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'We Could Not Reach Out to Him,' Says Campus Crusade Leader

Plus: Supreme Court's abortion decision, Zimbabwe gets worse, and other stories.

Top Five

1. Faith of Cho Seung-Hui uncertain, but not that of many of his victims
Two days after the deadly shootings at Virginia Tech, many questions remain unanswered. Among them are questions about Cho's personal religious beliefs and his attitude toward Christians. The few details that have emerged in the press so far seem to raise more questions than they answer. The Associated Press reports, for example:

Cho … left a note that was found after the bloodbath. A law enforcement official described it Tuesday as a typed, eight-page rant against rich kids and religion. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. "You caused me to do this," the official quoted the note as saying. Cho indicated in his letter that the end was near and that there was a deed to be done, the official said. He also expressed disappointment in his own religion, and made several references to Christianity, the official said.

Unanswered: What was "his own religion"? USA Today says that at least one point, he (like many South Koreans) was a Presbyterian: "Pastor Cha Young Ho of the Korean Presbyterian Church said that the family once belonged to his church and that Cho was a quiet boy."

McClatchy reporters talked with Young-Hwan Kim, president of the school's Korean Campus Crusade for Christ chapter. "No one knew him," Kim said. "We had no contact throughout four years. It's amazing. We could not reach out to him." It wasn't for lack of trying, Kim said. Members of Korean Campus Crusade repeatedly invited him to meetings, he said, but Cho wouldn't even provide personal contact information.

Another "reference to Christianity" comes from AOL blogger Ian MacFarlane's posting of Cho's now infamous plays. As The Washington Post summarizes, "The two plays are filled with diatribes against Catholic priests and Michael Jackson, along with references to government conspiracies to kill Marilyn Monroe and John Lennon."

If Cho's faith remains something of a mystery, Christianity is front and center in much of the memorial. Stories of the victims are trickling out. The Myspace page of Lauren McCain, 20, now continues her testimony. "The purpose and love of my life is Jesus Christ," she wrote. "I don't have to argue religion, philosophy, or historical evidence because I KNOW Him. He is just as real, if not more so, as my 'earthly' father."

McCain is becoming one of the more prominent Christian victims, but she's not alone. "Several of our students were killed," Campus Crusade leader Tony Arnold told Mission Network News. "Three that we know were involved with either Campus Crusade for Christ or with one of our sister affiliate ministries called Valor. There's also another student that is not officially listed yet, but since no one has been able to reach her, we believe she must be among the casualties."

Yesterday's public convocation also offered several notes of faith. WorldNetDaily complained that "speakers … called on Allah and Buddha in their efforts to minister to the survivors, family and friends of victims of the shooting massacre at the school — but Jesus wasn't mentioned by name."

Apparently quoting Jesus doesn't count: The thousands of attendees recited The Lord's Prayer. Both the speeches of President George W. Bush and Gov. Tim Kaine have also been noted for their religious references.

Kaine invoked Job and Jesus. Job, he said, "was angry at his Creator. He argued with God. He didn't lose his faith, but it's okay to argue. It's okay to be angry." It's also okay to feel despair, he said, pointing to "those haunting words that were uttered on a hill, on Calvary, "My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me?'" But do not let go of community, Kaine urged both those directly lost family members and those able to help the grieving.

Bush sounded a similar note. "Across the town of Blacksburg and in towns all across America, houses of worship from every faith have opened their doors and have lifted you up in prayer," he said. "People who have never met you are praying for you; they're praying for your friends who have fallen and who are injured. There's a power in these prayers, real power. In times like this, we can find comfort in the grace and guidance of a loving God. As the Scriptures tell us, 'Don't be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.'"

These are just a few of the faith tidbits appearing in the media so far. Christianity Today has a reporter in Blacksburg and will be looking for other news about campus ministry, the church, and what God is doing at Virginia Tech.

2. Supreme Court supports ban on partial-birth abortion
The government has a "legitimate, substantial interest in preserving and promoting fetal life," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote today for the five-justice majority upholding the federal government's 2003 ban on partial-birth abortion. "The government may use its voice and its regulatory authority to show its profound respect for the life within the woman."

But this won't save lives, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg responded in her dissent: "The law saves not a single fetus from destruction, for it targets only a method of performing abortion." (Strange bedfellows: The American Life League made the same claim in its 2003 "no compromise" dismissal of the ban.) The ban and the court's decision, Ginsburg said, "cannot be understood as anything other than an effort to chip away at a right declared again and again by this Court — and with increasing comprehension of its centrality to women's lives."

And yet, Roe and the Supreme Court's later rulings on abortion have always allowed limitations on that right in theory. In this case, Kennedy wrote, the ban's opponents "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases." Nor is it "void for vagueness, or that it imposes an undue burden on a woman's right to abortion based on its overbreadth or lack of a health exception."

We'll have an original reaction story on the decision shortly. In the meantime, be sure to read our editorial (most of which was originally written to address South Dakota's abortion ban). National Review's editorial is remarkable as well: "Four justices on the Supreme Court have accepted all the premises for a constitutional right to infanticide. They lack only the nerve to take their reasoning to its logical conclusion."

3. Christian publishing house attacked in Turkey; three workers' throats slit
From the Associated Press: "Assailants tied up three people at a publishing house that distributes Bibles in Turkey and then slit their throats Wednesday, adding to a string of attacks apparently targeting the country's tiny Christian minority." The BBC adds, citing unnamed local media: "Nationalists had protested at the publishing house in the past, accusing it of involvement in missionary activities." A German national was among the victims.

4. Zimbabwe deregisters all aid groups to fight "agents of imperialism"
Not much good news out of Zimbabwe. One exception: A prayer rally to pray for democracy occurred without violence. But that happened only after police forbade opposition figures from addressing the congregation. At another recent rally, lead opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was severely beaten by police and hospitalized. Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe praised the police for "bashing" those who attended the "illegal" prayer rally.

Now comes particularly bad news. The government has deregistered the more than 1,000 nongovernmental organizations in the country. Those who want to stay will have to reapply for new permits.

"Pro-opposition and Western organizations masquerading as relief agencies continue to mushroom, and the Government has annulled the registration of all NGOs in order to screen out agents of imperialism from organizations working to uplift the wellbeing of the poor," Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu told The Times of London.

Among the reasons, sources tell the Times: The government wants to control all food distribution so that it can reward political supporters and punish political opponents.

5. A curious Easter sermon
Holy Week is two weeks gone, but an article that ran on Holy Wednesday is still bothering me. The title of Diana Butler Bass's post on the Sojourners God's Politics blog is promising: "Believing the Resurrection." But the article is anything but. She writes:

One year, as Easter approached, I overheard an exchange between [Episcopal bishop Daniel Corrigan, an] octogenarian liberal lion, and a fellow parishioner. "Bishop Corrigan," the person asked, "Do you believe in the resurrection?" Frankly, I could not wait to hear the answer — like most of his generation, there was no way that Bishop Corrigan believed in a literal resurrection. He looked at the questioner and said firmly, without pause, "Yes. I believe in the resurrection. I've seen it too many times not to." …
Bishop Corrigan's comment — a comment upon which I have mediated for some dozen years — points to a different way of embracing, of believing, the resurrection. His answer both defies the conventional approach to the resurrection (as a scientifically verifiable event), and maintains the truthfulness (the credibility) of the resurrection as historically viable and real. The resurrection is not an intellectual puzzle. Rather, it is a living theological reality, a distant event with continuing spiritual, human, and social consequences. The evidence for the resurrection is all around us. Not in some ancient text, Jesus bones, or a DNA sample. Rather, the historical evidence for the resurrection is Jesus living in us; it is the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, bringing back to life that which was dead. We are the evidence.
There is a woman in my church in Washington, D.C., who was homeless for 15 years. Several years ago, she came to Epiphany Church and was welcomed by the congregation's ministry to homeless people. … Eventually, she moved off the street into Section 8 housing, secured both work and support, and pulled her life together. An active member of Epiphany, she helps run the homeless ministry, serves as a Sunday reader, and usher. When I see her on Sunday, she is a living, breathing, historical witness that the resurrection is true.

There is a truly orthodox sense in which Christ's resurrection is manifested in the transformation of our lives today. But Jesus' resurrection is not just "living theological reality." It is a living reality with no modifying adjective. The "transformative power of the Holy Spirit" is the gift of Pentecost, not of Easter. And without Easter—without a real empty tomb—there is no Pentecost. To say "I've seen the resurrection many times" is to deny the central truth of the Resurrection. Jesus' Resurrection was unique and cataclysmic. It was not a resuscitation, nor a life "pulled together." It was the turning point of history. We may see its effects, but we won't see anything truly like it until Jesus comes again.

Several of Bass's readers were troubled by her comment. Says Mark P : "It seems to me, though, that you're being intellectually dishonest if you can't answer that parishioner's question in one of three ways: Yes, no, or I don't know. … [W]hen you hem and haw about metaphor and 'resurrections' of homeless people, the subtext of your answer is, 'No, I don't believe the story, but I'm afraid to admit it.'"

"I am sorry to see that I will have to leave Sojourners to find a Christian call to activism," writes Tim. "I'll stick with what Paul wrote." JK similarly writes, "I am a strong supporter of many of the issues Sojourners addresses. … However, I cannot support an organization that allows blogger opinions that deny the very basics of the Christian faith."

