If you’re wondering what’s going on in Turkey, it appears there’s a secular-religious component to the recent unrest. The plans to demolish a public park and replace it with a mosque turned violent on Saturday as protesters battled with police. The New York Times suggests the old secular elite may be chafing under the rule of a pious capitalist class that is tearing down vestiges of the country’s secular past.
The Boy Scouts of America’s new policy welcoming gay Scouts “is not in conflict with Catholic teaching,” according to the Roman Catholic Church’s top liaison to the Scouts.
Or is it? Michelle Boorstein at The Washington Post parses the Catholic statement, which suggests you can affirm the dignity of gays and at the same time conclude that they are of lesser status.
Pope Francis is appealing to the “humanity” of kidnappers in Syria to release hostages. Francis, speaking Sunday from his window overlooking St. Peter’s Square, said he lamented that the war there has stricken a defenseless people aspiring to peace.
Want Muslims to have a better opinion of the United States? Get them on the Internet. That’s the conclusion of Pew Forum researchers, who found that Muslims who use the Internet are much more likely to see similarities between Islam and Christianity, and have favorable views of Western music, film, and television. Almost sounds like a promotional campaign out of Silicon Valley (“The Internet can change the world.”)
Speaking of Islam, some tea-partiers think anti-tax guru Grover Norquist has converted to Islam. The evidence? His wife is Muslim and he’s growing a beard.
The Rev. Roger L. Shinn, a longtime seminary professor and the principal author of the United Church of Christ’s statement of faith, died last month.
More stories about the adoption care movement among evangelicals this weekend. Kathryn Joyce, who has written a book on the subject, says the movement touts inflated numbers of genuine orphans — children with no father or mother. The real problem, she says, is poverty.
Meanwhile, the New York Times, points to reports of corruption among orphanages in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The State Department is now warning that several children whose adoptions had already been approved by the Congolese government may not be orphans.
Thom Rainer, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Lifeway Christian Resources, has written a book about church membership. This is not a sexy subject. But Rainer has a point to make. People have forgotten what it means to be church members. They expect the church to serve them. In an interview with RNS’ Jonathan Merritt, Rainer says it should be the other way around:
“The biblical picture of church membership is one of serving and giving.”
USA Today looks at Zaytuna College, which opened its doors three years ago. The Muslim school in California offers classes in Islamic theology and law, alongside classic liberal arts, such as logic, rhetoric and astronomy.
The Forward looks at Jewish cemeteries in Cuba. They’ve been vandalized; the marble stones are broken to pieces, and get this: The bones have been stolen. It may have something to do with an African religion called Palo Monte that took root in Cuba. One of the rituals of Palo Monte requires the use of bones from nonbaptized people. These bones come from Jewish and Chinese graveyards. The Jewish bones are the only ones used to ward off the evil eye.
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Finally, it’s Monday, so to brighten your day, here’s a bit of Irish humor on the difficulty of explaining the Trinity: