We're not abandoning our "top five" feature, but we are skipping it today as we try to get our new CT Liveblog running smoothly. If you've enjoyed the commentary section of the CT Weblog, which we've been publishing since 1999, then you'll certainly want to join us there as well.

Supreme Court decision: Partial-Birth Abortion Ban: Reactions | Supreme court dynamics | Analysis: yay | Analysis: boo | Analysis: the decision won't make a difference | Editorials | Implications for 2008 | Future of abortion | Abortion in the states | Data on abortion | Breast cancer and abortion
Other subjects: Life ethics | Mexico | Health & science | Limbo | Benedict XVI | Monasticism | Catholicism | Anglicanism | Church life | Hispanic Christians | Church attendance | Earth Day/environmentalism | Holidays | Noise | Property & finances | Crime & lawsuits | Mary Winkler | Abuse | Bankruptcy | Virginia Tech | Memorials and ministry | Seung-Hui Cho | Turkey | Mugabe | Sudan | Other religions | Wicca | Military | Work & religious expression | Church & state | Politics | Homosexuality & civil unions | Non-US politics | International aid & missions | Visas | Bible Park | Education | Abstinence education | Bible class | Books | Arts & entertainment | People | Other stories of interest

Partial-Birth Abortion Ban: Reactions:

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Supreme Court dynamics:

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  • High court upholds ban on partial-birth abortions | It all came down to Samuel Alito Jr., not Kennedy (Legal Times)

  • Analysis: Kennedy's pivotal vote | Kennedy is not expected to support a rollback of all abortion rights, but his new analysis of how courts should handle future cases worried his liberal colleagues and abortion rights supporters. (Associated Press)

  • Kennedy may be key to abortion limits | While Kennedy adopted some language favored by abortion opponents — "life of the unborn," "abortion doctor," "respect for life" — he also carefully distinguished the controversial procedure that was the focus of the Supreme Court case from a more common abortion method used after 12 weeks of pregnancy (Associated Press)

  • Roberts Court moves right, but with a measured step | The five justices in the majority came up with an opinion that delighted abortion opponents and outraged abortion rights activists -- and yet, in the view of the court, did not overturn a single precedent or seemingly contradictory ruling (Robert Barnes, The Washington Post)

  • New rhetoric in SCOTUS abortion ruling | Ginsburg says Kennedy's word choice goes too far (Associated Press)

  • Ginsburg's dissent may yet prevail | The justice argues that equality, not privacy, is crucial in the abortion right (Cass R. Sunstein, Los Angeles Times)

  • The last word | In yesterday's landmark abortion case, Kennedy was the Associate Justice he believes himself to be (Jan Crawford Greenburg, ABC News)

  • Justices back ban on method of abortion | The Supreme Court's 5-4 decision promises to reframe the abortion debate and define the young Roberts court (The New York Times)

  • Partial victory | The Supreme Court defers to Congress (Terry Eastland, The Weekly Standard)

  • The face-off over partial-birth abortion | Judicial restraint and "facial" challenges (Edward Whelan, National Review Online)

  • Abortion ruling raises backlash for Catholic justices | Observers raise questions about justices' Catholic faith after the Supreme Court's upholding of late-term abortion curbs (ABC News)

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Analysis: yay:

  • Good may yet come | Gonzales v. Carhart opens up a possibility, albeit slight, for further restricting abortion. (Hadley Arkes, National Review Online)

  • A 'small victory for civilization' | This is a small victory for civilization, for our humanity and humaneness toward the more than one million unwanted innocent babies who will have their hope of life dashed by abortion this year. Yes, they will still die, but at least they will have a better chance to do so with some modicum of dignity (Rick Santorum, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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  • The i's have it | Three cheers for pro-life incrementalism (Michael J. New, National Review Online)

  • A welcome decision | Ruling bars barbaric practice, sets stage for more abortion curbs (Edward Whelan, USA Today)

  • Put on your body armor | It's the number of votes, not constitutional reasoning, that matters (Michael M. Uhlmann, First Things)

  • The Supreme Court and reasonable hope | I'm not convinced that this week's Supreme Court decision on partial-birth abortion is as good as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg says it is, but I certainly hope she is right (Richard John Neuhaus, First Things)

  • The challenge facing abortion-rights advocates | The challenge for abortion-rights advocates is not that this law will prevent abortions or impair the health of women getting them. It's that it treats the fetus as more than a disposable inconvenience—as a living entity entitled to a measure of respect and protection (Steve Chapman, Chicago Tribune)

  • Abortion ruling has Reid, Dems in tricky spot | 17 Democratic senators voted for the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act. But they were silent on the court's decision (Robert Novak, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • The evolving issue of abortion | The pro-choicers are prepared to abandon the privacy argument to focus instead on gender discrimination (Lisa Fabrizio, The American Spectator)

  • Carnage: Two versions | Last week, there were two stories about carnage -- the tragedy at Virginia Tech and the Supreme Court's decision on partial-birth abortion (Cal Thomas, The Washington Times)

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Analysis: boo:

  • Adjudging a moral harm to women from abortions | The Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, represents a major departure from how the court has framed the abortion issue for the past 34 years (The New York Times)

  • Miscarriage of justice | The federal 'partial-birth' abortion ban has grave implications for all pregnant women, not only those seeking to end pregnancies (Lynn M. Paltrow, The American Prospect)

  • A woman's choice | I needed that now-banned procedure known as 'partial-birth' abortion. Why the Supreme Court's decision to outlaw it was a dark day for American women (Ilene Jaroslaw, Newsweek)

  • The partial death of abortion rights | The balance of interests shifts, with women's health no longer paramount but rather societal morality and the state's interest in life even before the point of viability outside the womb (R. Alta Charo, The New England Journal of Medicine)

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  • The intimidation of American physicians | Banning partial-birth abortion (Michael F. Greene, The New England Journal of Medicine)

  • Government in medicine | With this decision the Supreme Court has sanctioned the intrusion of legislation into the day-to-day practice of medicine (Jeffrey M. Drazen, The New England Journal of Medicine)

  • Risking women's health | If the Bush administration and a conservative Supreme Court can ban one procedure, then it can ban other abortion procedures, thereby restricting women's access to safe and legal abortions (Dr. Kenneth C. Edelin, The Boston Globe)

