious conservatives who undermined his 2000 White House bid, told students graduating at the Rev. Jerry Falwell's university Saturday that Americans have a right to disagree on issues but should maintain respect for each other (Associated Press)

  3. At graduation, McCain tips cap to the right | He speaks at a college founded by onetime foe Jerry Falwell, who's now a potential ally for 2008 (Los Angeles Times)

  4. At Falwell's university, McCain defends Iraq war | In a speech at Liberty University, Senator John McCain also said it was important to have a debate on the conflict (The New York Times)

  5. In search of the religious vote | Both left and right are prone to spiritual tone-deafness (Naomi Schaefer Riley, The Wall Street Journal)

  6. Straight talk unexpressed | It was always too much to expect that when Sen. John McCain went down to deliver the commencement address at Liberty University, he would turn toward its chancellor, Jerry Falwell, and call him, as he did during the 2000 campaign, one of the "agents of intolerance." (Richard Cohen, The Washington Post)

  7. Up and running | John McCain's knockout speech at Jerry Falwell's university (David Kusnet, The New Republic)

  8. What McCain meant | The senator's speech at Jerry Falwell's university (Byron York, National Review Online)

  9. McCain's fair-weather fans | His media pals' pathetic turnaround (Eric Fettman, New York Post)

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  1. Evangelicals split over illegal immigration | Some say helping those in need is Christlike; others say it hurts law and order (World News Tonight, ABC News)

  2. Pope urges Muslims to respect Christians | Pope Benedict XVI urged Islamic countries to ensure religious rights for Christian migrants Monday while also saying Christians should continue welcoming Muslim immigrants with open arms (Associated Press)

  3. Cathedral 'not appropriate' for Afghan refugees | Church of Ireland Archbishop John Neill says that Saint Patrick's Cathedral is not an appropriate place for refugees to protest (Irish Examiner)

  4. Also: Hunger strikers taken to hospital | Six out of 41 Afghan asylum seekers on hunger strike in a Dublin church have been taken to hospital (BBC)

  5. Update: Majority of Afghan hunger-strikers begin to take water | Moves are underway to open dialogue with Officials at the Department of Justice Immigration Bureau in Burgh Quay Dublin (Irish Examiner)

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  1. The price of tolerance | The Dutch grapple with assimilating immigrants with radically different mores (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  2. Borders & the Bible | It's not the gospel according to Hillary (David Klinghoffer, National Review Online)

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Life ethics:

  1. Inquiry into Rajasthan foeticides | Police in the Indian state of Rajasthan have launched an investigation into 21 doctors who are alleged to have been involved in aborting female fetuses (BBC)

  2. Merck's dance with the religious right | Drug giant close to approval for controversial anti-cancer vaccine for youngsters (

  3. Clinic peddles false hope of cure | People with life-threatening illnesses are being swindled out of thousands of pounds by a UK company offering them false hope in umbilical stem cells, says an expert (BBC)

  4. Nancy Reagan supports stem cell bill | Nancy Reagan is urging the Senate to pass a bill to expand federal financing of embryonic stem cell research (The New York Times)

  5. Also: Nancy Reagan again takes lead on stem cells | With Nancy Reagan's blessing and in defiance of President Bush's veto threat, Senate Republican leaders are making plans for a vote this summer on a bill to restore federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (Associated Press)

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  1. Colombia loosens strict abortion laws | The landmark ruling Wednesday overturned an absolute ban on abortion that set jail terms of up to four years for women who have them. It leaves Chile and El Salvador as the only other Latin American countries to maintain a total ban (Associated Press)

  2. Also: Colombian court legalizes some abortions | The decision is expected to embolden women's rights groups across Latin America to use courts to try to roll back some of the world's most stringent abortion laws (The New York Times)

  3. Abortion foes want RU-486 pill pulled | Deaths of several women are cited (The Washington Post)

  4. Scientists disagree on abortion pill role | Scientists disagreed Thursday over whether the abortion pill RU-486 played any role in the deaths of four California women who died from a rare bacterial infection (Associated Press)

  5. 7th death in medical abortion | Federal health authorities linked another woman's death to a medical abortion, but they said the woman did not take the drug RU-486 used by six others who died (The New York Times)

  6. Foes of South Dakota abortion ban claim progress | Opponents of a new South Dakota law designed to challenge the 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion said on Friday they are well on their way to stopping the measure from going into effect this summer and letting the state's voters decide its fate (Reuters)

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  1. Viewing abortion as "a moral good" | Marcy Bloom left Aradia Women's Health Center on Friday as its executive director after 18 years at the abortion clinic (The Seattle Times)

