Friday, August 31, 2007

Two churches sue to be declared owners of their properties
By Patrick Jean
Staff Writer The Layman Online
Friday, August 31, 2007

Two churches are suing the Presbytery of South Louisiana for judgments that they, and not the presbytery or the Presbyterian Church (USA), are the owners of their properties.

Woodland Presbyterian Church in New Orleans
sought a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction and declaratory judgment May 21, while First Presbyterian Church in Thibodaux sought only a declaratory judgment Aug. 1. The lawsuits were filed in the 19th District Judicial Court in East Baton Rouge Parish.

Woodland Church was granted a temporary restraining order May 22, followed by a stipulated preliminary injunction nine days later. No hearing dates have been set for the declaratory judgment petitions.

Pastors of the churches say they hope the matter will be resolved then. They want the presbytery to enter into a stipulated final judgment, similar to the one it
reached in November 2006 with First Presbyterian Church of Baton Rouge, in which the presbytery declared that church owned its property. the rest

Stand Firm: Hank Steenstra’s Final Report from Nairobi
-report on the Kenyan Consecrations
August 31, 2007

As the world now knows, Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch were consecrated today as Suffragan Bishops in the All Saints Diocese of the Anglican Church of Kenya in a joy-filled service at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi.

The All Saints Cathedral is a beautiful colonial structure built in the 1800s and holds about 1,500. This morning it was full with a tent outside for overflow. I was told that on a regular Sunday morning, there are seven or more services with between 9,000 and 10,000 regularly attending. The service of consecration which began at 10 a.m. took a full five hours.

the rest-Excellent!

Christians Mull Offensive Art Works
By Patrick Goodenough International Editor
August 31, 2007

( - The inclusion of two provocative entries in Australia's most prestigious religious art competition has again highlighted the issue of distasteful art and Christians' reaction to it.

Critics ranging from Prime Minister John Howard to church leaders have questioned the appropriateness of the two exhibits -- one depicting the Virgin Mary wearing an Islamic burqa, and another, a holographic image of al-Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden morphing into an image of Jesus Christ.

The works, submitted for a 55-year-old annual award called the Blake prize, are on display at a taxpayer-funded gallery in Sydney. Howard has called them "gratuitously offensive to the religious beliefs of many Australians."
the rest

Diocese of CNY: Diocese, St. Andrew's church split up legally
Biblical disputes lead Syracuse church, Episcopal diocese to part ways, divide property.

Friday, August 31, 2007
By Jim O'Hara and Renée K. Gadoua Staff writers

A Syracuse church and the local Episcopal diocese are legally splitting up - and, as with court-approved divorces, much of the settlement involves the division of property.

The Episcopal Diocese of Central New York retains ownership of St. Andrew's Church, but members of the breakaway parish will get to use the building rent-free for up to a year, according to the settlement.

The settlement - accepted Tuesday by state Supreme Court Justice James Murphy - will result in the court-ordered dissolution of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church, 5013 S. Salina St., at the end of the year.

the rest

World Evangelical Alliance Welcomes Release of Korean Hostages
By Eric Young
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Aug. 31 2007 ;

The head of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) has welcomed the release of 19 South Korean hostages this week.

The group of Christian medical volunteers, originally numbering 23, endured six weeks of captivity at the hands of the Taliban in
Afghanistan after their bus was overtaken by the Islamic militant group en route to provide free medical services to poor Afghan citizens.

Since the kidnapping – the largest abduction of foreigners in Afghanistan since the fall of the
Taliban regime in 2001 – two male hostages were killed by their captors. The remaining 21 were all released, beginning with two female hostages on Aug. 13 and followed weeks later by the final 19, who were released in successive rounds over the course of two days – Wednesday and Thursday. the rest

A Saint’s Dark Night
Published: August 29, 2007

THE stunning revelations contained in a new book, which show that Mother Teresa doubted God’s existence, will delight her detractors and confuse her admirers. Or is it the other way around?

The private journals and letters of the woman now known as Blessed Teresa of Calcutta will be released next month as “Mother Teresa: Come Be My Light,” and some excerpts have been published in Time magazine. The pious title of the book, however, is misleading. Most of its pages reveal not the serene meditations of a Catholic sister confident in her belief, but the agonized words of a person confronting a terrifying period of darkness that lasted for decades.

“In my soul I feel just that terrible pain of loss,” she wrote in 1959, “of God not wanting me — of God not being God — of God not existing.” According to the book, this inner turmoil, known by only a handful of her closest colleagues, lasted until her death in 1997.
the rest

TIME: Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

Chuck Colson: A Suffering Servant: The Letters of Mother Teresa

First Things: The Last Stand of Rowan Williams
By Jordan Hylden
Thursday, August 30, 2007

Summer is almost over, which for most of us means putting away the beach umbrella and suntan lotion and getting back to work, however much we dread facing the mountain of paper piled up in our inboxes.

But if you’re one of the many who wishes that the daily grind could be postponed for just a bit longer, it may at least be some small consolation to know that Rowan Williams feels your pain. Although, in his case, it is probably increased by several orders of magnitude—for when he gets back to his drafty old medieval office on the banks of the Thames, he has waiting for him an Anglican Communion that may soon explode into a million tiny pieces. And, what’s worse, it nearly all depends upon him.

Before he left on holiday, Williams had sent out an invitation to next year’s Lambeth Conference, the decennial worldwide gathering of Anglican bishops. It’s an important gathering for Anglicans, even crucial, since it’s the only opportunity that Anglican bishops have to gather as a worldwide body and make decisions about their common life. Williams’ problem is that hardly anybody has written back to tell him they’re coming. In fact lots of bishops (representing about a third of global Anglicanism)
have told him that they probably won’t be coming.

the rest

Consecration in Kenya widens a religious rift
2 US priests now Anglican bishops

By Michael Paulson, Globe Staff
August 31, 2007

NAIROBI - Delivering a blistering rebuke to the Episcopal Church for its support of gay and lesbian rights, spiritual leaders representing tens of millions of Anglican Christians from around the world gathered here yesterday to consecrate two conservative American priests as bishops despite the opposition of the US church.

