… Unitarian faith growing throughout the USA: Unitarian Universalists believe in organized religion but are skeptical about doctrine, says Bob Smietena.
It is, in fact, a liberal religion that emphasizes tolerance and respect and incorporates Jewish, Christian and other faith traditions, but has no creed or doctrine.
Smietana writes that
The denomination grew nationally by 15.8% from 2000 to 2010, according to the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies.
Although they remain small in total numbers with about 211,000 adherents nationwide, Unitarians believe their open-minded faith has a bright future as an alternative to more exclusive brands of religion.
They might be right, said Diana Butler Bass, author of Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening. Bass, who has studied thriving progressive churches, said Unitarian Universalists can fill a niche in conservative religious cultures such as the Bible Belt.
“I think there is a role for these kinds of more open and liberal spiritual groups,” Bass said. “They provide a nice counter-cultural community.”
Unitarian Universalism is sometimes referred to as a “cafeteria religion.” Also known as “salad-bar religion,” the term refers to the trend where people pick and choose religious beliefs, doctrines and practices – mixing and matching them much as they would select food in a cafeteria.
A Texas public high school cheerleading squad will head to court this week to find out if it can hoist banners inscribed with biblical verses during football games, the latest case to test the sometimes fine line between the separation of church and state and freedom of speech.
The Kountze, Texas, schools superintendent banned the signs two weeks ago after he was contacted by the Freedom from Religion Foundation in Madison, Wis., which said it had received a citizen complaint. [...]
One banner read: “But thanks be to God, which gives us Victory, through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor. 15:57.” Another, from the Epistle of Paul to the Philippians in the New Testament, read, “I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.”
The Kountze Lions football team, which is undefeated through four games this season, would crash through the banners as it took the field.
A judge last week issued a temporary restraining order after the Liberty Institute, which promotes religious freedom, offered to represent the cheerleaders in court.
A hearing is scheduled for today.
… Poll: Most Americans doubt Scientology is a true religion: That is no surprise, of course. What is surprising is that 13 percent of those polled said Scientology is a religion.
Religious surveys have estimated that less than 100,000 Americans practice Scientology, which is often branded a cult by its critics.
“It’s a tribute to America’s tradition of religious tolerance that Scientology is accepted throughout the country,” the survey noted in its analysis of the results.
That looks like an overly optimistic conclusion.
Meanwhile, the cult keeps featuring in a barrage of negative news reports. High profile executives who turn their back on the ‘Church of Scientology.’ Forced abortions. Slave labor. Scientology marriages going sour. Scientology’s double standards. And, of course, the cult’s love of quackery. Scientology’s medical claims alone prove that its ‘scriptures’ are mere fantasy, but Narconon — one of the cult’s front groups — provides drug rehabilitation services based on the writing of L. Ron Hubbard. And it’s in trouble:
Scientology’s Georgia Drug Rehab Hit with Double-Barreled Media Onslaught. Or, as Tony Ortega writes, “It’s Armageddon for Narconon in Georgia.”
… Religion News Blog’s Twitter stream is a great way to keep up with religion news.
… Big decision on polygamous FLDS cult’s property trust due today: The Utah Supreme Court will release a decision today that will almost certainly decide the fate of the FLDS’s United Effort Plan property trust once controlled by cult leader Warren Jeffs.
Lindsay Whitehurst does a good job summarizing the on-going soap opera surrounding the trust.
… Filipino Students Hold Naked Protest In Manila Against Innocence Of Muslim Film: A group of 25 male students held a ‘naked protest’ inside the Polytechnic University of the Philippines to join calls on the government to take steps to block the amateur film ‘Innocence of Muslims’ on the internet.
This is going from bad to worse…
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