Hotels without Gideon Bibles

Bible_bom_hotel_rmThe Gideons do great work in distributing Bibles.  For many decades, virtually every hotel room had a Gideon Bible on the nightstand or in a drawer.  But today, less than half do.

A survey has found that only 46% of American hotel rooms include religious material.  Ten years ago, nearly three-quarters did.

Of course, what the Christian Gideons did, representatives of other religions did.  Hotels that have Bibles in the rooms often also have Books of Mormon.  I suspect that the decline of hotel Bibles has less to do with irreligion than with the abundance of religions and with hotel managers’ fear of offending against the canons of religious diversity.

Donald Trump’s hotel in Washington does have Bibles. But they come with a printed note saying that “if you want to continue your spiritual journey,” the hotel staff will give you a copy of the Bhagavad Gita, Talmud, or Quran.

[Read more…]

Democrats lost because they raised religious liberty fears

2519766036_d988be0058_zThe reason the Democrats lost, argues David Bernstein in the Washington Post, is that their words, actions, and policies made large numbers of Christians afraid that their religious liberty is in jeopardy.  So even though they had major qualms about Donald Trump, they voted for him in large enough numbers to give him the victory.

Bernstein’s point, I believe, is that Democrats wouldn’t have to threaten religious liberty to meet their major policy goals.  The country could have gay marriage without punishing those who don’t believe in it.  The country could have legalized and insurance-subsidized abortion without making religious people pay for it.  LGBT folks could have legal rights and find acceptance–probably more acceptance– even if they made some accommodation to religious sensitivities.  And yet, Democrats threatened and demonized Christians, oblivious to the fact that this meant that a very  large percentage of the American public would not be voting for them.

Read Bernstein’s analysis after the jump.  Is he describing you? [Read more…]

How much money do people in different churches make?

This is an unspiritual topic that is none of our business and appeals only to our morbid curiosity.  The Pew Research Center has released findings about the income levels in different religious groups.  (Not just churches but religions and no-religions.)

It’s notable, for one thing, in including the Lutheran Church Missouri-Synod separately, unlike most polls that group us into categories that we have little affinity with.

Go here to see the chart:  How income varies among U.S. religious groups | Pew Research Center.

I have a few comments after the jump and then I’ll invite yours. [Read more…]

A Lutheran take on exorcism and the demonic

We’ve blogged about a Lutheran exorcist.  A new book from Concordia Publishing House offers a theological framework on the reality of demonic activity, actual case studies of people afflicted by demons who were helped by Lutheran pastors, and practical guidelines on how these malign spirits can be cast out by means of the Word, the Sacraments, and prayer.

The book is entitled Afraid:  Demon Possession and Spiritual Warfare in America.  It’s by Dr. Robert H. Bennett, the Executive Director of the Luther Academy and an Adjunct Professor of Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary in Ft. Wayne, Indiana.  Read my review after the jump. [Read more…]

Religion’s economic impact

A study of the economic impact of religious institutions has found that congregations, charities, religious hospitals, and other faith-based organizations contribute some $378 billion directly to the economy.  That/s more than Apple, Google, and Facebook.  Combined.  The indirect impact, as that money works its way through the economy is over $1 trillion.

Read a report on the study and watch a video about it after the jump. [Read more…]

Civil rights must be “preeminent” over religious liberty

The U. S. Commission on Civil Rights is recommending that civil rights be made “preeminent” in American jurisprudence.  Specifically, that civil rights claims–for example, those regarding sexual orientation and gender-identity–should always trump religious freedom claims.  There would thus be no religious exemptions, because newly-coined rights would have priority over constitutional rights. [Read more…]