Christians and Homosexuality
According to Peter Sprigg, a spokesman for The Family Research Council, and other evangelicals “changing attitudes toward homosexuality have created a new victim: closeted Christians who believe the Bible condemns homosexuality but will not say so publicly for fear of being labeled a hateful bigot.”
Changing attitudes among members of Christian denominations in the US are reflected in a March, 2013, survey by the Public Religion Research Institute: “59% of Hispanic Catholics, 58% of white Catholics, and 55% of white mainline Protestants favor allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry legally.
By contrast, more than 7-in-10 (71%) white evangelical Protestants, nearly two-thirds (65%) of Hispanic Protestants, and 57% of black Protestants oppose same-sex marriage.”
Also, “White evangelical Protestants (65%) are more likely than other religious groups, including religiously unaffiliated Americans (57%), minority Christians (51%), Catholics (49%), and white mainline Protestants (48%), to say they are absolutely certain that their views on the issue of same-sex marriage are right.”
Fact Sheet | Gay and Lesbian Issues, by the Public Religion Research Institute
The Prophets of Oak Ridge
This week three peace activists — a drifter, an 82-year-old nun and a house painter — go on trial in the U.S. on charges that fall under the sabotage section of the U.S. criminal code.
Last summer, in the dead of night, they penetrated the exterior of Y-12 in Tennessee, one of the most secure nuclear-weapons facilities in the United States.
Mission planning involved searching the Bible and the Internet.
All of the relevant information on Y-12’s layout was available online. All of the relevant motivation was available in the books of Psalms, Proverbs and Isaiah.
The Y-12 break-in is the latest “Plowshares” disarmament action, a tradition of symbolic and intrepid civil resistance dating to September 1980, when the Berrigan brothers and six others hammered on Minutemen missiles and poured blood on documents at the General Electric weapons plant in King of Prussia, Pa. The Plowshares activists take their name and inspiration from Isaiah 2:4, a verse prophesying a world without war.
Is that God Talking? Audibly?
What do we make of people who report that God talks them them — in an audible voice?
T. M. Luhrmann, a professor of anthropology at Stanford and the author of “When God Talks Back: Understanding the American Evangelical Relationship With God,” says “I don’t think that anthropologists can pronounce on whether God exists or not, but I am averse to the idea that God is the full explanation here.”
She also rules out schizophrenia, but says “I eventually discovered that these experiences were associated with intense prayer practice. They felt spontaneous, but people who liked to get absorbed in their imaginations were more likely to experience them.”
Scientology cult in damage control mode
When you rely on Google News to find news articles regarding the Church of Scientology, two things become apparent:
- This destructive cult gets a lot of bad press (deservedly so, if you ask us)
- They also get some good press — but upon closer examination the positive articles are, almost always, press releases plastered by cult across the internet in an apparent effort to drown out real news article.
Even more pathetic are Scientology’s responses to articles that do not quite put the cult in a good light.
The New York Review of Books recently posted Scientology: The Story — an indepth review by Diane Johnson of two recent book published about the controversial movement:
- Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood, and the Prison of Belief
by Lawrence Wright
Knopf, 430 pp., $28.95
- Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape
by Jenna Miscavige Hill, with Lisa Pulitzer
William Morrow, 404 pp., $27.99
That review has attracted the attention of Karin Pouw, Public Affairs Director, for the Church of Scientology International in Los Angeles, California.
In a response published by the New York Review of Books, Pouw — not for the first time — shoots herself in the foot as she attacks Johnson.
Be sure to read Diane Johnson’s response.
- The Muslim Brotherhood wants Spain back. Can the Christians have Egypt in exchange?: The Islamic Society of North America, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, has published an article that calls Andalusia – the hottest bit of Spain – a “paradise” that will return when “the only victor is Allah.” Should be read together with the next item…
- Martyred for Christ: 800 victims of Islamic violence who will become saints this month: In 1480, 800 Christians in the town of Otranto, Italy, were rounded up and killed because they refused to convert to Islam. In 2007, Pope Benedict recognised them as martyrs “killed out of hatred for the faith.” Says Damian Thompson, “Our history is distorted by a nagging emphasis on Christian atrocities during the Crusades combined with airbrushing of Muslim Andalusia, whose massacre of Jews in 1066 and exodus of Christians in 1126 are rarely mentioned.”
- Superheroes and spirituality: The religion of the comic book: The coming Superman movie is one of a number of new superhero and sci-fi epics that demonstrate again our appetite for action flicks – and religious themes. A collection of expert sources for reporters, provided by ReligionLink — a service of the Religion Newswriters Association.
- Westboro Baptist Church gets new colorful neighbor: When members of this hate group look out their window, they’re confronted with an ‘equal rights house.’
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