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It seems Pope Francis needs to brush up on his Tertullian!

It has been reported (in The ChristLast Media, I must note) that the current Pope does not like the phrase "lead us not into temptation...

"Let no freedom be allowed to novelty, because it is not fitting that any addition should be made to antiquity. Let not the clear faith and belief of our forefathers be fouled by any muddy admixture." -- Pope Sixtus III

Friday, October 19, 2007

It Takes A Village To Staff A Gestapo Unit Update.

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The Toledo Blade: Consultant's 'tough sell' is to spotlight Hitlery's faith

After sitting through 17 lectures - most of them truly informative and fascinating - over 3 1/2 days last week, the most memorable news tidbit I brought home from the Religion Newswriters Association's annual conference is this: Hillary Clinton is deeply religious.

Thankfully, I was sitting down when Burns Strider called Senator Clinton "the most religious Democrat since Jimmy Carter."

In a later lecture, researcher John C. Green affirmed the observation that Hillary has deeply held religious beliefs, but added: "The reality is quite different than the perception."

So I was not alone in being surprised. According to a recent Pew Forum survey, only 16 percent of Americans consider the New York Democratic senator to be "very religious."

Mr. Strider's task, as Senator Clinton's director of faith-based operations, is to try to change the perception of Hillary among America's evangelical community - a political bloc that has been pivotal in the recent presidential elections.

At the conference, a religion reporter and author posed a question to Mr. Strider and said, with all sincerity, that he believes the one thing that unites evangelicals on both sides of the aisle is a shared belief that Senator Clinton is "the Anti-Christ. Or Mrs. Anti-Christ. Ms. Anti-Christ."

Oy vey!

Mr. Strider, a devout Christian from Grenada County, Mississippi, who served two years as a missionary in Hong Kong, gently replied, with a wry smile and a charming Southern accent: "Lay off the anti-Christ stuff."

That drew laughs from the 270 journalists attending the conference, which ran from Sept. 27 through Sunday in this still-sweltering but delightful Texas city.

Mr. Strider, an influential adviser whose previous clients included Al Gore, Nancy Pelosi, and James Clyburn, joined Mrs. Clinton's campaign in December.

He acknowledged he's facing a daunting task.


"It's a tough sell; it's a challenge," he said. "I'm not denying it. But we can have a conversation."
The gregarious consultant said he has been knocking on doors since joining Senator Clinton's staff, asking to speak to key religious and political leaders around the country about his boss' faith.

So far, nobody has refused.

Mr. Strider uses St. James' epistle that says "faith without works is dead," to highlight Senator Clinton's track record in working for change "in the real world," such as health care for the poor and helping AIDS victims and orphans in Africa.

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And now for something completely different from the same article:

Meanwhile, Mr. Green, the director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at the University of Akron and a senior fellow in religion and politics at the Pew Forum, said his data show that the Republican party is losing support in the key demographic of evangelical Protestants who go to church regularly.

In 2004, more than 80 percent of that group voted for George W. Bush. A poll taken last January showed support for an unspecified Republican presidential candidate among these voters had fallen to 60 percent.

All the religion-and-politics experts at the conference were in agreement that there are still many unanswered questions about the election, which is still more than a year away.

Mitt Romney, for example, is generally regarded as the most religious of all major presidential contenders. But the Republican hopeful belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and none of the experts would guess whether Americans are ready to elect a Mormon president.

Illustrating the political uncertainty over this religion, one speaker pointed out that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nevada) has kept his Mormon faith extremely low profile.

Who knew Senator Social Moderate was a salamander whisperer? Socialism is the best disguise!

Another presidential candidate, Republican Sen. John McCain, stirred up controversy when he said recently that he would "prefer" a Christian president over a Muslim one.

Mr. Green said his research shows Americans would be more accepting of a Mormon president than some other faiths: "In general, being a Mormon is viewed as far less of a liability for a presidential candidate than not believing in God or being a Muslim."