  • Curbing abortion rights | Newcomer Supreme Court Justices John Roberts and Samuel Alito showed their true stripes by supporting a landmark late-term abortion ban (Karen Houppert, The Nation)

  • Father knows best | Dr. Kennedy's magic prescription for indecisive women (Dahlia Lithwick, Slate)

  • Court knows best | If Congress can ban the partial-birth procedure, why can't it express its "ethical and moral concerns" with the standard procedure for second-trimester abortions, dilation and evacuation? (Ruth Marcus, The Washington Post)

  • Postures in public, facts in the womb | Over the years, we have built vast layers of argument and counterargument, and the core issue is buried far down below (David Brooks, The New York Times)

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Analysis: the decision won't make a difference:

  • The abortion ruling: An isolated win? | I don't expect the court decision this week to have many larger implications (Karen Tumulty, Time)

  • Anger and alternatives on abortion | The Supreme Court decision to uphold a ban on a type of abortion, has huge political implications but, as a practical matter, is unlikely to have much of an effect (Gina Kolata, The New York Times)

  • Don't assume the worst | Pro-choice doctors — and their lawyers — must read the Supreme Court's decision as an explicit approval of all abortion procedures save one (David J. Garrow, The New York Times)

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  • What a pickle | The leaders of the party in control of the Congress are complaining that the Supreme Court has ruled they have the power to make the abortion laws (Editorial, The New York Sun)

  • A limited and humane decision | The victory for commonsense morality and for constitutional jurisprudence is proof that under the Roberts court, careful abortion restrictions can begin to shift the law from the abortion-on-demand regime enacted in 1973 to one that better reflects public opinion and morals (Editorial, The Washington Times)

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  • Partial-birth hypocrisy | Pro-choice lawmakers could begin trying to repeal the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003 tomorrow if they were serious (Editorial, The Washington Times)

  • A shift on abortions | The Supreme Court upholds a ban on partial-birth procedures -- and imperils the right of women to choose (Editorial, The Washington Post)

  • A U-turn on abortion | Ignoring precedent, the Supreme Court upholds a ban on a procedure that is thankfully quite rare (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  • Court ruling restricts choice, discounts health concerns | Justices allow Congress to substitute its judgment for that of physicians (Editorial, USA Today)

  • The court takes on abortion | This is likely not the final word on partial-birth abortion (Editorial, Chicago Tribune)

  • An erosion of abortion rights | The five justices of the court majority and the politicians who passed the law they approved have overruled the best judgment of the doctors who are most informed on this issue. Politics could trump medicine again -- unless backers of abortion rights use the ballot box to steer the country back toward support of a woman's right to end a pregnancy (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  • Denying the right to choose | Under the modest-sounding guise of following existing precedent, the majority opinion gutted a host of thoughtful lower federal court rulings, not to mention past Supreme Court rulings (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • The abortion ruling | Supreme activism (Editorial, The Philadelphia Inquirer)

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Implications for 2008:

  • Ruling draws lawmakers toward political minefield | The Supreme Court ruling yesterday resurrects the politically charged issue of reproductive rights just in time for the 2008 campaign season, but it may not be a fight the Democrats want (The Washington Post)

  • GOP candidates praise abortion ruling | Republican presidential candidates, who differ on abortion rights, were unanimous Wednesday in their praise for the Supreme Court's ruling (Associated Press)

  • Court ruling catapults abortion back into '08 race | The reaction from the presidential candidates to the Supreme Court's decision was quick and along party lines (The New York Times)

  • The other big story this week | It was buried in the avalanche of coverage of the horrible shootings at Virginia Tech. But the Supreme Court's partial-birth ruling will likely have a much bigger impact on Campaign 2008 (Eleanor Clift, Newsweek)

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Future of abortion:

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Abortion in the states:

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Data on abortion:

  • One in 30 aborted foetuses lives | Most of these babies with disabilities were born between 20 and 24 weeks of pregnancy and all lived for no more than a few hours (BBC)

  • Data lacking on abortion method | Statistics on late-term procedure among most contested (The Washington Post)

  • Late abortions reasons revealed | Many women who have late abortions had not realised they were pregnant, a study has found (BBC)

  • Medics and morals | A growing number of doctors are voicing their opposition to abortions. Why, and what it might mean for patients (The Guardian, London)

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Breast cancer and abortion:

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Life ethics:

  • Children on demand | How reproductive science has transformed the path to parenthood. Polly Morrice reviews Everything Conceivable by Liza Mundy (The New York Times Book Review)

  • Perth archbishop says no to cloning | Perth Catholic Archbishop Barry Hickey wants West Australian MPs to oppose cloning of embryos for medical research (AAP, Austrlia)

  • Offshore abortion women's group is given licence again | An "abortion ship" is planning to sail to countries where the practice is illegal and take women out to sea for terminations after the Dutch Government lifted restrictions banning it from international waters (The Times, London)

  • EU lawmakers back rules for stem cell, other cures | The European Union legislature rejected so-called ethical amendments to the regulation that will create a centralised process for approving new tissue and cell engineering therapies (Reuters)

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Health & science:

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  • Vatican commission: Limbo reflects 'restrictive view of salvation' | After several years of study, the Vatican's International Theological Commission said there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven (Catholic News Service)

  • Pope approves report on teaching limbo | Pope Benedict XVI has reversed centuries of traditional Roman Catholic teaching on limbo, approving a Vatican report released Friday that says there were "serious" grounds to hope that children who die without being baptized can go to heaven (Associated Press)

  • Vatican panel condemns limbo to eternal dustbin | An advisory study, approved by the pope, concludes that unbaptized babies may go to heaven after all (Los Angeles Times)

  • The Pope ends state of limbo after 800 years | The 41-page report by the Vatican's Theological Commission, which was compiled following a three-year study, said the concept was an "unduly restrictive view of salvation" (The Telegraph, London)

  • The end of limbo | What happens to all the babies who used to be there? (Michelle Tsai, Slate)

  • Rest in peace | While limbo was never a part of Church doctrine, it was taught to Catholics well into the 20th century. No more. Amen (Editorial, The Day, Ct.)

