Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Let thy desire be the vision of God,
thy fear the loss of Him,
thy sorrow His absence,
and thy joy in that which may take thee to Him;
and thy life shall be in great peace.
Teresa of Avila photo

Movies and the marketplace
Big studios sanitize scripts while independents clean up on awards
Gene Edward Veith

When Sony Pictures acquired The Pink Panther, the $80 million Steve Martin showcase was all finished and ready to be released. But top Sony movie executive Amy Pascal was not pleased. That version depicted Inspector Clouseau as a dirty old man in a picture filled with crude sex jokes. She demanded cuts of the offensive material. And then more cuts.

"I saw a great family movie in the movie," Ms. Pascal told the Los Angeles Times, "but not everything was appropriate for a family audience." She demanded not only cuts and re-edits, but expensive re-shootings. And then Ms. Pascal would tell the director, "You ain't done yet."

After spending $5 million on changes, the tamed Pink Panther earned a PG rating. And though filmmakers might have cut a little bit more (see "
The Pink Panther review," Feb. 25), the resulting movie appealed to all ages and became a bonafide hit. Story

Teamwork Essential for Effective Leadership, Reveals New Study
Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2006 Posted: 10:15:20AM EST

More senior pastors of Protestant churches now consider themselves to be effective leaders, according to a new survey by The Barna Group. Few, however, say they are effective at strategic leadership.

The Barna study, released Monday, found a number of challenges when it comes to understanding strategic thinking and team-building. Few pastors understand the different types of leaders and thus tend to misdiagnose a leader's attributes. Additionally, they fail to understand how to best operate in a team-based environment.

Leaders range from those who direct and strategize to those who build teams and operate. In most cases, senior pastors are directing leaders, according to the study. Directing leaders major on motivation, empowerment, resource acquisition and vision casting. In those aspects, more than nine out of every 10 senior pastors consider themselves effective leaders - a high jump from 2001 when less than three-fourths deemed themselves as effective. However, only one out of every seven says they are effective at thinking and acting strategically.
the rest

Court weighs $3 billion Calif. stem cell agency's future

HAYWARD, Calif. (AP) — The financial future of California's $3 billion human embryonic stem cell research institute went on trial Monday as taxpayer groups tried to block the state-funded research.
Two lawsuits seek to invalidate the law that created the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine, which is authorized to hand out an average of $300 million in research grants annually. The lawsuits claim the agency violates a constitutional mandate that the state control spending of taxpayer dollars.

Robert Taylor, who represents the People's Advocate and National Tax Limitation Foundation, told a judge that the 29 members who oversee the institute and the people they appoint to research committees do not report directly to the state.

"The delegates who were selected from time-to-time were acting as free agents," Taylor told Alameda County Superior Court Judge Bonnie Lewman Sabraw during his opening statement.
Sabraw is hearing the trial without a jury. The second lawsuit was filed by the non-profit California Family Bioethics Council, which describes itself as a stem cell research watchdog.
The rest

Archbishop Offers Sudan Christians Continuous Prayer Support
Dr Rowan Williams has continued his pre-Lent visit to Sudan, telling the Christian community that they have been in his prayers.
Posted: Tuesday, February 28 , 2006, 16:13 (UK)

Dr Rowan Williams has continued his pre-Lent visit to Sudan, telling the Christian community that they have been in his prayers.

The passionate Archbishop of Canterbury said, “Day by day we remember you in our prayers. You are not forgotten here and when I return it will be a joy to share with fellow Christians in Britain what I have seen here and what I have learnt from you.”

The address came as the spiritual head of the 77 million-member worldwide Anglican Communion was visiting a displaced people’s camp in the suburbs of Khartoum.

Dr Williams also spoke on the role of the Church: “As we try to show one another the love of God we make a light in the darkness; we make it possible for those who live in darkness or despair to see glory. Wherever we are, whatever the difficulty, whatever the challenge before us, we are still able to make that light shine.”

Later, outside the Episcopal Church of Sudan, Dr Williams praised the Church for its faithfulness during the devastating civil war conflict. Story

Binding Charity
Massachusetts and Religious Freedom
Chuck Colson
February 28, 2006

If I told you that someone’s religious freedom was being violated or they were being persecuted, you would immediately think that I was talking about what’s happening in China or Vietnam.
And while these are certainly the most egregious examples, religious freedom is also being trampled in a place that is, for me at least, closer to home: Massachusetts.

In Massachusetts, adoption agencies must be licensed by the state and adhere to the state’s anti-discrimination laws, including laws prohibiting discrimination against gay couples.

This puts Catholic Charities in a bind. The Vatican has called gay adoptions “gravely immoral” and said that they do “violence” to children. By “violence” it means taking advantage of the children’s “dependency” to place them “in an environment that is not conducive to their full human development.”
The rest

Pre-implanted embryos have right to life, pope says
In vitro procedure opposed because birth often not the goal
By Nicole Winfield
The Associated Press

Vatican City - Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that embryos developed for in vitro fertilization deserve the same right to life as fetuses, children and adults - and that that right extends to embryos even before they are transferred into a woman's womb.

The Vatican has long held that human life begins at conception, but Benedict's comments were significant because he specified that even an embryo in its earliest stages - when it is just a few cells - is just as much a human life as an older being.
the rest

Why the Left doesn't blame Muslims for Muslim violence
Feb 28, 2006
Dennis Prager

There's a certain consistent pattern regarding the worldwide Left's assessment of culpability for Muslim terror. It is the fault of the murdered.

The most recent example is the blaming of Denmark, or at least the Danish newspaper, for publishing cartoons of Muhammad. From Kofi Annan to The New York Times -- and the other American newspapers that declared respect for religious symbols a new journalistic virtue -- liberal and leftist opinion always condemns violent Muslim demonstrations, but always with a "but." The "but" is that in the final analysis, it was the Danish and other European papers' faults for insulting the Muslim prophet.

This is only the latest example of finding the victims of Islamic violence responsible for that violence.
the rest

Chocolate linked to lower blood pressure
Tuesday, February 28, 2006 09:44:01 AM

Leave it to the Dutch to help demonstrate the health benefits of chocolate. A study of older men in The Netherlands, known for its luscious chocolate, indicated those who ate the equivalent of one-third of a chocolate bar every day had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of death.

The researchers say, however, it's too early to conclude it was chocolate that led to better health. The men who ate more cocoa products could have shared other qualities that made them healthier. Experts also point out that eating too much chocolate can make you fat _ a risk for both heart disease and high blood pressure.

