“‘If one'” — that’d be a gay person — “‘ever looks at me'” — and that would be Jimmy Swaggart — “‘like that, I’m going to kill him and tell God he died.'” GetReligion traces the history of Swaggart’s overheated “‘Louisiana mouth.'”

Iraq’s most powerful Shiite leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Husseini al-Sistani, has threatened to withdraw his support for nationwide elections unless Shiites are given increased representation.The New York Times’ Dexter Filkins reports that Sistani is concerned that the election process is being controlled by a handful of political parties comprised of exiles who had cooperated with American occupation.

“‘If my heart really, honestly desires a nice Cadillac…would there be something terribly wrong with me saying, “Lord, it is the desire of my heart to have a nice car…and I’ll use it for your glory?”‘” William Lobdell, of The LA Times, continues his excellent coverage on the scandal-ridden Trinity Broadcast Network:
–An FCC ruling that televangelist and TBN head Paul Crouch created a “sham” minority-owned company to sidestep limits on the the number of stations TBN could own.
–“Send Money and See Riches
–A former TBN worker claims he was coerced to have sex with Crouch in order to keep his job.

Conclusive proof at The Daily Kos that God is a Republican.

A survey released by the Institute for Jewish and Community Research, “The Decline of Religious Identity in the United States,” found a rise (16% up from less than 10%) in respondents who declined to identify with any particular faith. This “no-religion” group is now the third-largest in the nation, after Catholics, at 24 percent, and Baptists, at 17 percent, though it’s unclear what “no religion” refers to: atheism, agnosticism, undefined “spirituality” or a generally ecumenical faith in God.

“‘We are now being coerced to accept and believe that a new political-cum-religious doctrine has arisen, namely that there is but one political god, George W. Bush, and Tony Blair is his prophet.'” Zimbabwean leader Robert Mugabe objects to his new role as minor demon.

Updated Deal: Julia Duin describes the threats of five Crisis columnists to quit unless Deal resigned. The columnists, including Michael Novak of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research and Notre Dame philosophy professor Ralph McInerny, were angry about the August scandal following a National Catholic Reporter expose as well as specific accusations of more recent sexual misconduct. GetReligion follows the smoke and fire, and the debate rages at Open Book.