Faith in that Barack Obama brand

Here's good news for President Barack Obama: The slice of Americans who believe he is a Muslim is down to 11 percent, according to a new Gallup Poll.That number was up to 18 percent two years ago, in a Pew Research Center survey, after hitting 11 percent in 2009.This time around, 52 percent of Democrats knew the president is a Protestant Christian, as opposed to 24 percent of Republicans. Only 3 percent of Democrats said Obama is a Muslim, while 18 percent of Republicans thought so. The … [Read more...]

Obama and Allah, past and present

In the spring of 2007, candidate Barack Hussein Obama met with a New York Times columnist and discussed his days as a "little Jakarta street kid" who once got in trouble for making faces during Koran classes.Obama proceeded to recite the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer in Arabic, with what Nicholas D. Kristof called a "first-rate accent." Obama described this chant as "one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset."This text, in one English translation, proclaims: "Allah is … [Read more...]

Pew gap continues on abortion

If researchers want to uncover the roots of America's bitter divisions on abortion, the first thing they should do is ask millions of citizens this question: How often do you attend worship services?This has been a consistent pattern in recent surveys and it can be seen in most pews, from conservative evangelicals to liberal mainline Protestants, said Greg Smith, senior researcher at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. This pattern is especially clear among American Catholics."The … [Read more...]

Walking in St. Tikhon’s footsteps

It didn't take long for controversy to spread about the photograph taken after the consecration rites in 1900 for a new bishop in Wisconsin.Low-church Episcopalians called it the "Fond du Lac Circus" because of all the ornate vestments. Not only was Bishop Charles Chapman Grafton, who presided, wearing a cope and mitre, but so were the other bishops. Then there were was the exotic visitor on the edge of the photograph -- Bishop Tikhon of the Russian Orthodox Church.Imagine the outrage if … [Read more...]

Searching for gray on abortion

When it comes to abortion, the vast majority of Americans know what they want and what they want isn't going to please Planned Parenthood or the Vatican.What they want is compromise. What they want are shades of gray.In a new Harris Interactive survey, only 9 percent participants agreed that the abortion should be legal for any reason at any point during a pregnancy. On the other side, only 11 percent wanted a total ban.In between were plenty of citizens who back legalized abortion but, … [Read more...]

Presbyterian alphabet soup, again

To follow Presbyterian news updates, outsiders need to learn a few key facts.The Presbyterian Church in America is not the same thing as the American Presbyterian Church. Also, Orthodox Presbyterians are not to be confused with Bible Presbyterians, Cumberland Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, Associate Reformed Presbyterians or Evangelical Presbyterians.This Presbyterian alphabet soup became less complicated in 1983, when the United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. joined with the … [Read more...]

So who is Dan Brown?

There was no way to film "The Lord of the Rings" without dealing with the author and producer Peter Jackson knew it.Who was J.R.R. Tolkien? Luckily, the Oxford don left behind letters and essays about his Catholic faith and its impact on his heart, mind and soul."What we tried to do was honor the things that were important to Tolkien," said Jackson, after screening "The Two Towers" for the press. "We didn't want to make it a religious film. But he was very religious and some of the messages and … [Read more...]

Antioch exits National Council of Churches

Summer is the season for church conventions that talk about hot issues.Last week's 47th convention of the Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese of North America passed a resolution that addressed both sexuality and the Iraqi war. But this time the lofty words led to an historic change.The assembly voted to oppose "divisive and dangerous" positions taken by "left-wing" and "right-wing" groups. To be specific, it rejected "support for same-sex marriage, support for abortion, support for … [Read more...]