Methodist Bishops Table Policy Change on Homosexuality United Methodist bishops have tabled a proposal that would have loosened restrictions in the church's mostly conservative policies on homosexuality. --by Kevin Eckstrom of Religion News Service at the PBS Religion and Ethics Newsweekly website 5.10.07
The continuing saga of “one nation under God”
On Wednesday of this week U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in government schools constitutes a “coercive requirement to affirm God.” That, of course, is factually inaccurate (AKA “a lie”). Students may refrain, on their own or at their parents’ discretion, from repeating any or all words in the Pledge. Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, though he could have ruled against and said he was “bound by the Constitution of these United States.” That case is on a fast track to the Supreme Court.
The Ninth Circuit’s errant ruling is based on the most insidious line of activist interpretations of our Constitution’s First Amendment invoking the so called “Wall of Separation”. As noted in this column last week, the late Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist said, “The wall of separation between church and state is a metaphor based upon bad history, a metaphor which has proved useless as a guide to judging. It should be frankly and explicitly abandoned… The greatest injury of the ‘wall’ notion is its mischievous diversion of judges from the actual intention of the drafters of the Bill of Rights.” From www.federalist.com, The Patriot 05-37, 09.14.05
Congress Urged to Recognize the Beginning of Ramadan
An Islamic advocacy group is urging American Muslims “and other people of conscience” to contact their elected representatives and urge them to sign a House resolution recognizing the upcoming fast of Ramadan — and commending Muslims for their faith.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations calls the resolution an important tool for encouraging dialogue between Muslims and their elected officials, as well as enhancing understanding of the Islamic faith. The resolution, which expresses the opinion of Congress, mentions threats and attacks directed at members of the Islamic faith since the 9/11 terror attacks.
It then resolves that: “(1) during this time of conflict, in order to demonstrate solidarity with and support for members of the community of Islam in the United States and throughout the world, the House of Representatives recognizes the Islamic faith as one of the great religions of the world; and (2) in observance of and out of respect for the commencement of Ramadan…the House of Representatives acknowledges the onset of Ramadan and expresses its deepest respect to Muslims in the United States and throughout the world on this significant occasion.” –Susan Jones, from her article at www.CNSNews.com 09.26.05
Riding the Storm Out
No where in the scripture has God ever assured anyone, baptized or not, of a carefree, no conflict existence. Televangelists might have sold that sack of crack to preening narcissistic apostates, but Christ never marketed that kind of deceptive dope. Ever since Adam and Eve derailed in the garden we have had to pay retail to live on this planet, and we will continue to do so until the credits run on this fallen-earth flick. –Doug Giles, from his article so titled at www.townhall.com 09.24.05
Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish. –Albert Einstein
Married Americans remaining faithful
More than 90 percent of married Americans said they were faithful to their spouses in 2002, according to a new federal report on sexual behavior that includes data on men for the first time.
The data — and many more facts about Americans’ sexual behaviors, attractions and orientations — is designed to help researchers and policy-makers respond to public health matters, said William D. Mosher, lead author of the report released yesterday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
“These are private behaviors, but they have public consequences,” Mr. Mosher said.About 19 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are diagnosed each year. Roughly 85 percent of HIV/AIDS cases are acquired through sexual contact. –by Cheryl Wetzstein, from her article in The Washington Times, 09.16.05
The Bible Tells Me So
Biblical illiteracy is a shame.
Do we need to know what it says in the Bible? Are we somehow illiterate if we don’t? Up until, say, 100 years ago, biblical literacy would have been practically mandatory. If you didn’t know what “the powers that be” originally referred to, or where “the writing on the wall” was first seen, or what was meant by “the patience of Job,” “Jacob’s ladder” or “the salt of the earth”–if you didn’t know what an exodus was or a genesis, a fatted or a golden calf–you would have been excluded from the culture. It might be said that a civilization consists, at its core, of these easily transmitted packages of implication. They are one of the mechanisms by which cultures can be both efficient and rich. You don’t have to return to first principles every time you wish to communicate. You can play your present tune on a received instrument, knowing that your listener hears not only your own music but the subtle melodies of those who played it before you.
There is a common wisdom in common knowledge. But does this Bible-informed world still exist? I would guess that on the whole, and outside committed Christian groups, biblical literacy is a thing of the past. That long moment of Christian civilization is over. The lingua franca of modern, English-speaking people is not dense with scriptural allusion, just as the conversation of educated people no longer makes reference to classical civilizations. If you dropped the names nowadays of Nestor, Agamemnon or Pericles–every one of which would have come trailing clouds of glory up to a century ago–you would, I think, draw a near total blank from even educated listeners. –by Adam Nicolson, from his article in The Wall Street Journal, 09.23.05
We secure our friends not by accepting favors but by doing them. — Thucydides
Benedict prepares to forbid gay priests
Pope Benedict XVI will move soon against homosexuality in the Catholic priesthood by issuing a Vatican “instruction” forbidding even celibate homosexuals from entering seminary. Seen as a response to the sexual-abuse crisis, which has cost the Catholic Church in the United States more than $1 billion in lawsuits, the instruction will be released next month.
“Both the present Holy Father and many Catholic scholars and commentators have realized the sexual-abuse crisis was a sign of something much deeper and more widespread,” said the Rev. Joseph Fessio, editor-in-chief of Ignatius Press in San Francisco, “such as the rejection of Catholic teaching, especially in the area of sexual ethics.” –by Julia Duin, from her article in The Washington Times, 09.23.05
Anglican Bishops Want Christians to Apologize to Muslims for Iraq
Church of England bishops are calling for Christian leaders to apologize publicly, at a gathering attended by senior Muslims, for the war in Iraq .
Acknowledging that the British government is unlikely to apologize for the “gravely mistaken” war, the bishops suggest that churches should do so by making a “public act of institutional repentance.”
They are not calling for a troop withdrawal now, however, saying the troops should remain until there is a secure Iraqi regime in place. –by Patrick Goodenough, CNSNews.com International Editor, at www.CNSNews.com 09.21.05
Article contributed by Richard Vandagriff and Mark Zaveson