An Episcopal church in Pasadena, Calif., has been receiving a rash of hate emails for opening its doors to participants of the upcoming Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) Convention in December.
The Rev. Ed Bacon of All Saints Episcopal Church told CBS Los Angeles that the emails are "toxic stuff," ranging from "scapegoating Muslims, totally misreading what Islam is all about, telling us we can't call ourselves a Christian body because we've allowed Muslims into our church."
"They're saying we have abandoned our Christian roots, that we are gullible and being used by terrorists, all of which is totally unfounded," the Rev. Bacon told CBS. more >>
An interfaith group that brings Christians and Jews together for common goals, including the support of Israel, announced on Friday that it will increase its funding of emergency aid for families in southern Israel. Rocket attacks on cities in southern Israel occurred this week and are said to be continuing as the IDF launches a wide assault on what it describes as "terror activity sites" and military infrastructure in Gaza Strip.
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship) said that $2.7 million in funds will go to an emergency and security aid package that includes supplies for the people in communities under fire, including Netivot, Sderot, Kiryat Malachi, Kiryat Gat, Sdot Negev, and Eshkol.
"With 20 percent of the nation's people in bomb shelters today, improving the security of the residents of the south is a vital priority for The Fellowship," said Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and CEO of The Fellowship. "The untenable situation of more than 1 million residents living under constant threat of rocket fire must top the list of concerns of every friend of Israel. We are working hand-in-hand with the Israel Ministry for Home Front Defense and the IDF, and we will continue to cooperate to ensure the security of Israel's people." more >>
A number of Jewish organizations pulled out of an interfaith meeting with Protestants on Wednesday after church leaders questioned why the United States was providing military aid to Israel in its conflict with Palestine.
The American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, and Conservative and Reform Jewish have all said they will not be attending the annual Christian-Jewish Roundtable, which was planned to take place in New York on Monday, The Associated Press reported.
The Jewish groups explained that their decision was based on several mainline Protestant leaders asking Congress to re-evaluate the military aid it sends to Israel and accusing the Jewish state of human right abuses. more >>
The annual "Day of Prayer for the Peace of Jerusalem," which occurs the first Sunday of every October and brings together millions of people praying for the Holy City, is to be the biggest prayer event of its kind, according to organizers.
"It is the largest Jerusalem-focused prayer initiative in history with over 1,400 Christian leaders endorsing and over 300,000 congregations in more than 175 nations, which includes the underground churches in China and seven Muslim countries," explained Miriam Rodlyn Park, global co-coordinator for the event, in an email to The Christian Post.
The organization first started meeting in 2002 with leading political and religious leaders from Israel and the United States, building up to what is now the largest prayer movement of its kind, with coordinators in 175 nations and over 1,400 key leaders within the evangelical Christian world giving their support. more >>
On a recent episode of "The 700 Club," Pat Robertson told a viewer that he should break off his interfaith relationship.
During the Q&A segment of the program, a man named Brad wrote in explaining that he had been in a relationship with a Muslim woman for three years and that they were planning to get married."No way! No way! She's going to want to do her Muslim thing and you're going to want to do your Christian thing. There will be constant struggle and strife. Walk away," said Robertson."In the Old Testament they were forbidden to intermarry with the heathen."Glenn Stanton, director of global family formation studies for Focus on the Family, told The Christian Post that he agreed with Robertson's views on interfaith marriage."The wisdom of God's Word is quite clear on believers being unequally yoked. And marrying someone who is not a Christian – who is not a daily disciple of Christ – is being unequally yoked, regardless of what their beliefs might be," said Stanton."And the wisdom of Scripture is, not surprisingly, backed up by social science, which finds that interfaith marriages are significantly more likely to be unstable, even leading to higher levels of divorce."According to a 2008 survey performed by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, about 25 percent of married Americans have a spouse of a different religious sect. When considering Protestant denominations as different religious groups, the number rises to 37 percent.Stanton told CP that he believed this large percentage of interfaith marriages was because couples in America are not taking faith in practice as seriously as previous generations."A serious commitment to faith and the practice of that faith is not as important to many couples these days," said Stanton."Less than 50 years ago, an interfaith marriage was when a Presbyterian married a Methodist. That was when distinct belief, practice and identity was taken more seriously."The example that Robertson commented on focused on a Christian-Muslim couple. According to Kamal Nawash, president of the Free Muslims Coalition, Robertson's remarks fit with what many religious leaders preach."While I am not a fan of Robertson, he cannot be blamed for his latest statement. He is merely preaching generally accepted Christian orthodoxy. Most religious leaders, of any faith, adopt the same rule as Robertson," said Nawash in an interview with The Christian Post.Nawash explained that with Islamic practice there is some room allowed for interfaith marriages, but only between a Muslim and someone who is either Jewish or Christian. Further, most Muslims assume that only men can marry outside the religion."Textual Islam is unique among the Abrahamic faiths. It allows interfaith marriages and prohibits husbands from even asking their wives to convert to Islam," said Nawash."However, Muslims are not allowed to marry people outside of Christianity or Judaism. Meaning, Muslims cannot marry Hindus, Buddhists and the like. This is because Islam sees Christianity and Judaism as godly religions."Nawash also said that in the United States Muslim men have been known to marry non-Muslims and that increasingly Muslim women in America have been doing likewise."It is becoming very common for Christian-Muslim marriages in the United States. The trend has been common with men for decades," said Nawash."However, now it is becoming common with Muslim women … I anticipate this trend to continue at a rapid speed and there is nothing that can be done about it."
A liberal North Dakota congregation that has dealt with membership and financial shortcomings announced that it sold its property to the Muslim community which was initially renting.
Grand Forks United Church of Christ's facility will soon become the "Islamic Center of Grand Forks" (ICGF), with an agreement being made that the UCC congregation of about 60 members can continue to meet periodically at the facility.
"We went from rentee to renter," said UCC Council Chairman Don Medal in an interview with local media, regarding the deal which had been finalized weeks earlier. more >>