Saturday, November 15, 2008

Episcopals Lose Fort Worth

The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is leaving the denomination. Just as several others have recently done. The vote today was overwhelmingly in favor of breaking away to align with the more conservative Province of the Southern Cone, based in Argentina. The clergy vote was 73-18 in favor of leaving. Among the lay orders, it was 101-26.

Barack Obama's Beliefs

I am a Christian. So, I have a deep faith. So I draw from the Christian faith. On the other hand, I was born in Hawaii where obviously there are a lot of Eastern influences. I lived in Indonesia, the largest Muslim country in the world, between the ages of six and 10. My father was from Kenya, and although he was probably most accurately labeled an agnostic, his father was Muslim. And I'd say, probably, intellectually I've drawn as much from Judaism as any other faith. So, I'm rooted in the Christian tradition. I believe that there are many paths to the same place, and that is a belief that there is a higher power, a belief that we are connected as a people.

My mother remarried an Indonesian who wasn't particularly, he wasn't a practicing Muslim. I went to a Catholic school in a Muslim country. So I was studying the Bible and catechisms by day, and at night you'd hear the prayer call. So I don't think as a child we were, or I had a structured religious education. But my mother was deeply spiritual person, and would spend a lot of time talking about values and give me books about the world's religions.

(Did you actually go up for an altar call?) Yes. Absolutely.. And it was a powerful moment.

Jesus is an historical figure for me, and he's also a bridge between God and man, in the Christian faith, and one that I think is powerful precisely because he serves as that means of us reaching something higher. And he's also a wonderful teacher. I think it's important for all of us, of whatever faith, to have teachers in the flesh and also teachers in history.

I find it hard to believe that my God would consign four-fifths of the world to hell. I can't imagine that my God would allow some little Hindu kid in India who never interacts with the Christian faith to somehow burn for all eternity. That's just not part of my religious makeup.

(What is sin?) Being out of alignment with my values.

Barack Obama in a 2004 interview with BeliefNet

Friday, November 14, 2008

Electing Obama a Sin?

A Wichita, Kansas pastor says the election of Barack Obama is a sin and the country should repent. KSN-TV reports:

Preist Facing Excommunication

Roy Bourgeois faces excommunication from the Catholic Church after taking part in a ceremony to ordain a woman as a fellow priest. Janice Sevre-Duszynska, a member of a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests, faces excommunication as well. Bourgeois plans to appeal. He lives in Fort Benning, Georiga.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hunter Credits God for Rescue

A hunter from Grand Rapids, Michigan returned home to an emotional reunion after several desparte days, lost in the Colorado mountains. WOOD-TV says he's crediting God with sustaining and rescuing him.

"Godless Americans" Lawsuit Dropped

Kay Hagan is dropping her lawsuit against Senator Elizabeth Dole. Hagan beat Dole in the North Carolina Senate race but was upset over a TV ad that associated Hagan with a political action group called Godless Americans. A woman’s voice could be heard saying “There is no God” on the ad. Hagan, a member of the Presbyterian Church, USA, took part in a fundraiser at the home of a couple who are involved in the group.

Ancient Church Unearthed

The remnants of an 8th century Christian church has been discovered northeast of Damascus, Syria. Archaeologists from Syria and Poland found it in the city of Palmyra, a hub of caravan trade in the ancient world. They say the church’s columns are about 20 feet high and the sanctuary measures about 90 feet by 150 feet. There was an amphitheater in the courtyard, probably used for church rituals.

New Bama Bible Text

Alabama public schools now have a new option for text books in Bible classes. The State Board of Education has approved The Bible in History and Literature published by the National Council on Bible Curriculum in Public Schools. The Bible and Its Influence put out by the Bible Literacy Project has already been approved criticism from some conservatives.

Haggard Now Claims Sexual Abuse

Former Evangelical megachurch pastor Ted Haggard now says he was sexually abused as a child. He was fired from New Life Church in Colorado Springs for sexual misconduct when a former male prostitute alleged they had a cash-for-sex relationship and accused Haggard of using methamphetamine. The church issued a statement in February saying Haggard should not be allowed to return to the ministry because he did not complete his counseling rehabilitation. CNN has this report on Haggard, who now lives in Phoenix.

Ten Commandments Before Supreme Court

A Ten Commandments legal battle that arrived at the Supreme Court yesterday. The high court heard the plea of Pleasant Grove, Utah. It wants the high court to reverse a lower court decision requiring it to accept the Seven Aphorisms (part of a New Age religion that believes in UFOs) along with a Ten Commandments display in a park – or remove the Commandments entirely. The Bush administration joined 14 states and a coalition of veterans groups to file briefs opposing a lower-court decision. A decision is expected before the court term ends in late June.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gay Rights Protesters Interrupt Church Service

There are a few scattered reports of a radical gay rights group interrupting a church service in Lansing, Michigan this past Sunday. Local media has apparently not picked up on the story but according to the Lansing State Journal, demonstrators threw fliers at churchgoers and shouted slogans such as "It's OK to be gay," and "Jesus was a homo” at Mount Hope Church, an Assemblies of God church. Protesters set off a fire alarm and unfurled a banner. Some carried picket signs and an upside-down, pink cross.

