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Gay-Friendly Churches And Houses Of Worship Growing, According To National Congregations Study

Gay-Friendly Churches And Houses Of Worship Growing, According To National Congregations Study

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.

Isaiah Smith, Gay Teen Who Ripped Out Bible Pages, Suspended By Texas School

Isaiah Smith, Gay Teen Who Ripped Out Bible Pages, Suspended By Texas School

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.

The Check Is In The Mail — Sometimes

The Check Is In The Mail — Sometimes

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!

Tattooed Jesus On Billboards Sparks Controversy In Texas

Tattooed Jesus On Billboards Sparks Controversy In Texas

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.

Religion, Lately: Paganism by 2063, Living Happily Without Religion, and  bin Laden Halloween Anxieties

Religion, Lately: Paganism by 2063, Living Happily Without Religion, and bin Laden Halloween Anxieties

By Kenny Smith…..What will Pagan religious traditions (such as Wicca, Druidism, and Asatru, among others) look like in fifty years, in 2063? Full-time Pagan clergy, Pagan celebrities coming out of the broom-closet, and a vast array of Pagan-centric media outlets, one writer predicts. Back here in 2013, new Pagan-themed books for children such as “What is Magic,” and “Who is a Witch?,” hit the shelves, Pagan Pride days continue to be celebrated in various cities nationwide, and Pagan communities prepare for Samhain.

Can a Community of Faith Decrease Recidivism?

Can a Community of Faith Decrease Recidivism?

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?

Real Witches Cry Foul at Portrayal on "True Blood"

Real Witches Cry Foul at Portrayal on “True Blood”

By Coeli Carr, Reuters….
(Reuters) – Critics of bloody violence and excessive sex on TV have long had HBO’s vampire drama “True Blood” in their cross hairs, but now the popular series has another group of wary citizens — witches, real ones. The series’ fourth season has focused on Marnie Stonebrook (Fiona Shaw), a seemingly harmless medium and leader of a Wiccan group who becomes the physical conduit for Antonia, a long dead witch who is hellbent on vengeance against vampires who persecuted and burned her at the stake.

Did Arizona Shooting Suspect Have Occult Shrine or Left Over Halloween Decor?

Did Arizona Shooting Suspect Have Occult Shrine or Left Over Halloween Decor?

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today Faith and Reason…..
The New York Daily Newsis showing an image of what they call an occult shrine in Jared Loughner’s back yard: A terra-cotta plant pot holding a replica of a skull sits, surrounded by shriveled oranges, on a brick ledge with three tall, dirty glass cannisters holding candles beside it. Signs of the occult, says their story on Loughner, the alleged gunman who killed six people and wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and nine others. This evaluation is pegged to unnamed “experts.” I’ve hunting now for word of cults that call for messy backyard altars but in the mean time, here’s what a pagan-witch-occultist says.

Jesus in Space

Jesus in Space

By Mary Valle, Killing the Buddha….
Kolob? The very word gave me a little spine tingle. I was pre-thrilled by what I was about to find out. Anytime I feel like I’m cracking a case or chasing down the facts, even if it is just Googling something that someone told me to Google, I get a tiny rush of All The President’s Men excitement and imagine that soon I will be meeting shadowy figures in parking garages and running for my life, chicly, in a trench and heels.

This Muslim says, give me that ol' time Judaism

This Muslim says, give me that ol’ time Judaism

By Hesham A. Hassaballa….
These reflections should come as a surprise to no one: As a Muslim, I worship the God of Abraham, the very same God who was worshiped and honored in the Temple in Jerusalem. As a Muslim, I honor and revere the prophet Moses, Aaron, and all the other Hebrew prophets.

Also, my holy scripture speaks with honor and reverence about King David and Solomon. The Quran says: “We believe in God, and in that which has been bestowed from on high upon us, and that which has been bestowed upon Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac and Jacob and their descendants, and that which has been vouchsafed to Moses and Jesus; and that which has been vouchsafed to all the [other] prophets by their Sustainer: we make no distinction between any of them. And it is unto Him that we surrender ourselves.” (2:136

I Am Biblical Woman, Hear Me Roar?

I Am Biblical Woman, Hear Me Roar?

By Kathryn Joyce, MS Blog….
Although I first encountered biblical womanhood and submission theory in fundamentalist circles—where submission means women submitting a daily itinerary to husbands for approval and not speaking in church—the idea of biblical womanhood as a conservative counteroffensive to feminism is far broader, garnering the support of the 16-million-member Southern Baptist Convention in a 1998 resolution. Complementarianism is a code of ethics with rules based on gender inequality.

Church Attack Seen as Strike at Iraq’s Core

Church Attack Seen as Strike at Iraq’s Core

By ANTHONY SHADID, New York Times
Blood still smeared the walls of Our Lady of Salvation Church on Monday. Scraps of flesh remained between the pews. It was the worst massacre of Iraqi Christians since the war began here in 2003.
An Iraqi man mourned the death of his wife, who was among the victims of an attack at Our Lady of Salvation Church. But for survivors, the tragedy went deeper than the toll of the human wreckage: A fusillade of grenades, bullets and suicide vests had unraveled yet another thread of the country’s once eclectic fabric.

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

The Role of Happiness in the World Religions

By April L. Bogle, Huffington Post
It’s hard to deny that His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of Tibet and the world’s most famous Buddhist, is the also world’s foremost expert on happiness. He clearly states in writings that seeking happiness is the very purpose of life, and he’s dedicated his life to learning how to be happy and sharing this knowledge with others. But what about other major religious traditions? Is happiness a good thing, or bad? To be sought in this life, or the next?

I Ate a Bowl of Soup, and Now I'm a Muslim

I Ate a Bowl of Soup, and Now I’m a Muslim

By Hussein Rashid, Religion Dispatches
According to them, the fact that Campbell’s Soup Canada is a introducing a series of halal soups is a sign that Muslims are taking over the U.S. and imposing shari’ah to make everyone Muslim. The Revealer has a great series on the (mis)uses of the term shari’ah that points out that there is no one thing called shari’ah, and it does not mean what its popular critics think it means.