October surprise

Talking Points Memo has word that McCain insiders are gleeful about the prospects of a Palin wedding this fall. Excerpt: “Inside John McCain’s campaign the expectation is growing that there will be a popularity boosting pre-election wedding in Alaska between Bristol Palin, 17, and Levi Johnston, 18, her schoolmate and father of her baby. “It would be fantastic,” said a McCain insider. “You would have every TV camera there. The entire country would be watching.

Did it or didn’t it?

From the latest bit of Couric interview:She took issue with news reports that one of [the churches she attends], The Wasilla Bible Church, sponsored a conference where gays could be made straight through prayer. Palin: Well, it matters though, Katie, when the media gets it wrong. It frustrates Americans who are just trying to get the facts and … be able to make up their mind on, about a person’s values. So it does matter. From Rachel D’Oro’s September 6 article in Huffpost:ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Gov. Sarah Palin’s church is promoting a conference that promises to convert gays into heterosexuals through the power of prayer.

Cartoon Offends

Pat Oliphant’s cartoon, printed last Wednesday on Washingtonpost.com, received criticism for being offensive, particularly from some 350 Pentecostals. Debra Howell, who appeased such responses in her column, continued the discussion with a more general piece on the politics of cartoons. In response, a Getreligion post by Mollie pointed out that not only is the cartoon offensive to Pentecostals, but that “Howell neglected to mention in her lengthy column was that Oliphant was so ignorant of Palin’s religious views that he didn’t even know that she is no longer Pentecostal.” Actually, it’s not entirely clear what Palin’s religious views are at this point in time. In 2002, she did leave the Assemblies of God church that belonged to for almost all of her life and joined a nearby Bible church, but she remains a “friend’ of her old church and is reported to attend an Assemblies of God church when she’s in Juneau.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service Watchdog group files `Pulpit Freedom Sunday’ complaints with IRS (RNS) A Washington-based watchdog group has filed six complaints with the Internal Revenue Service after dozens of clergy participated in a challenge to rules that ban politicking from the pulpit. At least 31 pastors took part in “Pulpit Freedom Sunday” (Sept. 28), according to the initiative’s organizers at the Alliance Defense Fund, a conservative Christian law firm based in Arizona. “These pastors flagrantly violated the law and now must deal with the consequences,” said the Rev. Barry W. Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.

RNS Daily Digest

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) I believe that abortion is an unspeakable evil, yet I support Sen. Barack Obama, who is pro-choice. I do not support him because he is pro-choice,but in spite of it. Is that a proper moral choice for a committed Catholic? As one of the inaugural members of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board on clergy sexual abuse, and as a canon lawyer, I answer with a resounding yes.

Baptist pastor, former seminary president dies

NEW ORLEANS-The Rev. Landrum Leavell II, who built New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary into one of the largest in the country, died in Wichita Falls, Texas, on Friday (Sept. 26), the seminary said. He was 81.

COMMENTARY: A Catholic’s case for Obama

I believe that abortion is an unspeakable evil, yet I support Sen. Barack Obama, who is pro-choice. I do not support him because he is pro-choice, but in spite of it. Is that a proper moral choice for a committed Catholic? As one of the inaugural members of the U.S. bishops’ National Review Board on clergy sexual abuse, and as a canon lawyer, I answer with a resounding yes.Despite what some Republicans would like Catholics to believe, the list of what the church calls “intrinsically evil acts” does not begin and end with abortion. In fact, there are many intrinsically evil acts, and a committed Catholic must consider all of them in deciding how to vote.

Ramadan sees birth of emerging Muslim labor movement

c. 2008 Religion News Service (UNDATED) Hundreds of Muslim workers at two meat processing plants in Colorado and Nebraska walked off the job earlier this month, protesting their employer’s refusal to grant time to pray and break a 12-hour fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. About 100 workers were fired in Greeley, Colo., followed by about 80 in Grand Island, Neb. JBS Swift & Co. insists the terminations had nothing to do with religion, but rather with employees refusing to return to work.

Sexy Puritan

Novelist Tom Perrotta, whose “The Abstinence Teacher” was voted the year’s best book by Baltimore City Paper, has a piece in Slate about Sarah Palin’s unique appeal.

Peter praises Paul

Today’s issue of L’Osservatore Romano carries a laudatory obituary of the late Paul Newman. “In his films he was the tough guy and the braggart, the rebel and the conquistador,” recalls the official Vatican newspaper. “In reality Newman was a generous heart, an actor of a dignity and style rare in Hollywood circles.” The obit naturally mentions the deceased’s 1954 movie debut in the Biblical epic The Silver Chalice (see photo), but surprisingly (or maybe not) ignores his performance in the title role of Cool Hand Luke (1967), where he plays a rebellious prison inmate as an unconventional Christ figure.

The Great Schlep

If you’re not bothered by cursing and poking fun at racial stereotypes, check out Sarah Silverman’s pitch for young Jews to go to Florida and beg their bubbes to vote Obama. The Great Schlep. ht: DMN