  • Letting go of limbo | With a new Vatican report, the Pope finally sends unbaptized babies to heaven—and signals that he may be less conservative than his image suggests (Newsweek)

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Benedict XVI:

  • The enlightenment Pope | Joseph Ratzinger is the first "theologian pope" in a long time (Giulio Meotti, The Wall Street Journal)

  • China's top state-approved Catholic bishop dies | Bishop Fu Tieshan, the most prominent bishop in China's state-approved Catholic church, died on Friday, opening a major vacancy at a time when Pope Benedict is preparing a letter about the future of the country's divided church (Reuters)

  • His own Pope yet? | Benedict XVI remains something of a blank slate to a world curious to see what this new pontiff would be like (David Gibson, The New York Times)

  • Pope: Medical advances must respect life | Pope Benedict XVI called Sunday for life in all its phases to be respected and defended, saying such a fundamental value must accompany any medical advances (Associated Press)

  • Everyday life softens Pope's image | The Vatican has released film and photographs offering a rare glimpse of the private life of Benedict XVI (The Times, London)

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  • Religion today: Convent conglomeration | Helped by aggressive marketing and a new generation of conservative Roman Catholics, convents around the country say they are experiencing an increase in applicants for the first time in decades (Associated Press)

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  • Monks who play punk | Even as other Roman Catholic orders are seeing their numbers dwindle, the bearded, gray-frocked Friars of the Renewal attract recruits to their lively but spartan monastic life (The New York Times)

  • Wanted: men of God | Decline in number of priests causes Allentown Diocese to focus recruiting efforts (Allentown Morning Call, Pa.)

  • For some heavenly brews, explore the abbey road | Six Trappist monasteries in Belgium and one in the Netherlands carry on this tradition (The Washington Post)

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  • Relationship forces out church leader | The Rev. Praveen Bunyan of St. James Anglican admits to 'inappropriate' conduct with female parishioner, officials say (The Orange County Register, Ca.)

  • Canadian woman could be Anglican leader | The Anglican Church of Canada could elect its first woman leader during a national assembly this summer (Associated Press)

  • E. Dallas church breaks with Episcopal Diocese | According to the diocese, most—but not all—members of the Church of the Resurrection will follow Rector Donald McLane and form a non-Episcopal congregation aligned with the Anglican Mission in America (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Church acts to stem 'sham marriages' | New marriage guidelines are being drawn up by the Church of England amid fears that its clergy may be unwittingly conducting bogus weddings (The Telegraph, London)

  • Episcopal leader holds firm on gay rights | Says N.H. bishop's election a blessing (The Boston Globe)

  • I still haven't found what I'm looking for | Anglican schismatics invoke endless biblical argle-bargle to defend their un-Christian bigotry, but in the end it boils down to this: They are unwilling to love and accept their neighbors as themselves (Alex Beam, The Boston Globe)

  • Archbishop attacks 'erosion of Christian values' | The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, launcesh a fierce attack today on the "moral relativism" that is eroding Christian values in society and Government (The Telegraph, London)

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Church life:

  • Preacher plans Branch Davidian memorial | In the ashes of the Branch Davidian site where nearly 80 people died in a 1993 blaze after an armed standoff with federal agents, a new religious community is slowly taking shape. (Associated Press)

  • Saints in demand in Russia as church asserts tie to state | Sergei Privalov, a soft-spoken priest who heads the Russian Orthodox Church's Department for Cooperation with the Military, Law Enforcement and the Security Services, is a busy man. Everyone wants a patron saint. (The Washington Post)

  • Parrots give worshippers the bird | A church congregation in Otley has had its Christian sensibilities ruffled by a trio of rare birds (BBC)

  • Church's sex series attracts crowds | Billboards gained national attention (Canton Repository, Oh.)

  • Church in crisis: Stay or leave? | Beverly Heights Presbyterian is first voting on separation (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • "Lord" is fading at some churches | At Tucson's largest Episcopal church, St. Philip's in the Hills, the creators of an alternative worship service called Come & See are bucking tradition by rewriting what have become prescribed ways of worship. For the faithful, that means God isn't referred to as "him," and references to "the Lord" are rare (Arizona Daily Star)

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  • "Not your parents' church" | Ministry takes message to bikers in bars (Associated Press)

  • Church rector resigns after confession | Rev. Praveen Bunyan admits to inappropriate conduct with a female parishioner (Daily Pilot, Newport Beach, Ca.)

  • Get thee out of thy city? | Parishioners credit their new pastor with persuading the congregation to stay in Manchester (Manchester Union Leader, N.H.)

  • Hillsong to vote on new grounds for divorce | Hillsong and its 1138 sister churches are poised to relax divorce rules in cases of domestic violence and "abandonment." The Assemblies of God in Australia, part of the world's largest Pentecostal denomination, currently blesses divorce when a partner has been sexually unfaithful (The Sydney Morning Herald)

  • Local church votes to leave denomination | Presbyterian congregation in Mt. Lebanon decides to join conservative body (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • Priest claims praying 'pointless' | South Melbourne priest Bob Maguire says church leaders across Australia can pray for rain "until they go black in the face" but it won't solve the water crisis (Herald Sun, Australia)

  • Silicon Valley 'mobile' church prays for a home | "If God told us this is the place, how come it's being sold to someone else. Did we hear wrong?" (San Jose Mercury News, Ca.)

  • The Cross and the caricatures | A response to Robert Jenson, Jeffrey John, and a new volume entitled Pierced for Our Transgressions (N. T. Wright, Fulcrum, U.K.)

  • The polarizing pastor of Doral | José Luis De Jesús Miranda -- who teaches that sin and the devil don't exist -- has emerged as an exalted yet divisive figure (The Miami Herald)

  • Also: Close brothers are now divided | José Luis De Jesús Miranda's relationship with his brother -- leader of a church in Miami-Dade County -- has been split by their radically different theological views (The Miami Herald)

  • Nigerian pastors spread into Cameroon | Authorities in Cameroon are seeking to control the surging numbers of Pentecostal churches in the country being set up by Nigerian pastors crossing over the border (BBC, audio)

  • To St. Pixels flock the internet faithful | This is an actual church, with real services (Media Life)

  • The Religious left's "mea culpa" for the Klan and the communists | Presbyterians are planning to apologize on behalf of all the Nazis, Klansmen and communists, though apparently none one of these delightful people was actually a Presbyterian (Mark D. Tooley, FrontPageMag)

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Hispanic Christians:

  • Study: Hispanics driving change in U.S. religion | A major study released today offers a close look at how Hispanics are changing the way religion is practiced in the United States—and how American culture is affecting the faith of Hispanics who come to this country (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Hispanics transforming U.S. religion | U.S. Hispanics view religious and political life as intertwined, often worship in ethnic congregations and embrace a spirit-filled, charismatic style of Christianity, a new survey says (Associated Press)