It should be mentioned that the Easter blog posts of Sojourners head Jim Wallis—a three-part excerpt from his book The Call to Conversion—strongly support both the centrality and the reality of the Resurrection (especially the third part). But one wonders what he and Sojourners thought about Bass's column—and why they decided to lend the Sojourners name to it. One expects Wallis—whose career has been devoted to separating liberal politics from liberal theology—to hear that question more than once in the coming months.

In the meantime, Wallis may want to give Bass a copy of N.T. Wright's The Resurrection of the Son of God. Or at least 1 Corinthians.

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  • Music Review: Rev. Timothy Wright | Wright's new "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" album (Koch Records) offers more of his effortlessly timeless sound (Associated Press)

  • SXSW fest erases indie/pop divide | In pop music, notions of "high" and "low" don't hold up under close scrutiny (Associated Press)

  • Gospel label eyes country success for new trio | Austins Bridge brings to the table a new sound that is prompting Daywind Records to explore options in the country and adult contemporary formats (Reuters)

  • Higher-powered music: Contemporary gospel finds a home in D.C. | Last week -- in a move curiously made possible by the demise of the nation's oldest commercial classical radio station -- the country's largest black-owned broadcasting company finally put Praise 104.1 on the air in Washington, on Easter Sunday (The Washington Post)

  • Unsettling history of that joyous 'hallelujah' | A holiday favorite was originally meant to celebrate the destruction of Jerusalem (Michael Marissen, The New York Times)

  • Assault on Christendom | Wow. We didn't know. The "Hallelujah Chorus" is a paean celebrating Titus' sack of Jerusalem and the Christian's God's bloody vengeance upon the Jews. That was The New York Times' Easter Sunday gift to its readers, courtesy of Swarthmore professor Michael Marissen (Michael Linton, First Things)

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Arts & Theater:

  • 'Inherit the Wind' crackles with drama | It takes two larger-than-life actors to make "Inherit the Wind" really crackle, and its latest Broadway revival has come up with quite a pair — Christopher Plummer and Brian Dennehy (Associated Press)

  • Plummer, Dennehy ride 'Wind' revival | To say that the play is at least as topical now as it was in 1955 is not to say that it doesn't show its age (USA Today)

  • Bibles thumping, suspenders snapping | Since not one soul in this revival has a flicker of Christopher Plummer's fire, this play is not the crackling courtroom drama it was intended to be (The New York Times)

  • Chocolate Jesus | Are these works distasteful renderings of a the most significant event in history, or comments on our own candy-coating of the events of the Crucifixion? (Ruth Gledhill, The Times, London)

  • What's a little blasphemy? | Christians elsewhere contend with much worse - even death (Rod Dreher, The Dallas Morning News)

  • Christian folk tale opens arts center | Dancers portray both the tragedy of Jesus' death and the redemptive power of the resurrection it presages (The Boston Globe)

  • Don't be afraid of the winged messengers | A 1,200-year-old carved figure of the Angel Gabriel has transcended history with its timeless message of hope (The Times, London)

  • Dutch cathedral unveils 9/11 attack in stained glass | A new stained glass window in a Dutch cathedral containing an image of the World Trade Center attacks was blessed on Sunday by a Dutch bishop (Reuters)

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  • FCC's hands tied on airwaves | Activists are urging the agency to fine stations over Don Imus' racially offensive remarks. But that poses free speech problems, experts say (Los Angeles Times)

  • First religious radio licence awarded | The first nationwide Christian and religious radio licence has been awarded to a not-for-profit company headed by the former chairman of the Dublin Docklands Authority (RTE, Ireland)

  • Religious broadcasters: A la carte is a 'dagger' | Cable A La Carte is a "dagger aimed at the heart of religious broadcasting in America." That is according to the Faith and Family Broadcasting Coalition, which represents religious broadcasters including Dr. Paul Crouch of Trinity, Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson (Broadcasting & Cable)

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  • Blogging for Jesus, political junkies turn to CBN.com | David Brody, a journalist for Pat Robertson's TV network, develops a real web base among followers of the presidential races (Los Angeles Times)

  • Christians have all the best laughs on GodTube | Many Christians appear delighted that there is now a corner of the internet where they can go for entertainment without risk of encountering mayhem or vice (The Times, London)

  • Religious Web sites ape MySpace, YouTube | A number of religious Web sites are aping the names and styles of some of the Web's most popular sites. Chief among them are GodTube.com, a video-sharing site for Christians, and MyChurch.org, a social networking realm (Associated Press)

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Media & Entertainment:

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Zach Johnson:

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  • 'John Donne: The Reformed Soul' by John Stubbs | Reviewed by Wendy Smith (Los Angeles Times)

  • Last 'Left Behind' Book Debuts | The last 'Left Behind' book in the series, Kingdom Come, is being released this week (Day to Day, NPR)

  • 'Left Behind' series leaves behind a changed world for Christian novels | As booksellers hunt for the next big hit, the long-run future for a broad range of Christian books seems quite rosy (Josh Getlin and K. Connie Kang, The Morning Call, Allentown, Pa.)

  • Ready for Romney? | Carrie Sheffield reviews A Mormon in the White House? by Hugh Hewitt (The Washington Post)

  • Self-help's slimy 'Secret' | As 'The Secret' puts it, all you have to do is 'put in your order with the universe.' Ask. Believe. Receive. That's the mantra. (Tim Watkin, The Washington Post)

  • Sociable Darwinism | David Sloan Wilson says evolution predisposes us to play well with others. Natalie Angier reviews Evolution for Everyone (The New York Times Book Review, first chapter)

  • The observer | Unraveling the complexities, paradoxes of Tocqueville - a man admired by liberals and conservatives alike (Michael Kammen, The Boston Globe)

  • The sanguine sex | Abortion and the bloodiness of being female. Caitlin Flanagan reviews The Choices We Made by Angela Bonavoglia and The Girls Who Went Away by Ann Fessler (The Atlantic Monthly)

  • The scale of Einstein, from faith to formulas | In his confidently authoritative new book, Walter Isaacson deals clearly and comfortably with the scope of Einstein's life. Janet Maslin reviews Einstein: His Life and Universe (The New York Times)

  • The unbeliever | A minister who doesn't believe runs into the Devil who doesn't care. Ron Charles reviews The Testament of Gideon Mack by James Robertson (The Washington Post)

  • Virgin territory | Is virginity a real condition or was it invented to control women and their sexuality? Marina Warner reviews Hanne Blank's Virgin (The Washington Post)

  • What would Jesus read? | New religion-themed books span genres, faiths (Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  • Einstein & faith | In an exclusive excerpt from a new biography, the great physicist wrestles with what it means to believe in God (Walter Isaacson, Time)

  • 'Einstein': It's relatively good | Icon, genius, celebrity — Albert Einstein still enthralls, thanks to discoveries that made him the 20th century's lead scientist (Dan Vergano, USA Today)

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  • Evangelical separation anxiety | What the Bible says about divorce (David Instone-Brewer, The Wall Street Journal)

  • iPod Bibles, BibleZines? You name it, they've got it | Marketing manager says specialty Bibles "are born out of the intention of publishers to meet people where they are" (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

  • To hear the word of God, press play | "The Word of Promise," a lavishly produced, word-for-word dramatic reading of the Bible by Jim Caviezel and other Hollywood stars will fill 70 CDs. It stars Jim Caviezel as Jesus, Terence Stamp as God, Michael York as the narrator, Luke Perry as Judas and Marisa Tomei as Mary Magdalene. (Los Angeles Times)

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  • A belated ode to April Fool's | Bibfeldt is a voice in the wilderness that religion reporters cover (Manya Brachear, Chicago Tribune)

  • Auction of King documents called off | "The papers need to be further evaluated before they go on the open market," said Gallery owner Paul Brown (Associated Press)

  • Audrey Santo, said to perform miracles, dies | After two decades of attracting believers and inspiring others to recommit to their Catholicism, Audrey Marie Santo has died. The 23-year-old was in a coma-like state since she nearly drowned in her family's pool in 1987, and died Saturday in her home of cardio-respiratory failure, according to her family's obituary issued by a funeral home (Associated Press)

  • Billy Graham: A spirit unbowed | In an e-mail interview with Faith + Values reporter Pamela Miller, the Rev. Billy Graham, 88, talked about his declining health, his final resting place, his vision of heaven, the war in Iraq and currents in the evangelical world (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Carrollton man's suit against Pat Robertson dismissed | | Federal judge dismisses a lawsuit that claimed religious broadcaster Pat Robertson misused a Texas bodybuilder's image to promote the televangelist's protein diet shake (Associated Press)

  • Meetings are part revival, part rally, but all Sharpton | When the Rev. Al Sharpton opens the doors of his National Action Network's headquarters, sometimes he raises money, and sometimes he makes national news (The New York Times)

  • Minister Set World Records for Splitting Phone Books | Ed Charon, 71, a Christian pastor famous for his record-setting ability to rip apart dozens of 1,000-page telephone books within minutes, died April 8 at a hospital near his home in Sutherlin, Ore. (The Washington Post)

  • Reginald Fuller, 92; biblical scholar | Known for solid critical analysis combined with what he once referred to as "a firm commitment to the orthodox teachings of the church," Fuller wrote more than 10 books, including "A Critical Introduction to the New Testament," published in 1965, which has been used as a textbook in some Christian seminaries (Los Angeles Times)

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  • Easter story highlights role of women in Jesus' life and death | Scholars differ on the implications for women's roles in the church, but agree that women are an important part of Jesus' story (Religion News Service)

  • Having faith in women| When it comes to women, the world of religion seems to be stuck in the past (USA Today)

  • Centuries of progress | Though it has been a slow climb, women have risen to official religious leadership positions throughout the world and specifically in the USA (Victoria Shapiro, USA Today)

  • Women of faith | Mary Magdalene and other women who followed Jesus were the first to learn of the empty tomb and to spread word of the Resurrection (Religion News Service)

  • 'Equality' issue of women bishops | Women should be allowed to become bishops simply because of principles of equality and justice, the Church in Wales' governing body has been told (BBC)

  • Vote in 2008 to decide women bishops issue | The issue of women bishops in Wales now faces a 2008 vote after clergy presented heated arguments for and against the move at an annual meeting (Western Mail & Echo, Wales, U.K.)

