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...]

Protecting church flocks from real killers

It was a Saturday morning and the Rev. Jaman Iseminger had just dropped by to help some volunteers as the cleaned up the cemetery next door to the Bethel Community Church in Southport, south of Indianapolis.Then a homeless woman entered the church and confronted him. She pulled a gun and killed the 29-year-old pastor, leaving behind a wife and a 2-year-old daughter."There are all kinds of tragic details ... but here's what's really haunting about that case," said Jimmy Meeks, a Hurst, … [Read more...]

Sobering words for Brazil’s bishops

If Roman Catholicism can be compared with a fleet, then the Brazilian church has long been it's largest aircraft carrier -- with an estimated 123 million Catholics, more than any other country on earth.But that isn't how Pope Francis described this church during one of the less-publicized addresses during his epic World Youth Day sojourn in Rio de Janeiro. Instead of a rich and powerful vessel for the old establishment, he told Brazil's bishops that their church is now a humble sailing ship … [Read more...]

Old religious realities in a not-so-new Egypt

At the moment, Egypt is operating under a Constitutional Declaration issued soon after the recent military overthrow of President Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood.This temporary declaration replaced a constitution signed by Morsi in 2012, after Islamist parties pushed it through a referendum process that turned off many voters. That new constitution replaced an ad hoc, provisional document used after the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak. His regime had operated for … [Read more...]

Goodbye to a radical Baptist patriarch

The old Southern preacher had walked through many airport security gates using his cherry-wood cane and was surprised -- especially years before 9/11 -- when a guard ordered him to send it through the X-ray scanner.After that rite, the Rev. Will Campbell asked the guard to bring him the cane. The guard, somewhat miffed, asked if he could walk through the scanner without it. The preacher, somewhat vexed, said that was a question for his doctor.Facing a nervous crowd, the guard ordered … [Read more...]

Boy Scouts, canon law and trying to predict the future

Every since the gay Boy Scouts earthquake, many Catholics have been asking canon law expert Edward Peters to fill a role he has clearly stated he has no desire to play -- that of a prophet."I'm no good at predicting the future. My only concern is with the BSA policy as written," said Peters, reached by email during a busy week. "That policy does not conflict with the church's teachings on homosexuality or homosexual persons."Right now, it's logical for parish leaders and Catholic parents … [Read more...]

Southern Baptists without (many) baptisms

Visitors who enter Southern Baptist churches these days will usually see posters and pamphlets for everything from marriage enrichment retreats to tornado-relief fundraisers, from weight-loss classes to drives to find volunteers for African hospitals.But one thing is missing in the typical church lobby or fellowship hall, according to the leader of the denomination's LifeWay Christian Resources branch. It's rare to see appeals for members to join evangelism programs that strive to win local … [Read more...]

The faithful soul of Jackie Robinson

Brooklyn Dodgers general manager Branch Rickey knew that the first black player in major league baseball was going to go through hell.That's why the cigar-chomping, Bible-thumping Rickey set out to find a man who would keep believing -- when facing bitter, scathing racial hatred -- that the powers of heaven were on his side. As baseball writers have often noted, Rickey needed someone who could turn the other cheek, as well as turn a double play.In writer-director Brian Helgeland's new … [Read more...]


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