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    • Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand September 15, 2014
      Gonna Stick My Sword in the Golden Sand: A Vietnam Soldier's Story has just been released. The title comes from a stanza of the gospel traditional, Down by the Riverside, with its refrain--"Ain't gonna study war no more." Golden Sand is a bold, dark, and intense retelling of the Vietnam experience through the eyes of an army scout that is […]
      Obie Holmen
    • Gay Games Symposium July 21, 2014
      I am pleased and honored that the UCC has asked me to moderate a symposium during the games entitled Queer Christians: Celebrating the Past, Shaping the Future. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more! ]]
      Obie Holmen
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    • Making the Connections June 27, 2017
      . . . then and nowThe Wild Reed's 2017 Queer Appreciation series continues with the sharing of a piece I originally wrote in 2003 for an online progressive LGBT community forum that's now long gone. At the time I wrote this particular piece the U.S. (along with its coalition of "the bought and bullied," in the words of Indian author Arund […]
      noreply@blogger.com (Michael J. Bayly)
    • Something to Think About . . . June 26, 2017
      Related Off-site Links:We Need to Talk About Racism in the LGBTQ Community – Phillip Henry (Teen Vogue, June 21, 2017).An Open Letter To Gay, White Men: No, You’re Not Allowed to Have a Racial Preference – Donovan Trott (The Huffington Post, June 19, 2017).Redesigned Pride Flag Recognizes LGBT People of Color – Nancy Coleman (CNN News, June 13, 2017).Being O […]
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    • The Guardian on Abuse in Church of England in Peter Ball Case: "A Reputation Deservedly Damaged" June 27, 2017
      Not to be missed: the Guardian editorial yesterday on the cover-up in the Church of England of Bishop Peter Ball's abuse of minors, including Neil Todd, who committed suicide after he was unable to get a hearing for his story among the powers that be in the Church of England. The Guardian writes:The report of Dame Moira Gibb into the Church of England […]
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    • Flying the Not So Friendly Skies: A Report on One Same-Sex Couple's Experience with Delta Airlines June 26, 2017
      The following is a report about how businesses — in this case, an airline — now routinely treat their paying customers in the U.S., and get away with it. Because they can do so — and all the more so with the Republican party totally controlling the federal government. Don't want the healthcare system ripped apart and millions having their healthcare cov […]
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      My current blog is called the way ahead.
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      To hear the simplistic denial of those who scream out with naiveté “give Trump a chance” as they condemn others engaged in selfless protest against a certain political and social tsunami in the making, is to ignore his life-time public embrace of policies that tens of millions reject as not just destructive, but evil per se. They are not mistaken.Those in st […]
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    • Another World is Neccessary: Anarchism, Christianity and the Race from the White House July 30, 2008
      I’ll be presenting at the upcoming Jesus Radicals conference in Columbus, Ohio. My session (on the relationship between Church and State) will be on Friday afternoon. If you’re in the area, drop by. I’d love to meet some of the folks who frequent this site. Here’s the info: August 15-16, 2008 St. John’s Episcopal 1003 W Town Columbus, OH [...]ShareThis […]
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    • More Moodies June 27, 2017
      I don't know about you guys, but when things get depressing I often turn to music to try to change my mood. Today I came upon a couple of Moody Blues songs, the versions of which I hadn't seen before. This first one is Tuesday Afternoon sung by Justin Hayward at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970 ...And this is Justin singing Nights in White Satin, […]
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News Archives, Jan 29 – Feb 4 2010

From Huffington Post:

Feb. 4, 2010

Christian Radio Host: Deal with HomosexualityLike We Deal with Drug Abuse

Bryan Fischer, radio host for the American Family Association and no stranger to controversy, called into Alan Colmes’s radio program on Wednesday night to clarify, or perhaps sidestep, his position on “homosexual behavior.”

In his talk with Colmes, Fischer doubled down on the rhetoric that he had used earlier on his blog.

