March for Marriage and the Presbyterians: Contrasting Religious Responses to Same-Sex Marriage

Here’s two diametrically opposed religious responses to the growing consensus in favor of same-sex marriage rights.

On the one more predictable side, we have last week’s March for Marriage at the Capitol. Rick Santorum was there, of course, because what else does he have to do? Heather Adams at Religion News Service reports:

Faced with a string of losses in the court and a rapid shift in public opinion in favor of gay marriage, planners of Thursday’s rally aimed to show lawmakers — and especially courts — that they will not give up without a fight.

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UK Labour Party Leader Ed Miliband: ‘I Don’t Believe in God’

The UK’s Labour Party is out of power right now, and if it weren’t, perhaps its leader wouldn’t be able to say what he’s just said. Ed Miliband (right), Labour’s leader and would-be British Prime Minister if things go his party’s way, has admitted to being an atheist.

Talking to the Daily Mail, Miliband said:

I have a particular faith. I describe myself as a Jewish atheist. I’m Jewish by birth origin and it’s a part of who I am… I don’t believe in God, but I think faith is a really, really important thing to a lot of people. It provides nourishment for lots of people.


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When Fred Phelps Dies, Let’s Do Nothing

Apparently there is talk of some turnabout-is-fair-play picketing of Fred Phelps’ funeral when he finally dies. I think that’s a pretty ridiculous idea on its face. What would be the point? “That’ll show ‘em?” He’ll be dead, guys. And if he was looking down (or up) on the whole proceeding, can you imagine anything that would please him more than to see a throng of angry protestors at his funeral?

There’s another idea being floated that, yes, the funeral should be picketed, but “with love,” with a healing kind of demonstration in which Phelps would even be forgiven.

Look, doing any kind of pro-love and pro-forgiveness demonstration is well-intended, unlike the first option, which is just spite and emulating the very thing you’d be protesting. I get it; I applaud the motivation and the capacity for forgiveness, but in my opinion it’s still misguided.

Let’s take a step back.

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Religious Exemption from Healthcare Law Overwhelmingly Passes the House… and That’s Bad

Yesterday, the U.S. House voted overwhelmingly in favor of H.R. 1814 (the “Equitable Access to Care and Health Act”), a truly nefarious bill that would not allow anyone claiming a religious justification to entirely opt out of compliance with the Affordable Care Act. Whatever you think of “Obamacare,” you have to have your hackles raised by the idea that someone can entirely avoid obeying the law of the land simply by claiming it’s against some tenet of his particular religion.

As anti-“faith healing” activist Rita Swan warns us, this bill is not just popular among your standard conservative religionists, but particularly among Christian Scientists and other medicine-eschewing faiths who want carte blanche to remove themselves — and thereby their children — from science-based medicine and treatment.

And of course that affects everyone. If more and more people leave the insurance system, they put more of a burden on the health care system as a whole when they face emergencies or seek care without the safety net of insurance, making all of our costs go up.

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Anecdotes of a Church Being Changed (Maybe) by Pope Francis

An atheist friend of mine is married into a Catholic family, and he attends church with said family every Sunday, being a good sport and a general glutton for punishment.

This friend — in fact, let’s call him “GFP” for “glutton for punishment” — noticed a change of tone lately at the church his family attends, and he wondered if the let’s-all-be-nice public persona of Pope Francis (or, as I call him at The Morning Heresy, Pope Fluffy) is trickling down and beginning to genuinely change things in the Catholic Church as a whole.

Now, I realize this is all a highly-localized anecdote from one guy, but I thought it was interesting enough to share.

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