Evangelicals join interfaith leaders in Washington to promote religious tolerance

As hundreds of Jewish, Muslim and Christian faith leaders from the United States and abroad descended on Washington for a conference on religious tolerance this week, attendees were quick to note an unexpectedly large delegation from one particular religious group: evangelical Christians.

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On the Dangers of Not Giving a Fig  

Watching the NBC broadcast of “Jesus Christ Superstar LIVE” on Easter night was jarring. Not because it was bad. The New York Times called it “thoughtful, challenging,” and a “conceptual and artistic triumph.”[i] What was jarring was what I already knew was there: the anti-Semitism inherent in the story. A review by Jeffrey Salkin reflected on the ominous portrayal of priests Caiphas and Annas: “The Jews look like they might have been Darth Vader’s homeys. Pure evil.”[ii]  But who’s to blame for that? Certainly not the producers. And certainly not Webber or Rice. They were just working with the “source material” – and that would be our anti-Semitic gospels.

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9 Reasons I Never Became Protestant

I have read a lot of articles from my Protestant friends and colleagues celebrating the 500th year of the Protestant Reformation this past year. They varied in timbre and tone—some were overtly triumphalistic while others offered a balanced treatment of the pros and cons.

Despite that, I was struck by how the Reformation just seemed to be taken for granted to be a universally good thing by virtually all Protestants, Evangelicals and Pentecostals. I guess it’s to be expected that people wouldn’t call into question the origins of their own movement. I was still taken aback by how it was simply taken for granted. Whether it is spoken outright or simply implied, the idea that the Reformation was simply a good thing seems embedded within the American consciousness, even at the secular level.

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The Convergence of Passover And Easter Can Leaven (or Unleaven) The InterfaithFamily’s Holiday

By Samira K. Mehta

As almost everyone who still has a wall calendar (does anyone still have a wall calendar?) realizes, Passover begins this year on Good Friday, and ends the following Friday or Saturday depending on your tradition. While the combination of Christmas and Hanukkah gets more play in the media (with over four decades of articles on the December dilemma and special attention last year, when Hanukkah started on Christmas eve), Easter and Passover are, in many ways, a more challenging combination for many interfaith families.

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On The Insidiousness of Racism, Sexism, Religious Bigotry, and Homophobia in American Culture

But when we ignore the fact that we are advantaged while others are disadvantaged, then as innocuous as it may seem we are part of the problem. Indeed, because our own prejudice and discrimination are so invisible to, and insidious within, us we are actually the biggest part of the problem. The overt racists will hopefully be dealt with by the law, but we law-abiding citizens who feel entitled to our advantaged social status while remaining ignorant or disinterested in the disadvantaged status of others can remain easily oblivious and thus conscience free.

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The Fundamentalist Memory Hole

Christian fundamentalism (which has parallels in other religions and ideologies) arose at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century in America and Great Britain in reaction to liberal theology and modernism. One might say it is parallel to Oliver Sacks’s above description of the regression that misguided science for centuries, imagining a solar system with Earth rather than the Sun at its center.

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The End of Neo-Liberal American Exceptionalism

Human survival on this planet has now become a battle between two systems of thought and governance; one the American under President Trump based on vestiges of Western Neo-Liberalism and the other the Chinese under President Xi Jinping based on a restating of Marxist Socialism.

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Billy Graham’s ministry of LGBTQ intolerance

While Graham’s inarguably the most influential minister of the 20th Century his ministry -which provided pastoral counseling to U.S. presidents from Harry Truman to Barack Obama -lived at the crossroads of fear and intolerance as the wrath of God.

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On Being Woke

Beyond all of the political and policy issues around the Russian hacking of the 2016 election, there remains the embarrassing moral awareness that this was not a hacking of voting machines or the electronics of media agencies. The Russians appealed to the prejudices of voters. They stoked belief in conspiracy theories rooted in hatred of Hillary Clinton. Our vulnerability to being led around by our ignorance and vitriol is a spiritual issue and not a complimentary one. It is time for us to awaken to a deeper connection to the truth.

