It's that time of year again when not only are nights getting colder and darker, but so too the atmosphere in many churches and Christian homes. The debate begins at the first sign of the autumn leaves and abruptly comes to a halt on November 1st – after all, Halloween comes to its demise for another year.
By now, you've heard the many origins of this ambiguous holiday from The Catholic Church's claim of it being derived from All Hollow's Eve (the day to commemorate those martyred for their faith), to the many Evangelicals and some pagans who believe it a version of Samhain that was created to allow pagans to continue practicing paganism under the guise of a Christian cover. Most Neo-pagans celebrate Samhain, which falls near the date of Halloween and is considered an in-between time when the veil between worlds is thinnest and the Celtic New Year is celebrated.
Research reveals a lot of speculation when it comes to the actual practices of Halloween. Some say it's rooted in the immigration of the Irish who brought much of their folklore back to the states such as Jack-o-Lanterns, which may have originated in the form of a turnip. They believed by carving frightening faces on them, it would ward off the evil spirits that passed between worlds on Samhain night. more >>
Singapore has upheld its 76-year-old ban on sexual relations between men, explaining that the law has final say on such matters. The ruling has prompted a number of LGBT activist groups to call the decision discriminatory.
"Whilst we understand the deeply held personal feelings of the appellants, there's nothing that this court can do to assist them," the judges wrote in their ruling, according to Bloomberg News. "Their remedy lies, if at all, in the legislative sphere."
The ruling went against three men trying to overturn the law, known as Section 377A, which prohibits sexual relations between men. more >>
The Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans has accused the Milford School District in Connecticut of racism for banning a 7-year-old Nigerian-American girl from attending class on suspicion of Ebola, since she had traveled to Nigeria earlier this month. The school, which was sued by the father of the girl, argued that it acted in the best interest of its students and staff.
"Christian Association of Nigerian-Americans will not take this escalation of ignorance and racism regarding Ebola and Nigerian-Americans lying low," said Laolu Akande, executive director of CANAN, in a press release on Wednesday.
"We are appalled that a school headed by otherwise responsible educators can succumb to unsubstantiated medical fears and chose to respond with discrimination and denial of a young girl's right to education." more >>
While most within the Southern Baptist Convention applauded the opportunity to openly discuss how Christians should respond to the growing cultural and political acceptance of gay marriage during a three-day conference hosted by the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, most in the LGBT community tracking the event were not so pleased.
Brandan Robertson, a spokesperson for Evangelicals for Marriage Equality and the director of The Revangelical Movement, attended the the conference in Nashville and told The Christian Post afterwards on Wednesday that although he felt welcome at the conference, a closing talk by Pastor J.D. Greear made him uncomfortable.
As a bit of background about his group, Robertson believes that EME is not compromising Christian beliefs and is instead focused specifically on gay unions receiving the same government recognition and rights as traditional married couples. more >>
Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI at the close of the contentious Synod on the Family. Pope Francis will not be "progressing" toward some new day of sexual freedom. He is "sealing the deal" on Church teaching on contraception by beatifying Paul VI. And in so doing, Pope Francis, like Paul VI, is defending the rights of the poor and vulnerable.
For Paul VI is the author of the 1968 encyclical, Humanae Vitae. Paul VI dashed any hope, inside or outside of the Catholic Church, about a "new day dawning" on the subject of contraception. In spite of all the wishful thinking among the rich and powerful of our time, the Catholic Church will not be changing its position on the highly contested moral issues now, either.
Humanae Vitae was prophetic. Against all the "winds of change," against the rich, the beautiful and the important people of the 1960's claiming that contraception would solve the world's problems, Paul VI reiterated the ancient teaching of the Catholic Church. (In fact, the prohibition on contraception had been the universal teaching of all the Christian churches right up until the Lambeth Convention of the Anglican Church in 1930, but I digress.) In spite of all pressure arrayed in favor of artificial birth control, Paul VI predicted that this social experiment would end badly. more >>
Reparative therapy is a hot button, cultural topic that stirs deep rooted emotions for those on both sides. So we must be cautious not to reduce what Dr. Russell Moore, President of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics & Religious Liberty (ERLC) Commission, says about it into a sound bite.
Taken out of context, Moore's remarks to press at the ERLC's 2014 conference this week could very easily be used to totally denounce reparative therapy. But if you read all of Moore's statements, nowhere do you find him downright rejecting reparative therapy. Instead, he's putting it in its place on the hierarchy of healing.
According to Religion News Service, Moore told journalists, "The utopian idea if you come to Christ and if you go through our program, you're going to be immediately set free from attraction or anything you're struggling with, I don't think that's a Christian idea." Moore continued, "Faithfulness to Christ means obedience to Christ. It does not necessarily mean that someone's attractions are going to change." more >>