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U.K. assisted suicide bill killed:

  1. The religious and the righteous unite in a moral crusade | It was a Friday like no other in a packed House of Lords (The Times, London)

  2. British religious leaders urge defeat of assisted-suicide bill | The effort was timed to coincide with a debate on Friday in the House of Lords on a proposal to assist terminally ill people to end their lives (The New York Times)

  3. Assisted dying bill condemned in Lords | A controversial bill to allow doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives was condemned in the Lords on Friday as "morally indefensible" (Reuters)

  4. British lawmakers reject right-to-die bill | Britain's House of Lords on Friday rejected a bill to allow doctors to prescribe lethal drug doses to terminally ill patients, reflecting opposition among the public, government and church — to assisted suicide (Associated Press)

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  1. U.S. runs into resistance over Sudan | The United States has run into strong resistance in its bid for a Security Council resolution that would give the United Nations immediate control over peacekeepers in Darfur, diplomats said Friday (Associated Press)

  2. Sudanese priest arrested for kidnapping apostate | A Sudanese Anglican priest has been arrested on charges of kidnapping a Muslim woman who came to his church wanting to convert to Christianity, clergymen said on Monday (Reuters)

  3. Darfur crisis hits home in Indiana | A Darfuri enclave has formed in Fort Wayne (ABC News)

  4. It's hell in Darfur, but is it genocide? | The Sudanese government has targeted villagers, but not a whole race (Michael Clough, Los Angeles Times)

  5. Stemming genocide in Darfur | With the peace agreement signed earlier this month between major rebel groups and the Sudanese government, there is real hope for Darfur for the first time in the two years of the slow-rolling genocide there (Tod Lindberg, The Washington Times)

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China-Vatican relations:

  1. China welcomes new, non-approved bishop | China's state-approved Catholic church welcomed the installation Sunday of another bishop who was not approved by the pope, exacerbating Beijing's already strained relations with the Vatican (Associated Press)

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  1. Independent ordination of bishops right path for China, says Chinese Catholic (People's Daily, China)

  2. China backs bishop but locals dissent | China installed a controversial new Catholic bishop on Sunday in a ceremony reflecting the split between the Vatican and the Chinese state-run church that divides villagers in this heavily Catholic corner of the country (Reuters)

  3. A bitter game: Beijing battles with Vatican | The public dispute between China and the Vatican over the consecration of two bishops threatens recent gains in relations between the two (The New York Times)

  4. When celestial kingdoms collide | The conflict between China and the Catholic Church has been simmering for centuries (Liam M. Brockey, The New York Times)

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  1. Memorial stone marks site of pope shooting | A simple marble slab was placed Saturday in St. Peter's Square on the spot where the late Pope John Paul II was shot in an assassination attempt 25 years ago (Associated Press)

  2. Nun says Parkinson's symptoms were lifted | The French nun whose recovery from Parkinson's disease, the same affliction suffered by Pope John Paul II, is at the heart of the drive to beatify the late pontiff says she feels reborn (Associated Press)

  3. Pope names new bishop for Vietnam | Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday named a new bishop for Vietnam, a country that lacks ties with the Vatican but has the second highest number of Catholics in Southeast Asia (Associated Press)

  4. Polish TV bans racy ads during pope visit | Polish state television will not broadcast ads for alcohol, contraceptives or even lingerie when Pope Benedict XVI visits later this month, an official said Friday. Suggestions of sex will also be banned (Associated Press)

  5. Venezuela: Pope takes on Chavez | Pope Benedict XVI registered a long list of complaints in a Vatican meeting with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, who has been at odds with Catholic leadership despite his own deeply professed faith (The New York Times)

  6. O'Malley delivers | The cardinal didn't say anything controversial or unexpected. No one imagined he would. He expressed strong support for Catholic-Jewish cooperation, emphasized Christianity's Jewish roots, and spoke feelingly about the Christian obligation to fight anti-Semitism. All familiar themes. So why all the attention and interest? (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

  7. Hog heaven: Preaching to a choir of Harleys | Last week was the 37th annual motorcycle Mass and blessing of the bikes with a full Mass, prayers and multiple readings of Scripture (The New York Times)

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  1. Holy cards inspire collectors of 'visual faith' | Popular among Catholics for centuries, the keepsakes went out of fashion. Now some enthusiasts pay top dollar for the relics (Los Angeles Times)

  2. Diocese: Priest's departure not related to abuse | The Joliet Diocese still will not disclose what the mysterious "stress" and "accusations" were that drove the pastor of St. Joseph Church to resign from his parish — but they insist they have nothing to do with sex (The Herald News, Joliet, Ill.)

