Southern Religion

Mediation toward a settlement between FBC Jax Watchdog and FBC Jax

Makes sense to us.

Chances FBC Jacksonville, Fla., will enter into mediation toward such a proposal?

Approximately 0.


September 23, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Law | Comments Off on Mediation toward a settlement between FBC Jax Watchdog and FBC Jax

Presidents Anti-Christ

Good news! Only 10% now think Obama is the Anti-Christ, according to a new Public Policy Polling survey. What a creative bunch. Especially the Southern Baptists among them, it seems. Wade Burleson tells us that the video below is the work Carl Gallups, the Southern Baptist pastor of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Florida. Gallups is a graduate of New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (an SBC seminary).

Read Burleson’s sad, blissfully brief review here.

Or consider the possibility that Obama is one in a series, since other recent presidents have also been declared the Anti-Christ:

Frank Schaeffer summed it all outrageously up for Rachael Maddow:


That new poll may have found evidence of contagious Shaefferesque brain rot. Talking Points Memo reports:

Respondents were asked whether each of the two most recent presidents are the Anti-Christ. For former President George W. Bush being the Anti-Christ: 8% yes, 81% no, 11% undecided, with a breakdown among Democrats of 14%-75%-11%. And whether President Obama is the Anti-Christ: 10% yes, 79% no, 11% undecided, with a split of 19%-67%-15% among Republicans.

:looks for hiding place:

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Religion, Satire, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Presidents Anti-Christ

It isn’t true, the Vatican said

Attempting to refute allegations Sveriges Television AB is scheduled to air tonight, chief Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, “Affirming or even insinuating that the Pope was informed beforehand of [Holocaust-denying views of SSPX Bishop Richard] Williamson’s position is absolutely groundless.”

An international furor ensued in March after Pope Benedict XVI lifted the excommunications Williamson and of three other Lefebvrite bishops. It drove Vatican-Jewish relations almost to the breaking point and the broadcast threatens to unsettle matters again.

The broadcast has been called “an attack on the Holy Father.” It covers what the Vatican knew about Williamson prior to the move toward rapprochement with Society of St. Pius X.

Matthew Hay Brown of the Baltimore Sun’s In Good Faith Blog reports:

The SVT program does not say that Pope Benedict XVI knew of Williamson’s beliefs.

If so, this little fire may quickly burn out.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Catholic, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | Comments Off on It isn’t true, the Vatican said

No faith-based federal aid (at all)

Susan Jacoby goes right to the core of the faith-based federal aid debate:

To require any religious institution to hire people who do not agree with and represent its principles is absurd. That is why the government should not be in the business of funneling money for social services through any faith-based organization, whatever its hiring practices.

This is not only my position as a secular civil libertarian. It is also the position of honest religious leaders, like the Rev. Albert H. Mohler, Jr., president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. For Mohler, it is unthinkable that Baptists should compromise their religious principles–such as their mission to proselytize for Christianity–in order to receive federal grants. Therefore, understandably enough, he opposes the acceptance of government aid by churches. The Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-day Saints has taken the same position.

At issue is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA), passed in 1993 and designed to protect religious liberty, not countenance discrimination.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has been asked to reverse the “constitutionally questionable” June 2007, Bush administration memo which held that RFRA could exempt certain religious organizations from federal anti-discrimination provisions.

Not enough, Jacoby says, and not a chance more than that will be done. Ever.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Law, Obama, Religion | , | Comments Off on No faith-based federal aid (at all)

Here come the Nones

Are Nones a denomination, demographically?

They don’t identify with a religion and their percentage has doubled since 1990, giving them 15 percent of the population, according to Trinity College’s 2008 American Religious Identification Survey (ARIS).

Now, look at their behavior, says Mark Silk of Trinity College’s Leonard E. Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion in Public Life. They are “are just as likely to switch to a religion in later life as those with a religion are to switch to something else.”

Perhaps because Nones are not, despite occasional cries of evangelical panic, sweepingly irreligious. Fewer than 10 percent identify themselves as atheists or atheistic. The majority of Nones (59%) are agnostic or deist.