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  • Tangled Up in Bob | A little PR advice from one Catholic to another (Charles Pierce, The Boston Globe)

  • Vatican envoy to avoid Holocaust ceremony | The Vatican's ambassador to Israel has said he will skip the official Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at a national museum to protest the museum's depiction of Pope Pius XII (The New York Times)

  • Pope's envoy to attend Holocaust service | Vatican officials had earlier said they would skip the Sunday event because of a caption at the Holocaust museum describing the wartime conduct of Pope Pius XII (Associated Press)

  • Cardinal at work, joking after fall | Cardinal jokes "I feel good except when it hurts" (Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Cardinal in hospital after fall; Plans for Easter mass, Vatican trip canceled | Cardinal Francis George was hospitalized with a slight hip fracture Saturday after he slipped and fell inside a Chicago church while blessing Easter baskets, archdiocese officials said (Chicago Tribune)

  • Cardinal: 'Oh, my gosh, that's all I need.' | Cardinal Francis George admitted today he was scared when doctors told him he fractured his hip after he slipped on holy water and fell in a Northwest Side church while blessing Easter baskets on Saturday, but was relieved when he was told it was just a crack (Chicago Tribune)

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Benedict XVI:

  • Pope, as author, portrays the 'real Jesus' | The pontiff's new book is a 'personal search for the face of the Lord.' (Los Angeles Times)

  • Pope's book sells 50k copies in one day | The 448-page book went on sale in German, Italian and Polish on Monday. The English-language edition is set for release May 15 and translations are planned for 16 other languages (Associated Press)

  • Activists ask pope to abandon fur | An Italian animal rights group is asking Pope Benedict XVI to give up his fur, including an ermine-trimmed red velvet cape and papal hat, in "a choice of high religious and ethical value" (Associated Press)

  • Different theories to explain life's origins | Former students of Pope Benedict published a book in Germany on Wednesday showing how Catholic theologians see no contradiction between their belief in divine creation and the scientific theory of evolution (Associated Press)

  • In Easter address, pope laments global violence | Benedict's remarks on woes in Asia and Africa resonate with war and death penalty foes who joined celebrants (Los Angeles Times)

  • Pope Benedict the invisible | Benedict has been almost invisible in the places he's needed most (Joseph Contreras, Newsweek)

  • Pope gets huge toy bear as birthday gift | The Pope sent it on to Rome's Bambino Gesu (Baby Jesus) children's hospital and received a letter of thanks from the young patients there (Reuters)

  • Pope marks 80th birthday with huge Mass | Pope Benedict gave thanks for his 80 years of life dedicated to the Church with a special Sunday Mass, a celebration tinged with nostalgia which drew a huge crowd to St. Peter's Square (Associated Press)

  • Pope says science too narrow to explain creation | Pope Benedict, elaborating his views on evolution for the first time as Pontiff, says science has narrowed the way life's origins are understood and Christians should take a broader approach to the question (Reuters)

  • Pope set to make mark on U.S. church | Two years into his reign, Pope Benedict XVI is finally poised to make a major mark on American Catholicism with a string of key bishop appointments and important decisions about the future of U.S. seminaries and bishops' involvement in politics (Associated Press)

  • Pope says evolution can't be proven | Benedict XVI says that Darwin's theory cannot be finally proven and that science has unnecessarily narrowed humanity's view of creation (Associated Press)

  • Pope stirs up evolution debate | Pope Benedict XVI has made his first comments on evolution, saying God alone cannot provide an explanation for the variety of life on Earth (The Telegraph, London)

  • Pope stokes debate on Darwin and evolution | Evolution has not been "scientifically" proven and science has unnecessarily narrowed humanity's view of creation, Pope Benedict has said (The Times, London)

  • Pope puts his faith in the Book of Genesis, not Darwin | Pope Benedict XVI has stepped into the debate over Darwinism with remarks that will be seen as an endorsement of "intelligent design" (The Times, London)

  • Pope walks tightrope on evolution | Has Pope Benedict embraced intelligent design? Not exactly—but many of those who back ID will draw encouragement from his remarks (Richard Owen, The Times, London)

  • Pope's German birthplace open to public | At the pope's urging, the foundation that owns the home did not try to restore the structure to the state it was in 80 years ago. Instead, exhibits recount Joseph Ratzinger's life and teachings and stress the importance of his close family and the roles played by his parents, Josef and Maria Ratzinger (Associated Press)

  • The anti-secularist: Keeping the faith | Pope Benedict XVI says he believes that the Roman Catholic Church in Europe faces a dire threat in secularism and that re-Christianizing the Continent is critical not only to the fate of the church but to the fate of Europe itself (Russell Shorto, The New York Times Magazine)

  • The eyes of hope | The danger of Benedict's negativism about Iraq is that it will be interpreted in a way that will undermine the West in the war with the very extremist factions he seemed concerned about last year at Regensburg (Editorial, The New York Sun)

  • The Pope and Islam | Is there anything that Benedict XVI would like to discuss? (The New Yorker)

  • After 2 years, pope turns right | As he approaches the third year of his reign, Pope Benedict XVI is hardening into the kind of pontiff that liberals feared and conservatives hoped for (Associated Press)

  • 1 million-plus Brazilians to see Pope | The Pope is expected to attract more than a million people to two open-air Masses during his upcoming visit to Sao Paulo, Brazil (Associated Press)

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Holy Week:

  • Easter: a cross to bear| The outside world seems ignorant of the solemnity that surrounds the religious observance of Holy Week (Stephen Bates, The Guardian, London)

  • Embrace freedom | Christianity badly needs to reclaim the message of liberty so powerfully announced by Passover (Giles Fraser, The Guardian, London)

  • No car in L.A.? Must be Lent | Lifestyle changes and lessons learned from going without wheels for 40 days (Robin Rauzi, Los Angeles Times)

  • Pilgrims Make Trek to 'Lourdes of America' | New Mexico chapel, said to be built on sacred ground, is destination for thousands (The Washington Post)

  • Thousands to walk 'via crucis' | Thousands of Roman Catholics are expected to commemorate Jesus Christ's last hours in street processions throughout the area today (The Washington Times)

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  • Pastors feel the pressure on Easter morning | Most pastors prepare for Easter weeks, if not months, in advance (Los Angeles Daily News)

  • Rare occurrence as 2 faiths mark Easter | From Moscow to Washington, Rome to Jerusalem, Christians of the Orthodox and Western faiths celebrated Easter on Sunday, prayed for a better future and relished their ancient rituals (Associated Press)

  • Signs of good and evil | As Easter approaches, a Connecticut photo store put up this sign: "Beep for Christ." The owner of the tattoo shop next door responded with a sign that suggested honking twice for Satan. The local zoning board stepped into the dispute and ordered both signs removed, saying signage should pertain to business. But the "Beep for Christ" sign remains up (Morning Edition, NPR)

  • The flesh and blood hopes of Easter | Only when good news is within one's grasp can it be enjoyed (Editorial, The Telegraph, London)

  • Tsunami victims fill churches on Easter | Scores of villagers descended from hilltop camps to attend Easter celebrations in the Solomon Islands on Sunday, praying for the victims of last week's magnitude-8.1 earthquake and killer waves (Associated Press)

  • Two Variations on the Easter Sermon | The Right Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Episcopal Bishop of New York and Pastor David Crosby of the First Baptist Church in New Orleans talk about the messages of their Easter Sunday sermons (Weekend Edition Sunday, NPR)

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  • Anglican meeting set on gay issue | Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, visiting Canada for a spiritual retreat with the country's Anglican bishops, said he would meet with U.S. Episcopal leaders in the fall. (Associated Press)

  • Church is bogged down warns Archbishop | Archbishop of York says the Church of England is failing in its duty to spread the message of Christ because it is preoccupied by issues such as the ordination of homosexual priests (The Observer, U.K.)

  • Episcopal Bishop Bolts to Anglicans | A retired Oklahoma bishop charged with violating church law resigned this week from the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church and has been accepted into the Anglican Diocese of Argentina (Tulsa World)

  • Episcopal bishops castigate Williams | Several American Episcopal bishops as well as the archbishop of the Anglican Church of Canada have -- in a rare show of public pique -- castigated the English prelate for his handling of the homosexuality issue (The Washington Times)

  • Episcopal diversity | This is a confusing story, and sometimes it can be miscast simply as a battle over theology or a dispute over church finances. It is that, but there's more at play here -- and newspapers don't always have the time or space to get into the nuance (Colorado Springs Gazette Religion Blog)

  • 'Let women be bishops'—Morgan | The leader of the Anglican church in Wales has called for his church to allow women priests to become bishops (BBC)

  • No penalty, no atonement | Are the views of the Dean of St Albans, Jeffrey John, orthodox or not? (Ruth Gledhill, The Times, London)

  • Primate says Williams is indecisive leader | An Anglican primate has launched a stinging attack on the Archbishop of Canterbury's "indecisive" leadership (The Telegraph, London)

  • Why the church must ease the pain of Rowan's Passion | The archbishop has the ideal qualities to counter his critics over his support for homosexuality - inner strength and humility (Richard Harries, The Observer, U.K.)