(Read more)

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From Agence France Presse:

Feb. 4, 2010

Uganda rebuffs Obama on gay Bill

KAMPALA, Feb 4 – Uganda’s ethics minister on Thursday dismissed virulent criticism of his country’s proposed anti-gay law by US President Barack Obama and warned that any interference would be “unacceptable”.

“Somebody should tell President Obama that the parliament is doing its legislative duty in the interest of the people of Uganda,” James Nsaba Buturo, Ugandan minister of ethics and integrity, told AFP.

(Read more)

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From Box Turtle Bulletin:

Jim Burroway, Feb. 4, 2010

More Than Thirty Congressmen Sponsor Resolution Against Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

Howard L. Berman (D-CA), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, introduced a bipartisan congressional resolution condemning the Uganda’s proposed Anti-Homosexuality Bill yesterday, calling it an attack on human rights and an obstacle to battling HIV/AIDS. The resolution also calls on the President and the Secretary of State to express the US’s opposition to the proposed legislation and ensure that any US funds dedicated to HIV/AIDS prevention be allocated “a manner that is efficient, effective, and appropriate to the local epidemiology of the disease, including in Uganda.”

(Read more)

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From Journal Sentinel (Milwaukee):

Annysa Johnson, Feb. 4, 2010

Listecki misled legislators on policy, Eau Claire police chief says

The Eau Claire police chief is accusing Milwaukee Archbishop Jerome Listecki of being untruthful to lawmakers about the notification procedure for clergy sex abuse allegations in the La Crosse Diocese, where he previously served as bishop.

(Read more)

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From Religion Dispatches:

Anthea Butler, Feb. 5, 2010

Missionary Imposition: Idaho Baptists Charged With Kidnapping 33 Haitian Children

Had the inexperienced Idaho missionaries read so much as Haiti’s wikipedia page they would have learned that the nation has a history of slavery, colonialism and missions that warns against attempts to remove Haitian children from their home.

Somewhere in Port au Prince, Haiti, there are ten white American Evangelical Christians sitting in a jail cell, wondering how they came to this fate. The American “Missionaries” from New Life Children’s Refuge were charged Thursday with child kidnapping and criminal association for trying to take 33 “orphans” across the border into the Dominican Republic; they’re also exhibit A in the trial of colonialism, evangelical fervor, and designer adoption chic.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Jerry Filteau, Feb. 4, 2010

Catholic higher ed enhances Catholic identity

WASHINGTON — U.S. Catholic colleges and universities produce more committed and practicing adult Catholics than do non-Catholic institutions of higher learning across the country, said two reports at the annual national meeting in Washington of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Editorial, Feb. 4, 2010

The history that created Haiti

Haiti was once the wealthiest, most lucrative cash-cow in the world. It was the dot-com boom of the late 1700s, when it was providing some 40 percent to 50 percent of France’s gross national product, 60 percent of all Europe’s coffee and 40 percent of all Europe’s sugar.

There is nothing inherent to Haitian culture or religion that renders it naturally vulnerable to every imaginable human catastrophe. There was no “pact with the devil,” as the most absurd religionists would have it, to explain its vulnerability to natural disaster.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Tom Roberts, Feb. 4, 2010

Just posted: A history of abuse in Bridgeport

BishopAccountability.org, the Web site that has gathered the most comprehensive documentation available of the clergy sex abuse crisis, has just posted a history of the scandal as it occurred in the Diocese of Bridgeport, Conn.

(Read more)

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From Truthout:

Leslie Thatcher, Feb. 3, 2010

“If You Can Think Differently, You Can Act Differently.”

On Wednesday January 27, 2010, Leslie Thatcher spoke over the phone with Henry Armand Giroux about his book, “Youth in a Suspect Society.” Public pedagogy and the war on democracy were also discussed.

Leslie Thatcher for Truthout: First of all, Dr. Giroux, let me thank you. Your work has contextualized and influenced how I read not only the news and other literature, but life in general.

