Pope’s Turkey days: What’s new in the neighborhood?

November 30, 2006, 9:24 pm | Posted by

The new Muslim community blog Eteraz posts a handy survey of Turkey coverage from the Times, Prospect Magazine, Cato, and the Muslim Association for Liberal Thinking.

John L. Allen Jr., over at the National Catholic Reporter, writes: “In a historic moment of inter-faith solidarity, Pope Benedict XVI visited Istanbul’s famed “Blue Mosque” this afternoon, and at one point paused for a moment of what seemed like silent prayer alongside the imam who hosted him.”

“Poverty? Global Warming? AIDS?” Chuck Currie notes, “The most important issues of our time don’t compare to gay marriage or abortion to many leaders of the Religious Right – just ask the Christian Coalition.”

Catching the same story, JSpot titles their take: “Christian Coalition Upheaval – We’re Bigots and We’re Sticking With That.”

Taking on the Focus on the Family crowd, the regulars at Talk to Action have teamed up with CrossLeft’s Institute of Progressive Christianity to condemn statements that James Dobson made on Larry King Live.

“Dr. Dobson’s claim that there is no such thing as separation of church and state is not supported by history. While it is true that the phrase separation of church and state is not found in the constitution or the first Amendment, the concept was well understood by the leading thinkers of the time. Thomas Jefferson’s’s letter to the Danbury Baptist Association, is considered by historians, legal scholars and the U.S. Supreme Court to be Jefferson’s definitive statement on the meaning of the establishment clause of the First Amendment.

As progressive Christians, IPC is steadfastly committed to the separation of church and state as stated in the Constitution of the United States. We base our belief not as an expression of hostility towards religion, but as a guarantee of its free practice whereby the position of one faith is not elevated over any other. In that manner, America will protect, as FDR proclaimed, ‘The freedom of every person to worship God in his own way.’”

Over at Street Prophets, Frederick Clarkson has some follow up. He quotes some right wing group’s reaction, “In a lengthy news release on Wednesday, the IPC rebutted Dobson’s comments one by one. But it’s not so much what the liberal Christians are saying — it’s that they’re saying it at all.”

Mainstream Baptist notes two people standing up for freedom: Bill Moyers at West Point and Rick Warren defending his choice to invite Barack Obama to his church for World AIDS day.

Christo Lumen laments a nation divided by two Christianities.

Speaking of World AIDS day, over at Sexuality and Religion: What’s the Connection?,the Rev. Deb. Haffner posts two thoughtful essays.

Continuing the theme, Jesus Politics points to an article suggesting that Ted Haggard’s revelation gives Christianity a good opportunity to rethink the complexity of human sexuality.

And Johnny’s Blog finds Naomi Wolf’s recent New York magazine article on sacred sexuality, well, “quite compelling”.

Rabbi Barenblatt posts on Jacob over at Radical Torah.

For World AIDS day, Pam’s House Blend point you to a great documentary made by two rural teenagers about being gay in an average American high school.

And finally, the God’s Politics Blog features Adam Taylor writing about how to turn the “corner on AIDS in Africa.

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VIDEO: Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and Father James Martin on Pope’s Visit to Turkey

November 28, 2006, 2:03 pm | Posted by

On a mission of outreach to both Muslim and Orthodox Christian communities, Pope Benedict’s controversial trip to Turkey has kicked off fairly smoothly. Hopefully this visit will serve as another helpful stage in the needed bridge-building between Muslims and Christians.

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Daily Show: “Left Behind” Video Game

November 27, 2006, 12:24 pm | Posted by

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Thanksgiving roundup: What’s new in the neighborhood?

November 22, 2006, 11:18 am | Posted by

There’s new Muslims on the block. Check out Eteraz: States of Islam. A Scoop-based blog, the content already makes for very informative and prophetic reading.

Ali Eteraz writes:

“Unlike some of my fellow believers I don’t think that the recent glut of Westerners calling for the reformation of Islam is due solely to an imperial Western ambition. I believe that some of non-Muslim engagement with Islam is premised upon a well-intentioned impulse. I believe that some Western antipathy towards Islam is due to decency. It is quite plausible that a generation that faced off against two totalitarianisms might be right about a third. It is also plausible that for every Westerner who calls for the destruction of Islam in order to defend the Western status-quo, there is another Westerner who agitates for change in Islam because has a Muslim friend who has been hurt by what passes for Islam, or has a glimpse (in Hafiz, perhaps in Ibn Rushd), of what Islam could be; and as such, is upset by what Islam today is not.”

Provoke podcasts makes for stimulating listening. Check out this piece on the Ignatian Volunteer Corps. “Guests are: IVC volunteers, Mr. Tom Tiffany, Ms. Duffy Laws, and Mr. Jerry May. Their stories will bring a smile to your face and entertain you. And, as always, you will be inspired by their humility and commitment. Also interviewed is Mr. Bill MacSherry, a regional director of the IVC.”

Chris Tessone, always pointing out that Even the Devil’s Believe, takes on “burqas, feminism, and democratic values.”

And as always, Pam’s House Blend takes no prisoners here.

On a spiritual guest, Danny Fisher, an American Buddhist Chaplain posts a picture of blessing from India.

Mik Moore is JSpot on justice! He asks, “Does Anyone Care About Domestic Poverty?” Mik adds: “there clearly needs to be a much greater effort made to fight extreme poverty and the global health crisis. But it’s hard not to feel like Americans are more comfortable tackling poverty overseas than poverty here at home.”

Faith in Public Life will return Monday. Until then, check out our A Time to Give Thanks letter in appreciation for the thousands of folks working for justice and the common good.

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Bill Press Takes Back his Religion

November 21, 2006, 5:02 pm | Posted by

A new book on faith and politics hit the shelves today: How the Republicans Stole Religion written by Bill Press. Press is a nationally syndicated columnist, radio host, political commentator and former seminarian. The book originally came out last year with the title How the Republicans Stole Christmas. In it, Press rails against the Religious Right for monopolizing the language of values and religion and calls for Democrats to reclaim religion from the so-called “moral majority.” Inspired by the 2004 elections, Press offers his take on the proper role of religion in politics. For a taste of his prose, check out this excerpt :

” In tackling this topic, I draw on my life as a Catholic, my degree in theology, my knowledge of Scripture and my decade spent in the seminary – as well as over 30 years of active involvement in politics as campaign manager, strategist, candidate and political commentator on television and radio. I speak to and from both worlds, and I begin with this premise:

1. Conservatives possess no monopoly on religion. There’s still a place in the church for liberals and moderates.

2. On many important social issues today, conservatives have it all wrong. They twist Scripture to fit their politics, rather than base their politics on Scripture.

3. What many religious conservatives define as “moral values” today is not the morality of the New Testament. It’s too narrow, too selfish, and too intolerant.

4. Conservatives have turned Jesus Christ upside-down: from a loving Messiah who hung out with the poor and dispossessed, into a cold-hearted monster who cares only for the rich and powerful.

It’s time to define the proper intersection of religion and politics.

It’s time to end the Republican monopoly on God and God-talk.

It’s time to take our religion back.”

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