Evangelicals pleasantly surprised with McCain’s VP

Though stunned like everyone else, evangelicals are praising Sen. John McCain’s pick for vice presidential nominee as a woman who agrees with their anti-abortion views. Introducing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at an Ohio rally Friday (Aug. 29), McCain called her “someone with strong principles, a fighting spirit and deep compassion.” Palin, a conservative Christian, has been held up as a model for her decision to give birth to her fifth child in April, when she knew he had Down syndrome.”I think that’s a plus in her favor with conservatives,” said the Rev. Don Argue, former president of the National Association of Evangelicals and chancellor of Northwest University in Seattle.

Danny Glover seeks prayers for Louisiana

DENVER-Actor Danny Glover spoke to Louisiana’s Democratic National Convention delegates Thursday (Aug. 29), leading them in a prayer that New Orleans be spared from Tropical Storm Gustav’s fury.

Evangelicals pleasantly surprised with McCain’s VP choice

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Pleasantly surprised evangelicals are praising Sen. John McCain’s pick for vice presidential nominee as a woman who embodies their values _ particularly on abortion. Introducing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin at an Ohio rally Friday (Aug. 29), McCain said she is “someone with strong principles, a fighting spirit and deep compassion.” Palin, a 44-year-old evangelical Christian, has been held up as a model for her decision to give birth to her fifth child in April after learning he has Down syndrome. “I think that’s a plus in her favor with conservatives,” said the Rev. Don Argue, a past president of the National Association of Evangelicals and chancellor of Northwest University in Seattle.

COMMENTARY: Pelosi flat out wrong on abortion

People will use practically anything for politics, but when they use their religion it’s a bit breathtaking. Nancy Pelosi left a lot of Catholics gasping Sunday morning (Aug. 24), when she skewed Catholic teaching on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and erroneously suggested the church did not always oppose abortion. The House Speaker went well beyond the “personally opposed” position of many Catholics in public life when she opted to misrepresent St. Augustine (354-430).

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service UpDATE: Dalai Lama is in good health (RNS) The Dalai Lama is in good health, said doctors in Mumbai, India, according to the exiled Tibetan leader’s office. “The doctors attending on him have given assurances that there is absolutely no cause for concern,” the Dalai Lama’s office said in a statement Friday (Aug. 29). “All that he needs is a good rest.” From Mumbai on Saturday, the Dalai Lama will join in a 12-hour fast for peace and freedom organized by the Tibetan Solidarity Committee in Dharamsala, India, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile, his office said.

September Ramadan means long days of fasting

c. 2008 Religion News Service NEWARK, N.J. _ Fasting from sunrise to sunset for 30 days, as Muslims begin doing early next week to mark the Islamic month of Ramadan, is never easy. But some years are harder than others. That’s because Islam’s lunar calendar guarantees that, over a 33-year cycle, Ramadan will occur in winter, spring, summer and fall. The holy month, which falls about 11 days earlier on Western Gregorian calendars each year, is now trending toward the heart of summer, when daylight is longer and temperatures are higher.

GUEST COMMENTARY: Pelosi flat out wrong on abortion

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) People will use practically anything for politics, but when they use their religion it’s a bit breathtaking. Nancy Pelosi left a lot of Catholics gasping Sunday morning (Aug. 24) when she skewed Catholic teaching on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and erroneously suggested the church did not always oppose abortion. The House Speaker went well beyond the “personally opposed” position of many Catholics in public life when she opted to misrepresent St.

Praying in a multicultural world

As the election season continues to unfold, there are new ways of giving benedictions in our multicultural world. Florida megachurch pastor Joel Hunter broke the mold by interrupting the final benediction of the Democratic National Convention to request that all who prayed with him “close this prayer in the way your faith tradition would close your prayer.” In years past, debates and even a suit by atheist Michael Newdow followed controversial inaugural prayers by evangelist Franklin Graham and Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell of Houston. Now, Hunter’s benediction has been declared “unusual” by a Wall Street Journal blog and noted by ChristianityToday.com’s Ted Olsen. “Yes, he prayed in Jesus’ name,” Olsen wrote. “But I don’t think I’ve ever seen that long of a preface to praying in Jesus’ name.” Beliefnet.com’s editor-in-chief Steven Waldman learned that Franklin Graham’s father gave Hunter this advice as crafted his benediction: “Just say what God gives you.”

Poking the Buddha

If St. Augustine can have a Myspace page, then I guess it’s cool if the Buddha’s on Facebook. Also, I’m told you can send someone good karma via Facebook. Here’s the Facebook version of a Zen sesshin: Q: Why can’t I use a limited edition karma that my friend just sent me? A: You can only send Karmas that you have unlocked.

Palindrome

First thought: Gilgoff’s right to draw attention to Richard Land’s enthusiasm for Palin as Veep in his CBS interview of a few weeks ago. So she’s the ticket’s energizer bunny: activated evangelicals plus Alaska oil. See Sarah run. Second thought: Palin gives religious right leaders–real, supposed, or would-be–all the grounds they need to jump on board McCain’s bus. But for them it’s the old dodge of pushing for all you can get, knowing that at the end of the day you’ll be there for your seat.

Mile High Civil Religion

For connoisseurs of religion in American public life, last night’s stadium extravaganza offered a couple of tasty morsels. Let me begin with Rev. Joel Hunter’s benediction, which ended with the novelty of asking all attendees to pray in the name of whatever they pray in the name of. Or as he put it:Now I interrupt this prayer for a closing instruction. I want to personalize this. I want this to be a participatory prayer.

We all make sacrifices

Big news out of the Empire State, yesterday, where police in Greenburgh, NY, nabbed a father-son duo they say mistreated animals with the intent of sacrificing them in Santeria rituals. From our friends at the Lower Hudson Journal-News: “Authorities found a pen containing about 30 goats and sheep; a half-dozen crates full of chickens, pigeons and doves; four ducks, eight quail and four turtles.” The quail and turtles seem a bit excessive-perhaps they were planning a opening a French restaurant? Or an Ark? It’s also worth noting that animal sacrifice itself is legal, but police charged the two men with violating zoning restrictions (it was a residential neighborhood), unlawfully transporting the animals, and cruelty.

Muslims find welcome at Democrats’ party

c. 2008 Religion News Service DENVER _ Muslim leaders here say the Democratic National Committee is welcoming their rising profile in the party, even as Democrats’ presidential nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, battles false rumors that he is Muslim. As the Democratic National Convention draws to a close tonight with Obama’s official acceptance of the nomination, faith has assumed a new prominence in the party’s proceedings. Just as Democrats have shone a spotlight on evangelical and Catholic progressives, they’ve also highlighted the small-but-growing number of Muslim Democrats. Party bosses have attended American Muslim Democratic Caucus meetings, Muslim leaders participated in a pre-convention interfaith gathering, and Muslim congressmen have mingled with rank-and-file community activists.