Southern Religion

Supreme Court to hear school bias case

University of California’s Hastings College of Law in San Francisco five years ago told the Christian Legal Society that, UPI reported, it was no longer an officially recognized school group because it has rules that in effect prevent gays and lesbians from being officers or voting members.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear the group’s case that the U.S. Constitution does not allow a school to deny recognition to a religious student group because it requires its members to agree with its core views.

Don Byrd at the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty writes that the 9th Circuit affirmed the trial court’s ruling in favor of the University. Judge Jeffrey White concluded (pdf):

Hastings has not excluded CLS because it is a religious group but rather because it refuses to comply with the prerequisites imposed on all student organizations. To become a registered student group, Hastings requires all student groups to comply with Hastings’ Policies and Regulations Applying to College Activities, including the Nondiscrimination Policy. Pursuant to the Nondiscrimination Policy, a student organization cannot exclude interested students from participating on the basis of, among other things, religion or sexual orientation. The student groups must remain open to all students who want to join or participate.

Courts have found nondiscrimination statutes akin to Hastings’ Nondiscrimination Policy to be viewpoint neutral.


December 7, 2009 Posted by | Law | 1 Comment

13 religious organizations call for rejection of Stupak language

Thirteen religious organization in an open letter have pushed back against heavy U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops influence over the health care reform legislation, and targeting the Stupak language.

The letter to members of the Senate says in part:

Unfortunately, the House-passed version of health reform includes language that imposes significant new restrictions on access to abortion services. This provision would result in women losing health coverage they currently have, an unfortunate contradiction to the basic guiding principle of health care reform . . . . Providing affordable, accessible health care to all Americans is a moral imperative that unites Americans of many faith traditions. The selective withdrawal of critical health coverage from women is both a violation of this imperative and a betrayal of the public good.

The use of this legislation to advance new restrictions on abortion services that surpass those in current law will serve only to derail this important bill. The Senate bill is already abortion neutral, an appropriate reflection of the fact that it is intended to serve Americans of many diverse religious and moral views. The bill includes compromise language that maintains current law, prohibiting federal funds from being used to pay for abortion services, while still allowing women the option to use their own private funds to pay for abortion care. American families should have the opportunity to choose health coverage that reflects their own values and medical needs, a principle that should not be sacrificed in service of any political agenda.

Sarah Posner writes:

Meanwhile, 13 religious organizations have written an open letter urging the Senate to “maintain the status quo” with regard to abortion funding in health care reform. Catholics for Choice, Disciples Justice Action Center, The Episcopal Church, Jewish Women International, NA’AMAT USA, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) Washington Office, the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice, The Religious Institute, the Union for Reform Judaism, the United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries, the United Methodist Church-General Board of Church and Society, and the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations all signed the letter — highlighting that if Congress were to yield to the wishes of the USCCB, it would be enshrining one religious ideology into law, favoring one over many others

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Medical Care, Politics, Religion | , | 3 Comments

Seaton Hall law school finds problems with investigations of Guantananmo suicides

Seton Hall University School of Law’s Center for Policy & Research reports:

. . . dramatic flaws in the government’s investigation of three simultaneous deaths of detainees in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The June 2006 deaths raised serious questions about the security of the Camp, and this report highlights the derelictions of duty by officials of multiple defense and intelligence agencies who allowed three detainees to die and elected not to conduct a proper investigation into the cause of the deaths.

Read more here.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Crime, Politics | Comments Off on Seaton Hall law school finds problems with investigations of Guantananmo suicides

Christa keeps the faith against predatory Baptist clergy

Bear witness and do not give up hope she writes:

But here’s what I know for sure. Whatever else may or may not happen, I cannot and will not join in the nothing-but-platitudes pretend game that this denomination plays.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Crime, Religion, SBC | , , | Comments Off on Christa keeps the faith against predatory Baptist clergy

Rick Warren’s Dissertation Advisor & Uganda [Update]

Bruce Wilson wrote:

Some observers have wondered if Purpose Driven Life author and mega-evangelist Rick Warren has had a role in the globally controversial bill, especially because of Warren’s close association with Ugandan anti-gay activist Martin Ssempa and, more broadly, because Warren has refused to denounce the anti-gay bill. To little notice, a charismatic network overseen by Warren’s doctoral dissertation advisor, C. Peter Wagner, has played a major role in politically organizing and inspiring the Ugandan legislators who have spearheaded the anti-gay bill.

Read the entire piece here.

[H.T: Michael-In-Norfolk]


Dave Waters at On Faith summarizes the predicament of Warren and some other U.S. religious leaders.