Double doy, even.

Republican Rudy Giuliani enjoys a "favorable image" among a majority of evangelicals, but once they learn he's been married three times and is an ardent supporter of abortion rights, they tend to jump ship, Mr. Green said.

Barack Hussein Obama, a Democrat whose faith is filled with unknowns, was barely mentioned at the conference. But according to a biographical entry on the Pew Forum's Web site (www.pewforum.org), Mr. Obama's father was a Muslim who became an atheist. His mother was raised by non-practicing Methodist and Baptist parents, and after a divorce, she married a Muslim.

Mike Huckabee, who was governor of Arkansas for 10 1/2 years and is an ordained Baptist minister, is clearly a person of faith but despite finishing second in an Iowa straw poll has not made it into the top tier of contenders.

Lots of factors affect a close election, and religion is just one of them. But in 2004, Mr. Green pointed out, only a small change in the evangelical vote would have put Democrat John Kerry in the White House.

James Dobson of Focus on the Family announced this week that if no candidate pledges support for "the sanctity of human life," he and a group of "pro-family leaders" will look for a third-party presidential candidate.

While some observers are expressing concerns that religion is already getting too much attention in the 2008 election, it's an issue that voters take very seriously and one that is bound to heat up as the day of decision draws nearer.

What happens when bad beliefs collide with bad reporting? Check out this nonsense...

Notes and quotes from the 2007 Religion Newswriters Conference in San Antonio:

•When it comes to the end of the world and the biblical references found in the Left Behind series, there are four prevailing theories of when the Rapture will occur: amillennialism, postmillennialism, historical premillennialism, and dispensational premillennialism. Ann Rodgers, who covers religion for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, said in introducing the experts that there is a little known fifth theory, panmillellialism. "Some pastors say, 'It will all pan out in the end'," she joked.

•The 15 million evangelical Hispanics, attending 18,000 churches make up the fastest-growing segment of U.S. evangelicals, according to the Rev. Samuel Rodriguez. The president of the National Hispanic Association of Evangelicals said the "browning" of the evangelical church will force evangelicals to pay more attention to issues that are important to Hispanics, including immigration, poverty, health care, and the environment.

•There are about 1,250 megachurches - Protestant churches with sustained weekly attendance of 2,000 - in the United States today, up from 50 in 1970 and 750 in 2000. Although high-profile and influential, they account for less than one-half of 1 percent of all U.S. churches, according to Scott Thumma, a researcher and author of The Megachurch Myth.

•Max Lucado has never received a salary since becoming pastor of the 6,000-member Oak Hills Church in San Antonio in 1986. He can afford to do that, of course, because he has written a couple dozen best-selling books, including Cure for the Common Life, Facing Your Giants, and The Grip of Grace.

•Author Christine Wicker, who specializes in writing about vampires, ghosts, werewolves, fairies, elves, and satanists, had some interesting tips for Halloween coverage.

Take vampires, for example. Ms. Wicker said there are two kinds, ones that drink blood and others that steal people's energy. The energy-stealing vampires have a code of ethics, she said with a laugh, which forbids them from stealing anyone's energy without permission. Ms. Wicker said she gave a vampire permission to steal her energy, but the thief kindly made sure not to take it all because she knew the reporter had to drive to the airport and didn't want her to be too tired.

Ms. Wicker added that most of the vampires she interviewed work the night shift and many are hotel clerks, leading most religion reporters to look nervously over their shoulders while walking back to their rooms.

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First of all, the word is SEX, not GENDER. If you are ever tempted to use the word GENDER, don't. The word is SEX! SEX! SEX! SEX! For example: "My sex is male." is correct. "My gender is male." means nothing. Look it up. What kind of sick neo-Puritan nonsense is this? Idiot left-fascists, get your blood-soaked paws off the English language. Hence I am choosing "male" under protest.


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