(Read more)

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From National Catholic Reporter:

Alice Popovici, Feb. 3, 2010

Panelists connect issues of faith and economics

NEW YORK Franciscan Sr. Kathie Uhler has for months been working on a series of panel presentations to the United Nations that will show the damage exploitative mining has had on the indigenous populations of countries like Peru, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia.

(Read more)

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From Commonweal:

Lisa Fullam, Feb. 3, 2010

Benedict Circles the Wagons

CNS reports on the ad limina visit of the bishops of England and Wales. Among other things, the Pope strongly defended the right of Catholic prelates “to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society.”

But there is only ONE Catholic voice. Money quote: “To bring a coherent, convincing message to the people, the church must ensure the Catholic community speaks with one voice, he added. In a culture that encourages the expression of a wide variety of opinions, the pope said, ‘it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.’”

(Read more)

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From Huffington Post:

Rick Jacobs, Feb. 3, 2010

Prop 8 Trial + DADT Debate: Death Rattle of the Right Wing

Last night, I watched Lt. Dan Choi and Gen. Wesley Clark face off against Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis on Larry King Live.

The topic was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT), but the subject at hand was how America deals with minorities. Just as I saw during the Prop. 8 trial, Mr. Perkins raised the shibboleths of fear and division in an America that he apparently no longer loves.

(Read more)

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From Truth Wins Out:

Michael Airhart, Feb. 3, 2010

Video: American Prayer Hour to Reclaim Faith from Human-Rights Violators

Truth Wins Out co-hosted a press conference on Tuesday announcing the American Prayer Hour. The purpose of the APH, which is Thursday, February 4, is to offer an alternative to the annual National Prayer Breakfast, which takes place on the same day and is run by the secretive fundamentalist organization known as The Family. This shadowy group is directly tied to the notorious “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda.

(Read more)

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From The Irish Catholic:

Editorial, Feb. 4, 2010

Looking to Rome for guidance

If the Church in Ireland is to have a worthwhile future, each diocese will have to come up to speed with its own affairs and adopt best practice nationally and internationally.

Bishops were not appointed to a bishops’ conference, but they were appointed to a diocese and how they carry out this function is crucial to the spiritual well-being of laity and clergy. Not only is it of concern how they have handled clerical child sexual abuse, but also how they run their diocese, care for their laity and priests and if they are capable of doing what is an increasingly difficult and demanding job. Unlike the rest of us, there is no real oversight of how a bishop runs his diocese, and certainly no accountability to the people of that diocese. Therefore, it is important that the Vatican ensure that every bishop can answer comprehensively to three areas of competence.

(Read more)

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From Ireland On-Line:

Feb. 4, 2010

Dublin Archbishop ‘a source of division’

A meeting of Dublin priests last month heard the Archbishop of Dublin described as a source of division.

The meeting of up to 25 priests was held in January to discuss the fallout from the Murphy Report into abuse in the Dublin Archdiocese.

(Read more)

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From Huffington Post:

Melanie Sloan, Feb. 3, 2010

Why is President Obama Attending the Family’s National Prayer Breakfast?

Tomorrow, President Obama and dozens of members of Congress will attend the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington, DC. Unbeknownst to most, this seemingly innocuous event is hosted by a shadowy religious organization known as “the Fellowship,” or alternatively, “the Family.” They should not go.

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Laurie Goodstein, Feb. 3, 2010

National Prayer Breakfast Draws Controversy

For more than 50 years, the National Prayer Breakfast has served as a prime networking event in Washington, bringing together the president, members of Congress, foreign diplomats and thousands of religious, business and military leaders for scrambled eggs and supplication.

Usually, the annual event passes with little notice. But this year, an ethics group in Washington has asked President Obama and Congressional leaders to stay away from the breakfast, on Thursday. Religious and gay rights groups have organized competing prayer events in 17 cities, and protesters are picketing in Washington and Boston.

