Saturday, July 18, 2009

Proposed Religious Speech Law

A religious speech amendment has been added to hate crimes legislation in Congress. The bill would make certain crimes related to "race, color, national origin, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and disability” federal offenses. Senator Sam Brownback of Kansas introduced the amendment that explicitly protects speech from the pulpit (digital or electronic)unless its intent was to cause violence. The bill still must weave its way through both houses of Congress but is believed to have a good chance of passage. The president has indicated his willingness to sign the legislation into law.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Survey of Scientists

A new survey shows just 33% of scientists believe in God and nearly half have no religious affiliation. That compares to 83% of all Americans who believe in God and 17% who are not religiously affiliated. Read more about the Pew Survey here.

Jimmy Carter & Dylan

Jimmy Carter says he lost interest in Bob Dylan’s music following the singers conversion to Christianity in the late 70’s. Kevin Mattson’s new book titled What the Heck Are You Up To, Mr. President? says the former president considered Dylan his favorite musician – but he enjoyed the pre-Jesus songs from the rock icon. The Ohio University historian uses most of the book to defend what’s known as Carter’s malaise speech.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Suit to Stop Engravings

A lawsuit has been filed to stop an architect from engraving the Pledge of Allegiance and In God We Trust at the entrance for tourists visiting the Capitol in Washington. Congress decided to add the engravings to the new Capitol Visitor Center this month. But the Freedom From Religion Foundation objects and has filed a lawsuit in federal court, saying the decision amounts to taxpayer-funded endorsement of religion.

Short Dies

The man who wrote The Gospel According to Peanuts has died. Robert Short was 76 years old. His best known work sold more than 10 million copies and became the top nonfiction bestseller in the US when it first came out in 1965. A few years ago, the ordained Presbyterian minister started a group called Christianity Without Doom or Gloom out of Little Rock.

Episcopal Church

The Episcopal Church is preparing to officially approve gay clergy serving in any position. At the Episcopal General Convention in Anaheim, California, bishops voted to affirm their support of the move. Delegates representing members and priests are expected to give their approval before the Convention ends this week. The move may end a moratorium on ordaining gay bishops passed at the last convention three years ago. The resolution does not mandate that all dioceses consider gay candidates but encourages them to do so.