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The Older You Are, The More Likely You’ll Marry Outside Your Religion

till_faith_cover_302[1]What inspired you to write ‘Til Faith Do Us Part? It was a combination of personal experience and professional curiosity. I had grown up very familiar with the Jewish communal conversation about intermarriage. But I started to wonder: Does any other religious group care about this issue? As it turns out, a lot of them do. From Muslims leaders, who are worried about widespread secularization and assimilation in the US to evangelicals who are concerned about “missionary dating” (I promise it’s not dirty), many religious communities are trying to figure out how to enjoy the great religious tolerance of America, while at the same time preserving their religious traditions and the strength of marriage. [Read more]

Study: Young Latinos Losing Faith

130314100316-navarrette-latino-pope-story-top[1]Young Latinos are leaving the Catholic Church in droves, according to a new study, with many drifting into the country’s fastest-growing religious movement: the nones. Nearly a third of Latino adults under 30 don’t belong to a faith group, according to a large survey released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center.  That’s a leap of 17 percentage points in just the last three years. [Read more]

This is What a Real Defense of Religious Liberty Looks Like

kenned[1]If you want to read a real defense of religious liberty — not the fraud of a speech Gov. Bobby Jindal delivered Saturday at Liberty University — you might wish to consider the historic speech Sen. Ted Kennedy delivered at then-Liberty Baptist College in October 1983. Unlike Jindal, Kennedy didn’t pander to his audience. Unlike Jindal, Kennedy didn’t seek out an audience that would simply love and adore him. Unlike Kennedy in 1983, Jindal seems afraid to address audiences that might disagree with him. [Read more]

A Modern Pope Gets Old School on the Devil

MDL_WASHPOSTEXORCISM0101399400290[1]A darling of liberal Catholics and an advocate of inclusion and forgiveness, Pope Francis is hardly known for fire and brimstone. Yet, in his words and deeds, the new pope is locked in an epic battle with the oldest enemy of God and creation: The Devil. After his little more than a year atop the Throne of St. Peter, Francis’s teachings on Satan are already regarded as the most old school of any pope since at least Paul VI, whose papacy in the 1960s and 1970s fully embraced the notion of hellish forces plotting to deliver mankind unto damnation. [Read more]

How Catholic Fashion Got That Way

11QA_CATHOLICS_ART2B[1]The Catholic faith is rich with symbolic clothing: the priest’s Roman collar, the nun’s habit, the Pope’s white cassock and cap. They invest the church with a sense of timelessness and gravity. But even in a 2,000-year old sacramental religion, clothing changes—and in the United States, Catholic dress has had its own distinct story. The Roman collar, ubiquitous now, wasn’t mandatory for American priests until 1884. [Read more]

MA Court Ok’s ‘Under God’ in Pledge of Allegiance

UnderGod_LG[1]The highest court in Massachusetts unanimously ruled that school children may continue to use the phrase “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance. An atheist family, represented by the American Humanist Association, had sued to overturn the pledge, arguing that the words were unconstitutional. But on Friday the state’s Supreme Judicial Court ruled that recitation of the pledge is completely optional and “violates neither the Constitution nor the statute (which prohibits discrimination in Massachusetts public school education).” [Read more]

Freedom From Religion Foundation Objects to Green Bay Mayor’s Efforts on Papal Visit

freedom-from-religion-foundation-SOUTH-CAROLINA20121115-2-k4csnh_jpg_475x310_q85[1]Freedom From Religion Foundation co-founder Annie Laurie Gaylor says they object to Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt’s invitation to Pope Francis to do a pilgrimage to the nearby Marian shrine. Now Gaylor says they have e-mails showing the Mayor violating city policy that requires a distinction between personal and city views…as he coordinates efforts to attract the pontiff. Gaylor says residents need to know what Schmitt’s doing rather than addressing other important issues. She adds that a visit by the Pope doesn’t really add to economic development, but costs taxpayers millions of dollars in security. [Source]

Texas Appeals Court Upholds Cheerleader Bible Banners, But Finds Lawsuit Moot

17553[1]A Texas state appeals court has upheld the right of high school cheerleaders to display Bible banners at sporting events, but stated that because the school district has since changed its policy to likewise allow the banners, the lawsuit surrounding the matter is now moot. As previously reported, public school cheerleaders in the tiny east Texas community of Kountze has been fighting since 2012 for the right to display banners with inspirational Bible verses at sporting events. [Read more]

Hobby Lobby Bible Course Objective?

