Tricky Baptists

The people at the Baptist Messenger apparently have been using Photoshop for evil, superimposing Oklahoma Governor Brad Henry’s signature to a morality proclamation. The proclamation states the U.S. is forsaking its Christian heritage to become a world leader in various forms of debauchery. Their mistake: “In the July 16 Messenger, the graphic representation of the Oklahoma Citizen’s Proclamation for Morality was misleading, indicating that Oklahoma Gov. Brad Henry and Secretary of State Susan Savage had signed the document. This is not the case, and the Messenger staff apologizes for the oversight and error.”

And that’s the way he was

Walter Cronkite, who died Friday at age 92, was an American anchor in more ways than one. But in 1994, the Episcopalian gave a wide-ranging interview to The Christian Century on the faith that anchored him. It seems the man who pioneered broadcast news once pondered the Episcopal priesthood, while working as a newspaper church editor. “For a short while, I thought about entering the ministry,” said Cronkite. “But that was a short while.

Shiny, Happy People

A new Chinese commercial has happy Muslims and Han Chinese, donning matching yellow polo shirts and singing: “We are all part of the same family.” This ad brought to you by China’s “relentless propaganda campaign” to gloss over the ethnic rioting in Xinjiang, Associated Press reported. FYI: The 1991 R.E.M. song “Shiny, Happy People” has been rumored to be about Chinese propaganda in the wake of the Tiananmen Square debacle. (Here’s a shameless plug: check out our Q & A with Rebiya Kadeer, the exiled mother figure of China’s Muslim minority.)

Muslim in Congress

WaPo has an in-depth profile on the first elected Muslim to Congress. Apparently, Rep. Keith Ellison is just the right amount of Muslim. Enough to get him re-elected, enough to annoy Republicans, and enough to kind of, sort of help Obama’s public image. “I’ve just taken it in stride,” Ellison says in the article. “In some cases, being a person of my faith will sometimes even open a door.

Spoken too soon?

The Catholic League was thrilled with Obama’s surgeon general pick, a practicing Catholic, but we’re wondering if they missed the memo on one important point: Dr. Regina Benjamin supports abortion rights. The advocacy group has already been pondering Benjamin’s policy influence in anti-abortion efforts, what with Benjamin already being blessed by the pope for her medical work in rural Alabama. A person of faith defying assumptions? Go figure.

Eco-friendly Faith

An English teenager decided to become environmentally moral by getting baptized in a river , as opposed to heating up a baptism pool. Aiming to lead a greener life, she says raising the temperature of a baptistery is a waste of one thousand cups of tea. I applaud her for being not only a good Seventh-day Adventist and environmentalist–but also a good Brit.

Is Britney a Jew?

Looks like another scandalous ensemble from Britney Spears. Check out the star of David dangling from this Baptist girl’s neck. And you thought MJ’s brand of religion would haunt you forever. No worries, we’ve got another mega-celebrity to scratch our heads about. (Photo credit: ABC news)

Watch your language please

Evangelist Tony Alamo faces a 10-count indictment on sex charges, but there’s one label that won’t be leveled on him: polygamist. A federal judge ruled Monday (July 13) that the term “polygamy” cannot be used during the minister’s trial. Prosecutors had hoped to cite Alamo’s views on polygamy as biblical, in part to explain allegations that he took underage girls as wives. In other language barriers, Alamo’s ministry cannot be called a “cult” or his property a “compound.” Charges for Alamo, nee Bernie Hoffman, stem from his alleged transporting of underage girls across state lines for sex.

A bit of the unorthodox for the Orthodox

Things may be heating up this month, as the Antiochian Orthodox Church in North America meets for its convention in Palm Desert, Calif.–an event some insiders have dubbed “Palm Desert Storm.” David Yonke at the Toledo Blade has the story of denominational infighting, complete with nasty e-mails, allegations of forgery, and a five-year old sex scandal to boot. Yonke reported tensions have been on the rise since February for the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archidiocese of North America, which will hold its convention July 19-26.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

It’s Christmas in July as Salvation Army volunteers ring their bells and fill collection kettles in New York City this week. The Christian charity’s summer stint aims to ease additional strain from the economy. (Photo credit: Time Magazine)

Smoochfest in protest near Mormon temple

PDA turned into protest Sunday (June 12), as over 100 people staged a “kiss-in,” to demonstrate against the treatment of two gay men by security guards with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Caught kissing on Salt Lake City’s Main Street Plaza, which the LDS Church now owns, the two men were handcuffed, detained and later cited for trespassing. The Salt Lake Tribune reported that “organizer and former city councilwoman Deeda Seed encouraged ‘gentle’ displays of public affection, and participants stuck to short kisses on the mouth and cheeks.” (Photo credit: Jeremy Harmon/The Salt Lake Tribune)

I Belong to Jesus

The Brazilian football (or soccer for those of us Americans) team was chastized by FIFA, world football’s governing body, for bearing their souls and chests during the finals of the Confederations Cup last month. Stripping out of their jerseys to show T-shirts that read “I Belong to Jesus” and “I Love God,” some members of the team violated FIFA’s law stating ‘Players must not reveal undergarments showing slogans or advertising. The basic compulsory equipment must not have any political, religious or personal statements.’

Only in America

Henry Kissinger, Barbra Streisand, the Three Stooges—they’re all Jewish and all in the running to be celebrated in the Only in America/Hall of Fame at the National Museum of American Jewish History in Philly. Problem is they have some competition. The museum is asking you (yes, even the Christians, Muslims, atheists, you name it) to make the big decision for the final line-up. The museum founders set-up a website where the public can decide which 18 Jewish Americans (past and present), “whose accomplishments should be recognized in a major museum exhibition,” will make it in the “Only in America” gallery to be erected in the museum opening late next year. There’s also the Jewish-American Hall of Fame at the Magnes Museum in Berkeley, Calif., which has already honored Hank Greenberg, Barbra Streisand and Milton Berle, among others.

Metro Crash Saint

Check out this WaPo story on a D.C. Metro crash survivor who relied on prayer to excavate himself and others two weeks ago from the deadliest collision in Metrorail history. “I really believe God was in there with me…that he was in control,” survivor Daryl Smith Jr. told the Washington Post. “He’s the reason I’m alive.”

Love Vigils

Who needs religion when you’ve got MJ? Turns out the Jackson brothers reached an impasse when deciding which faith tradition would be better suited for Michael’s memorial service tomorrow, according to a New York Daily News story. The lucky 8,750 fans who are awarded tickets will focus on praising MJ at the non-denominational event. For the rest of the world’s MJ worshippers, the Rev. Al Sharpton “urged locals without tickets to the memorial to hold ‘love vigils’ in Jackson’s honor.” (Photo credit: Mariant/AP) The Rev. Al Sharpton, speaking at an L.A. church Sunday morning, urged locals without tickets to the memorial to hold “love vigils” in Jackson’s honor.