As female worshipers ululated with joy, the archbishop of Kenya, Benjamin M. P. Nzimbi, declared that the two new bishops, William L. Murdoch of Massachusetts and Will G. Atwood III of Texas, would return to the United States to serve as missionaries to a nation that Nzimbi said is losing the Christian faith it once exported to Africa.

the rest

BBC: Kenya consecration deepens Anglican rift

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Polygamy: Court disagrees Utah's ban on plural marriage violates rights
By Brooke Adams The Salt Lake Tribune

A lawsuit filed by a couple who were refused a marriage license when they sought to legally add a second wife to their family should have been dismissed by a Utah district court, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver, in a 29-page opinion, said the trio lacked standing to challenge the decision by the Salt Lake County Clerk's Office through an attack on the constitutionality of Utah's criminal ban on polygamy.
the rest

Kenya's Anglican Church Ordains American Bishops
By Cathy Majtenyi Nairobi
30 August 2007

The Anglican Church of Kenya Thursday ordained two American bishops who are to be sent back to the United States to minister to congregations that have broken relations with the Episcopal Church. As Cathy Majtenyi reports for VOA from Nairobi, the growing split in the worldwide Anglican Church is primarily over the issue of gay ordination.
the rest

Church on Margins of Public Arena, warns Ireland Primate
by Daniel Blake
Posted: Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Church of Ireland Primate has warned that churches in Ireland can no longer rely on having “a place as of right” to exert influence in the public arena.

Archbishop Alan Harper has told that the changing role of the churches in society means that the weight of numbers is no longer sufficient to ensure the churches' voices will be heeded in public affairs.

Instead, the power and quality of their case's argument, and strength of analysis, would be the litmus test.
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Ruth Gledhill weblog: Speculation over whether Atwood et al to come to Lambeth
August 30, 2007

As we report, the two Bills, Atwood and Murdoch, have now been consecrated and are Anglican bishops, even if rather 'extraordinary' ones. Or irregular. Or even rather frightening, if this picture is anything to go by. The question now for me is whether they will be invited to the Lambeth Conference. It appears they might be. But then again, they might not. Meanwhile, in Peru, the Anglican diocese is struggling to feed 5,000 people a day after the recent earthquake.

Which is the more important story, I wonder?

But back to Lambeth and the new bishops. On the side of their being invited is the recognition given the two bishops by more than 30 General Synod members today, including the Bishop of Rochester, Dr Michael Nazir-Ali. the rest

The Latest Fad In Public Schools
August 29, 2007
by Phyllis Schlafly

Every few years a new fad sweeps across the public schools. We've had self-esteem, new math, whole language, New Age, outcome-based education, school-to-work, mental health screening, school-based clinics, global education, diversity, multiculturalism, and early childhood education.

The newest public school fad was announced last week on the front page of the New York Times, so educators must be taking it seriously. If it hasn't come to your town yet, no doubt it will come soon.
the rest

Chinese victims of forced late-term abortion fight back
Aug. 30, 2007

QIAN'AN, China — Yang Zhongchen, a small-town businessman, wined and dined three government officials for permission to become a father.

But the Peking duck and liquor weren't enough. One night, a couple of weeks before her date for giving birth, Yang's wife was dragged from her bed in a north China town and taken to a clinic, where, she says, her baby was killed by injection while still inside her.

"Several people held me down, they ripped my clothes aside and the doctor pushed a large syringe into my stomach," says Jin Yani, a shy, petite woman with a long ponytail. "It was very painful. ... It was all very rough."
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Kenya Archbishop Consecrates Conservative U.S. Anglican Leaders
Maria Mackay
Christian Post Correspondent
Thu, Aug. 30 2007

The Anglican archbishop of Kenya has consecrated two conservative U.S. priests as suffragan bishops to take over the pastoral care of congregations that have broken away from The Episcopal Church in the
United States because of its pro-homosexual stance.

Archbishop Benjamin Nzimbi, leader of the Anglican Church of
Kenya (ACK), told the the Rev. Canon Bill Atwood and the Rev. Bill Murdoch during Thursday’s service at the All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi that as a bishop they are to “maintain the Church's discipline, guard her faith and promote her mission in the world.”

Hundreds of Christians, including around 10 primates from the “Global South”, looked on as Atwood and Murdoch pledged their word to “serve the international interests of the Anglican Church of Kenya, to serve clergy and congregations in North America under the Kenyan jurisdiction,” according to Reuters.
the rest

BBC: US Anglicans join Kenyan Church

TLC: Bishops Atwood, Murdoch Consecrated in Kenya

Picture at T19

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

[It is God's will] through his wonderful grace,
that the prayers of his saints should be one great and principal means of carrying on the designs of Christ's kingdom in the world. When God has something very great to accomplish for his church, it is his will that there should precede it the extraordinary prayers of his people; as is manifest by Ezekial 36:37, 'I will yet, for this, be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.' And it is revealed that, when God is about to accomplish great things for his church, he will begin by remarkably pouring out the spirit of grace and supplications, Zechariah 12:10.
...Jonathan Edwards image

Albert Mohler: Homosexuality and the Bible -- The Rejectionist Approach
Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Luke Timothy Johnson thinks that the Christian crisis over homosexuality is not really about sex at all. Instead, it "has less to do with sex than with perceived threats to the authority of Scripture and the teaching authority of the church." In reality the crisis is about both sex and biblical authority, as Johnson himself makes clear.

Johnson serves as Robert R. Woodruff Professor of New Testament at the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He is one of the most influential Roman Catholic scholars in the field of biblical studies. In "Scripture & Experience," published in Commonweal magazine, Professor Johnson presents what can only be described as a rejectionist approach to the Bible's teachings on homosexuality. the rest

US congregations defect to Africa as schism over gay priests widens
Rob Crilly in Nairobi
August 30, 2007

When the Rev Bill Murdoch walks down the aisle of All Saints Cathedral in Nairobi to become an Anglican bishop today he will be turning his back on an American Church that he believes has lost its way.