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Church attendance:

  • Dissatisfaction, yearning make churchgoers switch | The faithful are restless, a new study of Protestant churchgoers suggests. They're switching from church to church, powered by a mix of dissatisfaction and yearning, according to the study by LifeWay Research (USA Today)

  • Religion in the news: England's growing churches | Why the country's evangelical congregations are thriving (Associated Press)

  • Kiwis flock to born again churches | Growing numbers of New Zealanders are turning to "born again" and fundamentalist churches, drawn by the conservative moral codes, slick marketing and rock music (The Dominion Post, New Zealand)

  • Bell tolls for Germany's churches | As Catholic and Protestant congregations decline, many houses of worship are being shut or converted to other uses (Los Angeles Times)

  • Empty pews | 80 percent of Americans profess belief in God, but church attendance is declining (The News Journal, Wilmington, Del.)

  • Boom in Christianity reshapes Methodists | The United Methodist Church is the latest Protestant group caught in the shifting currents of world Christianity. While the American denomination is shrinking at home, its congregations in the developing world are growing explosively (Associated Press)

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Earth Day/environmentalism:

  • The gospel of green | Evangelical Christians increasingly taking up the cause of environment (Rapid City Journal, S.D.)

  • God's green Earth | Vineyard Church takes active role in preserving, protecting environment (The Coloradoan, Fort Collins)

  • God is green | Have you ever stopped to consider how much it costs to heat—or cool—a church? (Newsweek)

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  • Church's services 'loud as a nightclub' | Pastor Francis Yeboah, who started the Written Word Outreach Church in Hove 14 years ago, was taken to court by council officials for breaching a noise abatement notice served last year (The Telegraph, London)

  • Noise making - Churches contribute 70% | The Tema Office of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that churches contribute a lot to noise making in the communities (Accra Mail, Ghana)

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Property & finances:

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Crime & lawsuits

  • 'Image, person differ' | Methodist pastor notifies police after parishioner allegedly makes threat to make Virginia Tech massacre look mild by comparison (Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Ca.)

  • Complaints prompt church audit | Police and church officials are examining the finances of SS Peter and Paul parish in Reading after receiving complaints about parish spending (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

  • Infected doctor jailed for endangering patients | Daniel Mutunda, a Christian, initially said he was cured from hepatitis B after he prayed for healing, the court heard (The Telegraph, London)

  • Father can't sue LDS Church | The Utah Court of Appeals has ruled that a father locked in an international custody battle with his former wife in Japan cannot sue The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints for ordaining his two sons into the LDS priesthood against his wishes. (Deseret Morning News, Ut.)

  • Hillsong member guilty of fraud | A Hillsong church member pleaded guilty yesterday to defrauding fellow parishioners, but forgiveness might be hard for the 200-plus investors who lost $20 million in property developments that were never completed (The Australian)

  • Supreme Court refuses to hear former nun's appeal | Lynette Petruska claimed in her lawsuit that she was demoted in 2002 and forced to resign because of her gender, and because she helped expose accusations of a cover-up involving a priest who took a leave of absence after an alleged affair with a woman (Associated Press)

  • Police: Acid bombs found at church | Plastic bottles, acid-like substance discovered by church member (WKMG, Orlando)

  • Three congressmen subpoenaed in battle over Mount Soledad cross | Lawyers for opponents of the Mount Soledad cross in La Jolla have issued subpoenas to three local congressmen for documents and other materials relating to legislation passed last year that transferred the landmark to the federal government (San Diego Union-Tribune, Ca.)

  • Bishop must explain drink riddle | The Bishop of Southwark, the Rt Rev Tom Butler, could be formally disciplined for his allegedly drunken behavior before Christmas (The Telegraph, London)

  • Buggy hijacked, Amish teen missing | An Amish man convicted in the grisly 1993 disembowelment murder of his wife returned to Crawford County last week and seized his 17-year-old daughter, Mary, after his son hijacked the horse-drawn buggy in which she was riding, family members said (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

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  • Eugene church robbery suspect arrested after leaving wallet at scene | Police say 22-year old Blake Markee dropped his wallet, identification and cell phone at one of the churches (Associated Press)

  • Holy Innocents' says priest misused $100,000 | The head of one of Atlanta's oldest Episcopal churches, misused more than $100,000 of parish funds, according to the church (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Robbery suspect finds religion, jail | A man accused of robbing two Santa Rosa County stores apparently turned himself in after reading a religious pamphlet (Pensacola News Journal, Fla.)

  • Catholic teachers in bias battle | The case of two Ulster teachers who claim they were turned down for a promotion because of religious discrimination was due to be heard by the Court of Appeal in Belfast today (Belfast Telegraph)

  • Church member sues pastor | The suit alleges that United Pentecostal Church of Warsaw pastor Dan Cox took money from a retirement account for a former pastor set up by the church as well as money from a special account to put new carpet in the church basement (Times-Union, Warsaw, Ind.)

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Mary Winkler:

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  • Ex-youth minister testifies in civil lawsuit | From the moment a former youth minister at an East Meadow Catholic church kissed his 15-year-old student, he knew he was breaking the rules, he testified Tuesday (Newsday)

  • Statement on defrocked priest raises new secrecy questions for diocese | In the same news release announcing that the Rev. Robert Vonnahmen had been "dismissed from the clerical state" by the Vatican, Bishop Edward Braxton said the diocese has no obligation to make public the Vatican's decisions about local priests whose penalties fall short of being laicized (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

  • A path to healing | An alleged case of abuse is pivotal to two lives (Springfield News-Leader, Mo.)

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Virginia Tech:

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Memorials and ministry:

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  • Spiritual awakening in the midst of tragedy | Pastor Dave Bounds of Restoration Church in Hampton, Va. believes so. A member of his congregation, 20-year-old Lauren McCain, was among those killed in the school tragedy (CBN)

  • A day of mourning for Va. Tech victims | Gov. Timothy M. Kaine declared Friday a day of mourning and called for a moment of silence at noon to honor the 32 victims in Monday's massacre at Virginia Tech. Churches around the country, from California to National Cathedral in Washington D.C., have scheduled vigils and special prayer services (Associated Press)

  • S. Korean religious groups hold memorial services for slain U.S. victims | South Korea's religious groups are sponsoring public services to mourn the victims who were killed in a shooting rampage at Virginia Tech University this week (Yonhap, South Korea)

  • It was not any Sunday for Suffolk church | The weekly service is missing a beloved congregant, Nicole White, who was slain at Tech (Daily Press, Hampton Roads, Va.)

