Anonymous No More: Gay Catholic Priest Comes Out

The author of a book about life as a gay Catholic priest has officially come out about his true identity.

Father Gary Meier (pictured above), a priest for the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, wrote a book in 2011 called Hidden Voices: Reflections of a Gay, Catholic Priest, but published it anonymously.

Earlier this month, he released a statement announcing the book would be released a second time under his own name and explaining the decision:

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New Gallup Poll Says Religion is Losing Influence in Our Society

A new Gallup poll out today says that Americans believe religion is losing its influence on society:

Over three-quarters of Americans (77%) say religion is losing its influence on American life, while 20% say religion’s influence is increasing. These represent Americans’ most negative evaluations of the impact of religion since 1970, although similar to the views measured in recent years.

What’s interesting is that it doesn’t seem to matter how often you attend church or how personally religious you are, you still think religion is losing power. Victory is ours!…

… or not.

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Kountze High School Cheerleaders Are Going Back to Court Over Their Bible Banners

Earlier this month, the Kountze High School cheerleaders won a lawsuit that said they could hold up banners with Bible verses on them to support the football team:

You may recall that the cheerleaders were actually fighting their school district in court (not some atheist group) because then-Superintendent Kevin Weldon had told them to stop with the banners. So when Judge Steve Thomas ruled in favor of the cheerleaders, he was simultaneously telling the district it couldn’t stop them from being all preachy on the football field. Thomas wrote in his decision (PDF).

There are two big problems with this ruling.

One: It makes no sense at all. How could any reasonable person see cheerleaders in school uniforms hoisting banners with Bible verses on them and not see a link between the school district and Christianity?

Two: The decision isn’t very clear about what is allowed. Judge Thomas wrote that no law “requires Kountze I.S.D. to prohibit the inclusion of religious-themed banners”… which means the district doesn’t have to put a stop to the students’ banners.

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Did Pope Francis Perform An Exorcism? (And Does It Matter?)

Stories were flying all over the Internet last week alleging that Pope Francis may have performed an exorcism on a wheelchair-bound man — said to be a 43-year-old Mexican pilgrim called Angelo — in St. Peter’s Square, following the Mass for Pentecost.

Even better, the moment was caught on video: after a few words from a priest accompanying the young man, the pontiff placed his hands prayerfully upon Angelo’s head, a gesture commentators have declared “a real act of exorcism.” Some have said the Pope wore a grim expression as he approached the task, though the low-quality video makes it difficult to be sure. Under the Pope’s prayerful touch, Angelo convulses and slumps in his chair. The Pope moves on to greet the next child, but not before Angelo’s priest hands over a file folder, taken by a member of the Pope’s suit-wearing security team.

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You’ve Got Something in Your Eyes…

David Hayward reminds everyone not to have “Bible Blindness“:

Are we so captivated by our knowledge of scripture and our theology that we cannot see the forest for the trees?

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