Nearly 80 percent of likely American voters believe in the healing power of prayer, according to a recent poll conducted by Fox News. The findings could be significant as a stable of mostly Christian Republican presidential candidates compete for the right to challenge Barak Obama in the 2012 presidential election.
President Obama will be the featured speaker at an “interfaith faith prayer service” at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C. (interior photo at left) on the evening of September 11th to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrorist attack on the nation. Curiously, while the event will also include a “Roman Catholic bishop, a Jewish rabbi, Buddhist nun, a Hindu priest, the president of the Islamic Society of North America, and a Muslim musician,” reported Ron Kerby at Beliefnet.com, “…not a single protestant or evangelical has been invited to participate.”
A Christian a cappella singing group at the University of North Carolina (UNC) is under scrutiny after its members voted to expel another member who is openly homosexual. The Christian Post reported that the student group, called Psalm 100, “was founded on core biblical principles. When its members discovered that William Thomason, a UNC senior, disagreed with the biblical teaching on the sinfulness of homosexuality, a vote was held to have the student removed from the group.”
Access to Scripture has gotten easier for millions of people all over the world with the introduction of a “smart phone” application with Bible translations in more than 500 languages. An organization called Faith Comes by Hearing released the app for iPhones and other mobile devices a little over a year ago, and in late August announced that the number of languages available on the app as well as the group’s website increased from around 200 languages to over 550. The goal of the Christian ministry, part of the Digital Bible Project, is to extend the influence of the Christian Scriptures — in both text and audio format — to every corner of the earth.
Eid-ul-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan, is one of the most important Muslim religious holidays. As a celebration of that holiday, 3,000 Muslims went to Playland Amusement Park in Rye, New York. When staff at the park insisted that women who rode rides at the park could not wear the hijab — the traditional head covering that the majority of Muslim women are enjoined to use — the result was a brawl that required police from nine different agencies to converge on the park in order to restore peace. About 100 officers were required to handle the disturbance, which involved 30 to 40 people, 13 of whom were arrested by the police.