  • Williams says gay-marriage split would hurt church | Everyone would lose if the Anglican Church splits in two over the issue of gay marriage, the Archbishop of Canterbury said on Monday (Reuters)

  • Anglican church head will try to mend Episcopal rift | Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the 77-million-member Anglican Communion, announced Monday he'll visit with U.S. Episcopal bishops this fall in what may be a last ditch effort to patch fractures over views of the Bible and the roles of homosexual clergy (USA Today)

  • Church's gay policy 'shambles' | The Church of England's position on homosexuality was described as "a shambles" after a senior bishop refused to appoint a gay man as a youth worker (BBC)

  • Primate warns church over gay row | The Anglican Church risks being torn apart by the rows over gay clergy, the Archbishop of Canterbury has warned (BBC)

  • Review panel clears Episcopal leader | Rift remains over consecration of gay bishop (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  • Church no smoking signs 'overkill' | A Church of Ireland archdeacon has branded a requirement under the new anti-smoking legislation for churches to display no smoking signs as "overkill" (BBC)

  • S.C. Diocese will try to elect bishop again | The Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina will again attempt to elect the Very Rev. Mark Lawrence as its new bishop after his election was invalidated last month by the head of the national church (The State, Columbia, S.C.)

  • Williams bemoans loss of listening to Scripture | The Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams has lamented what he called the lack of "rootedness" in the Anglican approach to Scripture and said "we've lost quite a bit of what was once a rather good Anglican practice of reading the Bible in the tradition of interpretation" (Anglican Journal)

  • National Episcopal Church gets only limited intervention in property dispute | In limiting the scope of the intervention, the court required that the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church be represented by the same attorneys as are representing the Diocese and that DFMS may not conduct separate discovery without permission of the court (Religion Clause)

  • Canada's primate criticizes Archbishop of Canterbury | Anglican leader lacks 'decisive' leadership on homosexuality, he says on eve of visit (The Globe and Mail, Toronto)

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Grace Church:

  • War over Springs church escalates | Reverend fires legal salvo after bishop bans him (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Episcopal group ditches pastor | Conservative clergyman faces church charges (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

  • Anglican group cuts ties with Armstrong | Alan Crippen, spokesman for Grace and Armstrong, said he wasn't sure how the Anglican Communion Institutecould split from the church. "They just walked away from 85 percent of their funding," he said. "I don't know what ACI is without that." (The Gazette, Colorado Springs)

  • Colorado Springs rector faces supporters, critics | "I have done nothing wrong so I actually sleep well at night," Armstrong told more than 300 people gathered for a lively, sometimes contentious, three-hour meeting in the sanctuary of Grace and St. Stephen's Church in Colorado Springs (Rocky Mountain News, Denver)

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Church life:

  • Chapel looks for a saving grace | Landmark structure on West L.A. VA campus is dilapidated, but there's little money to fix it (Los Angeles Times)

  • Church for Men | No hymnals. No pews. No steeple. No stained glass windows. And no women. "We try to make it interesting for them. We meet in a gym and we talk about issues that mess men up," said 46-year-old Mike Ellis, the church's founder (Associated Press)

  • Church has faith it can unite S. Florida's Brazilians | A wealthy church thinks local Brazilians are ready for their own TV network (The Miami Herald)

  • Feuding monks in bad odour over sewage | A blockage to the 19th century lavatory block's solitary outflow pipe caused sewage to leak just yards from Golgotha, the rocky outcrop where Jesus is believed to have been crucified (The Telegraph, London)

  • In the season of hope, a story of renewal | Ormewood Park's Church of the Holy Comforter ministers to neighbors who are mentally ill, developmentally disabled, sick or elderly (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

  • Jesuits say they'll close Boston urban center | South End church faces financial woes (The Boston Globe)

  • In church closing, city loses a ritual | Weekly Latin Mass will move to Newton (The Boston Globe)

  • Jesus on the side | An Alexandria church gives students pizza every week, but the sermon served up with it bothers some of them (The Washington Post)

  • Lakewood church in search of new flock | Jackson building boom has pastor eyeing expansion (Asbury Park Press, N.J.)

  • Mega-church weathers gay sex scandal | "Weekly attendance has dipped a bit since the dismissal of pastor Haggard but the bottom has not fallen out and we have had a comparatively smaller drop in revenue," said New Life Church associate pastor Rob Brendle (Reuters)

  • Presiding over a congregation filled with pride | West Angeles Bishop Charles E. Blake has been named to national office, to the delight of those in his church (Los Angeles Times)

  • Rites of Spring | Houses of worship in the region renew the religious traditions of the season (The New York Times)

  • Sex offenders test churches' core beliefs | Sustained by the belief that embracing all comers is a living example of Christ's love, Pilgrim United Church of Christ now faces a profound test of faith (The New York Times)

  • Does church welcome all? | Congregation, like others across country, debates accepting sex offender freed from jail (The Detroit News)

  • Strong: burn pews and save churches | The architectural historian and committed Anglican Sir Roy Strong has proposed a drastic solution to the problem of tiny congregations in country churches: burn the pews and share the buildings with community centres and farmers' markets (The Times, London)

  • Member of church demands an apology | Police were called over man handing out cards (The Toledo Blade, Oh.)

  • Church controversy quiets in Chesapeake | Services at Holy Temple Ministries lately have been unusually peaceful. Police officers, who used to arrive at the church routinely, haven't been there (The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Salem council reconsiders church sign | Vote controversy prompts review of earlier approval (The Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.)

  • SBC baptisms down amid other growth | While the number of Southern Baptist churches in 2006 increased by 524 and reported more than $11.3 billion in total receipts, LifeWay Christian Resources President Thom S. Rainer reported April 17 that total baptisms in the Southern Baptist Convention fell for the second consecutive year (Baptist Press)

  • Church divided: Disagreements, international issues fracturing congregations | More and more congregations are finding themselves divided over financial, administrative, and theological conflicts (Montgomery Advertiser, Ala.)

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Missions & ministry:

  • Lending a hand | No long-term study has measured how often microcredit borrowers graduate to the middle class (Time)

  • Missionaries | Not more than 25 years ago, they were the first outsiders to come to Irian Jaya. Outsiders who will never become insiders, the missionaries of Irian Jaya introduced the twentieth century to the native peoples. Although they came to educate, offer health care and save souls, ultimately, the greatest effect of their work is on their own personal development (Soundprint)

  • Walking the beat, bridging a gap | Police, clergy target residents in Grove Hall (The Boston Globe)

  • What would Jesus really do? | When did it come to the point that being a Christian meant caring about only two issues, abortion and homosexuality? (Roland Martin, CNN)

  • Where the table is open to all | Brad and Libby Birky wanted to feed the hungry without setting them apart. At their cafe, customers pay what they can, or not at all (Los Angeles Times)

  • Catholic Charities dropping foster care | Insurance coverage lost after settlement (Chicago Tribune)

  • Loaves and missions | In Durham, people from across the economic spectrum would tell you that the Durham Rescue Mission truly is a city set on a hill (The News & Observer, Raleigh, N.C.)

  • Meet the God squad | Masters Champ Zach Johnson is just one of millions of athletes who belong to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (ABC News)

  • Religious groups enlist the most help, even as volunteers decline | While religious organizations continue to be the most popular arena for volunteer service, the rate of volunteering declined between 2005 and 2006, mainly due to volunteer attrition (The Roundtable on Religion and Social Welfare Policy)

  • Off the streets, on the payroll | Feed by Grace's Neale Mansfield is recruiting faith-based groups willing to adopt and mentor a homeless person (Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, Tex.)

  • Porn shop morphs into nonprofit | Building that used to house The Pink Palace now set to help ex-convicts (Gresham Outlook, Ore.)