Mr Murdoch is the latest rebel conservative priest from the US to defect to an African Church over the issue of homosexuality. But he says he will not be turning his back on his younger brother, Brian, who is a gay priest in New England. “I love my brother and care deeply for him, and obviously that’s been a part of my family’s struggle for 20 years,” he said. “So this has been a deep struggle, not a casual decision at all.”

The Anglican Communion of 77 million has been beset by splits since the American Episcopal Church consecrated Gene Robinson, an openly gay man, as Bishop of New Hampshire in 2003. Since then an alliance of conservative archbishops, largely from the developing world, has accused the Episcopal Church of ignoring Biblical teaching. Liberals, who favour a looser interpretation of Scripture, in turn accuse conservatives of taking the Communion of 38 Churches to the brink of schism.
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Fr. Timothy Fountain - Stay or Go?
August 28, 2007

January 23rd will be my twentieth anniversary as a priest. When it comes to questions about staying in TEC or getting out, the blogs are full of commentary by folks I respect and upon whose ideas I can’t improve. What I offer here is a bit of personal perspective. As will become clear, I don’t have the final answer, but I hope my thoughts will be useful to others who are grappling with a decision, and especially to lay people who are praying and talking with their conflicted clergy.

the rest-Excellent!

Stand Firm: +Sauls Enlists Bishops’ Help Compiling List of Parishes under Foreign Oversight
August 29, 2007

In an email addressed to 90 bishops in the Episcopal church, bishop of Lexington Stacey Sauls instructed them to send him a list of churches under foreign oversight and information about their property, in advance of the House of Bishops meeting in New Orleans in September.

Katharine Schori claims it's only "45 or 50 parishes," Bishop Sauls, so it shouldn't be that difficult...
the rest

TLC: Bishop Sauls: 'Nothing Secret' About List of Congregations

TLC: San Joaquin Pushes Back Convention to December

The Rt. Rev. John-David Schofield, Bishop of San Joaquin, has exercised his right under the canons to reschedule the date of the annual convention. The new date is Dec. 7-8 at St. James’ Cathedral in Fresno, Calif. The convention originally had been planned for October.

The Rev. Van McCalister, public relations officer for the diocese, said the change in date was primarily made to give the voting members of convention time for prayer and careful consideration of the unusually large number of important events scheduled this fall. These include the fall meeting of the House of Bishops, at which the bishops are expected to consider requests made of The Episcopal Church by the primates of the Anglican Communion.

“We are very aware of the fact that this is a very important transitional moment, no matter how the vote goes,” Fr. McCalister said. “We’re just in a ‘wait-and-see’ mode right now, however.”

Last year diocesan clergy and lay delegates
approved the first reading of controversial changes to remove language acknowledging the diocese as a constituent part of The Episcopal Church from its constitution and canons. In order to be approved, the changes must pass at two consecutive conventions. If approved it is possible that the diocese would face a legal challenge. the rest

Turning the World Upside-Down
Chinese Christians
By Mark Earley
Christian Post Guest Columnist
Wed, Aug. 29 2007

Every week during the fall, approximately 70,000 people attend NFL games in cities like Detroit and Houston. They pay hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars for the privilege, and, if all goes well, they come away with some happy memories.

Every week throughout the year in China, approximately 70,000 people do something very different: they, too, pay a price, but it’s not measured in money. And what they come away with not only changes their lives but promises to change a nation, a continent, and even the world.

According to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity, 10,000 Chinese become Christians every day. That’s 70,000 a week!
the rest

Nomination of Lesbian for Bishop Adds Fuel to Episcopal, Anglican Row
By Daniel Blake
Christian Post Correspondent
Wed, Aug. 29 2007

The Episcopal Church has stoked further controversy amid the ongoing Anglican debate over homosexuality in the Church with the nomination of an openly lesbian priest for bishop.

The Episcopal Diocese of
Chicago recently announced that the openly gay Rev. Tracey Lind, dean of Trinity Cathedral in Cleveland, was included among five nominees for the vote to take place on Nov. 10.

If elected, Lind would become the second bishop in the Episcopal Church who lives with a same-sex partner – following
New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson, whose highly-publicized consecration in 2003 is at the heart of the fierce debate among members of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The latest developments in Chicago could also be enough to push the worldwide church body past the brink of schism.
the rest

Lesbian could head Episcopal Diocese

LA Times: Lesbian nominated for Episcopal bishop

Touchstone: Episcopalians in My Backyard

Anglicans lack structure to solve gay row - prelate
Wed 29 Aug 2007
By Wangui Kanina

NAIROBI (Reuters) - The worldwide Anglican Communion lacks the structures needed to end its current impasse over homosexuality, a conservative prelate opposed to gay clergy and same-sex marriages said in Kenya on Wednesday.

Greg Venables, archbishop of the Southern Cone of Americas, was speaking in the capital Nairobi ahead of a controversial ceremony on Thursday where Kenya's Anglican archbishop will consecrate two conservative U.S. clerics as bishops.

"There are no official structures to resolve things, so part of the major struggle we are going through is to work out how we actually resolve a conflict of this nature," he told reporters.
the rest

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

US Sikhs angry over turban plan
Saturday, 25 August 2007

UK airports are considering introducing private turban searchesUS Sikh organisations have expressed anger over changes allowing airport security staff to "pat down" turbans.

Until now turbans have been searched or removed only to resolve an unexplained alarm from an airport metal detector.

