THIS has been a mixed week for freedom of speech in Britain. On one hand, a sharp-tongued street preacher has been found guilty and punished, albeit quite mildly, under a piece of legislation which many regard as dangerously illiberal. On the other, gay-rights campaigners and opponents of religous power have made a robust, Voltaire-like response...by defending the preacher's right to say things which they consider bigoted, appalling and offensive.
A blacklist of priests and Christian leaders who support integration and cooperation with the State of Israel has been compiled, and pictures of leaders and youth who participated in IDF events have made their way into the Arab press, endangering their lives and encouraging violence.
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)
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.’ ”
When the Johnson Amendment passed in 1954—the amendment that was the target of the recent Pulpit Freedom Sunday—it was in the context of the political mobilization of mainline Protestants, not evangelicals.
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.
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.
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
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)
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)