Southern Religion

Did you get your Manhattan Declaration app?

Manhattan Declaration iPhone/iPad app

The Manhattan Declaration iPhone/iPad app was available in Apple’s iTunes store.

Until controversy erupted, and Apple removed it.

For those who grabbed one:

The Manhattan Declaration app by CSN Media allows you to read and sign a declaration created by a group of fundamentalist Christians in 2009 and network with a community of others opposed to gay rights and abortion.


The free app included the 4,700 word document, which users were asked to electronically sign, and a four-question survey. One question asks, “Do you support same-sex relationships?” Users who answer “yes” are told that they have replied incorrectly.

Over at the Manhattan Declaration blog, they’re calling on the petition’s signers to lobby Apple to restore the app to the ranks of those available for purchase.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | Politics, Religion, Technology | Comments Off on Did you get your Manhattan Declaration app?

Southern Baptist pastor told member to “keep his mouth shut”

Failing to report child abuse is a crime for which there is no justifiable church exemption. And as Christa Brown brought to our attention, the consequences of failure to report fell on the heads of a New Hampshire Southern Baptist pastor and two elders last week.

She wrote:

In New Hampshire, [at Valley Christian Church] Southern Baptist pastor Timothy Dillmuth and two church elders, Richard Eland and Robert Gagnon, were found guilty of failing to report child sex abuse. … According to the judge’s written ruling, pastor Dillmuth “had met with the parents of a child who had been molested by a member of the church, which he later confirmed after talking to the child.

“The information was shared with other members of the board of elders in September 2009,” and was discussed at some meetings of the church board.

A month later, when another member of the church urged the child’s parents to report the matter to authorities, pastor Dillmuth talked to the concerned church member and told him to “keep his mouth shut.”

They sought a religious exception to the law, the Union leader reported:

The three men, [District Court of Northern Carroll County Judge Pamela Albee] wrote, sought to have immunity from criminal liability in failing to report the case of suspected child abuse, “arguing that they acted in good faith in persuading the parents and the perpetrator to make report of abuse.” The men were arrested in early February by Conway police and charged that they had reason to suspect a girl had been sexually abused but did not report it as required by state law.

Suppression of the sort they sought punishes the victim, is shameful and deserves legal action.

November 30, 2010 Posted by | children, Crime, SBC | , | 1 Comment

Thanksgiving music

George Winston’s “Thanksgiving:”

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Cultural | , | Comments Off on Thanksgiving music


From the National Post, the anatomy of a stoning.

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Crime | Comments Off on Justice?

What do you think of your brown-eyed girl now, Mr. Land?

Southern Baptist Convention public policy chief Richard Land pushed Sarah Palin for vice president and:

This fundamental failure to grasp basic facts may help explain Nate Silver’s conclusion that Palin has little support among college-educated and wealthy Republican.

[H/T Oliver Willis]

November 25, 2010 Posted by | SBC | , , , | 1 Comment

Southern Baptist culture warrior Tom DeLay convicted of money laundering and conspiracy

Once the Christian Right’s most reliable Congressional culture warrior, former Republican House majority leader Tom DeLay was found guilty Wednesday by a Texas jury “of one charge of laundering corporate money into political donations and one charge of conspiracy.”

Leaders of the Christian Right rallied to him when he was indicted on Sept. 26, 2006. For example, Brian Kaylor wrote for the Baptist Center for Ethics publication Ethics Daily:

[The late] Jerry Falwell of Thomas Road Baptist Church and Liberty University compared the indictment of DeLay to President Richard Nixon’s “vicious” attacks on his political enemies, and argued that DeLay “is the target of an ugly political witch hunt.”

Falwell also wrote: “While the dogs continue to yap at his heels, I hope that Rep. DeLay can get past the nasty politics that have seemingly brought him to this point. And I pray that he can quickly prove his innocence and get back to work as one of our eminent political leaders.”

DeLay, apparently still a member of Second Baptist Church in Houston, echoed those sentiments and others like them following his conviction. He described himself as “innocent” and said “This is an abuse of power, and it is a miscarriage of justice.”

Yet the evidence him was at the end compelling. Perhaps most dramatically among widely publicized disclosures, at one point, during taped negotiations with prosecutors, DeLay admitted prior knowledge that a staff member was going to commit one of the crimes of which he (DeLay) was accused:

DeLay told prosecutors that he knew that Jim Ellis, DeLay’s chief political aide in Washington, was going to exchange 190,000 dollars of corporate money for campaign donations from the Republican National Committee.

“Jim Ellis told me he was going to do it,” DeLay said. “Before he did it?” prosecutors asked. “Uh-huh,” DeLay answered.

USA Today’s Catalina Camia reports that as a result of the jury verdict:

DeLay, a former No. 2 House GOP leader, faces five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000 on the money laundering charge.

The hammer has fallen.


DeLay will remain free on bond until he is sentenced Dec. 20, reported the Austin American-Statesman:

[District Judge Pat ] Priest allowed DeLay to remain free on bond until sentencing, which is set for Dec. 20. Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg said no decision had been made on whether prosecutors would recommend prison time or probation for DeLay.

Yes, DeLay’s attorney is talking about filing an appeal.