  • Why we need religion | The world Elton John dreams of -- a world in which religion is banned -- is one we have already glimpsed (Jeff Jacoby, The Boston Globe)

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Pan Africa:

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  • Christians working on permanent solution to religious killings | "There are capable hands scattered across this country, who can deliver this country," says Bishop Okonokwo, national vice president of the Christian Association of Nigeria (Vanguard, Lagos, Nigeria)

  • Gunmen kill Nigerian Muslim leader | Unidentified gunmen killed a top Nigerian Muslim hard-liner as he led morning prayers Friday, police said. Mahmud Adam, the Saudi-trained leader of Nigerian followers of the ascetic Wahabbi strain of Islam, was killed along with his second-in-command in the northern city of Kano, said police spokesman Baba Mohamed (Associated Press)

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  • Who are you praying with? | "You cannot stand alone, but need someone to pray with,"says Brenda Nakafeero, the Prayer Secretary for the youth ministry at Makerere Full Gospel Church (New Vision, Kampala, Uganda)

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  • Catholic bishops turn their anger on Mugabe | Catholic bishops in Zimbabwe have turned against President Robert Mugabe, accusing him of running a bad and corrupt government and calling for radical political reforms to avoid a mass uprising (The Telegraph, London)

  • Catholic pressure may sway Mugabe to reform | The Catholic Church's sharp criticism of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe could have a greater influence in persuading him to discuss political reform than a mass of attacks from elsewhere (Reuters)

  • Church criticism could force Mugabe to accept reforms | The Catholic Church's sharp criticism of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe could have a greater influence in persuading him to discuss political reform than a mass of attacks from elsewhere, political analysts say (The Nation, Nairobi, Kenya)

  • UMass students aim to revoke honorary degree for Mugabe | Student leaders at the are calling on trustees to revoke an honorary degree given more than 20 years ago to the president of Zimbabwe, who is increasingly scorned worldwide for what many consider a brutal and bloody regime (The Boston Globe)

  • Zim bishops' cries fall on deaf ears | Zimbabwe's government shrugged off an appeal by the country's Roman Catholic bishops for democratic reform while an opposition activist lay in critical condition in hospital after being shot, reportedly by police (The Independent, South Africa)

  • Zimbabwe bishops urge Mugabe to leave | In an Easter message pinned to church bulletin boards around the country, Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic bishops call on President Robert Mugabe to leave office or face "open revolt" from those suffering under his government (Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwe democracy vigil ends peacefully | Opposition speakers withdrew under police orders Saturday from a pro-democracy prayer meeting, which ended without the violence that halted a previous gathering, organizers said (Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwe pres. could lose UMass degree | Umass says Mugabe's stance on human rights does not line up with what the university's students stand for (Yahoo! News)

  • Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops attack Mugabe's rule | Zimbabwe's Catholic bishops accuse President Robert Mugabe and his officials of running a bad and corrupt government and call for radical political reforms (Reuters)

  • Zimbabwe takes aim at nonprofits | Zimbabwean authorities have revoked operating licenses for nongovernmental organizations in a crackdown on groups that officials say are planning to oust longtime President Robert Mugabe, state television said (AFP)

  • Church leaders call for Mugabe to be ousted | Several church leaders on Saturday called for the removal of Robert Mugabe from power and urged Zimbabweans to unite and fight for their rights (SW Radio Africa)

  • Zimbabwe's turbulent archbishop | Zimbabwe's Roman Catholic Archbishop of Bulawayo Pius Ncube accepts he may lose his life opposing Robert Mugabe, as he calls for Zimbabweans to overthrow their president (BBC)

  • Mugabe clamps down on aid groups | Zimbabwe has cancelled the licences of all aid groups, accusing them of working with the Opposition to oust President Mugabe (The Times, London)

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  • Murder trial begins for minister's wife | Mary Winkler's husband, a Church of Christ preacher, was found with a fatal shotgun wound last spring in Tennessee (Los Angeles Times)

  • Wife claims abuse in shooting preacher | A preacher's wife accused of killing her husband with a shotgun blast had been depositing bad checks and feared he would find out, a prosecutor said as her murder trial opened Thursday. The defense told jurors she killed her husband accidentally while trying to protect their child from him. (Associated Press)

  • Slain preacher's daughter testifies | Prosecutors rested their case against a preacher's wife accused of murdering her husband with the heartbreaking testimony of the couple's 9-year-old daughter (Associated Press)

  • Jurors in preacher's killing quizzed | Pastor's wife's case may hinge on abuse (Associated Press)

  • Doctor says preacher's wife claims abuse | A preacher's wife didn't talk about the threats and abuse she suffered at home until the days and weeks after she was arrested and accused of murdering him, a psychologist says (Associated Press)

  • Judge backs CRC in church rift | Lamont Christian Reformed Church remains in the hands of its members after a judge dismissed a breakaway group's claim to the historic building. Ottawa Circuit Judge Edward Post ruled Wednesday the Grand Rapids-based CRC should decide ownership of the picturesque church founded in 1879 (The Grand Rapids Press, Mi.)

  • Man charged in beating death of minister | Authorities charged a man with first-degree murder Tuesday in the beating of a minister of a rural county church (Associated Press)

  • Muslim's Lawsuit Alleges Humiliation | Guard assaulted him, Muslim patient says (The Washington Post)

  • Sex traffickers feel group's sting | Founder of a Christian ministry that conducts stings against sex-trafficking sites in Third World countries to be honored next week with an award for his human rights work (The Washington Times)

  • Two stabbed and two arrested in Cyprus convent fracas | Witnesses said priests and nuns were involved in the night-time fracas at the Metamorphosis tou Sotiros convent, some 35 km (22 miles) south east of the Cypriot capital Nicosia (Reuters)

  • Amplified preacher remains defiant despite tickets | Calgary officials have handed a street preacher more than $400 in tickets after using loudspeakers to spread the word of God (CBC)

  • Woman held captive by religious zealot | Resident said 34-year-old Brent Ashley Braden held her against her will for about six days in her home on the 9000 block of West Blackpool Court, while he read scriptures and Bible passages to her (KTRV, Boise, Id.)

  • Also: Deputies: Woman held in rite | Investigators allege Star man detained woman for days, restraining her and reading Bible passages (Idaho Press-Tribune)

  • Man charged in beating death of Virginia minister | A man arrested in the beating death of a rural Franklin County minister will be held without bond on a charge of first-degree murder (Star News, Wilmington, N.C.)

  • Man held in Va. minister's slaying | A man was ordered held without bond Wednesday on a first-degree murder charge in the beating death of a minister found in her rural parsonage (Associated Press)

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  • Judge sends 3 to prison for church fires | A chorus of apologies preceded the sentencing of three former college students for a rash of rural church fires begun as drunken pranks (Associated Press)

  • Three sent to prison for torching churches | Three young men were sentenced to serve prison terms and pay more than $3 million in restitution for burning down rural Alabama churches during a booze-fueled arson spree (Reuters)

Church arsonists given 2-year state sentences | Three confessed church arsonists pleaded guilty Thursday to burning Bibb County churches and under their plea agreement will two years of a 15-year sentence in state prison (The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  • Time to burn | Although these were college kids, what they did can't be written off as a college prank or as a joke that went too far (Editorial, The Birmingham News, Ala.)

  • Was justice served for church fires? | Just how drunk or how bored do you have to be to set fire to someone's place of worship, regardless of what you believe in? (Jared Felkins, The Times-Journal, Fort Payne, Ala.)

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San Diego diocese:

  • Judge orders outside expert to assess diocese accounts | A federal judge overseeing the bankruptcy proceedings of the Roman Catholic Diocese in San Diego ordered an outside accounting expert to sort through the diocese's accounting system (The New York Times)

  • Judge orders external audit for church | A federal bankruptcy judge Wednesday orders an external audit of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego amid accusations church leaders are trying to hide assets to avoid payment to sex abuse victims (Associated Press)

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Abuse lawsuits:

  • Bishops say diocese meets safety standards | The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston has complied with national child protection safety standards (The Boston Globe)

  • Boston Archdiocese meets child standards | Independent Report says the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, at the center of a 2002 scandal over pedophile priests, now complies with national child protection safety standards (Reuters)

  • Catholic abuse claims drop for 2nd year | The number of clergy sex abuse claims received by the nation's Roman Catholic bishops and religious orders has dropped, according to a new report (Associated Press)

  • Deal in Portland Archdiocese bankruptcy | A judge overseeing the bankruptcy filing of the Archdiocese of Portland will confirm a proposed $75-million deal for current and future sex abuse claims against priests and other church officials, according to court documents filed Friday (Associated Press)

  • Diocese faces $104 million due | The Archdiocese of Portland will end up paying more than $104 million to settle 386 clergy sexual abuse claims filed since 1984 if its bankruptcy reorganization plan is approved after hearings that begin Tuesday in Portland (The Register-Guard, Eugene, Ore.)

  • Blame '60s for sex-abuse scandal, McCarrick says | Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the recently retired archbishop of Washington, blamed the "loose morals" of the 1960s for the massive sex-abuse scandals that have rocked the Roman Catholic Church (The Washington Times)

  • Abuse allegations against Council Bluffs priest | The Diocese of Des Moines announced today that a priest serving at St. Albert Catholic Schools in Council Bluffs is being removed from the priesthood following credible allegations of child sexual abuse (Des Moines Register, Ia.)

  • Lawsuit filed against Denver priest | 'John Doe 10' claims sex abuse (The Denver Post)

  • Monk details sex, drugs, weeping icon at Texas monastery | One of five monks facing charges of sexually abusing children told authorities that an inner circle of monks at the monastery there had sex with one another, smoked marijuana and used an eyedropper to produce fake tears on a Virgin Mary icon (The Brownsville Herald, Tex.)

  • Anglican abuse payout 'an insult' | In a compensation deal condemned by child protection advocates as woefully inadequate, the Anglican Church has offered a total of $825,000 to 41 former residents of an orphanage who say they were sexually and physically abused by clergymen and staff at the church-run facility (The Australian)

  • Church disowns abuse facility | The Anglican Church has denied ownership of an orphanage in an attempt to avoid liability for allegations of child abuse at the home (The Australian)

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  • India: Easter prison Mass prevented, rights commission issues notice | Officials of a federal jail here have stir controversy by preventing a Catholic team from conducting Mass for prisoners on Easter Sunday (Union of Catholic Asian News)

  • Texas inmate basis of Supreme Court case | Bible-toting Scott Panetti preaches the word of God to a disinterested and largely invisible congregation from his pulpit — a high-walled prison death row recreation area topped with a ceiling of chain-link fence. Panetti's lawyers, death penalty opponents and mental health advocates describe him as severely mentally ill — and deserving of mercy. (Associated Press)

  • U.S. Court rejects ban on ACI minister | A federal appeals court has struck down an attempt by Rhode Island correction officials to bar Wesley R. Spratt, a convicted murderer, lay minister and maximum-security inmate at the Adult Correctional Institutions, from preaching in prison (The Providence Journal, R.I.)

