Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Religious News Roundup for August 18

Yesterday was a good day for Pastor.  Lots of people said very nice things about him here, for which he's grateful. Then a, um, situation at the church unexpectedly worked out in his favor. And last, his new "dress" (ie, alb) showed up via UPS.

The only downer? The alb is way too big, and needs to be returned. Ah well.

Today's categories:

Religion & Politics

Tom the Aeronaut (aka "Hollyweird Liberal") passed on a e-mail that's making the rounds:

The Lord has a way of revealing those of us who really know him, and those that don't!!!

Bush gave a big speech last week about how his faith is so "important" to him. In this attempt to convince the American people that we should consider him for president, he announced that his favorite Bible verse is John 16:3.

Of course the speech writer meant John 3:16, but nobody in the Bush camp was familiar enough with scripture to catch the error.

And do you know what John 16:3 says?

John 16:3 says; "And they will do this because they have not known the Father nor Me".

The Holy Spirit works in strange ways.


What can we say, except Amen and Amen?

[editor's note, by pastordan] How 'bout "oops"? We're told this story is a hoax:

The same story, in fact, was the subject of a similar email back in 1999, when Al Gore was the purported biblical ignoramus. But according to Cal Thomas, it was actually *Bush I* who made the gaffe--in 1990.

Well, shoot. RNR regrets the error, but thinks it would've been pretty funny had it been true. Thanks to all the readers who are more diligent than us!

The Revealer links to a new book titled,  The Separation of Church and State: Writings on a Fundamental Freedom by American Founders. Sounds like interesting readers for both secularists and people of faith. It just might make it onto RNR's bookshelf.

A truly Orwellian development in the battle over politicized congregations: a conservative group called Big Brother Church Watch is heading out across Virginia to moniter "liberal" churches (MCC, Unitarians, AME). Though this seems like about the response you might expect after the religious right has gotten its wrists slapped a couple of times recently, RNR has to say: enough. It's only a tiny minority on either side that wants to drag politics into the pews. So-called "monitors" don't belong in a worship service, whether from the right or the left.

In a possibly related development, Jerry Falwell is opening a law school as part of Liberty University. Joe Conn, a spokesman for Americans United for Separation of Church and State, gets it about right when he says: "When Falwell talks about using the legal system to advance his personal religious beliefs, I get a whiff of the Taliban."

Even some evangelicals are getting fed up with the politicization of religion. Tony Campolo, an evangelical's evangelical, gives an interview to BeliefNet declaring that his faith, too, has been hijacked. Meanwhile, Melinda Hennenberger of Newsweek wonders if it's not who we vote for that affects our prayers, instead of the other way around.

We've previously noted the book The Faith of George W. Bush. But did you know there was a study guide? Yeesh.

Last (for this category), I draw your attention to this article from the Cedar Falls (IA) Courier, about John Edwards attending a Sunday-morning service at a local AME church. This is notable for three reasons: 1. Yes, Virginia, there are in fact black people in Iowa. 2. Edwards sat through 50 minutes of worship before he addressed the congregation. RNR's butt would have been numb by that time! 3. Oh, yes: his political message fit pretty seamlessly in the gospel message of the church. It's nice to see a candidate who can work this stuff in naturally.

Sex, Sex, Sex

Two articles from the UK serve to kick off this new category. This one, titled "Much more sex, please...we're British," begins promisingly enough: "Single Britons are the most promiscuous in the world, an international survey of sexual attitudes says." And this one finds that Americans are much more likely that their counterparts in the UK, France, Germany or China to allow their religious convictions to determine their sex life. To which RNR replies: the last time we checked with our rabbi, it was a mitzvah to do it on the Sabbath.

Nice to Know

The LA Times carries a nice piece on Muslims in Las Vegas. Suppose that could have gone in "What the Dilly-O?" as well.

A Romanian Priest has been ordered to live "alone on bread and water for a month" after holding a five-hour long funeral service. Apparently, he wanted revenge on some parishioners who had asked that another priest conduct the service. Not that we're unfamiliar with the temptation, but what the heck does he think this is? The US Senate?

A spoof of the "Hell House" phenomenon will be staged in Los Angeles, AP is reporting. Bill Maher is playing Satan, and Andy Richter is Jesus. Need we say more?

Last but not least, a Pepperdine University prof thinks that if John Kerry sought to reduce abortions by means short of a legal ban, he'd have the election sewn up. Thanks for the tip.

What the Dilly-O

A controversy continues in New Jersey over the proper makeup of communion wafers. A girl has severe gluten allergies, and her mother wants her parish to serve a wafer made of rice. The diocese rejects the idea, saying the body must contain wheat. The mother is appealing to the Vatican.

A conceptual artist in California (did you really expect this to happen anywhere else?) claims to be "genetically engineering" God in a lab experiment. The money quote:

After looking at a broad range of species, Keats came to believe that God is genetically most closely related to blue-green algae (or cyanobacteria, as it's known scientifically). Numerous considerations led to this hypothesis, not least of which was that cyanobacteria is the first organism found in the fossil record. If God came first, Keats reasoned, said deity would be most closely related to whichever species came second.

O-kay...RNR guesses that stands to reason...

But let's leave on an up note, with this picture from Edwards' appearance in Waterloo:

Preach it, brother!


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