With headquarters on a country road outside of Boone, N.C., in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Samaritan’s Purse has neither the big name nor the pocketbook of such groups as Doctors Without Borders and CARE International, a global humanitarian agency. But its most recent financial disclosures detail what a well-funded, far-reaching organization it has become in the 35 years since Franklin Graham took the helm.
If disease is divine punishment, then by definition they “deserve it,” as homophobes were so happy to proclaim at the height of the AIDS crisis. The sick are seen as implicitly and personally culpable for their own conditions.
Based on interviews with evangelical leaders, political strategists, and policymakers, this is an inside look at how the evangelical movement became a major backer of immigration reform, how it turned traditional political allegiances on their head, and what the future holds. (Atlantic)
Despite a popular perception that the 8-1 decision ripped religion out of public schools by banning the ceremonial reading of Bible verses, prominent First Amendment scholars and educators say Abington v. Schempp marked a rare consensus among conservative and liberal justices that actually provided a framework for allowing religion into the public school curriculum. (Deseret News)
The peace agreement between the government and Muslim guerrillas provides for the creation of an autonomous region, to be governed under Islamic rules. Wao, the only municipality with Christian majority, wants out. (Asia News)
Since 2013, the small Central African nation of Burundi has seen a gradual but serious contraction of political rights and social freedoms. The government has even targeted leisure activities. (The Washington Post)
When Fidel Castro brought the horrors of Communism to the island nation of Cuba, parents feared their children would lose their faith, their heritage and suffer indoctrination. Some parents did the unthinkable: They sent their children away, not knowing if they’d be reunited.
"So when we do them (baptisms), the tanks are all outside, the changing areas are all outside, we rent huge tents, people don't know where to go so we've gotta have volunteers to lead the way so that people know which direction to go." (Christian Post)
Putin has cultivated strong ties with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, adopting more conservative policies and prompting some critics to suggest the line separating state and church has become blurred. (Reuters)
The red smear left by the application of silicon by the Israel Police Forensics Laboratory in their fruitless attempt to prove forgery has contaminated the word "Yeshua" (Jesus) inscribed on the ossuary and destroyed much of the little patina that remained (Matthew Kalman, James Ossuary Trial)
"Arguing that the traditional Jewish day-school model they grew up with is outmoded and too clannish for 21st-century Judaism, a new generation of parents and educators are flocking to Montessori preschools and elementary schools that combine secular studies with Torah and Hebrew lessons."
In his new book, Culture and the Death of God (Yale, Mar.), Eagleton goes beyond his critique of the New Atheism to illustrate the ways in which theology raises foundational questions in a culture where political science, linguistic philosophy, and positivist science have run away from such questions.