  • Assault behind bars | How big a problem is prison rape -- and what can be done about it? (Cathy Young, Reason)

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Religious freedom:

  • University of Wisconsin-Superior to fund InterVarsity | The state has agreed to pay $20,000 in legal fees to lawyers for an evangelical group that the University of Wisconsin-Superior refused to recognize because it requires its leaders to be Christians (Associated Press)

  • A new religion | Where Communism was once a religion for many, the Chinese are now looking for a new faith. Prayer groups are rising in popularity in China (CBS News)

  • Islamic group in Baghdad: "Get rid of the cross or we will burn your Churches" | In the Dora quarter threats continue to be made against Christians. In the last two months Christian parishes have been forced to give in to extremist pressure, only the Church of Sts Peter and Paul has withstood so far. A fatwa forbids the practice of Christian ritual gestures. The US army occupies Babel College, property of the Chaldean Patriarchate (AsiaNews.it)

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Turkey slayings:

  • 3 slain at Bible distributor in Turkey | Assailants tied up three people at a publishing house that distributes Bibles in Turkey and then slit their throats Wednesday, adding to a string of attacks apparently targeting the country's tiny Christian minority (Associated Press)

  • Workers' throats slit at Turkish bible house | Suna Erdem of The Times suggested the attacks were most likely to have been carried out by nationalists in the tension ahead of next month's presidential elections. (The Times, London)

  • Three killed at Turkish Bible publishers | Attackers slit the throats of three people, including a German, at a Turkish Bible publisher's on Wednesday, officials said, the latest attack on minorities in mainly Muslim Turkey (Reuters)

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  • Religion Clause: Jews for Jesus Win Right To Leaflet In Two Cases | New York trial court finds that an Oyster Bay, New York permit ordinance is unconstitutional, and dismisses criminal charges against a member of Jews for Jesus arrested for handing out religious literature in an Oyster Bay park (Religion Clause)

  • Academy holds debate on God in the military | Attorney Mikey Weinstein, an Air Force Academy graduate who heads a national campaign to end proselytizing in the military, will be back at the academy April 24 to debate attorney Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, the academy announced Tuesday (Air Force Times)

  • U.S. Air Base = "God's House" | A couple of weeks ago, someone forwarded me this press release out of the U.S. military's Bagram Media Center in Afghanistan. It caught my eye only because it's not a typical headline for an official U.S. military press release: "Revival Rocks God's House" (Danger Room, Wired)

  • In-your-face gospel riles town | Christian couple's confrontational style gets hostile response in Mormon Nauvoo (Chicago Tribune)

  • Accommodating religious needs or a formula to proselytize? | As U.S. gay rights activists and liberal interest groups gear up for a fight against a broad-based religious alliance over a bill to expand rights in the workplace, Jewish organizations are struggling to determine which side to line up on (Haaretz, Israel)

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Public prayer:

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Religious expression:

  • Perry backs 'religious expression' legislation | "We don't need to shield our children from religious expression and allow them to only be exposed to the religion of secularism in our schools," he said. (Houston Chronicle)

  • School overreACTS | This is where the religious and cultural battles in America have brought us: A youngster cannot even offer a straightforward, admiring account of a Bible story without being accused of inappropriate, even unconstitutional, activity (Editorial, The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.)

  • St. Paul schools in fight over free speech | Church group sues district over ban on religious fliers (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

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  • Double standards | Imus' comments about the Rutgers women were offensive by the standards that once existed in America. The hypocrisy comes when people who have "pushed the envelope" beyond what used to be called acceptable boundaries of taste and community standards now appeal to the standards they helped to eliminate (Cal Thomas, The Washington Times)

  • Cleric wanted him gone, but then felt his pain | A Jersey pastor who demanded Don Imus' firing became the shock jock's shoulder to cry on moments after he was axed by MSNBC (New York Daily News)

  • Imus and me | The spectacle of Don Imus prostrating himself before the Rev. Al Sharpton, as if he were the Holy Roman Emperor on bent knee to the pope, should have pleased me. (Kenneth L. Woodward, First Things)

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  • Worse than apartheid? | Palestinians allege their situation is worse than the former South African racial separation (Robert D. Novak, The Washington Post)

  • Chaplains' complaints of bias rise at NIH | The spiritual ministry department of the National Institutes of Health, which serves patients being treated in the nation's premier research hospital, is in disarray and battling a lawsuit and discrimination complaints that allege bias against Jewish and Catholic chaplains (The Washington Post)

  • Our prejudices, ourselves | Our nation, historically bursting with generosity toward strangers, remains remarkably unkind toward its own (Harvey Fierstein, The New York Times)

  • Tougher cabbie rules adopted | Airport commissioners say customer service, safety must trump drivers' religious rights (Pioneer Press, St. Paul, Minn.)

  • Also: Cabbies ordered to pick up all riders | A court fight is likely as MAC cracks down on Muslims who decline alcohol-carrying riders (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)

  • Church files suit against Southwest Ranches | Federal case claims inequality on zoning issue (South Florida Sun-Sentinel)

  • Lawyer speaks out on Salvation Army suit | "Speaking English was not necessary to do their jobs," Diaz says (The Metro-West Daily News Framingham, Mass.)

  • Professor sues UNCW over job status | Adams says he failed to get promotion because of beliefs (Star-News, Wilmington, N.C.)

  • Promoting the Converted | Professor says the discrimination he says he has endured began once he stopped being the well-liked liberal atheist he was when the department originally hired him (Inside Higher Ed)

  • Britain limits EU religious hatred ban | The new legislation requires EU states to punish incitement to hatred against religion only if it is a pretext to incite hatred against a group or person because of national or ethnic origin, race or colour, a draft seen by Reuters shows (Reuters)

  • Appeals court: Amish views shouldn't determine custody | A western Wisconsin judge wrongly based his decision on the educational views of the Amish when he ordered a teenager to mostly live with her father, rather than her Amish mother, a state appeals court ruled Tuesday (Associated Press)

  • Religious groups take sides in fight over hate crimes | Congress will soon consider legislation that extends hate crimes protections for homosexuals, bisexuals and those with gender identity issues in the same way that people are protected now because of race and creed (Religion News Service)

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  • Answers to the atheists | The problem with the neo-atheists is that they seem as dogmatic as the dogmatists they condemn (E.J. Dionne Jr., The Washington Post)

  • Militant atheists: too clever for their own good | By a curious reversal, it is now the atheists who thump the tub for their non-faith, as if it were they who were the preachers (Charles Moore, The Telegraph, London)

  • The anti-God squad | Would we be better without religion? It depends on whether the best of humanity is already inside us or whether it needs faith to bring it out (James Randerson, The Guardian, London)

  • The new crusaders: As religious strife grows, Europe's atheists seize pulpit | Islam's rise gives boost to militant unbelievers (The Wall Street Journal)

  • Against God | This swelling of atheist literature is a reaction to a worldwide rise in fundamentalist religion. But in kicking back at extremism, the bestselling atheists don't discriminate between mainstream faith and the loony fringe (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Atheism isn't the final word | Books making the case against God seem to be multiplying, becoming more strident and absolute with each turned page. Though no one can prove or disprove God's existence, our history reveals the unmistakable footprints of something greater than man (Don Feder, USA Today)

  • As religious strife grows, atheists seize pulpit | Michel Onfray argues that atheism faces a "final battle" against "theological hocus-pocus" and must rally its troops (Northwest Herald, McHenry County, Ill.)

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Other religions:

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Iraq war:

  • Pope mourns Iraq's 'continual slaughter' | On Christianity's most joyous day, Pope Benedict XVI lamented the "continual slaughter" in Iraq and unrest in Afghanistan as he denounced violence in the name of religion (Associated Press)

  • A campus' struggle of conscience | During War Week at evangelical Wheaton College, ROTC cadets and pacifists tackle issues of conflict, faith (Chicago Tribune)

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Iran hostages:

  • Fury as bishops back Iran | The Roman Catholic bishop who oversees the armed forces provokes fury by praising the Iranian leadership for its "forgiveness" and "act of mercy" in freeing the 15 British sailors and marines last week (The Daily Telegraph, London)

  • Religion and British hostages: Where Angels Fear to Tread | Pastoral pratfalls in the U.K. (John F. Cullinan, National Review Online)

  • Religion: it makes bishops go bonkers | Two bishops — the Rt Rev Tom Burns, Roman Catholic Bishop of the Forces, and the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, the Rt Rev Michael Nazir-Ali — have praised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's showy release of our naval hostages (Libby Purveson, The Times, London)

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  • A bad choice, a quick exit | Eric Keroack was always a disturbing choice to lead the federal office that finances birth control, pregnancy tests and other health care services for five million poor Americans (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Christian conservatives' power diminished ahead of 2008 vote | Political observers say Christian conservatives may have less success in getting their pick elected in 2008 (AFP)

  • An Easter sermon | If you want to deprive jihadists of ammunition, make it hard for them to persuade others to hate us (Robert Wright, The New York Times)