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New Catholic leaders:

  1. Catholics give warm welcome to new bishop on chilly night | More than 1,200 Catholics attended a Sunday evening service at St. John Cathedral downtown to welcome Bishop Richard Lennon (The Plain Dealer, Cleveland)

  2. McCarrick retiring as head of Washington archdiocese | Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl named successor (The Washington Post)

  3. Also: Pope names Pittsburgh bishop to Washington, D.C., post | Bishop Donald W. Wuerl will replace Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick in the prominent position (The New York Times)

  4. Also: Pope names new Washington bishop | Pope Benedict XVI has named Pittsburgh Bishop Donald Wuerl to replace Cardinal Theodore McCarrick as archbishop of Washington, the Vatican said Tuesday (Associated Press)

  5. Vatican appoints loyalist for D.C. | Pittsburgh Bishop Donald W. Wuerl, a man known for his loyalty to Rome by taking on unpopular assignments, was named archbishop of Washington yesterday by Pope Benedict XVI (The Washington Times)

  6. Pittsburghers express admiration and respect as Wuerl heads to new post | Knowing that he, too, would soon leave the city where he'd begun his life as a priest, Bishop Donald Wuerl stood Saturday before Carlow University graduates and urged them to carry forward the light of Catholic faith and tradition (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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Sexual ethics, family values:

  1. Pope stresses unions between men and women | Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday there was an "urgent" need to avoid confusion over gay unions and other common-law partnerships, and stressed that only marriage between men and women could be the basis for a healthy society (Associated Press)

  2. Soldiers pray to abstain, and to save their marriages | Visit With a Baghdad Bible study group (World News Tonight, ABC)

  3. Court upholds Israeli spouse ban | Israel's Supreme Court has upheld a controversial law barring West Bank Palestinians from living with their spouses and children in Israel itself (BBC)

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  1. Earlier: Israel's anti-family values | Christians should be outraged by a law thwarting Israeli-Palestinian marriages (Gary M. Burge, Christianity Today, Aug. 4, 2003)

  2. Court rejects polygamy defense | Utah's chief justice dissents, says state law violates privacy (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  3. Same-sex marriage amendment is struck down by Georgia judge | A judge upheld voters' right to limit marriage to heterosexual couples but cited procedural flaws in the wording of an amendment passed in 2004 (The New York Times)

  4. Also: Judge strikes down Ga. ban on gay marriage | Georgia's two-year-old ban on same-sex marriage was struck down by a judge on procedural grounds, a ruling that frustrated conservatives and likely sets the stage for further legal wrangling (Associated Press)

  5. Mrs. Bush: Don't campaign on marriage ban | The first lady told "Fox News Sunday" that she thinks the American people want a debate on the issue. But, she said, "I don't think it should be used as a campaign tool, obviously" (Associated Press)

  6. Court won't rush appeal on same-sex ad | The Supreme Court refused Monday to speed up an appeal by a conservative organization seeking to air a radio ad on same sex marriage around election time (Associated Press)

  7. Romney to limit gay panel activities | Is upset that his name is used to tout parade (The Boston Globe)

  8. Clarification: Lesbian brains story | "While there were differences in how the brains of homosexual and heterosexual participants reacted to the chemicals, the story should also have included the conclusion that indicated differences in individual perceptions were not statistically significant" (Associated Press)

  9. Is teen sex bad? | Americans and Western Europeans don't agree on what's normal and acceptable. But many health experts do (The Washington Post)

  10. Abstinence clubs gaining members | A new mentoring program for young men in Miami-Dade high schools advocates the virtues of abstinence—and increasing numbers of teens are embracing it (The Miami Herald)

  11. Gays, God, and Bishop Owens | Holding the mayor responsible for a pastor's remark (Colbert I. King, The Washington Post)

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Homosexuality and the Church:

  1. Archbishop sacked aide for being gay | The head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales was last night drawn into a furious row over a senior aide sacked because of his homosexuality (The Mail on Sunday, London)

  2. Also: Cardinal sacked gay aide | The leader of British Catholics has been accused of 'sickening hypocrisy' by homosexual rights groups (The Times, London)

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  1. A dilemma rooted in the Bible | The row over the sacking of Stephen Noon epitomises the impossible dilemma in which the Roman Catholic Church finds itself. It must either stand firmly by its traditional teaching, or set out down the path already trampled by the schism-wracked Anglican Communion (Ruth Gledhill, The Times, London)

