David Mason, The Washington Post…There were some rumblings early on that the national press had fallen for a hoax—rather like the several times that Chinese news agencies have recycled stories from The Onion as real news—but at this point the event has produced an NPR interview with the perpetrator, so I’m willing to go with it. Seems that a Mormon bishop in Utah went to church disguised as a homeless man in order to teach his congregation something about compassion. What one would expect did, in fact, happen, as several people told him to leave, several people ignored him, and the children—ah, the guileless children—treated him like Santa.
By Jaweed Kaleem, Huff Post Religion…Nearly half of houses of worship in the United States now allow gay and lesbian members who are in long-term relationships to be members, while close to one in three now let gay and lesbian members hold voluntary leadership posts, according to a new study of more than a thousand American congregations. The statistics, which represent a sharp uptick in acceptance of gay and lesbians in religious communities, are part of Duke University’s latest National Congregations Study, which was previewed this week and will be released in full early next year.
Yasmine Hafiz, Huff Post Religion
The American Humanist Association has formally sent a complaint to Birdville Independent School District in Texas, citing that Isaiah Smith’s First Amendment rights have been violated after the teen was suspended for ripping out pages of his Bible as a protest against anti-gay bullying. Smith, who is gay and Christian, said that he was repeatedly told that “being gay is a sin,” and that “gays go to hell,” by students at his school.He brought his personal Bible to his first period class on Monday, October 28, and tore out pages from Leviticus, a portion of the Bible which contains prohibitions against homosexuality, as a way of protesting their statements, and because he doesn’t believe the Bible condemns gay people.
By Claire Potter, Tenured Radical-The Chronicle of Higher Education
Check out Tim Kreider‘s piece in today’s New York Times about being asked to write for free. This is a gift from heaven. Eight days ago I passed my seventh bloggiversary, and I will soon be writing my 1000th free post. It has been a little over four years since I moved over to the Chronicle of Higher Education, where I continue the Tenured Radical tradition of writing for nothing.
Most bloggers write for free, actually. Want a blog at the Huffington Post? Have your publicist, or your sister posing as your publicist, call them and ask. They will be happy to publish you — for free. They need content, you need exposure. It’s a deal!
By Dominique Mosbergen, Huff Post Religion …..Billboards emblazoned with images of a heavily tattooed Jesus Christ are causing quite a stir in a Texas city. Part of an ad campaign by Christian outreach group JesusTattoo.org, the billboards show a pictorial depiction of Jesus jesus tattoo billboardwith words like “Outcast,” “Addicted,” “Hated” and “Faithless” stamped on his body. According to the Christian Post, more than 50 such billboards have been erected in Lubbock, Texas, thus far.
Huff Post Religion…..Dieters, beware. That slim-down regimen you’re trying may be going against God’s plan. This week colorful televangelist Pat Robertson took aim at popular low-carb diets like the Atkins Diet and slammed such plans as ultimately unhealthy and as violations of God’s principles. The subject was broached during Monday’s episode of Robertson’s “The 700 Club” program on the Christian Broadcasting Network. The segment included a story about Jimmy Moore, a formerly obese man who was able to lose 180 pounds in one year by cutting out carbohydrates like bread and loading up on proteins and fats, like eggs, cheese, butter, coconut oil and bacon.
By Gina Ryder, Huff Post Religion…..Does anyone love me? Is there a point to all this? We all tend to ask ourselves these questions time and time again. For a person coming out of jail, these questions seem to have even more weight. Does anyone love me after what I’ve done? Where is my life going after being behind bars?
By Kenny Smith
With the Autumn equinox behind us, Wiccan and Pagan communities look to Pagan Pride.In Pennsylvania, a distinctive approach features crystals, pre-Christian deities, and “a cauldron in which to boil children,” poking fun at popular misconceptions. Similar efforts, sans cauldrons, are ongoing in communities across the U.S.“Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” newest cast-member, Carlton Gebbia, comes out of the broom closet, discussing publicly her practice of Wicca.
By Yasmine Hafiz, Huff Post Religion….A Christian school in the Netherlands, Pieter Zandt Scholengemeenschap, was horrified to find an allegedly satanic symbol in its latest student agenda, asking parents and students to return the planners for shredding. That symbol? A peace sign. School board chairman Johan van Puten told Dutch newspaper Trouw that a Google search revealed that the peace sign allegedly contains a Nero cross, which was used in Roman times to represent the torture of Christians, and now apparently has Satanist connotations. It also has connotations with Nazism, as the Teach Peace Foundation writes that it was used as the symbol for Hitler’s 3rd Panzer Division.
By Amina Wadud…..For example, members of one religion are not encouraged to or interested in visiting the sacred spaces of other religions. In fact, in most cases, they are prohibited. To be sensitive to these constraints I do not visit any sacred place, no matter how much I have wanted, unless I am given permission as a Muslim. (Coincidentally, I am also prohibited as a woman from entering some of the sacred Muslim spaces!)
By Nick Wing, Huffington Post…..Earlier this month, David Silverman, president of American Atheists, sent in an order for a vanity plate that read “ATHE1ST,” with the number “1″ instead of an “I.” “ATHEIST” was reportedly already taken, though the picture above shows Silverman with a retired version of that plate.
By Gary Laderman, Huff Post Religion …..
We have fundamentalist atheists on one side of the spectrum wanting to get rid of religion and all of its toxicity; on the other side are religious fundamentalists looking to purify the world of all the false religions. The rest of us in the middle — Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Nones — are learning to live with the unavoidable fact that multiple religious perspectives and communities must learn to live together if not harmoniously than at least with a minimum amount of respect and toleration.
Philip L. Tite and Kelly Baker, Religion Bulletin……Much of the reaction about the Klan and zombies comes from assumptions about what is properly religion, and I’ve already had my say about this in my piece on evidence for the Bulletin for the Study of Religion. Why are some scholars so avidly policing “religion”? What does this tell us about how “religion” is defined and deployed? Resurrected corpses, in this instance, become a problem. When I use zombies as data, it causes discomfort because it suggests that maybe religion is not as familiar or as easily identifiable as we think it is. Maybe, we would have to admit that J.Z. Smith is right about religion being constructed by scholars in every use. Maybe, we would have to note that our interlocutors also construct religion in every utterance of the word.
By Larry Tye, The Jewish Daily Forward….. The alien superbaby was not just a Jew, but also a very special one. Like Moses. Much as the baby prophet was floated in a reed basket by a mother desperate to spare him from an Egyptian Pharaoh’s death warrant, so moments before Kal-El’s planet blew up, his doomed parents tucked him into a spaceship that rocketed him to the safety of Earth. Both babies were rescued by non-Jews and raised in foreign cultures — Moses by Pharaoh’s daughter, Kal-El by Kansas farmers named Kent — and all the adoptive parents quickly learned how exceptional their foundlings were.