The Economist takes the occasion of the Southern Baptist Convention to examine America’s Christian right (Broken link, active July 3, 2005), with the usual baleful prediction that the Christian right is trying to create a theocracy. This kind of irresponsible reporting is misleading, but Harper’s magazine goes The Economist one better: The Washington Times wonders if Harper’s “news accounts” are so numbingly biased in their recent hit pieces about evangelical Christians that the magazine deserves to fold.
This anti-religious innuendo in the media is parroted by some politicians (or is it the other way around), and that intolerance descends in deleterious ways to the larger society. Not only Christians have noticed the bashing. A new Jewish group has formed to fight anti-Christian bias in the media and government, seeing in evangelicals Israel’s best friend in America, Israel’s best friend in the world.
Speaking of evangelicals and Israel, the nation’s main coalition of evangelical Christian churches is under internal pressure to adopt a Middle East policy for the first time, while Jewish, Muslim and Christian leaders in the United States, the Middle East, London and South America appealed in a “transnational town-hall meeting” this week for religious moderates and President Bush to stop the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The logic of how that is going to work is escaping me at the moment.
The Christian Alliance for Progress made last week’s news roundup, and is back in the news this week: the Wall Street Journal looks at the result of the angry left finding religion. Speaking of which, some Democrats have started asking for prayers for guidance in their decisions. There is so much I could say. Let’s just say, God always answers prayers, but not always in the way we envision. And concerning the recent Supreme Court rulings, experts warn that houses of worship are now at risk following the eminent domain ruling, while the Commandments ban at courthouses leads to unique faith displays (Broken link, active July 3, 2005) in other areas.
Around the nation, beginning in California, the New Urbanism movement, which seeks to integrate Christian ministry into the fabric of local communities, made the news as its leaders met in Pasadena. And in San Francisco, the only evangelical Christian church float in Sunday’s gay pride parade sported a rainbow cross, disco music and a giant sign that declared, “Christian & Gay = OK.” There is so much I could say. While I can see Jesus lovingly ministering to gays and then telling them, “Go, and sin no more,” I just can’t envision Him on a float in a gay pride parade.
In Colorado, the investigation of religious intolerance at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs has been completed. This case has been a lightning rod for advocates who desire to suppress religious expression, but the Washington Times notes that stamping out evangelical Christian activity at the Air Force Academy could not only erode combat will, retention, and enlistments, but also violate the intent of the First Amendment. In New York, Billy Graham held the final crusade of his long career, while the pastor of a Staten Island Catholic church made the news for kicking hundreds of kids out of religious education classes because their parents aren’t attending Mass.
In South Carolina, the town of Great Falls lost its four-year legal battle (Broken link, active July 3, 2005) to keep the name “Jesus Christ” in its council meeting prayers. The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear the Chester County town’s appeal of a lower court decision that it improperly favored one faith. The decision ended an often contentious case that pitted the town council against a resident who is a Wiccan high priestess. ChristianExodus.org has attracted more than 700 members from across America since the supreme court of Massachusetts legalized gay marriage last year, and already a half-dozen families have picked up and transplanted to the Palmetto State. And in Dallas, Texas, a fire has sadly destroyed the Biblical Arts Center museum (Broken link, active July 3, 2005).
Next week will focus on International news of interest to Christians.