Official "Man of Steel" poster via Wikipedia

Wednesday’s Religion News Roundup: Evangelicals warn GOP * Next Gen Atheists * Mayor Repents

Official "Man of Steel" poster via Wikipedia

Official "Man of Steel" poster via Wikipedia

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s bird! It’s a plane! It’s a … Jewish guy?” The Forward has “the top 10 reasons for thinking the Man of Steel is an Israelite.”

The new Superman movie opens this Friday, just in time for Shabbat. Hmmm….

While everyone debates whether NSA leaker Edward Snowden is a hero or a traitor, the Forward says Jewish tradition provides guideposts, from the commandment to preserve human life at almost any cost to the rabbinic rules known as the Herem de-Rabbeinu Gershom that were published in Germany around 1000 C.E. I didn’t know what that was either.

As our man in the Vatican reports, Pope Francis indicated the American nuns shouldn’t worry too much about a Vatican investigation – it’s what Vatican types do.

The pope’s remarks about a “gay lobby” in the Vatican is getting a lot of play, too. But how about his worries about Pelagianism? That’s the idea, contra Augustine, that we can work our own way to salvation.

Not that Francis is against good works – indeed, a lot of American Catholics see his social justice message about the poor as bolstering their support for the bishops’ main anti-poverty campaign. But the CCHD is being undermined by a kind of “Catholic McCarthyism" according to a new report.

Pelagianism is sort of the opposite of Calvinism, which a lot of Southern Baptists are embracing, though not all – Adelle Banks reports that at their big annual confab in Houston the SBC delegates may have to agree to disagree. What Would John Calvin Do?

Our own Jonathan Merritt has advice for what the Southern Baptists can do to slow their decline. One of his recommendations: eschew partisan politics.

Don’t hold your breath, Jonathan: Mike Huckabee said pretty much the opposite thing when he addressed the SBC: Southern Baptist churches should consider rejecting their tax-exempt status so they can preach more politics from the pulpit. He also said they should give up the charitable deduction and give out of the goodness of their hearts.

The former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential hopeful also had a stern warning for the Republican Party: Don’t take evangelicals for granted:

“I’m not here to be political, but I want to be prophetic and clear in saying this. Of late, the Republican Party has tried to tell those of us who are evangelicals that maybe we need to dial it back a little bit when it comes to issues like the sanctity of life and the holiness of marriage and maybe just ease off.”

“Well, I’ve got a news flash for the GOP,” he said. “I plan to take my last ride in life on a white horse, not on an elephant and not on a donkey, and I will stick with the word of God and if the party, any party, goes a different way, I stick with Jesus. I believe he is forever.”

Huckabee was on fire, pretty much, and also went off on the Boy Scouts and gay rights, and dissed NBA player Jason Collins (who recently came out as gay) and contrasted his warm reception with the alleged silencing of evangelical Tim Tebow of the NFL, whose media wattage seems way out of proportion to his actual talent.

But Tebow just signed with the New England Patriots, and Mark Silk gives Tim a primer on what he’s in for. Two words: “Mission territory.”

Conservative Christians are gathering in Washington tomorrow for Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition “Road To Majority Conference.” As CBN’s David Brody writes, evangelicals want to remind the GOP – as if Mike Huckabee didn’t – that the road runs through them.

Delegates will be getting a look at the Republican presidential hopefuls, one of whom “may lead them back to the Promised Land.”

One of those candidates, Sen. Marco Rubio, tells Brody: “Whatever is going to happen with me is what God’s already planned for me.” From Catholic to Calvinist?

Russell Moore, who replaced Richard Land as head of the Southern Baptists’ public policy office, says he wants to build relationships with moderate and progressive Baptists: “I don’t think kindness is a weakness. I don’t see our opponents on issues as enemies.”

I wonder what Moore thinks about the clergy in Raleigh who are leading protests against laws coming out of the North Carolina legislature, and getting arrested for it. Cops even detained a religion reporter for the Charlotte Observer. Now we’re mad.

Remember the Florida mayor we mentioned in a Roundup last week? Craig Fletcher said he would refuse to give official recognition to any group that doesn’t worship Jesus Christ. Now, after “consulting” with his wife and pastor (two separate people, I believe), he is apologizing:

“I want to offer my sincerest apologies to anyone whom I may have offended by my remarks last Tuesday at the City Council meeting. It was a horrific statement and on reflection was way out of place for an elected official to take such a strident stance. I hope everyone will find it in their heart to forgive me.”

Lots of nonbelievers had objected to Fletcher’s remarks.

But will those nonbelievers be able to pass their views on to a new generation? We discuss that issue and more in the latest edition of ReligionLink: “Freethinkers: The next generation of nontheists emerges.”

We are just taking it day by day here at the Religion News Roundup, and hope you will stick with us. To be safe, sign up in the box below to have this delivered to your inbox each day, gratis. Thanks.

David Gibson