Mere Links 12.19.14
Friday, December 19, 2014, 10:00 AM

Satanic holiday display is coming to Capitol
Justin A. Hinkley, Detroit Free Press

A Christian Nativity at the Capitol is out, but a Satanist group from Detroit will erect its own “holiday display” at the statehouse.

How Pope Francis’ diplomacy may change everything, not just US-Cuba relations
David Gibson, Religion News Service

Pope Francis is being hailed around the world — and criticized by some in the US — for his pivotal role in brokering the historic breakthrough in relations between Washington and Havana, a role attributed to his background as the first Latin American pope and to the special position he occupies.

Christmas Is Undefeatable
Mark Tooley, Juicy Ecumenism

A new Pew survey shows overwhelming majorities of Americans believe in the historical actuality of the Christmas story, including the Virgin Birth, the angels appearing to shepherds and the Wise Men following the star to Bethlehem.

The Role of Beauty in the Formation of Men as Men
Jared M. Silvey, Crisis Magazine

Once upon a time in the Western world, exposure to “the beautiful” was an important element in the development and formation of men. The ideal man was also an educated man, and an educated man knew something about, and appreciated, good art, good music, good literature, and good taste (and perhaps also good wine).



Mere Links 12.18.14
Thursday, December 18, 2014, 10:00 AM

Is Inerrancy a Recent Theological Invention?
Derek J. Brown,

It is sometimes argued by evangelical non-inerrantists that the doctrine of inerrancy is a recent theological innovation that finds little to no precedent in the church.

Gay Weddings and the Shopkeeper’s Dilemma
Russell Nieli, Public Discourse

One option for pro-marriage business owners: obey the law and serve gay weddings, but make it known publicly that you believe that the law forcing you to do this is unjust, needs to be changed, and is obeyed only out of your respect for law and the democratic process.

10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Christian View of Sexuality
Glenn T. Stanton, On Faith

Why traditional Christians believe as they do regarding gender, sexuality, marriage, and the family.

Across America, Churches Continue To Struggle For Their Religious Freedom
Alan Sears, Alliance Defending Freedom

People are probably inclined to think more warmly of churches amid the cold winds of Christmas than at any other time of the year, but, sad to say, even the spirit of the season isn’t enough to dissuade some from all out legal assaults on houses of worship.



Mere Links 12.17.14
Wednesday, December 17, 2014, 10:00 AM

How to Ruin a Moses Movie
Joe Carter, The Gospel Coalition

Exodus: Gods and Kings had the potential to be one of the greatest films of all time; instead it’s one of the worst movies of the year. Director Ridley Scott aspired to produce the next Ten Commandments (1956) and instead gave us a revisionist version of the story that is almost as lame as the justifiably forgotten Wholly Moses! (1980).

Let the Church Be a House of Wonder
Athony Esolen , Crisis Magazine

Only academics can think themselves into pretending to like verse without music, music without harmony, painting without skies or flowers or animals or people. Intellectuals are the original smashers of images.

Christian Colleges vs. Hookup Culture
Kimberly Thornbury, Christianity Today

The good intentions behind conservative campus rules.

Vatican probe ends with an olive branch for American nuns
John L. Allen Jr., Crux

An unprecedented and highly controversial Vatican investigation of every community of Catholic sisters in the United States that began with criticism of nuns as having a “secular mentality” ended Tuesday with a report full of praise, and without any disciplinary measures or new controls.



Mere Links 12.16.14
Tuesday, December 16, 2014, 10:00 AM

Pope says Salvation Army and Catholics meet at peripheries of society
Vatican Radio

In a first private audience in the Vatican with a Salvation Army general on Friday, Pope Francis said theological differences do not impede the witness of a shared love of God and neighbour.

Churches key to combating slavery across the world
Caroline Wyatt, BBC News

The Catholic Church’s role and that of other churches in the UK and abroad is often a practical one, with some helping uncover victims, and then giving them practical support via charities offering safe houses and legal advice.

The Decline of War and the Rise of ‘Proximate Peace’
Joe Carter, Acton Institute

Human nature hasn’t changed since the time of Cain and Abel. So what should be make of the decline of war?

Justices Let Stand a Ruling Blocking an Arizona Abortion Law
Adam Liptak, New York Times

The Supreme Court on Monday let stand a decision temporarily blocking an Arizona law that limits the availability of medicinal, nonsurgical abortions. As is its custom when it denies review, the court gave no reasons for its action.



Mere Links 12.15.14
Monday, December 15, 2014, 10:00 AM

The New College Counterculture
Ryan Shinkel, First Things

When I first heard of Anscombe Societies, I recalled another generation of students: the ’60s counterculture student radicals. What formed their habits was a warlike refusal of silence. The dominant university culture of their time consisted of a form of technocratic liberalism.

A New Movement Against Religious Persecution
Jonathan Sacks, Wall Street Journal

My prayer on Hanukkah: For people of all faiths to work together for the freedom of all faiths.

What Do Evangelical Professors Do, Anyway?
Owen Strachan, Patheos

I have a suggestion for a fun question you could throw out at your annual Christmas party. “Professors,” you could say vaguely. “What is it they do, anyway?”