November 25, 2010 Posted by | Crime, Politics, Religion | , | 3 Comments

‘Piece by piece dissolution’ of the Anglican Church postponed

Conservative Anglican leaders have rejected as “deeply flawed” the Anglican covenant whose alternative Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams said is “piece-by-piece dissolution” of worldwide Anglicanism.

The Church of England’s general synod in London votes voted today “on the Anglican covenant, which has been seven years in the making, and sets the Church of England at a crucial crossroads. The church is already facing probable defections to Roman Catholicism by some priests opposed to the ordination of women bishops.”

The General Synod voted Wednesday morning to continue debate and so it goes to dioceses for approval.

That is the outcome Williams sought.

Reuters explains:

The proposed agreement, called a covenant, would require member churches to undertake not to act in a way likely to upset fellow Anglicans in other countries.

The covenant was first proposed in 2004 after tension rose over the consecration of an openly gay bishop at the Episcopal Church, the official U.S. member church in the Communion.

Relations between Anglican churches became more fractious after conservative churches, mostly in Africa, responded by appointing bishops to serve in other countries, including the United States.

The covenant commits member churches to mutual accountability and consultation for settling disputes. Unlike Roman Catholicism, Anglicanism gives its leader no direct power over all members.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Anglican, Religion | , | Comments Off on ‘Piece by piece dissolution’ of the Anglican Church postponed

Interfaith uselessness

National Interfaith week in is under way in Great Britain, and a waste of time, writes Harriet Baber for the Guardian. Using the example of Consultation on Church Union (Cocu) in the U.S., she argues that interfaith efforts waste resources. And reduce worship choices available to lay people — exactly the wrong idea:

Mainline clergy deplored the idea that churches should provide the kind of services people enjoyed in order to get them in as crass consumerism. But if not enjoyment of the service, what was supposed to get people to church? Social – or legal – sanctions? Fear of hell? Desire for wealth, healing, or some other material benefit? Saddleback Megachurch got it right in this. With multiple “tents” on its campus, featuring black gospel, hard rock and Hawaiian-themed services in addition to its generic neo-evangelical WorshipCenter, Saddleback appeals to a range of consumer tastes.

November 24, 2010 Posted by | Religion | | Comments Off on Interfaith uselessness

Pope’s change of the Catholic discussion re condoms

In the Catholic magazine America, James Martin, S.J., wrote regarding Pope Benedict XVI’s “comments about the use of condoms in the prevention of passing on HIV/AIDS:”

Once again, the Catholic Church has not changed its teaching on the use of condoms as a means of birth control. Nor has the church “officially” changed its teaching on the use of condoms: an interview is not the same as an encyclical or a document from a Vatican congregation. But the previously out-of-bounds discussion about whether condoms can be used as a means to prevent the spread of disease is now in-bounds. That is change, by any definition. And that change is a good one, for if it moves the conversation ahead, it may mean a further lessening of the spread of HIV/AIDS and the prevention of death. It is a pastoral approach that has listened to the voices of many in the field–Catholic lay health care workers, moral theologians, bishops, priests, sisters and brothers–who have reflected on their experiences ministering to those living with AIDS, especially in the developing world. As such, it may be seen as a new kind of pro-life initiative on the part of the Holy Father.

Read the entire post here.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | Health, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion | , , , , , | Comments Off on Pope’s change of the Catholic discussion re condoms

Condomonium: Pope Benedict XVI moves toward agreement with the Centers for Disease Control

Regarding the use of latex condoms to prevent Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), Pope Benedict XVI now says, yes. Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi “told reporters Tuesday” that it wasn’t just a matter of HIV-infected male prostitutes seeking to prevent infection of their partners:

“I personally asked the pope if there was a serious, important problem in the choice of the masculine over the feminine,” Lombardi said. “He told me no. The problem is this … It’s the first step of taking responsibility, of taking into consideration the risk of the life of another with whom you have a relationship.”

“This is if you’re a man, a woman, or a transsexual. We’re at the same point. The point is it’s a first step of taking responsibility, of avoiding passing a grave risk onto another,” Lombardi said.

The clarification is significant.

The Catholic right has lost the battle to define Pope Benedict’s remarks in his book-length interview Light of the World as changing little or nothing.

Pope Benedict XVI has rethought his March 17, 2009 remarks to journalists aboard his flight to Cameroon. On that occasion, he put himself at odds with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and ruled out use of condoms to prevent AIDS:

One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.

The solution can only be a double one: first, a humanization of sexuality, that is, a spiritual human renewal that brings with it a new way of behaving with one another; second, a true friendship even and especially with those who suffer, and a willingness to make personal sacrifices and to be with the suffering. And these are factors that help and that result in real and visible progress.

The change is startling and, Lombardi made clear, it is not something the pope somehow stumbled into:

“He did it because he believed that it was a serious, important question in the world of today,” Lombardi said, adding that the pope wanted to give his perspective on the need for a greater humanized, responsible sexuality.

The formulation is new and a “game changer,” observed the Rev. James Martin, S.J., culture editor of the Catholic magazine America. A “Papal Biggie after all,” as Mark Silk put it.

November 23, 2010 Posted by | Medical Care, Pope Benedict XVI, Religion, Science | , , , , , | Comments Off on Condomonium: Pope Benedict XVI moves toward agreement with the Centers for Disease Control