"It's way too early to make recommendations about whether people should eat more cocoa or chocolate," said Brian Buijsse, a nutritional epidemiologist at Wageningen University in The Netherlands, who co-authored the study.

Still, the Dutch study, supported by grants from the Netherlands Prevention Foundation, appears to be the largest so far to document a health effect for cocoa beans. And it confirms findings of smaller, shorter-term studies that also linked chocolate with lower blood pressure.

Study: New York Tops In Taxes
Monday, Feb. 27, 2006 9:18 p.m. EST

Thanks to its sky-high personal income, sales and business taxes New York state has the least business-friendly climate in the nation.

According to a study by the tax foundation, the State Business Tax Climate Index (SBTCI): "Taxes matter to business. Taxes affect business decisions, job creation and retention, plant location, competitiveness and the long-term health of a state's economy.

"Most importantly, taxes diminish profits. If taxes take a larger portion of profits, that cost is passed along to either consumers (through higher prices), workers (through lower wages or fewer jobs), or shareholders (through lower dividends or share value). Thus a state with lower tax costs will be more attractive to business investment.
The rest

Senior Iran cleric says attacks on embassies permissible
Tue. 28 Feb 2006
Iran Focus

Tehran, Iran, Feb. 28 – A senior Iranian cleric has approved attacks on foreign embassies in Tehran over the publication of insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in European dailies, a website belonging to the office of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reported.

“Muslims must take the most ferocious stance against insults to Islamic sanctities”, the senior cleric told Ayatollah Dorri Najaf-Abadi, the country’s Chief State Prosecutor, according to the Persian-language website Khedmat.

“If setting fire to embassies of countries that insult the Prophet aims to show that these countries no longer have any place in Islamic countries then this act is permissible”, the senior ayatollah was quoted as saying.

“Anyone who dies in this path [of protests against the insults] is a martyr”, he said.

Toll in Iraq's Deadly Surge: 1,300
Morgue Count Eclipses Other Tallies Since Shrine Attack
Ellen Knickmeyer and Bassam Sebti
Washington Post Foreign Service
Tuesday, February 28, 2006

BAGHDAD, Feb. 27 -- Grisly attacks and other sectarian violence unleashed by last week's bombing of a Shiite Muslim shrine have killed more than 1,300 Iraqis, making the past few days the deadliest of the war outside of major U.S. offensives, according to Baghdad's main morgue.

The toll was more than three times higher than the figure previously reported by the U.S. military and the news media.
the rest

Iran to allot $250 million to PA
Feb. 28, 2006 16:20

The London-based Dar al-Hiyat newspaper reported on Tuesday that Iran would allocate $250 million to the Palestinian Authority to replace the funding withheld by Israel and the United States following Hamas' election victory.

In an interview with the newspaper, Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal said that he officially approved the Iranian support for the new Hamas-led PA.
the rest

Supreme Court rules against abortion clinics
Justices rule anti-abortion protests may not be banned using extortion laws
Updated: 10:26 a.m. ET Feb. 28, 2006

WASHINGTON - The Supreme Court dealt a setback Tuesday to abortion clinics in a two-decade-old legal fight over anti-abortion protests, ruling that federal extortion and racketeering laws cannot be used to ban demonstrations.

Anti-abortion groups brought the appeal after the 7th Circuit had asked a trial judge to determine whether a nationwide injunction could be supported by charges that protesters had made threats of violence absent a connection with robbery or extortion.

The 8-0 decision ends a case that the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had kept alive despite a 2003 decision by the high court that lifted a nationwide injunction on anti-abortion groups led by Joseph Scheidler and others.
The rest

100,000 copies of new Bible sold

A compact version of the Bible has sold 100,000 copies since it was unveiled at Canterbury Cathedral last September.

The 100-Minute Bible was edited by the Reverend Michael Hinton, from Dover, in Kent, who said it could be read in less than two hours.

It has been launched in Australia and will be heading for the US and Canada.

The rest

Captain Yips: Making Room in Our Imaginations for God

This meditation for Shrove Tuesday is the first entry in the Anglican Bloggers Lenten Collaboration series of daily devotionals that will be posted on Lent & Beyond throughout Lent. Today’s entry is by guest blogger Captain Yips.——

Ash Wednesday and Lent are upon us. It’s Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, and although our culture has mostly turned from the ascetic deprivations of Lent, we’ve kept the Tuesday blow-out. We won’t fast on Wednesday, but we’ll sure eat and drink on Tuesday.

There’s a meteorological Lent, too. Although we’re in a transitional period as daylight increases daily, Ash Wednesday is in my mind always a grey, austere day, a day of thin, watery light, damp chill, and a certain lack of vigor. A fragment of a poem I wrote long ago always bubbles up, though the rest is long forgotten:

We meet in small company in the grey morning,
to share our little meal of bread and wine.

The rest at Lent and Beyond

To the readers of this blog:
Lent and Beyond has gathered together a team of Anglican bloggers to prepare a meditation for each day of Lent. Many will be specifically written just for this effort and I will trackback each day to Lent and Beyond, but feel free to go there yourself (put it in your favorites!) and see what else they have to offer.

Some of the people and blogs involved:
Announcing an All-Star Anglican Lenten Blogging Collaboration
Updated: Feb. 27, 12:00 EST

We at Lent & Beyond are very excited to announce that throughout Lent 2006 we will be posting daily Lenten devotionals from Anglican bloggers (and a few non-Anglican friends) from all over North America, and even a few from overseas.

We have more than 20 contributors who have signed on to this project (not counting the
four Lent & Beyond bloggers: Karen B., Jill Woodliff, Tim Fountain & Torre Bissell). A list of some of the blogs/bloggers who will be contributing Lenten devotionals includes:

All Too Common
Becca Chapman (
Becca & Bella)
Fr. Binky (
CaNN empire founder & ruler)
Captain Yips
Todd Granger (
The Confessing Reader)
Brad Drell (
Drell’s Descants)
David Ould (
Drinking at the Whitehorse Inn)
Gadget Vicar
Fr. Richard Kew (
The Kew Continuum)
Jeffrey Steel (
Meam Commemorationem)
Fr. Patrick Allen (
Mine Iron Heart)
Rather Not
Townsend Waddill (
Romans 12:2)
Fr. Rob Eaton (
St. John’s Tulare, CA)
Chip Johnson (
South Dakota Anglican)
Rick Harris (
Stand Firm Alabama)
Pat Dague (
Fr. WB (
Anglican Catholic Blog – a/k/a Whitehall)