1399843641000-PROTHERO[1]On April 14, the school board in Mustang, Okla., voted to institute an elective Bible course. This is not news. More than a thousand U.S. public schools offer Bible as literature courses. But the curriculum for the Mustang course was developed by Steve Green, president of the Oklahoma-based Hobby Lobby craft store chain, which is committed, according to its website, to “honoring the Lord in all we do.” In March, Hobby Lobby argued before the Supreme Court for a religious liberty exemption to the Affordable Care Act. [Read more]

Former Anglican Leader Lives on $1.70 a Day for a Week; Asks Others to Follow

former-archbishop-bishop-of-canterbury-rowan-williams[1]The former Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has lived “below the line” for a week to help raise poverty-fighting funds for Christian Aid, the British charity for which he is the chair. He is urging others to follow him by spending just one British pound ($1.70) a day for five days on all food and drink, for Christian Aid Week from May 11 to 17. It was not easy for the former spiritual leader of the Church of England and primate of the Anglican Communion to plan meals and to create a nutritionally balanced diet on so little money. [Read more]

Legal Alliance Gains Host of Court Victories for Conservative Christian Movement

ALLIANCE-master675[1]Alan Sears, who has run the Christian legal group Alliance Defending Freedom since its founding 20 years ago, turned to a picture of Abraham Lincoln in his office here and noted the decades of blood and tears it took to abolish slavery. “I think there is no question that one day, this country will again recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman,” said Mr. Sears, a former top official in the Reagan Justice Department. The comparison may or may not prove apt, but these are heady days for Alliance Defending Freedom, which, with its $40 million annual budget, 40-plus staff lawyers and hundreds of affiliated lawyers, has emerged as the largest legal force of the religious right, arguing hundreds of pro bono cases across the country. [Read more]

To Justice Kennedy Public Prayer Isn’t Sectarian, it’s Pluralistic

kennedy_302[1]Monday’s Supreme Court decision in Greece v. Galloway has been widely condemned for its ruling, as it’s often characterized, that legislative prayers do not violate the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause, no matter how sectarian their language. This is certainly a reasonable reading, yet I think Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion is actually more complicated. In the end, it’s not that Kennedy sees no problem with sectarian prayer, but that he doesn’t seem to think the prayers in question are actually sectarian at all. [Read more]

New York Police Recruit Muslims to Be Informers

11jpINFORMANT1-master675[1]One man was a food cart vendor from Afghanistan, arrested during an argument with a parking enforcement officer over a ticket. Another was an Egyptian-born limousine driver, picked up in a prostitution sting. Still another was an accounting student from Pakistan, in custody for driving without a valid license. The men, all Muslim immigrants, went through similar ordeals: Waiting in a New York station house cell or a lockup facility, expecting to be arraigned, only to be pulled aside and questioned by detectives. [Read more]

Homophobia Must Not Be Tolerated in Schools, Church of England Says

Justin WelbyThe Christian faith or the Bible cannot be used to justify homophobic behaviour and must not be tolerated in Church of England schools, according to new guidance launched by the archbishop of Canterbury. Schools can be among the most homophobic of places and the church’s schools need to do as much as they can to ensure that they are not turning a “convenient blind eye to institutional homophobia”, the new advice warns. [Read more]

Becoming an Honest Sinner

stop-sinning[1]In my previous life, the life where I was a Christian and a pastor, my behavior was shaped by the Christian doctrine of sin and the various behaviors the Bible calls a sin. According to orthodox Christian teaching, sin is transgression of the law of God. Violating any of the commands, teachings, and precepts of the Bible, either by omission of commission, is a sin. According to the doctrine of original sin, every human, at the moment the egg is fertilized in their mother’s womb, becomes a sinner. [Read more]

Obama Judicial Pick Wanted to Govern Based on “Good Conservative Christian Values”

Progressive groups have already voiced their opposition to Georgia state judge Michael Boggs, nominated by President Obama to the federal bench, for his opposition to abortion rights and a vote, while serving in the Georgia state legislature, to keep the Confederate flag on the state insignia. [Read more]

An Atheist Chaplain? Will the Military Soon Have a Chaplain That Doesn’t Believe in ‘For God and Country’?

In what some might see as an oxymoron, an advocacy group apparently is preparing to ask the Defense Department to appoint a chaplain — for atheists. A source tells Fox News that the Military Association of Atheists and Free Thinkers plans to make the request on Tuesday, floating its president Jason Torpy as the proposed chaplain. [Read more]

Dangers Of Supreme Court Prayer Ruling Quickly Become Clear

Sometimes the damage from a bad court decision takes a while to make itself clear. Not so with last week’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding a town’s practice of beginning council meetings with prayers that are overwhelmingly Christian. [Read more]

Church Attacks in Israel “Poison” Before Pope’s Visit, Cleric Says

The top Roman Catholic cleric in the Holy Land said on Sunday a spate of attacks against the Church had poisoned the atmosphere ahead of this month’s visit by Pope Francis, and urged Israel to crack down on the perpetrators. [Read more]

Who Cares About Atheism?

Some of my Christian readers like me because, they say, I am an atheist but not a New Atheist. I appreciate their support, but I think I might actually be one of those nasty Gnu Atheists. I think I should clarify my position. [Read more]

Perfect Parenting, Punishment, and LDS Theology

In a recent blog post, I argued that according to Mormon theology, “The God of Mormonism shuns his children for all eternity when they don’t do what he wants.” Commenters raised pretty predictable objections drawn from Mormon ideas about parenting: God never rejects us; instead, we reject him—by failing to obey commandments governing everything from beverage consumption to sexuality. [Read more]