The largest Protestant denomination in the United States has passed a resolution stating that marriage is between one man and one woman regardless of what the U.S. Supreme Court concludes later this month.
Messengers for the Southern Baptist Convention voted Tuesday afternoon in favor of Resolution 5, which among other things, prayerfully calls for the Supreme Court to "uphold the right of the citizens to define marriage as exclusively the union of one man and one woman."
MIAMI BEACH — Can the Islamic State, or ISIS, be classified as a "religious movement," or is it a political movement that's only superficially religious? This issue was discussed by two Middle East experts at a recent Faith Angle Forum.
Bernard Haykel noted that many of his colleagues in the social sciences "want to push very hard against the idea that ISIS is a religious movement or that Islam has anything to do with the Islamic State." Social scientists, he added, usually prefer analyses centered on race, class and gender to those centered on religion as an explanatory variable. He also noted that President Barack Obama prefers to not associate ISIS with Islam.
"If you look at the cultural production, the intellectual production, the legal and theological production of ISIS, which is plentiful on the Web, there is no question that this is a movement that's drawing on a very particular strain or trend within the Islamic intellectual history, legal history, theological history," Haykel countered. "It has particular obsessions with certain theological concepts, and, of course, it's presenting itself as an heir to the 'true' version of Islam, which is a kind of projection backwards onto what true Islam was, by people who are living with us today, by moderns." more >>
Pope Francis has hit back against those who say that focusing on the poor is a sign of communism, by stating in a speech that caring for the less fortunate is part of the Christian Gospel. He also said that if "faith doesn't reach your pockets, it is not a genuine faith."
Vatican Radio reported that Francis made the comments during mass on Tuesday in the chapel of the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where he said: "Oh, this priest speaks about poverty too much, this bishop talks about poverty, this Christian, this sister talk about poverty. Well, they're a bit communist, aren't they?"
The Roman Catholic Church leader asserted that "poverty is at the very center of the Gospel: If we remove poverty from the Gospel, no one would be able to understand anything about the message of Jesus." more >>
Days after The Christian Post reported that American pastor Saeed Abedini, who's in an Iranian jail because of his Christian faith, was "viciously beaten" by fellow prisoners, the Rev. Franklin Graham has called on President Obama to help secure his release just as the White House recently worked to free an Egyptian-American Muslim from an Egyptian prison.
"Mr. President, American pastor Saeed Abedini has been imprisoned in Iran for two-and-a-half years, and last week he suffered another severe beating at the hands of inmates," Graham wrote in an open letter posted on his Facebook page, which is followed by more than 1.6 million people.
"His life is continuously threatened not only because he's an American, but also because he's a Christian. This was why he was arrested — and he has been told his only way out is to deny Jesus Christ," added Graham, who leads Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. more >>
Survey after survey shows that Americans are more disillusioned with politics than ever before. They don't trust that their representatives truly have their interests or the welfare of the nation at heart, but instead their own ambitions. How long has it been since anyone could say with confidence that the person representing them in Congress or in the White House was a grounded, authentic, principled, forthright, honest person? These days, there's always an angle, and the tone is always divisive. The entire contemporary political apparatus is built around the exploitation of identity politics and "wedge issues." Politicians, and the political machines responsible for manufacturing and "running" them as candidates, identify our differences, zero in on those differences, and make their campaign appeals based on those differences. The result? A polarized electorate that increasingly sees politics as a zero-sum process.
According to the prevailing political narrative, the "electorate" exists as a loose collection of identity-based sub-groups including factors like ideology, race, religion, morality, age, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status and many others. Pitting these groups against one another, or making them think that the other groups are somehow responsible for their grievances, is an excellent way to build a secure political constituency: "Vote for me! I'll fight for you against the corruption and undue influence of X, Y, and Z!" "X, Y, and Z are ruining this country, vote for me and we'll take America back, together!"
We've all heard it. The rhetoric of fear and division. Animosity and paranoia are great motivators. They get people to the polls and keep them voting the way they should. more >>
The "wars" on poverty, drugs and terrorism have failed. The goals are noble on the surface, but they have been used -- with scant results -- to tax us more, employ more government workers, and expand the power of Washington. All three "wars" have benefitted only one group of people: the D.C. political class. If we had every penny back that we spent on these fake "wars," the country would be better off and there would be no federal deficit.
If you now self-identify as "poor" and "aggrieved," you get money to sit at home.
Recent data from the Senate Budget Committee tells the real story of how out-of-control our supposed "War on Poverty" has become. According to the latest census, about 17 million American families' income falls below the poverty line. Counting all federal and state spending on welfare, food stamps, healthcare, housing, Obamaphones and other hand-outs intended to buy their votes, we spend $61,000 per year on each household under the poverty line. more >>