Weekly religion rail, with items on religious ringtones, an attack on a Jewish newspaper's Web site, a survey about religious identity, and more.

While more and more people in Egypt use verses from the Quran as cell phone ringtones, the country’s highest religious legal authority says the practice is inappropriate.

Web sites and television channels in Egypt advertise the verses for download, according to wire reports. But Mufti Ali Gomaa said using the verses as ringtones trivializes the sanctity of the Quran.

He recommended that Muslims use religious songs instead.

Jewish newspaper attacked by hackers

Editors of the Jewish Chronicle, the world’s oldest continuously published Jewish newspapers, say Turkish hackers attached the paper’s Web site.

According to wire reports, the main page of the Web site was replaced with a Palestinian flag and anti-Semitic writings. The newspaper’s editor, who is based in London, said the site was defaced for a couple of hours.

Israel and Turkey are traditional allies but are struggling through a diplomatic feud.

Survey Says

According to a 2007 survey, when asked whether they think of themselves first as an American or as a Muslim, 47 percent of Muslims in the U.S. think of themselves first in terms of their religion, while 28 percent identify themselves first as Americans and 18 percent volunteer that they identify as both.

Religious identity is almost equally as high among American Christians, 42 percent of whom say they think of themselves first as Christian. About half (48 percent) of Christians in the U.S. identify first as Americans, while 7 percent volunteer that they identify both with their nationality and their religion.

-- Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life

Good Book?

“A Year with God: Living Out the Spiritual Disciplines” by Richard J. Foster

Many people are longing to find the footprint of God in their daily lives. This daily companion comprises 365 selections of scripture, commentary, meditations and daily exercises to help readers see how they can bring their entire life into a life with Immanuel - a God who is with his people.

Through daily spiritual exercises and meditations, “A Year with God” explores 18 spiritual disciplines. The inward disciplines of meditation, prayer, fasting and study offer avenues of personal examination and change. The outward disciplines of simplicity, solitude, submission and service help prepare one to make the world a better place. The corporate disciplines of confession, worship, guidance and celebration bring one nearer to others and to God.

Each discipline will be given 20 days of readings, beginning with scripture and followed by commentary, a meditation and a spiritual exercise.

Get to Know … Richard Baxter

Richard Baxter (1615 - 1691) was an English Puritan church leader and theologian.

In the early years of his ministry, he took a special interest in the controversy relating to nonconformism, in which he refused to "conform," or follow the governance and usages of the Church of England.

Baxter was a type of peacemaker during the English Civil Wars. He believed in monarchy, but a limited one. He served as a chaplain for the parliamentary army, but then helped to bring about the restoration of the king.

When he rejected the offer to become bishop of Hereford, he was barred from the church. He was often persecuted and even spent time in jail.

He was a prolific writer, with some of his writings used by the evangelists of the 19th century.

The Word

Rationalism: A movement in the 18th century Protestantism which abandoned the idea of Biblical inerrancy and adopted the belief that the Bible can be analyzed as a historical document. Some Rationalists assert that the existence of some form of deity can be proven by reason. – religioustolerance.org

Religion Around the World

Religious makeup of Dominican Republic:

Roman Catholic: 95 percent

Other: 5 percent

- CIA Factbook

GateHouse News Service