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Editorial, Feb. 2, 2010

Equality in the Military

History was made on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. More than 16 years after their predecessors helped impose the odious “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, the nation’s two top defense officials called on Congress to repeal the law that bans gay men and lesbians from serving openly in the military. The principled courage of the defense secretary and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is a major step forward for civil rights.

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Elisabeth Bumiller, Feb. 2, 2010

Top Defense Officials Seek to End ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top two defense officials called Tuesday for an end to the 16-year-old “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, a major step toward allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the United States military for the first time.

(Read more)

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From Daily Kos:

DKos Poll Shows Overwhelming Republican Opposition to Gay Rights

Daily Kos commissioned the non-partisan independent pollster Research 2000 to survey over 2,000 self-identified Republicans and find out where they stood on a range of issues, including impeachment, terrorism, ACORN, and succession.

Some of the results are predictable, but others are simply amazing:

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Religion Dispatches:

Sarah Posner, Feb. 3, 2010

Religious Leaders Urge Obama to Condemn Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill at Prayer Breakfast

As more activists call attention to the activities of The Fellowship, or The Family, the secretive fundamentalist powerhouse whose National Prayer Breakfast (NPB) is this Thursday, a group of religious leaders has launched an alternative American Prayer Hour to condemn The Family’s role in the kill-the-gays bill pending in the Ugandan parliament.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Washington Post:

Robert Barr, Feb. 2, 2010

Pope’s swipe at UK equality laws provokes foes

LONDON — Pope Benedict XVI’s condemnation this week of British equality legislation designed to protect gays and women in the workplace has deepened the battle lines between the Vatican and secularists, who demand that taxpayers not foot the security bill for his newly announced September visit.

The Roman Catholic Church’s steadfast opposition to allowing gays to become priests or having rights such as adoption puts it at odds with changing attitudes in Britain, where acceptance of homosexuality has increased dramatically in recent decades.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Alternet:

Adele M. Stan, Feb. 3, 2010

Obama Religious Adviser Wants President to Speak Against Ugandan ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill at Prayer Breakfast

At a press conference where a gay Ugandan was too frightened to show his face to the media, a member of Obama’s religion council and other clergy threw down the gauntlet.

After Thursday, the National Prayer Breakfast may never be the same again — that’s if President Obama takes the advice of a panel of clergy members, including one of his own advisers, and uses the breakfast podium to denounce a murderous law endorsed by two of its overseas members. At issue is a law proposed in Uganda that would severely criminalize lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender behavior, and carry the death sentence for gays who commit certain acts.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Americablog:

John Aravosis, Feb. 2, 2010

Family Research Council spokesman says we should outlaw gay behavior

Dear God. It kicks in right at the end of the video, about the 7:30 mark.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From America:

Austen Ivereigh, Feb. 2, 2010

Pope kicks up a storm ahead of UK visit

The UK media outcry over Pope Benedict’s remarks Monday to the English and Welsh bishops caught me by surprise. ‘Anger as Pope slams UK equality law’ is the Press Association headline, which could stand for all the others.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From National Catholic Reporter:

Daniel Burke, Feb. 2, 2010

Gay groups pressure Obama over prayer breakfast

WASHINGTON — Progressive religious leaders today, Feb. 2, unveiled plans to hold a multi-city event to protest Thursday’s National Prayer Breakfast because of its sponsor’s alleged ties to an anti-gay bill in Uganda.

The alternative American Prayer Hour will take place in 17 cities, including Washington, Dallas and Chicago, as an “affirmation of inclusive values and a celebration of diversity,” according to organizers.

