The Bad Astronomer, Philip Cary Plait, is hosting a new show on Discovery:
News and commentary on Religion, especially Southern religion.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Born into a country where Christianity is hardly ascendant and the prime minister is an atheist (not their first), it may be a less effective email-address collection tool than either of its predecessors, the first of which is already begging for money. In a drum-beating email to the Manhattan Declaration list, Chuck Colson wrote Wednesday:
. . . although we are seeing a tremendous response from people to the emails, updates, and information on the website, we could use your help to cover the expenses related to these efforts. So we are asking you to please consider giving a small gift today. . . . We're going to increase our frequency of communication with you over the next few months, so check the website often, and watch your email for future updates.
Or adjust your spam filter.
It will appeal to deaf Vatican ears throughout September. We say deaf because, last Thursday the Vatican issued a declaration which among many other things said "the 'attempted ordination of a woman' to the priesthood was one of the most serious crimes in church law."
Thursday, July 22, 2010
Center for Inquiry Campign for Free Expression is running a public service announcement video contest. The general idea is:
There is a $2,000 prize.
Here are the instructions and rules for entries, which must be submitted by Sept. 20.
Don't be shy.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
Soon to be radio showless but voice unlowered, Albert Mohler, dean of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, finds that besieged, failing and for-sale Newsweek has begun the culture war to end marriage. Just like that. Mohler wrote:
The Newsweek article represents what may be the most direct journalistic attack on marriage in our times. Though only an op-ed column, it presents arguments that had to date been made largely, if not exclusively, outside of mainstream circles. Consider this column an opening salvo in a battle to finish marriage off, once and for all.
"I Don't" is, however, still just a well-written op ed in an increasingly obscure and endangered magazine.
I warned that the Catholic church in the U.S. faced “thoroughgoing transformation or irreversible decline.” Yes, the gates of hell will not prevail but that did not guarantee the church’s flourishing or even existence in any given time or place.
He feels The Atlantic's Ross Douthat has made the same point "even more bluntly."
Douthat does not say the Roman Catholic Church is finished. Instead he writes:
But if the Church isn’t finished, period, it can still be finished for certain people, in certain contexts, in certain times. And so it is in this case: for millions in Europe and America, Catholicism is probably permanently associated with sexual scandal, rather than the gospel of Jesus Christ. And as in many previous dark chapters in the Church’s history, the leaders entrusted with that gospel have nobody to blame but themselves.
Not that Roman Catholic clergy are alone amid the rising waters and scrabble of feet abandoning ship.
Christa Brown calls our attention to a story of a Southern Baptist church's negligence in dealing with a preacher's sexual abuse of his adopted children. She quotes from the Anchorage Daily News:
Church officials knew the oldest daughter, Renee, was being abused long before Diana did. One of them, according to Renee's sworn testimony, told her to forgive her father and not tell anyone what he had done. It was three years before Renee got the courage to speak up again. By then, her father had started in on her two little sisters.
You see in that horror why sexual predators regard churches as attractive environments.
For example, one predator told a researcher [.pdf]:
I considered church people easy to fool...they have a trust that comes from being Christians...They tend to be better folks all around. And they seem to want to believe in the good that exists in all people ... I think they want to believe in people. And because of that, you can easily convince, with or without convincing words.
Thus forgiveness becomes cover-up, with hellish results for victims.