Father Christmas Is Now Better Known Than Jesus In China
The Economist

In the first decades of Communist rule in China Christianity was banned, along with other religions. Now there are tens of millions of Christians in China and faiths of all kinds are blossoming.



Mere Links 12.12.14
Friday, December 12, 2014, 10:00 AM

How Ultrasound-on-a-Chip Will Transform Abortion
Joe Carter, ERLC

Technological innovations often have broad effects that could have never been forseen. Take, for example, the invention of the printing press by German printer Johannes Gutenberg. A forward-thinking futurist living in 1450 might have predicted the way that the printed word would change culture. But could they have predicted that it would lead to eyeglasses?

Should Children Make Up Their Own Minds About Religion?
Jason Stubblefield, First Things

Teaching our children a particular form of religious expression may seem something like teaching them to eat only one kind of cheese on a smorgasbord of limitless options. With so many religious alternatives, how can we help our children choose?

Why Pastors Should Pay Attention to the Torture Report
Steven Dilla, OnFaith

Three ways forward for leaders of Christian communities.

Conflict may force church to split, Welby says
Oliver Moody and Michael Binyon, The Times

Parts of the Anglican Communion could break away over their entrenched conflicts with other churches, the Archbishop of Canterbury has said.



PowerLinks 12.11.14
Thursday, December 11, 2014, 10:00 AM

The Case for Religious Freedom
Zenit

“Where any of these fights on religious freedom are going to go, will in great part depend upon whether people of faith will stand up and speak now, or will they sit in silence. The outcome is up to you”

Time to Challenge No-Fault Divorce
Thomas F. Farr and Hilary Towers, First Things

State laws on divorce began to be implemented in the late 1960s, but today have been absorbed into the legal and cultural mainstream nationwide.

Unholy row as nativity scene ban divides France
Anne Penketh, The Guardian

Court orders council in La Roche-sur-Yon to dismantle crib, after complaint from secular campaigners.

Seven Things Atheists Get Wrong
David Marcus, The Federalist

Atheists need to understand and embrace the role religion has played in creating the world we live in.



Mere Links 12.10.14
Wednesday, December 10, 2014, 10:00 AM

Most American Agree With Right-To-Die Movement
Dennis Thompson, Healthday

An overwhelming 74 percent of American adults now believe that terminally ill patients who are in great pain should have the right to end their lives, the poll found. Only 14 percent were opposed.

Abortion Is Out; Single Moms Are In
Nicole Russell, The Federalist

New data show fewer abortions and marriages, meaning many more single moms.Those who love life should start supporting good marriages and parenting.

College: Where Faith and Virtues Go to Die
Catherine Ruth Pakaluk, Aleteia

What kind of education are we giving our kids?

Not Just a Rape Culture: The University’s Rape System
Greg Forster, Public Discourse

Only political reform can fight the system that protects rapists on college campuses.



Mere Links 12.09.14
Tuesday, December 9, 2014, 10:00 AM

Church Giving Tops $50 Billion A Year In U.S.—And Its Future Is Not A Collection Plate
Ruth Graham, Fast Company

“Churches are no different than any other operation in that they need to be relevant and convenient,” said RaeAnn Slaybaugh, editor of Church Executive magazine, who has reported on new giving options. “The difficulty is in capitalizing on a moment of generosity.”

In Seven States, Atheists Push to End Largely Forgotten Ban
Laurie Goodstein, New York Times

Maryland and six other states still have articles in their constitutions saying people who do not believe in God are not eligible to hold public office. Maryland’s Constitution still says belief in God is a requirement even for jurors and witnesses.

9 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About the Persecution of Christians
Rick McDaniel, OnFaith

Is discrimination against Christians an acceptable form of prejudice?

Chimpanzees Are Not Entitled to Human Rights, New York Court Says
Elizabeth Barber, Time

The chimpanzee at issue is not entitled to a writ of habeas corpus allowing him freedom from his cage.



Mere Links 12.08.14
Monday, December 8, 2014, 10:00 AM

Talking About God in Public
Doug Sikkema, Comment

The former Archbishop of Canterbury offers an indispensable aid for anyone struggling to talk about God publicly.

A New Kind Of Death
Fr. Patrick Henry Reardon, Preachers Institute

However we are to treat the “necessity” Christ ascribes to his Passion, we should not speak of it as a physical necessity. It was not an mere instance of second law of thermodynamics.

Why Christians Care About Sex
Andrew Walker, First Things

A new study out this week shows widening gaps in how different demographics in America approach sexuality and family. The Relationships in America study, produced by the Austin Institute, looks at “how social forces, demography, and religion continue to shape attitudes about family and intimate relationships.”

Pope Francis: Demotion of Burke not ‘punishment’
Crux

Pope Francis has denied that removing American Cardinal Raymond Burke as head of the Vatican’s highest court was a “punishment” for his outspokenly conservative views at a recent summit of bishops, saying instead he wanted a “smart American” to serve as patron of the Order of Malta.


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