And there are MORE! The above list represents those for whom I have specific posting dates nailed down. I’ll add additional names as their posting dates are confirmed. You’ll be able to find each day’s entry, along with other Lenten prayers and resources by clicking on the
Lent 2006 category Karen B. at Lent and Beyond

Monday, February 27, 2006

If you will study the history of Christ's ministry from Baptism to Ascension, you will discover that it is mostly made up of little words, little deeds, little prayers, little sympathies, adding themselves together in unwearied succession. The Gospel is full of divine attempts to help and heal, in the body, mind and heart, individual men. The completed beauty of Christ's life is only the added beauty of little inconspicuous acts of beauty -- talking with the woman at the well; going far up into the North country to talk with the Syrophenician woman; showing the young ruler the stealthy ambition laid away in his heart, that kept him out of the kingdom of Heaven; shedding a tear at the grave of Lazarus; teaching a little knot of followers how to pray; preaching the Gospel one Sunday afternoon to two disciples going out to Emmaus; kindling a fire and broiling fish, that His disciples might have a breakfast waiting for them when they came ashore after a night of fishing, cold, tired, discouraged. All of these things, you see, let us in so easily into the real quality and tone of God's interests, so specific, so narrowed down, so enlisted in what is small, so engrossed in what is minute. ... Charles Henry Parkhurst Art

Collop Monday

Well, if you think people might ask you what a "Shrove" is, think of the blank looks you'll get when you inform them that it is "Collop Monday."

What, you ask, is a collop? It is a slab of meat. A steak, if you will. The picture is of a collop of venison, sufficiently larded, and spitted. Today was the day when slabs of meat would be salted and hung up until Lent was over.

The rest at Apostolicity

I learned something new today!

Making War-Talking Peace
The Battle for American Anglicanism is a fight worth having
by Matt Kennedy

One of the more disturbing aspects of the current Episcopal turmoil is the obsession many leaders have with language that denies the true extent and depth of our divisions.

There is, these leaders say, much more that unites us than divides us. We must “get on with the mission” and “agree to disagree.” That, after all is the essence of Anglicanism. Peace in our time.

This quote from bishop Peter Lee of Virginia's pastoral address is a prime example:
"One of the historic strengths of our Anglican tradition is our capacity to hold together persons with different emphases, even conflicting emphases in their understanding of the gospel. That historic Anglican tradition is threatened by the differences that now capture our attention. And our differences are too often leading us to focus on our internal life, rather than on the world to which we are sent by Christ’s great commission and great commandment."

The rest at Stand Firm

Is Abortion a Moral Issue? A Fascinating Debate on the Left
Albert Mohler
Monday, February 27, 2006

America has been embroiled in a seemingly endless debate over the issue of abortion for four decades now, but the most fascinating dispute on this issue may now be among those who consider themselves, in one way or another, advocates of abortion rights.

An unprecedented view into this debate is available on the pages of Slate.com--a prominent Web site that features some of the liveliest reporting available anywhere today. Nevertheless, this exchange between writers William Saletan and Katha Pollitt did not begin on the Internet, but in the pages of The New York Times and The Nation.

Saletan fired the first salvo, suggesting in an op/ed commentary published in The New York Times that pro-choicers should admit that abortion is "bad" and that those who support abortion rights should work toward a truly dramatic reduction in the total number of abortions.

Saletan's argument is not exactly new, either for himself or for the movement he supports. In his 2004 book, Bearing Right: How Conservatives Won the Abortion War, Saletan offered some of the most incisive and perceptive analysis of the national abortion debate. In essence, Saletan argued that America has settled on a fragile consensus he described as "conservative pro-choice." Americans are quite squeamish about abortion itself, but have resisted efforts to eliminate access to abortion altogether.
The rest

Churchgoers Rattled, Resolute After Sunday Service Shooting
Monday, Feb. 27, 2006
Posted: 9:43:39AM EST

Churchgoers at Zion Hope Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit were rattled but resolute in moving forward after the fatal shooting of one of their members during a service on Sunday, the result of an apparent domestic dispute.

"The sanctity of our sanctuary has been disturbed," said the Rev. Curtis R. Grant, Zion Hope's pastor for eight years, according to the Detroit Free-Press. "We're just trying to get the families and the children through this tragedy."Police said gunman Kevin L. Collins, 22, of Detroit had walked in to the 11 a.m. service looking for his girlfriend but instead saw her mother, Rosa Williams, 38, also of Detroit. Witnesses say he demanded to know where Williams’ daughter was. When Williams refused to say, Collins left. He later returned to the balcony and shot Williams, police said, according to the Free-Press.

Election could set off 'firestorm' in Episcopal Church

Surprising because Seattle is one of America's least "churched" cities, one of our highest-profile clergypeople could become part of a major division and possible reshaping of his church.

The Very Rev. Robert Taylor, dean of St. Mark's Cathedral, is one of five finalists to become Episcopal bishop of California. The San Francisco-based diocese will hold its election May 6, just five weeks before what is expected to be a contentious General Convention of the national Episcopal Church.

Taylor has had success at the "Holy Box" on Capitol Hill. The congregation numbers 2,400: Pledging families are up from 450 to 680 since Taylor arrived in 1999.

The South African-born dean, a protégé of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, is a director of the Hutchinson Center, and spent two years as chairman of the Commission to End Homelessness in King County.

He is also gay, with a partner of long standing. So is another finalist in California, the Rev. Bonnie Perry, rector of All Saints Episcopal Church in Chicago.
The rest

Comments over at titusonenine

Marriage activists headed for Colorado showdown
By Valerie Richardson
February 27, 2006

DENVER -- Two of the West's most influential power brokers are headed for a turf war in November over Colorado's proposed constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage.

On the left is Tim Gill, the homosexual software multimillionaire and Democratic activist who is dedicating his fortune earned as founder of Quark Inc., to advancing homosexual rights.

On the right is James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family in Colorado Springs and the go-to guy for religious conservatives on issues ranging from stem-cell research to Supreme Court nominees.
The rest

Why Is a Bombed Mosque Big News, While Bombed Churches Are Ignored?
by Mary Mostert
February 27, 2006 12:13 PM EST

The front page of my local paper last Thursday was taken up with color pictures and the Los Angeles Time article about the bombing of the Shiite Golden Dome Mosque of Samarra, Iraq and the repercussions of that bombing - presumably by radical Sunni Muslims.

According to the media, this battle between Muslim sects may lead to civil war. I haven’t written about it because I’m still scratching my head trying to figure out why the bombing of one mosque in Iraq in 2006 is a worldwide news event, but the bombing of more than 150 Serbian Christian Churches and monasteries in Kosovo by Albanian Muslims didn’t even make it to the back pages of most American and European newspapers?

