Saturday, May 23, 2009

Dem's Suspended

Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University has suspended the campus Democratic party club. That means the club can meet but cannot use the university’s name. The school says “we are unable to lend support to a club whose parent organization stands against the moral principles held by” the university. The group formed last fall.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Burning Bibles

Brushback from Christians over the burning of Bibles in Afghanistan by the US military.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

American Idol Winner

This year's American Idol winner has been on the worship team at New Life Church in Greater Little Rock, Arkansas for several years - though Kris Allen downplayed his church connection during the competition. His pastor, Rick Bezet, flew to Los Angeles to attend the finale. The Christian fan-based is believed to have focused on Allen after Danny Gokey, who was open about his faith, was voted off the show. Although runner-up Adam Lambert has not publically announced he is gay, there is speculation that his perceived sexual orientation cost his the crown.

Inmates Graduate Seminary

28 Mississippi inmates have just received bachelor's degrees in Christian ministry from the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. They took courses in theology, counseling and a full year of Greek. That’s the same as any student attending classes at the seminary. The school paid for the program.

Osmond Proud of Gay Daughter

Marie Osmond says she is not upset by her adopted daughter’s sexual orientation. The well-known Mormon celebrity told Entertainment Tonight, "I love my daughter, she's my baby girl. So what if she's gay. I'm a Christian and Christ was that way - he loved everybody."

Search Underway for Mom & Son

The missing Minnesota mother and her cancer-stricken son has ignited a debate over religion and medicine. The family is Catholic but also are part of the Nemenhah band. The Missouri-based group advocates a natural healing philosophy and use methods promoted by some American Indians. Colleen Hauser told a judge that she believed chemotherapy is poison and she wants to give him supplements along with a restrictive diet. The mother and son, who has Hodgkin's lymphoma, may be in Mexico.

One Year Ago.. Chapman's Daughter Killed

One of the the daughters of Christian singer Steven Curtis Chapman was killed near Nashville on this day one year ago. Five-year-old Maria was run over by an SUV driven by her teenage brother in the family driveway. She had been adopted from China along with two other girls. The award-winning singer founded Shaohannah's Hope, a foundation that helps financially assist couples in the adoption process. The 45-year-old singer wrote a book about being a father called Cinderella: The Love of Daddy and his Princess.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Military Burns Bibles

The US Military burned confiscated Bibles in Afghanistan intended for Afghans. A church sent the Bibles as a gift. They were printed in the two Afghan languages and sent to a soldier at Bagram Air Force Base who ddn't realize he wasn't allowed to hand them out. The Pentagon says military rules forbid proselytizing so the Bibles had to be destroyed. The military chose not to send them back to the church to avoid them getting out another way. The church might have sent them to another organization operating in Afghanistan. The Pentagon hasn't identified the church.

Kid Sets Church on Fire

Police in Naperville, Illinois are looking into why a child apparently set fire to a church. At the time, dozens of parishioners were meeting in the basement for a fellowship following Sunday services. There were no injuries reported at the Naperville Congregational Church from the blaze caused about $500 in damages.

Ministry Worker Charged with Murder

A full-time security officer at Joyce Meyer Ministries is facing murder charges. Christopher Coleman was arrested last night and accused of strangling his wife and two sons at their Chester, Illinois home. Coleman had complained of some kind of threats related to his security work. He was cut loose from the ministry last week over what was described as "a violation of moral conduct." But local media has reported he was involved with a Florida woman who during out-of-town ministry trips.