But now security will have greater discretion to inspect turbans so that they can be manually checked for objects such as non-metallic weapons.
the rest

Monday, August 27, 2007

Most of our conflicts and difficulties come from trying to deal with the spiritual and practical aspects of our life separately instead of realizing them as parts of one whole. If our practical life is centered on our own interests, cluttered up by possessions, distracted by ambitions, passions, wants and worries, beset by a sense of our own rights and importance, or anxieties for our own future, or longings for our own success, we need not expect that our spiritual life will be a contrast to all this. The soul's house is not built on such a convenient plan; there are few soundproof partitions in it. Only when the conviction -- not merely the idea -- that the demand of the Spirit, however inconvenient, rules the whole of it, will those objectionable noises die down which have a way of penetrating into the nicely furnished little oratory and drowning all the quieter voices by their din.
... Evelyn Underhill image

British Openings
William F. Buckley
August 25, 2007

Western Europe has a Muslim problem, and it is particularly acute in Great Britain, which is more intimately linked to constitutional traditions and procedures. The French are quietly aghast at the presence of 5 million Muslims in their midst and are endeavoring to cope. But that is a country which is enjoying (or accommodating) its Fifth Republic. If a Sixth Republic were introduced in the years ahead, one would not think the event mortally destabilizing.
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Univ. of Vermont adds gender-neutral bathrooms
At least 17 colleges and universities participate, according to one trade group
Aug 27, 1:37 PM

The University of Vermont's big new student center doesn't just have women's bathrooms and men's bathrooms.

It also has gender-neutral bathrooms, a feature added to accommodate transgendered people, as well as those with some disabilities. The four single bathrooms in the new Dudley H. Davis Center — each with a toilet, sink, shower and lockable door — cost about $2,500 a piece to build.

Their wall signs identify each as "gender neutral restroom."

"It's about inclusivity and accessibility and the importance of meeting all people's needs, not just a few," said Annie Stevens, assistant vice president for student and campus life.
the rest

Africa gives refuge to rebel U.S. Anglicans
Mon 27 Aug 2007
By Wangui Kanina

NAIROBI, Aug 27 (Reuters) - Plans by African bishops to consecrate American colleagues will not deepen an Anglican rift over gay clergy but instead provide refuge to U.S. believers at odds with their liberal church, Kenya's archbishop said.

Growing numbers of conservative Anglican priests are abandoning the liberal U.S. church and pledging alliance to traditionalist African bishops who take a tough line against homosexuality.

Benjamin Nzimbi told Reuters on Monday he would consecrate dissident U.S. clerics Bill Atwood and Bill Murdoch as bishops on Thursday at a ceremony in Nairobi. Uganda's Henry Orombi is due to consecrate John Guernsey next week.
the rest

Scientists' plea to use new hybrid embryos
· Animal-human link to aid research · Pro-life groups voice opposition

Jo Revill, Whitehall editor
The Observer
Sunday August 26 2007

Britain's leading scientists have made a final plea for the right to create the first animal-human embryos for medical research using eggs taken from dead cows.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority will announce its decision next week on whether to give permission to UK laboratories to create the hybrid embryos to advance the understanding of genetic diseases.

The issue is controversial because it involves scientists taking an animal egg, removing its genetic material and putting DNA from a human cell into it. This can be used to create lines of stem cells which can then be made part of studies into incurable genetic diseases such as motor neurone disease.
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Valedictorian Threatened with Loss of Diploma over Religious Graduation Message Sues School

August 27, 2007

( - Today, Liberty Counsel filed suit against Lewis Palmer School District on behalf of Erica Corder, a high school valedictorian who was forced to publicly apologize for sharing her Christian faith at graduation. Erica was one of fifteen valedictorians from the Lewis-Palmer High School class of 2006. For the past year, she has been the subject of criticism because the school continues to portray her as a student who engaged in improper conduct because she mentioned Jesus Christ during her speech. the rest

NFL franchise accused of aiding abortion industry
Jim Brown and Pete Chagnon
August 27, 2007

Pro-life activists are decrying a decision by yet another National Football League team that has donated upwards of a quarter-million dollars to the leading abortion business in the country over the past few years.

The Jacksonville Jaguars Foundation has given $30,000 in donations to Planned Parenthood. According to the Foundation, the money will be used to help teenagers avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. The executive director of the Foundation has been quoted as saying the programs supported help teens "make the right choices" by giving them "the right information no matter what they [choose to] do."

But Steven Ertelt, the editor of, says the Jaguars' claim is disingenuous. "This kind of funding is what we in the pro-life community like to call fungible funding," he says. the rest

Stand Firm: Colorado Parish Leadership Resigns en Masse
The Church of the Holy Comforter Announces Resignation of Church LeadershipSpiritual Leader Reeder Resigns; Vestry to Follow

BROOMFIELD, COLORADO – August 27, 2007– The Church of the Holy Comforter today announced the resignation of its leader, The Reverend Dr. Charles Reeder and his departure from The Episcopal Church effective October 1, 2007. Holy Comforter also announces that Vestry, the Children’s Minister, Youth Minister and Treasurer will resign and follow Father Reeder’s move within the greater worldwide Anglican Communion Network (ACN).

the rest

Swaminarayan sect opens huge temple in Atlanta
Indo-Asian News Service
Atlanta, August 27, 2007

The Swaminarayan sect has opened a huge Hindu temple in Atlanta on a 29 acre site - said to be the largest in the US.

Built at a cost of $19 million in the Lilburn suburb of Atlanta, the white temple that was inaugurated on Sunday, covers an area two and half football fields long. The BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha has three other temples in North America - in Houston, Chicago and Toronto.
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Priests to get a course in chanted Latin Mass
Missa in Cantu is the normative form of the Mass of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church but is largely ignored. A parish in Chicago IL is trying to change that by offering a course for priests to learn the chanted Mass
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Spero News

The sung Mass remains the normative form in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church – but it is not the norm in most parishes. “A liturgical service takes on a nobler aspect when the rites are celebrated with singing,” says the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy (1964). Another church document refers to the sung or chanted Mass, saying “For the celebration of the Eucharist with the people, especially on Sundays and feast days, a form of sung Mass (Missa in cantu) is to be preferred as much as possible, even several times on the same day.” (Musicam Sacram, 1967). Chanting the Mass was once common in England, for example, before the Reformation and the reign of Henry VIII. the rest

Evangelicals Turn Toward ... the Orthodox Church?
The Iconoclasts

by Jason Zengerle

The ministry is a calling, but it is also a career, and, in 1987, a Baptist minister named Wilbur Ellsworth was given the career opportunity of a lifetime. After nearly two decades of pastoring modest congregations in California and Ohio, Ellsworth, at the age of 43, was called to lead the First Baptist Church of Wheaton, Illinois--one of the most prominent evangelical churches in what was then the most prominent evangelical city in the world. Often called the "Evangelical Vatican," the leafy Chicago suburb is home to Wheaton College--the prestigious evangelical college whose most famous graduate is Billy Graham--and a host of influential evangelical figures, a number of whom worshipped at First Baptist. "I was now preaching to these people every Sunday," Ellsworth recalls. "It was all sort of heady and exciting."

