Religion News: Catholicism Reigns, Evangelicals are talking to Muslims

Two stories out of the Washington Times caught my eye yesterday:

The first was Pope Benedict XVI reminding the world that Catholicism is IT in the world of Christianity. That whole Protestant Reformation thing was irrelevant to Christianity, and the Real Church is all that matters. `

The statement brought swift criticism from Protestant leaders. “It makes us question whether we are indeed praying together for Christian unity,” said the World Alliance of Reformed Churches, a fellowship of 75 million Protestants in more than 100 countries.

Yeah, it does sort of go against the whole “Unity of Christendom” theme resulting from the Second Vatican Council back in the 60’s. I wonder if the Communion bulletins you get at mass will change:

“Non-Catholic Christians: You’re not welcome here; Protestantism is a Bastard Religion, and you should go back to worshiping sticks or whatever you people do.”

The second story comes from none other than Benny Hinn, who orchestrated a meeting between Evangelical Christian and Muslim leaders in Egypt. Billed as an “historic” meeting, it was still the first of its kind, which means there was a little talking past each other:

The meeting…focused on two issues, though the two groups had differing priorities. Whereas the Americans wanted to discuss the lack of religious freedom in Muslim countries, the ambassadors wanted to know whether Christians could become more “balanced” in their support of Israel.

The Christian attendees were almost all famous evangelists (or their sons: Falwell, Robertson, Crouch), or executives from the NAE (National Association of Evangelicals), but the article wasn’t able to produce names from the Muslim side of the table, just countries they represented: Algeria, Morocco, Libya, Kuwait, Yemen, Iraq, Bahrain, Jordan and Egypt…plus the Arab League.

SO, to sum up: While the Pope was doing his dead-level best to insult people within his own faith of Christianity, the Right-Wing-Christian-Fundamentalist-Idealogues were starting a dialogue with Islamic leaders.

Go figure.

Update: By the way, today is Orangemen’s day. So if you’re part of the British Commonwealth and Protestant, I believe you’re supposed to run around and antagonize Catholics. And even though I’m not in the Commonwealth, I feel obliged to antagonize my Catholic wife all evening in honor of the holiday.

The Washington Times (Pope) & The Washington Times (Evangelicals)


"Controversial" Holocaust teaching is dropped

The next time anyone wants to accuse our government of Orwellian tendencies (via the Patriot Act, for instance, or wiretaps, or whatever), please keep this in mind.

Selective education is WAY more scary than wiretaps, any day of the week. The moment history has to be rewritten, ignored, or “repurposed” is the moment that our freedoms are compromised. This has not happened in the U.S. but don’t think for a second it can’t happen. Just ask your average homeschooler how jealously public schools guard control of educating children.

I found this article very interesting. It comes from a blatantly Christian conservative site, but any Civil Libertarian should agree with a good chunk of the following:

Today, many would find it hard to believe that education was never addressed in the United States Constitution, nor was it discussed at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The government would like citizens to believe that it reserves the right to educate the nation’s youth, yet this right was never bestowed upon it, nor was it stripped away from parents.

The post-civil war industrial revolution started to mainstream public schooling to meet the economy’s needs, not the children’s. Factories forced parents out of their homes and pushed children into the schools, where they became conditioned for work in the industry and indoctrinated into a national mindset that forwarded the government’s agenda.

Socialism, moral relativism, evolution, pro-choice, multiculturalism, environmentalism, gay rights, self-esteem training and sex education are all politically correct/fundamentally wrong concepts promoted in the public schools that have taken their toll on the conservative and biblical values that have formed the backbone of American society.

Through the public schools, the government has played monopoly in the game of education since the turn of the 20th century, controlling the board and children’s lives ever since. The recent homeschooling movement, which now provides instruction for 4 million children in the United States, is seen by bureaucrats as usurping their unbridled authority over the education system. Dire attempts to stem this burgeoning exodus from the schools have been made by the state at virtually any cost.

It is amazing how little control we have over what our kids learn in schools. The challenge really is that your average “Progressive” looks at this list: “Socialism, moral relativism, evolution, pro-choice, multiculturalism, environmentalism, gay rights, self-esteem training and sex education,” and deems them important, while simultaneously deeming Religion off limits, citing the fact that it MIGHT make someone “uncomfortable” or somehow discriminated against. While I would agree that religion–any religion–should NEVER be taught in a public classroom, I would contend that many (not all, but many) of the above list is very ANTI-religious, which is just as bad and just as UnConstitutional. It never occurs to bureaucrats that the “comfort” level of the majority (heterosexual and Christian, namely) is even remotely relevant.

Message From A Megachurch

Message From A Megachurch

American politics took an important turn last week: A significant group of theologically conservative Christians no longer wants to be treated as a cog in the Republican political machine.

For a quarter-century since the rise of the Moral Majority and the Christian Coalition, white evangelical Christians have been widely seen as a Republican preserve. Many of the most politically active evangelical leaders have insisted that the morally freighted social issues — abortion, stem-cell research, same-sex marriage — took priority over all questions.

Enter Rick Warren, who speaks for a new generation of evangelicals who think that harnessing religious faith too closely to electoral politics is bad for religion, and who are broadening the evangelical public agenda to include a concern for global poverty and the scourge of AIDS.

When Warren called a conference at his church last Friday on World AIDS Day, among those he invited were two potential presidential candidates. It was unsurprising that one of them was Sen. Sam Brownback, the Kansas Republican and a loyal social conservative who has taken up the AIDS issue with passion and commitment.

But when the other invitee turned out to be Barack Obama, parts of the old evangelical political apparatus went after Warren as a heretic. Rob Schenck, president of the National Clergy Council, declared that Obama’s views on abortion — Obama is pro-choice — represented “the antithesis of biblical ethics and morality” and insisted that Warren had no business inviting him to Saddleback.

Warren’s church issued a statement reaffirming its strong opposition to abortion, but Warren did not back down. Indeed, he seemed to revel in rejecting the old evangelical political model. “I’m a pastor, not a politician,” Warren told ABC News. “People always say, ‘Rick, are you right wing or left wing?’ I say ‘I’m for the whole bird.’ “

When it came his turn to speak, Obama took on the moral message of evangelical AIDS activists — and then challenged them by getting to what “may be the difficult part for some,” as he put it, that “abstinence and fidelity, although the ideal, may not always be the reality.”

“We’re dealing with flesh-and-blood men and women, and not abstractions,” Obama said, and “if condoms and potentially things like microbicides can prevent millions of deaths, then they should be made more widely available. . . . I don’t accept the notion that those who make mistakes in their lives should be given an effective death sentence.”

That Obama received a standing ovation suggests that Warren is right to sense that growing numbers of Christians are tired of narrowly partisan politics and share his interest in “the whole bird.” In their different spheres, Warren and Obama are both in the business of retailing hope.

BONUS POINT: If you read Obama’s speech, you’ll realize he demonstrates a much truer Christian spirit than the GOP masterminds who have recently tried to push people away from Obama by pointing out that his middle name is Hussein.


New Jesus Camp Documentary

I’m just throwing this out there. Don’t have much opinion until I see it. I just know Rothell is into docs and wondered if he knew anything about this. Also, Mike Papintonio is in it. Looks like it at least tries to be a doc and not propaganda, but again I haven’t seen it.