  • Bush: Keeping the faith | It is the president himself who remains the most visible leader of the Bush administration's initiatives to include the work of faith-based charities in social services which the federal government underwrites (Chicago Tribune)

  • Candidates face quiz by Catholics | Catholic church-goers across Scotland have received a questionnaire allowing them to quiz Holyrood election candidates about their beliefs (BBC)

  • Brethren disown political 'secret seven' | The Exclusive Brethren have said a group of their members considering waging an election campaign against the Government are acting independently of the church (The New Zealand Herald)

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Goodling and Regent University:

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2008 candidates:

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Romney & Mormonism:

  • A Mormon memo … | GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, a Mormon, may try and dispel fears of a Mormon becoming president when he delivers the commencement address before the evangelical audience at Virginia's Regent University next month (Michael Sneed, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Ann Romney addresses religion, MS in Alabama visit | "I frankly am thinking at some point this [our Mormon faith] is not going to be an issue," she said. "If anyone has a chance to see us, hear us, feel us, touch us, they are fine. There's no problem at all." (Associated Press)

  • Faith, fury mix at Mormon temple | Mormon woman injures evangelist for preaching outside the Mormon temple (The Arizona Republic)

  • McCain, Romney advisers spar over Mormon religion | The tension between the campaigns of Arizona Sen. John McCain and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was palpable when Harvard University gathered together top GOP strategists last month (The Washington Post)

  • Romney avoids question on abortion plan | Presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Friday sidestepped questions about a South Carolina plan to require women seeking an abortion to view an ultrasound, a proposal one of his Republican rivals has embraced (Associated Press)

  • The presidency's Mormon moment | How might Mitt Romney defend himself against the charge that, as president, he would be vulnerable to direction from the prophet of his church? (Kenneth Woodward, The New York Times)

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Partial-birth abortion:

  • Partial victory | Four justices on the Supreme Court have accepted all the premises for a constitutional right to infanticide. They lack only the nerve to take their reasoning to its logical conclusion (Editorial, National Review Online)

  • Court backs ban on abortion procedure | The opponents of the act "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the 5-4 majority opinion (Associated Press)

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  • Portugal president OKs abortion law | Portugal's president on Tuesday ratified a new law permitting abortion up until the 10th week of pregnancy but recommended a raft of measures that would discourage the procedure in the mostly Roman Catholic country (USA Today)

  • Wrenching politics surround stillborns | Bereft moms want birth papers, but abortion complicates issue (San Francisco Chronicle)

  • Abortions 'crisis' threatens NHS | An increasing number of doctors are refusing to carry out abortions, leading to a crisis in NHS services, experts have warned (BBC)

  • Consenting adults | The next frontier in the legal battle over abortion is whether women need protection from themselves (Sarah Blustain, The American Prospect)

  • Church seeks vote on Mexico City abortion bill | The Catholic Church in Mexico City has gathered 32,000 of the 36,900 signatures needed to request a referendum. The result of such a vote would not be binding on lawmakers but would generate public pressure. And it would delay their vote by at least three months (Reuters)

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Stem Cells:

  • Stem cell bill clears senate, and Bush promises a veto | The measure eases limits on the federal financing of embryonic stem cell research, setting up a confrontation with the president (The New York Times)

  • Stem cells shown to rein in Type 1 diabetes | The progression of Type 1 diabetes can be halted; and possibly reversed; by a stem-cell transplant that preserves the body's diminishing ability to make insulin (Los Angeles Times)

  • Embryo ethics | As the debate over stem cell research resumes in Washington this week, the moral principle on which the White House bases its position remains largely unexamined (The Boston Globe)

  • Human hens and stem cells | New bill is a deceptive bait-and-switch campaign to get big biotech into taxpayers' pockets and to lay the groundwork for massive cloning of human embryos (Cathy Ruse, The Washington Times)

  • In pursuit of stem cells | Expatriate Chinese scientists who want to work in the promising field are returning home, where the research meets fewer obstacles than in some Western nations (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  • From embryo to treatment | To make the cells useful in treating disease, researchers must push them down a particular path (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  • Loosening the stem cell binds | American science needs to be freed from the shackles imposed by the Bush administration (Editorial, The New York Times)

  • Senate approves embryonic stem cell bill | The 63-34 vote was shy of the margin that would be needed to enact the measure over presidential opposition, despite gains made by supporters in last fall's elections (Associated Press)

  • The stem cell do-over | Lifting restrictions on federal funding for stem cells would essentially override a Bush veto that was based on bad science (Editorial, Los Angeles Times)

  • Diabetics cured by stem-cell treatment | Diabetics using stem-cell therapy have been able to stop taking insulin injections for the first time, after their bodies started to produce the hormone naturally again (The London Times)

  • Senate renews debate on stem-cell research | Legislators claim administration curbs on federal funding hamper research (Los Angeles Times)

  • Stem-cell compromise | Nonviable embryos offer a promising middle ground (John T. Gill and Pete Sessions, The Wall Street Journal, sub. req'd.)

  • Bush renews call for 'culture of life' | President Bush, at the national Catholic prayer breakfast, stressed his opposition to easing restrictions on federally funded embryonic stem cell research, a reference to a bill he's threatened to veto (Associated Press)

  • Sign the stem cell bill | Now that the Senate as well as the House has passed a new stem cell bill, President Bush should think twice before using his veto, as he has threatened (Editorial, The Boston Globe)

  • Stem cells, again | Embryonic stem cells may not have the "magic" powers that Ron Reagan Jr. attributed to them at the last Democratic convention, but myths about them certainly seem to have impressive regenerative abilities: No matter how often they are knocked down, they keep coming back (Editorial, National Review)

  • Senate votes to ease Bush stem cell limits | The Democratic-led U.S. Senate voted on Wednesday to lift a key restriction by President George W. Bush on the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research (Reuters)

  • Stem cell bill approved by Senate | Senate voted Wednesday to ease restrictions on federally funded stem cell research, despite President Bush's threat of a second veto (Associated Press)

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Life ethics:

  • Resistance to death penalty growing | Questions about justice, expense undermining political support for capital punishment (Chicago Tribune)

  • Woman loses final embryo appeal | A woman left infertile after cancer therapy has lost her fight to use frozen embryos fertilized by an ex-partner (BBC)

  • Court to rule on law calling fetus a 'human' | South Dakota law requires doctors to tell pregnant women seeking abortions that the procedure would terminate a life and could cause them depression (The Washington Times)

  • Family groups sue FDA over contraceptive | The Family Research Council and other groups yesterday sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, seeking to overturn the 2006 decision that allowed over-the-counter distribution of the contraceptive Plan B also called the "morning-after pill" (The Washington Times)

  • Board: druggists must fill prescriptions | Druggists who believe "morning-after" birth control pills are tantamount to abortion can't stand in the way of a patient's right to the drugs, Washington state regulators have decided (Associated Press)

  • Earlier: Pharmaceuticals: The patient's right | We certainly don't advocate turning pharmacists into automatic drug-dispensing machines. But pharmacists aren't valued for their religious beliefs -- we have spiritual advisers for that (Editorial, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, Apr. 1)

  • Cloning an assault on human dignity: archbishop | The Catholic Church has launched a pre-emptive strike on controversial legislation that would allow the cloning of human embryos for medical research, saying it would be "an assault on the dignity of the human person" (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)

  • Death penalty protesters parade through Rome | Protesters chose Easter as the day to march. After all, they said, Jesus was the perfect pacifist who fell victim to a regime-sanctioned execution (Los Angeles Times)

  • The politics of life and death | An inmate's fate often hinges on luck of the draw (The Cincinnati Enquirer)

  • Christian parties clash over hanging | Rival Christian parties clashed yesterday over proposals for a referendum on the death penalty and the suggestion that prisons should be built in third world countries to take Scottish inmates (The Herald, Glasgow)

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  • A vote packed with emotion | There was talk of Stalinism and apartheid, polygamy and procreation. There was emotion and there were tears. Even after more than two hours of debate Thursday on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage ended with decisive approval by a key legislative committee, the fate of the measure remains murky (The Hartford Courant, Ct.)

  • Partnership bill passes in Wash. state | Nearly a year after the state Supreme Court upheld Washington's ban on same-sex marriage, the state Legislature passes a measure to give gay and lesbian couples some of the rights that come with marriage (Associated Press)

  • Proposed repeal of 1913 law could lure gay couples to Mass. | Three of the state's top political leaders said they support repealing a 94-year-old law that has blocked the practice of gay marriage (The Boston Globe)

  • Shepard's name on hate crimes bill | Supporters of hate-crimes legislation said Thursday they expect Congress to enact a law this year expanding federal penalties for acts of violence against homosexuals (Associated Press)

  • Christian Club leader sues high school | The president of a Bergen County high school's Christian Club is suing for the right to hold an event at the school to air his anti-homosexuality views (Asbury Park Press, N.J.)

  • Church leaders back same-sex bills | Leaders of several churches came to the Capitol to show their support for bills that would establish domestic partnerships for same-sex couples and bar discrimination based on sexual orientation (Statesman Journal, Salem, Ore.)

