The World Wide (Religious) Web for Monday, August 8, 2011

THE BIBLE IN 4 MINUTES, 45 SECONDS: “The Story of Everything.”


WELL, GOOD! “Pro-life state laws shatter record in 2011.”

State governments have enacted a record number of abortion restrictions this year, including bans by six states on the lethal procedure during the last half of pregnancy.

States have adopted 80 abortion restrictions in their 2011 legislative sessions, far exceeding the previous record of 34 from 2005, according to a July report by the Guttmacher Institute.


OUR SALLY FIELD MOMENT: According to Bradley R. E. Wright, “Americans Like Evangelicals After All”:

…somewhere along the line we evangelical Christians have gotten it into our heads that our neighbors, peers, and most Americans don’t like us, and that they like us less every year. I’ve heard this idea stated in sermons and everyday conversation; I’ve read it in books and articles.

There’s a problem, though. It doesn’t appear to be true. Social scientists have repeatedly surveyed views of various religions and movements, and Americans consistently hold evangelical Christians in reasonably high regard. Furthermore, social science research indicates that it’s almost certain that our erroneous belief that others dislike us is actually harming our faith.

I reviewed Wright’s book, Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…and Other Lies You’ve Been Told, here. You might also want to check out an interview with Wright here.


THE POLITICS OF PRAYER: “Gov. Rick Perry leads Christians in prayer at Texas rally.”


ALSO THIS: “Secular Extremism, Evangelicals, and Rick Perry’s ‘Response.’

But secularist groups like the Freedom from Religion Foundation would expand the definition of “establishment” even further, in order to rid the American public sphere of religion altogether. Extreme church-state separationists would take “under God” out of the Pledge of Allegiance, remove “In God We Trust” from the currency, and force elected officials to stop uttering God’s name. (In 2009, Barack Obama was sued by secularists to prevent him from saying “so help me God” as part of his presidential oath of office. The lawsuit failed.) To these groups, religion per se has to be eliminated from public view. They know that they cannot get their way through normal legislative or elective channels, so they have adopted a litigation strategy as the only hope for their agenda.


But the secularists’ incessant lawsuits over constitutionality keep evangelicals and other Christians from having a sober discussion about what kind of religious events are appropriate (and not merely legal) for elected officials. While I would staunchly defend Perry’s right to hold “The Response,” whether he should is another question. Do Christians really want prayer meetings to be campaign events? Is it possible to separate the piety of “The Response” from Republican primary politics? These are important questions, but they’re obscured by those who will keep suing until every vestige of religion vanishes from American civil society.


LEGAL IDIOCY: “9th Circuit: University Can Force Christian Groups Open to Non-Christians.”

A federal appeals court ruling this week could significantly diminish public university religious groups’ ability to restrict membership and leadership to students who agree with their teachings.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday (Aug. 2) that San Diego State University (SDSU)’s nondiscrimination policy for officially recognized campus groups is constitutional and does not violate the rights of two Christian groups. The policy is based on a nondiscrimination policy used at all the schools in the California State University system.

The two Christian groups, sorority Alpha Delta Chi and fraternity Alpha Gamma Omega, had sued SDSU in 2005, alleging the policy violated their free-speech and religious-freedom rights. In order for the groups to be recognized as official campus groups, they were required to allow all students to be members, even if their beliefs were contradictory to the group’s beliefs.


NO, THEY DON’T! “Alzheimer’s Patients Deserve a ‘Rain Forest’ Solution.”

The Huffington Post published a piece by religious lefty April L. Bogle, that basically says we should kill people with Alzheimer’s and other morbidly elderly, rather than care for them until the natural end of their lives.  She uses an advocacy formula I have often seen deployed for promoting radical bioethical “reform”–first make a harsh and dehumanizing analogy that undermines human exceptionalism, then take it (sort of, but not really) back, followed by a call for “serious conversation” for allowing acts that will take us deeper into the moral abyss.


NOT WHAT YOU THINK: “I’m Done With Living Like a Christian.”

So, yes, I’m done with living like a Christian.  I’m trading that in for living in a deeper relationship with Christ.  I want to know Jesus.  I want to hear Jesus.  I want to be empowered by Jesus.  Not simply in theory as I do the good things that he calls us to do, but as the natural outflow of intimacy with God.  The former way “gets the job done.”  The latter way changes the world.


WHAT WOULD JOHN WESLEY DO? “Prayer Warriors for Government Debt.”


NO! “The Balanced Budget Amendment: What Would Hamilton Say?”

In light of Hamilton’s concerns and recommendations, the principles of which contain timeless wisdom for our nation, the balanced budget amendment appears to be a well-intentioned but ill-considered proposal.


FROM MY MAGAZINE: “Holiness and the Five Calls of God.” Check out the whole issue.

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