NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. — Jeff Ballabon, a Jewish activist and former senior vice president of CBS News, says Republicans and Evangelicals have always been more pro-Israel than Democrats or liberals.
Ballabon, who's also columnist, told those gathered at the Conservative Political Action Conference Thursday afternoon that over the past few decades Republicans have supported Israel far more than Democrats.
Using data collected by Gallup polling, Ballabon took issue with what he described as "the myth of bipartisanship," which is the claim that Democrats have been as supportive of Israel as Republicans. more >>
Over at The New Republic, Elizabeth Bruenig has penned a lengthy report on the "failure of macho Christianity," focusing on the rise and fall of two "macho" Christian pastors: Mark Driscoll and the lesser-known Heath Mooneyham. Except for the twist that both pastors adopted self-consciously masculine styles and condemned the feminization of the church, there is nothing exceptional about their stories. After all, prominent pastors fail all the time. Jim Bakker — perhaps the biggest pastor to fall in the last 50 years–was hardly a paragon of aggressive hyper-masculinity. Famous pastors on every conceivable spectrum of masculinity have crashed and burned.
Pastors are people, and people are sinful. When pastors become celebrities, they are subject to the same temptations as all celebrities (with the added bonus of sometimes-titanic egos.) That's no excuse.
But I will agree with Bruenig's attack on "macho Christianity" to one, limited extent: When anything becomes a gimmicky modifier to Christianity, it's problematic — whether it's self-conscious masculinity, self-conscious hipsterism, self-conscious femininity, or self-conscious activism. The Evangelical world is prone to gimmickry, with celebrity pastors bringing their fresh take and unique style — often building huge followings. more >>
Norwegian police raided the offices of Bishop Bernt Eidsvig, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Oslo, after a prosecutor accused the church of defrauding the state of $6.57 million by falsely registering people as Catholics. Eidsvig has formally denied the accusation and said he's "extremely unhappy" with the charges, though he admitted that mistakes were made.
"The fraud happened when they enrolled people in a register without the members actually knowing they were being enrolled in the church," Oslo's police prosecutor, Kristin Rusdal, told Reuters.
"Using this register they applied for funding from the state and municipalities, which is distributed on the basis of how many members the church have," Rusdal said. more >>
Now that TIME Magazine has told us that transgender is the new black, I'm going to say something politically incorrect: Your gender is not whatever you think it is. Put another way, there is no such thing as, "My gender is 'fill in the blank.'"
Unfortunately, Facebook didn't get the memo, and so, according to AP's Martha Mendoza, "Facebook users who don't fit any of the 58 gender identity options offered by the social media giant are now being given a rather big 59th option: fill in the blank." (Yes, I know this sounds crazy, but it's true.)
Megachurch pastor and author Erwin Raphael McManus appeared on a CNN program to comment on the debate surrounding the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, Jesus Christ's purported burial cloth. During his brief appearance, McManus made it clear, however, that the show's anchors had failed to ask the most relevant question.
McManus, pastor of California multi-site MOSAIC church, appeared Thursday on CNN's "This Hour," morning program hosted by John Berman and Kate Bolduan.
Berman and Bolduan wanted to know the pastor's thoughts on why there's so much curiosity about the authenticity of the Shroud of Turin, and why anyone would need scientific evidence to prove Jesus' existence. more >>
Last December, Washington, DC voters approved a measure legalizing marijuana for users over 21. In a legislative battle that highlighted how controversial and complex the issue is, Congress (which has legal jurisdiction over the city) immediately moved to ban the sale and purchase of the drug, creating a challenging situation for law enforcement. This was very concerning to me because I smoked marijuana as a part of the youth culture in the 70's and observed severe emotional and physiological side effects with my friends.
While it is unclear how the conflicting laws will be applied and enforced, marijuana enthusiasts are already making their plans.
As the Washington Post reported: Two ballrooms on Capitol Hill are already reserved for a pot expo on Feb. 28. A date for a massive marijuana seed giveaway is in the works for early March. Some are planning "cannabis clubs" with membership fees and access to the plant. Others hope to offer high-end catered dinners cooked in marijuana-infused oils; recently, an underground test dinner was served a mile-and-a-half north of the White House. Washington, DC is far from alone in its pot-friendly legislation. Oregon, Alaska, Colorado and the state of Washington have completely decriminalized marijuana, while various other states allow it for medical purposes. more >>