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Health & science:

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Abstinence and sex-ed:

  • Christian parties in Holyrood bid | No sex before marriage, tackling divorce rates and cutting drug abuse and obesity (BBC)

  • More than 9 in 10 attend sex-ed pilot program | Four percent of students opted out of a closely watched sex-education pilot program that teaches students about homosexuality, transsexuality and "coming out." (The Washington Post)

  • States abstain from federal sex-ed funds | More are refusing grants to teach chastity, objecting to restrictions (Los Angeles Times)

  • Study casts doubt on abstinence-only programs | A long-awaited national study has concluded that abstinence-only sex education, a cornerstone of the Bush administration's social agenda, does not keep teenagers from having sex. Neither does it increase or decrease the likelihood that if they do have sex, they will use a condom (The Washington Post)

  • Teacher Takes a Long View of Sex-Ed | Susan Soule was a sex education teacher for decades before she ever had a student identify herself as gay in front of the class (The Washington Post)

  • Report: Impacts of Four Title V, Section 510 Abstinence Education Programs (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)

  • ACLU seeks to review abstinence classes in Ohio | The American Civil Liberties Union has asked 31 school districts in Ohio for copies of curricula used to teach sexual abstinence programs so it can review the material for accuracy. (Associated Press)

  • Sex-education clash churns over grants | Supporters of sex-education programs that focus on teaching teens to abstain from sex until marriage and critics who want programs to include contraception and condom use are headed for a showdown as Congress ponders renewing an $87.5-million-a-year abstinence-only program set to expire June 30 (USA Today)

  • Costly dogmatism | Abstinence programs don't seem to work -- so we increase spending on them (Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times)

  • Just say no | Abstinence is a good message, especially for teens. But the narrow focus of abstinence-only curricula leaves sexually active youth in the dark (Editorial, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Mo.)

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  • Abortion faceoff | University of New Hampshire students debate abortion issues (Portsmouth Herald)

  • An 'embarrassing' report | The president of Missouri State University has threatened to shut down its school of social work after receiving a searing external review that describes the school as, among other things, hostile to "faith-based beliefs." (The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  • A nation of biblical idiots | We can teach religion in our schools without preaching religion (Stephen Prothero, The Dallas Morning News)

  • Texas may require schools to carry elective on Bible | Legislation calls for an 'objective and nondevotional' course (Los Angeles Times)

  • Burl. Twp. was right to prep for school attack | But officials didn't need to attach a religion to fictional extremists used in emergency planning exercise (Editorial, The Courier-Post, Cherry Hill, N.J.)

  • Coalition calls for all-faith funding | It's time for the province to extend education money to all religious schools, multi-faith group insists (Ottawa Citizen)

  • Emily Brooker bill would have negative effect | Her bill claims to be protecting academic diversity, when in reality it's opening up the academy to political interests and interference (Keith Hardeman, The Springfield News-Leader, Mo.)

  • 'I suffer not a woman to teach' | Sheri Klouda says she was fired from a Southern Baptist seminary because she's not a man (The Chronicle of Higher Education, free)

  • Proposed NYC public school causes stir | This city has dozens of small public schools that focus on themes — sports careers, the arts and social justice. Few generate controversy. Then, someone decided to start a school covering Arab language and culture (Associated Press)

  • Religious book report muzzled in Bullitt | Eighth-grader, mom say school violated his rights (Louisville Courier-Journal, Ky.)

  • Review slams MSU program | Scathing report on School of Social Work could lead to closure, officials say (The Springfield News-Leader, Mo.)

  • The church vs. charters | Wal-Mart would never help Target locate a store in the same neighborhood. Now the Archdiocese of Boston, in the early stages of an ambitious effort to rebuild Catholic education, has decided to stop being quite so accommodating to its competition, charter schools (The Boston Globe)

  • The end of religious school holidays? | A Florida school district is not alone as it struggles to accommodate religious holidays for all students (ABC News)

  • The God curriculum | The American religious Right are increasingly turning to home-schooling, lest their children be exposed to the evils of sex, drugs or—heaven forbid—Darwin (The Telegraph, London)

  • The Good News About MSU Reports | Policies are in place to protect the rights of students (The Springfield News-Leader Mo.)

  • Voucher foes: We did it | Volunteers say they collected enough signatures against school choice act (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Funding urged for Catholic schools | President Bush yesterday said he will try to prevent an increasing number of inner-city Catholic parochial schools from closing by adding funding for them in the upcoming renewal of the No Child Left Behind law (The Washington Times)

  • US evangelicals aim to influence European law | In a German court battle, a home-schooled girl was taken from her parents and put in psychiatric ward (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Christian school stays silent on strapping — for 15 years | An Auckland Christian school under suspicion of illegally hitting children has been told it must reveal its discipline policies to Ministry of Education officials, in the latest chapter of a dispute that has been drawn out over 15 years (The New Zealand Herald)

  • BYU changes honor code text about gay students | It now says stated orientation is not an issue and clarifies which actions are violations (The Salt Lake Tribune)

  • Diversity bill get initial approval | Colleges in Missouri would have to prove they allow diverse viewpoints in class, including the belief the Bible is infallible, under a bill that received initial House approval Wednesday (The Kansas City Star)

  • Evangelical student sues school | Student's lawsuit accuses school officials of trying to block an event aimed at opposing homosexuality (The Record, N. J.)

  • Keeping the faith | Students say it is difficult to reconcile a religious lifestyle and the college lifestyle (The Bowdoin Orient, Me.)

Teacher's anti-faith crusade | A cardiff teacher is calling for a ban on faith schools to stop religious groups indoctrinating children (Western Mail & Echo, Wales, U.K.)

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Nuerotheology & Spirituality:

  • Are humans hard-wired for faith? | A neuroscientist is working on ways to track how the human brain processes religion and spirituality (CNN)

  • Belief in reincarnation tied to memory errors | People who believe they have lived past lives as, say, Indian princesses or battlefield commanders are more likely to make certain types of memory errors, according to a new study (LiveScience.com)

  • Faith's DNA | Recent books speculate on the biological underpinnings of our religious longings and beliefs, (David P. Barash, The Chronicle of Higher Education, sub. req'd.)

  • First you cry, of course, but illness also has an upside | How coping with adversity can lead to happiness (The New York Times)

  • Why we pray | Whether it's a child's voice reciting, "Now I lay me down to sleep," a thankful blessing over a bounty of food or an impromptu plea for guidance, we pray (Sherri Richards, The Forum, Fargo, N.D.)

  • Attesting to supernatural healing | Frank Kelly's story will be for some a confirmation of the divine; others will dismiss it as the triumph of pious hope over rationality (Rich Barlow, The Boston Globe)

  • Adding discipline to devotion | Christians find new meaning, and a sacred rhythm, in the ritual of set daily prayers (Chicago Tribune)

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Virginia Tech shootings:

  • Campus prays for answers after shootings | "For Ryan and Emily and for those whose names we do not know," one woman pleaded in a church service held for those seeking solace. "For all the children in our community who are afraid," another said. A third added: "For parents near and far who wonder at a time like this, 'Is my child safe?'" (Associated Press)

  • Pastor on Hampton victim: 'To know her was to love her' | Lauren McCain's MySpace site: "The purpose and love of my life is Jesus Christ." (The Virginian-Pilot)

  • Questioning a tragedy: Where is God? | What many theologians stress is that God is sovereign — although each person has free will to choose between good and evil — and that comfort and hope are found in him. The "whys" to any tragedy may not have satisfying answers soon, or even in this lifetime (Fox News)

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  • Stanford limits audience for '3 ex-terrorists' | University says appearance by controversial speakers will be restricted to allow a free exchange of ideas (Los Angeles Times)

  • UK Hospital banned hot cross buns to avoid offending non-Christians | Hospital's decision to ban staff from handing out hot cross buns disappointed patients at Poole Hospital in Dorset and angered catering staff (Daily Mail, U.K.)

  • Hospital denies claim of hot cross madness | "We apologise for this, but the mistake was rectified and hot cross buns were served on Sunday." (Daily Echo, Dorset, U.K.)

  • In the desert with Martin Sheen | What better way to spend Palm Sunday than getting arrested with Martin Sheen in a Nevada desert to protest against U.S. nuclear weapons, the U.S. presence in Iraq, and countless other purported outrages? (Mark Tooley, The American Spectator)

  • Rev. Susianti a mistaken target in Poso church shooting | Dressed in black trousers and jackets, two men stepped off their motorcycles and walked casually toward Efatha church in the South Palu district of Central Sulawesi, one of them carrying an M-16 rifle. At the entrance to the church, one of the men, Basri alias Bagong, shot the reverend who was giving a sermon twice. Rev. Susianti Tinulele fell to the floor bleeding (The Jakarta Post, Indonesia)

  • PETA uses religion in boycott | Activists' KentuckyFriedCruelty.com Web site last week began featuring a photo of the pope along with a quotation attributed to him saying, "Animals, too, are God's creatures … Degrading [them] to a commodity seems to me in fact to contradict the relationship of mutuality that comes across in the Bible." (The Wall Street Journal)

  • The 500 gets religion | Why big companies are in the business of solving the world's woes (Fortune)

  • In US, workers who help others report most happiness | Clergy, firefighters, and teachers top the lists of happiest and most satisfied workers in their occupations (The Christian Science Monitor)

  • Religious principles take root in funds | Those whose faith guides their investing now have more choices (The New York Times)

  • Two funds get religion | They have a different take on socially screened investing (Kiplinger's Personal Finance)

  • For evangelicals, global warming is a pro-life cause | Top Catholic and evangelical leaders on Monday called on Congress to pass climate change legislation, framing their pleas in the same kind of passionate biblical rhetoric they have used to push for action on social issues such as abortion and poverty (CQ)

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