Secular unions vs. Holy Matrimony, Part I

EDITOR'S NOTE: First of two columns on current debates about Holy Matrimony and civil unions. If the American public has truly changed its mind on marriage, then it's time for Catholic priests to start saying, "We don't," instead of continuing to endorse the government's right to legislate who gets to say, "I do." At least, that's an option that Catholics, and by implication other religious traditionalists, must be willing to consider, according to scholar George Weigel of the Ethics and … [Read more...]

Education wars among Georgia Baptists

When it comes to higher education, Georgia Baptists are of two minds these days. On Oct. 21, the trustees of Shorter University in Rome, Ga., approved a covenant requiring faculty and staff to support the "mission of Shorter University as a Christ-centered institution affiliated with the Georgia Baptist Convention." Then they asked employees to "reject as acceptable all sexual activity not in agreement with the Bible, including, but not limited to, premarital sex, adultery and … [Read more...]

Orthodox bridge to evangelical world

As point man for Russian Orthodox relations with other faith groups, Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev is used to talking shop with Catholics, Anglicans, leaders in older brands of Protestantism and other world religions. These duties have long been part of his job description. Meeting with leaders from the world's booming evangelical and Pentecostal flocks? Not so much. However, recent ecumenical contacts by this high-profile representative of the Moscow Patriarchate is evidence that times are … [Read more...]

Shocking words for Presbyterians

Anyone who attends one of the national church assemblies that dot the calendar every summer knows that they are highly ritualized affairs. Officers will be elected. Political issues will be discussed. Lofty resolutions will be passed. At least one long business session will include a proposal about clergy benefits and salaries. In recent decades, gatherings in the "seven sisters" of mainline Protestantism have also -- to varying degrees -- featured battles over sex. These flocks are, in … [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...]

John Wooden, a faithful man

As the decades passed, the coach got used to hearing people call him a hero, an icon and even a saint -- even though he reminded them that only God knows the truth about any man. It was common to see the former English teacher reading the classics. But he also read his Bible daily and rarely missed church, so some friends called him the "reverend." That was probably for the best, since he disliked his other nickname -- the Wizard of Westwood. John Wooden's own list of heroes was short and … [Read more...]

What, me worry? Whatever

EDITOR'S NOTE: First of two columns on teens and ethics. Take comfort in this: The items on the following "to do" list do not apply to all teens today. Lie to your parents about those wild weekend plans -- check. Steal that scarf you want at the mall -- check. Download that term paper off the Internet and add a few mistakes to confuse the teacher -- check. Inflate your volunteer hours at your church's soup kitchen to pump up that college application -- check. The problem with the Josephson … [Read more...]

B16 challenges his bishops

The headlines and dramatic photos rush by during a papal visit, framing the sound bites that journalists uncover in stacks of Vatican speech texts.So Pope Benedict XVI visited the White House and proclaimed "God bless America!" Then he noted that, in this culture of radical individualism, "Freedom is not only a gift, but also a summons to personal responsibility."The former theology professor, speaking to Catholic college leaders, enthusiastically embraced academic freedom. Then he stressed that … [Read more...]


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