Southern Religion

The struggle for Lottie Moon’s heritage

Tony covers more ground than the very real, ongoing struggle, ending with the importance of Crawford H. Toy. Yet somehow manages to not quite ask how the shipment of Lottie Moon’s effects will be satisfactorily authenticated. Consider it all with him here.


January 6, 2010 Posted by | SBC | | 1 Comment

Atheist theologians

Atheist theologians are neither a new idea nor startling. Merely one that may be undergoing a revival. Nathan Schneider, a freelance writer who also edits the online magazine Killing the Buddha, touched on the movement’s origins and drive for the Guardian:

At the American Academy of Religion meeting in Montreal last year, [James Wood] may have gotten his wish [for “a theologically engaged atheism”], or something resembling it. Following an apocalyptic sermon from “death of God” theologian Thomas J.J. Altizer, to the podium came the ruffled Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek, a self-described atheist and “materialist through and through”, before an audience of religion scholars, theologians, and costumed adherents. He spoke of truths Christianity alone possesses and how Christ’s death reveals that “the only universality is the universality of struggle.” Atheism, he explained, is true Christianity, and one can only be a real atheist by passing through Christianity. “In this sense, I am unconditionally a Christian”, said Žižek.

He is one of several leading thinkers in recent years who, though coming out of a deeply secular and often Marxist bent, have made a turn toward theology. In 1997, Alain Badiou published a study of the apostle Paul, whom he took as an exemplar of his own influential philosophy of the “event”. Three years later, Giorgio Agamben responded in Italian with The Time That Remains, a painstaking exegesis of the first ten words of Paul’s Letter to the Romans. The purpose of both was not a more enlightened piety, but an inquiry into the texture of revolution. Paul is significant to them because he ushered in, and in the process described, a genuinely transformational social movement.

Read the rest of the blog here.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Cultural | , , | Comments Off on Atheist theologians

Union protection for clergy?

Clerical life in England has driven some, among them an Anglican bishop, to seek trade union protection. Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London writes:

Most of those who have sought help are in the Church of England but Roman Catholic priests, rabbis and imams have also joined Unite, according to Rachael Maskell, national officer for the [the trade union Unite’s] faith workers’ branch.

Read the rest here.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Religion | , | 1 Comment

Daughters of St. Paul stand against Scientology’s legal assault


Daughters of St. Paul’s publishing house recently issued the second of two books by Maria Pia Gardini about abuses within the Church of Scientology.

The Church of Scientology in Italy has announced it is initiating legal proceedings for libel against the Daughters of St. Paul and Gardini, a Catholic author who returned to the Catholic Church after years with Scientology as a member of its Sea Org elite.

Regarding the two books, Catholic Online says:

In 2007 the Daughters of St. Paul’s publishing house, Edizioni Paoline (Paoline Publications), published Gardini’s first book, ” I miei anni in Scientology” (“My years in Scientology”). The first week of December, 2009 they released her second book, “Il coraggio di parlare – storie di fuoriusciti da Scientology” (“The Courage To Speak Out – Stories of Ex-Scientologists”).

As reported on the Clerical Whispers Blog (, the books, co-authored by Italian Catholic journalist Alberto Laggia and Italian Catholic Maria Pia Gardini, have been widely reviewed in Italy.

Scientology sent Edizioni Paoline a formal notice in September, effectively demanding that they not publish. In an interview with Mondo Raro, a Pauline spokesman rejected the demand as a violation of their constitutionally protected “right to freely express their thoughts in speech, writing, and all other means of dissemination.”

The order specializes in spreading the gospel through advanced communication and publication. As they explain in their statement of purpose:

The Daughter of St. Paul lives in the world of communication. She allows herself to be surrounded by it, that she might better understand how to serve and evangelize within it. She deeply reflects on Pope John Paul II’s invitation to participate in the “new evangelization.” And she leaps at his challenge: “Involvement in the mass media is not meant merely to strengthen the preaching of the Gospel. There is a deeper reality involved here. Since the very evangelization of modern culture depends to a great extent on the influence of the media, it is not enough to use the media simply to spread the Christian message and the Church’s authentic teaching. It is also necessary to integrate that message into the ‘new culture’ created by modern communications.”

Like Catholic Online, they clearly understand that as giving no ground to Scientology intimidation.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Catholic, Religion, WWW | , , | 1 Comment

Sanctions deserved if Uganda adopts hate law [Addendum]

The Obama administration should make it clear to Uganda, now, that passage of the anti-gay law will result in a cutoff of aid. That “legislation is a violation of human rights,” as Assistant Secretary of State Johnnie Carson said Friday. Embodiment of the hate it represents in law, without answering consequences from more human nations, will encourage others to take similar actions.

Oppression is already a fact of life for the Ugandan gay citizenry. The New York Times wrote in an editorial on Monday:

The government’s venom is chilling: “Homosexuals can forget about human rights,” James Nsaba Buturo, who holds the cynically titled position of minister of ethics and integrity, said recently.

What makes this even worse is that three American evangelical Christians, whose teachings about “curing” gays and lesbians have been widely discredited in the United States, helped feed this hatred. Scott Lively, Caleb Lee Brundidge and Don Schmierer gave a series of talks in Uganda last March to thousands of police officers, teachers and politicians in which, according to participants and audio recordings, they claimed that gays and lesbians are a threat to Bible-based family values.

Now the three Americans are saying they had no intention of provoking the anger that, just one month later, led to the introduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill of 2009. You can’t preach hate and not accept responsibility for the way that hate is manifested.

The U.S. should also lead diplomatically in standing against this evil.


Sanctions have been threatened by officials in Sweden and at the United Nations.

January 6, 2010 Posted by | Politics | , , , , , | Comments Off on Sanctions deserved if Uganda adopts hate law [Addendum]