The Week: Most Recent Religion Posts recent posts.en-usThu, 21 Aug 2014 06:06:00 -0400http://theweek.com Recent Religion Posts from THE WEEKThu, 21 Aug 2014 06:06:00 -0400Is the Christian music industry liberalizing on gay marriage?<img src="" /></P><p>Does it matter if the lyrics you sing to worship God were written by someone with whom you have deep theological disagreements? <br /> <br /> Christian rock star Vicky Beeching forced her fans to confront this question last week when she told <em>The Independent</em> that she is a lesbian. Her songs are among the most commonly sung in North American churches. But many within her Christian fan base believe gay sex and marriage are sinful.<br /> <br /> Beeching has shared harrowing stories of struggling to shirk her sexuality. She even recounts participating in a traumatic exorcism at a Christian youth camp. Nineteen years after...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Thu, 21 Aug 2014 06:06:00 -0400How American Christians can stop being bullies and start winning converts<img src="" /></P><p>Eight years ago, Sally Quinn founded "OnFaith," a religious blog hosted (until recently) by <em>The Washington Post</em>. One thing she didn't anticipate? All the nasty Christian commenters.</p><p>"I can't tell you how many people wrote in to say that I was a whore and a slut and so much worse that I can't even write it here. And these all came from Christians," Quinn wrote in a recent article titled, "When It Comes to Hateful Internet Speech, Christians are The Worst."</p><p>She's been told that Jesus hated her, that she had punched her ticket to hell, and that she had made a pact with the devil. One "God-fearing...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Wed, 13 Aug 2014 06:07:00 -0400How the battle for religious freedom became a nonsensical free-for-all<img src="" /></P><p dir="ltr">Journalists are generally expected to adhere to some sort of code. For traditional news reporters, this may mean avoiding the appearance of being biased. For those at ideologically minded publications, it may mean staying on a certain side of the idea divide. At minimum, most outlets want their staff to avoid wildly unhinged, reputation-damaging rants.</p><p>But this is not how Robert Dale Eschliman sees it. The former editor-in-chief of Connecticut's <em>Newton Daily News</em> argues that anti-gay proselytizing on his personal blog is a vital part of his religious expression and therefore an invalid reason...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elizabeth-nolan-brown" ><span class="byline">Elizabeth Nolan Brown</span></a>Wed, 30 Jul 2014 06:08:00 -0400Blame Obama and U.S. evangelicals for the persecution of Iraqi Christians<img src="" /></P><p>"Convert to Islam, leave, or die."</p><p>This is the ultimatum, given by Islamic extremists in Iraq, that has forced thousands of Christians to flee the communities they've inhabited for almost 2,000 years. In the wake of this crisis, some conservative evangelicals here in the United States have been unsurprisingly quick to point the finger at the Obama administration for its lack of urgency:</p><ul><li>Tony Perkins of Family Research Council commented, "I'm not sure what's more shocking: the atrocities of ISIS or the silence of the Obama administration."</li><li>Todd Starnes, Fox News radio host and career bomb-thrower...</li></ul> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Mon, 28 Jul 2014 06:08:00 -0400A gay Mormon's complicated journey<img src="" /></P><p><br /></p><p>Alasdair Ekpenyong had never heard of a gay Mormon before. It seemed like a paradox, an oxymoron. "What is a gay Mormon?" he asked.</p><p>"It's someone who stays in the Mormon community," Rick replied, "even while dating someone of the same gender."</p><p>Rick was recounting his life for Alasdair and a group of visitors. He was not a gay Mormon anymore &mdash; he'd left the faith years ago, fed up with feeling unwelcome in his own religion. So now Rick was just a gay man with a towering stature and a scraggly beard. On this day he was also wearing a dress, a detail that made Alasdair squirm in his slacks...</p> <a href="">More</a>By Daniel A. GrossSun, 27 Jul 2014 09:00:00 -0400What progressives fundamentally don't get about traditional Christians<img src="" /></P><p>From Christian colleges challenging ObamaCare's contraception mandate to the Catholic bishops protesting gay marriage, Christians are among the most unyielding opponents of sexual liberation. Progressives working towards greater public acceptance and support of LGBT rights would no doubt like to see Christians with traditionalist views abandon their old-fashioned doctrines on these matters. Or just go away.</p><p>Neither will happen.</p><p>These Christians are bound to their idea of human sexuality because it is fundamentally inseparable from their understanding of God. Put another way: if they're wrong...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/kyle-cupp" ><span class="byline">Kyle Cupp</span></a>Wed, 23 Jul 2014 11:07:00 -0400The greatest threat to traditional churches isn't liberalism -- it's the men who run them<img src="" /></P><p>Have you heard the news about Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis? It seems he's been accused of making numerous sexual advances towards men while also leading his archdiocese's fight against same-sex marriage and regularly denouncing homosexuality in the most uncompromising terms possible. Nienstedt and his predecessor, Archbishop Harry Flynn, have also been credibly accused of covering up and showing indifference toward the sexual abuse of children by priests in the archdiocese.</p><p>I heard about both charges from blog posts by Rod Dreher, a conservative Christian friend, who...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/damon-linker" ><span class="byline">Damon Linker</span></a>Fri, 18 Jul 2014 06:01:00 -0400The Tea Party might be fundamentalist. But it isn't Christian.<img src="" /></P><p>At <em>The Daily Beast, </em>Jack Schwartz has a sharp analysis of the Tea Party movement. With a keen observation of Tea Party symbols, rhetoric, and fall-back texts, Schwartz concludes that the movement has the shape of a faith, with all relevant signals, rituals, and shibboleths:</p><p >Given the confusions of a secular world being rapidly transformed by technology, demography, and globalization, this movement has assumed a spiritual aspect whose adepts have undergone a religious experience that, if not in name, then in virtually every other aspect, can be considered a faith. [<em>The Daily Beast</em>]</p><p>Schwartz's...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/elizabeth-stoker-bruenig" ><span class="byline">Elizabeth Stoker Bruenig</span></a>Thu, 17 Jul 2014 06:09:00 -0400ENDA: The next front in the religious liberty war<img src="" /></P><p>The American Civil Liberties Union recently joined with gay rights groups in withdrawing their support from a major piece of legislation aimed at ending workplace discrimination against gays and lesbians.</p><p>Why would gay rights advocates back out of a bill that fights anti-gay discrimination? Because the Employment Non-Discrimination Act also contains religious liberty protections.</p><p>"The provision in the current version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that allows religious organizations to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity has long been a source of significant...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/w-james-antle-iii" ><span class="byline">W. James Antle III</span></a>Mon, 14 Jul 2014 06:11:00 -0400Christian bookstores are the next gay-marriage battleground<img src="" /></P><p>The battle over gay marriage is being fought in nearly every corner of American society &mdash; from public schools to the highest courts, and from television sitcoms to neighborhood barbecues.</p><p>Religious Americans &mdash; particularly evangelical Christians &mdash; have often been at the center of these debates, attempting to hold the line on traditional understandings of marriage. But as support for same-sex marriage grows (a clear majority of Americans now favor same-sex marriage), many Christians are starting to shift. Indeed, the majority of white mainline Protestants, white Catholics, and...</p> <a href="">More</a>By <a href="/author/jonathan-merritt" ><span class="byline">Jonathan Merritt</span></a>Wed, 09 Jul 2014 06:13:00 -0400