FAR more is being reported about the bombing of this one Shiite Mosque in Samarra than has been reported in US and European media about the Albanian Muslim attacks on 150 Serbian Orthodox Christian Churches that have been bombed, or set afire and vandalized in Kosovo?

Kosovo has been under the governmental control of NATO since the 1999 bombing of Kosovo and Belgrade ordered by President Clinton. In 2004, under the watchful eyes of NATO troops, from March 17-20, Albanian Muslims totally destroyed or badly vandalized 30 Christian Churches in Kosovo. Twelve Christian Churches in Prizren, the only ones that had not been destroyed by Albanian Muslims in the previous 4 year of NATO control, were blown up or torn down during those 4 days.

Students Document Abuse of Black History Month on Campuses
By Jim Kouri, CPP
Feb 27, 2006

Parents will be surprised -- at times shocked -- to learn that leading colleges and universities have used the February Black History Month to lash out angrily at whites, to spread socialist ideas, and to honor the Black Panthers, according to a statement released by the Young America's Foundation.

They claim that missing from many Black History Month campus activities were positive messages and discussions about the accomplishments that blacks have made in business, education, government, and science. They also complain that "too few black conservative speakers, such as Ward Connerly, Walter Williams, and Star Parker, were invited to provide a balanced and uplifting message of Black Americans."

Fewer even mention such African-American luminaries as Secretary of State Condi Rice and General Colin Powell.

We should fear Holland’s silence
Islamists are stifling debate in what was Europe’s freest country, says Douglas Murray

‘Would you write the name you’d like to use here, and your real name there?” asked the girl at reception. I had just been driven to a hotel in the Hague. An hour earlier I’d been greeted at Amsterdam airport by a man holding a sign with a pre-agreed cipher. I hadn’t known where I would be staying, or where I would be speaking. The secrecy was necessary: I had come to Holland to talk about Islam.

Last weekend, four years after his murder, Pim Fortuyn’s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, held a conference in his memory on Islam and Europe. The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam’s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye’or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq.

The rest:

Georgia: Abortion legislation advances
Pre-birth images would be required
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 02/25/06

Few lawmakers and political insiders predicted abortion would be a hot topic during the General Assembly this year, but opponents of the procedure are pushing several bills that could become law this year.

This week, a Senate committee approved Senate Bill 429, a measure sponsored by Sen. Nancy Schaefer (R-Turnerville) that would require abortion providers to perform a sonogram or ultrasound on women seeking abortion, then give them a choice about whether to view the images. The committee approved an exception for women whose pregnancy was the result or rape or incest.
The rest

Pentecostals spearhead big rise in new churches
By Jonathan Petre, Religion Correspondent
(Filed: 27/02/2006)

More than 1,000 new Christian churches have been created over the last seven years, double the number of Starbucks coffee shops, new research has found.

All the major denominations opened new churches but the biggest growth was among the black Pentecostal churches.

About half of the new congregations were created by the Pentecostal churches, with help from other ethnic minorities such as the Chinese and the Croatians.

New initiatives such as "Fresh Expressions", alternative worship services aimed at young people, accounted for a fifth of new congregations.

The remaining new churches were scattered among the mainstream denominations. About 450 branches of Starbucks were opened over the same period.
The rest

Courtroom twist in the Da Vinci Code
(Filed: 27/02/2006)

The conspiracy-laden plot of the international blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code is likely to result in further intrigue today, with two writers claiming in the High Court that the book steals their ideas.

Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh are suing their own publishers, Random House, claiming Dan Brown's story lifts from their 1982 book, The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail, itself a best seller.

This non-fiction work deals with theories that Jesus and Mary Magdalene married and had a child, and that the blood line continues to this day - with the Catholic Church trying suppress the discovery. It is similar to the theme explored in Mr Brown's novel, which won best book at last year's British Book Awards and has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide.

If the writers are successful and opt to take injunctions stopping use of their material, it could threaten the British release of the film adaptation of the novel, starring Tom Hanks and Sir Ian McKellen, scheduled to open on May 19.
The rest

DaVinci Countered by Catholic Outreach
Catholic groups form The DaVinci Outreach website to counter the message of the upcoming film.
posted 02/27/06

With the release of
The Da Vinci Code less than two months away (May 19), many Christian organizations are beginning to speak out against the film. The movie, based on the best-selling novel by Dan Brown, is seen by many as an attack on Christianity—and specifically on Catholicism.

In response, various Catholic groups have come together to form
The DaVinci Outreach, a collection of resources and commentaries that challenge what the group calls Brown's "web of bogus history." the rest

Nigerian religious riots continue

Violence is continuing across Nigeria where religious riots have claimed more than 100 lives this week.
A number of deaths were reported and churches and shops burned on Friday in the towns of Kontagora and Potiskum in the north and Enugu in the south-east.
Some 10,000 people are still sheltering in barracks in the south-east town of Onitsha after violence there killed 80.
Nigeria's 120m people are about equally divided between northern Muslims, and Christians and animists in the south.
The violence began last weekend with demonstrations by Muslims in the north against cartoons satirising the Prophet Muhammad. More than 30 Christians were killed in riots in two mainly Muslim towns.
More than 80 people were then killed in Onitsha in two days of reprisal attacks by crowds of Christians armed with machetes.
The rest

Spoof Commercial Provides Clever Church Welcome

If you’re an Episcopalian with a computer that receives e-mail and has audio speakers, you may have heard something that sounds a lot like a radio commercial for an upcoming stock car race.

Except this one advertises an Episcopal church.A booming voice chanting “This Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! It’s a sacramental showdown at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church!” launches a 30-second sound file that has many laughing out loud in disbelief, hitting the forward command on their computers to share it with friends, and some even phoning the Birmingham, Ala., parish that’s mentioned.

This is not a joke. It’s for real. And while some might call it sacrilegious, not sacramental, many are calling it oh-so-clever and proof that Episcopalians have a healthy sense of humor.
The rest at The Living Church

Click here to listen to McKenzie's creation.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

We seldom realize fully that we are sent to fulfil God-given tasks. We act as if we were simply dropped down in creation and have to decide to entertain ourselves until we die. But we were sent into the world by God, just as Jesus was. Once we start living our lives with that conviction, we will soon know what we were sent to do. Henri J. M. Nouwen Nouwen Centre photo

'Da Vinci Code' Legal Battle Begins
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2006

"The Da Vinci Code" drama opens Monday -- but not in theaters.

The best-selling novel and soon-to-be film is at the center of a court challenge in which two men claim author Dan Brown ripped off their ideas.

