This is our archive of news items tagged Christianity.

 memo You'll find articles about that subject in each of the items listed, even if the term does not necessarily occur within the headlines or descriptive text.

Third temple? * Church for Atheists * LGBT Rights and Religion

bullet One week after the U.S. Supreme Court handed down key decisions pertaining to same-sex marriage, released a study that shows how much religious groups have shifted toward supporting LGBTQ rights since 2003.

bullet Something else I picked up from the Barna Group website: 59% of 18-29 year olds with a Christian background are no longer going to church after previous attending regularly.

That doesn’t necessarily mean they have turned their back on God — but rather on the church. Big difference.

bullet And then there are churches where even God doesn’t attend.

I’m sure that includes lots of so-called ‘Christian’ churches.

bullet Incidentally, most atheists don’t hate God.

“It’s kind of hard to hate something that you don’t believe in. It’s like us hating Moby Dick,” says Red McCall, president of Oklahoma Atheists.

William Lane Craig is “the one Christian apologist who seems to have put the fear of God into many of my fellow atheists.”
– Source: Sam Harris

bullet Check out Craig’s website, Reasonable Faith.

Not clear on the term apologist? Get up to speed here.

bullet Last Saturday members of the Council of Ex-Muslims in France met to launch their group publicly and discuss their mission: to promote liberty and equality for all people, regardless of their faith.

bullet Does meditation work as promised? Is its originally intended effect — the reduction of suffering — empirically demonstrable?

bullet Seventy to eighty per cent of people with a mental health problem in developing countries receive either no treatment at all, or treatments which have not been shown to be effective, such as those provided by traditional healers.

bullet Israel’s government has approved a draft law that would gradually abolish a system that exempts ultra-Orthodox Jewish students from compulsory military service. The system has been in place since the foundation of the State of Israel, in 1948.

bullet Speaking of Israel: For hundreds of millions of people all over the world, the end came a little closer last week.

That’s because a member of the Israeli cabinet has called for the construction of the Third Temple in Jerusalem on Temple Mount.

Multi-Cultural Church; Cult leader loses properties; Prosperity Church less prosperous

Imprisoned cult leader’s properties to be seized

Federal prosecutors have begun the process to seize property owned by ‘evangelist’ Tony Alamo, real name Bernie Lazar Hoffman.

Alamo is serving a 175-year prison sentence for taking girls as young as nine across state lines with the intent to engage in criminal sexual activity.

Alamo, who had threatened the girls with the loss of their salvation if they did not comply, referred to them as his ‘brides.’

On January 15, 2010, the cult leader was also ordered to pay $500,000 in restitution for each of the five victims, a total of $2.5 million.

But since Alamo has not made any restitution payments, authorities are seeking the seizure and sale of properties owned or controlled by Alamo.

Attorneys for two men who grew up in the cult and were beaten up by Alamo’s enforcer also seek the sale of some of his properties in order to satify a $30 million judgement.

Associated Press, November 13, 2009

Victory Centre in trouble

Victory Centre — also referred to as Victory Christian Fellowship — in Dublin, Ireland, is in trouble.

The ‘prosperity gospel‘ church has failed to satisfy a demand by the Bank of Scotland for €18 million in respect of unpaid loans.

The Sunday World reports that the bank wanted to see the money after Revenue Ireland axed the “cult church’s charitable status.”

The paper says the church was run like a personal bank for its pastors Brendan and Sheila Hade and Gerry Byrne.

Multi-Cultural Church

We love coffee around here, so we took note when the New York Times wrote about Vox Veniae — a rule-breaking, 200-person church in Austin, Texas — where the good news includes locally sourced coffee brewed in the highly-praised Chemex system.

“But what’s really unexpected about Vox,” says the NYT, “is that what began as a church for Chinese-Americans quickly became multiracial” — something that is still somewhat unique in American Protestant Christianity.

The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., once said “it is appalling that the most segregated hour of Christian America is eleven o’clock on Sunday morning.”

One of many resources on the topic: Building a Healthy Multi-ethnic Church, by Mark DeYmaz.

DeYmaz knows his topic. He is the founding pastor and directional leader of the Mosaic Church (Little Rock and Conway, Arkansas, and Durham, North Carolina) — a multi-ethnic and economically diverse church where significant percentages of Black and White Americans, together with men and women from more than 30 nations, worship God together as one.

    Odds & Ends

  • Charlotte Observer religion reporter Tim Funk was arrested Monday at the General Assembly in Raleigh while covering the Charlotte clergy involved in the legislative protests.

    Funk was among 60 people arrested — many of them members of the clergy in support of the “Moral Monday” movement that has led to more than 350 arrests since April 29 and brought thousands of demonstrators to Raleigh to voice their ire about cuts to Medicaid and unemployment benefits that affect more than half a million North Carolinians.

  • The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) has appointed Jane Jeffes as executive producer of Radio National’s religion unit, overseeing four programs: The Religion and Ethics Report, The Spirit of Things, Encounter and The Rhythm Divine, as well as The God Who Sings on Classic FM and Sunday Nights on ABC Local Radio.
  • A tale of two Egyptian converts: Christians say conversion to Islam is widely promoted, whereas rare cases of Muslims turning to Christianity precipitate violence against entire communities.

    We think that if Islam wants to be considered a ‘religion of peace’ it will have to let go of its intolerance toward people who wish to make up their own mind regarding which religion to follow.

    Religious Freedom, Tolerance, And Intolerance

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In recession-hit Hungary, churches take over state schools

Hungary Local government officials in Hungary are handing state-owned schools over to churches, unable to afford their upkeep during the economic recession, according to church sources.

“Churches are entitled to run schools in Hungary as public service providers, receiving the same taxpayers’ money as public sponsors,” said Balazs Odor, ecumenical officer of Hungary’s Reformed Church. [Read more...]

Iran Court Acquits 11 Evangelical Christians

Iran Eleven members of one of Iran’s largest evangelical house church movements, who were charged with ‘action against the order of the country’ and drinking alcohol, have been acquitted by an Iranian court, BosNewsLife learned Friday, May 20.

The charges referred to their involvement in a house church meeting and to taking communion wine, Iranian Christians said earlier. [Read more...]

Fasting for the Poor

fasting “Why We’re Fasting” is the title of columnist Mark Bittman’s essay in Wednesday’s New York Times, the “we” being himself and David Beckmann, here described as a “reverend,” and “this year’s World Food Prize laureate.” The pastor heads “Bread for the World.”

Yes, why fast? [Read more...]

Sightings: Hell’s Bell

Hell Americans may have thought that cracks in the façade and framework of evangelicalism would show up most visibly when serious evangelicals argued whether Sarah Palin or Mike Huckabee would be the better presidential candidate.

But now we have a chance to see that other divisive issues among evangelicals beg for attention. The topic? Hell, and a punishing God’s use thereof. [Read more...]