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori takes a stand.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | SBC | , | Comments Off on Rick Warren’s Dissertation Advisor & Uganda [Update]

Swiss minaret ban reversal?

The Washington Post reports:

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss liberals are considering a new referendum to overturn the ban on building new minarets in the country, Sunday papers reported, as Libya’s Muamar Gaddafi warned the ban played into the hands of terrorists.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Politics | | Comments Off on Swiss minaret ban reversal?

Egypt and the Swiss minaret ban

Joseph Mayton writets:

The Swiss made a bad call by voting to ban minarets in the country. It was xenophobic, racist and not necessary. The result has been a backlash from Muslim leaders worldwide, who have said it is an “insult” to Islam.

This is to be expected, as Muslim leaders know the importance of condemning a ridiculous attack on Islam. However, these leaders, notably Egypt’s Grand Mufti, Ali Goma’a, should know better than attack a vote to ban minarets when in his own country, the construction of churches has been curtailed by the government for many years. As the saying goes, “those in glass houses …

Read the entire piece here.

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Churches, Religion | , , | Comments Off on Egypt and the Swiss minaret ban

Once in Royal David’s City

Once in Royal David’s City performed at St Paul’s Cathedral in London:

[H/T: Guardian]

December 7, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Comments Off on Once in Royal David’s City

Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles selects a gay bishop [Addendum]

Something significant happened during the silly yammering about gay public sex tents which San Francisco will never see erected.

The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles chose as a bishop the Rev. Canon Mary D. Glasspool, a lesbian who has been in a partnered relationship for two decades, and was rebuked by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams. Spiritual leader of the world’s 77 million Anglicans, Williams said:

The election of Mary Glasspool by the Diocese of Los Angeles as suffragan bishop elect raises very serious questions not just for the Episcopal Church and its place in the Anglican Communion, but for the Communion as a whole.

Glasspool’s selection is incomplete. She could be rejected by the U.S. bishops or standing committees. If she is rejected, Williams said, “That decision will have very important implications.” He implied that her selection a threat to the “bonds” that tie 77 million Anglicans together.

A moratorium on election of gay bishops by the U.S. Episcopal Church was agreed to at the request of Anglican leaders after V. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was selected six years ago as its first openly gay bishop. Glasspool is the first major departure from the moratorium since it was put aside by the Episcopal Church in July.

Williams did not address whether he believes the breaking of the moratorium via Glasspool’s selection is more of a threat to the Anglican Communion than the pending gay genocide legislation in Uganda. But he has chosen not to speak out publicly on the latter, although there is no question about his opposition to it.

Ekkleasia writes that “Despite his attempts to maintain a balance in church disputes over sexuality, Williams is likely to be accused of speaking out against the extreme on one side but not the other.”

Yes, vocal regarding Glasspool. Silent regarding Uganda.

Is he not guilty in fact?



Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori took a stand against “the pending Ugandan legislation that would introduce the death penalty for people who violate portions of that country’s anti-homosexuality laws.”

In a Dec. 4 statement of concern she wrote:

The Episcopal Church joins many other Christians and people of faith in urging the safeguarding of human rights everywhere. We do so in the understanding that “efforts to criminalize homosexual behavior are incompatible with the Gospel of Jesus Christ” (General Convention 2006, Resolution D005).

This has been the repeated and vehement position of Anglican bodies, including several Lambeth Conferences. The Primates’ Meeting, in the midst of severe controversy over issues of homosexuality, nevertheless noted that, as Anglicans, “we assure homosexual people that they are children of God, loved and valued by him, and deserving of the best we can give of pastoral care and friendship” (Primates’ Communiqué, Dromantine, 2005).

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Finally, we note that much of the current climate of fear, rejection, and antagonism toward gay and lesbian persons in African nations has been stirred by members and former members of our own Church. We note further that attempts to export the culture wars of North America to another context represent the very worst of colonial behavior. We deeply lament this reality, and repent of any way in which we have participated in this sin.

We call on all Episcopalians to seek their own conversion toward an ability to see the image of God in the face of every neighbor, of whatever race, gender, sexual orientation, theological position, or creed. God has created us in myriad diversity, and no one sort or condition of human being can fully reflect the divine. Only the whole human race begins to be an adequate mirror of the divine.

We urge continued prayer for those who live in fear of the implications of this kind of injustice and discrimination, and as a Church, commit ourselves anew to seek partnerships with the Church of Uganda, or any portion thereof, in serving the mission of God and the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That Gospel is larger than any party or faction. It is only in mutual service and recognition that we will begin to mend our divisions.
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December 7, 2009 Posted by | Religion | , , , , | 1 Comment