10:50 am: A story by Deb McCown in The Washington Times illustrates a potential rift in the alleged Republican religion lock. What matters more to conservatives — freedom of faith, or small government? The issue at hand is a Montana church under fire from liberal groups for violating the state’s election laws by devoting a service to politics and petitions (against gay marriage). Religious conservatives say the church is entitled to its activism by the first amendment. But how long will it be before conservative libertarians bristle over government subsidies — in the form of tax exemptions — for explicitly partisan, politically active churches?

10:43 am: Truth and Reconciliation in Belfast? The British government is urging Northern Ireland to follow South Africa’s unique example by establishing their own TRC to bear witness and possibly grant amnesty to those involved with “the Troubles.” Read more.

10:06 am: Luci in the sky…”Any phenomenon is related to religion,” said Mohammed Youssef, an assistant professor of physics who watched yesterday’s transit of Venus from Bahrain, and whose Islamic science students debated offering prayer for the occasion. Indian observers in Calcutta prayed to Sukra (Venus) as the planet of prosperity and well-being, Beliefnetexplored the transit’s astrological implications, while Pravda recalled that, “in ancient Roman times, Venus was called Lucifer; and Lucifer”s crossing the Sun prophesized nothing but trouble.”

9:40 am: “‘I feel him with me as I browse,'” Stacy Grossman told The New York Times’Joanna Smith Rakoff about the Barnes and Nobles she visits to mourn her father. “Normally, we think of grieving as a process confined to places religious – church, synagogue, mosque, cemetery – or domestic,” Rakoff writes. “But people can mourn anywhere, and as social changes have made such customized grieving more common, they do just that.” Like the “unofficial grieving space” Julliard students have improvised in response to various tragedies over the past five years, Rakoff explores some personal/public spaces of mourning.