From a professional standpoint, Ellsworth thrived. He oversaw the construction of a majestic new building for First Baptist with a 600-seat sanctuary and a 100-foot steeple that towered over Wheaton's Main Street. And, due to the prominent evangelicals he now ministered to, he became something of a prominent evangelical himself--routinely meeting with the many evangelical leaders who constantly came through Wheaton. "I was at the very center of the religious world that I'd been a part of for most of my life," he says. "It was quite a promotion from where I was before."
the rest

War-damaged Sri Lankan church is becoming a peace centre
By Ecumenical News International
25 Aug 2007

The buildings of Christ Church along Jaffna's main road stand pock-marked by shell holes, as a grim reminder of the many pitched battles fought between Tamil rebels and Sri Lankan forces in this Tamil heartland on the northern fringe of Sri Lanka - writes Anto Akkara.

Built in 1871, the Anglican church is, however, now getting a facelift. New roof tiles have been put in place, and major holes in the walls are being patched up.

"We're converting this church into a war memorial, and it will be used as a centre for conflict analysis," the Rev S. P. Nesakumar, the archdeacon of Jaffna, told Ecumenical News International as he pointed to the severe damage inflicted by bombing and shelling during the 1990 and 1995 conflicts.
the rest

GFA: India Bombings an 'Opportunity' to Share Christ's Love
"We must be agents of peace and Christ's compassion," says the head of Gospel for Asia in the wake of Saturday's bomb blasts in the Indian city of Hyderabad
Monday, August 27, 2007

"India is no longer safe from terrorist attacks," declared Gospel for Asia founder and President KP Yohannan in the wake of two deadly bomb blasts in one of the nation's largest cities over the weekend.

"The frequency of terrorist attacks and the presence of terrorists is increasing in India, a nation historically known for peace and harmony between all religions."
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Albert Mohler: Without Fathers, Without Rules, Without Consequences, Without Hope
Monday, August 27, 2007

Modern societies seem absolutely determined to undermine their own foundations. This is especially true of intellectual elites who see the traditional structures of society as repressive rather than essential. Thus, overthrowing these structures becomes an exercise in self-defined liberation. Sadly, what inevitably results is disaster.

Steven Malanga of
The Manhattan Institute and City Journal makes this point in a recent essay, "City Without Fathers," that looks at the collapse of order within Newark, New Jersey. Malanga points to one central factor behind the problems of urban youth in Newark and a crime wave that threatens civic order -- the absence of fathers from urban households. the rest

California Governor and Attorney General Say Marriage can be Eliminated in Future
Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jerry Brown file legal briefs saying the California Legislature can eliminate marriage rights and get rid of marriage

Contact:, 916-265-5643

Christian Newswire/ -- In legal briefs submitted to the California Supreme Court, which is considering whether to license "same-sex marriages" next year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown both stated that a future Legislature could abolish marriage and yank marriage rights from a married husband and wife. the rest

British Civics Class Asks, What Would Muhammad Do?
August 21, 2007

BRADFORD, England — At the Jamia Mosque on Victor Street in this racially and religiously tense town, Idris Watts, a teacher and convert to Islam, tackled a seemingly mundane subject with a dozen teenage boys: why it is better to have a job than to be unemployed.

“The prophet said you should learn a trade,” Mr. Watts told the students arrayed in a semicircle before him. “What do you think he means by that?”
the rest

The Gloves Are Off!
By Marsha West
Aug 24, 2007

A homosexual activist group announced that they will publish the name and address of every Oregonian who signs referendum petitions to overturn two gay-rights bills passed by the Oregon Legislature. According to the Secretary of State's office, this is legal because petitions are public information.

The paragons of virtue at (KTNO), claim they want to help stop petition fraud, so if a person “finds their name on this list erroneously they should immediately contact both the Secretary of State and and we will provide that information once names and addresses have been posted to our database.” How magnanimous.
the rest

Know Thy Anti-Gay Neighbor

Vatican launches charter airline
Aug. 27, 2007

VATICAN CITY, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The Vatican's new airline got off the ground Monday with plans to fly 150,000 pilgrims a year to shrines in Europe and the Middle East.

Mistral Air officials said they plan to fly Roman Catholic pilgrims to shrines in France, Poland, Spain and the Middle East and later add Mexico to the schedule, BBC News reported.

Mistral Air officially opened Monday with the first flight planned from Rome to Lourdes in France with a senior Vatican cardinal aboard to inaugurate the low-cost charter service, the BBC said.

Mistral Air has signed a five-year agreement with travel agencies who book pilgrimages for the Diocese of Rome. The Vatican is leasing two passenger jets painted in the Vatican colors of yellow and white.

The planes' interiors are decorated with biblical sayings such as, "I search for your face, Lord."

Baptists turn from public schools
Yonat Shimron, Staff Writer
Aug 26, 2007

Convinced that God has been erased from public schools, Southern Baptists are now working to open their own schools, where Jesus is writ large and Bible study is part of the daily curriculum.

Church leaders are not calling for a wholesale exodus from public schools, which would be a monumental hit, considering that Southern Baptists make up the nation's largest Protestant denomination with 16 million members.

Rather, they talk about alternatives to public schools capable of educating a new generation ready and willing to advocate for biblical principles rather than popular culture.

