Saturday, March 22, 2008


The attention on Barak Obama’s longtime pastor has gotten many wondering about John McCain's pastor. Although raised in the Episcopal Church, or the past 15 years, the Republican presidential candidate has attended a Baptist church in Phoenix where Dan Yeary is the pastor. Despite McCain’s support for stem-cell research and his past criticism of Evangelical leaders, Yeary is a vocal conservative who opposes abortion and gay marriage. His North Phoenix Baptist Church has some 7000 members.


A new book called Resurrection: The Power of God for Christians and Jews by two Harvard Divinity School professors hopes to strengthen the theological bonds between Christians and Jews. Kevin Madigan who teaches Christian history and Jon Levenson who teaches Jewish studies challenge the idea that resurrection for Jews and the followers of Jesus is simply the survival of the soul. The scholars say resurrection occurs for the whole person body and soul. New Testament scholar N.T. Wright has just published a book aimed in the same direction: Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection and the Mission of the Church. His 2003 book The Resurrection of the Son of God argues that Jesus was physically resurrected.


Andre Carson has become the second Muslim elected to congress. The Democrat won a special election to succeed his grandmother, Julia Carson. He’ll represent the district around Indianapolis for the rest of the year. A May primary will select the Democratic nominee who’ll serve the full two-year term. He converted to Islam more than a decade ago after being raised in a Baptist church. The only other Muslim in Congress is fellow Democrat Keith Ellison of Minnesota.


A Texas judge has thrown out a lawsuit against Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary filed by a professor who taught Hebrew. Sheri Klouda says she was fired because of her gender. The judge decided the case was a religious matter and he had no jurisdiction. She may appeal. She now teaches at Taylor University in Indiana.


A Sanderson, Florida couple is in jail after police say they were caught having sex in Mount Zion Primitive Baptist Church. A call about someone hanging around the church led Baker County Sheriff’s Deputies to find Crystal Rowland and Matthew Pearce inside. A church deacon says he was told their clothes were scattered around the alter and burning candles.


The president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is recovering from surgery to remove a colon tumor. Doctors say the procedure on Albert Mohler was successful. Mohler has served in the position for 15 years and withdrew from consideration for the position of president of the Southern Baptist convention when he began having health problems.


Here are the results of a survey on sin. The percentage indicates how many Americans say the activity is sinful. The "more sinful" is at the top, the "less sinful" is at the bottom.

Adultery - 81%
Racism - 74%
Using "hard" drugs, such as cocaine, LSD - 65%
Not saying anything if a cashier gives you too much change - 63%
Having an abortion - 56%
Homosexual activity or sex - 52%
Not reporting some income on your tax returns - 52%
Reading or watching pornography - 50%
Gossip - 47%Swearing - 46%
Sex before marriage - 45%
Homosexual thoughts - 44%
Sexual thoughts about someone you are not married to - 43%
Doing things as a consumer that harm the environment - 41%
Smoking marijuana - 41%
Getting drunk - 41%
Gambling - 30%
Not attending church or religious services regularly - 18%
Drinking any alcohol - 14%

Margin of error: ±3.1 percentage points
Source: Ellison Research

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Bill Clinton and his daughter Chelsea visited Joel Osteen’s Houston megachurch the Sunday before Hillary Clinton won the Texas primary. Clinton did not speak but the congregation applauded when Osteen recognized the former president from the pulpit.


Pat Robertson is cutting back on plans for a 500 acre complex near Regent University in Virginia Beach. The development was supposed to include shops, offices and homes. The effort depended in part on construction of a interstate exit at the location but that has fallen through. In April, the Virginia Beach City Council will vote on whether to approve the residential project.


The percentage of people who say Barack Obama shares the controversial views of his longtime pastor Jeremiah Wright:
All Americans – 24%
Republicans – 36%
Whites – 25%
Independents – 20%
Democrats – 17%
Blacks – 15%

The percentage of people who say the controversy has caused them to question Obama’s candidacy:
Whites – 40%
All Americans – 35%
Independents – 27%
Democrats – 26%
Blacks – 2%
Source: FOX News poll


A new way for parents to keep their children in “kid safe” areas of the internet launches this week. KidZui is designed to let them roam freely without worrying parents that something objectionable will pop up. Aimed at the age 3 to 12 crowd, the service is run by a San Diego company and includes some half-a-million safe sites, photos and videos, all approved by a group of parents and teachers. While content can be shared, there’s no email, IM, or ads. Users must download a special browser and pay either $100 a year or $10 a month. There’s a one-month free trial available. Each child is represented by a cartoon figure that can be customized. Detailed reports on the sites children have visited is available as well.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University plans to honor Barack Obama’s longtime pastor a week from Saturday. The Fort Worth, Texas divinity school is hosting the Black Church Summit and will give laud Jeremiah Wright at a formal awards banquet that evening. TCU says it does not support the plan because of Wright’s controversial statements that have recently come to light. But Brite is a fully separate school and plans to go forward even after reviewing the video and audio tapes of Wright that have been circulating around the internet and on television. In a statement Brite’s leaders says, “Contrary to media claims that Wright preaches racial hatred, church leaders who have observed his ministry describe him as a faithful preacher of the gospel.”


