Religion News Roundup, February 28, 2011
ReligionNewsBlog.com • Monday February 28, 2011
- FLDS prosecutions, plea deals keep courts busy: Texas courts have been busy this year with prosecutions of member after member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
- Catholic college fires gay part-time professor: A Catholic college in Philadelphia says it has fired a part-time professor after learning from a post on his blog that he has been in a same-sex relationship for a decade and a half, which officials called contrary to church teaching.
- Anxiety on all sides of upcoming House hearing on radicalization of U.S. Muslims: Should the hearings focus strictly on hard data about American Muslim cooperation with law enforcement? Should they explore whether U.S. foreign policy helps breed radicalism? Can a congressional hearing in a secular nation explore whether Islam needs a reformation?
- Nigeria police kill Islamist sect financier: Police said Sunday they had shot dead a man financing Boko Haram, a radical Islamist sect in northern Nigeria and arrested another man suspected of supplying the group with arms.
- UK Pagans campaign for Census voice: Pagans are campaigning for druids and witches to declare their religious affiliation in next month’s Census to gain greater recognition for the group. The Pagan Federation says it wants the same recognition as other faiths.
- Uk court to rule on Christian couple’s foster case: The High Court is due to rule in a case involving a Christian couple from Derby who say they were “doomed not to be approved” as foster carers because of their traditional views on homosexuality.
- Scientist hopes to fix giant Afghan Buddha: A German scientist says he may be able to repair one of Afghanistan’s greatest monuments – a 1,500-year-old Buddhist statue which was destroyed by the Taliban.
- Louis Farrakhan talks of revolution, UFOs and Scientology: The controversial Nation of Islam leader predicted on Sunday that America faces imminent uprisings that mirror those in the Middle East. He also talked about his movement’s belief in a UFO called “the wheel” or “the Mother Plane.” Then he described a 1985 religious experience in which he ascended into a flying saucer. Not surprisingly he sank to even murkier depths when he continued by praising Scientology and its founder, L. Ron Hubbard
- Pipers unite against white supremacists: Pipe players of Brittany on Sunday united against a group of US based white supremacists who are campaigning to discredit the French region’s top piper, who happens to be a black man.
Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
- Mormon prophet’s diaries reveal depraved face of polygamy: The dictated ramblings of Warren Jeffs, prophet of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, coldly describe how he demanded Canadian fathers and brothers bring him their daughters and sisters as young as 12 to be married, and how they conspired to get the girls to him undetected by law enforcement officers.
- Religion coverage doubles … to 2 percent: Exciting news from the Pew Research Center today: religion coverage doubled from 2009 to 2010 in the mainstream media. Unfortunately, religion still remains just 2 percent of the overall coverage, with elections, foreign policy and the economy dominating the news cycle. Still, it did barely top science, education, immigration and race/gender issues.
- The Folly of Answering Fools: From beach novels (The Da Vinci Code) to photography (Andres Serrano’s “Piss Christ”) to video games (keep reading), Christian outrage and criticism have helped lift numerous works up from obscurity—and made household names of their creators. It’s time to reassess.
- Are U.S. prisoners tortured?: And I think it’s well worth the while of people of faith to ask whether the government and the prison systems they support with their tax dollars engage in torture, a practice (despite the admission of former President George W. Bush that he approved its use) that goes against almost every fiber of religion.
- In Civil War, the Bible became a weapon: The Bible is too often invoked in today’s political battles, just as it was employed during the Civil War, which erupted 150 years ago.
- The religion control freaks are telling you what to think for the 2011 Census: Any pretence that the British Humanist Association had to “fairness” in the public sphere is swept aside this week as it launches its campaign to stop respondents to the ten-yearly national Census on 27 March saying they’re religious. The New Atheists have been beside themselves with rage since the 2001 Census, when 72 per cent of people in England described themselves as Christian
- Many black churches emphasize tradition over integration: Statistics show that only a small percentage of Christian congregations are racially mixed. A study by Michael Emerson of Rice University in 2007 gave the breakdown: Just 2 percent to 3 percent of mainline Protestant congregations, 8 percent of other Protestant congregations and 15 percent of Catholic parishes are racially mixed, with at least 20 percent of another race.
- Would finding E.T. change our view of God?: answering the question “are we alone?” would have a profound cultural and theological impact on our view of our place in the universe.
- The religious roots of self-immolation: In the Lotus Sutra, the doctrine upon which Mahayana Buddhism is founded, the bodhisattva Medicine King offers himself to Buddha by performing various acts of self-mutilation, including burning parts of his body.
- The Cosmopolitan Nature of Pentecostalism: From its inception, Pentecostalism was, and is, a religion made to travel, cosmopolitan both in its scope and outlook.
- Forgiveness scholar opens up on role of faith: While forgiveness carries strong associations with religion, psychologist Robert D. Enright has always supported his claims with empirical data alone, insisting that his method is usable by “theists and nontheists” alike. The study of forgiveness has nevertheless ended up nurturing Enright’s own faith, ultimately bringing him back to the Roman Catholic Church of his youth. He is now preparing, for the first time, to make that faith explicit in his work.
- Christian medical plans get pass from health law: Medi-Share members affirm a statement of Christian beliefs and pledge to follow a code that includes no tobacco or illegal drugs, no sex outside of marriage, and no abuse of alcohol or legal medications. Every month, they pay a fixed “share” to cover the medical expenses of members in need. The cost usually is less than private insurance, but it’s not tax deductible. Members use a network of medical providers. If that seems close to regular health insurance, it’s not, says Michael McRaith, the top insurance regulator in Illinois. “We have seen individuals who buy into a sharing program believing they are paying for a promise, and in fact that is not what they are receiving,” McRaith said.
Today in History
Highlights of this day in history: Scientists discover DNA’s double-helix structure; The Branch Davidian standoff begins in Waco (1993), Texas; Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme assassinated; U2 releases its ‘War‘ album.
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