Tuesday’s Godbytes

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Welcome back to Godbytes! You missed us, we know.

Lots of folks were talking about presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s faith this past weekend, with the Washington Post’s On Faith blog sporting two different takes on the congresswoman’s spiritual life.

One position, penned by by Marie Giffith, looks at how Bachmann represents a change in evangelical Christianity:

“As a matter of fact, balancing subservience with authority is something that evangelical Christian women have been working on for a very long time. For those who hold theological views similar to Michele Bachmann’s, submission to the will of God–and to God’s earthly (male) representatives–is precisely the mindset that justifies the exercise of godly power on earth. And when power is “godly” (as opposed to greedy and self-focused), it may be channeled equally by men and by women, both sexes being potential vessels of Divine will.”

Meanwhile, Lisa Miller unpacks the idea that Bachmann is a new kind of Christian feminist:

“Instead, a ‘feminist’ is a fiscally conservative, pro-life butt-kicker in public, a cooperative helpmate at home, and a Christian wife and mother, above all. Rep. Michele Bachmann is Exhibit A. With her relentless attacks on big government and a widely circulated 2006 video in which she credits her professional success to the submission of her will to Jesus and her husband, Bachmann represents “a new definition of feminism,” says Stephen Bannon, director of ‘Fire From the Heartland,’ a 2010 movie about the female leaders of the tea party.”

Relatedly, Get Religion is miffed about how the press can generalize Bachman’s attempt to court “the faithful”:

“For the same reason, I’m not a huge fan of this piece in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on Michele Bachmann’s attempts to build a base among ‘the faithful.’ We saw similar coverage after Tim Pawlenty released a video about his faith, but I couldn’t figure out what the fuss was about. Politicians are trying to build their base and many of them target certain niche groups, the end. In this case, we learn only that Bachmann is targeting ‘the faithful,’ which is a pretty broad umbrella term for people who have some sort of faith.”

In other sectors of the religious blogosphere, Joshua Eaton at Tricycle has some tips for how to make Buddhism more accessible to the working class:

“Indeed, many Buddhist events and organizations fail to take economic hardship into account. … Even more striking was a recent week-long Buddhist conference that was open to the public but took place at a retreat center far from any major cities and charged a hefty registration fee. How could any working-class people even have hoped to attend?”

America Magazine’s In All Things blog reports on how the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops is right miffed about new women’s care guidelines posted by the Department of Health and Human Services:

“The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) sharply criticized a new HHS ‘preventive services’ mandate requiring private health plans to cover female surgical sterilization and all drugs and devices approved by the FDA as contraceptives, ‘including drugs which can attack a developing unborn child before and after implantation in the mother’s womb.'”

Chad Holtz at the Christian Century blog thinks that Christians need their own Ramadan:

“When I lived in Bahrain back in my unchurched days I watched devout Muslims go as far as spitting their saliva out of their mouths while the sun was out so as to not break their fast from water. It was 130+ degrees outside. I observed this from my air conditioned apartment, sipping my FIJI water bottle while thanking God I was born to a Christian household.

That was 15 years ago. Today, I wish Christians had Ramadan. I think we’d be stronger, more faithful, more joyful, and better off for it.”

The “Spirited Atheist” gives her two cents on the legal controversy surrounding the World Trade Center cross:

“This suit not only misconstrues the First Amendment but detracts from the seriousness of the many genuine violations of the separation of church and state that have become embedded in our society. Yes, it would be a violation of the establishment clause if the battered cross-shaped object were displayed at the entrance as the museum’s official symbol. And I’d be the first to go to court to get it removed.”

In twitter news, we have two Tweet awards to present today. This frist, the Tweet of the Weekend, comes from Young Muslim American Voices, who greet the first day of the month of Ramadan with the traditional greeting that means “blessed Ramadan.” Interestingly, they use an alternative spelling of “Ramadan Mubarak,” perhaps because that version of the phrase is getting some people confused:

@YngMuslimAmer Ramadan Mobarek from the CAP faith team

The second award, the Tweet of the Day, goes to Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, who had this to say about the recently-passed debt ceiling bill:

@repcleaver This deal is a sugar-coated satan sandwich. If you lift the bun, you will not like what you see.

So what do you think, dear readers? Is Michele Bachmann’s faith part of a new kind of Christian feminism? Does American Buddhism exclude people from different walks of life? Should the World Trade Center cross be allowed to be displayed? Sound off in the comments below!

As always, remember to follow us at @religionnewsnow!

— Jack Jenkins