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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

Virginia Federal District Court Rejects Constitutional Challenges To Health Reform [plus other religion news updates]

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Health, Law, news, Religion | Comments Off

Illinois state Senate expected to approve civil unions for same-sex couples today

Supported by faith organizations, including representatives of more than 270 congregations who signed the Faith Petition, the Illinois General Assembly passed Tuesday night the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act (SB 1716), which extends state law marriage protections to couples in committed civil unions, including same sex couples.

Ray Long, Monique Garcia and Rex Huppke of the Chicago Tribute wrote:

As onlookers broke out into cheers, the House for the first time ever approved civil unions, with one vote to spare. Supporters expect the Senate to follow suit Wednesday, and Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn campaigned this fall on a pledge to sign it into law

“We have a chance here, as leaders have had in previous generations, to correct injustice and to move us down the path toward liberty,” said sponsoring Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, one of two openly gay lawmakers, his voice breaking with emotion. “It’s a matter of fairness, it’s a matter of respect, it’s a matter of equality.”

Vigorous opposition from the Catholic Church and the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) could not overcome the momentum of public opinion. A Tribune Poll found “57 percent approved of legalizing civil unions while 32 percent disapproved.”

Opponents predicted a slide down some kind of “slippery slope” slide into an erosion of family values.

December 1, 2010 Posted by | Law, Politics, Religion | , | Comments Off

No majority for repeal of health reform

His boss, Richard Land, misled the way. So it’s understandable that Doug Carlson of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Commission tried to extract a referendum on health reform from last week’s mid-term elections:

Aspects of health care reform faced a referendum as well. Citizens in three states—Arizona, Oklahoma and Colorado—had opportunity to express their feelings on the health care law rammed through Congress. Arizona and Oklahoma each supported an exemption from the mandate that almost everyone purchase health insurance or else face a fine. A similar initiative lost in a divided vote in Colorado. Nationwide, the number of people upset over Obamacare has not budged. Exit polling by Rasmussen shows that 59 percent of voters favor its repeal.

It isn’t that simple, as this week’s Kaiser Family Foundation poll made clear. There is a majority for repeal or alteration of one aspect of the health reform legislation — the requirement that all Americans have health insurance or pay a fine — but overwhelming support for the remainder of the legislation.

Kaiser Health poll answers regarding whether to keep or repeal specific provisions

Only 24% of those polled supported outright repeal of the law. The conundrum, more specifically:

Looking ahead, Americans remain divided about what lawmakers should do, with 21 percent of the public favoring expansion of the health reform law, 19 percent wanting to leave it as is, a quarter wanting to repeal parts of the law, and 24 percent wanting the entire law repealed.

Given the rising number of Americans, middle class and poor, who are without health insurance, the absence of a majority for outright repeal of the reform legislation is no surprise.

November 11, 2010 Posted by | Law, Medical Care, Politics, Religion, SBC | , , , , , | Comments Off

A message from *this* creator

October 3, 2010 Posted by | Cultural, Law | | 2 Comments

Pew Forum interactive map of controversies over mosques and Islamic centers

The Pew Form on Religion & Public Life explains:

This map shows the locations of 35 proposed mosques and Islamic centers that have encountered community resistance in the last two years. Click on a location for a brief overview of the project based on news reports. In many cases, the opposition has centered on neighbors’ concerns about traffic, noise, parking and property values – the same objections that often greet churches and other houses of worship as well as commercial construction projects. In some communities, however, opponents of mosques also have cited fears about Islam, sharia law and terrorism.

While the map shows only projects that have met resistance, many mosques and Islamic centers have been built in recent years with little or no opposition. See, for example, articles in the Louisville Courier-Journal and the Associated Press about newly opened mosques in Kentucky and Pennsylvania

View and use the map here.

September 25, 2010 Posted by | Church/State, Churches, Law, Politics | , , | Comments Off

Impetus for Belgian police raids on Catholic Church offices

Vatican outrage which greeted raids by Belgian police last week on church offices and a cathedral in the Archdiocese of Malines-Brussels was misplaced.

Doreen Carvajal of the New York Times reports that they were the result of “a formal accusation that the church was hiding information on sexual abuse lodged by the former president of an internal church commission handling such cases.”

The Flemish newspaper Nieuwsblad reported [via Google translate] that Godelieve Halsberghe, who from 1998 to 2008 “directed the [church] commission for handling complaints of sexual abuse in a pastoral relationships,” went to authorities after receiving a phone call warning that she and commission files she had were in danger. She turned over her files and talked to authorities about the possibility that the church was hiding other files.

Taking action on serious, formal complaints like those lodged by Ms. Halsberghe, a retired magistrate, is the responsibility of the police in a free society.

The incandescent Vatican response, which descended to references to Communist police state tactics, was inappropriate.

[H/T: Religion Clause]

June 30, 2010 Posted by | Law, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , | Comments Off

Oops? Again? In the case of FBC Jax Watchdog

Oops is in a way how FBC Jax Watchdog was robbed of his anonymity.

Formerly anonymous blogger Thomas A. Rich’s identity was made public after an unnecessary investigation whose details are still being unearthed in court.

Although some evidence pertaining to the involvement of State Attorney Angela Corey was somehow inadvertently destroyed.

Really, and that destruction is cited as part of an argument against deposing Corey as part of the proceedings.

Oops!” indeed.

Another injustice.

June 26, 2010 Posted by | Law, SBC, WWW | , , , , , , , , | Comments Off

Disregard for the Nuremberg Code

Torture is a moral issue, argues the National Religious Campaign against Torture. It has come back home again in a corruption of medical practice and scientific research, as the Physicians for Human Rights materials demonstrate.

Meredith Wadman of Nature writes:

According to Nancy Berlinger, a research scholar who studies clinical ethics at The Hastings Center in Garrison, New York, the report is distressing in part because it reveals a complete disregard for the Nuremberg Code. The 1947 code was created in response to evidence of Nazi-era experimentation and forms the basis for subsequent US regulations governing research. “To see evidence of experimentation on detainees in US custody feels like a body blow to people who care about research ethics,” says Berlinger.

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Law, Politics | | Comments Off

Pastors slammed for telling the First Amendment truth

There is a price in smear to taking a stand against revisionist history, as a group of moderate to liberal clergy – members of the Texas Faith Network – did recently.

Jonathan Saenz, , a lawyer/lobbyist for Liberty Institute (the Texas affiliate of the far-right Focus on the Family), quickly accused the group had used their press conference “to personally attack the Christian faith of some State Board of Education members.” Although he didn’t explain how that occurred, he did correctly report that they support separation of church and state. They said, for example:

“Our Founding Fathers understood that the best way to protect religious liberty in America is to keep government out of matters of faith,” said the Rev. Roger Paynter, pastor of Austin’s First Baptist Church. “But this state board appears hostile to teaching students about the importance of keeping religion and state separate, a principle long supported in my own Baptist tradition and in other faiths.”

False history is typically cited to support the Texas board’s hostility, Saenz’s and that of his allies. To wit, Dave Welch of the arch conservative Pastor Council issued a press release which, among other things, said:

“The Northwest Ordinance, passed in 1787 by the same Congress which presented the Bill of Rights for ratification, declared that ‘Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall forever be encouraged.’”

He’s just wrong.

The Northwest Ordinance of 1787 was passed by the Congress seated under the Articles of Confederation.

More than two years later, first federal Congress under the Constitution sent the Bill of Rights to the states for ratification. And of course included the First Amendment in the Bill of Rights — the one which forbids government from either promoting or disfavoring religion.

May 14, 2010 Posted by | Law, Religion | | 4 Comments

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