Getting to Know.. Ned Flanders

Simpsons creator Matt Groening has written a little book called Flanders' Book of Faith. Flanders is the conservative Christian who lives next to Homer Simpson, the star of the popular cartoon series. As Homer once said, "If everyone here were like Ned Flanders, there'd be no need for heaven. We'd already be there." The book offers these details of Flander’s personal life:
His recipe for devil's food cake includes a quart of holy water and an exorcism
He reads Harry Potter and the Consequences of Dabbling in Magic to his kids before bed
He listens to a Christian rock station, 102.7 BLISS FM
He allows a full 30 minutes for grace before dinner in his daily planner
He counts 143 blessings before going to sleep
His favorite things include his Rapture-ready tote bag
Lisa Simpson asks Ned, "How do we know the writers really wrote the word of God and didn't just make up a bunch of stuff?" He tells her, “If it were false, then the fellas who wrote the Scriptures would have been lying, or insane, or both." An echo of a CS Lewis’ argument known as Lord, Liar, or Lunatic.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Accreditation Agency Flourishes

A record 102 faith-based organizations joined the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability last year. And 40 new members were added to the rolls during the first four months of 2009. That’s twice the usual number for that time period. The ECFA counts nearly 1400 organizations as members.

No Benefits

Workers laid-off from faith-based groups will not get unemployment benefits from Virginia. Religious groups are exempt from unemployment taxes in the state. An exemption is the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. It has set up a voluntary self-insurance program with the state which lets laid-off workers file for unemployment. The state bills the diocese for the benefits.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Fox: More "Prolife"

A new Fox News poll finds 49% call themselves pro-life while 43% say they are pro-choice. It’s the first time in the last 5 years this poll has found more voters describing themselves as pro-life. The numbers were reversed last fall.

On the issue of gay marriage, more Americans (29%) think there should be no legal recognition given to gay and lesbian relationships (40% in 2004). A third believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to get married (up from 27% three years ago).

Angels & Demons Takes Top Spot

Angels & Demons is the #1 film in North America this week. It raked in $48 million in its first weekend of release. The follow-up to 2006's The Da Vinci Code made even more internationally - $104 million. It cost $150 million to make.

Based on the 2000 novel by Dan Brown, Tom Hanks reprises his role as a symbologist looking into a murder-mystery within the Catholic Church. The Catholic League wanted a disclaimer to run before the movie begins in the US saying the film is a work of fiction. The producers ignored the request but agree to do it in India.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Obama Calls for 'Open Minds' on Abortion

Barack Obama addressed some 12,000 people attending graduation exercises at Notre Dame while hundreds of antiabortion protesters gathered outside the front gate of the university. The president got several loud, sustained ovations during his speech. When people attempted to interrupt him at the start the crowd came to his defense with boos and then chants. One protester yelled "Stop killing our children” and another "Abortion is murder!" and "You have blood on your hands." Some graduates taped a yellow cross and yellow images of baby feet to the top of their mortarboards.

Obama called for "open hearts, open minds" in the pursuit of "common ground" and referred to "right-wing ideologues who want to take away a woman's right to choose” and asked the audience:

"Is it possible for us to join hands in common effort? As citizens of a vibrant and varied democracy, how do we engage in vigorous debate? How does each of us remain firm in our principles, and fight for what we consider right, without demonizing those with just as strongly held convictions on the other side?

Remember, too, that the ultimate irony of faith is that it necessarily admits doubt. This doubt should not push us away from our faith. But it should humble us. It should temper our passions and cause us to be wary of too much self-righteousness."
Obama's upcoming nomination of a new Supreme Court justice is likely to cause the issue to heat up.

Norma McCorvey was among those arrested. She was the "Jane Roe" in the Roe v. Wade case that the Supreme Court used to legalized abortion. She is now against the procedure.

Texas Bible Giveaway

Some parents in the Dallas suburb of Frisco are complaining about the Gideons handing out free Bibles to students. The district allows religious groups in some schools for one day on a rotating basis.

PBS May Drop Religion

PBS is considering a rule that would cut off any affiliate that broadcasts any religious show. The proposal comes up for a vote next month. This would affect stations like New Orleans’ WLAC-TV which airs the Catholic Mass each day – something it has done for 25 years. DC’s WHUT-TV has aired Mass for Shut-Ins for more than a decade. KMBH-TV in Texas carries Sunday Mass broadcasts and KBYU in Provo, Utah offers a BYU Devotional featuring lectures from leaders of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.