Civil vs Religious

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin “In no church, no synagogue, no mosque, no temple, no religious house will those who disagree with same-sex unions be compelled to perform them. Period. This legislation is about civil marriage, not religious marriage.” -Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, seeking to calm fears over legislation passed Tuesday (June 28) that allows gay marriage across Canada. He was quoted by The Washington Post.

Civil vs Religious

Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin “In no church, no synagogue, no mosque, no temple, no religious house will those who disagree with same-sex unions be compelled to perform them. Period. This legislation is about civil marriage, not religious marriage.” -Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, seeking to calm fears over legislation passed Tuesday (June 28) that allows gay marriage across Canada. He was quoted by The Washington Post.

The Supreme Court Decision

Supreme Court Issues Split Decision on Ten Commandments Cases RNS’ article of the week looks at the Supreme Court’s split decision on displays of the Ten Commandments. Key quote: Taken together, the decisions indicate the justices’ determination that there are instances-taken on a case-by-base basis-where the biblical laws may be placed in a government context. And check out the sidebar, at the bottom of the piece, with reactions to the decision.

The Supreme Court Decision

Supreme Court Issues Split Decision on Ten Commandments Cases RNS’ article of the week looks at the Supreme Court’s split decision on displays of the Ten Commandments. Key quote: Taken together, the decisions indicate the justices’ determination that there are instances-taken on a case-by-base basis-where the biblical laws may be placed in a government context. And check out the sidebar, at the bottom of the piece, with reactions to the decision.

Caught Between the Cross and the Comma: UCC Denomination Addresses Identity

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) The glitzy “God is Still Speaking” ad campaign by the United Church of Christ features a giant black comma with a quote from comedian Gracie Allen _ “Never place a period where God has placed a comma.” Some conservatives, however, worry that a punctuation mark has pushed aside the UCC’s traditional logo _ with its prominent cross and crown of Jesus Christ _ and with it, the church’s Christian identity. As UCC delegates gather in Atlanta this weekend (July 1-5) for the church’s General Synod meeting, they will consider a resolution to reassert the UCC’s 1957 “Cross Triumphant” logo as the “central symbol” for its 1.3 million members. On this and other issues, the UCC seems to be wrestling with its core identity, torn between its Puritan roots and its reputation as the proud left pole of American Protestantism. To put it another way, the church is caught between the cross and the comma.

Should Churches Celebrate Independence Day?

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) First Baptist Church in Euless, Texas, prides itself on its fiercely patriotic approach to the Fourth of July. Last year, Marines rappelled into the sanctuary, church members in uniform stuck rifles and helmets into a Styrofoam grave site made by a Broadway set designer, and indoor fireworks exploded over a packed house in back-to-back services. “It’s just a big patriotic, feel-good moment,” said Robert Elkins, the church’s music director. First Covenant Church in Oakland, Calif., takes a different approach, allowing a salute to veterans but steering clear of any overtly patriotic messages.

COMMENTARY: Supreme Court Continues Assault on Nation’s Religious Symbols and Heritage

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Faced with not one but two opportunities this week to settle a crucial issue of religious liberties, the U.S. Supreme Court justices instead used a concept called “legal realism.” Simply put, they changed the law to make it say what they wanted it to say. The justices should have stood with the Founding Fathers, who clearly intended for a sovereign God to be acknowledged in government. Instead, the message from McCreary County v. ACLU and Van Orden v. Perry goes something like this: Religious symbols and documents are acceptable on public property only when all the religious significance is drained from them. Otherwise, forget it.

COMMENTARY: With 350 Years of History, Jews Celebrate Special Independence Day in America

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) It was September of 1654, over a hundred years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. A small group of Jewish people on a small, tattered boat fleeing the Portuguese inquisition in Brazil, escaping pirates on the sea, arrived in New Amsterdam, which 10 years later became New York City. More than a century later, in 1790, George Washington wrote to the Jewish community in Newport, R.I., promising that the new nation would be one “which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance.” This year, we celebrate 350 years of Jewish life in America, a golden age in the history of the Jewish people. America has enfolded Jews into the wonderful, rich tapestry of American culture, making it possible for Jews to achieve and contribute to all facets of American society.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Pope Preaches Christian Unity, Gives Four U.S. Archbishops Badge of Office VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI said Wednesday (June 29) he prays that his ministry as Roman Catholic pontiff will serve not as a “stumbling block” but as a “support” to the quest for Christian unity. The pope spoke following a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica at which he bestowed the badge of office on a cardinal and 32 archbishops, including Americans Wilton Gregory of Atlanta, Jose Gomez of San Antonio, Joseph Fiorenza of Galveston-Houston and Joseph Naumann of Kansas City. The Mass marked the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.

RNS Weekly Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Episcopalians, Canadians, Banned From Anglican Meetings Until 2008 (RNS) In sanctions narrowly approved Wednesday (June 22), the Episcopal Church and its Canadian counterpart were told they will not be welcome at an international panel that sets policy for the Anglican Communion. The Anglican Consultative Council, meeting in Nottingham, England, voted 30-28 to ban the U.S. and Canadian churches from future meetings until 2008. There were four abstentions in the closed-door vote. However, a U.S. church spokeswoman said there are no further ACC meetings scheduled between now and 2008, which makes the sanctions “a moot point.” The sanctions were recommended by senior Anglican bishops at their meeting in February, when they urged the two churches to “voluntarily withdraw” from the global panel because of their support of homosexuality.

Thou shalt not steal

John W. Styll, of the Gospel Music Association “The gospel music community joins the rest of the music industry in thanking the Supreme Court for its thoughtful, and we believe, correct decision. … Today, gospel music artists and everyone making its livelihood in our industry rests easier, knowing that we can continue to create uplifting and edifying music knowing the highest court in our land has declared, `Thou shalt not steal.'” -John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, in a statement regarding the Monday (June 27) Supreme Court ruling in support of copyright protection.

Thou shalt not steal

John W. Styll, of the Gospel Music Association “The gospel music community joins the rest of the music industry in thanking the Supreme Court for its thoughtful, and we believe, correct decision. … Today, gospel music artists and everyone making its livelihood in our industry rests easier, knowing that we can continue to create uplifting and edifying music knowing the highest court in our land has declared, `Thou shalt not steal.'” -John W. Styll, president of the Gospel Music Association, in a statement regarding the Monday (June 27) Supreme Court ruling in support of copyright protection.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Pope Unveils Digest of Church Teaching That He Prepared as a Cardinal VATICAN CITY (RNS) Pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday presented the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics with an authoritative digest of church teaching that he himself prepared before he was elected Roman Catholic pontiff. Benedict called the 205-page “Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church” a “gift that God makes to the church” in its third millennium. He said it is intended to awaken a “renewed interest and fervor” in the Catholic faith. The book, which contains 598 questions and answers two to six lines long, deals with the basic teachings of the faith _ how it is professed, celebrated, lived and prayed _ which is known as the catechism.