Southern Religion

Dobson’s departure won’t end right-wing racket

Don’t expect the religious right’s bullhorn to go silent when James Dobson signs off the airwaves in February.

Dobson, who has focused more on politics than families in recent years had already stepped down as chairman of the board at Focus on the Family earlier this year.

An Associated Press article about that decision quoted Focus on the Family spokesman Gary Schneeberger saying the Dobson “will continue to speak out as he always has—a private citizen and not a representative of the organization he founded.”

Schneeberger said Focus on the Family and its political arm, Focus on the Family Action, will continue to be active on public policy.

For his part, Dobson told Fox News earlier this year that his forces are not surrendering.

We’re not going anywhere,” he said.

Nor have they strayed from the spotlight.

Related: Religious Right expect to draw election-day blood.


November 2, 2009 Posted by | Politics | , | 1 Comment

EBay begins removing Roeder-defense items [Updated]

An image captured by TPM before the item was removed by eBay.

EBay has begun taking down anti-abortion memorabilia posted in and attempt to raise funds the Scott Roeder defense, reports the Kansas City Star today:

One is a worn Bible once owned by Shelley Shannon, the Oregon woman who shot and wounded Dr. George Tiller in 1993 and was later convicted in a series of abortion clinic arsons and bombings. The other is a signed Catechism written by Ohio anti-abortion activist Michael Bray after a court judgment against him.

Activists say at least 10 items were removed. According to thePitch, bids were received for both the Bible and the Catechism before they were taken down by eBay.
Activist Regina Dinwiddie, who organized the auction, told Talking Points Memo today that the items did not glorify violence:

Regina Dinwiddie, the Kansas anti-abortion activist who set up an eBay auction to benefit the suspect in the George Tiller murder, tells TPMmuckraker in a phone interview that she’s angry that eBay pulled her items — and that she believes they did not glorify violence, but rather “glorify the end of a very violent man.”

Ebay says:

Today, eBay removed several listings on our site that violated several of our policies including our offensive materials’ policy. This policy prohibits items that promote or glorify hatred, violence, racial, sexual, or religious intolerance, or promote organizations with such views.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Health, Law, WWW | , , | Comments Off on EBay begins removing Roeder-defense items [Updated]

Truce, then cooperation in the Creationism/Evolution wars?


Although the public square resounds with the creationism/evolution debate, Philip Clayton argues that the combatants still are not finally opponents. At Religion Dispatches he writes:

What emerges from the ashes, then, after the New Atheists and the intelligent design theorists have employed their weapons of mass destruction? The deeper questions still call for attention. We still ask what it means to be human, who we are, and how we should act in the world. What stories will we tell about ourselves and the universe? Which of those stories are true and which are false? How should we tell them differently in light of the best empirical data and theories?

This new discussion does not entail a different kind of science, though it does call for science without ideology. It does, however, call for a broader view of religion. John Haught puts it brilliantly in his forthcoming book, Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God, and the Drama of Life: “If we measure the movement of life in terms of a narrow human preoccupation with design, evolution seems blind and aimless.” …

Read the rest here.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Religion | , , | Comments Off on Truce, then cooperation in the Creationism/Evolution wars?

Picture (well, cartoon) of the day

Security expert Bruce Schneier asks if cognitive bias conceals from us our real enemies? He refers us to Mike Licht, who writes:

Despite billions spent on homeland security, the Obama Administration is Bush-league when it comes to defending America’s vital power grid from home-grown terrorists. Known to experts as Sciurus carolinensis, these sly, suicidal saboteurs infiltrate transformer stations at will …

Read the rest here.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Satire | Comments Off on Picture (well, cartoon) of the day

Conscience, discrimination and UK same-sex civil marriage

A conservative British Christian public official is battling for the right to refuse to conduct same-sex civil partnership ceremonies.

The offended conscience of registrar for the Islington council Lillian Ladele, 48, is being defended by the Christian Institute.

The British Civil Partnership Act of 2004 gave same-sex couples rights and responsibilities identical to those of a traditional civil marriage. Performing attendant ceremonies is part of a registrar’s job.

Some British Christians argue that if they are not permitted to eschew such duties as a matter of conscience, they will be “marginalized” out of public life. That argument isn’t turning out well for Ladle. The Guardian writes:

Ladele, who brought a discrimination claim in 2007, is appealing a ruling by the employment appeal tribunal last December that Islington council had been entitled to view her conduct as amounting to “unacceptable discrimination”.

“[Ladele’s actions] offended some gay employees and involved discriminating against third parties making use of the services of the council,” the tribunal said.

This sounds a lot like the Louisiana case in which a justice of the peace refused to wed a biracial couple. In a country whose president is the product of a biracial union. It reminds us that painstaking Biblical rationalizations of American slavery were once commonplace. Yet we understand that conscience is not somehow a legal justification for racial discrimination.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Religion | 1 Comment

Not the picture of the day

Not the itsy, bitsy spider.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Cultural, Satire | Comments Off on Not the picture of the day

Submissive Dorothy Patterson

Unsubmissive Dorothy Patterson? The wife of Dr. Paige Patterson, President of Southwestern Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas, dining with radical terrorist political leaders, Wade? Are you sure?

Oh my! Here it is:

… she’s been the guest of Yaser Arafat at a midnight banquet in Saddam Hussein’s palace guest house in Baghdad.

Now, someone’s going to explain in painstaking detail how that life history fits neatly with the rather patriarchal Danvers Statement to which Southwestern Theological Seminary recently subscribed. Because there has to be a pile of Southern Baptist Convention patriarchy hidden in this Dorothy story somewhere. Otherwise, there’s a glaring conflict of walk with talk here.

Hand me that shovel, will you?

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Religion, SBC | , , | 2 Comments

Authenticity in The Da Vinci Code?

Someone mined an authentic moment from the swamp of the Da Vinci Code. Hint: It isn’t theological, although it is about Sophie. Princess has a touch of the sociopath.

[H/T to Buster]

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Religion | , , , , | Comments Off on Authenticity in The Da Vinci Code?

Finding faith where it lives

Sometimes, you find faith where you look for it.

Mitch Albom found it again in his interaction with two ministers that he chronicles in a column on the Washington Post web site. Albom writes a column for the Detroit Free Press and is author of “Tuesdays with Morrie” and “The Five People You Meet in Heaven.” His piece in the Washington Post is about Rabbi Albert Lewis and Pastor Henry Covington.

From Rabbi Lewis, Albom learned, “Be satisfied. Be grateful. For what you have. For what God has given you.” Happiness is “not so complicated.”

From Pastor Covington, Albom learned that small acts of kindness have big consequences.

Together, they taught him:

That we are all children of God, that faith isn’t about me being more pious than you, my denomination being the right one, my religion needing to destroy yours to prove itself. Faith can actually be something we celebrate in each other, something that makes us more alike that different.

The column is here and well worth your time.

November 2, 2009 Posted by | Book Review, Religion | Comments Off on Finding faith where it lives