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france 24 - French Protestant church approves move to bless gay couples - France 24
“It’s an option, not an obligation,” Schlumberger noted. “Every pastor and every parish is free to implement this change.”
On conservative religious activism, the numbers speak for themselves (COMMENTARY) - The Washington Post
In other words, contrast the work these groups do with respect to same-sex marriage, sanctity of life and so forth with the money Christians give to the very things Mr. Putnam indicts them for ignoring. It is a tiny fraction of the total giving to those needs Mr. Putnam accuses Christians of neglecting
Raul Castro Says Pope Inspiring Him To Return To Church : The Two-Way : NPR
"I will resume praying and turn to the Church again if the Pope continues in this vein," Castro, the 83-year-old younger brother of Fidel, told reporters, adding, "I mean what I say.
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Is Immigration Reform Dead? Not If Evangelicals Can Do Anything About It
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)
School prayer: 50 years after the ban, God and faith more present than ever
A three-part cover story on the state of school prayer. (CSMonitor.com)
Supreme Court ruling 50 years ago set modern course for religion in public schools
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)
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Opinion: Round Up the Usual Social Conservative Suspects
Republicans must resist the temptation to form a circular firing squad, especially one with evangelicals and their social-conservative allies in the middle. (Ralph Reed, The Wall Street Journal)
5 things we learned from Franklin Graham
Graham says his dad has always been political, and that Billy Graham’s activism last year was in sync with past behavior. (CNN)
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An Ex-Mouseketeer’s Journey Back to Christianity From Paganism - NYTimes.com
The pop singer-songwriter Teo Bishop, also known as Matt Morris, shocked Pagans last month by re-embracing Christianity. (The New York Times)
Interview: Chris Hadfield, Author Of 'An Astronaut's Guide To Life On Earth'
"If you start talking in depth about your own [faith], you are excluding other people who have different faiths that give them strength. There's no point in that." (Fresh Air)
Opinion: The Billy Graham Brand Rolls On
He just turned 95, but the foundation that bears his name is still bringing out new books and videos. (Kenneth L. Woodward, The Wall Street Journal)
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The Mystery of the Missing Evangelicals - Washington Wire - WSJ
The flip-side of that same analysis suggests that GOP’s bigger vote problems actually lie on the other side of the spectrum, counties with smaller evangelical populations. Mr. Romney suffered steep declines in his vote tally from the counties with the smallest percentage evangelical adherents, more than one standard deviation below the norm for evangelical population.
Evangelicals Want Bush Challenger, But GOP Won't Help Their Cause | The New Republic
The romantic alliance that was sold to Evangelicals when the Moral Majority helped deliver Ronald Reagan to the White House appears finally to have unraveled altogether.
An Ethnic Chinese Christian, Breaking Barriers in Indonesia - The New York Times
A former mining consultant, Mr. Basuki first ran for office in 2005, winning a local election on his native island of Belitung, off the southeast coast of Sumatra, in a district where 93 percent of the voters were Muslim. “I asked them why they wanted me to run, because I am of Chinese descent and a Christian,” he recalled of the local residents who approached him. “They said, ‘We don’t care — we know who you are. We know your character.’ ”
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Activist’s acquittal unlikely to end church-directory fight at Athens courthouse
Eliot Kalman won’t be punished for pasting a First Amendment sticker over the church directory on the Athens County Courthouse (The Columbus Dispatch)
Hipster churches in Silicon Valley: evangelicalism's unlikely new home
Netflix fasts, coffee vouchers, plaid-wearing worshippers is what it takes for ‘church transplants’ to make their home in the affluent Bay Area (The Guardian)
In China, a church-state showdown of biblical proportions - CSMonitor.com
Western visitors used to seeing empty sanctuaries in the United States or Europe can be dumbfounded by the Sunday gatherings held in convention center-size buildings where people line up for blocks to get in – one service after another.
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Activist’s acquittal unlikely to end church-directory fight at Athens courthouse
Eliot Kalman won’t be punished for pasting a First Amendment sticker over the church directory on the Athens County Courthouse (The Columbus Dispatch)
How have Christians and non-Christians fared before the Supreme Court in RFRA and RLUIPA cases? - The Washington Post
If you really think that head-counts of winners in Supreme Court religious exemption cases are the way to evaluate biases, then I take it you should conclude that the more liberal court of the 1960s to 1980s was biased in favor of Christians and the more conservative court of the 1990s to 2010s hasn’t been.