The first Christian church to officially be pemitted to meet in the tiny Middle Eastern country of Qatar held its first service last week. The small Catholic chapel has no visible crosses but it still considered a positive step between Catholicism and Islam. And that may only be the beginning. The Vatican is in talks that may give it permission to build the first church in Saudi Arabia. There are some 800,000 Catholics in the country. Celebrating non-Muslim holidays and wearing crucifixes has been strictly forbidden.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


Actor Will Smith says he’s not a Scientologist. The rumor has been fueled by his close association with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Smith says he’s a Christian and likes to study various religions. Radar magazine reports the church is looking to gain members from the African American community, having opened a center in Harlem a few years ago.


Barack Obama made a speech yesterday at a Philadelphia museum honoring the nation's founding intended to blunt criticism of his association with pastor Jeremiah Wright. He once again rejected controversial comments made by his longtime pastor that have circulated in the last few weeks, calling it a "a profoundly distorted view of this country”. Obama went on to say:

"I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother — a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love."


"You don't have to be Jewish to be a friend of Steven Spielberg. You don't have to be a Muslim to be a friend of Muhammad Ali. And you don't have to be a Scientologist to be a friend of Tom Cruise. I am a Christian. I am a student of all religions. And I respect all people and all paths." – Will Smith in an interview with the New York Daily News


Barak Obama’s pastor once told his congregation that God should D- America instead of bless it. Jeremiah Wright said it was in response to how the country has its black citizens. Obama has already backed away from other controversial statements from the pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ.. telling PBS yesterday his pastor’s remarks were “stupid”. Pundits suggest whether the controversy hurts Obama’s presidential changes will largely depend on his reaction to the fallout. Obama plans a speech today in Philadelphia that will repeat his earlier denunciations of the minister’s words and address the issue of race in broader terms. Here's the video of Wright:

Monday, March 17, 2008


Visit Rock Church in San Diego and you’ll find a world of advanced multimedia at work. The five Sunday services are shown in HD video on a 90-foot screen in a theater. Engineers designed and installed a fiber optic network throughout the 279,000 square foot facility. With the majority of its parishioners under the age of 30, the church web site offers lots of audio and video content, including sermons, short messages from the pastor along with podcasts.


The Trinity United Church of Christ has changed its website. Gone is an “about us” page outlining its commitment to a Black Value System. A toned down page has replaced it. The section has been moved to a less obvious place. Among other things, it calls for a commitment to the black community and family because of “our racists competitive society”. Retiring pastor Jeremiah Wright has come under fire for his support of black separatist Louis Farrakhan.


More than 6,000 people took part in Palm Sunday services at Trinity United Church of Christ. Wright is retiring from the pulpit and Sunday the church's new pastor preached a sermon titled Why the Black Church Won't Shut Up. Before the service began, a statement was handed out by ushers defending Wright as a teacher of Black liberation theology and describing the controversy as a "modern-day lynching."

Sunday, March 16, 2008


Barack Obama’s pastor has become a flashpoint in the Democratic presidential race. Jeremiah Wright, pastor of the 8000-member Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, has been dropped from Obama’s African American Religious Leadership Committee after controversial remarks he made surfaced about Aids and 9/11. Obama says he’s still a member of Wright's church but is distancing himself from remarks the mega-church pastor made about the U.S. bringing the 9/11 attacks on itself and his accusation the federal government is spreading the AIDS virus in the African-American community. Obama was married at Trinity and his three daughters were baptized there. He gave $22,500 to the church in 2006 but says he was unaware of Wright's remarks until last year. He retires from the pulpit in June. Here's Obama's statement about Wright:


John McCain is backing away from Rod Parsley. The Ohio pastor spoke before McCain at a rally last month in Cincinnati where McCain called him a “a moral compass, a spiritual guide”. Some pundits have seized on the remark, claiming Parsley plays an important role in the Senator’s life. But McCain’s campaign says he had never met Parsley until that rally and has never attended one of his services. Parsley has preached against Islam, calling it a religion based on deception and that Mohammad’s revelations came from demons. As a result, a recent headline in the Tehran Times says “McCain advisor: Destroy Islam.”


Prosecutors in Pennsylvania says a church treasurer stole more than $1 million. Barry Herr of Lancaster worked for the central office of the region's Evangelical Lutheran Churches. That’s more than 250 congregations. Police say he used the money given over the last 17 years for overseas missionary work to buy collectable cars.