Book of Mormon Set on Fire

A copy of the Book of Mormon was set on fire and left on the steps of a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints sanctuary last night. No damage was reported. There is a possibility it may have been in retaliation to the church's stance on California’s Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriage.

Nativity Scene at State Capitol

A nativity scene will be put up inside the Illinois Capitol Rotunda without objection from the state’s chapter of the ACLU. Other groups have been told they could also exhibit their own symbolic displays in the same area for the same number of days.

Catholic Bishops Cut Off ACORN

US Roman Catholic bishops are no longer sending money to ACORN (the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now). Barack Obama once had connections with the group. It’s now involved in a controversy over voter registration fraud. The brother of its founder says nearly $1 million had been embezzled from the group. The Catholic Campaign for Human Development was set to give ACORN about $1 million to local groups.

Methodist Reference on The Simpson's

In the Halloween episode of The Simpsons titled Treehouse of Horrors XIX, Homer is a hit man. Krusty the Klown becomes one of his victims. In an act of revenge, Krusty comes down from heaven and points a gun at Homer.

Homer: Before you kill me, at least tell me: what is the one true religion?

Krusty: Eh, a mix of Voodoo and Methodist.

Humanist Ad Campaign

The American Humanist Association is launching a $40,000 holiday advertising campaign around the nation’s capital that uses lyrics from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." The ads will go on DC buses and appear on posters saying, “Why believe in a god? Just be good for goodness' sake” starting next week. A link to a Web site will be included that directs people to

Oldest Hebrew inscription?

The oldest known Hebrew inscription may have been found on piece of pottery in Israel. The 3000 year old shard turned up this summer on a hilltop south of Jerusalem. The area overlooks a valley where David faced the Philistine giant Goliath. The lines of faded characters are called proto-Canaanite, developed even before the Hebrew alphabet. An Israeli archaeologist says the finding suggest the Biblical accounts were based on written text and not just oral tradition. This would bolster the case for the Bible's accuracy by indicating the Israelites could record events as they happened.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Public Prayer Booth

It looks like a phone booth. But inside you’ll discover it’s a Public Prayer Booth. A pair of them are located in New York in midtown Manhattan, Jackson, Tennessee, and Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The booths are the work of Kansas City artist Dylan Mortimer. There's a flip-down kneeler and the word "prayer" is written on the side instead of "telephone."

Seven Days of Sex

A Texas pastor is challenging his congregation To 7 Days of Sex. WOAI-TV in San Antonio reports.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Fireproof #14

Fireproof is now the #14 movie in the country. The church-made film has taken in more than $28 million dollars since it was first released seven weeks ago. This is the first week it wasn’t in the top ten. It was made by the Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Georgia

The Love Dare,a book featured in the movie, is number two on the New York Times' paperback advice bestseller list after spending three weeks at top spot.

Mormon Churches Vandalized

Protestors are targeting Mormon Churches and others across California because of their support for proposition 8 which bans gay marriage. KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City has this report:

Florida Megachurch Threatens to Sue Newspaper

Randy White’s Florida church is considering a lawsuit against the Tampa Tribune newspaper. Leaders at Without Walls International Church in Tampa are upset with a series of unfavorable articles about the church. During his Sunday sermon, White talked about paperwork that would prove to the congregations accusations made in the paper are wrong. He denied a bank was attempting to foreclose on the church property. Here are the newspaper stories about White and Without Walls.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Dobson into Hall of Fame

James Dobson was indicted into the Museum of Broadcast Communications this weekend over the complaints of protestors. They gathered to object to the Focus on the Family radio host receiving the honor because of his position on homosexuality. The hall of fame does not take into account a nominee's political or religious views.

Protests at Dallas First Baptist

The pastor of Dallas' First Baptist Church had about 100 protesters show up today for his sermon titled Why Gay Is Not O.K. It is part of Robert Jeffress' series called Politically Incorrect. Demonstrators sang Jesus Loves Me and carried signs saying things like Christ Taught Love Not Hate.

Protest at Rick Warren's Church

Protesters gathered outside Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church today, angry with the megachurch's support of California’s Proposition 8. The measure bans gay marriage in the state. It won with 52% of the vote.

A large anti-Proposition 8 protest gathered at Oakland’s Mormon Temple, forcing the California Highway Patrol to close two nearby highway ramps.
Another protest outside a Mormon Temple in San Diego drew hundreds. Thousands gathered in front of the California statehouse in Sacramento. In Pasadena, the pastor of the 4,000-member All Saints Church spoke out against Proposition 8. Pastor Ed Bacon called it an “act of bigotry”.

Here's a report from KABC-TV in Los Angeles on the protest at Saddleback Church.

Boycott over Gay Marriage Ban

There a growing moving online calling for a boycott of Utah because the Mormon church supported a Calfornia proposition banning same- sex marriage. KTVX-TV in Salt Lake City has more.