Dec 19, 2013

No monument for Satan: Thursday links

The goal of announcing a Satanic monument is not to promote Satanism but to demonstrate why government endorsements of religion are undesirable ... While this tactic of prank-as-protest is clever, these invented religions never win their day in court. The Supreme Court case Pleasant Grove City v. Summum (2009), in which a new religious movement called Summum sought to erect a monument listing the 'seven aphorisms' of their religion in a park in Pleasant Grove City, Utah, virtually guarantees that Oklahoma will not have to erect a monument to Satan (Religion Dispatches).
Contraception is a compelling state interest:
In the Hobby Lobby case, the Court will consider whether the provision of contraceptive services meets a compelling public health need. We believe, along with an Institute of Medicine committee that reported in July 2011, that it does. First, appropriately prescribed contraceptive services prevent unintended pregnancies without promoting promiscuity. Preventing unplanned pregnancies, more than half of which are currently terminated, averts these induced abortions and their attendant financial, physical, and psychosocial expense (New England Journal of Medicine).
St. Augustine, therapist:
Perhaps the most puzzling (false) dichotomy is [David F.] Wells's emphasis on the objective versus the subjective. This would confuse Augustine, for instance, who wrote: 'Do not go outside yourself, but enter into yourself, for truth dwells in the interior self.' Yet no one would confuse Augustine with Oprah. 
Indeed, Augustine's Confessions recount the interior journey of a soul toward the majesty of God, culminating in the meditations of Book 10: 'Through my soul I will ascend to him.' By turning inward, Augustine's self-confidence is destabilized ... in this internal vertigo, he also finds the One who is greater: 'You are my true life.' 'Late have I loved you, beauty so old and so new: late have I loved you' (Christianity Today).
It's time to change Christian television:
Some people might say this is not the time to have this discussion. But I think Paul Crouch’s passing signals the end of an era -- and it is time for a reformation. 
Crouch’s generation built monolithic organizations with autocratic leadership, and broadcasters who began their networks in the 1970s created a showy, bigger-is-better style that included endless telethons, sensational preaching and celebrities in spotlights. That may have worked in 1975 -- and it still appeals to a segment of the market. But my generation and my children's generation tuned out long ago because Christian TV came off as fake, campy and spiritually out of touch (Charisma Magazine).
The mystery of the C.S. Lewis industry:
Why all the interest in the man himself? His life wasn’t boring, exactly, but most of his great adventures were interior: his learning, his adult conversion, his grief, his joy. Lewis didn’t travel much. He was born in Belfast and spent much of his childhood shut in the house for fear that he would take sick from the damp, cold weather. After his mom died of cancer, Lewis’s father shipped him off to a series of dreary boarding schools. Second Lieutenant Lewis spent about as much time during World War I in the hospital as in battle. He then lived the bulk of his adult life at Oxford, learning and teaching and drinking and debating with his friends. He decamped for some years to Cambridge, took ill, returned to his old Oxford home, and died ... Lewis himself would be flummoxed and embarrassed at all the attention (The American Spectator).
Atheist in the public square:
When I spoke recently with [Rep. Barney] Frank, he told me his decision not to come out as an atheist wasn't a matter of political expedience. 'Atheism didn't come up,' he said. 'It wasn't relevant to policy.' He mentioned his contributions to secularism and the separation of church and state -- such as his fight against Sen. Rick Santorum's bid to make faith-based organizations eligible for tax funding. Frank told me that for many years he had 'affirmed' instead of swearing an oath. 'I haven't said 'so help me God' in a very long time,' he said, 'but no one notices' (Politico Magazine).
Comedian Pete Holmes goes surfing with Rob Bell: