Saturday, January 28, 2012

Twitter Censoring Messages

Twitter Inc., the microblogging service, gave itself extra flexibility to censor information in parts of the world that impose restrictions on self-expression. Effective yesterday, Twitter added the ability to censor tweets on a country-by-country basis, rather than globally, the San Francisco-based company said in a blog post.
The shift would let Twitter comply with strictures in one country without having to pull offending tweets from its entire audience. Previously, Twitter banned offensive content on a global basis, rather than for a specific nation. Still, the decision drew criticism from some users because the service has been used as an agent of social change around the world, including the Middle East.
Some Twitter users are calling for a boycott of the service tomorrow in protest of the decision. They’re using “#TwitterBlackout” as a hash tag -- a label that lets people easily find tweets on the same topic.
Reporters Without Borders, an organization that seeks to defend freedom of information, also said it was disturbed by Twitter’s decision.
Read more here

Friday, January 27, 2012

PBS on ‘The Evangelical Vote’

PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly takes a look at Evangelicals and their views on the Republican presidential race, particularly the religious views of Mitt Romney.

Appeal Court: Student Expulsion Could be Religious Hostility

An appeals court has sided with a student who was expelled from her university for refusing to counsel a client about a same-sex relationship. Julea Ward told professors at Eastern Michigan University her Christian faith prevented her from supporting the sexual orientation of gay clients. She asked to have a gay client referred to another counselor. Instead, she was kicked out of school. A judge said the university was within its right to remove her from the program since she was unwilling to fulfill its requirements for a counseling degree. But today, the Sixth Appeals court said Ward's claim could be legitimate and sent it back to the lower court for further consideration. The judges said that she may have been dismissed because of "hostility toward her speech and faith." A spokesperson for the school says the case is really about doing what's best for the client.  The decision returns the case to the district court for a jury trial. The Sixth Circuit includes Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky and Tennessee, so the legal precedent applies only to those states.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Church Bans Girl Scout Troop

St. Timothy Catholic Church in Chantilly, Virginia will not allow a Girl Scout troop to use its facilities any longer. The pastor says the decision was based on the Scout's association with Planned Parenthood. The Girl Scout have issued a statement denying any relationship between it and Planned Parenthood.

Churches Ask for Captioning Exemptions

Some 80 religious programmers are asking the FCC to exempt them from the Commission's new closed captioning rules because of financial hardship. This past fall, the FCC told more than 500 programmers, most of them religious broadcasters, that their exemptions would no longer apply and they would have to refile for a new exemption by January 18 (last Wednesday). Programmers were told they would have to fully document their financial resources and show that providing captioning would put an undue burden on the organization. This time, the Commission says it wants to look at the resources of the whole organization and not just the TV program itself. Most of those filing for the new exemption are churches with weekly TV broadcasts, such as Curtis Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia and Dilworth Church of Christ in Jasper, Alabama.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Why Evangelicals Don’t Like Mormons

The New York Times takes a shot at answering the question "Why Evangelicals Don’t Like Mormons" here.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Heavy Metal Rock Star to Seminary

The bass player for Megadeth -  is taking seminary classes. David Ellefson, an original member of the legendary band is now an online student in the Specific Ministry Program at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, which is associated with the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod. Ellefson grew up on an farm in Minnesota where he attended Our Savior's Lutheran Church. He moved to LA and became the Megadeth bass player. Despite immediate success came addictions. He entered a recovery program at the age of 25 where he embraced his faith again. Ellefson got involved in a Lutheran church in Arizona, starting a music ministry called MEGA life. Ellefson has two more years of online classes at the seminary before he becomes eligible for ordination. At the same time, he's still a part of Megadeth, which begins a new tour with Motorhead next week. He's been quoted as saying, "I love praise and worship music, and I love heavy metal."