Monday, August 16, 2004

Religious News Roundup for August 16

Sorry for the delay in today's posting (as if you noticed). RNR was busy this morning setting up its new computer. No, it's not an Apple, as we'd been hoping. But Mrs. RNR (aka Mrs. Pastor) promised that we could abuse our Amex card if we bought a PC. Once we saw the Dell flatscreen, we promptly wiped the drool off our chin and caved in. Sometimes consumer goods are just too attractive to care about silly things like principles.

Today's categories:

Don't miss those last two.

Religion & Politics

Pres. Bush seems to be getting pulled in two different directions this week. According to the LA Times, he's been dialing back on the God thing lately, even going so far as to decline invitations to pray with supporters he meets on the stump. How he gets away with projecting himself as an "evangelical" is beyond me.

In any case, a documentary on W., called creatively enough "George W. Bush, Faith in the White House" is due out "soon." Here's what you need to know:

  1. It's supposed to be an answer to "Fahrenheit 9/11."

  2. It's being released straight to VHS and DVD.

  3. It's made by "Grizzly Adams Productions."

Need I say more?

Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News carries a long, intriguing piece somewhat misleadingly titled "Kerry's piety is doubted." The DMN isn't doing the doubting, after all, and though the story uses the recent questioning of Kerry's faith by rightwing Catholics as a jumping-off point, it's really more about the in-house battle to define American Catholicism itself.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution declares the "Religious Left Finds its Voice." Funny, I didn't think we'd lost it. Seemed more like people stopped listening for a while.

Anyway, I liked the article for two reasons: first, it lets the UCC carry most of the weight in representing the religious left. Second, the article goes out with a bang, even if it is provided by an Episcopalian:

In an era of sound bites, people who want to sort out moral and ethical approaches to the economy and the war in Iraq find their messages complicated, nuanced and ambiguous, said Bishop Bennett Sims, a past Episcopal bishop of Atlanta and author of "Why Bush Must Go."

"That's why I'm a liberal," he said. "I believe in ambiguity, in risk, in uncertainty. I never have any doubts about the love of God and the sovereignty of God."

But, Sims said, "My identification with the Democratic Party is with some reservations. . . . It's certainly making a mistake to identify Christianity with a particular political view. Political views are transient."

Religion & Homosexuality

If you've got a high tolerance for right-wing crap, read this piece on "10 Reasons to Defend Marriage." If this is the best the DoMA types can come up with, we may be hearing lilac-scented wedding bells across the country soon and very soon.

More on the fallout from the invalidation of SSM in San Francisco: it's threatening to split up at least one couple. People talk about how gay marriage will become accepted once they see how normal it is. But what I'm struck by here is how middle-class it seems. That's not a slam; it's just to say that once the bourgeois see their own being eaten up by rank discrimination, the pressure for change will begin to mount steadily.

[UPDATE:] Eagle-eyed reader 2pt5cats informs me that federal law won't allow for any same-sex marriage to be the basis of sponsorship for immigration purposes. Thanks for the catch.

Catholic News

A sad story here on a "Mass" protest organized by Voice of the Faithful in Boston.

The Papal Death Watch continues. Several sources have noticed how frail the Holy Father seemed in Lourdes over the weekend. He's apparently in bad enough shape that betting has begun on his eventual successor (in Ireland, naturally). See the complete odds here.

This 'n' That

Dunno how this classifies as a religion story, but apparently there's a new album out of reggae covers of Bob Dylan's songs. I suppose that if all reggae artists were Rastafarians, or if you're working off Bobby Z's famous-yet-incoherent "spiritual side." Whatever. Sounds like a good excuse to put RNR's speakers out on the porch roof like we used to do in college.

An interesting but somewhat sad (for RNR) story on "Emerging Churches." Perhaps the easiest way to understand these groups is to think of them as flash mobs for spirituality. ;They've given up pretty much any and all trappings of what most people would think of with churches. For us, committed as we are to community, liturgy, sacrament and the exploration of a faith that extends over the course of history, this seems like a real loss. Perhaps that makes us a crank, but that's a chance we're willing to take.

Nice to know

The New Testament has been translated into Cornish, according to the Religious News Service. What does this mean for the souls of game hens?

Down in Atlanta (where else?), a group is holding a bible study in a local Hooters. Pastor Dan thinks he has enough distractions on a Sunday morning. No, not of that kind. Get your mind out of the gutter.

Finally, this piece, from on the 33rd Annual Blueberry Festival, organized by the Winslow Congregational Church, and held last Saturday. RNR is profoundly saddened to know that we missed out on the "record 491 pies baked."


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