Beliefs Religion News Roundup

SCOTUS Twitterstorm * World Vision revision * Faith fun: Tuesday’s Roundup

U.S. Supreme Court justices will hear arguments Tuesday (March 25) in the religious liberty case of the season.
U.S. Supreme Court justices will hear arguments Tuesday (March 25) in the religious liberty case of the season.

U.S. Supreme Court justices will hear arguments Tuesday (March 25) in the religious liberty case of the season.

This is D-Day for the religious liberty case of the season landing at the U.S. Supreme Court.

Inside, the government squares off with private business owners over Obamacare and the contraception mandate in arguments scheduled for 10-11:30 a.m. for Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties.

Outside, the snowy sidewalk could be lined with demonstrators. Online, activist groups will be tweeting from all directions, blatantly promoting campaigns to create a “Twitterstorm” for their viewpoint.

Siding with the evangelical family owners of Hobby Lobby and the Mennonite Conestoga owners will be several groups tweeting at #religiousfreedomforall:

Siding with the government in the case, and tweeting at #notmybossbusiness:

The Secular Coalition for America announced it would organize secular and nontheistic protestors for Tuesday morning but did not organize a pre-set hashtag for Twitter.

In other contraception news: Someone thought it would be brilliant to launder their international cocaine shipment by packing $55,000 worth of powder into 14 condoms and shipping it through some obscure post office in a teeny tiny nation-state. The Holy See. Yep, cops foiled the condom shipment at the Vatican Post Office.

File under changing times: For the first time, someone in a same-sex marriage will be eligible for employment at the Christian relief agency World Vision, one of the nation’s largest charities. The shift in the employee conduct manual is “not an endorsement of same-sex marriage,” a spokesperson assured “Christianity Today.”  Franklin Graham, head of his own relief agency, promptly blasted the move as “ungodly.” Meanwhile, in same-sex marriage news, Michigan’s up-for-reelection Republican Gov. Rick Snyder is dancing on the fence over whether to fight or stand down on a court decision legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

File under  “What could go wrong?” A U.S. President who spent his early years in community organizing on Catholic social justice principles. A church that chose a new pope famed for championing the poor. What could go wrong? Pretty much everything for President Obama and the Catholic Church for the past five years. But, David Gibson’s analysis shows, Obama and Pope Francis may be able to keep focused at their Thursday (March 27) meeting on the issues they have in common.

File under “water under the damned,” so to speak: Film director Darren Aronofsky takes on almost everyone’s fave Bible story in “Noah” and gets a flood of criticism. He tells Sarah Pulliam Bailey it’s an epic tale of wickedness and forgiveness, centered on the tension between justice and mercy, and exploring the meaning of righteousness.

File under “Cost of memory:” After a week for families, survivors and first responders to visit the finally-finished National 9/11 Memorial and Museum in private, it open to the paying public on May 21. How much? $24 admission. The parents of two firefighters who died at the World Trade Center have complained that the memorial will be “a revenue-generating tourist attraction with a prohibitive budget and entrance fee.”

In the blogs and commentary:

  • Brian Pellot at “On Freedom” takes readers to a faith debate on the tensions between freedom of faith and freedom of expression. Watch for yourself.
  • Methodist minister and theology professor Cheryl B. Anderson can find no Christian theological basis for denying poor women health benefits available to others. Jesus, she says warned “against placing heavy burdens on the backs of those least able to bear them.”
  • “Faithiest” Chris Stedman says Fox News, where a host claimed the Air Force Academy was promoting atheism while persecuting Christians, has it backwards. The academy is trying to “encourage an inclusive environment” that doesn’t silence any viewpoint.
  •  Jonathan Merritt “On Faith and Culture” talks with the Christian author Leonard Sweet about the fun of pleasing God. Says Sweet: “We need to learn to play at life again.” 

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About the author

Cathy Lynn Grossman

Cathy Lynn Grossman specializes in stories drawn from research and statistics on religion, spirituality and ethics. She also writes frequently on biomedical ethics and end-of-life-issues