Meanwhile, gay rights leaders close to the White House — including a member of President Obama’s faith advisory council, and the gay bishop who prayed at his star-studded inaugural concert — are lobbying the White House to use Obama’s platform at the breakfast to denounce the Uganda law.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From The Tablet:

Editorial, 30 Jan. 2010

Vatican II’s irreversible changes

Recent developments in the Catholic Church have sparked fears of an imminent counter-revolution against the Second Vatican Council. Anxiety is mainly focused on the new translation of the Mass into English but also on a more fundamental call by the papal master of ceremonies, Mgr Guido Marini, for a “renewal of the renewal” which would entail the recasting of the entire Latin liturgy. But is Vatican II itself actually in danger from reactionary forces in the Curia?

The inaugural meeting of a new movement, calling itself Stand Up for Vatican II, took place in London this week. Liturgical issues were high on the agenda and in people’s minds. A petition was launched calling on the bishops of England and Wales to rededicate themselves to Vatican II. Meanwhile their worst fears seemed to be underlined in a lecture by the leading liturgist Fr Anscar Chupungco OSB in Newcastle, New South Wales, in which he asked: “What are the possible implications of a reform of the post-conciliar reform? What agenda does it put forward? The agenda is, to all appearances, an attempt to put the clock back half a century.”

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Spiegel:

Peter Wensierski and Steffen Winter, Feb. 1, 2010

Bishop Williamson Unrepentant in Holocaust Denial

Embarrassment for the Catholic Church

Controversial Bishop Richard Williamson continues in his denial of the Holocaust, embarrassing both the Society of St. Pius to which he belongs and the Vatican. But the SSPX is becoming increasingly powerful despite the controversy and is attracting more and more supporters.

Richard Williamson’s complaints begin when he looks out the window of his office in Saint George’s House, the London headquarters of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX). Just past the garden, at the base of a small hill in verdant Wimbledon Park, are a pond, golf course, croquet club and, most famously, the tennis courts.

(Read more)

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From New York Times:

Editorial, Feb. 1, 2010

A Verdict Against Vigilantism

On Friday, a Kansas jury convicted an anti-abortion extremist of first-degree murder for the shooting death of a Wichita abortion provider, Dr. George Tiller. It was a just verdict, but it was not only the judgment of guilt that mattered in this case.

The trial sends an important message upholding the rule of law.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Alternet:

Liliana Segura, Feb. 1, 2010

Battle Over Super Bowl Abortion Ad Rages on: Is Tim Tebow’s Birth Story Even True?

High-profile lawyer argues it’s an impossible scenario that doctors would have suggested abortion as a viable option for Tebow in the first place.

First, there was the initial controversy over Focus on the Family’s 30-second ad, in which the mother of University of Florida quarterback and Christian extraordinaire Tim Tebow tells the story of her brave decision to give birth to her son despite doctors’ advice to the contrary. The spot is set to air during the Super Bowl this coming Sunday, despite the network’s long-standing policy of rejecting “issue-oriented” advertisements on Super Bowl Sunday. A divisive and overtly anti-choice commercial such as this would obviously breach this rule.

Now, however, some are questioning whether or not the story of Tebow’s miraculous birth is even true.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From New York Times:

R.M. Schneiderman, Feb. 1, 2010

More Churches Promote Martial Arts to Reach Young Men

Flock Is Now a Fight Team in Some Ministries

MEMPHIS — In the back room of a theater on Beale Street, John Renken, 42, a pastor, recently led a group of young men in prayer.

“Father, we thank you for tonight,” he said. “We pray that we will be a representation of you.”

An hour later, a member of his flock who had bowed his head was now unleashing a torrent of blows on an opponent, and Mr. Renken was offering guidance that was not exactly prayerful.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP):

Jan. 28, 2010

Letter to Cardinal George

Two weeks ago, Chicago Catholics and citizens were informed that Fr. Frank Paduch is a credibly accused child molester. Our group did this. You could and should have done this back in 1997, when your staff learned of and then paid a settlement to one of his victims. But you chose to keep silent.

