Which denominations oppose abortion and which ones don’t

The Pew Research Center has put out a study of what position various religious bodies take on abortion.  We learn that the churches that take the strongest pro-life stance are the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, Roman Catholic, Southern Baptist, Assemblies of God, and African Methodist.

Among other religions, the Mormons and Hindus are strongly pro-life.  Muslims, Buddhists, and Orthodox Jews have no position on the subject!

Some churches, such as Orthodox Christians, don’t seem to be represented in the study.  Other groups either support abortion with limits or support virtually all abortions.  See what they are after the jump.

What is it about these various traditions that would lead them to take the positions that they do?

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Are wedding cakes & photos commodities, or are they art?

When atheists object to a monument of the Ten Commandments, I have argued that it should be defended as a work of art.  And to the reply that non-religious people find it offensive, say, “art is supposed to be offensive.”  As we see in the futile attempts to ban controversial art works, art is pretty much sacrosanct and courts have ruled that it is thoroughly protected under the Second Amendment as “free speech.”

Those Christian bakers and photographers who object to taking part in gay weddings are being charged with discrimination, as if creating culinary sculptures and expressive photographs were commercial commodities, on the order of selling products in a grocery store.  But what if the cakes and photos are works of art?  Artistic expression, even when it is paid for, cannot be coerced or constrained.

This is the argument now being made in the courts.  So far, unsuccessfully, though bakers and photographers have long insisted that their work is a creative, expressive, and aesthetic art form.

I wonder if a composer, or a portrait painter, or a poet would have to accept a commission from a gay couple.  Would gay artists in any of these forms be required to provide their services for a group they deem homophobic?  As I’ve asked before, does a rock musician’s refusal to allow his music to be played at a Donald Trump rally constitute discrimination against someone for his political beliefs? Would an atheist filmmaker who refuses to make promotional videos for a church be discriminating on the basis of religion?

At any rate, the legal debate over “what is art” is just getting started.  Can anyone help in drawing the lines?  See the legal wrangling after the jump. [Read more…]

Missing the smoke-filled room

Delegates opposing Donald Trump disrupted the choreography at the Republican national convention.  They booed, yelled (“shame!”  “roll call vote!”), and walked out after their petition to have the convention vote on freeing the delegates was gaveled down without a roll call vote.

In other news, Donald Trump defied the tradition that the candidate only appears on the last night to receive the nomination, showing up to introduce his wife Melania, who was the main speaker of the night.

After the jump, Jonah Goldberg argues that picking a candidate at an open convention, with pols negotiating in smoke-filled rooms, is a superior way of fielding a strong candidate, as opposed to all of the primary mini-elections, in which even non-party members can often have a say. [Read more…]

Lutherans have a confessional convention

Conservatives/confessionals feel very good about the triennial convention of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, which concluded last week in Milwaukee.  They passed virtually all of their resolutions by big margins, elected virtually all of their candidates, and won some big victories.

The convention voted to ensure that everyone engaged in Word and Sacrament ministry be ordained.  (Lay ministers may still serve in various church functions, but not they may not function as pastors, preaching and administering the sacraments, as many have been doing.  The convention also approved a path for getting lay ministers ordained.)  This lines up the 2.5 million member synod with the Augsburg Confession, Article 14.  For other actions, go here.

After the jump, Aaron Wolf, an editor with Chronicles Magazine, rhapsodizes about the LCMS, of which he is a member, saying that with the convention, “the LCMS officially embraced a conservative ethos.” [Read more…]

The Republican National Convention starts today

The 2016 Republican Convention starts today in Cleveland, Ohio.  It may be a strange one.  Most A-list political speakers are not coming, but we will be getting lots of athletes whom presidential nominee Donald Trump hails as “winners.”  A big number of the delegates who will be voting for Trump nevertheless do not care for him, which might mean the traditional spontaneous demonstrations will lack their normal enthusiasm.  There are worries about protests and violence outside the hall and what NeverTrump delegates inside the hall might do, though the insurgent delegates seem pretty much defeated.  And no one knows what the candidate himself might do or say.  Republican leadership, though, is working hard to put on a good show.

No, I won’t be liveblogging the convention, or even watching much of it, contrary to my usual practice, since I’m on the road this week.  Feel free to comment upon it here. [Read more…]

Three officers killed in Baton Rouge

Three police officers were killed and three were wounded in Baton Rouge, the site of a controversial shooting of a suspect two weeks ago.  Since then, 10 policemen–in Dallas, Michigan, and now Baton Rouge–have been murdered.  For the emotional toll this is taking on the nation’s police officers, see this. [Read more…]