Southern Religion

Sebelius is effective at finding “common ground” on abortion

Obama HHS nominee Kathleen Sebelius is good for the “common ground” approach abortion said a group of influential Christian Leaders:

Under Governor Sebelius’ leadership, abortions have decreased in Kansas by 10 percent, adoption funding and incentives have increased, healthcare access for women and families has expanded, prenatal care has become more widely available, and legislation protecting the unborn from crime has become law. Such a record demonstrates a commitment to results rather than rhetoric on life issues

Liberal Catholic scholars have, amid debate, proclaimed their support for her as well.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Medical Care, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Sebelius is effective at finding “common ground” on abortion

Dobson’s resignation means turblent waters left and right

Ethics Daily editor Robert Parham writes of James Dobson’s decision to step down as chairman of the board of Focus on the Family:

Conservative Christians are no doubt concerned about the future of their movement. They have witnessed a seismic shift away from the founding fathers of the Christian Right. Jerry Falwell died almost two years ago. Adrian Rogers, the three-term president of the Southern Baptist Convention, died in 2005. Jerry Vines and Paige Patterson, two other SBC presidents, have diminished influence. Pat Robertson, Chuck Colson and Tim LaHaye have become shells of their former selves.

[ . . . ] the left would make a mistake to misread [James] Dobson’s decision as a shift among evangelical and conservative Christians away from their core issues. Some commentators with little real connectivity continue the lame claim that younger evangelicals are broadening the moral agenda and lessening their support for the old loyalties. Don’t believe it.

There will, however, be a period of uncertainty and struggle as the right settles its leadership issue and the left finds new fund-raising demons.

Read the rest of Parham’s post here.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics | , | Comments Off on Dobson’s resignation means turblent waters left and right

Rush to anti-conservative cultural breakdown

Self-preoccuped radio talk show hosts may be destructive for both the political parties they pretend to serve and the larger culture which is among our concerns, here.

Daniel Larison writes:

It is not merely that these [radio talk] programs distract from creating middlebrow conservatism, as [John] Derbyshire argued, but that they feed into the forces that eat away at whatever remains of a common culture while also creating their own sub-cultural ghetto to which conservatives seem only too inclined to retreat. Following Lukacs’ observation about real, personal communication that I mention in the other post, it seems to me that the more conservatives define themselves in relation to these radio communications from fervent individualists the less likely they are going to be to engage in the kind of hard cultural work of building up their own communities and laying the foundations of the common culture they wish to pass on to their children.

The rest is here.

[Hat tip to Crunchy Con, from whom we learned of this post.]

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Politics | , , | 2 Comments

Rick Warren’s connections

Pastor Rick Warren did not walk out of the inaugural ceremonies and disappear, although Mark Silk wonders. Warren avidly pursues his ministry, here teaching the value of connections among believers.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Cultural, Politics, Religion | | Comments Off on Rick Warren’s connections

She is her brother’s keeper, as she learned at Daddy’s knee

It is not only moral but also smart to help your neighbor argues Susan Jacoby. She writes

A society cannot prosper if economic survival depends on whether you were born into an affluent (or a middle-class) family. When I was 15 and enamored of the heartless economic philosophy of Ayn Rand, my father sat me down and explained the basic principle of progressive taxation. He pointed out that even though the rich pay higher rates, they still have more money left over afterward than Americans living on ordinary incomes. What a shame that Dad didn’t have a chance to give Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh and every Republican in the House of Representatives the same talk. I guess what they heard at their daddys’ knees was that great American principle, “I’ve got mine and you’ve got yours to get.”

The rest is here.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Economy, Politics | , , , | Comments Off on She is her brother’s keeper, as she learned at Daddy’s knee

Re-Excommunicate Holocaust-denying Bishop Williamson?

When Cardinal Roger M. Mahony of Los Angeles banned the Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson from Archdiocese of Los Angeles churches, he went a step beyond the Vatican. A long step. He said:

Holocaust deniers like Williamson will find no sympathetic ear or place of refuge in the Catholic Church, of which he is not — and may never become — a member.