According Agence France Presse, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh are suing their own publishers, Random House, claiming Brown's book draws heavily on their 1982 bestseller "Holy Blood, Holy Grail."

Brown's 2003 book has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide and earned him $78.5 million in one year, instantly making the writer one of the world's richest.
The rest

Muslim Preacher on Temple Mount: Restore Worldwide Islamic Rule
11:59 Feb 26, '06
By Hillel Fendel

Sheikh Ismail Nawahda, preaching to Moslem masses on the Temple Mount in Jerusalem on Friday, has brought it out into the open: the call to restore the Moslem Khalifate, or, "Genuine Islamic Rule."

A plan for the "Return of the Khalifate" was published secretly in 2002 by a group called "The Guiding Helper Foundation." The group explained that it wished to "give direction to the educated Muslim populace in its increasing interest in the establishment of Islam as a practical system of rule."

This past Friday, Feb. 24, however, the plan went public. Sheikh Nawahda called publicly for the renewal of the Islamic Khalifate, which would "unite all the Moslems in the world against the infidels."

S.D. Gov. 'Inclined' to Sign Abortion Ban
NewsMax.com Wires
Sunday, Feb. 26, 2006

PIERRE, S.D. -- Gov. Mike Rounds said he is inclined to sign a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in South Dakota, making it a crime for doctors to perform an abortion unless it was necessary to save the woman's life.

The ban, including in cases of rape or incest, was approved Friday by South Dakota lawmakers, setting up a deliberate frontal assault on Roe v. Wade at a time when some activists see the U.S. Supreme Court as more willing than ever to overturn the 33-year-old decision.

Planned Parenthood, which operates the only clinic in the state that provides abortions, vowed to sue. But even before the bill has a signature, money to defend it poured in. Lawmakers were told during the debate that an anonymous donor pledged $1 million to defend the ban, and the Legislature was setting up a special account to accept donations.
The rest

Sunday Service goes 'on demand'

A church has introduced a come and go system to make it easier for worshippers to attend Sunday Service.

The Reverend Robert Harrison of St John's Church in Hillingdon, west London, said traditional service times were out of touch.

Parishioners can now attend half-hour slots between 0800 GMT and 1230 GMT.

Mr Harrison said there has been a "gentle increase" in its congregation since the church introduced the system which he believes is a first in the UK.

The rest

The State of Biotechnology
Implications of the Bush Principles
By Nigel M. de S. Cameron
February 14, 2006

In a remarkable passage in the 2006 State of the Union address, President George W. Bush set out his most comprehensive policy agenda on biotechnology and human life. Despite the depressingly predictable lack of press coverage, the logic of the four principles presented by the President may yet cut through the heedless and foolhardy assumptions about the human future that have driven much of the biotech industry and pressured its political friends—especially in the United States. With the sad and single exception of the United Kingdom, every other major Western state has moved further toward the development of policies that enable ethical biotech to flourish. The need is urgent for the President’s call to be answered in a legislative agenda that will help free the U.S. biotech industry from a dark stain of unethical conduct.

The rest

Outcry in Germany as anti-Semitic film sells out
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
(Filed: 26/02/2006)

A virulently anti-Semitic film about the Iraq war has provoked a storm of protest in Germany after it sold out to cheering audiences from the country's 2.5 million-strong Turkish community.

Valley of the Wolves, by the Turkish director Serdan Akar, shows crazed American GIs massacring innocent guests at a wedding party and scenes in which a Jewish surgeon removes organs from Iraqi prisoners in a style reminiscent of the Nazi death camp doctor Joseph Mengele.
The rest

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Law Through Moses,
Grace and Truth Through Jesus
St. Leo the Great

The Lord reveals his glory in the presence of chosen witnesses. His body is like that of the rest of mankind, but he makes it shine with such splendor that his face becomes like the sun in glory, and his garments as white as snow.

The great reason for this transfiguration was to remove the scandal of the cross from the hearts of his disciples, and to prevent the humiliation of his voluntary suffering from disturbing the faith of those who had witnessed the surpassing glory that lay concealed.

With no less forethought he was also providing a firm foundation for the hope of holy Church. The whole body of Christ was to understand the kind of transformation that it would receive as his gift. the members of that body were to look forward to a share in that glory which first blazed out in Christ their head.

The Lord had himself spoken of this when he foretold the splendor of his coming: Then the just will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Saint Paul the apostle bore witness to this same truth when he said: I consider that the sufferings of the present time are not to be compared to the future glory that is to be revealed in us. In another place he says: You are dead, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, your life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
Meditation continues Art

Indian Christians Face More Persecution than Ever
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006 Posted: 11:28:52AM EST

Christians in India are facing more persecution now than any other time in their history, according to the head of a mission organization.

"Our leaders on the mission field tell me that it has become such a regular, daily event that they now report only the worst cases," said Gospel for Asia President K.P. Yohannan.

Yohannan accounted a battle for economic power and control to be the cause of the growing wave of persecution with a group of extremists, holding the supremacist ideology "Hindutva" (Hindu-ness), attempting to control the low-caste majority.

Tracing the power rage back to the Crusaders who tried to control the Holy Land, Yohannan said "without Christ, the human heart never changes – it is always hungry for power."What is happening now in India is a radical minority attempting to “Hinduize” a nation of over a billion people, he continued.
The rest

'Da Vinci Outreach' Launched in Wake of Upcoming Film
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006
Posted: 11:36:13AM EST

With the upcoming Ron Howard/Tom Hanks motion picture The Da Vinci Code less than three months away from bringing what some have called a literary “assault on the person of Jesus Christ” to the big screen, a coalition of Catholic organizations has formed an online initiative called Da Vinci Outreach to help readers and moviegoers navigate through what they’ve referred to as a “web of bogus history and outright lies.”

The Da Vinci Outreach website offers a number of free resources including study guides and “action plans” designed to educate church members about the Da Vinci Code, as well as a link for purchasing The Da Vinci Deception - a 144 page Q & A book from Ascension Press that is being referred to as a “powerful antidote to the spiritual poison found in The Da Vinci Code.”
The rest

Revival Fire
Christian colleges are among the few places left where traditional revival occurs, and Asbury is the most recent example.

Interview with Timothy Larsen
posted 02/24/2006 09:30 a.m.

Earlier this month, students at
Asbury College in Kentucky arrived for their morning chapel service—but they didn't leave. In fact, it was days before everyone left the building. In the meantime, the chapel was filled with singing, prayer, and worship. One participant said, "Those days and nights in Hughes [Memorial Auditorium] provided a catalyst for renewal, for freedom, for seeking the heart of God."