Why (some) states use religion to justify violence - The Washington Post
When states enforce a particular interpretation of religious law, citizens are forced to abide by it rather than their own conscience. And when states retain the ability to hire and train clerical staff, manage the construction of religious buildings and even approve sermons, they hinder the ability of individuals and groups to function as independent social actors. Through policy mechanisms, religion becomes a tool of the state, ready to be wielded to advance its interests. That tool can even be used to justify acts of physical coercion and even violence
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Public exhibit of St. Peter relics revives debate
Are the bones really his? (Associated Press)
Scientific vandalism: How the IAA and Israeli Police Wrecked the James Ossuary
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)
The Bible in the Bird's Nest
Owning the Good Book in North Korea can have fatal consequences. (Melanie Kirkpatrick, The Wall Street Journal)
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Evangelist-turned-CEO now ‘a vagabond’ as mining dreams evaporate
Len Lindstrom went from globetrotting evangelist to mining executive to broke (CBC)
Abortion battle over Amendment 1 draws big money
Ballot measure would remove abortion protections from the state’s constitution (The Tennessean)
The Hobby Lobby Backlash Hits Whole Foods
A movement is underway to tell the grocer to drop Eden Foods, which seeks to quit covering all birth control and preventative services for its employees. (The Daily Beast)
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WhatsApp's Growth Exceeds Christianity's First 19 Centuries - Forbes
Have we entered a new age of techno-evangelism, in which digital properties like WhatsApp can gain followers at a rate that puts the world’s major religions to shame? Or have we quietly changed from a society in which carefully developed, lifelong commitments have given way to a flurry of casual associations that can be started — or abandoned — with almost no effort at all?
BBC News - The mysterious disappearance of a celebrity preacher
Today, her followers say the scandalous accounts of her life overlook all the good work she did on the streets of Los Angeles, especially during the Depression. When government agencies failed to clothe and feed the poor, Angelus Temple stepped in helping 1.5 million people get back on their feet. But according to Jane Shaw, professor of religious studies at Stanford University, McPherson's biggest legacy is the way she combined "a conservative form of religion with the media of modernity". In many ways her radio station laid the way for America's modern televangelists.
After Bae release, Christian groups tread carefully in North Korea | Reuters
North Korea and neighboring China have clamped down on the groups' activities recently, and the organizations say that has forced them to become more secretive. Bae's unexpected release has not changed that.
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If we don’t teach religion in schools, Americans will never understand the rest of the world – Quartz
Many people seemed to believe that religion cannot be discussed in the classroom because “it might make someone uncomfortable.” This is a dangerous myth.
Morals Clause in Catholic Schools Roils Bay Area
The changes in the staff handbook, which say that teachers at Catholic high schools cannot challenge church teachings, including against homosexuality, have caused a backlash. (The New York Times)
In wake of Ferguson, Dane County's black churches seek more involvement : Wsj
The clergy group did not shy away from Brown’s role as the suspect in a theft, instead acknowledging problems with crime that face black communities and using it as an opportunity to push its main message that more black parents and guardians should raise their children with the added support of the church.
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ISIS Onslaught Engulfs Assyrian Christians as Militants Destroy Ancient Art
An estimated 300 people have been taken captive, and 30 villages emptied, while Christians are forced to pay a tax to the Islamic State. (The New York Times)
Why are Christian movies so painfully bad? - Vox
It isn't problematic that Christians "borrow ideas" from Hollywood and put their own spin on them. Every film genre does this. But given the Christian doctrine of creation, it is certainly surprising that so many Christian filmmakers — and artists in general — would choose to mimic someone else's vision, rather than cultivate their own.
A Town, if Not a Painting, Is Restored
Grief at a botched retouching of a church fresco has turned to gratitude for divine intervention — the blessing of free publicity — that has made Borja, Spain, a magnet for thousands of curious tourists. (The New York Times)
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Top Story May 23, 2015
Believers Who Bother Us
The Christians Who Annoy Us Are the Christians We Need Most
Why learning from those outside your tribe is essential to the church’s witness.
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