If you were busy celebrating the land of the free this past July 4th, you probably missed Elena Lappin‘s Kafkaesque report in the NYT on her attempt to practice journalism without an “information visa.” We used to be familiar with Lappin as editor of the excellent British magazine, Jewish Quarterly; now, she’s writing for the Guardian. Apparently, a resume like that — plus British citizenship — is enough to get you body-searched, handcuffed, and deported these days. Her account isn’t about religion, but it’s about journalism, and it’s scary, so read itand then send a few bucks to Reporters Without Borders. [via Philocrites]

WWHTSARAM (What Would Helen Thomas Say About Religion and Media?)
We’re tired of all those WWJD jokes, the ones that mock the phrase by subbing in some silly character for Jesus. As far as we’re concerned, Bill Wasik cornered that market when he created the now almost-famous advice column, “What Would Journey Do?” That said, we were tempted to title this item “What Would Helen Thomas Say?” Because we really want to know what the veteran White House correspondent would say about religion in the media and the state of the world. Fortunately, the Texas Freedom Network is hosting a religion and media conference featuring Thomas as keynoter. Other speakers include Revealer contributor Stewart M. HooverReligionlink editor Diane Connolly, the guy who wrote Bush’s Brain, and the founder of Tompaine.com. If you can’t guess from that lineup, Texas Freedom Network is a liberal outfit, so don’t expect to find Cal Thomas on a panel. But the schedule sounds promising even without Cal, so if you’re in Texas, and you like Freedom, sign up here.
The North Carolina state House tentatively agreed Tuesday to create a special license plate including the phrase “In God We Trust.”
“‘Before the Six-Day War, dispensationalists were content to sit in the bleachers of history explaining the End-Time game on the field below, point- ing out events and identifying players. But after expansion of Israel into the West Bank and Gaza, they began to get down onto the field and be sure the teams lined up right.’” The Rev. Timothy Weber, author of On the Road to Armageddon: How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend, speaks to The Christian Science Monitor’s Jane Lampman about the growing influence of Christian Zionists.
The Archdiocese of Portland, Ore., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection yesterday, becoming the first Roman Catholic diocese in the nation to seek such relief in response to mounting claims by victims of sexually abusive priests. Read more.
Multiple-murder convict, Justin Helzer, killed his victims under the delusion that he was “a soldier waging war against Satan,” Simon Read reports in the Tri-Valley Herald. Psychiatrist Robert Dolgoff testified on Tuesday that in the Church of Latter Day Saints, of which Helzer is a former member, “people who claim to be prophets are not delusional.”
U.K. home secretary, David Blunkett, today will announce plans to criminalize religious hatred–a measure he’s proposed twice and which has been twice voted down. Alan Travis, in The Guardian, reports.
Wayne Barrett and Ben Shestakofsky of The Village Voice explore a new angle of the “Catholic question,” in an article on New York cardinal Edward Egan. Egan, who has been quietly opposed to both denying communion to candidates like John Kerry and to Bush’s Iraq policies, will soon reenter politics when he draws up the invitation list for the Al Smith dinner: “the annual Waldorf Astoria white-tie archdiocesan affair that always attracts gobs of media and, usually, the presidential candidates of both parties.” This year, Barrett and Shestakofsky speculate, neither candidate may make the list.