Christian colleges provide the tight-knit community that many revivals require, says Timothy Larsen, associate professor of theology at Wheaton College. Larsen is most recently the co-editor of
Reading Romans Through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth and author of Contested Christianity: The Political and Social Contexts of Victorian Theology. CT online associate editor Rob Moll spoke with Larsen about revival and what brings it about.
The rest

Christian Leaders in Nigeria Condemn Cartoon Protests, Killings
Christian leaders in Nigeria have condemned the killings that have taken place in the country following the publication of controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammad in several European newspapers.
Posted: Saturday, February 25 , 2006, 12:45 (UK)

Some of the most senior Christians in Nigeria have condemned the violent protests over the publication of controversial cartoons which have seen riots and killings now spread to the east of the country.

The Archbishop of the Methodist Church of Nigeria, the Most Rev. Sunday Ola Makinde, described it as unfortunate that what happened in Denmark, a country so far away from Nigeria, could have led to the destruction of churches and human lives in the country, reports AllAfrica News Agency.

“Christians all over the world do not even know anything about the incident and yet they are the ones receiving the knocks in Nigeria," he lamented.

Are Stay at Home Moms “Letting Down the Team?”
Albert Mohler
Friday, February 24, 2006

Are stay at home moms a threat to civilization? Those of you who are shocked by this question should take note of the fact that ABC's "Good Morning America" program devoted segments to this question on two successive days, featuring the arguments of Linda Hirshman, a prominent feminist thinker.

"I am saying an educated, competent adult's place is in the office," Hirshman told "Good Morning America." In other words, moms who stay at home with their children have given themselves to a calling that no educated or competent adult should desire or accept.

Hirshman threw herself into the debate over motherhood last year, when she responded to a spate of media reports that indicated an amazing trend--large numbers of highly educated young women on elite college and university campuses indicated that they did not intend to pursue a career outside the home, but to give themselves to being wives and mothers.

Hirshman's response was vehement and verbose. Writing in the pages of The American Prospect, Hirshman argued that "feminism has largely failed in its goals." As she explained, "There are few women in the corridors of power, and marriage is essentially unchanged. The number of women at universities exceeds the number of men. But, more than a generation after feminism, the number of women in elite jobs just doesn't come close."
The rest

AFA Warns Sponsors to Separate From 'Desperate Housewives'
Pro-Family Group Will Target ABC Show's Advertisers for Future Boycott
By Allie Martin
February 24, 2006

(AgapePress) - A pro-family media watchdog group has announced it will monitor advertisers on ABC's popular program "Desperate Housewives" and plans to call for a yearlong boycott of the series' sponsors.

One MillionMoms.com will be monitoring weekly episodes of "Housewives" during the months of April, May and June to identify which companies sponsor the show. After compiling the list of advertisers, OneMillionMoms.com will launch a year-long boycott of one or more of the leading "Desperate Housewives" sponsors.

OneMillionMoms.com and the related website OneMillionDads.com are projects of the
American Family Association (AFA), which seeks through the Internet groups to mobilize grassroots family values consumers to speak out against media indecency and take organized action to combat it. AFA Chairman Don Wildmon says "Desperate Housewives" has been targeted by OneMillionMoms.com because of the show's extreme content.

Wildmon calls the show "one of the trashiest programs on television." He says, "Many people consider it to be the most offensive, so we decided to take on the worst of the worst."
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Change arrives at Advent
By Janie Nelson

This Sunday will be the last that members of some families will worship together at the Episcopal Church of the Advent.

The church's minister, the Rev. Robert Coon Jr., nine of its 12 vestry members and around half the congregation are breaking from the Episcopal Church and forming a new church, Holy Cross Anglican Church.

Departing church members will begin holding services at a temporary location on Martin Hurst Road on Ash Wednesday.

“We have families that are splitting up,” said Coon. “Parents, sons, daughters, grandchildren.”
The split, which has been in the works for several months, comes with both emotional and financial challenges.

But, he said, he saw no way around it.
The rest

[ENS] Anglican women arrive in New York for U.N. gathering
Date Fri, 24 Feb 2006

More than 100 Anglican women representing 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion arrived in New York City on February 24 for the opening of the 50th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting. It is the largest-ever gathering of Anglican women to convene in New York.

The focus of the 2006 event, which continues through March 8, will be on gender equality, the advancement of women in the fields of education, health, and employment, and increased participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels.

A 4 p.m. Eucharist service held in the U.N. Chapel officially marked the opening of the UNCSW event.

Delegates will partake in an all-day orientation on February 25 at the Millennium Hotel in New York. On February 26, the women are invited to attend an NGO consultation at New York University School of Medicine to hear about this year's themes and to learn about issues and advocacy strategies. Speakers will include Jackie Shapiro, chair of Zonta International and the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, and Rachel Mayanja, assistant secretary general and special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on gender issues and the advancement of women.

Throughout the two weeks, delegates will attend daily worship, U.N. briefings, plenary sessions and caucuses.

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UNCSW, sponsored by Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE), will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The program and panel discussion will feature women from across the Anglican Communion sharing hopes and concerns for a world in which Christian faith calls them to action.
The rest

6 Months Later, New Orleans Far From Whole
Feb 25 2006
By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI Associated Press Writer

They're throwing Mardi Gras beads again _ so many strands, they're landing in tree branches and getting snagged on the trellised balconies of the French Quarter.

You'll find them adorning the arms of Spanish statues. Tourists are wearing them, but these days so are contractors and the National Guard. It's hard to walk on Bourbon Street without stepping on them. You're likely to crunch them underfoot, long necklaces of plastic pearls brightening the asphalt.

At the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter, Pat O'Brien's is once again serving its syrupy, yet potent Hurricane cocktail. At Tropical Isle, you can get an equally potent Hand Grenade in a tall, plastic go-cup.

But walk to the end of Bourbon Street, take a left on Esplanade Avenue, a right on Rampart Street and head east. At first, the debris comes in bits: A small pile of siding. A rusted box spring. One taped-up refrigerator. At first, you find them in neat piles, in the front yard or outside on the curb.

There's still a semblance of order. But keep going. It gets worse.
The rest

Rep. Sodrel: Allow 'Jesus' in the House
Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 12:44 a.m. EST

Rep. Mike Sodrel, R-Ind., has introduced legislation to counteract a recent federal court ruling that prohibited individual legislators and religious ministers invited to lead prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives from making any reference to Jesus or Christianity.