"In the public schools, you don't just have neutrality, you have hostility toward organized religion," said Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. "A lot of parents are fed up."
the rest

Sunday, August 26, 2007

There is a stream, whose gentle flow
Supplies the city of our God;
Life, love, and joy still gliding through,
And watering our divine abode:

That sacred stream, thine holy word,
That all our raging fear controls;
Sweet peace thy promises afford,
And give new strength to fainting souls.
... Isaac Watts

Total Lunar Eclipse Early Tuesday
By VOA News
26 August 2007

The Earth's shadow will creep slowly across the surface of the Moon early Tuesday, culminating in a total eclipse.

If weather conditions are favorable, the eclipse will be visible in North and South America.

East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands will also be able to view it if skies are clear.
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Arabic Public School Draws Protests
August 26, 2007

NEW YORK (AP) -- One of the city's newest public schools is named for poet who promoted peace and published his most famous work while living in New York, but there has been little peace for the Khalil Gibran International Academy.

With a little more than a week remaining until the academic year starts, the school -- announced in February as the city's first to offer instruction in Arabic and on Arab culture -- already has had to move once and has its second principal, both because of protests.
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Canadian Anglicans Still Tackling Same-Sex Blessings
Anglicans in Canada are in the midst of discussion to clarify recent decisions on same-sex unions that many have found confusing.

by Lillian Kwon, Christian Today US Correspondent
Posted: Saturday, August 25, 2007

Anglicans in Canada are in the midst of discussion to clarify recent decisions on same-sex unions that many have found confusing.

While some bishops in the Anglican Church of Canada say that the church still does not permit same-sex blessings, others believe the decision may be left to a local church or diocese of priest. the rest

Canada: Same sex marriage a quiet issue for many local Anglicans
By Samantha Craggs

(Sunday, August 26, 2007) There is little arguing in Anglican pews locally when it comes to blessing same sex unions.

As debate churns on in the upper levels of the Anglican church, many local parishioners quietly hold their own opinions. Life continues as usual.

"The work goes on here locally," said Canon Michael Oulton of Christ Church in Belleville, who voted against the issue in the clergy vote in June, disputing the resolution's wording. "We continue rowing our oars."

In what could have been a historic vote at the General Synod in Winnipeg in late June, it must have been difficult to tell how many were standing and how many weren't.

Canadian bishops climbed to their feet in a move that allowed Anglican dioceses to decide for themselves whether to bless committed same-sex civil unions. Usually, the vote is done by a show of hands, but when it's too close to tell, the bishops vote by standing. the rest

Nigerian archbishop: Anglicans must not sacrifice Bible for unity
Associated Press Staff Reports
August 26, 2007

ABUJA, Nigeria - Nigerian Archbishop Peter Akinola says the Anglican Communion's future unity or division is nearing "the moment of decision."

In a statement, Akinola says theological conservatives cannot stand by as the U.S. Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada move toward full acceptance of homosexual relationships.
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Top Pentagon Officers Face Discipline for Endorsing Christianity
Ethan Cole
Christian Post Reporter
Sun, Aug. 26 2007

Seven high-ranking officers, including four generals, could face discipline for what the
Pentagon considers their promotion of Christianity.

The Pentagon inspector general found the seven officers to be engaged in misconduct when they appeared in a promotional fundraiser video for the evangelical group Christian
Embassy three years ago, according to OneNewsNow.

Christian Embassy was founded by the late Dr. Bill Bright of Campus Crusade for Christ and ministers to diplomats, government leaders and military officers. The ministry holds prayer meetings each Wednesday morning at the Pentagon.
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Christians arrested in new crackdown
August 25, 2007

BEIJING — Authorities have increased arrests of Christians operating outside China's sole official government church as a the result of a crackdown ordered last month, an overseas monitoring group reported yesterday.

At least 15 leaders in the unofficial church have been detained in recent days across six provinces and regions, according to the China Aid Association, based in Midland, Texas.

They include seven church leaders arrested during a worship service in Inner Mongolia on Tuesday and six others detained for up to 10 days in the neighboring provinces of Shandong and Jiangsu. In another case, Christian businessman Zhou Heng was arrested while picking up an order of 2 tons of Bibles at a bus station, the association said.

Those actions follow a crackdown on unauthorized religious activity ordered July 5 as part of a drive against crime and economic chaos at the village level.
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Second Acts
Closed Churches Discover New Roles as Youth Clubs, Condos and City Offices

By David Briggs
Religion News Service
Saturday, August 25, 2007

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, Ohio -- Dozens of children chattered with excitement in a space where the faithful of the former Heights United Presbyterian Church once raised their voices in worship. The pews were gone, and the sanctuary had become the Heights Youth Club basketball court.

Overseeing the gathering was not a preacher elevated above the congregation, but a former basketball player surrounded by kids eager to have a place to play on a warm summer day.

What has not been lost in the transition is a sense of purpose and energy -- some even would say mission -- in this old brick building.
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Congregations Rent Part-Time Homes in Public Schools

Friday, August 24, 2007

A life without a lonely place, that is, a life without a quiet center, easily becomes destructive. When we cling to the results of our actions as our only way of self-identification, then we become possessive and defensive and tend to look at our fellow human beings more as enemies to be kept at a distance than as friends with whom we share the gifts of life.

In solitude, we can slowly unmask the illusion of our possessiveness and discover in the center of our own self that we are not what we can conquer, but what is given to us. In solitude we can listen to him who spoke to us before we could speak a word, who healed us before we could make any gesture to help, who set us free long before we could free others, and who loved us long before we could give love to anyone. It is in this solitude we discover that our life is not a possession to be defended, but a gift to be shared. It's there we recognize that the healing words we speak are not just our own, but are given to us; that the love we can express is part of a greater love; and that the new life we bring forth is not a property to cling to, but a gift to be received. ...Henri J. M. Nouwen photo

Astronomers Find a Hole in the Universe
The Associated Press
Friday, August 24, 2007

WASHINGTON -- Astronomers have stumbled upon a tremendous hole in the universe. That's got them scratching their heads about what's just not there. The cosmic blank spot has no stray stars, no galaxies, no sucking black holes, not even mysterious dark matter. It is 1 billion light years across of nothing. That's an expanse of nearly 6 billion trillion miles of emptiness, a University of Minnesota team announced Thursday.