  • Also: Hundreds mourn a 'child of God' in Suffolk | Nearly 900 people gathered in the sanctuary of the North Suffolk church to honor Nicole White (The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Blacksburg faithful mourn together | Messages of hope, healing and sympathy mingle during services (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Va.)

  • Va. town quietly mourns 1 of its own | Here and there, throughout White's hometown, are symbols of the sorrow felt even by those who didn't know the 20-year-old woman with long red hair, a big smile and a deep faith in God (Associated Press)

  • What was missing from Edwards' prayer | Does John Edwards include Jews in his prayers? Or Muslims? Or Hindus? Or any other non-Christians? In order to commemorate those killed at Virginia Tech, Edwards led a prayer "in Christ's name" at Ryman Auditorium (Roger Simon, The Politico)

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Seung-Hui Cho:

  • Bright daughter, brooding son: enigma in the Cho household | While her brother tried to disappear at Westfield High, Sun-kyung Cho was soaring. She worked at the college library and spent much of her spare time at prayer meetings and Friday night Bible studies with the Princeton Evangelical Fellowship. She refrained from pushing her faith, but would discuss it after dinner with a few close friends (Los Angeles Times)

  • Graham: Killer was `demon-possessed' | Evangelist dispatches chaplains to college to meet and pray with students, parents (The Charlotte Observer, N.C.)

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  • 'Jesus was crucifying me.' | So said Cho in the NBC package, according to The Telegraph (The Telegraph, London)

  • Mother prayed as son brooded in silence | Kim Hyang-im spent much of her time in church praying for Cho to snap out of his unhealthy taciturnity. She attended the Korean church in Centreville, where she implored the pastor to help her son (The Guardian, London)

  • U.S. shooter troubled parents as kid | About 130 people gathered at Myeongdong Cathedral in central Seoul, casting their heads low as they sang sad hymns and prayed for the souls of those killed (Associated Press)

  • The road to Virginia Tech tragedy started with Bible ban | The shooter at Virginia Tech was a madman. However, he had also been raised on a solid diet of secular humanism which teaches no moral absolutes (Steven Grant, Greeley Tribune, Co.)

  • Pastor, church can't fathom how quiet kid became killer | After hearing about the deadly Virginia Tech shootings, the Rev. Yong-Ho Cha immediately thought about the quiet, withdrawn boy he mentored at Bible study years ago: Seung-Hui Cho (The Star-Ledger, Newark, N.J.)

  • Koreans offer their apologies for shootings | At the a church where the parents of Cho Seung-hui, the Virginia Tech killer, worship (The Telegraph, London)

  • The Christian call to love victim 33 | Seung-Hui Cho was the 33rd victim of his own violence. And he was, perhaps, the most tragic victim of all: apparently a victim of years of mental illness, self-ostracism, anger and loathing, even before he was a victim of his own violence. In this swath of the Bible Belt, we who call ourselves Christians must include this sad, deluded young man in our memorials. We must remember Cho as we remember the others (Monty Leitch, The Roanoke Times, Va.)

  • Did the devil make him do it? | Was Cho Seung-Hui schizophrenic … psychotic … manic-depressive? Or were the shooting deaths of 32 people, including Cho himself, at Virginia Tech University part of the ongoing struggle between God and Satan … good against evil … lightness and darkness? (Lauren Green, Fox News)

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  • 3 evangelicals found slain in east Turkey | The victims were evangelical Protestants and authorities said it seemed likely that the attackers had a nationalist agenda (The New York Times)

  • Christians in Turkey fear more attacks | Five more suspects detained after attack on Christian publishing house (Associated Press)

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  • 3 killed in attack on Bible publisher in Turkey | Five youths -- all with notes that say, 'They are attacking our religion' -- are held at the scene. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Ten arrested over Turkey murders | Flat mates there said accused were quiet - believers, but not overtly devout (BBC)

  • Christian workers' throats slit in Turkey | Three staff at a Bible publishing company in Eastern Turkey were killed in a brutal attack on the country's Christian minority (The Telegraph, London)

  • Slain evangelists were tortured, says Turkish doctor | Three Protestants murdered at a Christian publishing house in Malatya, Turkey, were tortured for three hours before their assailants slit their throats, a press report said Friday, quoting one of the doctors involved in the grisly case (Middle East Times)

  • Turkey must resolve the issue of religious freedom | Now, Christians were once more victims of an attack. The Turkish stance is to call this an exceptional case. But three exceptional cases equal a pattern (Mechthild Brockamp, Deutsche Welle, Germany)

  • 12 to be charged in Turkey Bible murders | A court jailed five suspects. Six others were released pending trial, the court said. A 12th suspect, who tried to escape from police by jumping from a fourth-floor balcony at the scene of the killings, remains hospitalized (Associated Press)

  • Turkish Islamists face Christians' death trial | The attack was the third against Christians in Turkey in a year. The common link was that the killers claimed they were defending Islam from Christian proselytizing (The Telegraph, London)

  • The banality of the murders of three Christians in Turkey | We will continue to pray in our churches for our nation, but our nation will continue to see us as enemies. And sooner or later, 'birileri' who loves their country will attack us again. As our bodies will lay there on the ground, their abis, in the most banal fashion, will declare that birileri is trying to destroy Turkey (Ziya Meral, Turkish Daily News)

  • Christian converts live in fear in intolerant Turkey | Turkish converts to Christianity fear for their lives after the brutal murder of three people at a Christian publishing house last week. Angela Merkel has called for Ankara to take action to promote religious tolerance, while secular intellectuals ask why the 99-percent Muslim country can't put up with a few Christians (Der Spiegel, Germany)

  • Turkish police probe Bible killings amid shock | Turkish police have detained 10 people in connection with the killing of three people, including a German, at a Bible publishing house in the mainly Muslim country, authorities said on Thursday (Reuters)

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  • Court charges suspects over Malatya murders | Suspect had reportedly visited the publishing house several times and attended an Easter dinner hosted by the Protestant community in Malatya this month (AFP)