The decision in Hinrichs v. Bosma, said Sodrel "imperils the foundation principles of our representative republic.

"If federal courts can regulate any speech of the members of a legislative body," he continued, "then those courts can regulate all speech."

Red-Blue Divide Hits DVD Clubs
Friday, Feb. 24, 2006 4:51 p.m. EST

The red-blue divide has come to DVD clubs.

On one hand there is Ironweed, which appeals to left-leaning film buffs with shorts and features having a liberal bent. A recent offering explored Iraqis' perceptions of the U.S. presence in that country.

On the other side of the "aisle, the Conservative DVD Club, an arm of Eagle Publishing, offers films by conservative filmmakers, including a popular biopic of columnist Ann Coulter.

"To serve increasingly fragmented interests, subscription clubs now cater to ideologies and specialties, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Future of the Internet Highway Debated
AP Technology Writer

NEW YORK (AP) -- On the Internet, the traffic cops are blind - they don't look at the data they're directing, and they don't give preferential treatment.

That's something operators of the Internet highway, the major U.S. phone companies, want to change by effectively adding a toll lane: They want to be able to give priority treatment to those who pay to get through faster.

Naturally, consumer advocates and the Web companies that would be paying the toll are calling it highway robbery.

"Allowing broadband carriers to control what people see and do online would fundamentally undermine the principles that have made the Internet such a success," Vinton Cerf told a Senate committee recently. Cerf, who played a key role in building the Internet, is now the "Chief Internet Evangelist" at Google Inc.
The rest

Cartoons depict Jesus, cause stir at Radford University
University officials will meet with students to discuss balancing free speech and good taste.
By Greg Esposito

Cartoons depicting Jesus in a Radford University online student magazine have created controversy just weeks after Danish cartoons of the prophet Muhammad touched off violent protests throughout the Muslim world.

In his "Christ on Campus" comic strip, sophomore Christian Keesee has satirized the hypocrisy of some churchgoing students, the greed of some televangelists and the commercialization of Christmas, among other things, in 12 cartoons he's published on Radford's Whim Internet Magazine.

He's made his points with images of a cartoon Jesus being stabbed by Santa Claus, playing poker with other religious figures (including Muhammad), punching a heckler who referred to him as a "glorified Easter bunny" and wondering if he has the requisite male body part during a sexual encounter with a woman.

Those depictions have sparked anger among many students, both Christians and non-Christians, and concern among administrators.
The rest

Anthrax Traces Found at 3 Sites as Victim Worsens
Published: February 25, 2006

The Greenwich Village home of a man infected with inhalation anthrax after working with unprocessed animal skins tested positive for the deadly germ, city officials said yesterday. Tests on the van and workplace used by the man, Vado Diomande, also tested positive for traces of anthrax.

At the same time, Mr. Diomande's health worsened. Officials at a Pennsylvania hospital where he is being treated said he was having trouble breathing and have downgraded his condition to serious from stable.

Mr. Diomande is the only person found to have been infected with anthrax in this case, which he is thought to have contracted while working with goatskins to make traditional African drums. However, since Thursday investigators have expanded their search to include two new locations as they tried to pinpoint the exact origin of the anthrax.

Ricin Powder Discovered in Texas Dormitory
Saturday, Feb. 25, 2006

AUSTIN -- A University of Texas student found a substance that has tested positive for ricin, a potentially deadly poison, in a roll of quarters she was using to do laundry in her dormitory, officials said.

The student and her roommate were being treated for potential exposure to the poison, although neither has exhibited symptoms, said Dr. Theresa Spalding of UT Student Health Services.

The student told university police she found the chunky powder Thursday as she was doing her laundry at the Moore-Hill dormitory, Spalding said. Preliminary tests for ricin came back positive Friday.
The rest

S.D. House Approves Abortion Ban Bill

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - The state House of Representatives has given final legislative approval to a bill that would ban nearly all abortions in South Dakota.

The measure now goes to Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who said he is inclined to sign the bill if it has no technical defects.

The measure is intended to prompt a legal fight on the legality of abortion. It would become law July 1 if Rounds signs it.

The bill already had passed both houses of the Legislature, but the House had to agree to a Senate amendment before it could go to the governor. It passed 50-18.

"I've indicated I'm pro-life and I do believe abortion is wrong, and that we should do everything we can to save lives," Rounds said. "If this bill accomplishes that, then I am inclined to sign the bill into law."
The rest

Friday, February 24, 2006

February 24: Feast of St Matthias

Collect: Almighty God, who in the place of Judas chose your faithful servant Matthias to be numbered among the Twelve: Grant that your Church, being delivered from false apostles, may always be guided and governed by faithful and true pastors; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

St. Benedict

St. Benedict's advice still resounds today.
Around the middle of the sixth century, an Italian monk wrote some guidelines for people interested in the monastic life. The result was a small book that he described as "advice from a father who loves you."

The monk's name was Benedict, and his modest little book came to have an impact out of all proportion to its size. Known as the "Rule of St. Benedict," it sparked a revolution in the church that is still going on today. That's because it became the foundation for the whole of Western monasticism, as well as a source of guidance for countless lay people seeking a closer relationship with the Lord.

Lent is a good time to explore the time-tested way of holiness that Benedict presented in his "little rule for beginners." In fact, his Rule even includes a special chapter on how to observe Lent. As we might expect, it urges readers to undertake extra acts of self-denial. But in a bit of a surprise move, Benedict makes a point-twice-of stressing that this is meant to be a time of joy. Just as Jesus taught that those who fast should be careful not to look glum (Matthew 6:16-18), Benedict called his readers to enter into Lent "with the joy of the Holy Spirit" (Rule, Chapter 49).

The rest of the meditation here Art

The posting below is found at
Lent and Beyond: I want to urge the readers of this blog to go to this site and take advantage of the prayer and meditations found there. You will be blessed and find encouragement for your spiritual journey! The entire rule of St. Benedict found here .

The gladness of spiritual desire

Summa Minutiae quotes St. Benedict on Lent:
"Let us devote ourselves to tearful prayers, to reading and compunction of heart, and to abstinence.
During these days, therefore, let us add something to the usual amount of our service, special prayers, abstinence from food and drink, that each one offer to God “with the joy of the Holy Ghost” (1 Thes 1:6), of his own accord, something above his prescribed measure; namely, let him withdraw from his body somewhat of food, drink, sleep, speech, merriment, and with the gladness of spiritual desire await holy Easter. "

Compunction of heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Withdrawal from merriment with gladness.
The canonical story is that the fast of Lent is followed by the feast of Easter. St. Benedict shows that Lent itself can be a time of feasting, if you do it right.
May the Lord grant us grace that this Lent will indeed be a time of feasting on the Word and in the joy of the Lord’s presence.
-Lent and Beyond

Growing Opposition to Affiliation with Abortion Rights Group

The 75th General Convention will be asked for an up-or-down vote on the recent
decision by the Executive Council to approve membership for the Episcopal Church in an abortion rights organization.