When Nones become the largest U.S. denomination, or as Silk observes, group which acts very much like a denomination, U.S. religious life promises to be more rather than less complex.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Cultural, Religion | Comments Off on Here come the Nones

Christian Right reassertion [fail]

Christian Right spokesmen, several Southern Baptist Convention leaders and a few others sent an open letter Tuesday calling for actions against Iran which mirror the recommendations of Republicans published in the Washington Post. Both called for trade sanctions to discourage Iran from further nuclear arms development.

Both sets of recommendations were timed to coincide with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s arrival in New York for a Sept. 23 address to the United Nations and a meeting with leaders of Group of 20 leading industrial nations, which are to meet for Thursday and Friday in Pittsburgh. And neither made substantial new policy recommendation.

In their news release about the letter, the group said:

In a remarkable ecumenical and bipartisan display of unity, Christian leaders representing over 28 million evangelicals, Roman Catholics, and other Christians have sent a letter to Congress today and other key world leaders calling for urgent action to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. The letter urges a total arms embargo and a cut off of exports of refined petroleum products, including gasoline, as a firm yet peaceful measure against the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.

The group is profoundly conservative, and lacks significant Democratic representation. As a result, terming itself “bipartisan” is an abuse of the term. Likewise, the group is more ideologically consistent than ecumenistic, as can be seen from the list of what Associated Baptist Press writer Bob Allen characterized as “lead signatories:”

Pat Robertson, president of the Christian Broadcasting Network; Charles Colson, chairman of Prison Fellowship Ministries; and Richard Land, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention [SBC].

Just the usual Religious Right suspects.

SBC names on the letter ranged from convention president Johnny Hunt to one of the originators of the SBC commitment to conservatism:

… Paul Pressler, a retired judge from Texas and one of the architects of the “conservative resurgence” movement that gained control of the nation’s largest non-Catholic faith group in the 1980s.

The letter made strident predictions, dutifully quoted by Allen. For example:

“A nuclear-armed Iran is almost certain to initiate an arms race with other Middle Eastern and Arab nations who have reason to fear the religious, political and military ambitions of Iran’s extremist leaders,” the letter said. “As the world’s leading state sponsor of international terror, we must assume Iran will sell or give nuclear weapons to extremist groups that are declared and demonstrated enemies to America and her allies.”

Visits to other sources were required to learn of Obama administration policies. The Christian Science Monitor reported, for example, that Iran was reluctant to discuss its nuclear program and the Obama administration planned to force that discussion:

The US insists it will raise the topic during any talks. “This may not have been a topic that they wanted to be brought up but I can assure that it’s a topic that we’ll bring up,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told reporters on Saturday.

Some UN officials regard as inflammatory and unjustified predictions like those in the Christian Right letter. For example, Newsweek reported:

In a private e-mail sent last week to nuclear experts and obtained by NEWSWEEK, Tariq Rauf, a senior official with the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote that the mainstream media are repeating mistakes from 2003, when they “carried unsubstantiated stories on Iraq and WMD—the same mistakes are being repeated re IAEA and Iran.” Rauf added that “the hype is likely originating from certain (known) sources.” The message does not specify the sources, but U.S. and European officials have previously accused Israel of exaggerating Iran’s nuclear progress.

Western intelligence agencies are sharing reports about Iranian efforts to acquire weapons-related technology but disagree about what they mean. Most officials doubt Tehran is pursuing nuclear technology entirely for benign purposes. Israel doubts it, too, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has signaled that his patience is limited. [U.N. Ambassador Susan] Rice said no one is giving up on diplomacy, adding, “We have other tools.” U.S. options could include stepping up sanctions …

What the Christian Right letter added to the debate, other than heat and an attempt to reassert the group’s political significance, is altogether unclear.

September 23, 2009 Posted by | Israel, Obama, Politics, Religion, SBC | , | Comments Off on Christian Right reassertion [fail]