Supreme Court to weigh limits of indecency

WASHINGTON-While the rest of the country heads to the voting booth next Tuesday, the Supreme Court will be taking on television obscenity on Nov. 4, marking the first time in 30 years that the court will rule on standards for regulating public airwaves.

Zondervan acquires Bible Gateway,

CASCADE TOWNSHIP, Mich. -Christian book publisher Zondervan is acquiring, a popular nonprofit Bible search engine, from Gospel Communications Inc. of Muskegon.

Judge dismisses suit by New Orleans Catholics

NEW ORLEANS -A state court judge on Tuesday (Oct. 28) threw out a civil lawsuit by parishioners of Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church aimed at keeping their parish open.

COMMENTARY: Helping us help God

CHICAGO-A few hours before the bodies of singer Jennifer Hudson’s murdered mother and brother were discovered on Chicago’s South Side, Archbishop Desmond Tutu gave an address titled “The Dawn of a New Moral Awakening.” Tutu came to Chicago to speak the truth to power-to prophesy about what could be, as opposed to what is. (Cathleen Falsani is a columnist for the Chicago Sun-Times, and author of the new book “Sin Boldly: A Field Guide for Grace.”)

Patrick McLaughlin

WASHINGTON-As a Navy chaplain, Patrick McLaughlin is accustomed to preaching and ministering to sailors and Marines, whether in Iraq or onboard the soon-to-be-commissioned U.S.S. George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier in Newport News, Va., where he’s currently stationed. But as chaplain at the Camp David presidential retreat from 2002 to 2005, McLaughlin also ministered to the commander in chief. And as he tells it, it wasn’t as different as you might expect. McLaughlin, 47, is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the author of a new book, “No Atheists in Foxholes: Prayers and Reflections From the Front.” Some comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Muslim Praise for Obama-Taliban Parley

Obama told Time’s Joe Klein of that he is in favor of negotiating with the Taliban. General Petraeus agrees. This statement has prompted an elated response from blogger Mujahideen Ryder:”This is extremely good news, and makes me want to shout at all the Muslims in Texas, Virginia, Ohio, Florida and any other strong Republican states to get out there and vote for Barack Obama!” However, scroll down and look at some of the comments and you can see this type of response is not unanimous. Some seem skeptical that Obama has their interests at heart.

Do I hear 100?

In this press release, Sue Cyr says 89 Roman Catholic bishops “are proclaiming that in this election, Catholic voters must make abortion their defining issue.” Cyr then lists a few of the sharpest statements from Catholic prelates, including Egan, Chaput, Burke, Farrell, and Martino. Interestingly, Serratelli, of Paterson, N.J., who’s been reported to the IRS, was not quoted. I don’t know anything about Cyr, other than the name of her group: the Ad Hoc Committee in Support of Our Bishops Rocco Palmo, writing in the Tablet, puts the number at 50 Catholic bishops, by the way. There are 197 active Catholic bishops in the U.S. he says.

Transcendental devastation

A few years after Transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau decamped at Walden Pond, he began to record hundreds of the species of plants living around him. Now, the Boston Globe reports, scientists report that more than a quarter of the species Thoreau documented have disappeared, another 36 percent are on death’s door. Climate change is to blame, according to researchers.

“Values” take back seat to economy in ‘08 race

While evangelical Christians are committed to their values, they are unlikely to drive McCain into the Oval Office in the same way that they propelled President Bush, based on issues like gay marriage, abortion and nominees to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Social conservatives fight for future of GOP

The social conservatives and moderates who together boosted the Republican Party to dominance have begun a tense battle over the future of the GOP, with social conservatives already moving to seize control of the party’s machinery and some vowing to limit John McCain’s influence, even if he wins the presidency.

Nuns with guns

There’s word this morning that Roman Catholic Bishop Martin Jumoad of the Philippines is telling priests and nuns in his diocese that, no, they may not carry guns to protect themselves. It sounds funny, sure, but apparently Jumoad (and the priests who made the request) is deadly serious after Father Felimon Libot was ambushed on Oct. 18. The Union of Catholic Asian News has the story here. Money quote from the bishop: “We are Alter Christus (other Christ) and Jesus, our Lord, would not allow his priests” to arm themselves.

Bifurcated Evangelicals

According to Quinnipiac’s latest, white evangelicals break 72-21 for McCain in FL, but 61-33 and 62-31 in OH and PA respectively. Helps explain why Obama’s up by 9 and 12 points in the latter states, but only by 2 in the former, doesn’t it?

Many, but not all, Hispanic voters swing to Obama

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Naomi Gonzalez grew up poor in Chicago, bouncing among nine foster homes while her father served time in prison. The single mother of four believes Barack Obama understands her struggle. “He’s come from poverty, he comes from a single mother, he’s experienced racism,” said Gonzalez, 30, “A lot of us can relate to him.” Gonzalez, of Grand Rapids, Mich., typifies a surprisingly strong source of support for Obama: Latino Protestants. A new poll finds Obama enjoying a nearly 17-point lead in that group over John McCain.