Astronomers have known for many years that there are patches in the universe where nobody's home. In fact, one such place is practically a neighbor, a mere 2 million light years away. But what the Minnesota team discovered, using two different types of astronomical observations, is a void that's far bigger than scientists ever imagined.
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CNN’s God’s Christian Warriors Leaves Viewers… Scared
Reporter Amanpour says she’s trying to “understand” Christian believers, but her special amounts to a call to arms against them.
By Robert Knight
Culture and Media Institute
August 24, 2007

One of these days, CNN will have to dispense with the ominous music it uses for Christian documentaries and go for the full effect, using the Jaws soundtrack.

Last night, in the third segment of a six-hour series called God’s Warriors, CNN served up a two-hour, heady brew of fear, distortion and manipulative media techniques to paint a scary picture of conservative Christians in America. The first two segments, featuring Muslims and Jews, reportedly racked up just over two million viewers per night. All three segments will air again late Saturday and Sunday evenings.
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CNN airs 'one of the most distorted programs' ever

Presbyterian Church rebukes "lesbian evangelist"
Fri Aug 24, 2007
By Adam Tanner

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The U.S. Presbyterian Church has rebuked one of its ministers who describes herself as a "lesbian evangelist" for presiding over two gay weddings, officials said on Friday.

Rev. Jane Adams Spahr, 65, in 1992 became the first openly lesbian Presbyterian minister to be appointed a local church pastor -- a move later overturned by the church's top judicial body. She since has been an outspoken advocate for gay rights -- and gay marriage rites.

She has challenged the church by presiding over hundreds of gay unions, many of which were not called marriages. She faced the church's judicial scrutiny after marrying two men in 2004 and two women in 2005.
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Albert Mohler: Institutionalized Hypocrisy -- A Failure of Courage
Thursday, August 23, 2007

This week's question at
On Faith [Newsweek and The Washington Post] has to do with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's vote to encourage its bishops not to enforce the doctrines and standards of the church -- at least when it comes to the matter of homosexual clergy.

Churches and denominations that invite or allow their standards to be openly violated institutionalize hypocrisy. This usually indicates that the church lacks both the courage to change the standards and the conviction to enforce them.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA] has voted to encourage its bishops not to take punitive action against ministers who violate the denomination's ban on active homosexuals in the ministry. Last year, the Presbyterian Church USA [PCUSA] took a similar action, allowing local jurisdictions (presbyteries) to ordain candidates for ministry who violate a similar policy. Both cases represent tragic failures of leadership. Both churches failed to maintain their own standards and lacked the courage or consensus to change them.
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Theocracy in America
CNN’s latest hype explores the three tiers of the God squad.
By Joe Carter
August 24, 2007

For several weeks CNN has been hyping their
miniseries God’s Warriors as an “unprecedented six-hour television event.” The series dedicates two hours each to “God’s Jewish Warriors,” “God’s Muslim Warriors,” and “God’s Christian Warriors.” Prior to the first airing, CNN invited several bloggers to preview a few clips from the series and to submit a question for Christiane Amanpour to be answered during a special webcast.

The three clips provided by CNN each highlighted one of the “fundamentalist” branches of the three Abrahamic faiths: the segment on Jews focused on theocratic Israeli settlers, including the man who assassinated Yitzhak Rabin; the segment on Muslims focused on theocratic British students, including the London subway bombers; the segment on Christians focused on Jerry Falwell and Liberty University.
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Catholic bishops whereabouts unknown in China
Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo was arrested by Chinese communist authorities. China continues to persecute Christians not affiliated with churches recognized by the communist government.

Thursday, August 23, 2007
By Martin Barillas

Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo, the underground Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Zheng Ding in Hebei Province, China, was arrested again by the Public Security and Religious Bureau on the morning of August 23, 2007. Reports about the reasons for the arrest by Chinese Communist officials were not clear. Bishop Jia had been released in April 2006 after an extended detention and was under surveillance. Zheng Ding is approximately 155 miles (250 kilometers) southwest of Beijing. the rest

AP Poll: God vital to young Amercians
By ERIC GORSKI and TREVOR TOMPSON, Associated Press Writers
Fri Aug 24

Among America's young people, godliness contributes to happiness.

An extensive survey by The Associated Press and MTV found that people aged 13 to 24 who describe themselves as very spiritual or religious tend to be happier than those who don't.

When it comes to spirituality, American young people also are remarkably tolerant — nearly 7 in 10 say that while they follow their own religious or spiritual beliefs, others might be true as well.
On the whole, the poll found religion is a vital part of the lives of many American young people, although with significant pockets that attach little or no importance to faith.
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TLC: A Second Betrayal
The Rev. Samson N. Gitau

The leadership of The Episcopal Church seems intrigued as to why the Global South Anglican leadership has failed to buy into Western revisionism. The Episcopalians seem equally intrigued as to why the “poor” Global South church leaders, faced with multiple problems like HIV/AIDS, malaria and education, to name a few, refuse to take foreign aid, or even worse, why they have returned aid already received prior to the events of the infamous 2003 General Convention.

The apparent intrigue is coupled with the failure of the Global South leaders to embrace the popular Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) warmly embraced by Episcopal Church leadership. In short, why is the Episcopal social gospel falling on the rocky side of the Global South leadership soil?

To understand the Global South’s reaction and rejection of the no doubt attractive social gospel propagated by The Episcopal Church, one has to go back to the planting of the church in the Global South, especially in Africa. By the turn of the 20th century, Christianity was hardly known in most of Africa. However, that does not mean that Africans were not religious. In fact, in the words of a well-known African writer, before the missionaries came, “Africans were notoriously religious.” Every aspect of African life was permeated with religion. The only area that the Africans remained uninformed was the person of Jesus Christ and his role of redemption.
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Planned Parenthood Secretly Buys Land for New Offices
By Randy Hall Staff Writer/Editor
August 24, 2007

( - The nation's biggest abortion provider is seeking to avoid opposition when buying property or building new facilities through secrecy, or what one pro-life leader called "a series of cover-ups" in such places as Denver, Colo., Portland, Ore., and Aurora, Ill.