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A Muslim, a Christian, a Jew and an Atheist , All Talking about Religious Freedom and…

By David Rupert for Patheos

is week I attended a discussion by Dr. Daniel Mark, The Chairman of the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom, at Colorado Christian University. The topic  of his talk sounded quite ominous: “The end of religious freedom: Challenges from the right, the left, and around the globe.”

But the end result was a call to action for those who have a faith – and for those who do not.

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Love is All You Need (Domestic Abuse Unplugged)

Though adherents of virtually all religions will claim that love is central to their belief system, the unfortunate fact is that religious indoctrination usually comes with a healthy dose of patriarchy, misogyny, as well as homophobia and nationalism. This lays the foundation for a culture that often encourages, defends, protects, and lies about domestic violence. Our words shape our thinking. Our thinking shapes our culture. Our culture tolerates a horrifying rate of domestic violence that is begging for us to change.

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Haiti: A Case Study in Social In/Justice

How does one define social justice or social injustice in a situation such as this? There seems no question that the injustice side would include the slave trade itself, the impoverishment of a free nation by greedy boycott, crippling interest rates, and the invasion of a free state by an army basically doing the will of the foreign wealthy. Beyond that, the issue is more complicated. Given the difficulties of a poor nation absorbing refugees, a problem endemic in many parts of the world, the reaction of the Bahamas seems to be a balancing act of treating others justly while also treating one’s own citizens fairly. There are no simple answers. Defining social justice is no easy matter.

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Succumbing to literalist interpretations to justify prejudices

I belong to a church that has a fairly sophisticated membership. We are inclusive and pride ourselves on our openness to diversity of race, socio-economic background, ethnic background and sexual orientation. It’s a warm, comfortable atmosphere in which to worship, and people remark on the welcoming nature of our congregation. I cringe, however, every time we enter the Lenten season, especially as we get closer to Palm Sunday and Good Friday. Some of the references to the Jews clearly foster an anti-Semitic atmosphere. There are Jews in the choir and some in the congregation as well. While sophisticated people realize there is a 2000-year span of time between the Crucifixion and today, still there are people who succumb to literalist interpretations and justify their own prejudices. I am especially concerned about the impression this makes on children and for the feelings of the Jews who sit in the pews and listen to these readings. How can we address this and still read the accounts in a faithful manner?

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Abortion’s Place in Ethical Thinking

Catholics and Evangelicals have been relatively silent about the #MeToo movement because they have tended to view the entire topic of ethics through the single lens of abortion. The Trump administration is getting a pass on many moral fronts because of his ability to appoint anti-abortion justices and because of his visible and verbal support of pro-life groups. This sermon, the 4th in a 4 part series on the #MeToo movement, implores Catholics and Evangelicals to rethink the primacy of abortion advocacy and to add their voices to the creation of a more ethical world for women.

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Interfaith Dialogue Quotations

ver the last few years, I have collected a number of quotations that relate directly or indirectly to the field of interfaith dialogue. These are attached. You may find various ways to use these quotations.

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The Case of Prodigal Job: A Closer Look at Grace and Faith

An important reason for declining biblical literacy, I believe, is spiritual starvation caused by the marriage of fundamentalism and materialistic capitalism in evangelical churches. Many Americans describe themselves as spiritual, not religious; thereby rejecting inflexible moral and religious guidance by churches that measure divine approval in dollars and attendance counts. There are lots of Americans who recognize the difference between genuine piety and marketing success tracked by congregational growth, donations, and merchandise sales.

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The Connection Between Climate Change and Gun Control

From the perspective of political theology, the issues of climate change and gun control are related in two ways. The first linkage is that progressive Christians need no promptings on these issues. By massive numbers they know that God is calling on them to enact laws to control guns and to take actions that help to wean the country away from carbon producing energy.

These issues also tell us something important about how many Conservative Christians think about political issues.

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What’s Fundamental to a Fundamentalist?

The term “fundamentalism” was first coined in relation to the Christian Fundamentalist movements which originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They largely came out of American and British Protestantism. In particular, the series of books called The Fundamentals, published in 1910-1915, gave the movement its name.

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