On Monday, the public was informed that over 140 child sex abuse victims who were hurt by a church volunteer who is a Chicago native and was a long time Chicago resident. Brave child sex abuse victims did this. You or other church officials could and should have done this back in the 1980s, when allegations against Joseph C. Lundowski first began coming to light, and again in 2008 when over 100 victims came forward. But you chose to keep silent.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From The Independent (UK):

Jerome Taylor, Feb. 2, 2010

Pope: I’ll visit but I don’t like your equality laws

Benedict attacks improved rights for gay men and women

The Pope confirmed yesterday that he will make an official state visit to Britain this September – and immediately launched an attack on the Government’s plans to introduce stronger equality legislation for gay men and women.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Pam’s House Blend:

Feb. 1, 2010

Southridge High’s Respect Humanity: Uganda March and Rally Draws 800

As 800 marchers coming from three different starting points converged on Beaverton, Oregon’s City Park for the rally portion of the Respect Humanity: Uganda March and Rally, it was hard to believe that the event was conceived by a few students only six weeks prior.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Huffington Post:

Arthur Delaney, Feb. 1, 2020

CREW to Obama: Skip the National Prayer Breakfast

A prominent good government group is demanding that President Obama and members of Congress skip this year’s National Prayer Breakfast, calling its organizer “shadowy” and “cult-like.”

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From USA Today:

Kathy Grossman, Feb. 2, 2010

Will Obama push for gay service in military have a prayer?

“Don’t ask, don’t tell” is up before a congressional hearing today. And Mark Silk, at Spiritual Politics, thinks President Obama ought to take his pledge to dump the policy which has shoved thousands of gay military people out of uniform, a step further: He should pray on it.Obama will again attend the National Prayer Breakfast sponsored by The Family, or The Fellowship, or whichever name you prefer for the Christian prayer group that’s sponsored the event for years. The breakfast comes up Thursday and the question is what moral issues Obama will bring up when he goes to break bread with believers.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Box Turtle Bulletin:

Jim Burroway, Feb. 1, 2010

AFA Radio Calls for Criminalizing LGBT People

Uganda’s Parliament will return after its long winter recess tomorrow, and it is expected that its first order of business will be to take up the Anti-Homosexuality Bill for its second reading. The anonymous blogger GayUganda says that police round-ups are continuing under the current law even as we speak. Does anyone doubt that there are those who would like to see the same thing here? Anti-Gay Inc., in the form of the American Family Association, thinks it’s a dandy idea. Here’s Bryan Fischer, host of the AFA’s Focus Point radio program:

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From New York Times:

AP, Jan. 30, 2010

Utah Lawmakers Won’t Take Up a Ban on Discrimination Against Gays

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah lawmakers will not consider a law that would ban discrimination against gay men and lesbians in the workplace and in housing, and will instead spend the next year studying the issue, key lawmakers said Friday.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Religion Dispatches:

Jan. 31, 2010

When Mormons Mobilize: Anti-Gay Marriage Prop. 8 Effort ‘Outed’?

On Wednesday, January 20, in a federal courthouse in San Francisco, plaintiffs in the Perry vs. Schwarzenegger trial challenging the legality of California’s Proposition 8 introduced two documents (over strenuous objections from the defense) indicating close but cautious coordination between the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Yes on 8 campaign.

The documents, according to plaintiffs’ witness Gary Segura, a professor of political science at Stanford University, indicated a desire on the part of the Church to create “plausible deniability or respectable distance between the church organization per se and the actual campaign.”

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Huffington Post:

Paul Raushenbush, Feb. 1, 2010

Mr. President: Find Your Inner Niebuhr

Dear Mr. President,

In April of 2007, you told David Brooks that Reinhold Niebuhr is one of your favorite philosophers. I was impressed at the time and still am. In re-reading that column from Brooks, I am reminded of the sincere, intelligent, yet powerful candidate who moved me and so much of the nation in the campaign.

(Read more)

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From Politics Daily:

David Gibson, Jan. 29, 2010

Mother Teresa: Should a Saint Get Postal Service’s Stamp of Approval?

