Happy Birthday, Jimmy Carter! The 39th president is regarded by some as a “heroic failure,” as this ABC (Australian) radio religion & ethics report says. But it also asks if Carter was our “most religious president.” Leroy Seat calls him “the best ex-president the U.S. has ever had in terms of public service and contributions to world peace and justice.”
My view? As far as I’m concerned, the guy made it to 90. I should be such a failure.
“No co-ed contact sports for you!” says Catholic diocese
Bishop Ronald W. Gainer of Harrisburg has barred girls from football and rugby teams in the diocesan school system:
“The Diocese therefore believes that it is incompatible with its religious mission and with its efforts to teach Gospel values to condone competitions between young men and women in sports that involve substantial and potentially immodest physical contact.”
Gainer also says that if a Catholic school boy faces another wrestling team that puts up a girl against him, he must forfeit. Which seems to open the door to a perfect strategy for opponents: put up an all-girls wrestling team. And wait, why not have an all-girls Catholic rugby or football team?
Any-hoo, what is interesting is that other dioceses don’t as a rule take such a stance, and in fact last year in Philadelphia, Archbishop Charles Chaput — no mushy-headed liberal — reversed a girls-only rule for Catholic football leagues. Go figure.
What would William F. Buckley say?
The National Review’s Kevin Williamson likes to stir the pot, and has done so again, and then some, with some tweets about his views on how to deal with women who have abortions:
The Dish digs a bit deeper, or tries.
Sorry, Obama: Reza Aslan says ISIS is Islamic
The popular author tells Obama and everyone else that they cannot say who is Muslim or not, or Jewish or not, or Christian or not:
“A Christian blowing up an abortion clinic can find justification in the Bible,” says Aslan. “Those blowing up a mosque can find justification. Jews killing Palestinians can find justification. The power of scripture can mean whatever you want it to mean. It’s up to the interpreter.”
That’s an interesting interpretation. Completely wrong, I’d say. But feel free to correct me. I’m not as infallible as most individuals.
The Islamic State may be educating U.S. Christians …
… About their co-religionists in the Middle East, according to this ABP story. For a long time, it says, Protestants and evangelicals in particular, for cultural and religious reasons, weren’t terribly concerned with Christians in the Middle East, even if they knew they existed. With the advent of social media, and the terrible atrocities against Christians by Islamic State terrorists, that may be changing.
Tough lesson. But is it too little too late? (See: Cruz, Ted)
Gordon College under scrutiny over gay policies
The Christian school in Massachusetts is facing an inquiry from an accreditation board that includes reviewing its policy listing “homosexual practice” as a forbidden activity. The Boston Business Journal reports that the regional accrediting agency says Gordon’s gay policy may violate its standards, and Gordon’s president Michael Lindsay has set up a panel to report back in a year. Here is Gordon’s FAQ response.
Gordon College’s policy came under scrutiny after Lindsay signed a letter in July with other religious leaders supporting an exemption from an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating based on sexual orientation.
Gordon’s morality policy, by the way, also prohibits sex (of any variety) outside of marriage, and drinking and smoking on campus or at college functions.
Is the big Anglican Lambeth confab going to happen?
According to the presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church in the US, Most Rev Katharine Jefferts Schori, the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby and titular head of Anglicans worldwide was “very clear that he is not going to call a Lambeth until he is reasonably certain that the vast majority of bishops would attend.”
The Lambeth Conference is held every 10 years and brings togethers leaders of the Anglican Communion from around the world to pray and discuss, and, increasingly, disagree. The role of gay people in the church seems to be the main issue of contention — again.
Roman Catholics are having a meeting — but should they?
It’s a synod of bishops, being held at the Vatican, on family issues, and the unusually public sparring among cardinals is growing, as I wrote here. Cardinal Raymond Burke, head of the Vatican’s high court, blasted Cardinal Walter Kasper, who says his reform proposals have the backing of Pope Francis himself:
“I find it amazing that the cardinal claims to speak for the pope,” said Burke, the former archbishop of St. Louis, speaking from Rome. “The pope doesn’t have laryngitis. The pope is not mute. He can speak for himself. If this is what he wants, he will say so.”
Buckle up, the fun officially starts on Sunday and runs for two weeks. Our own Josephine McKenna will be covering the action from Rome.
Meanwhile, conservative Catholics are discovering dissent
For 35 years, “dissenter” was an epithet and cudgel against Catholics who disagreed with anything the Roman pontiff said. But now that Francis is pope, says Michael Brendan Dougherty, conservative Catholics ought to embrace their inner dissenter — and they may need to, if that aforementioned synod does something they don’t like.
The Best of the Rest from RNS:
- Museum of the Bible aims for timeless name, imagery
- In Israel, biblical land-use laws call for creative workarounds
Meanwhile, stay tuned to this space for updates on all the religious news.