  • Slain German highlights Christian plight | The story of a quiet and deeply religious German missionary ended with the sound of dirt being scattered over his coffin in eastern Turkey, his violent death a sign of the plight of Christians in this Muslim country (Associated Press)

  • Barred pastor: Church complains | A church group is complaining to the foreign affairs department after two South Africans were refused entry to attend a funeral in Turkey at the weekend (SAPA, South Africa)

  • Turkey's Christians face backlash | Several recent murders have confronted Turkey's growing ranks of Christian evangelicals (The Christian Science Monitor)

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  • African Anglican bishops support Mugabe | The 14 Anglican bishops blamed the worsening plight of poor Zimbabweans largely on Western economic sanctions (Associated Press)

  • Anglican bishops rap sanctions | The Anglican Church Province of Central Africa has added its voice to the growing condemnation of the illegal Western sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and called for their scrapping, urging Britain to honour its obligations to fund land reforms in the country (The Zimbabwe Herald)

  • Do not cause disunity, Zimbabwe churches told | Government yesterday expressed concern over the attitude of some churches, which are meddling in politics by unfairly denouncing the State under the disguise of "prayer meetings" (The Zimbabwe Herald)

  • Defrocked pastor, sons cause stir at city church | A defrocked pastor of the United Apostolic Faith Church's Belvedere Assembly allegedly mobilised his three sons and son-in-law to disrupt church services in protest against the church's national executive council's decision to rescind his ordination (The Zimbabwe Herald)

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  • Report: Darfur kids endure horrific acts | Children in Darfur are enduring "unspeakable acts of violence and abuse" from killing and rape to abduction, torture and recruitment as fighters in the escalating four-year conflict in Sudan's vast western region, a report said (Associated Press)

  • Envoy: Sides want Darfur peace | The United Nations' special envoy for Darfur said Monday that both the Sudanese government and rebel forces wanted to find a negotiated settlement to end the conflict in Darfur (Associated Press)

  • Sudanese want action on Darfur | Opposition politicians and residents in Khartoum say they're tired of the government's obfuscation (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • U.S. seeks to extend Sudan peacekeeping | The United States sought to use a U.N. resolution that would extend the U.N. peacekeeping mission in southern Sudan to press for the deployment of 20,000 U.N. troops in Darfur. But the strategy is likely to face difficulties from Security Council members who want to keep two operations separate (Associated Press)

  • Darfur and diplomacy | The U.N. is unable to learn the ancient lessons of murder. (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal)

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Other religions:

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  • Christians and Hindus clash over land | Hindu extremists organise demo today calling for land purchased by Christians be returned to Tribals. Missionaries use revenue raised from the land to provide education and improve living conditions of the local population, something extremists do not want, says bishop of Raipur (AsiaNews.it)

  • Iran exonerates six who killed in Islam's name | The Iranian Supreme Court has overturned the murder convictions of six members of a prestigious state militia who killed five people they considered "morally corrupt." (The New York Times)

  • Eight killed in new orgy of violence | Emboldened by the apparent Government inability to dismantle it, the Mungiki sect has now transformed itself into an organised gang armed with AK-47 rifles, which they used to kill a police officer in another dawn of bloodletting in Kiambu (The East African Standard)

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  • Safety fears at debate | An Air Force Academy graduate who has been an outspoken critic of what he's claimed is religious intolerance at the school is concerned about his safety at a debate today (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

  • Faith in the crucible of war | Six Minnesota soldiers ponder how their extended stays in the Iraqi desert have changed them and their faith (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Debate over religion in military cordial | "We may have to see a movie together," Mikey Weinstein told Jay Sekulow toward the end of the debate. "It won't be 'The Passion of the Christ,' I can tell you that." (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

  • Air Force Academy debate: Role of religion in the military | Weinstein believes non-believers in the military are no longer protected by the separation of church and state (KXRM, Colorado Springs)

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Work and religious expression:

  • 'Blasphemous' ad attracts complaints | The Advertising Standards Authority has received "a lot of complaints" about a Sandton billboard bearing the headline "Jesus saves. So does DOC-IT." (Business Day, South Africa)

  • Conservatives knock bill to allow Oregon workers to skip meetings | A Lake Oswego-based religious conservative group and some state representatives are unhappy with a House passed bill that would allow workers to skip mandatory prayer breakfasts and on-the-job political rallies (Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.)

  • Amish dairy farmers share concerns about livestock IDs | About 200 Amish dairy producers recently met with state officials to again protest a state-mandated livestock identification system they claim will force them to choose between their religion and their livelihood (La Crosse Tribune, Wis.)

  • Book policy upsets O.C. inmates' families | Local sellers also criticize rule at jail, which limits deliveries to publishers, major distributors for security reasons. Among the books that have been returned to sender are Spanish-language Bibles and other Christian titles. (Los Angeles Times)

  • Discrimination on grounds of philosophical belief | An important amendment to the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 is due to take effect on 30 April 2007 (WorkplaceLaw.net)

  • Bible battle ruled moot | Panel rejects the county's request to vacate trial verdict that courthouse display was illegal (Houston Chronicle)

  • Appeals court agrees: Bible display is wrong | Harris County lost another round Tuesday in a long-running legal battle over displaying a Bible in a small stone monument outside the county courthouse (San Antonio Express-News, Tex.)

  • Collective bargaining agreement protects employer in religious accommodation case | Employers have a duty under Title VII to "reasonably accommodate" their employees' bona fide religious beliefs, even when they conflict with company policies, unless such accommodation would be an undue hardship to the employer (Law.com)

  • Newmont shareholders support religious resolution | An overwhelming majority of shareholders of Newmont Mining Corp. approved a resolution Tuesday morning requiring the Denver company to produce a report addressing community opposition to its mining activities in the United States and across the world (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

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Church & State:

  • Majority in favour of maintaining state religion | Labour is met with public opposition against the party's proposed reform of the State Church. Fifty per cent of those asked in a Norstat poll say the Evangelical Lutheran faith should remain the constitutional state religion of Norway (Norway Post)

  • Popular 'In God We Trust' plate sparks suit | ACLU says the tag should be treated like specialty plates that cost extra (The Indianapolis Star)

  • One state under God | Lawmakers considering faith's place in schools and government (The Dallas Morning News)

  • Judge orders church election | Politics of Korean church land in court third time as court rules vote for elders invalid (The Vancouver Sun)

