Roma Downey, the Irish-born actress and co-producer of the hit History Channel miniseries "The Bible," along with the Rev. Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA), called for religious tolerance and respect between Muslims and Christians in the Middle East at an event hosted by Jordan King Abdullah II in Anman, which ended Wednesday, to discuss the escalating violence against Christians in the region.
Downey, who attended the event with her producer husband Mark Burnett, spoke Tuesday as a representative of the WEA, which represents more than 600 million evangelical Christians worldwide, before an influential group of guests, which included the Jordan King's Chief Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs, Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad and Vatican representatives.
"I personally experienced firsthand the impact of sectarian violence and religious discrimination," said Downey, who drew a parallel between the religious violence engulfing the Middle East today to the Catholic-Protestant violence that took place in her native Northern Ireland, according to a copy of her speech obtained by The Christian Post. The former "Touched by an Angel" actress noted some of the crackdown efforts done to fellow Catholics in her hometown of Derry, which she described as "a city divided by a river with Catholics living on one side and Protestants on the other." more >>
"The Colbert Report" host Stephen Colbert talked Pope Francis' remarks on homesexuals, as well as atheists and heaven, in an interview with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan on Tuesday.
"Look you don't got to Mass to win heaven. You go to ask God for help to get you there. You go to Mass to thank him for being such a great God that he wants you to spend eternity with him. That's why you go to Mass. You don't go to win heaven because you can't earn it – it's a gift. He wants to give it to all of us," Dolan, who is also the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, shared with Colbert.
The comedian, a Catholic himself, had brought up Pope Francis' remarks in May, when the leader of the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics said that non-Catholics and atheists can do good and that God has redeemed everyone, causing a notable stir in the Catholic community. more >>
The Christian-based organization Salvation Army will soon be sending its troops to an unlikely place: a sexuality expo in South Africa. Members will attend the event next month as a way of being a representative of the "Christian understanding of sexuality," say officials with the group.
Carin Holmes, spokeswoman for the Salvation Army, said in a statement that the Salvation Army's presence is planned to be a show of availability, not one of judgment.
"If Jesus Christ was on earth today, he would be standing beside us at Sexpo," said Holmes, who is part of The Salvation Army's Southern Africa Territory. "We're not going there to condemn anyone. We aren't going to lecture people…We're going there to be available." more >>
The Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty revealed that on Monday it received more than 1,500 pages of documents confirming that the Department of Defense classified religious groups such as Catholics, Evangelicals, Jews, and Mormons as religious "extremists" similar to Al-Qaeda and the Ku Klux Klan in training materials.
"Men and women of faith who have served the military faithfully for centuries shouldn't be likened to those who have regularly threatened the peace and security of the United States," said Chaplain (Col.) Ron Crews, USAR retired, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty.
"The materials we have received verify that the military views the Southern Poverty Law Center as a 'reliable source' for Equal Opportunity briefings even though it has engaged in a pattern of labeling evangelical Christians, Catholics, and other conservative and orthodox faith groups as 'extremists.' The documents demonstrate that the Department of Defense has chosen to rely on these biased SPLC materials to train Equal Opportunity Officers in the military." more >>
A U.S. District Judge in South Carolina has dismissed a trademark lawsuit leveled against a diocese that broke away from The Episcopal Church over theological differences.
Judge C. Weston Houck of Charleston decided last Thursday that The Episcopal Church in South Carolina's suit claiming rightful ownership of the title of bishop was to be "denied without prejudice."
The suit, filed by Rev. Charles vonRosenberg against Rev. Mark Lawrence, was over which of the two men could rightfully use the title of bishop of the South Carolina Diocese. more >>
The Roman Catholic Church in the U.S. is increasing pressure on lawmakers to adopt immigration reform and is taking that message to the pews, planning for a major coordinated event for Sunday Masses on Sept. 8.
"We want to try to pull out all the stops," said Kevin Appleby, the director of migration policy at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, according to The New York Times. "They have to hear the message that we want this done, and if you're not successful during the summer, you're not going to win by the end of the year."
Lawmakers have yet to decide on substantial changes to the path to citizenship for unauthorized immigrants, but a number of evangelical churches and groups, along with Catholics, have made it a prime focus in their mission this past year. more >>