The life and Times of John McCandlish Phillips

The word on the Brooklyn streets in 1959 was that a crazy preacher from Pennsylvania was helping addicts find the power to kick heroin and gang members to trade their weapons for Bibles.Reporter John McCandlish Phillips heard the talk in local churches and took the tip to his metro editors at The New York Times. This was more than a religion story, he argued. This was something truly new in urban ministry in a rough corner of the city.The editors just didn't get it."The New York … [Read more...]

Yet another preying Presbyterian?

Once again, shocked onlookers painted from familiar palettes as they described the latest young man to march into the public square with his guns blazing.The alleged killer was a moody, quiet loner who excelled at school. He was a normal guy who loved movies and super-hero tales, only he cheered for the villains. When seen in bars, he was usually sitting alone.Journalists also quoted people who knew the family and said that James Holmes was once, as The Los Angeles Times noted, "heavily … [Read more...]

God, Allah and Rick Warren

At the Dome of the Rock on Jerusalem's Temple Mount, centuries of Islamic doctrine have literally been carved into the shrine's walls.Two quotations on the northwest wall will be of special interest to anyone interested in the latest whirlwind of controversy linked to evangelical superstar Rick Warren and his giant Saddleback Church.The outer face inscription states, in part: "Praise be to God who has not taken a son and who does not have any partner in dominion. ..." On the inside, after a … [Read more...]

Religion 2010 — Rose petals in Pakistan

In terms of giant headlines and spilled ink, there is no question that the lightning strike by U.S. special forces that killed Osama bin Laden was the year's most spectacular news event, featuring a deadly brew of religion, politics and violence.Thus, it isn't surprising that members of the Religion Newswriters Association selected the death of the world's most infamous radical Muslim as No. 1 in their poll to name the year's top 10 stories on the religion beat. In addition to the symbolism of … [Read more...]

God and The New York Times, once again

When it comes to the daily news, the recently retired editor of The New York Times has decided there is news and then there is news about religion and social issues.When covering debates on politics, it's crucial for Times journalists to be balanced and fair to stakeholders on both sides. But when it comes to matters of moral and social issues, Bill Keller argues that it's only natural for scribes in the world's most powerful newsroom to view events through what he considers a liberal, … [Read more...]

Bill Keller vs. the religious aliens

Less than a year after 9/11, a New York Times columnist stunned the newspaper's remaining conservative readers by suggesting that both the Vatican and Al Qaeda were on the wrong side in the global war against oppression."The struggle within the church" in recent decades, he argued, is "interesting as part of a larger struggle within the human race, between the forces of tolerance and absolutism. That is a struggle that has given rise to great migrations (including the one that created this … [Read more...]

God hates almost everyone, saith Phelps

The true believers from Westboro Baptist Church carried their usual battery of offensive signs on March 10, 2006, as they staged their fateful protest near the funeral of Marine Lance Cpl. Matthew A. Snyder.One contained a stick-figure cartoon of two men having sex. One proclaimed "Thank God For Dead Soldiers" and another "God Hates You." During the demonstration these signs faced what the Rev. Fred Phelps Sr., and his family call the pro-America "pep rally" that greets them wherever they go … [Read more...]

When did Baptists stop making news?

The Southern Baptist Convention has passed scores of blunt resolutions in recent decades urging America's leaders to reject the sexual revolution and defend marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman.But something different happened during this summer's convention. In a jolting statement on the divorce crisis, leaders from America's largest non-Catholic flock looked in the mirror and decided that their own sins were just as bad as everyone else's sins."Studies have indicated that … [Read more...]


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