One of the nation’s largest denominational social services networks is in danger of a major split over the decision by one of the participants to take a tolerant stance on homosexuality. According to a report by the Associated Press, the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod (logo, top left), a theologically conservative denomination, has announced “that direct work with its larger and more liberal counterpart, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America [ELCA, logo, bottom left], has become ‘difficult if not impossible,’ because of doctrinal differences,” including the 2009 decision by the ELCA to allow for the ordination of homosexuals as clergy members.
Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), a mainstay of Christian outreach ministries at universities across the United States for the past 60 years, is changing its iconic name because “the word ‘crusade’ has negative associations with the bloody Christian conquests of the 11th to 13th centuries,” reported the New York Times. In a press release, the organization itself explained that it was changing its name to simply “Cru” in an effort to “overcome existing barriers and perceptions inherent in the original name.”
The atheist group Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFR) has filed a lawsuit against Texas Governor Rick Perry (left) in an attempt to halt the planned day of fasting and prayer he has called for on August 6th at Reliant Stadium in Houston. In a press release, the group said that it was joining five of its members in “asking the federal court to declare unconstitutional Perry’s initiation, organization, promotion, and participation in the Aug. 6 prayer event.” The group said that it planned to file a restraining order to block “Perry’s continuing involvement in the prayer rally….”
A federal judge ruled July 11 that a community in Los Angeles County may include prayer in its city government meetings. U.S. District Judge Dale Fischer issued a decision in favor of the City of Lancaster, which in 2009 had approved a policy allowing prayers of all faiths to be included in the openings of the city meetings. The policy was later approved by voters in a community referendum.
While the ACLU worries about whether a Christmas decoration in the public library or a moment of silent prayer in school violates the First Amendment, other non-Christian nations have no trouble at all with combining religion and government. The notion that a “separation of church and state” is indispensable to civil liberty would have flabbergasted the Founding Fathers. In fact, when the Constitution was adopted, about half of the original states had a “state” religion. Eventually all of these states were disestablished (the “state” religion status was ended) but this had absolutely nothing to do with the First Amendment, whose clear words collectivists always seem unable to read: “Congress shall make no law….” is how that amendment begins. Congress did not mean state legislatures.
A significant change to the constitution of the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA) — (PCUSA) — took effect July 10 that allows practicing homosexuals to serve as clergy in the storied mainline denomination. Last year delegates to the PCUSA endorsed the change to drop the requirement, written in the church’s constitution, that church ministers live “in fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The change required approval by a majority of the church’s 173 regional presbyteries, which occurred in May of this year, with Minnesota’s Twin Cities district casting the deciding vote.
Thirty percent of Americans believe that the Bible is the actual word of God, according to a recent Gallup survey. While nearly 50 percent agree that Scripture is “inspired” by God, only three in ten say that it should be interpreted literally. Another 17 percent say the Bible is merely an ancient book of stories recorded by man.
Delegates at the most recent national meeting of the United Church of Christ (UCC) agreed overwhelmingly July 4 to strike the term “heavenly Father” from the denomination’s constitutional definition of the local church. By a vote of 613 to 161, the delegates voted to change language in Article V of the church’s bylaws (see page 3) from describing a local church as composed of persons who believe in “God as heavenly Father” to those who believe in “the triune God” — thereby relieving UCC members of the responsibility of acknowledging God as masculine.
A federal appeals court has ordered the U.S. government to stop immediately stop enforcing the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on homosexuals serving in the military. The three-judge panel from San Francisco’s 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that since Congress has already repealed the policy, a move that came last December, and the Pentagon is actively preparing for an influx of homosexual personnel into the nation’s armed forces, there is no longer a reason to continue with the stay the court had earlier placed on a lower court ruling overturning the ban.