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 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 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 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…..Imaging Anne Frank as a “Belieber,” taking her out of her horrific and incomprehensible historical circumstances and placing her in the pop world of contemporary entertainment, especially in the fandom surrounding a mediocre teenybopper-cum-serious young adult performer, is a profanation of the worst kind to many critics. She is an icon, a heroic figure who figures so prominently and nobly in the histories and popular imagination associated with the rise of Nazis and the extermination of Jews. For Bieber to “belieb” this about Frank, to even think the thought, is both outrageous and offensive.
By Dr. Anantanand Rambachan, Huffington Post,,,,On March 10, Hindus around the world will celebrate Shivaratri (The Night of Shiva). I share these theological reflections on the occasion of this sacred festival. For centuries, Hindus have worshiped and described God through the name and form of Shiva. The name Shiva connotes kindness, benevolence and grace. Shiva is also commonly known as Shankara, meaning one who acts unceasingly for the good of all. The many names and forms of God available in the Hindu tradition are not just expressions of India’s religious and cultural diversity.
Louis A. Ruprecht, Jr., Huff Post Religion…..
On one extreme, we meet Tea Party activists who recognize virtually no legitimate role for centralized federal government (apart from the Pentagon and the definition of marriage); de-regulation, states’ rights, and local control of government institutions is their mantra. On the other, slightly more fictional extreme, we meet French-style statists who think the vast majority of social networks are best handled in a centralized and top-down manner; centralization and government regulation is their rallying cry.