The vast majority of Protestant pastors and clergy drastically underestimate the prevalence of domestic violence and sexual abuse within their congregations, says a new report from Sojourners and IMA World Health.
Despite a 2013 World Health Organization study that showed that 35 percent of women globally have been victims of "physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence," and a 2011 U.S. Center for Disease Control survey with similar figures, nearly 40 percent of pastors believe that only five percent or fewer of their congregants have been victimized in the same way.
According to the study that was conducted by LifeWay Research, 17 percent of church leaders believed 11-20 percent of their congregation had suffered domestic violence or sexual abuse, while 21 percent estimated that the figure was between six and 10 percent. more >>
An attorney involved in a Supreme Court case that will determine to what extent privately owned businesses can opt-out of providing certain types of birth control for religious reasons believes there are "'high stakes" involved in the outcome.
Matt Bowman, senior counsel with the Alliance Defending Freedom, has served as an attorney for Conestoga Woods Specialties, who alongside Hobby Lobby, have sued the federal government to be exempt from the Health and Human Services' "preventive services mandate" that requires businesses to cover birth control that can lead to the early termination of a pregnancy.
"The stakes are very high in the Conestoga and Hobby Lobby case," explained Bowman regarding the First Amendment implications in the lawsuit. "It involves fundamental issues of whether or not religious freedom belongs to every American, and whether the government can redefine freedom to force citizens to buy abortion pills for other people." more >>
The term "submission" usually provokes a strong emotive response with some linking it to such negative words as "inferior," "door mat," or "controlled." But Christian counselor Christina Fox insists that biblical submission does not imply any of the above and is in fact "beautiful."
Fox, who has been married 17 years, did not initially come to that conclusion. For a long time, the term "submission" denoted fear. But after a long journey, Fox has come to associate the biblical command with "beauty and grace," as she writes in a newly released ebook, Good: The Joy of Christian Manhood and Womanhood.
Fox, who is among 14 writers who contributed to the ebook Good, published by Desiring God ministry and endorsed by theologian John Piper, goes on the state what submission is and what it isn't. more >>
Some Christian groups are worried that President Barack Obama's forthcoming executive order guaranteeing the protection of LGBT individuals from employment discrimination with businesses that have federal contracts may not have sufficient religious liberty protections.
While the order has not yet been written up, concerns have been leveled by various individuals that the order might not include a religious exemption and would force faith-based groups to engage in hiring practices that are in opposition to the teachings of their faith.
"The big question is: will the Executive Order drive out faith-based organizations out of federal contracting?" Stanley Carlson-Thies, founder and president of Institutional Religious Freedom Alliance, wrote in an email to supporters. "The federal government doesn't contract only for aircraft carriers, janitorial services, and IT expertise. It also contracts for research, consulting, and technical assistance, and, increasingly, for social services-particularly USAID and the Bureau of Prisons contract for social services." more >>
A group of conservative members of the United Methodist Church have signed an open letter to the supporters of a petition calling for the denomination to let individual congregations determine their stance on homosexuality.
At issue is the UMC's official position on homosexuality, which while recognizing the inherent worth of homosexual persons nonetheless declares the practice of homosexuality "incompatible with Christian teaching."
Posted on the website of the denomination's Good News Magazine last week, the open letter was addressed to Adam Hamilton, senior pastor of The Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, and Mike Slaughter, lead pastor of Ginghamsburg UMC of Tipp City, Ohio. more >>
Two members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been notified that each faces excommunication from the church for apostasy — one for his LGBT activism, the other because she's the founder of Ordain Women, an organization that's pushing for female priesthood.
Kate Kelly, whose organization protested the church's General Conference in April advocating for females to become priests, and John P. Dehlin, a psychology Ph.D. student who created a podcast in 2005 that featured an array of stories about Momorns of various racial backgrounds, sexual orientations and approaches toward faith, have been notified by LDS officials that they might be dismissed from the church for apostasy.
Following a meeting last month with Scott Wheatley, the president of the Oakton Virginia Stake, Kelly was informed in a letter that she was being put on "informal probation" by the chuch for her actions. As such, Kelly, is no longer a member in good standing in the LDS church. more >>