COMMENTARY: Why the Christian Right’s Fight Over Evolution Isn’t About Evolution

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Religious bullying makes for colorful politics, but does little for faith or culture. As we saw in Rome’s lamentable denunciation of Copernicus and Galileo for discoveries that threatened the Church’s franchise, religious bullies can rile the faithful, intimidate secular leaders and offer easy escapes from a confusing world. But they do little to advance human knowledge or to promote serious faith. The latest example of religious bullying, in an era filled with it, is an assault by a subset of conservative Christianity on the science of evolution.

Faith in the community

Quote of the Day: The Rev. Gardner Taylor, past president, Progressive National Baptist Convention “God moves in a mysterious way and, if you’re not careful, you’ll miss that movement. It is our job as preachers and teachers to identify the footprints of God in human affairs.” -The Rev. Gardner Taylor, past president of the Progressive National Baptist Convention, addressing the annual meeting of his denomination in Detroit on Aug. 10. He was quoted by the Detroit Free Press.

Black Churches Taking Lead on Pressing Sudan Issue

c. 2005 Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly CHICAGO _ A decade ago, when evangelicals made advocacy on Sudan a centerpiece of their campaign against religious persecution, many African-American churches were reluctant to join in. Today, however, black churches are increasingly at the forefront of the grass-roots momentum to end what the United States calls “genocide” in Sudan’s western Darfur province. “What we’ve been able to do is to mobilize our numbers and to say that we’re willing … to lay our bodies on the line,” the Rev. Sean McMillan of Chicago’s Shekinah Chapel told the PBS program “Religion & Ethics NewsWeekly.” With preaching, protests and poetry, the churches hope to make Sudan an issue on par with the anti-apartheid activism that mobilized the U.S. religious community in the 1980s.

Christian Magazines, Like Musicians, Try to Tap Secular Market

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Look around the magazine racks at your local Wal-Mart, Barnes & Noble or Rite Aid and you may see some new titles amid the regulars. Charisma, a magazine principally aimed at Pentecostal Christians, this summer launched a concerted effort to cross over into the general market, following in the footsteps of Christian music and books that have made the leap from religious to secular shelves. And it’s not alone: Precious Times, a quarterly publication for African-American Christian women, entered Barnes & Noble in April. Around the same time, NavPress Periodicals started placing its Pray!

COMMENTARY: Religious Freedom Has Gone AWOL in the Air Force

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) When it comes to America’s cherished right of religious freedom, the U.S. military is the proverbial canary in the mine shaft. Sadly, the Air Force continues to allow this canary to asphyxiate in the toxic air of religious intolerance. Nowhere in American society do individuals from so many different ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds come together on a prolonged and tight-knit basis as they do in the military. Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and atheists all don uniforms with pride.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Appeals Court Cites Supreme Court in Allowing Ten Commandments Display (RNS) In a decision influenced by a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling on the Ten Commandments, a federal appeals court ruled Friday (Aug. 19) that a monument to the biblical laws can remain in a Nebraska park. The Plattsmouth, Neb., monument was donated to the city in 1965 by the Fraternal Order of Eagles, which has given similar monuments to numerous municipalities. The American Civil Liberties Union Nebraska Foundation argued on behalf of a city resident who claimed the display violated the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.

Christian magazines expand audience; Black churches take lead on Darfur

Monday’s RNS report starts off with a feature by Adelle M. Banks about Christian magazines crossing over into the secular market: “As a publisher we would like to get our message out to a broader and broader audience,” Stephen Strang, publisher of Charisma magazine, said in an interview. “There’s a new receptivity.” Kim Lawton of Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reports on black churches taking the lead on ending what the United States calls “genocide” in Sudan’s Western Darfur province. “What we’ve been able to do is to mobilize our numbers and to say that we’re willing … to lay our bodies on the line,” says the Rev. Sean McMillan, the Lutheran pastor at Chicago’s Shekinah Chapel.

Confessed “BTK” killer speaks

Quote of the Day: Confessed BTK Killer Dennis Rader “Hopefully, someday God will accept me.” -Dennis Rader, the confessed “BTK” killer in Wichita, Kan., at his sentencing on Thursday, Aug. 18. Rader, a former president of the church council at his Lutheran church, also thanked his pastor, the Rev. Michael Clark, for his support.

NEWS STORY: Catholic Youth Offer Pope a Chance to `Make His Case’

c. 2005 Religion News Service COLOGNE, Germany _ It is probably too early to know whether Pope Benedict XVI, the new shepherd of the world’s 1.1 billion Catholics, will be able to establish the kind of popular appeal his predecessor had with young believers. Early indications from the church’s World Youth Day festivities here, however, indicate that he might come close. Perhaps one of Benedict’s challenges is his soft-spoken personality, far more introspective and unassuming than the charisma of the wildly popular John Paul II, who died in April. But if the estimated 100,000 young people gathered here Friday (Aug.

COMMENTARY: Ten Commandments Belong in Our Lives, Not on Public Squares

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Like most Americans, I like monuments. They’re big, they’re solid and they last. Mount Rushmore is ridiculously massive, but it is spectacularly American and looks great on a postcard. But do I really want to see a monument of the Ten Commandments springing up on every courthouse and state capitol lawn in the country?

Meet St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of Real Estate

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) At the Saint Jude Shop in Somerville, N.J., the shelves are stocked with Catholic supplies such as rosaries, Communion dresses, Bibles, gifts and crucifixes. But one of the hottest-selling items _ particularly these days with so many “For Sale” signs planted on suburban lawns _ is a 4-inch statue of St. Joseph. That is because St.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2005 Religion News Service Jews Looking for a Few Good Shofar Players (RNS) It sounds like a biblical brand of “American Idol.” The “Great Shofar Blast Off” is seeking the best rendition of Hebrew notes on the shofar, or ram’s horn, which is blown on the Jewish high holidays to awaken Jews to new spiritual heights. Sponsored by the National Jewish Outreach Program, which last year held a contest for the best chicken soup in America, the event is intended to pique the interest of unaffiliated Jews. Held in advance of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, which respectively mark the Jewish new year and day of atonement, the Sept. 22 contest is targeted to the estimated 50 percent or more of American Jews who do not attend high holiday services, organizers said.

Prioritizing faith

World Youth Day Participant Angela Kopp of Minneapolis “It is hard to defend your faith a lot of times because I feel we’re under attack as young people. We have a lot of pressure from the culture to be worldly rather than have our faith as our No. 1 priority.” -Angela Kopp, 18, of Minneapolis, who is attending World Youth Day with hundreds of thousands of other Catholic youth. She was quoted by USA Today.

COMMENTARY: August Is No Slow-News Month for Jews

c. 2005 Religion News Service (UNDATED) August, the “dog days of summer,” is supposedly a slow time for hard news. But it’s not true. World War I began in August 1914, atomic bombs were dropped on Japan in August 1945 ending World War II, and Richard Nixon resigned the presidency in August 1974. This month, Israel disengaged from Gaza and Iraqi leaders in Baghdad struggle to create a constitution.


(Editor’s note: This August list is compiled by Publishers Weekly magazine from data received from general independent bookstores, chain stores and wholesalers within the month of July. Copyright 2005 Publishers Weekly. Distributed by Religion News Service.) HARDCOVER 1. Your Best Life Now, by Joel Osteen. (Warner Faith, $19.95) 2.