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...]

Faith and the Millennials — it’s complicated

LOS ANGELES -- When pollster David Kinnaman went to college two decades ago, his Generation X life was surrounded by electronic screens and all the gadgets that connected to them. There were TV screens, movie screens and new computers, some of which even had speakers. There were VCRs, CD players, cassette recorders, video cameras and other cool devices. The hottest trend was "email" that allowed students to do something Baby Boomers could only dream about -- send private, instant messages to … [Read more...]

President Obama defends religious freedom — overseas

From the moment he rose to speak at the National Prayer Breakfast, it was clear President Barack Obama intended to respond to critics who accuse him of being weak in his defense of religious freedom. "As Americans, we affirm the freedoms endowed by our Creator, among them freedom of religion," noted Obama, early in the recent address. "Yes, this freedom safeguards religion, allowing us to flourish as one of the most religious countries on Earth, but it works the other way, too -- because … [Read more...]

Dark (porn) secrets in modern sanctuaries

At some point before 35-year-old Jesse Ryan Loskarn hanged himself in his parents' home outside Baltimore, he wrote a painful letter soaked in shame and self-loathing in which he attempted to explain the unexplainable. The former chief of staff for Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) had lived a secret life, hiding memories of child abuse and his addiction to child pornography. Even as U.S. Postal Inspection Service agents used a battering ram to enter his house, it appeared that he was trying to … [Read more...]

Culture wars in the App Store (and what they mean)

In a career packed with sound bites, the late Steve Jobs offered one of his best when describing his vision for a family-friendly Apple App Store. "We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone," he famously responded, in an email to a customer. "Folks who want porn can buy and [sic] Android phone." This stance was clear, but hard to apply in the flood of information and images on the World Wide Web. After all, many consumers are very easy to offend, when hot … [Read more...]

Duck! Elderly patriarchs discussing doctrine!

This elderly patriarch's image is certainly striking, with his stern face and a gray beard that flows over his chest, contrasting with the colorful clothing typical of his flock and his unique line of work. Just before Christmas, he raised eyebrows with a blunt statement on one of today's most controversial issues. No, this wasn't the Duck Commander in Louisiana. This patriarch resides in the city his followers formally refer to as Constantinople-New Rome. "The Lord appointed the … [Read more...]

The man from Buenos Aires vs. dead Catholic museums

BUENOS AIRES -- It's hard to wrestle with the crucial moral and cultural issues in modern Argentina without getting Catholic and Protestant leaders into the same room. During one tense gathering, some Catholic speakers kept referring to decades of rapid growth by "evangelical cults" in Latin America. The assumption seemed to be that evangelical Protestants were all the same, with no real differences between, for example, the freewheeling "prosperity Gospel" preachers and ordinary Protestant … [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...]

Unusual challenge from a Greek Orthodox bishop

It happens all the time: Church leaders stand at podiums and urge members of their flocks to go and share their faith, striving to win new converts. These speeches rarely make news, because they are not unusual. But something very unusual happened earlier this month in Brookline, Mass. "You will surely agree that our mission ... is to lead our brothers and sisters -- both inside and outside the church -- to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," said the featured speaker. "This is becoming … [Read more...]

Military chaplains on Sexual Revolution front lines

It was in 1775 that General George Washington authorized chaplains in the Continental Army. "Purity of Morals," he wrote, three years later, provided the "only sure foundation of publick happiness in any Country" and thus was "highly conducive to order, subordination and success in an Army." "Purity of Morals" might have provided unity during the American Revolution, but chaplains face more divisive issues decades after the Sexual Revolution. "No Catholic priest or deacon may be forced by … [Read more...]