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Southern Religion

Training Army chaplains for the end of DADT (or departure)

Adelle M. Banks of Religion News Service seems to think the message is clear:

“The Chaplains Corps’ First Amendment freedoms and its duty to care for all will not change,” reads a slide in the PowerPoint presentation, released to Religion News Service Thursday. “Soldiers will continue to respect and serve with others who may hold different views and beliefs.”

Critics familiar with the Army presentation, however, say the military is essentially telling chaplains who are theologically conservative that they are not welcome.

U.S. Army now warning chaplains: If you don’t like the homosexual agenda, get out!” reads a headline on the website of Mass Resistance, an anti-gay group based in Waltham, Mass.

The Army doesn’t see it in such stark terms:

Lt. Col. Carleton Birch, a spokesman for the Army chief of chaplains, said about half of the military service’s 2,900 chaplains have received the training, which started in February and is likely to conclude in April.

“Our training is an opportunity for our senior chaplains to have an honest and open conversation about the repeal policy, its effects on them and their ministry,” Birch said. “And it’s going very well. … In no way are we giving the message, shape up or ship out.”

Birch said only one Army chaplain has left the service over the pending repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Law, Politics, Religion | , , | Comments Off

No, Christianity has not been shown to cause fatness

MSNBC and CNN attracted some attention with the high-calorie piety story:

Young, religiously active people are more likely than their non-religious counterparts to become obese in middle age, according to new research. In fact, frequent religious involvement appears to almost double the risk of obesity compared with little or no involvement.

What is unclear from the new research is why religion might be associated with overeating.

Might is the key word here. It fell to atheist (and biological scientist) PZ Myers to put that story in its proper perspective:

How can our news media get the story so completely backwards? MSNBC is reporting a correlation between religiosity and obesity, which simply can’t be true. Aside from the difficulties of going from a correlation between two complex phenemona to an assumption of causality, we have it from an unimpeachable, objective source that the opposite is true.

The Conservopedia argues, Myers explains, that atheism causes fatness (not religion).

So that’s that.

Well, if and only if you dwell on “the difficulties of going from a correlation between two complex phenemona to an assumption of causality.”

Thus it was a combination of bad science and bad logic that produced the “religion linked to obesity” story. Yeah. Forget it.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Health, Religion | , | Comments Off

In Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery

Today is the United Nations’ International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade:

In commemoration of the memory of the victims, the General Assembly, in its resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007, declared 25 March the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, to be observed annually. The resolution called for the establishment of an outreach programme to mobilize educational institutions, civil society and other organizations to inculcate in future generations the “causes, consequences and lessons of the Transatlantic slave trade, and to communicate the dangers of racism and prejudice”.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon wrote:

By studying slavery, we help to guard against humanity’s most vile impulses. By examining the prevailing assumptions and beliefs that allowed the practice to flourish, we raise awareness about the continued dangers of racism and hatred. And by honouring slavery’s victims — as we do with this International Day, with a permanent memorial that will be established at the UN Headquarters complex in New York, and with the observance of 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent — we restore some measure of dignity to those who had been so mercilessly stripped of it.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | History | , | Comments Off

Obama, Romero and the politics of liberation

Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado wrote:

Obama’s visit to the tomb [of Oscar Romero] is being described as “extraordinary” by the Central American press, describing Romero as a Salvadoran martyr who was killed by the military. Roberto D’Aubuisson, the military officer who is suspected to have ordered Romero’s assassination, was trained in the United States and was permitted to observe US Special forces in action. D’Aubuisson is also the founder of ARENAS, the conservative political party that governed the country until 2009.

. . .

I see Obama’s visit as symbolic of a shift in US attitudes toward Central America. Gone I hope is the era of intervention and manipulation. The Central America of today is different from the one that saw Romero’s blood shed while saying mass. Some would argue that the crisis of gangs and drugs that is engulfing this region is leading to a crisis that will eclipse the civil wars of the 1980s and 1990s. And yet in spite of the growing violence, figures like Romero give us hope.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | Catholic, Obama, Politics | , , , , , | Comments Off

Why not pool Southern Baptist funds to better protect children?

That controversial Southern Baptist Pastors Conference is getting “$141,549.00 from the Southern Baptist Convention’s operating budget” – funds provided by the “autonomous Southern Baptist churches,” as Christa puts it. At the Stop Baptist Predators blog she goes on to say:

Why do Southern Baptist officials insist that the local churches are so absolutely autonomous that no cooperative effort can be made for the better protection of church kids against predatory pastors, and yet Southern Baptist officials have no problem at all with the local churches making a cooperative effort for the promotion of bigwig pastors at a national conference?

How many well-informed Southern Baptists, who read outside the family of Southern Baptist publications, also wonder? The abuse, after all, continues apace.

March 25, 2011 Posted by | SBC | , , | Comments Off

   

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