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Religion, Lately: Biblical Immigration, Heavy Metal Church, Cat Stevens v. Yusuf Islam, and the Religious Complexities of the Culture Wars

Religion, Lately: Biblical Immigration, Heavy Metal Church, Cat Stevens v. Yusuf Islam, and the Religious Complexities of the Culture Wars

By Kenny Smith…Evangelicals are, apparently, quite divided on the issue of immigration reform, and read their Bibles accordingly. Some conclude that because Jesus and the Hebrew Prophets consistently speak of our obligation to care for strangers and the poor, a way to citizenship should be opened up for undocumented workers and their families in contemporary America. Others insist that because in within the Hebrew Bible God warns the ancient Israelites about the dangers of importing foreign ways (e.g., the danger of intermarriage), we need “Biblical Immigration”: walls, not ways.

Are Christians taking Christ out of Christmas?

Are Christians taking Christ out of Christmas?

By Heather Abraham…..
As Christian groups continue to disagree on the “War on Christmas” issue, a recent survey by LifeWay Research, a Christian organization, may shed some light on this manufactured crisis that continues to capture so many headlines. As reported in the USA Today article, For Many, Jesus isn’t the Reason for the Season, 74% of those polled ‘”told LifeWay many of the things they enjoy this season “have nothing to do with the birth of Jesus,”‘ and only 37% reported including Jesus in their Christmas celebrations

More Americans Tailoring Religion to Fit Their Needs

More Americans Tailoring Religion to Fit Their Needs

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY…..
If World War II-era warbler Kate Smith sang today, her anthem could be GodsBless America. That’s one of the key findings in newly released research that reveals America’s drift from clearly defined religious denominations to faiths cut to fit personal preferences. The folks who make up God as they go are side-by-side with self-proclaimed believers who claim the Christian label but shed their ties to traditional beliefs and practices. Religion statistics expert George Barna says, with a wry hint of exaggeration, America is headed for “310 million people with 310 million religions.”

What happens when athletes bump into God's rules?

What happens when athletes bump into God’s rules?

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY….
Playing by God’s rules seems quaint as an Amish buggy. We often look at believers, following codes of faith, like peculiar artifacts. So when an athlete — a big, powerful Brigham Young University basketball player or a tiny dynamo like a 7 year old Jewish gymnast — bumps into those rules, we seem surprised.

Tennessee bill would jail Shariah followers

Tennessee bill would jail Shariah followers

By Bob Smietana, USA Today….
A proposed Tennessee law would make following the Islamic code known as Shariah law a felony, punishable by 15 years in jail. State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, introduced the same bill in the Senate and House last week. It calls Shariah law a danger to homeland security and gives the attorney general authority to investigate complaints and decide who’s practicing it.

Obama scoffs at Jesus: Frankin Graham

Obama scoffs at Jesus: Frankin Graham

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA Today….
Clearly, “they” is aimed squarely at Obama and Carlos Gonzales (the physician who gave the Native American blessing) and others who gave their speeches a faith-based coloration that didn’t match Graham’s vision. This seems odd, given how many of the speeches were rooted to the Bible. The Los Angeles Times tracked the development of President Obama’s speech, written with deep consultation with pastors including Joshua Dubois on his staff and frequent adviser Rev. Joel Hunter of Northland, an Orlando, Florida, megachurch

Christmas ad: Baby Jesus ‘sonogram’ — halo and all

Christmas ad: Baby Jesus ‘sonogram’ — halo and all

USA Today, Faith and Reason
Want to refocus attention on Christ this Christmas? A British group is taking the novel approach of promoting nativity scene like no other — turning a sonogram-like image into a icon-like poster by portraying Jesus as a fetus with a halo, in Mary’s womb.

Well, at least it’s a baby image… whose

Conservative Belgian Archbishop in Eye of Storm

Conservative Belgian Archbishop in Eye of Storm

By Robert Wielaard, Associated Press via USA Today
BRUSSELS — He calls AIDS a form of “justice” for homosexuals and wants retired pedophile priests to go unpunished. He says women who have an abortion will be greeted in the afterlife by their unborn child crying “Momma!” Archbishop Andre Leonard, 70, was plucked from a sleepy Belgian citadel-town by Pope Benedict XVI in January to energize the country’s Roman Catholic faithful and reverse 30 years of liberalism. The appointment was in line with Benedict’s policy of putting tradition-minded and conservative bishops in important dioceses.

Americans’ views of God shape attitudes on key issues

Americans’ views of God shape attitudes on key issues

By Cathy Lynn Grossman, USA TODAY  If you pray to God, to whom — or what — are you praying?  When you sing God Bless America, whose blessing are you seeking?  In the USA, God — or the idea of a God — permeates daily life. Our views of God have been fundamental to the […]