“RNB Roundup” is a collection of clippings, snippets, links, commentary and other items that, in one way or another, relate to the topics normally covered in Religion News Blog.
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The Church of Scientology released an official statement that calls Anonymous “cyber-terrorists,” religious bigots and perpetrators of hate crimes.
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Cathy Norman, director of special affairs for Austin’s Church of Scientology, said she could not make an informed guess about the purpose of the event and that church activities were not disrupted.
“We don’t stop serving our parishioners or our community because of cyber-terrorism or other forms of intimidation,” she said.
Norman said the church was simply protecting its copyrights by requesting the removal of the Tom Cruise video and that it was not a free speech issue.
The Internet-based group Anonymous is calling global demonstrations it organized against the Church of Scientology a great success and plans another event next month to coincide with the birthday of the church’s founder, L. Ron Hubbard.
Meanwhile, a spokeswoman for the church denounced the group’s actions, which included a demonstration Sunday in downtown Clearwater that drew about 180 protesters.
“They’re little terrorists,” Scientology spokeswoman Pat Harney said.
Harney compared Anonymous’ tactics to those of the Ku Klux Klan.
A Singapore retailer has pulled a line of Jesus cosmetics after receiving complaints about the American-made products branded “Lookin’ Good for Jesus.” They included a “virtuous vanilla” lip balm, as well as hand and body cream. Their slogan: “Get His Attention.”
A statue of Christ the Redeemer was struck by lightning in a bizarre thunderstorm on Sunday.
According to Brazilian reports, the statue has endured minimal damage and is to remain standing even after the uncanny event.
The Arkansas Legislature scrambled today to rewrite a bill intended to protect storm victims after Gov. Mike Huckabee, a Baptist minister, objected to language describing such natural phenomena as tornadoes and floods as ”acts of God.”
Mr. Huckabee said that signing the legislation ”would be violating my own conscience” inasmuch as it described ”a destructive and deadly force as being ‘an act of God.’ ” The Governor, a Republican, said the legislation was an otherwise worthy bill with objectives he shared.
Mr. Huckabee did not veto the bill but instead asked that it be recalled by the General Assembly. He suggested that the phrase ”acts of God” be changed to ”natural disasters.”
The House of Representatives refused today to remove the offending phrase, but added the words, ”or natural disasters” after the words ”acts of God.”
“I’m just a simple president.”
– Transcript: President Bush on ‘FOX News Sunday’
The president told about 2,000 people at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this morning that “prosperity and peace are in the balance” in the 2008 vote.
The Preacher Around The Corner
A self-styled preacher received a thorough beating last week from fellow passengers travelling from Kimilili to Kitale after he prophesied that the bus they were in would crash and kill them all because God was unhappy with their sinful way of life.
It so happened that the “preacher” was incensed by the travellers’ refusal to chip in something into the offertory pouch he was passing around.
There and then the passengers, infuriated by the man’s prediction, asked the bus driver to stop the bus, dragged the man out amid kicks and blows and left him on the roadside. The rest of the journey was uneventful.
N.T. “Tom” Wright is one of the most formidable figures in the world of Christian thought. As Bishop of Durham, he is the fourth most senior cleric in the Church of England and a major player in the strife-riven global Anglican Communion; as a much-read theologian and Biblical scholar he has taught at Cambridge and is a hero to conservative Christians worldwide for his 2003 book The Resurrection of the Son of God, which argued forcefully for a literal interpretation of that event.
It therefore comes as a something of a shock that Wright doesn’t believe in heaven — at least, not in the way that millions of Christians understand the term. In his new book, Surprised by Hope (HarperOne), Wright quotes a children’s book by California first lady Maria Shriver called What’s Heaven, which describes it as “a beautiful place where you can sit on soft clouds and talk… If you’re good throughout your life, then you get to go [there]… When your life is finished here on earth, God sends angels down to take you heaven to be with him.” That, says Wright is a good example of “what not to say.” The Biblical truth, he continues, “is very, very different.”
– More in TIME Magazine