  2. Archbishop challenges the church | Cape Town's Ndungane calls for acceptance of gay Episcopal cleric (Religion News Service)

  3. Owensboro minister leaving church formed in split over gays | UCC congregation down to 25 people (Associated Press)

  4. Hear from Christians who love the sinner but hate the sin | Some churches that reach out to gays and lesbians may demand celibacy (Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

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  1. SA Anglican Church to reduce services to fund payout | The Anglican Church in South Australia is planning to cut back its services to fund a $4 million payout to sexual abuse victims (Australian Broadcasting Corp)

  2. O'Malley reaches to victims with pilgrimage | Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley plans to make an unprecedented pilgrimage to nine parishes in the Catholic Archdiocese of Boston that have been especially hard hit by sexual abuse of children by priests to acknowledge the sins of the churchmen and pray for forgiveness and healing (The Boston Globe)

  3. Community shows support | When speaking with the community at St. Stephen's Armenian Church in New Britain, one message stands clear—it will be behind its pastor, Krikoris Keshishian, regardless of any wrongdoing recent allegations may suggest (New Britain Herald, Ct.)

  4. Ex-priest arrested after man says he was molested as a teen in 1980 | Montgomery County police yesterday arrested a former Roman Catholic priest living in Rockville on charges of abusing a minor in 1980 (The Washington Post)

  5. Church sues ex-insurer to cover payoff | The statewide Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington is suing its former insurer in hopes of recovering a record $965,000 priest-misconduct settlement it paid last month (Rutland Herald, Vt.)

  6. State 'optimistic' about diocese plan to prevent abuse | The Roman Catholic Diocese of Manchester gave a constructive response to how it will improve its sexual abuse prevention program, a state prosecutor said Thursday (The Telegraph, Nashua, N.H.)

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Priest murder verdict:

  1. Satanic aspects left out of Robinson trial | Prosecutor says priest's murder of nun had cult hallmarks (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

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  1. Convicted priest's legal woes aren't over | Civil lawsuit accuses cleric of rape and torture from '68 to '75 (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  2. Abuse scandal has changed view of priests | Murder verdict for priest may not have been possible when murder occurred, say prosecutors (Associated Press)

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  1. Police say Ill. pastor spanked girl | A pastor was charged with spanking a 12-year-old girl with a piece of wood because he thought she was lying when she said she was sexually abused by a relative (Associated Press)

  2. Alton arrests may solve church burglaries | Police believe they have solved a rash of church burglaries in Alton with the arrest of a man and a woman (Belleville News-Democrat, Ill.)

  3. Also: Authorities file charges in church burglaries (The Telegraph, Alton, Ill.)

  4. Securities arrests | Springs police take 3 men into custody on fraud, theft charges (The Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  5. Also: Colo. ex-pastor, 2 others accused of fraud | Investors were recruited through evangelical meetings, "lured by the false promise of high returns or endorsements by their friends or fellow churchgoers," Insurance Commissioner Fred Joseph said (Associated Press)

  6. Producer faces 10 years in TV scam | Joseph Medawar, 44, agrees to plead guilty to bilking investors—many from churches—in a bogus production (Los Angeles Times)

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Church life:

  1. Fight to lead church reaches federal court | An arbitrator's ruling that leaders of the Phila. denomination took over illegally is being appealed (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  2. Pastor breaks hip, preaches anyway | The Rev. Perry Sanders, pastor of First Baptist Church of Lafayette for nearly half a century, underwent surgery Monday for the broken hip he suffered prior to giving his last official sermon as pastor Sunday (The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.)

  3. Salvation Army to install black commander | The Salvation Army is poised to install a black leader for its U.S. operations Friday, the first time a black church official has led the predominantly white, evangelical denomination in this country (Associated Press)

  4. Hand-in-hand again in prayer | Megachurch pastors reunite for Dallas version of global event (The Dallas Morning News)

  5. Walker church fire probed | 'Surreal' scene stuns congregation members (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  6. New England churches seek to save majestic steeples, but encounter repair hurdles | Throughout the country, wooden steeples are decaying, posing a potential safety threat and straining the finances of congregations (The New York Times)

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  1. Fullerton church expansion wins crucial vote | Mayor says minor changes swayed him to back a plan neighbors have fought (The Orange County Register)

  2. 'White Church' returns to the fold | A breakaway branch of the Russian Orthodox Church has provisionally agreed to reunite with the Moscow Patriarchate more than 85 years after it was founded by fugitives from the Bolshevik Revolution (The Times, London)

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  1. ACLU sues to halt graduation prayer | Request by Russell County High student wasn't granted (Associated Press)

