For anyone who advocates military muscle to counter the Islamic State, you may now marshall this momentous moral argument: Pope Francis says go ahead and fire.

Pope backs use of force in Iraq

This is a rarity. The Pope Monday endorsed the use of force to stop radical Islamists from rampaging through Iraq and giving non-Muslims the choice of conversion or death. How rare is papal approval of the use of force? USA Today quotes James Bretzke, a priest and professor of moral theology at Boston College, who reminded that popes have in recent history opposed all military intervention, including World War II. Said Bretzke:

This is the most pronounced endorsement of the use of force of any pope … in the last 100 years.

Pope: Archbishop Romero “unblocked”

“It is important to do it quickly,” Francis said of the beatification of Oscar Romero, the former archbishop of San Salvador and hero of liberation theology who was gunned down in 1980 while celebrating Mass. Francis said Romero’s beatification had been “blocked out of prudence,” but is no longer. Francis’ predecessor, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, had not been a fan of liberation theology, which takes an activist view of Jesus’ teachings on social justice.

Where life is tough, they Google the apocalypse

The New York Times’ “Upshot” columnist analyzes Google searches in the toughest and easiest places to live in America — and finds that those living in the hardscrabble locales are far more likely to Google the dark side of religion: terms, for example, such as “hell” and “apocalypse.” On the sunny side of the street, there is a tendency to search for the Ben Stiller’s “Zoolander.” (One of those movies that you may have enjoyed, but shouldn’t admit to it.)

Ferguson’s Disciples of Justice

Here’s Lilly Fowler’s piece on what happened at the overflowing Greater Grace Church in Ferguson, where The Rev. Al Sharpton preached against the militarization of the police, and for more African-American participation in civic life. He also called for more yellow-shirted Disciples of Justice — or DJ’s – who will fan out across Ferguson to keep the peace.

By the way, the Egyptian military government, which came to power by force and stands accused of killing more than 1,000 Egyptian protestors and jailing many others without due process, is calling on the U.S. to act with restraint in Ferguson.

Marriage is like a cold shower

Marriage is a  foundation of life, and not a capstone of a prolonged adolescence, write Pastor Jon Akin and Andrew Walker of the SBC’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission. OK, I get the point. Their Baptist Press piece, a response to a news story about when Southern Baptists should marry, advises that there’s no one Baptist answer to this question, but that more Baptists should consider marrying younger. But they also write:

Frankly, it is indeed our personal opinion that marrying earlier staves off the hormonal rush that comes with sexual temptation.

Maybe it’s because my sex ed course, many a year ago, was sponsored by the New York City Board of Education — but that part about the hormones? Just doesn’t sound accurate to me.

What I love about the roundup is . . .

That after every paragraph I write, I feed myself a chocolate chip, or 10. Not kidding. What do you love about the roundup? Seriously. We want to know.

BYOB: Bring your own Bible

The British Travelodge hotel chain has removed Bibles from its rooms. “With the country being increasingly multicultural, we didn’t feel it was appropriate to just have the Bible,” said a company spokesman. The Church of England says they still want Bibles in Travelodge rooms. Many Americans have similar feelings about the Navy’s June decision to remove Bibles from its 39 guest lodges. Now that directive is under review.

Mark your gay marriage calendars for Thursday

That’s when same-sex marriages, thanks to a 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling, are supposed to begin in Virginia. But the state’s attorney general, who supported overturning the marriage ban, is asking the Supreme Court to let the ban stand until the high court can decide the case itself. Wrote Mark Herring to the Supremes:

Although it is painful to keep Virginia’s same-sex couples and their children waiting any longer to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, the rule of law requires that this court be afforded the time needed to settle the question.

Bonus Tracks

David Gibson on how American conservatives consider themselves in a “Babylonian Exile.” 

As the Islamic State spreads in Iraq and Syria, similar groups are claiming territory and challenging governments in Africa

Pope Francis ends his trip to South Korea with an overture to China.

And I shall make an overture to you. If you do not already get this roundup delivered to you for free, without spam, each weekday day in your inbox, sign up for it below. And were it within my powers, I would give you a chocolate chip for each roundup paragraph you read.

– Lauren Markoe


Categories: Beliefs

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe

Lauren Markoe covered government and features as a daily newspaper reporter for 15 years before joining the Religion News Service staff as a national correspondent in 2011. She previously was Washington correspondent for The State (Columbia, S.C.)


  1. YES, I do read every paragraph… But some days I don’t read them the moment they are posted. I always feel “in the know” about religious news around the world. LOVE RNS!

  2. Concerning the Pope’s call for battle and military intervention, that goes against Jesus’ command to love your neighbor or fellowman as yourself (Luke 10:27).

    It also goes against Jesus’ admonition to love your enemies and pray for those persecuting you (Matthew 5:44); as well as Paul’s admonition to feed your enemy if he is hungry and provide drink if he is thirsty (Romans 12:20).

    It is important to remember, as Paul also said, that we should not avenge someone if they have done us wrong, but that God would avenge those who did the wrong (Romans 12:19).

    So what if we lose our life through terrorists or violent ones during war? Again, as Jesus says: “For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:25). Thus, the resurrection hope is available to those who have passed away but remained faithful to God and followed the example of Jesus, his son (Acts 24:15; John 5:28, 29) to be peaceable toward all men (Romans 12:18).

    Thus, true Christians can be no part of the world, just as Jesus was, when it comes to the world’s national or international conflicts and must remain neutral.

    One’s faith in God and his kingdom or heavenly government (Daniel 2:44) as the only hope for mankind must go before nationalism and the destruction of our fellowman, even though he may be wicked. All wicked ones on earth will soon be destroyed by that kingdom (Psalm 37:10,11).

    • Fran, I really hope you can “walk the talk” when terrorists bang down your door. As a young friend said to me, “I’m not afraid of dying, it’s the stuff they do before they kill me that’s frightening.”

      • Rose, I shall walk the talk and exercise strong faith in God’s promises, even when faced with persecution, imprisonment or death, as the apostles in the Bible book of Acts did.

        If I die at a terrorist’s hand, even here in the USA (one never knows the future actions of our government or other groups of people who may become “militant “) so be it!

        Many of my “spiritual brothers and sisters” were imprisoned with the Jews by the Nazis in concentration camps for being conscientious objectors to war, not “heiling” Hitler nor making weapons of war. All they had to do was sign a declaration renouncing their faith, and they would be released. But they refused to do so, since their allegiance went to God’s kingdom as the only hope for mankind. Many met their death there and some even survived those camps!! If you want more information on one who survived from Austria, Google the book, “Unbroken Will”, which a man wrote about his experiences in 3 different locations.

        If I die, for any reason, I will only be taking a “little nap”, sleeping in death and awaiting resurrection back to life on a cleansed earth during Jesus’ upcoming 1,000-yr rule. 😀 😀

  3. Here’s The Tennessean’s original article on the SBC and marriage: I don’t think it ever says the denomination set a policy. But if the ERLC holds a conference for pastors and presents a speaker who suggests they encourage members of their congregations to marry younger, seems like at least an endorsement.

  4. ..On the other hand, people may also google “Hell” because they live there..,_Norway and want to know what the opening hours of the local shopping mall (of corse there is a shopping mall in Hell) is open

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