- Southwest apologizes to Muslim booted off plane: Irum Abassi, a Muslim graduate student who was booted from a Southwest Airlines plane because flight attendants found her behavior suspicious received a public apology from the airline on Wednesday.
- Malaysian Christian lawyer barred from Shariah courts: A Christian lawyer in Malaysia has failed in her attempt to be allowed to practise in the Muslim Shariah courts. Victoria Jayaseele Martin said she wanted to appear for non-Muslim clients fighting in such courts, to provide them with fairer representation.
- Religion and Santa hat suit settled: Belk will pay $55,000 to settle a lawsuit with a former employee who claimed she was fired because she refused to wear a Santa hat. Myra Jones-Abid refused to wear a Santa hat and apron, saying that as a Jehovah’s Witness, she is prohibited by her religious beliefs from recognizing holidays, including Christmas. She was fired the same day.
- Indonesia urged to probe ‘forced conversions’: Rights group Amnesty International urged Indonesia on Thursday to investigate allegations of soldiers intimidating followers of a minority Islamic sect and forcing them to renounce their faith. The military have visited the Ahmadiyah, who unlike mainstream Muslims do not believe Mohammed was the last prophet, asking some members to sign statements renouncing their faith, Amnesty said citing local rights groups.
- US missionary released from Haitian jail: An American missionary who was abruptly jailed in southern Haiti and held without charges for five months was just as suddenly released, he said Wednesday. Danny Pye, 29, a Christian pastor who runs an orphanage with his wife in the southern city of Jacmel, said the same judge who jailed him in October signed his release order Tuesday, allowing him to finally leave the cell he had shared with 28 other men.
- Crystal Cathedral choir asked to sign anti-gay covenant: Choir members at the financially troubled Crystal Cathedral say they are upset by a covenant they have been asked to sign that places a strong emphasis on them being heterosexual and Christian. The “Crystal Cathedral Worship Choir and Worship Team Covenant,” recently handed out to members, states that members should commit to being Christians by following the Bible in every way. Former and current choir members say they are particularly offended by a statement in the document that refers to homosexuality. Long-time church members say this is the first time they have seen the cathedral take a firm stand against homosexuality and are disturbed by it.
- Schuller Sr. speaks out against church’s anti-gay covenant: Robert H. Schuller, founder of the Crystal Cathedral, said Wednesday that he strongly disapproves of an anti-gay covenant his own church administrators asked choir members to sign, stating that it goes against the principles of tolerance, acceptance and positive thinking on which he built his 50-year-old ministry. Schuller contacted the Register to say he did not know about the existence of such a covenant and would have personally never approved it.
- Estranged son of anti-gay Westboro pastor says father does ‘evil’: Nathan “Nate” Phelps, the estranged son of anti-gay Kansas pastor Fred Phelps, said Wednesday that the spiritual leader of Westboro Baptist Church hit his wife and beat his children with a mattock handle until they bled.
- Popular singer latest target in Indonesian mail bombings: A popular singer. A former anti-terror chief. An outspoken critic of Islamic extremism. All have been targeted by parcel bombs sent by suspected Muslim extremists, leaving many in the Indonesian capital asking, “Who’s next?”
Analysis, Commentary, Opinion
- Facebook Doesn’t Kill Churches, Churches Kill Churches:
Experimental psychologist Richard Beck recently set the religion blogosphere—forgive me—atwitter with a post entitled, “How Facebook Killed the Church.” Elizabeth Drescher, PhD — scholar of Christian spiritualities at Santa Clara University, and author of Tweet If You ♥ Jesus: Practicing Church in the Digital Reformation — says that if Facebook is killing the church it’s probably more accurate to call it an assisted suicide
- Religion: Church life in Facebook land: “There are people who still do not realize that if you’re not online, or if you are not on Facebook, you do not exist for lots of people today. Your church simply does not exist.” The disconnected leaders of these churches should start doing the math, Diana Davis argues, in a Baptist Press essay offering advice to those who have remained unplugged from Facebook.
- Rick Joyner Predicts Earthquake in US, “Economic Collapse”: The earthquake in Japan continues to evoke moralistic and scaremongering commentary from various religious figures. The most blatantly irresponsible fearmongering, though, has come from Rick Joyner, a big-name evangelist who has links with Gen. Jerry Boykin and various neo-Pentecostal leaders
- Christians question divorce statistics: Some activists say that oft-quoted studies don’t factor in how much religious couples attend church.
- For some Christians, King James is the only Bible: On its 400th anniversary, the King James version of the Bible is universally recognized as a literary masterpiece that profoundly shaped both modern Christianity and the English language. At the Bible Baptist Church in Mount Prospect, Ill., however, it’s accorded a much higher level of reverence. “Using anything but the King James version is like shaving with a banana,” said Chris Huff, the church’s pastor. The suburban Chicago church belongs to a loosely defined denomination known as the “King James Only” movement. Members believe that the King James version is not just another translation, but the indispensable underpinning of a Christian’s faith
- The bizarre Nazi book craze: Books about the Third Reich throng the British bestseller lists, but is it a matter of genuine historical interest or odd fetish? The Nazis, it seems, did experiment with flying saucers, they did consult Tibetan monks, they did devise semi-religious ceremonies, they were interested in the lost city of Atlantis, space rockets and time travel. So there’s plenty of stuff to read, and write books about. But is our obsession with their obsessions altogether healthy? [See also: Neo-Nazism]
Today in History
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