The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted an official statement on Friday denouncing its previous theories that black skin color is a sign of a divine curse, or that black people are descended from the biblical figure Cain, and said that its past ban on black priests stemmed from an announcement from former church president Brigham Young in 1852.
"The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else," the 2,000 word statement on the official church website read. "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
While the ban on black priests was lifted in 1978, The Associated Press and other sources have pointed out that there had never been much in the way of explanation from the church for its past stance. more >>
It is hard to imagine putting Pope Francis and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the same race for the same honor. However, the two very different public figures are both finalists in TIME Magazine's 2013 "Person of the Year" award.
Begun in 1927 and originally labeled "Man of the Year," the annual honor goes to an individual – good or bad – whom TIME's editorial board believes most impacted the news for the previous year.
Pope Francis, consecrated the new head of the Roman Catholic Church back in March after his predecessor resigned, has garnered much attention for his approach to the position. Known for his humility and frequent shunning of high status before and during his reign as the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis has become the talk of many circles for his seemingly unorthodox rhetoric and style. His comments on atheism, gay priests, social issues, and other matters coupled with viral images of him washing the feet of female Muslim prisoners and embracing severely deformed individuals have led many to feel Francis is taking the Roman Catholic Church in a new direction. more >>
Various conservative and evangelical leaders who commended Nelson Mandela's work to end racism in South Africa have stated that these compliments come in spite of his views on other issues.
In addition to his highly publicized efforts to end Apartheid in South Africa, Mandela expressed opinions on other views. These included opinions on abortion, Israel, and Communism that were at odds with what most conservative and evangelical Christians believe.
A Texas diocese that opted to break away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences has filed a legal response before the state supreme court.
The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth filed Friday in response to TEC's motion for a rehearing regarding the legal dispute over the name and property of the diocese. In the 17-page document, the breakaway diocesan leadership argued that TEC's lawsuit over the property should be dismissed.
"TEC has no more control over Appellants' property or affairs than Royal Dutch Shell has over the property or affairs of ExxonMobil," reads the response in part. "The Court noted probable jurisdiction of this direct appeal two years ago. By May 2014, it will have been on this Court's docket for three years. It is time to dispose of it." more >>
The fallout up to this point from accusations made by syndicated radio talk show host Janet Mefferd that author and megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll plagiarized in at least two of his books includes her pulling the allegations from her website, an apology to the outspoken Christian leader, and most recently, what looks to be the resignation of a dismayed producer from her show.
While the parties involved, including both Driscoll supporters and detractors, have mostly gone mum of late on the subject, Ingrid Schlueter, who describes herself as a part-time, topic producer for Mefferd, did make a scathing accusation against the "evangelical celebrity machine" as reported by several Christian media. Schlueter implies Driscoll was protected by his publishers (most recent book, A Call to Resurgence: Will Christianity Have a Future or a Funeral? by Tyndale House Publishers) from any further scrutiny about allegations of plagiarism.
In a comment thread originally found at Spiritual Sounding Board before it was removed, and has since been re-posted by Warren Throckmorton in his blog on Patheos with Schlueter's permission, she writes, "I was a part-time, topic producer for Janet Mefferd until yesterday [Tuesday] when I resigned over this situation. All I can share is that there is an evangelical celebrity machine that is more powerful than anyone realizes. You may not go up against the machine. That is all. Mark Driscoll clearly plagiarized and those who could have underscored the seriousness of it and demanded accountability did not. That is the reality of the evangelical industrial complex." more >>
A columnist with the Fox News channel has compared the head of the Roman Catholic Church to President Barack Obama.
Adam Shaw, news editor at Fox, wrote in a column posted on the news channel's website on Wednesday that Pope Francis bears a strong resemblance to Obama in a negative manner.
"Pope Francis is undergoing a popularity surge comparable to the way Barack Obama was greeted by the world in 2008. And just as President Obama has been a disappointment for America, Pope Francis will prove a disaster for the Catholic Church," wrote Shaw. more >>