Saturday, August 22, 2009

Death Sentence for Killer

The man convicted of killing two Christian music producers now has a death sentence thanks to a Texas jury. James Broadnax killed Stephen Swan and Matthew Butler two years ago in Garland, Texas. Broadnax was a gang member and on drugs at the time of the slayings. He confessed to the crimes during TV interviews and said he deserved to die.

Gay Clergy Ban Lifted

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has lifted its ban on gay clergy. The nation's largest Lutheran denomination voted in favor of the move by 68% while meeting in Minneapolis yesterday. Congregations will not be forced to hire gay clergy but conservative groups like Lutheran CORE will meet next month to decide whether to remain part of the ELCA.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lutheran Vote on Same-Sex Unions

Lutherans can now bless same-sex unions if they want to do so. Delegates at the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America gathering in Minneapolis voted in favor of the move. The vote doesn’t require pastors or congregations to participate in same-sex unions. Another vote will decide whether the denomination will accept gay pastors. Some conservative ministers in the ELCA say the votes will lead to a church split. Other Lutheran denominations, such as the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, does not approve of same-sex unions.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Religion and Health Care

Tony Perkins and Rev. Jim Wallis debate the religious sides of health care reform on CNN.

Pastor Arrested

A Los Angeles pastor will appear in court today on charges of taking some $800,000 from his church. E. Joshua Sims leads the Double Rock Baptist Church in Compton. Some members claim he threatened them when they began asking questions about church finances.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Suspended over Atheist Sign

A Des Moines bus driver has been suspended for refusing to drive a bus with an atheist promotion on the side. Angela Shiel says the ad goes against her Christian beliefs. Paid for by the Iowa Atheists and Freethinkers, it reads: Don't believe in God? You are not alone. Shiel could be fired over the issue.

Alice Cooper Canceled

The owners of an arena in Finland has canceled a concert appearance by Alice Cooper. The veteran rocker was supposed to play at Tampere Areena Oy in December.

The managing director of the arena says his venue does not “arrange concerts where Satanism or non-god-worshipping occurs."

Cooper is a practicing Christian who is quoted in Cross Rhythms magazine as saying:
“As a Christian, I don't declare myself as a 'Christian rock star.' I'm a rock performer who's a Christian. Alice Cooper is the guy who wants to entertain the audience - it happens that he's a Christian. Alice (the character I play on stage) began life as a villain and he remains one. Alice is no more dangerous than a villain in a cartoon or a Disney film. We have fun with him. He snarls
and wears make up. I get right-wing Christians down on me and I always ask them the question: 'If I was doing Macbeth, would it be OK?'”

Bible Class Nixed

A southwestern Idaho school has been told not to teach the Bible – even in literary course. Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission has stopped the plan, claiming the state constitution forbids the use of religious texts in classrooms. The Nampa Classical Academy said it was not planning to teach religion, just use the Bible in an historical context.

Why I Stayed

The wife of Ted Haggard is writing a memoir that will be published by Tyndale House in January. Gayle Haggard’s book is titled Why I Stayed. It’s about surviving her husband's sex scandal during his time as a megachurch pastor in Colorado Springs. Ted Haggard resigned as pastor of New Life Church when a male prostitute made accusations that they had a cash-for-sex relationship.

Ultrasound Law

A judge has issued a permanent injunction on a law requiring an ultrasound before a woman can have an abortion in Oklahoma. KOKI-TV in Tulsa has a video report.


Canada's Prime Minister has been accused of pretending to eat a communion wafter at a Catholic church. Stephen Harper is an Evangelical and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal started what has been called Wafergate. The paper accused the politician of slipping the wafer into his pocket during the Catholic state funeral of former Governor-General Roméo LeBlanc. But the paper has now admited the story was based on a false rumor. The Telegraph-Journal has retracted the story, printed a front page apology and fired the editor and publisher.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Wildmon Hospitalized

Don Wildmon has been in intensive care for meningitis. The American Family Association leader was admitted to the North Mississippi Medical Center over the weekend and has slowly been improving.

Twittering Prayers

You can twitter prayers to be placed in the crevices of Jerusalem's Western Wall. Israeli university student Alon Nir has opened the Twitter site and says he’ll print them out and put them in the Wall. Several organizations already deliver prayers sent by email, text message or fax.

Vote on Gay Clergy

The ELCA votes this week on whether to allow gay clergy to serve in the denomination. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is meeting in Minneapolis and may agree to permit gay men and lesbians in the pulpit if they are in committed, monogamous relationships. The church has nearly 5 million members and 10,500 churches.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Prison for Prayer?

A couple of Florida school officials are facing prison time for praying at lunch. They go to trial one month from today. Pace High School principal Frank Lay asked school Athletic Director Robert Freeman to give a prayer of thanks for the dedication of a new fieldhouse at a luncheon for football booster club members. Only adults attended the meeting when the prayer was offered, though students were involved in the meal preparation. Lay and Freeman face a maximum penalty of up to six months in prison. District Judge Casey Rodgers will hear the nonjury trial.

Obama Seeks Evangelical Support

President Obama will seek support of his health care initiative from Evangelicals this week. He joins a 40 minute conference call this Wednesday sponsored by Sojourners, Faith in Public Life, Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and PICO National Network and two dozen other liberal religious organizations.

Florida Catholic Cuts

The Roman Catholic Church is closing 13 churches in the Miami area over the next few weeks in order to cut its budget. Seven Catholic schools in South Florida were shut down earlier this year.

Stay Away from Church

A group of dissenters at a Florida megachurch have agreed to stay away. Six members of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, including the daughter of D James Kennedy who founded the church have been banned from activities by the current pastor, Tullian Tchividjian. They believe he’s moving the direction in a direction that Kennedy would not have approved. Executive director Scott Spell has resigned over the controversy. He worked with Tchividjian at his former church. An attempt at reconciliation is planned and although the group that objects to the new leadership has agreed to stay away from the church for the time being, they do not agree with the decision. What is it they find so offensive that's new at the church? Longer sermons, new methods of evangelism, dropping minister’s robes and contemporary music.

Megachurch Sold

The site of an Atlanta megachurch has been sold for $17.6 million. The Greater Traveler’s Rest Baptist Church has purchased the Cathedral at Chapel Hill in Decatur. The nearly 300,000-square-foot church complex sits on a 50-acre campus. The sanctuary seats 6000. Bishop Earl Paulk built the megachurch but lost it in a sex scandal. He died this year after battle cancer.