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Oh dear, Christians are upset again

Two stories about churches of various sorts.

The first is a bunch of them in the US. Leaders from Anglican, Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, Jewish, Lutheran, Mormon, and Pentecostal communities in the United States have signed an open letter about the “serious consequences of redefining marriage”. They say these consequences will …

… arise in a broad range of legal contexts, because altering the civil definition of “marriage” does not change one law, but hundreds, even thousands, at once. By a single stroke, every law where rights depend on marital status—such as employment discrimination, employment benefits, adoption, education, healthcare, elder care, housing, property, and taxation—will change so that same-sex sexual relationships must be treated as if they were marriage. That requirement, in turn, will apply to religious people and groups in the ordinary course of their many private or public occupations and ministries—including running schools, hospitals, nursing homes and other housing facilities, providing adoption and counseling services, and many others.

Not content with confining their ideas about marriage to their own communities, the church leaders want to stop the liberalisation of marriage law and remove the legal sanctions for discrimination against homosexuals and others. This “redefinition of marriage” is being described as “a direct attack on religious freedom”. Click here to read about it.

The second story is about a “crisis of faith”, according to some religious leaders, as the idea of “de-baptism”, started as a joke by the National Secular Society, has caught on across Europe and America. The NSS’s “de-baptism certificate” has been downloaded from its website at least 100,000 times, while it’s been reported that “the church has put in place a new evangelizing strategy to more strongly encourage parents to get their children baptized”.

The Pink Humanist

Pink Humanist

The UK gay humanist charity the Pink Triangle Trust (PTT) re-launched its online magazine in December last year with a new title, The Pink Humanist.

The PTT, which was founded in 1992, started publishing a printed magazine entitled Gay and Lesbian Humanist back in 1993 and continued this until it went online in 2008. Though described as an LGBT publication, the new magazine is aimed at all atheists, humanists, sceptics and freethinkers and is the only one of its kind worldwide.

Tell Chevron to clear up the mess they made in Ecuador

Last November, SH&S group members watched a film called The Age of Stupid, which included footage of the environmental damage caused by oil companies in Nigeria.

You may not be aware that similar damage has been caused to the environment in the Amazon rainforest in Ecuador by Chevron, formerly Texaco, poisoning the indiginous people who live there. Please click here to view a video about the damage and sign an online petition telling Chevron to clean up its mess, which they’ve so far denied.

Bibles for schools

An angry parent has told us that the Gideons have visited her child’s school, where they contributed to an act of collective worship and gave every child a Bible. Most people have heard of Gideon Bibles being left in hotel rooms, but they distribute them in many other places too. On their website they say,

We are aware that many people in Britain have never seen a Bible and may be uncertain what it is.

Our aim is to give them the opportunity to read it for themselves, perhaps for the first time, and to discover God in a personal way.

The Gideons place Bibles or New Testaments in many areas including:

Hotels
Hospitals
Prisons
Student Accommodation
Care Homes
Medical Centres

Additionally we make personal presentations of God’s Word.

Each year we present personal copies of the New Testament and Psalms to children in thousands of British secondary schools and to many university and college students.

We make personal presentations to medical personnel and uniformed services – Armed Forces, Police, Ambulance and Fire.

We place New Testaments at hospital bedsides.

Quite apart from the fact that it isn’t appropriate to allow groups like this to proselytise in schools, the Bible isn’t a guide for life, as we reported earlier. When teachers allow this to happen, maybe they haven’t considered why they shouldn’t? Suffolk’s SACRE (Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education) has provided some guidelines for schools on visitors to RE lessons and assemblies.

Prayer

The most odious of concealed narcissisms – prayer.

Cameron fails Bible study

Deuteronomy 22:28-29Last week, during a celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible in Oxford, David Cameron said “the Bible has helped to give Britain a set of values and morals which make Britain what it is today,” and that a “return to Christian values” could counter the country’s “moral collapse”. Admitting that he’s a “committed but vaguely practising Church of England Christian” might explain Cameron’s ignorance of what the Bible actually says. For example:

When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and hath cast out many nations before thee, the Hittites, and the Girgashites, and the Amorites, and the Canaanites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;

And when the LORD thy God shall deliver them before thee; thou shalt smite them, and utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor shew mercy unto them:

Neither shalt thou make marriages with them; thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son.

For they will turn away thy son from following me, that they may serve other gods: so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and destroy thee suddenly.

(Deuteronomy 7:1-4)

As for Christian values:

But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.

Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

(Matthew 10:33-37)

How does that relate to any “moral collapse”, unless it’s to illustrate one? The Bible’s full of stuff like that, in the old and new testaments. Most Christians ignore all the nasty bits, unless it’s to justify their prejudices, such as quoting Leviticus on homosexuality.

What God wants

I distrust those people who know so well what God wants them to do because I notice it always coincides with their own desires.