  2. Brevard alters graduation sites after church-state suit | Four Brevard County high schools that held last year's graduation ceremonies in a church at the foot of a 25-foot-tall Christian cross will have them this year at football fields and other venues later this week (The Orlando Sentinel)

  3. School board narrowly defeats bid for Good Friday holiday | The school board narrowly defeated, in a 5-7 vote, Mark Gregory's motion to rescind the 2006-07 calendar approved earlier this year (The Tennessean)

  4. High school class on Bible stays the course | In its 66th year, the nonreligious study has yet to be challenged in Big Spring (Houston Chronicle)

  5. A dorm that prays together … | From 'toothbrush debates' to 'faith-sharing buddies,' Brown University's interfaith dorm offers 24/7 diversity (The Christian Science Monitor)

  6. Promoting special education in Catholic school | Nonprofit hopes funds will expand options for children (The Washington Post)

  7. Report says religion course promotes religious freedom | At last, empirical evidence of the effects of teaching about religion, including benefits and challenges (Charles C. Haynes, First Amendment Center)

  8. Religion in schools has Mohler urging 'exit' and Carroll lauding Russia | Let's not brand public schools as havens of apostasy or foment an insurgency against them (David Hawpe, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

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Patrick Henry College:

  1. Give me liberty or I quit | The departures of five professors raise doubts about the college's mission (The Chronicle of Higher Education, free now)

  2. A clash of ideas at evangelical college | Five of Patrick Henry's 16 faculty members leave over its mission and curriculum (Los Angeles Times)

  3. Where academic freedom is the freedom to quit | At Patrick Henry College in Loudoun County, five professors have quit--and one of them was summarily dismissed before he could leave of his own accord--because they concluded that the college was not interested in free-ranging inquiry (Marc Fisher, The Washington Post)

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  1. Creationists bring beliefs to schools | Answers in Genesis said since its founding 12 years ago, it had been invited into a public school only five times. One of those came this week (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  2. Father of intelligent design | A former UC Berkeley law professor has stirred up the academic world for 15 years with his assault on Darwin's theory of evolution, saying life on Earth is too complex to be created by random mutations (The Sacramento Bee, Ca.)

  3. Evolution's bottom line | We need to allow everyone to participate and increase the chance of finding the innovations to improve society and compete globally (Holden Thorp, The New York Times)

  4. All about Mitochondrial Eve | A 140,000-year-old African may have been the mother of all mothers (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

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  1. Bono: The missionary | Bono is the only person to have been nominated for a Grammy, a Golden Globe, an Oscar and the Nobel Peace Prize (The Independent)

  2. The new evangelism: The man who put conscience on a coffee cup | Rick Warren's megachurch attracts more than 20,000 each week. His book tops the non-fiction bestseller lists (The Independent, London)

  3. Hinn controversy brings out crowds | Preparations for Savannah crusade in high gear (Trinidad & Tobago Newsday)

  4. 'Pastor Freak' promotes tattooing for Christians | Steve Bensinger is a man who loves his Christian faith -- and loves his tattoos (The Wichita Eagle, Kan.)

  5. Cosby scolds idle churchgoers | Comedian says the faithful must take action in communities (The Washington Post)

  6. St. John's passions | Argonaut lineman Jude St. John's life centres around his Christian faith and hunting. He sees no contradiction between loving God and blasting His creatures (The Toronto Star)

  7. Maestro researching Vatican music | Toshiyuki Shimada was looking for inspiration as his tenure at the Portland Symphony Orchestra came to a close. He has found it as a Yale University professor in pursuit of long-forgotten musical treasures at the Vatican (Associated Press)

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Other stories of interest:

  1. Montreal churches campaign to put sacred meaning back into swear words | Montreal's Catholic churches are trying to take back the tabernacle and the chalice, reminding Quebecers that the common French-language cuss words are still sacred objects to the church (Canadian Press)

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  1. Recipients of the Jesus Rug warned to keep eyes open | Optical illusion may not be the only trick (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  2. Augustinian priests apologise for concelebrated Easter Mass | The three Augustinian priests who concelebrated Mass with a Church of Ireland rector in Drogheda on Easter Sunday, in commemoration of the 1916 Rising and the Battle of the Somme, have apologized unreservedly to Catholic Church authorities and given an undertaking not to do so again (The Irish Times)

  3. A dim view of brights | Richard Dawkins and crew are in for a discouraging tenure if they presume to study religion as a pathology (Karl Giberson, Science & Theology News)

  4. When colleges go on suicide watch | Schools are getting sued for doing too little--and too much--to help mentally fragile students (Time)

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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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