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  • Forum to tap views on religion, politics | Monday night, two Catholic candidates for president will square off at Boston College about faith and public policy. Senator Sam Brownback, a Kansas Republican, and Senator Chris Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, will debate a range of hot-button issues, including gay marriage, stem-cell research, abortion, the Iraq war, and euthanasia (The Boston Globe)

  • Thompson tests conservative waters | Richard Land, one of the nation's leading Southern Baptists, told The Washington Times yesterday that Mr. Thompson is sure to win if he runs (The Washington Times)

  • Giuliani shifts stance on disputed abortion method | The candidate's support for a high court ruling, joining his GOP peers, contrasts with his position in 1997 (Los Angeles Times)

  • A Mormon president? | Romney's uphill battle: 66% say country not 'ready' for him (Cathleen Falsani, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Mormon story opens up | New films, books and the presidential campaign of Mormon Mitt Romney, former governor of Massachusetts, are bringing Mormonism into sharper focus on the national scene. The question: Will closer examination hasten society's embrace of this group or reinforce longstanding fears? (USA Today)

  • GOP candidates woo 10 religious conservatives | After dozens of interviews with conservative opinion makers, grass-roots activists and political scientists, RNS winnowed the list of Religious Right power brokers to 10 people (Religion News Service)

  • Challenger from right will seek Bruce's seat | A politically connected conservative and former employee of Focus on the Family has set up a Web page announcing she'll seek the District 2 commissioner seat held by fellow Republican Douglas Bruce (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

  • Catholic candidates clash | Presidential contenders Chris Dodd and Sam Brownback — one Democrat, one Republican — demonstrated Monday how their political differences are rooted in their varying interpretations of their shared Catholic faith (Associated Press)

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Homosexuality & civil unions:

  • Civil unions gain ground as a governor vows action | New Hampshire's governor said Thursday that he would sign a bill legalizing civil unions for same-sex couples (The New York Times)

  • Some say civil unions dropping off | In a week when New Hampshire and Oregon moved closer to joining four other states that grant marriage-style rights to same-sex couples, gay rights advocates say the honeymoon is already over for middle-ground alternatives to matrimony (USA Today)

  • Spitzer plans to introduce gay marriage bill | The move would propel New York to the forefront of one of the most contentious issues in politics (The New York Times)

  • Wash. gov. signs domestic partner bill | Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed into law Saturday a measure to create domestic partnerships, giving gay and lesbian couples some of the same rights that come with marriage (Associated Press)

  • Mr. Spitzer and gay marriage | The news that Gov. Eliot Spitzer will soon introduce a bill to legalize same-sex marriage is welcome and could give new national momentum to this important cause (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Gay gains | New Hampshire is poised to join the growing list of states allowing civil unions (Editorial, The Washington Post)

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Non-US politics:

  • Without God on your side | Those with no religion risk being marginalised, but will today's debate in the House of Lords help? (Andrew Copson, The Guardian, London)

  • Arab Israeli lawmaker resigns | Azmi Bishara, a key minority leader and a Christian from Nazareth, says he will stay abroad to avoid any travel restrictions (Los Angeles Times)

  • Christianity is on party's agenda | The Scottish Christian Party has claimed it has won support from both churchgoers and non-believers during its Holyrood election bid. (BBC)

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International aid & missions:

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  • Religious work visas subject to more scrutiny | If federal officials have their way, the door to religious sanctuaries may no longer be a physical barrier to the separation of church and state (Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.)

  • Visa fraud prompts federal church probes | The federal government is inspecting churches and religious groups to clamp down on fraud in a visa program for religious workers, government officials said Thursday (Associated Press)

  • New rules proposed for religious workers | Federal immigration officials, trying to get a handle on a years-old problem of rampant fraud among religious worker visa applications, proposed new rules yesterday that would require the government to visit churches or other religious groups to make sure they really exist (The Washington Times)

  • Fraud found in religious worker visas | The Homeland Security Department plans to begin inspecting religious organizations in an effort to prevent radical groups from using a special government visa program to get terrorists into the country (USA Today)

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Bible Park:

  • Bible Park U.S.A. | Depictions of Moses standing before a burning bush and Noah's Ark are envisioned as theme attractions at a "Bible Park U.S.A." proposed for Rutherford County (The Murfreesboro Post, Tenn.)

  • Visit would be a journey of biblical proportions | Visitors entering the proposed "Bible Park USA" would walk through the gates of Jericho, a developer said. Actors will be hired to represent people from biblical times, said Armon Bar-Tur, a New York-based project manager who may build the park in Rutherford County. (The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

  • There ought to be a law | A "virtual tour" of the new Bible themepark (Stephen Lewis, The Murfreesboro Post, Tenn.)

  • Bible Park's economic impact unclear | A proposed Bible park for Rutherford County is expected to draw about 800,000 to 1 million visitors annually (The Murfreesboro Post, Tenn.)

  • Ministers react to proposed Bible oriented theme park | Developers of the proposed Bible park reported the tourist attraction would depict the Old and New Testaments. Developers are considering Rutherford County as a possible location (The Murfreesboro Post, Tenn.)

  • Bible Park USA forces local leaders to go soul-searching | Government officials have many things to ponder as developers propose opening Bible Park USA in the heart of the Blackman community (The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

  • Bible park could generate millions, but one pastor a 'little uneasy' | While Rutherford County business leaders tout how a proposed Bible-story theme park could bring significant tourism dollars here, the enterprise worries at least one local pastor (The Daily News Journal, Murfreesboro, Tenn.)

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Taylor University:

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  • Christian group accredits Patrick Henry College | 2 more professors have announced they will leave (The Washington Post)

  • Christian school drops smacking | Wainuiomata Christian School will be calling on parents to discipline their own children if it becomes necessary after being forced to back down on its stance on corporal punishment (One News, New Zealand)

  • Christian school slams 'trendy PC laws' | A Christian school threatened with closure has backed down on the use of corporal punishment, but has attacked the Government's "trendy PC" laws and its education system (The Dominion Post, New Zealand)

  • Boys need more sport at school, says bishop | The failure to instil a sporting culture in the state system has left many young men with pent-up aggression that results in thousands underachieving in class, according to the Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali (The Telegraph, London)

  • Group protests suspension of students | More than 100 people carrying placards surrounded Rio Linda High School to greet arriving students, teachers and administrators Monday to protest last week's suspension of more than a dozen anti-gay students (Sacramento Bee, Ca.)