Mark Silk at SpiritualPolitics observes:

Without criticizing the pope, [Mahony has] seized on Williamson’s Holocaust foot-dragging to take the next step and send him back into outer darkness. It will be interesting to see if any of his peers follow his lead.

Most importantly, what plans does the Pope Benedict XVI have now?

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Re-Excommunicate Holocaust-denying Bishop Williamson?

What next for the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi?

Legionaries of Christ

In the London Telegraph, Damian Thompson wrote:

Archbishop Edwin O’Brien of Baltimore, America’s oldest diocese, last week advised Catholics against joining the Legion or Regnum Christi. He said he was worried that the order “stifles the free will” of its priestly members and lay affiliates – not least, by encouraging the cult of Fr Maciel, a Mexican priest who abused seminarians and siphoned off money from the faithful to support his mistress and daughter.

According to the National Catholic Reporter, Archbishop O’Brien said:

“While it’s difficult to get ahold of official documents,” Archbishop O’Brien said, “it’s clear that from the first moment a person joins the Legion, efforts seem to be made to program each one and to gain full control of his behavior, of all information he receives, of his thinking and emotions.”

The archbishop said many members who leave the order suffer “deep psychological distress for dependency and need prolonged counseling akin to deprogramming.”

Cath News echoes the call for Vatican intervention because “the current Mexican leadership of the Legionaries is not up to the challenge of dissociating the organisation from the sexual and financial wrongdoings of the founder.”

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Catholic | , , , | 1 Comment

Laid-off nonprofit employees get how much unemployment?

None, explains Tony Cartledge.

He quotes career-planning and employment specialist Patty Edwards Shaver who explains:

Many years after the unemployment insurance program began, the Federal Unemployment Tax Act (FUTA) was amended to exclude 501(c)(3) organizations with religious affiliations. Although these organizations must pay FICA and other taxes, they have special tax-exempt status and are not liable for FUTA taxes. This means laid off employees from these organizations are not considered eligible workers and are not entitled to unemployment insurance.

There’s more.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Economy, Help | , | Comments Off on Laid-off nonprofit employees get how much unemployment?

U2’s “Thoroughly Christian” Album

While watching U2 on Dave Letterman this week it may have occurred to you that No Line on the Horizon is “thoroughly Christian.”

The album’s March 2, 2009, Letterman premier:

So wrote Steven R. Harmon, associate professor of divinity at Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Ala.

Theologically inclined? And perhaps better still, given the author’s orientation, Baptist?

Drop by the Associated Baptist Press and give it a read.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Religion, The Arts | | 1 Comment

Vatican PR staff blasted for failure to get the Pope’s message out

Vatican PR is a misnomer.

It is a rumor-plagued antique that should be brought into the Twentieth Century, argues Catholic World News Editor Philip F. Lawler argues on the USA Today opinion page. He explains:

In its dealings with the news media, the Vatican is severely handicapped by an institutional bias toward secrecy and a “need to know” approach to the release of news stories. Every reporter dealing with church soon learns the truth of the axiom: “Those who know don’t talk, and those who talk don’t know.” Just like White House reporters, Vatican specialists compete to be the first to break important stories. But whereas reporters in Washington receive regular briefings, those in Rome must simply rely on officials of the Roman Curia who are willing to drop hints or pass along in-house speculation. The result is a hyperactive rumor mill. Clerics and Vatican-watchers exchange gossip and innuendo, hoping to cobble together a better understanding of what is happening behind the Bronze Door of the apostolic palace.

The solution he sees is fundamentally an exercise in fidelity to the Christian faith:

How could the Vatican improve its ability to convey stories accurately? The necessary steps are simple enough: Plan announcements in advance. Anticipate objections. Alert potential allies. Prepare “talking points.” Have experts on hand to brief reporters when the announcement is made.

Above all, the church should adopt a communications strategy that demonstrates confidence in the innate power of truth. For the Vatican, public relations work should be recognized not as a matter of spin control or massaging of the facts, but a function of the church’s teaching ministry. And the mandate for that ministry comes directly from Jesus, who promised (John 8:32) “you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

The rest here.

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Cultural, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion, WWW | Comments Off on Vatican PR staff blasted for failure to get the Pope’s message out