The Bible as a book? Crazy! Bible courtesy of Shutterstock (http://shutr.bz/12pqxb0)

The Bible as a book? Crazy!
Bible courtesy of Shutterstock (http://shutr.bz/12pqxb0)

Marketing rules everything, even religion: Trying to exploit the runaway success of “The Bible” miniseries, the History Channel is now turning the Bible into a book. Yeah, like that’ll work.

Maybe the History Channel is more evangelical than many evangelicals? The show had a real Adam and Eve, but some leading evangelical figures are not taking that literally, and that’s raising a ruckus.

So how should Christians disagree when it comes to theology? Via First Things, Kevin McFadden, a religion professor who was fired from a Southern Baptist school, Louisiana College, over a difference of opinion, has some suggestions.

GOP Sen. Rand Paul would probably side with the literal reading of the Bible. The Washington Post reports on how the 2016 presidential hopeful is assiduously courting evangelicals in hopes of reconciling political libertarianism with social conservatism:

“I’m not advocating everyone go out and run around with no clothes on and smoke pot,” Paul said. “I’m not a libertarian. I’m a libertarian Republican.”

Good luck with that.

The newest “Man of Steel” poster was released over the weekend and deploys what may be the signature line of the latest Superman flick:

Screen Shot 2013-05-12 at 7.43.58 AM

Blasphemy? Or just standard comic book dogma? ReligionLink explores the close connections between religion and superheroes.

Boston’s Cardinal Sean O’Malley will not be going to the Boston College commencement because the Jesuit school has Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny as the main speaker, and Kenny has supported a law that would allow for abortions “if there is a real and substantive threat to the mother’s life, including from suicide,” as the Globe reports.

Our own Michael O’Loughlin has the whole story, and back story.

Mark Silk has the principle of “the double effect,” and more.

And the Supreme Court’s reliably liberal justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, says the Roe v. Wade decision here in the U.S. went too far, too fast. Hence many of the problems we have today, she says.

(Speaking of RNS bloggers, you know what I wrote the other day about “the redemption of Enda Kenny”? Never mind…)

On the other hand, some alumni weren’t too happy that Republican congressman and budget wonk Paul Ryan was going to be the commencement speaker at Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kan. That’s because Ryan’s budget plan is seen as a “soak the poor” scheme that doesn’t comport with Catholic social teachings.

But his bishop gave him a pass on that stuff, and he was recommended by George Weigel, so hard to see much coming of those protests.

Never mind that Ryan likes lite beer and is cool with gay adoption…

Cardinal Roger Mahony, on the other hand, is going anywhere he wants, including doing confirmations that his successor says he was going to be barred from doing. The Los Angeles Times reports, and at dotCommonweal Grant Gallicho decides: “Mahony unbound.”

And that news broke after two of the church’s own top watchdogs on the hierarchy’s abuse prevention policies lamented the recent actions of Mahony, and Archbishop Myers in Newark, and other bishops whose actions undermine the good work and progress they say the rest of the church is making.

BTW, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue claims there was a “media blackout” of the annual audit of the hierarchy’s sex abuse policies, because it contained good news. Bill, you ought to read RNS!

On the other hand, the latest Catholic stats are out and the number of Catholics globally remains about the same, around 1.2 billion, while the numbers of priests has grown slightly, mainly thanks to vocations in Asia and Africa. Yet the number of nuns keeps declining. But vocations to the diaconate have exploded, rising 40 percent in the past year, especially in Europe and the U.S.

There was even a boomlet in popes, as the Vatican had three, count ‘em three, in residence over the weekend.

On the other hand, if you have another hand left, there could be one less Catholic priest: the Rev. Thomas Williams has asked Pope Francis to defrock him so he can care for the son that he fathered while he was telling everyone else to be better Catholics. Which was kind of par for the course for the conservative Legion of Christ that he belonged to.

Speaking of Francis, he had another good line at a canonization Mass on Sunday: Comfortable living, he warned, causes “gentrification of the heart.” That could give Catholic yuppies agita.

Were the Tsarnaev brothers Islamic extremists or basically just homicidal? There is growing evidence that the pair was behind an unsolved triple murder two years before the Boston Marathon bombing. And they were stoners. “We’d smoke a jay and he’d come out and pray,” says a friend of Tamerlan.

A Mormon couple is trying to use faith as an ally in caring for those left behind without support after the suicide of a loved one.

An interesting read: In the New Yorker, Paul Bloom makes the case against empathy.

But before you read why empathy is a waste of time, consider contributing to our brief (Almost over! Swear!) campaign in support of the Daily Religion News Roundup. You’ll be glad you did, because the perks are neat.

David Gibson

Categories: Culture

David Gibson

David Gibson

David Gibson is an award-winning religion journalist, author and filmmaker. He is a national reporter for RNS and has written two books on Catholic topics, the latest a biography of Pope Benedict XVI.

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