On Feb. 11, clergy and lay delegates to convention in the Diocese of San Diego asked General Convention, which meets June 13-21 in Columbus, Ohio, “to confirm or deny” the Executive Council decision to join the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice
(RCRC) on behalf of the Episcopal Church. That decision was made during a regularly scheduled Jan. 9-12 meeting in Des Moines, Iowa. Although the resolution approved by delegates in San Diego took no position on abortion itself, debate on whether to disassociate from the Executive Council decision is under consideration in at least two other dioceses.

The Rev. Patrick Allen, rector of St. Joseph’s, Hendersonville, Tenn., told the annual convention in the Diocese of Tennessee that he was “profoundly troubled” to learn he was supporting an organization “which promotes an act we believe to be gravely contrary to Christian morality.” Speaking on a point of personal privilege, Fr. Allen said the Executive Council decision to join on behalf of the Episcopal Church served to “preempt dialogue, further dividing an already polarized Church by taking away one more plot of middle ground upon which we could meet and seek in charity to persuade one another.”
The rest at The Living Church

Williams Opposes Shortlist of Gay Candidates for Next Bishop of California
The controversy over homosexuality that has engulfed the Anglican Communion is set to be reignited with the announcement that two openly homosexual candidates have been included in the nominations for the next bishop of California.
Posted: Friday, February 24 , 2006, 8:39 (UK)

The Diocese of California has opened the way for the appointment of a homosexual bishop in the future, after shortlisting an openly gay man and lesbian woman to be its next bishop.

The move is likely to reignite the controversy over homosexuality in the Anglican Communion and has prompted the opposition of the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, who expressed his ‘deep unease’ over the announcement, said the Church of England Newspaper.

The inclusion of the Very Rev Robert Taylor, the openly gay Dean of Seattle, and the lesbian Rev. Bonnie Perry, Rector of All Saints’ Church in Chicago, on the list of nominees up for election in May breaches the recommendations of the Windsor Report, which called for a moratorium on the appointment of gay bishops in the Anglican Communion.

The shortlist of the two homosexual candidates was welcomed by the gay church pressure group, Integrity, which said that, “Whether or not Robert or Bonnie is elected by the Diocese of California, it is inevitable that another gay or lesbian person will eventually be elected, confirmed, and consecrated,” to the episcopate in America.
The rest

Chaplain Rebels at Prayer Censorship, Then Removed From Assignment
By Chad Groening
February 23, 2006

(AgapePress) - Another military chaplain has gotten into trouble with his superiors because he has refused to go along with orders not to pray in the name of Jesus.

Captain Jonathan Stertzbach is an Army chaplain assigned to the 10th Mountain Division in Iraq. He was recently removed from his chapel after he commented to the Washington Times about how chaplains of all faiths are being told to offer up only non-sectarian prayers.

Chaplain Stertzbach is now under orders not to talk to the media -- but his representative, Dr. Billy Baugham of the International Conference of Evangelical Chaplain Endorsers, is under no such restrictions. According to Baugham, Stertzbach was upset at having a prayer censored.

"He was told to write out his prayer," Baugham explains, "and when they saw 'In Jesus' name. Amen,' his brigade chaplain struck through it and said, 'You're going to have to change it.'"
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Intern fired for sharing faith
Cited for religious discussion during lunch, after hours
Posted: February 23, 20061:00 a.m. Eastern

A former graduate student who lost an internship for discussing her Christian faith with co-workers has filed a federal lawsuit.

Jacqueline Escobar was completing a master's degree in social work at California State University Long Beach when she interned with the Department of Children and Family Services, or DCFS.

A straight-A student, Escobar was complimented regularly by the DCFS for her work. But she came under scrutiny for sharing her faith with co-workers during lunch breaks and after-hours, and for changing into a shirt with a religious message – "Found" – after signing out for the day, according to the
Pacific Justice Institute, which is representing her. The rest

Vatican presses Muslims on rights
By Tom Heneghan
February 24, 2006

PARIS -- After backing calls by Muslims for respect during the furor over cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, the Vatican is urging Muslim countries to reciprocate by showing tolerance toward their Christian minorities.

"Enough now with this turning the other cheek. It's our duty to protect ourselves," Monsignor Velasio De Paolis, secretary of the Vatican's supreme court, thundered in the daily La Stampa.

"The West has had relations with the Arab countries for half a century, mostly for oil, and has not been able to get the slightest concession on human rights," he said.

Five days of violence by Nigerian Christians and Muslims kill 150
By Christian Allen Purefoy in Lagos
Published: 24 February 2006

Clashes between Nigeria's Muslim and Christian communities have left nearly 150 people dead and thousands displaced after five days of violence sparked originally by the publication of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohamed.

In the southern city of Onitsha, where the worst of the killing took place, Christians yesterday burnt the corpses of their victims and defaced mosques in revenge for attacks on Christians in the north of the country earlier this week.

As several bodies burnt on pyres of flaming tyres and the stench of charred flesh filled the air, police began to clear away the dead lying at the sides of Onitsha's dirt roads.
The rest

Update: Religious mobs rampage again in Nigeria
By Ijeoma Ezekwere
Friday, February 24, 2006; 8:30 AM

ENUGU, Nigeria (Reuters) - Muslim and Christian mobs took to the streets of three Nigerian cities on Friday and killed at least four people, extending a week of tit-for-tat religious riots that have claimed at least 150 lives.

Uncertainty over Nigeria's political future is aggravating regional, ethnic and religious rivalries ahead of elections next year.
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Rabbis set to snub Archbishop
By Ruth Gledhill

THE rift between the Church of England and the Jewish community deepened last night after a planned meeting between Dr Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the two Chief Rabbis of Israel was thrown into jeopardy.

Rabbi Shlomo Amar, head of the Sephardi Jews, and Rabbi Yona Metzger, head of the Ashkenazi Jews, had been planning a visit to London in May for talks with Dr Williams at Lambeth Palace.

But today’s Jewish News reports that the rabbis could snub the meeting, after the Church’s divestment decision. The Israeli religious leaders are concerned about the vote by the General Synod to sell shares in Caterpillar and other companies whose products are used by Israel in the West Bank.
The rest