A new Pew survey found that Latin American Catholics are increasingly leaving the Catholic Church, either to join evangelical Protestant churches or are abandoning religion altogether. The survey participants cited a search for a personal connection with God as the biggest reason for their shift.
The wide-ranging survey, released on Thursday, reported that although 69 percent of adults across the region identify as Catholic, in almost every country surveyed there was a reported net loss of Catholics in terms of people raised Catholic and currently Catholic. Overall for Latin America as a whole, 84 percent of the population was raised Catholic, but only 69 percent identify as part of the Catholic Church now. By contrast, only nine percept of Latin America's population was raised in the Protestant tradition, but today 19 percent identify as Protestant. The number of religiously unaffiliated people is also rising, going from four percent raised without religion to currently eight percent identifying as no religion today.
As for various reasons why Latin Americans are leaving the Catholic Church, 81 percent of those who responded said that they are seeking a personal connection with God; 69 percent saidthey enjoy the style of worship at a new church, while 60 percent said that they wanted a greater emphasis on morality. more >>
Over 50 Evangelical leaders have signed a joint letter warning Texas Governor Rick Perry that the planned execution of severely mentally ill man Scott Panetti, who has been convicted of murder and has said he believes he is battling Satan, would "cross a moral line."
"As Christians, we are called to protect the most vulnerable, and we count Mr. Panetti – a man who has suffered from severe mental illness for over 30 years – to be among them. If ever there was a clear case of an individual suffering from mental illness, this is it," reads the letter by the Evangelical leaders.
"Mr. Panetti is a paranoid schizophrenic, which was apparent at his trial, where he represented himself with his life on the line. He wore a TV-Western cowboy costume and attempted to subpoena the Pope, John F. Kennedy, and Jesus Christ. The fact that his trial was carried out in such a fashion is a mockery of the criminal justice system." more >>
A major Ohio city is mulling an amendment to its city ordinance that critics say will allow transgendered men to use women's restrooms.
Cleveland City Council held a meeting Wednesday wherein a committee heard arguments for and against an ordinance prohibiting businesses from barring transgender people access to restrooms or facilities that correspond with their gender identity.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat might have converted to Christianity before his death in 2004, suggested Christian writer and speaker RT Kendall, a close friend of his. Kendall revealed that Arafat wept while watching Mel Gibson's epic "The Passion of the Christ" a decade ago, and said that he would not be surprised to see his friend in heaven.
"It wouldn't surprise me to see him in heaven,' Kendall said in an interview with Premier. Christianity magazine. 'I'll tell you why. I prayed with him five times, anointed him with oil, I gave him a [salvation] prayer … I'm not saying I know that he's saved; I'm saying I wouldn't be surprised."
Kendall talked about how he initially met Arafat in 2002 during a visit to Israel and Palestinian territories. During the meeting, which went on for longer than planned, the two discussed the nature of Jesus — whether He died, was resurrected and ascended to heaven, as Christianity teaches, or whether He did not die, as the Quran suggests. more >>
A federal judge ordered South Carolina officials to stop enforcing the state's ban on gay marriage on Wednesday. District Judge Richard Gergel gave the state a one-week stay to appeal, but same-sex couples could begin filing for marriage licenses on Nov. 20.
"The court hereby declares that [the South Carolina constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage], to the extent they seek to prohibit the marriage of same-sex couples who otherwise meet all other legal requirements for marriage in South Carolina, unconstitutionally infringe on the rights of plaintiffs under the due process clause and equal protection clause of the Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution, and are invalid as a matter of law," the ruling stated, according to NBC affiliate WIS.
Gergel added that he found no real distinction between South Carolina's ban on same-sex marriage and a similar ban that was declared unconstitutional in Virginia. Gergel said that the earlier decision in Virginia "establishes, without question, the right of plaintiffs to marry as same-sex partners." more >>
A recent Gallup poll found that, in keeping with the midterm election results, a majority of Americans want the Republican Party to lead the country rather than President Barack Obama.
In a Tuesday poll, Gallup found that 53 percent of respondents wanted the GOP to lead the direction of the United States, versus 36 percent for President Barack Obama.