Special Ops Bible
Chuck Currie points to this Sojourners story on a new custom-line of Bibles that the Defense Department has commissioned for its elite U.S. Special Operations Command. The new Bibles will feature a custom-designed cover, special Army-designed color photos and text inserts, and “army-centric motivational messages.”
Stained Glass Ceiling
Who leads the choir, teaches Sunday School, helps in the kitchen, and stands beside the pastor or rabbi at the end of a church or synagogue service, when the pastor or rabbi is a woman? The husband? Sometimes. Robin Galiano Russell, in The Dallas Morning News, reports on the changing notions of clerical spouses’ obligations with the rise of congregational “first husbands.” Russell speaks with Dr. Sheron Patterson (the first ordained black woman in her Methodist conference), Rabbi Heidi Coretz, and First Christian Church Pastor Dawn Darwin Weaks — and the husbands of all three women — about dealing with stereotypes and congregations that often still assume the husband is the head of the church or temple.
“Immaculate Contraception”
A British ad campaign for emergency birth control pills — “Immaculate contraception? If only.” — has been abandoned as offensive to religious sensibilities, and will be investigated by Britain’s Advertising Standards Authority.
Bush Admin Jumps In
The Bush administration has filed arguments urging the Supreme Court to allow Ten Commandments displays on government property when the justices rule on the case next year.
Anti-Semitism in Australia
Attacks on Australian Jews, synagogues and property have risen to record levels in the past year due in part to the growing anti-Semitic Internet presence.
Faster Buddha, Kill! Kill!
Revealer editor Jeff Sharlet and Peter Manseau talk to CBC’s Mary Hynes about how to kill Buddha. “There’s an affliction, a malaise, that spreads over the media when it talks about religion: a sense of worthiness, of respectability… “
Empty Rhetoric Makes Revealer Forget Its Values
Virginia’s Republican Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore says he’s running for governor onmoral values — banning gay marriage, ditching a law that limits gun purchases to one a month, and ignoring the part he played in the state’s nasty political wire-tapping scandal. Well, ok, he’s not counting that last one as “value,” per se, but he certainly isn’t letting his sketchy past throw any shadows on his current stance of moral rectitude. Democratic Lt. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s also claiming “values,” and he’s even fuzzier about what it means — something too valuable to confine to a definition, it seems. The two squared off in a debate moderated by TV “analyst” Larry Sabato, who, if this report can be trusted, challenged neither on the meaning of this word “values.” But we don’t think this report can be trusted — the reporter also takes “values” at face value. Oops — there’s that word again — it’s such a valuable term. We value it almost as deeply as our values.
G-d. G-d, Can You Hear Me? Oy, I’m in Utah…
The Chicago Tribune‘s Bonnie Miller Rubin must have been stuck in Salt Lake City for too long: Non-LDSers seem to all look alike to her. In her puff piece on Lubavitcher Rabbi Benny Zippel’s mission to Utah’s tiny Jewish population, she neglects to report that Lubavitchers — proselytizing Orthodox Jews, many of whom believe their late Rebbe Schneerson was Moshiach — aren’t exactly kosher with many M.O.T. Especially in small Jewish communities, where, some charge, they prey on less-observant Jewish youth hungry for an identity. Well, the Mormons love Rabbi Zippel, at least. And why not? Lubavitchers are seen by the rest of Judaism much as Mormons are by many Christians — especially since Lubavitchers put in phone lines, a fax machine, and an email station at the grave of their beloved rebbe, the better to get a direct line to G-d.
No News is No News

Reuters reports that South African President Thabo Mbeki has come up with a peace plan for Ivory Coast’s warring Christians and Muslims. But the editor apparently didn’t think the details were worth column inches.