Southern Religion

French losing confidence in the Pope

Le Parisien daily found 57 percent of respondents to a poll conducted Wednesday and Thursday in heavily Catholic France have a negative opinion of the Pope Benedict XVI, as opposed to last September, when it was 25 percent.

The same poll of 1,012 adults found that 23 percent have a positive opinion, according to the Associated Press, down from 53 percent six months ago (the rest expressed no opinion).

The cause of the Pope’s rising negatives was not clear from poll reports, although the Pontiff has had some PR difficulties of late.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Politics, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , | 1 Comment

Stifle dissent = lose power

History’s lesson about stifling dissent, from John Adams’ loss of the presidency amid backlash from his Alien and Sedition Acts to current ecclesiastical conflicts, is the same writes Wade Burleson:

One of these days men and women with power, whether it be ecclesiastical, political or corporate will learn that attempts to stifle dissent and criticism will only ultimately result in the people you lead turning against you.

In the comments, First Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Fla., Watchdog compares the “sedition” part Adams’ Alien and Sedition Acts to a passage from the FBC Jax deacon’s resolution, which was directed at him in a “public flogging of a former member.”

You may recall that Watchdog aggressively blogged FBC Jax’s policies and repressive governance, especially the pastor’s accumulation of power. After a period of self-muzzled silence, Thursday brought new Watchdog coverage of the drive to strip him of his anonymity and silence him.

We look to Adams’ extinct Federalist Party for the price of repressive governance. The Federalists did much good but embodied sweeping distrust of and intolerance for dissenting views.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Churches, History, Law, Politics, Religion | , , , , , , | Comments Off on Stifle dissent = lose power

Sex education served up hot (as always)

Sex education is coming back to the Congressional table this spring, and Amy Sullivan of Time has this nugget in an interesting survey article:

We now have a pretty good sense of which sex-education approaches work. Substantial research–including a 2007 Bush Administration report–has concluded that comprehensive programs are most effective at changing teen sexual behaviors. They are also largely uncontroversial outside Washington. Vast majorities of parents favor teaching comprehensive sex education.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Health, Science | | Comments Off on Sex education served up hot (as always)

Rick Warren and the Pope differ over condoms

From Steve Waldman we learned that the Saddleback Church Web site says, “We can’t prevent many other diseases that plague mankind, but we know how abstinence, monogamy, and condoms can go a long way toward stopping HIV in its tracks.”

Pope Benedict XVI and Saddleback Pastor Rick Warren agree that AIDS requires abstinence, but Warren adds S.L.O.W.:

Supply condoms and eventually microbicides for everyone. The correct and consistent use of condoms may prevent HIV infection. But condoms will never stop the pandemic. In many places, getting condoms is nearly impossible. And even when a person has a condom and uses it properly, there still is a chance the condom will fail. Likewise, microbicides – which researchers hope will enable women to protect themselves – will only reduce risk, not eliminate it; the development of effective microbicides is still years away.

Limit the number of partners. The fewer sexual partners someone has, the less chance there is that a person will contract HIV. But limiting the number of partners will never stop the spread of HIV.

Offer needle exchange. Some people believe that giving new, clean needles to intravenous drug users reduces their risk of contracting HIV from a needle shared by someone who is HIV positive. While clean needles may reduce the risk of transmitting HIV, the resulting impaired judgment can enable other high risk sexual behavior thus exposing the individual to HIV.

Wait for sexual debut. The longer a person waits to become sexually active, the longer he or she will stay free from the risk of contracting a sexually transmitted disease.

Saddleback doesn’t propose that S.L.O.W. will bring the AIDS epidemic to a full halt.

“If AIDS can be stopped,” strenuous efforts by and the full moral authority of the church will be required as well.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Medical Care, Religion | , , , | Comments Off on Rick Warren and the Pope differ over condoms

Aggressive bloggers’ defamation-law map

For a quick and cautionary-to-eye-popping review of defamation law across the globe, visit Article 19’s interactive defamation map.

“Mouse over the color-coded world map to compare criminal and/or civil defamation penalties in different countries, and open windows that provide updates to new and pending legislation,” explains First Amendment Law Prof Blog.

March 21, 2009 Posted by | Law, WWW | , , , | Comments Off on Aggressive bloggers’ defamation-law map