If anything qualifies as a no-brainer, it would seem to be honoring Mother Teresa of Calcutta on a stamp. Not really the biggest laurel the late Nobel Prize winner and sure-fire saint will ever merit, but nothing to sniff at — especially given the price of a stamp these days.

But of course, you knew someone would find something objectionable about the decision, and in this case it is The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a leading atheist organization that is organizing a boycott and letter-writing campaign against the stamp, which was one of 23 new issues the United States Postal Service recently unveiled for 2010.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Alternet:

Adele Stan, Feb. 1, 2010

At National Prayer Breakfast, Obama to Address Shadowy Christian Group Tied to Uganda’s ‘Kill the Gays’ Bill

The prayer breakfast is a display of power for an underground religious group that often shapes U.S. foreign policy in ways that sometimes conflict with our policy goals.

The National Prayer Breakfast, an annual Washington exercise attended by politicians of all stripes who wish to demonstrate their piety, is one of those must-go events for the U.S. president, or so the conventional wisdom has it. Every president since Dwight D. Eisenhower has attended.

But the prayer breakfast, however benign it may seem on the surface, is really a display of power for an underground religious group that often shapes U.S. foreign policy in ways not easy to see, and sometimes at odds the policy goals of the government itself. This Thursday, President Barack Obama is expected to address the gathering, as he did last year. But if there was ever a year for the president to back out, to have a sudden scheduling conflict, it’s this one.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Washington Post:

Frances Kissling and Kate Michelman, Jan. 31, 2010

What Tim Tebow’s Super Bowl ad can teach the pro-choice movement

Next Sunday, when millions of people tune in to watch Super Bowl XLIV, they’ll see a football star off the field, too. Tim Tebow, the University of Florida’s Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback, is set to appear with his mother in a 30-second advertisement to be aired during the game. The spot, which has not been released, is said to feature Tebow, by all reports a humble young man who takes his faith seriously, and his mother telling the story of her decision 23 years ago to ignore medical advice and continue a risky pregnancy. Pam Tebow says that she had contracted amoebic dysentery, and her doctors feared that the medicine used to treat her illness might cause fetal deformity. The healthy and very successful Tim proved them wrong.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From United Press International:

Jan. 31, 2010

Bishop appointment raises abuse questions

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Jan. 31 (UPI) — A new bishop’s appointment in Kentucky raised questions about his suitability for dealing with Catholic priests’ sexual abuse, an abuse survivors’ group said.

Rev. William Medley, who has been a priest for 27 years in the Archdiocese of Louisville and was appointed Owensboro bishop in December by Pope Benedict XVI, served from 1989 to 1993 as a clergy personnel director for a bishop who re-assigned five priests facing accusations of the sexual abuse of minors, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported Sunday.

(Read more)

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From Atlanta Journal Constitution:

Frank Bajak, AP, Jan. 31, 2010

Haiti detains Americans taking kids across border

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — Ten American Baptists were being held in the Haitian capital Sunday after trying take 33 children out of Haiti at a time of growing fears over possible child trafficking.

The church members, most from Idaho, said they were trying to rescue abandoned and traumatized children. But officials said they lacked the proper documents when they were arrested Friday night in a bus along with children from 2 months to 12 years old who had survived the catastrophic earthquake.

(Read more)

**************************************************************

From Religion Dispatches:

Sarah Posner, Jan. 29, 2010

Using Religion to Get Away With Murder?

As the trial of Scott Roeder, charged with murdering Dr. George Tiller in church last year, wraps up, the defendant made an extraordinary confession on the witness stand: “I shot him,” Roeder admitted, after declaring “I did what I thought was needed to be done to protect the children.”

Roeder’s lawyers are aiming to have their client convicted not of the first-degree murder he has confessed to planning and executing, but of a lesser charge of voluntary manslaughter. They claim he had the legal requisite of “an unreasonable but honest belief that circumstances existed that justified deadly force.”

(Read more)

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