(RNS) Words to watch today in this chill edition of the roundup: Polar vortex; income inequality; gay marriage.
Polar vortex is fancy science talk for the insane cold that has escaped from the Arctic and enveloped much of the USA. As we obsess about our chilled bodies, RNS blogger Omid Safi wonders “why we fail to show the same concern for exposure of the human heart to the frozen realm of coldness, of distance, of isolation.”
Isn’t that just the perfect segue to Congress’ return from recess? Will they vote to defrost some jobless benefits for 1.3 million Americans or perhaps restore food stamp cuts from the Farm Bill passed last year?
This week, the 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty. In the words of Lyndon Baines Johnson in his Jan. 8 State of the Union address: “Too many Americans live on the outskirts of hope.” More than one in six Americans told a Public Religion Research Survey this summer that the income gap between rich and poor was a top economic issue.
So expect to hear “income inequality” tossed around more than a homily from Pope Francis or a speech from NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio. Sarah Pulliam Bailey profiles the new “spiritual but not religious” de Blasio who puts his faith in social justice.
Do states have the power to halt the sweep of same-sex marriage legalization? Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor has put a halt to gay weddings in Utah “while state officials appeal a decision allowing such unions.” This leaves about 1,000 couples wed since Dec. 17 in “legal limbo,” according to The New York Times.
Too late if you wanted to see Bill Nye “The Science Guy” debate Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis at the Petersburg, Ky., Creation Museum. The tickets sold out in two minutes on Monday for their February public debate on whether “creation is a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era.” But you may be able to see it on live streaming video.
Pentecostal pastor Ron Carpenter of the Redemption World Outreach Center in Greenville, S.C., announced a split from his wife, Hope, last fall and told the RWOC about her psychiatric treatment and “multiple affairs.” Now he tells tells “Charisma News” they are working with Bishop T. D. Jakes to reconcile.
All those portraits of little children coming to the arms of Christ have a new parallel. Sort of. Satanists have released a sketch of 7-foot statue they want to place by the Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma State Capital. It shows a horned devil seated and smiling, with a boy and girl at his side.
A former member of the Vatican elite Swiss Guard says he had to fend off unwanted sexual advances by clergy.
More from RNS bloggers:
- “On Freedom” Brian Pellot points to the U.S. State Department naming and shaming eight “Countries of Particular Concern” that severely violate religious freedom rights within their borders. ”In 13 countries, atheists can be put to death for their lack of belief.”
- “Entertaining Faith” Laura Turner says why the “Wolf of Wall Street” is a profoundly moral film.
- “Spiritual Politics” Mark Silk interprets Pope Francis recent address to religious orders to offer a glimmer of hope to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, the U.S. group currently under the gun from conservative voices at the Vatican.
- “Faith & Reason” asks if you inhaled? Take a number. Pundits and media folk left and right are confessing to marijuana use.