Maybe it’s the upcoming solstice. Or is it the full moon?
In any case, the religion world was rocked by this important news:
“Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson was suspended from the hit A&E reality TV series after disparaging gays as sinners akin to adulterers and swindlers.
Southern Baptists couldn’t get enough. Ethics czar Russell Moore called the suspension “ridiculous:”
“I hardly think silencing him can be called open-minded. In fact, it’s the sort of censorious cultural fundamentalism that is neither “progressive” nor “pluralistic.”
Al Mohler, president of the flagship Southern Seminary, whipped up a press release in which he said:
“So the controversy over Duck Dynasty sends a clear signal to anyone who has anything to risk in public life — say nothing about the sinfulness of homosexual acts or risk sure and certain destruction by the revolutionaries of the new morality. You have been warned.”
More on evangelicals: Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll apologized for plagiarizing the work of others, yet still used that awful passive construction, “mistakes were made.” And, Sarah Pulliam Bailey unearths one of the real consequences of the Southern Baptist takeover at Cedarville University: Women are no longer in positions of leadership.
On polls: Reinforcing the view that party identification is shaping Americans’ views of the world, a new Gallup poll shows large differences between Republicans and Democrats on whether clergy are honest. (Republicans tend to think so, Democrats less so.)
On Christmas: Some troops at Guantanamo Bay want the U.S. Navy to remove nativity scenes and Christmas decorations from two dining facilities, saying they improperly promote Christianity over other faiths.
On greed: A Haiti orphanage run on donations from an upscale New York City antique store is so filthy and overcrowded that the government is threatening to shut its doors. The antique store, meanwhile, claims it makes $2.5 million annually in donations to the home, according to an AP investigation.
On science: A panel of experts has rejected concerns by religious conservatives in Texas that a high school biology textbook contained factual errors about evolution. The state board approved the book for use in public schools.
On principle: Two US academic institutions withdrew their membership in the American Studies Association this week, after the national body endorsed a boycott of Israeli academic institutions earlier this month. Penn State Harrisburg was the first university to announce a break with the ASA on Tuesday, with Brandeis University following suit Wednesday.
On finances: The Vatican is outsourcing more of its financial reform to big-name consulting firms, tapping McKinsey & Co. and KMPG to advise it on modernizing its communications operations and bring its accounting up to international standards.
On societal shifts: The death penalty in the United States continued its pattern of broad decline in 2013, reports the New York Times. Eighty death sentences were imposed: only nine states put prisoners to death.
On humor: Yes, the Pew poll on American Jews was depressing. So actress writer and director Sarah Rosen came up with a way to make light of the situation. Porn4Jews is the result. The Tumblr photo collection may offend some, but not because of the nudity, because, well, there is none.
Finally: If you care about the quality of news reports on religion, please consider a donation to RNS. It’s that time of year and we need your help. Thank you.