"He was so grateful to be here, he was compassionate, he was caring, he was jovial." That's how a neighbor described Dzhokhar Tsarnaev. To the names of Timothy McVeigh and Theodore Kaczynski we can now add the Tsarnaev brothers. They had given no indication of any anti-American sentiments.
The Boston Marathon is New England's most widely viewed sporting event. Over 500,000 people, 80 percent of Boston's population, show up to cheer on more than 20,000 runners. Begun in 1897, it's the world's oldest annual marathon. Until today, it was known for history and prestige. Now it will forever be known for tragedy as well.
Yesterday's Masters Golf Tournament made history, as Adam Scott became the first Australian to win the sport's most prestigious championship. But the tournament will long be remembered for another reason as well: Tiger Woods' now-infamous rules infraction.
The announced sermon for yesterday's services at Saddleback Church was titled, "Surviving Tough Times." It was a theme Pastor Rick Warren planned earlier in the week. He had no way to know how appropriate his subject would be.
That's the title of an article now on Time's website. It begins: "Religion can be a source of comfort that improves well-being. But some kinds of religiosity could be a sign of deeper mental health issues." The article quotes a clinical psychologist who states, "Religion is related to the child having a higher sense of self esteem, better academic adjustment and lower rates of substance abuse and delinquent or criminal behavior."
The Supreme Court may strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. In addition, it may declare California's ban on gay marriage (Proposition 8) to be unconstitutional. We won't know the Court's decisions until June, but the ramifications of this issue are already affecting Christians in significant ways.
President Obama continues his Middle East tour today, amid signs of a warming relationship between himself and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. For instance, as the president and prime minister were preparing to inspect a missile system, they were told to walk along a red line on the airport tarmac. Remembering Mr. Netanyahu's repeated warnings about a "red line" in Iran's nuclear development, Mr. Obama pointed toward the prime minister and joked, "He's always talking to me about red lines." He added, "So this is all a psychological ploy." Chuckling, Mr. Netanyahu replied, "This was minutely planned."
"Kid President" is a nine-year-old in Tennessee named Robby Novak. He has osteogenesis imperfecta, a disease that makes his bones brittle and has led to more than 70 broken bones and 13 surgeries. He has steel rods in both legs.
Brown University was founded in 1764 by a group of Baptist ministers. It has held its commencement services in First Baptist Church of Providence, Rhode Island (the first Baptist church in America) since 1776. Now it has become the 37th American college to include "sex reassignment surgeries" in its student health care plans.
Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia will remove Chick-fil-A from its campus food court. The intense campaign waged by gay and lesbian students is being credited for the decision. Ironically, Emory was founded by the Methodist Church and named for a Methodist bishop.
A pastor's daughter fantasizes about becoming a porn star. Another pastor's daughter struggles with telling her parents she's not sure of her child's paternity. These are some of the plot lines in Preachers' Daughters, a reality show which aired last night on the Lifetime network. The program received interest from six different networks. Imagine the backlash from Muslims if Lifetime aired a similar show titled "Imams' Daughters," or from the Jewish community for "Rabbis' Daughters."
Hugo Chavez died Tuesday at the age of 58. The flamboyant president of Venezuela was diagnosed with cancer in 2011 and had undergone four operations in Cuba. After his last Cuban treatment was unsuccessful he turned to doctors in Brazil, but it was too late. Venezuela's Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced Chavez's passing, calling his death "a moment of deep pain." What does it mean for the U.S. and for Christians?
Sean Lowe, star of ABC's The Bachelor, is making headlines this morning. The Dallas native has taken a vocal stance as a "born-again virgin" – he had sex while in college, but has now chosen to remain celibate until he is married.
How can a person disagree with the Scouts' decision without seeming bigoted or hard-hearted? Consider Derek Nance, a longtime Boy Scout and camp leader. His video disclosing that he is gay ends with this statement: "Until the time comes that I can again work at summer camp without having to hide who I am, this uniform will proudly hang in my closet waiting for things to get better." Watching it, my heart goes out to him.
If you lost someone you love in the fire, wouldn't you be asking how an all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful God could allow such a tragedy? I would. I would wager that innocent suffering has caused more atheism than any other issue.
Every year, 32,000 people die on America's highways. Every 10 days, that many abortions are performed in our country.
A third of young adults in America say they don't belong to any religion. Why? NPR did a fascinating story on this phenomenon, interviewing six young adults in Washington, D.C. They came from Jewish, Muslim, and Christian traditions. One was raised Jewish; she still loves going to synagogue but describes herself as having an "agnostic bent."
The self-professed Creator of the universe claims to be all-knowing, all-powerful, and all-loving. For millions of people, it is harder to believe such assertions after the Newtown massacre. Atheist Sam Harris declares that "the murder of a single little girl – even once in a million years – casts doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God." Now we're facing the killing of 20 children in one of the deadliest school shootings in American history.
The last Twilight Saga movie premieres tonight. Why are these films so wildly popular? Some credit Meyer's descriptive writing style and alluring characters. Others point to Edward's romantic charm—he is old-fashioned in many ways, respectful and protective of Bella, insisting that they remain chaste until they marry.
Now that President Obama has been reelected, I'd like to offer some reflections on yesterday's election. The Washington Post called the day our "civic holiday." Whether your candidate won or lost, what America accomplished Tuesday is truly remarkable.
What does "Frankenstorm" mean for the presidential election, now just eight days away? Politico suggests five possibilities. One: it could slow Mitt Romney's momentum by lessening his ability to campaign in states affected by the storm.
If Christians shouldn't see "The Blind Side," what movies depicting life in our culture should we see? If Christian publications have uniformly endorsed the movie, why are Southern Baptists deciding three years after its release to make this an issue? As they prepare to elect their first African-American president, should this controversy be their focus?
Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood claimed Monday that its candidate has won the Egyptian presidency. Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyat is now a critical figure on the world stage. Who is he? What does he believe? Why would his election matter to us?
Miss Rhode Island won last night's "Miss USA" contest. Her support for transgendered contest participants drew loud applause from the crowd and is consistent with the pageant's official position. Miss Ohio is also in the news for citing "Pretty Woman" as a positive depiction of women on screen. In the film, Julia Roberts plays a prostitute who eventually leaves her profession with a man who had hired her services for a week.
In breaking news, the pope's butler has agreed to cooperate with investigators. Observers are now speculating that other church leaders will soon be implicated in the widening scandal. Meanwhile, Apple's CEO Tim Cook has passed on $75 million in dividend payments due to him over the next 9 years. His decision is a welcome departure from the inflated CEO salaries that regularly lead the news.