  • Summary of Supreme Court actions Monday | Among them: Denied former Catholic nun Lynette Petruska's bid to revive a lawsuit challenging her dismissal as college chaplain by Gannon University, a private school in Erie, Pa. (Associated Press)

  • Claims of bias center on religion | A school nurse claims the Erie County Health Department wrongly changed her work schedule because she refused to participate in a sex education class for students due to her religious beliefs (The Morning Journal, Lorain, Oh.)

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  • Kelley calls seminary's recovery 'a miracle' | New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary suffered at least $55 million in hurricane damage. "With insurance, the gifts of Southern Baptists and others, and untold volunteer labor, we are down to looking for the last $1.2 million of that amount," president said. "This is a miracle!" (Baptist Press)

  • Study links private schools, religion and better marks for lagging students | Minority and low-income students who attend private school and come from stable, religious families reach about the same level of academic success as their white and wealthier counterparts, according to a new study presented at Baylor University (Waco Tribune-Herald, Tex.)

  • Explaining an exodus | High turnover at a Louisiana Baptist college leads to questions about how academic freedom and mission can co-exist (Inside Higher Ed)

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Abstinence education:

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Bible class:

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  • The naturalist and the anti-bigot | Nicholas Blincoe reviews Against All Gods by AC Grayling, Experience and Religion by Nicholas Mosley and Why Is There Something Rather Than Nothing by Leszek Kolakowski (The Telegraph, London)

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Arts & Entertainment:

  • Lost altar paintings go for £1.7m | The altar panels, painted by Italian monk Fra Angelico in 1439, disappeared after the altar was destroyed in the Napoleonic wars. (BBC)

  • BBC scraps Heaven and Earth show | BBC One's long-running Sunday morning religious series will be replaced by two new religious programmes, Heart And Soul and Life From the Loft (BBC)

  • Evolution, on Broadway and off | "Inherit the Wind," the half-century-old melodrama about populist attacks on evolution, might itself be consigned fossil status but for the current events of 2007 (Francix X. Clines, The New York Times)

  • Hallelujah indeed: Debating Handel's anti-Semitism | A panel discussion on anti-Semitism in Handel's "Messiah" was relatively restrained (The New York Times)

  • I came, I 'Saw III,' I conquered | One student's slasher movie is another's religious experience (Joe Queenan, The New York Times)

  • A Mass by committee, and a test of belief | Chanticleer, the San Francisco-based choir, has commissioned a new Mass whose very conception raises many questions about music and religion (The New York Times)

  • Crucifix-in' for trouble | Tori Amos's latest CD cover features a photo of her standing in a shimmering lavender dress with a Bible in one hand, the word "shame" scrawled on the palm of her other, and blood running down her leg (New York Post)

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  • Sex & politics in Seven Stories' Haggard book | Mixing the salacious with the substantive, Seven Stories Press is publishing I Had to Say Something: The Art of Ted Haggard's Fall, a memoir by Mike Jones, the male prostitute who publicly outed anti-gay minister Ted Haggard as a former client (PW Daily, Publishers Weekly)

  • At 75, a battle-tested but unwavering cardinal | Edward M. Egan, a white-haired prince of the Roman Catholic Church, remains something of a riddle (The New York Times)

  • Goal! He spends it on Beckham | Phil Anschutz bets on star power, and everything else (The New York Times)

  • Robert Evel Knievel | His interview with Robert H. Schuller at the Crystal Cathedral (Hour of Power, video)

  • Salma Hayek: Hot mama! | "I still believe in Jesus Christ. I believe in God. Also, I don't like the way the Bible views women" (Marie Claire)

  • Achtung, Bono | The Christian rock band U2 continues to enter the world in some surprising ways. (James Parker, The Boston Globe)

  • Faith may raise expectations for Johnson | Johnson's mention of his Christian faith after winning the Masters on Easter Sunday has stirred discomfort among some believing the separation between church and sport should be as strong as between church and state (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  • Putting his faith in study of astronomy | Baltimore native honored for 28 years at observatory (The Baltimore Sun)

  • CBS evening blues | Many CBS News staffers still upset about "Free Speech" segment Oct. 2, the day five Amish schoolgirls were murdered in Lancaster County (The Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Huge choir for Benny Hinn Kampala crusade | Visiting televangelist and controversial "miracle healer" Benny Hinn is expected to raise the biggest crowds at any single event this year and perhaps even set a record for all time (The Monitor, Uganda)

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  • Face to faith: Whatever happened to inspiration? | Religious leaders should be hopeful, not defensive, in public debate (Tom Horwood, The Guardian, London)

  • Our marital future | One Democrat gets it (Robert P. George & Ryan T. Anderson, National Review Online)

  • Saintly bad behavior | The lives of the saints show us that being holy means being human, not perfect. (James Martin, Slate)

  • The secrets of the Christian right's recruiting tactics | A look at the cult-like recruiting tactics of the Christian right, including the manipulative and highly successful practice of "love bombing." (Chris Hedges, Truthdig/Alternet)

  • The truth about lying and laughing | Why are we so bad at spotting a lie, do we smile when no one is looking, and what's the funniest joke ever told? (Richard Wiseman, The Guardian, London)

  • Victims of terror aren't terrorists | Even though they have been brutalized by the factional fighting in Iraq, the U.S. government might label them supporters of terrorism (Anna Husarska, Los Angeles Times)

  • 'Antichrist' cancels visit to Guatemala | An American religious leader who calls himself the "Antichrist" canceled a visit to Guatemala after the Central American country barred him as a security risk, saying he provokes conflict with Roman Catholics and evangelicals. (Associated Press)

  • Grave curse shows Shakespeare's fear for his bones | A curse engraved on the tomb of playwright William Shakespeare may have saved his remains from being exhumed, an academic says (Reuters)

  • Study: Religion is good for kids | Kids with religious parents are better behaved and adjusted than other children, according to a new study that is the first to look at the effects of religion on young child development. The conflict that arises when parents regularly argue over their faith at home, however, has the opposite effect (LiveScience)

  • Rally planners: Jamestown settlers came to spread Gospel | With an abiding faith that the 1607 Jamestown settlers came to spread the Gospel, modern evangelicals plan to rally Sunday at the Oceanfront to celebrate what they call America's founding as a Christian land (The Virginian-Pilot)

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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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