Sunday, February 17, 2013

Matters of Faith: Interfaith prayer in times of trouble

Rabbi Brad L. Bloom

The ultimate irony after the Sandy Hook Elementary School slayings in Newtown, Conn., occurred recently when Pastor Rob Morris of the Missouri Synod Branch of the Lutheran Church was reprimanded by his national leadership for participating in the interfaith service held immediately after the shootings.

According to wire services, Lutheran Church Missouri Synod President Matthew Harrison stated "the presence of prayers and religious readings" was a violation of their policy and teachings.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

UN chief spotlights role of inter-faith dialogue to empower women

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today drew attention to the role of faith leaders in promoting female empowerment, noting that they can help address gender prejudices and support women’s participation in society at all levels.

“People place extraordinary trust in their faith leaders, who have a far-reaching ability to help achieve lasting peace and promote the status of women,” Mr. Ban said in his message to a symposium held in New York.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Remembering four chaplains' selfless heroism

Steve Chawkins

As their torpedoed ship sank in WWII, the Catholic priest, rabbi and two Protestant ministers gave their own life preservers to soldiers and went down praying with those who couldn't escape.

For a long time, the story of the four chaplains was everywhere.

Photos of the four chaplains — from left, Rabbi Alexander Goode, Catholic priest John Washington, Dutch Reformed minister Clark Poling and Methodist minister George Fox — are displayed at the Immortal Chaplains Memorial Sanctuary aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach. (Gary Friedman, Los Angeles Times / Feb. 3, 2013)

In classrooms, posters showed the men of different faiths, arms linked in prayer, braced against the waves engulfing the deck of their torpedoed troop ship on Feb. 3, 1943. They had given their life preservers to frantic soldiers and urged troops paralyzed with fear to jump into the icy North Atlantic before they were sucked down by the sinking ship's whirlpool.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Religion, readability and the presidency: A historic combination

Dan Merica

Washington (CNN) – Employing faith, whether calling for nationwide prayer or healing the nation by quoting scripture, is a presidential tradition as old as the office itself.

Presidential displays of piety, like this, are common 
and historians say they make presidents more relatable.
The nation’s first president, George Washington, was also the first to call for a National Day of Prayer, one of “fasting, humiliation and prayer” to “acknowledge the gracious interpositions of Providence.”

Friday, February 8, 2013

Can religion prevent violence?

Jim Roope

When tragedies happen like the shooting at Newtown, Connecticut, the question of faith often comes up. How can horrible events like that be allowed to happen?

Monday, February 4, 2013

The unwanted truth: The Muslim enemies of Islam

Gokhan Bacik

Islamists (or Islamic groups) have to face a simple reality: There are radical religious Muslim groups around the globe with false interpretations of Islam. The threat of religious radicalism is not simply Western imperialist jargon devised to benefit self-serving Western strategies. It is a fact that various radical Islamic groups have paradoxically served to help bring various aggressive Western policies into being. It is also a fact that radicalism among Muslims has its own ontological source other than the imperialist West.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Amen (again) to faith-based initiatives

John J. DiIulio Jr.*

You probably know that millions of low-income children receive federally-funded free and reduced-price meals in school. But do you have any idea how these same needy children are fed during the summer months when school is out?

No? Then ask Max Finberg, director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Finberg will tell you that about 19 million children receive USDA-funded meals in school, but only about 2.3 million participate in the agency’s summer program. He will also tell you that were it not for faith-based organizations by the thousands, the annual summer spike in childhood hunger would be even worse than it is.

Friday, February 1, 2013

St. Boniface Church In San Francisco Lets Homeless People Sleep In Pews

Zoe Mintz

For the city’s homeless, San Francisco’s St. Boniface Church is seen as a safe haven.

The nonprofit known as the Gubbio Project partners with the Roman Catholic church to let the city’s homeless sleep on its pews during daylight hours, even during Mass, and provides a host of services to hundreds of those who are forced to leave when homeless shelters close in the morning, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.