Weekly religion rail, with items on Tariq Ramadan, a study about biblical worldviews, and more.

A lawyer representing the Obama administration told a U.S. federal appeals court panel Tuesday that they support a decision to bar a Muslim intellectual entry into the U.S.

According to wire reports, Assistant U.S. Attorney David Jones echoed Bush administration policies to bar Swiss Muslim Tariq Ramadan from entering the United States.

Jones argued that the courts have no power to examine visa denials. Civil rights groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union, had hoped Tuesday's arguments would see a reversal of policies that they say exclude foreign scholars from visiting the United States due to their political beliefs.

Ramadan had been barred based on a provision of the USA Patriot Act that allows people to be excluded for supporting terrorism. The Oxford University professor has been a vocal critic of the war in Iraq.

Woman blames Satan after theft accusations

A woman accused of taking more than $73,000 from the Arlington, Wash., church where she was an administrative assistant blames the devil, according to wire reports.

According to court reports, the 62-year-old woman told detectives "Satan had a big part in the theft."

The woman was accused of forging the pastor's signature on 80 checks from the Arlington Free Methodist church. She told detectives she used the money to cover expenses.

Survey Says

Less than 1 percent of Americans between the ages of 18 and 23 has a biblical worldview, according to a new study.

A biblical worldview, as defined by The Barna Group, is believing that absolute moral truth exists; the Bible is completely accurate in all of the principles it teaches; Satan is considered to be a real being or force, not merely symbolic; a person cannot earn their way into Heaven by trying to be good or do good works; Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth; and God is the all-knowing, all-powerful creator of the world who still rules the universe today.

Good Book?

“A People's History of Christianity: The Other Side of the Story” by Diana Butler Bass

For too long, the history of Christianity has been told as the triumph of orthodox doctrine imposed through power and hierarchy.

In “A People's History of Christianity,” historian and religion expert Diana Butler Bass reveals an alternate history that includes a deep social ethic and far-reaching inclusivity: "the other side of the story" is not a modern phenomenon, but has always been practiced within the church.

Butler Bass persuasively argues that corrective — even subversive — beliefs and practices have always been hallmarks of Christianity and are necessary to nourish communities of faith.

Get to Know … Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory

Wilton D. Gregory grew up in Chicago and attended Quigley Preparatory Seminary South, Niles College of Loyola University and St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.

He was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Chicago on May 9, 1973, and earned his doctorate in sacred liturgy in 1980 after graduate studies at the Pontifical Liturgical Institute (Sant’ Anselmo) in Rome.

He was ordained an auxiliary bishop of Chicago on Dec. 13, 1983. On Feb. 10, 1994, he was installed as the seventh bishop of the Diocese of Belleville, Ill., where he served for the next 11 years.

On Dec. 9, 2004, Pope John Paul II appointed Bishop Gregory as the sixth archbishop of the Archdiocese of Atlanta. He was installed on Jan. 17, 2005.

Gregory has written extensively on church issues, including pastoral statements on the death penalty and euthanasia/physician-assisted suicide, and has published numerous articles on the subject of liturgy, particularly in the African-American community.

-- Archdiocese of Atlanta

The Word

Mahayana: A Sanskrit term group of Buddhist traditions called the Great Way, Great Road, Greater Path or Greater Vehicle. It stresses the importance of helping all beings to achieve enlightenment. It is found in Bhutan, China, Japan, Nepal, Tibet and East Asia. – religioustolerance.org

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Suriname

Hindu: 27.4 percent

Protestant: 25.2 percent (predominantly Moravian)

Roman Catholic: 22.8 percent

Muslim: 19.6 percent

Indigenous beliefs: 5 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service