Growing tensions on the Faith and Family Left

It was one of those symbolic questions that pollsters toss into the mix when probing fault lines inside political coalitions.The Pew Research Center recently asked, as part of its "Beyond Red vs. Blue" political typology project, whether voters agreed or disagreed that it is "necessary to believe in God to be moral."Among the voters called "Solid Liberals," one of three major Democratic Party camps, only 11 percent of those polled said "yes." People in the emerging "Next Generation Left" … [Read more...]

Religious leaders struggle to reach ‘emerging adults’

When leaders of traditional faith groups think about reaching out to Millennials, religious seekers, unaffiliated "Nones" and other postmodern young Americans, this is the voice that many keep hearing in their heads."Morality is how I feel too, because in my heart, I could feel it," said one person interviewed in the National Study of Youth and Religion. "You could feel what's right and wrong in your heart as well as your mind. Most of the time, I always felt, I feel it in my heart and it … [Read more...]

Pain, hope and schisms in the long Anglican wars

Anglicans seem to be hopeful about their flocks in the United States, even if the warring factions in their Communion keep moving further and further apart.That was a common theme in two upbeat recent sermons preached by leaders in the progressive and orthodox Anglican bodies now competing in the marketplace of American religion.In the first sermon, Father Cameron Partridge became the first openly transgender priest to preach at Washington National Cathedral. The June 22 liturgy was part … [Read more...]

A wry case for using beer in evangelism

While he knows that millions of teetotalling Christians disagree, Father William Miller believes he can make a theological case for the moderate consumption of beer through a simple use of evangelistic math."Beer is the universal beverage. If you want to sit down and have a friendly, personal conversation with about 90 percent of the people in this world then that is probably going to take place over a beer, that is if you want them to open up and level with you," said Miller, who is -- … [Read more...]

The World Vision same-sex marriage wars of 2014

When church historians review the 2014 World Vision wars over gay marriage, they will ponder several puzzling statements by the man caught in the crossfire."We do know this is an emotional issue in the American church," said World Vision U.S. President Richard Stearns, in the recent Christianity Today interview that revealed his organization's decision months earlier to employ Christians in same-sex marriages. "I'm hoping not to lose supporters over the change. We're hoping that they … [Read more...]

Guess the winner: Woodstock vs. religious liberty

Blame it on Woodstock.Cultural changes unleashed by the sexual revolution are affecting how millions of Americans understand religious liberty, according to University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, speaking at a recent Newseum symposium marking the 20th anniversary of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It doesn't help that disputes about the free exercise of religion have increasingly turned into bitter partisan battles pitting Republicans against the majority of mainstream … [Read more...]

A growing hole in the middle of American Jewry

There is a Yiddish saying about the mysteries of faith, family and fellowship that, loosely translated, proclaims: "You cannot make Shabbat by yourself.""The point is that you need the presence of other Jews around you to live out the dictates of your Jewish beliefs," said sociologist Steven M. Cohen, of the Jewish Institute of Religion at Hebrew Union College.Shabbat creates that circle of support. Beginning minutes before sundown on Friday, it involves a day of rest, prayer, ritual … [Read more...]

Concerning God, sex, worship and babies

Pollsters have been asking Americans questions about God, sex and babies for a long time and the answers used to be pretty predictable.Early in the 20th Century it was easy to predict which flocks of believers would produce the most children -- with Mormons reporting the highest numbers, followed by Catholics, then Protestants and so forth as fertility rates declined. But things changed as the century rolled on and America became more pluralistic and, in elite zip codes, secular.After … [Read more...]


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