Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Pope on Facebook

You can now meet the Pope on Facebook. The Vatican has created a web page with an application called The pope meets you on Facebook. You can’t friend the Pope or poke him or write on his wall. But you can select from more than a dozen "virtual postcards" with pictures of the pope and messages from him.

Another app allows the faithful to see the Pope’s speeches and messages on their iPhones or iPods. The new applications are currently available in English, Spanish, French, Dutch and of course, Italian.

Here’s the site.

The pope already has his own YouTube channel.

Going Mainstream

ABC News has this article on the Christian film industry subtitled From 'Godlywood,' Latest Weapon in Cultural War Coming Soon to a Theater Near You.

College Leaving Church

Criswell College is parting ways with the First Baptist Church of Dallas. The agreement still needs approval from church deacons and the FCC since Christian radio station KCBI-FM is involved. The church started Criswell nearly 40 years ago and now some 300 students attend the school. Last year, Jerry Johnson resigned as president of the college after a confrontation with the church leadership.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Preacher Don’t Publish

Newsweek has this article titled Preacher Don’t Publish: Have the days of Christian media come and gone?

Michelle Pfeiffer's Cult

Michelle Pfeiffer admits she joined a cult in her early acting days. The actress tells the London Daily Telegraph that after she arrived in Hollywood she would up with a group dedicated to “vegetarianism and metaphysics.” For a while, the unnamed group controlled her life, taking most of her money.

Sotomayor on Abortion

Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor hasn’t ruled on a case involving Roe v. Wade. Here’s the closest she’s come to showing her opinion on the legalization of abortion.
  • In 2007, she went against a majority ruling that rejected giving asylum to men from China whose spouses had been pressured to have abortions. She thought the “harm is clearly directed at the couple. … The termination of a wanted pregnancy under a coercive population-control program can only be devastating to any couple, akin, no doubt, to the killing of a child."
  • In 2004, Sotomayor supported letting a case go forward where abortion protesters claimed police used excessive force on them during arrests at a health clinic.
  • In 2002, she rejected a challenge to the Bush administration's "policy preventing federal funding from going to foreign organizations that perform abortions.

Scientologist Moving In

The Church of Scientology has bought a church building in Northern Kentucky. The Florence Baptist Church owned the property in Florence until moving into a new $15 million facility. Scientologists paid $1.64 million for the building.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Abortion Doctor Service

An interfaith service is planned tomorrow in Wichita following the fatal shooting of a local abortion doctor. The service will take place at the Wichita First United Methodist Church and is aimed at comforting Tiller’s family and friends.

Obama's Islam Speech

Here are some exerpts from President Obama's speech today at Cairo University in Egypt:

The relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of coexistence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars. More recently, tension has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were too often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.

I've come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition.

As a student of history, I also know civilization's debt to Islam. It was Islam -- at places like Al-Azhar -- that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe's Renaissance and Enlightenment.

I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed. That experience guides my conviction that partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is, not what it isn't. And I consider it part of my responsibility as President of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.

But that same principle must apply to Muslim perceptions of America. Just as Muslims do not fit a crude stereotype, America is not the crude stereotype of a self-interested empire.

So let there be no doubt: Islam is a part of America. And I believe that America holds within her the truth that regardless of race, religion, or station in life, all of us share common aspirations -- to live in peace and security; to get an education and to work with dignity; to love our families, our communities, and our God. In Ankara, I made clear that America is not -- and never will be -- at war with Islam.

The Holy Koran teaches that whoever kills an innocent is as -- it is as if he has killed all mankind. And the Holy Koran also says whoever saves a person, it is as if he has saved all mankind. The enduring faith of over a billion people is so much bigger than the narrow hatred of a few. Islam is not part of the problem in combating violent extremism -- it is an important part of promoting peace.

Islam has a proud tradition of tolerance. We see it in the history of Andalusia and Cordoba during the Inquisition. I saw it firsthand as a child in Indonesia, where devout Christians worshiped freely in an overwhelmingly Muslim country. That is the spirit we need today. People in every country should be free to choose and live their faith based upon the persuasion of the mind and the heart and the soul. This tolerance is essential for religion to thrive, but it's being challenged in many different ways.

The full transcript can be read here.

Witnesses to Murder

KWCH-TV interviews witnesses who saw the killing of a Kansas abortion doctor this past weekend.

Shrinking Membership

Here's an article taking a look at what churches are doing to combat falling membership from US News & World Report.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bible Studies at Pastor's Home

San Diego County officials have apologized to a pastor for telling him to stop holding a Bible studies at his home. A letter rescinding a cease and desist order was sent to David Jones this week. The county had first ordered to get an official permit which would have cost thousands of dollars.

ORU Debt Down

Oral Roberts University has cut its debt from more than $50 million to just over $700,000. The school announced today that its Renewing the Vision matching gift campaign has brought in more than $22 million from some 16,000 donors. A financial scandal two years ago led to the resignation of Richard Roberts as president.

Graduation Punishment Upheld

A Colorado student disciplined for talking about her religious beliefs during her high school graduation speech filed a lawsuit against the school. Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument, Colorado disciplined Erica Corder for asking the audience to consider the Christian faith. The principal refused to give Corder her diploma until she wrote a letter explaning her actions. Last year, a judge threw out her lawsuit and now a panel of the 10th Circuit has upheld that decision.

Fired For Pregnancy

A guidance counselor says she was fired from her church job after getting pregnant out of wedlock. Tracy McGinnis, who’s in her 40s, filed a lawsuit earlier this year. Now, Omaha’s Christ the King Church says the suit has been settled but details of the agreement are not being released.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Court Ruling on Bible

An appeals court says a Philadelphia mother cannot use a Bible at show and tell. Donna Kay Busch wanted to read some passages to her son’s kindergarten class because it was a his favorite book. The school allowed Wesley Busch to talk about a poster that included references to his church. The 2-1 split decision uphelds a lower court decision.

Abortion Murder Called Answer to Prayer

A one-time Southern Baptist leader says, "I am glad George Tiller is dead.” Wiley Drake made the remark during his Crusade Radio program yesterday. Drake once served as the Southern Baptist Convention’s second vice president in 2006-2007,. He described Tiller as a “brutal, murdering monster". Drake went on to say the killing is an “answer to prayer”. He serves as pastor of First Southern Baptist Church in Buena Park, California. The current head of the SBC's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, Richard Land, condemned the shooting

Both Sides Condemn Violence

WTVT-TV in Tampa reports on the fallout over the Tiller Murder.

Court Appearance for Accused

The man suspected of gunning down a Wichita abortion doctor George Tiller is expected to make his first court appearance this afternoon. Tiller was shot to death in the foyer of the Reformation Lutheran Church while serving an a usher shortly after the morning service began. He was one of a handful of doctors in the country performing late term abortions. He

The accused, Scott Roeder, describes himself a citizen of the Republic of Kansas who refused to recognized the US Government, failing to pay income or Social Security taxes. Roeder also belonged to a group called One Supreme Court that declared federal and state laws did not apply to him. Police found bomb-making materials during a search of his car in 1996. An appeals court overturned his conviction. The search was declared illegal. Roeder's brother has a history of mental illness.