Religion News, January 19, 2011

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  • Minefields circle Jesus’ traditional baptism site: Just months before the official opening of one of Christianity’s holiest sites to visitors, the area where John the Baptist is said to have baptized Jesus remains surrounded by thousands of land mines. Israel says the sites visited by pilgrims and tourists in an area known as Qasr el-Yahud will be safe, but advocacy groups warn that crowds could be in danger.
  • Vatican letter told Ireland’s Catholic bishops not to report child abuse: Policy to tell police about priest suspects was vetoed, as lawayers say proof at last of cover-up by papacy
  • The christening without much Christianity: Anglican church offers ‘baptism lite’ to attract non-worshippers: The plan for a new ‘baptism lite’ service designed to make christenings more interesting to non-churchgoers will be considered next month by the Church’s parliament, the General Synod. Supporters say the baptism service should be ‘expressed in culturally appropriate and accessible language’ that is readily understood by ‘non-theologically versed Britons’. But traditionalist clergy said the idea amounted to ‘dumbing down’.
  • US legal win to boost Islamic finance -lawyers: Lawyers said a U.S. court decision to dismiss a case alleging AIG’s sharia-compliant businesses promoted religious doctrine, will boost confidence in the industry and lift sales of Islamic products in the longer term. A Michigan district court rejected on Friday a claim filed by Marine veteran Kevin Murray in 2009 that the U.S. government violated the constitution by allowing funds from insurer American International Group’s $40 billion bailout to be used to fund its Islamic insurance businesses.
    Hate Groups

  • Germany: Neo-Nazis using sports clubs to spread message, researcher says: Sociologist at the University of Hannover, Gunter Pilz, has found that neo-Nazis are taking advantage of a general unwillingness to volunteer at sports clubs to install members as functionaries and coaches. Some are also founding their own sports clubs, he said. There they organise free time activities for young people in an attempt to gain a foothold for their ideas in the centre of German society, he added.
  • Fundamentalist IFE banned by Labour council: The Labour-controlled London borough of Newham has made the important and valuable decision to deny the use of its facilities to the fundamentalist, Muslim supremacist group, the Islamic Forum of Europe. The IFE – which controls the hardline East London Mosque, host of many terrorist sympathisers and hate preachers – openly advocates Sharia law in Europe and the destruction of democracy.
    Analysis, Commentary, Opinion

  • Who Fights for Religious Freedom? Obama’s Ambassador Position Still Vacant: Also, Open Doors USA gives Barbara Boxer the second highest score in the Senate for sponsoring religious freedom legislation.
  • Can the Religious Left Protect Obamacare?: Debates over Obamacare may helpfully inspire religious conservatives to expand beyond traditional and justifiable concerns about abortion and other social issues, as the Evangelical Left advocates. But this expansion of scope will not replicate the Religious Left’s facile and discredited equation of Big Government with godliness. Instead, it will rediscover Christianity’s own vital historic role in limiting state power in defense of liberty. 
  • How ‘scandalous’ is Ted Haggard now?: Just when you hope that this poor family is going to settle down and lead a happy life and ministry, they come out with another book or TV appearance. Why are they doing this? Is it the money? The need for acceptance? Fame? You tell me. [Ted Haggard]

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This post was last updated: Aug. 27, 2013