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) - a division of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America - announced this week it will break ground in November on a $4.2 million headquarters and clinic on northwest Denver property it bought secretly last year.

Planned Parenthood, which receives $305.3 million in tax dollars a year, is the largest abortion chain in the United States and has killed more than 3 million children by abortion, according to the American Life League.
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Pro-Abortion Protestors Arrested for Harassing "40 Days for Life" Witnesses

Episcopal gay bishop to enter into civil partnership
London, Aug 23, 2007

CNA).- The openly homosexual Episcopal bishop, Bishop V. Gene Robinson, has planned to enter into a civil partnership with his long-term partner just weeks before next year's Lambeth Conference, reports the Church of England Newspaper.

Robinson, whose consecration as bishop of New Hampshire in 2003 has placed the Anglican Communion on the brink of schism, unveiled his intention during an interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 next week, in a program entitled Choice.

In an interview with Michael Buerk, the bishop denied that his plan to hold the ceremony next June had been chosen to be deliberately provocative.

He said he and his partner decided to take advantage of the new civil union law that will come into effect in New Hampshire on Jan. 1 and were looking for a three-day weekend that would allow people to travel more easily.
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Reston Event Shows Clout of N.Va. Muslim Voters
By Sandhya Somashekhar
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 24, 2007

More than 50 candidates in this fall's elections are expected to appear in
Reston tomorrow at a political picnic organized by a group of Northern Virginia mosques, and organizers say the heavy turnout underscores the growing influence of Muslim voters in local politics.

The event, the group's seventh annual "family and civic picnic," has a dual purpose, organizers say. Through a voter registration drive, they hope to persuade more Muslims to become involved in local elections. In addition, they hope to show the candidates that "we're here, we care, and we do vote," said Shirin Elkoshairi, a spokesman for the
Sterling-based All Dulles Area Muslim Society, which has more than 5,000 members. the rest

Anger at Malaysia 'Jesus cartoon'
By Jonathan Kent
BBC News, Kuala Lumpur
Thursday, 23 August 2007

Malaysia saw protests over the Prophet Muhammad cartoonsA Malaysian newspaper is facing calls to shut down after it published an image of Jesus holding a cigarette and what appeared to be a can of beer.

Malaysia's Muslim-led government closed two publications last year for carrying controversial cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Now some members of Malaysia's minority religions say they want the same treatment over this latest incident.
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Thursday, August 23, 2007

Hurricane Katrina Aid Remains a Focal Point for ADV Parishes

(August 23, 2007) – As the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, the Anglican District of Virginia (ADV) parishes have continued to give generously to support the victims of the disaster and the rebuilding effort. ADV is an association of Anglican congregations in Virginia and a part of the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA).

“ADV members continue to press forward with mission. In addition to the many foreign mission trips that our congregations have undertaken this year, we have sent several teams to aid in the ongoing reconstruction efforts of the areas hit by Hurricane Katrina. There remains a mountain of work to do, and our churches have been responding. We continue to be encouraged by the progress ADV members are making there and the lives that are being transformed,” said Jim Oakes, vice-chairman of ADV.
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Albert Mohler: "What Does God Care What We Call Him?"
Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A retiring Roman Catholic bishop in the Netherlands has been making headlines around the world in recent days with his suggestion that Dutch Christians should pray to Allah.

Bishop Tiny Muskens of Breda, a former missionary to Indonesia, suggested that conflict between Christians and Muslims could be lessened if Dutch Catholics followed the lead of some Christians in Muslim-dominated lands and adopted Allah as the preferred name for God..

Catholic News:

Speaking on the Dutch TV programme Network on Monday evening, Bishop Muskens says it could take another 100 years but eventually the name Allah will be used by Dutch churches. And that will promote rapprochement between the two religions. Muskens doesn't expect his idea to be greeted with much enthusiasm. The 71-year-old bishop, who will soon be retiring due to ill health, says God doesn't mind what he is called. God is above such "discussion and bickering". Human beings invented this discussion themselves, he believes, in order to argue about it.
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Nudity will be legal again in Brattleboro
By Associated Press
August 23, 2007

BRATTLEBORO -- It's back to clothing optional in Vermont's nudity capital.

A month after passing a temporary ban, the Brattleboro Selectboard rejected a proposed ordinance that would have made it permanent Tuesday. When the emergency ordinance expires next month, public nudity will be legal again.

To one Selectboard member, tolerance trumped all.
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Rome halts mosque conversion plan
By David Willey BBC News, Rome
Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Rome says it has many applications for religious centresAuthorities in Rome have refused to allow a building next to a Catholic church to be converted into a mosque.

The planned mosque, in a densely populated and multi-ethnic quarter in the centre of the Italian capital, was supposed to open next month.

Municipal police said the community of Bengali Muslims who were carrying out the building works did not have the necessary permit.
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Real, Strange News: Thursday Breakfast Bender

Howard attacked for links to secret Christian sect the Brethren
By Kathy Marks in Sydney
Published: 23 August 2007

They describe themselves as "a Christian fellowship based on the Holy Scriptures", but others call them a sect, and they have meddled in elections in New Zealand and Australia.
So when the Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, admitted that he had recently met leaders of the ultra-conservative Exclusive Brethren, his critics smelt something unsavoury.

The group, an offshoot of the Plymouth Brethren, with followers in Australia, New Zealand, Britain and the US, enforces a policy of separation, including from other Christians. Children are educated in Brethren-run schools; adults work in Brethren-owned companies. Brethren eat, drink and socialise only with other Brethren. Television, mobile phones and computers are banned.

But although members are also forbidden to vote, the group tries to mould the political landscape. Australian Federal Police are investigating expenditure of A$370,000 (£150,000) on advertisements supporting the Howard government by a company owned by Mark Mackenzie, a senior Breth-ren member, before the last election in 2004. the rest