Wednesday, March 14, 2007

L.A. Times (CA): "We live in the land of biblical idiots," says Stephen Prothero in a recent column. "More than 90% of federal legislators call themselves Christians, making Congress more Christian than the United States itself. The president is an evangelical Protestant. Catholics enjoy a majority on the Supreme Court. Biblical references — from the Jericho Road to the golden rule to the promised land — permeate political speech. Yet U.S. citizens know almost nothing about the Bible." Take Stephen Prothero's religious literacy test here.

The Christian Post
: "Shouldn’t God be welcomed in a great nation such as America – the land of the free – in places beyond the walls of the Church? Or does God immediately become an illegal immigrant when He jumps across the Church-State fence?"

Human Events: Dennis Pragner, in response to presidential candidate John Edward's comment that "Jesus would be appalled" at American's lifestyles, warns that taking biblical massages intended for a micro level to a macro level is not only dangerous, it makes the Left hypocrites. "The Left attacks the religious Right for threatening to replace our democracy with a theocracy that will impose fundamentalist Christianity on the nation. Yet the people who loathe conservatives for using Scripture have no difficulty with those who cite Jesus' words when arguing their positions -- even when citing them incorrectly."

American Enterprise Institute
: Michael Novak reviews three recent atheist books: A Letter to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris; The God Delusion, By Richard Dawkins; and Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon, by Daniel Dennett. "They are almost as literal in their readings of the Bible as the least educated, most literal-minded fundamentalist in Flannery O'Connor's rural Georgia. They regale themselves with finding contradictions and impossibilities in these literal readings of theirs, but the full force of their ridicule depends on misreading the literary form of the Biblical passages at stake, whether they be allegorical, metaphorical, poetic, or resonant with many meanings, for the nourishment of a soul under stress. The Bible almost never pretends to be science, or strictly literal history."

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Stars and Stripes (DC): Christian volunteers and archaeologists search for the ruins of Sodom. "If we can show that truly God did these things, if we can show that destruction layer," declared one volunteer, "then we can show that this is a pretty significant story here and the rest of the Bible should be absolutely correct and accurate."

Financial Mail (SOUTH AFRICA): Pulp Fiction, Syriana, and Babel are three popular films bound thematically to biblical legend--an image of a world in pain.

Ha'aretz (ISRAEL): The Incense Route, mentioned in the Bible as the route that took the Queen of the South to King Solomon as well as in the Quran, is now listed on UNESCO's world heritage sites. Tourism is expected to increase. Of more than 200 tels in Israel, Megiddo, Hatzor and Beersheba are representative of ones that contain substantial remains of cities with biblical connections, UNESCO said.

Cross Rhythms
(UK): Dave Hathaway, founder and president of Eurovision Mission to Europe, comments on the impending end of times. With continued threats of the destruction of Israel from its neighbors and four beasts unleashed in the Euphrates (Baghdad), global warming, and British lawmakers proposing a plastic chip implanted into children's hands (the mark of the beast?), Hathaway says: "I am convinced that this year 2007 is the time when many Bible prophecies will be fulfilled! Watch and pray!"

Baptist Press (TN): A former professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary has filed a federal lawsuit against the seminary and its president, Paige Patterson, alleging she was dismissed from her tenure-track position because she is a woman. Van McClain, chairman of Southwestern’s board of trustees, was quoted in a Jan. 19 Dallas Morning News article that the seminary has returned to its “traditional, confessional and biblical position” that a woman should not instruct men in theology courses or in biblical languages.

The Citizen (GE): A call for the newspaper to drop the conservative Ann Coulter as a columnist not only for her controversial statement regarding presidential candidate John Edwards, but for saying things like, "Sweaters are the anti-Biblical view. Big gas-guzzling cars with phones and CD players and wet bars — that's the Biblical view.”

Monday, March 12, 2007

Post and Courier (SC): More on the tensions between the Anglican community and the Episcopal Church in the U.S. Father Mark Lawrence's appointment as bishop of South Carolina has been delayed due to his support of gay marriage. "If you define the issues of same-sex blessing and ordination of gay and lesbian persons ... as a justice issue, and the other side defines it as a biblical issue," Lawrence explained, "those who call it a justice issue - how can they in good faith stop until those who oppose them are silenced?" A response to the media coverage on this issue from The war on Easter?

In-Forum (NC): The biblical treatment of women is abominable--from St. Paul who told women to submit to their husband, to Thomas Aquinas who regarded women as "defective and misbegotten," to Pat Robertson who tells women that although it is painful to hear, they must accept the "headship of a man." (subscription)

Boston Globe (MA): Residents fear that a new program in Little Rock, Arkansas to boost security and reduce identity theft by requiring new ID cards is a sign of the beast, signaling that the world is coming ever closer to the apocalypse. These fears were fanned by the Dallas-based website and magazine Endtime Ministries.

Philadelphia Daily News (PA): Human cognition has evolved so much since the Bible was written, many of its commands are no longer relevant. What is important is the Bible's overall meaning. "The crux of the Bible, to me at least, is to love one another, show respect and gratitude to God and treat others as you wish to be treated."