The World Wide (Religious) Web for Thursday, December 15, 2011

IF TEBOW WINS, FASCISM WINS? “Can Judaism Survive Tim Tebow?” I tried linking to the original article, but it seems to have disappeared from The Jewish Week website. So, here are some quotes:

Into the middle of it all rides Tebow.  Absolutely confident that God is on his side, he comes across as a humbler version of the biblical Joseph, who, in this week’s Torah portion, audaciously lays claim to being the Chosen One, and then goes out and proves it.  Tebow’s sanctimonious God-talk has led even pious peers like Kurt Warner to suggest that he cool it. Joseph could have used the same coaching.

If Tebow wins the Super Bowl, against all odds, it will buoy his faithful, and emboldened faithful can do insane things, like burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.  While America has become more inclusive since Jerry Falwell’s first political forays, a Tebow triumph could set those efforts back considerably.

That’s right, Christians are one Super Bowl win away from “burning mosques, bashing gays and indiscriminately banishing immigrants.” One. Win. Away. No wonder this idiot’s ravings disappeared from the website.

THE FUNDAMENTALS: “Must We Believe in the Virgin Birth?”

Must one believe in the Virgin Birth to be a Christian? This is not a hard question to answer. It is conceivable that someone might come to Christ and trust Christ as Savior without yet learning that the Bible teaches that Jesus was born of a virgin. A new believer is not yet aware of the full structure of Christian truth. The real question is this: Can a Christian, once aware of the Bible’s teaching, reject the Virgin Birth? The answer must be no.

SCISSORS-AND-PASTE BIBLICAL CRITICISM: “‘The Jefferson Bible,’ Jefferson’s Personal Bible On Display At A Smithsonian Exhibit.” By the way, you can buy a high-quality facsimile edition here.

ATHEIST GRINCHES STEAL CHRISTMAS: “Atheist displays displace Nativity scenes in Calif. park.”

JESUS TOASTERS? “Jesus toasters selling briskly.”

I BLAME DICK DURBIN: “Religious liberty held hostage in the Senate.” More precisely, funding for the U.Ss Commission on International Religious Freedom is being held hostage. Why?

So why is it losing its funding, by Washington’s standards, a paltry $4 million? Politics as usual is the answer. According to an article in Congressional Quarterly, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin is holding the commission hostage to his demand that the federal government purchase and open a prison in his home state of Illinois. Claiming it would create a thousand new jobs and add a billion dollars to the state’s economy, Durbin has decided that if he doesn’t get his way, persecuted religious believers, well, will just have to put up with discrimination, imprisonment, terrorism and death. Apart from being cynical, Durbin’s actions are downright cruel.

TRADITION? NO! UNLESS IT’S USEFUL. “Advocating Same-Sex Marriage: Consistency Is Another Victim.”

She had begun, in her prepared remarks, by calling on a standard of “rights” that cannot be defeated by appeals to “tradition.” And she had mocked judges who, in the early decisions on the case for same-sex marriage, had simply turned to a dictionary definition of marriage.

Yet, in her response to my point about plural marriages, Gorenberg herself turned immediately to tradition and to received definitions. Marriage just is a “binary institution,” she asserted, and changing that fact would entail all sorts of inconveniences. (The historic existence of polygamy in many places is proof that these inconveniences are not insurmountable, but this did not slow her down.)

Why mere tradition was now owed such automatic allegiance, she did not pause to explain. Now the prospect of altering a “whole raft of laws” associated with marriage filled her with horror and incredulity. She seemed quite oblivious of the fact that she was making my argument for me. Where was her concern about changing all the details and complexities of a forest of family law planted thick with assumptions about husbands and wives, mothers and fathers, always of opposite sexes?

GIVE ME LIBERTY, OR GIVE ME…EXTRAVAGANT GOVERNMENT: “Patrick Henry Warned Us about Extravagant Government.” Also, check out the author’s new biography, Patrick Henry: First Among Patriots.

AMERICAN MUSLIMS: “Those Protestant Muslims Next Door.”

What concerns me is not that this group aims to take down this TV show; it’s that they received support in the mainstream. This group’s website says they have “not experienced this strong of a response on any other issue during the past 23 years.” Their tactic conveys a symbolic message of religiously-influenced intolerance. Stated sociologically, the dominant religious group in America asserts its dominance by alienating minority non-Christian Americans by pressuring neutral businesses to cease support of this programming which in turn motivates the media producer to cancel the show – this effectively silences this affirming portrayal of a maligned minority religious group. For all of the concerns by Christians over mass media’s corrosive effects, it seems like positive portrayals of diverse Muslim Americans are the least of these problems.

MAINSTREAM ANTI-SEMITISM? “Thomas Friedman and the New Anti-Semitism.” Part 1 and Part 2.

STILL, IT SHOULD BE EASY TO SIGN, RIGHT? “A Misguided Fidelity Pledge.”

Why one would believe a pledge made to a 501(c)3 nonprofit group would carry more weight than one made to the most important people in your life, as well as to the Lord God himself, strikes me as odd.

LIES, D***ED LIES & STATISTICS? “Premarital Sex and Our Love Affair with Bad Stats.” Yes, evangelicals love to read bad stats about themselves. (About which, read Bradley Wright’s Christians Are Hate-Filled Hypocrites…And Other Lies You’ve Been Told.)Make sure to read the comments on Kevin DeYoung’s post. And then read Premarital Sex in America by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker.

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