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Steven Waldman

Steven Waldman

Bio

Steven Waldman is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of Beliefnet. He's also the author of the Founding Faith: Politics, Providence, and the Birth of Religious Freedom in America, which has been published by Random House. Before co-founding Beliefnet in 1999, Waldman was a political journalist, serving as National Editor of U.S. News & World Report and National Correspondent for Newsweek. His writings have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Review, The Atlantic, Slate, and many others.

Sneezing Baby Panda (What The Internet Is Really For, Cont’d)

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Fantastic Version of the Mom Song

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Financial Prayer Circles: “Cried Out”

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Virginia Williams asks for your prayers:virginia williams financially worried and cried out I am the only one in my household working at the moment. I dont know if I will have enough money to pay our bills and buy food […]

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I Said, ‘I believe in Allah’. So he said, ‘I believe in torture.’

posted by swaldman

From the Senate report on torture: “One Muslim inmate was allegedly forced to eat pork, had liquor forced down his throat and told to thank Jesus that he was alive. He recounted in broken English: ”They stripped me naked, they […]

Torturing The Guilty vs. Abusing the Innocent

posted by swaldman

Most attention these days has focused on revelations that administration officials sanctioned torture for “high value” Al Qaeda operatives. That’s important but another moral issue is as crucial, and in some ways more morally clear-cut: As part of the war […]

Financial Prayer Circles: “Her First Job Interview…Please Pray Long and Hard”

posted by swaldman

A prayer circle for Kim Caserta: “A single mother has been looking for a job for nine months, just got her first interview the other day, thought the interview went well, she really wants this position as an ultrasound tech. […]

When You Can Lose Your Child for Having a False ID

posted by swaldman

Immigrants who are arrested for being here illegally sometimes lose their children as a result. The New York Times profiles the case of Encarnación Bail Romero who was arrested as part of a raid of a poultry processing plant in […]

Take This Brain Experiment

posted by swaldman

A quick experiment. Please read the text block below and then say out loud what it says: . The illusion of of ‘seeing’ Did you say it out loud? Ok. When Alva Noe, a professor of philosophy at University of […]

Your Prayers Will Not Change God’s Mind

posted by swaldman

Keith Ward, an esteemed professor of divinity at Oxford University, explained Sunday that the view of nearly all Christian leaders, writers and theologians from the time of Jesus until the 18th century was that God is timeless and spaceless. Got […]

Why Schizophrenics Can Tickle Themselves

posted by swaldman

The most fascinating talk at the Templeton-Cambridge event was given by Chris Frith, a neurologist at University College in London, author of Making up the Mind: How the Brain Creates Our Mental World A few ideas that came from this […]

Why Alzheimers’ Can Make You More Artistic

posted by swaldman

In Saturday’s session, Alasdair Coles, a neurologist at Cambridge, surveyed the scientific research on brain functioning and religion. Most interesting were the studies shwoing that Alzheimers patients become more artistically creative as their disease progresses. Bruce Miller, the researcher who […]

What Does That Stick in the Mud Mean?

posted by swaldman

Harvey Whitehouse, an anthropologist from Oxford, is leading a massive cross-university effort called “Explaining Religion” looking at the re-occurring tendencies in religious groups throughout the world. (More on the project here) Anthropologists kept seeing that religious ritual tended to be […]

Would Darwin Have Cared That the Polar Bear is Endangered?

posted by swaldman

Dame Gillian Beer, a Darwin scholar who spoke this morning at theTempleton-Cambridge Science & Religion conference, noted that Darwin had a certian “scorn” for those who were horrified by extinction.”He believes extinction is just what happens with living species,” he […]

Making Confession Cool: Catholic Church Tries You Tube

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A For Effort on this video from the Catholic Church:

Darwinism As a “Loftier” Vision of God

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In this morning’s Templeton classes, Dame Gillian Beer, a Darwin scholar and emeritus Cambridge professor, described the scandal caused by the publication of the Origin of Species. Many immediately saw this as a threat to religion, especially the notion that […]

Neanderthals & Homo Sapiens Sittin’ In a Tree….

posted by swaldman

: Until the recent discovery of Neanderthal DNA, I hadn’t realized that this species actually existed side by side with homo sapiens. (I had naively assumed homo sapiens descended from primitive Neanderthals). There’s something I always wondered and, while attending […]

Was Evolution Accidental — Or Inevitable?

posted by swaldman

For the next few days my posts will be focused on science and religion, as I’m lucky enough to be spending the next five days in Cambridge, England at a conference put on by the Templeton Foundation on evolution and […]

Financial Prayer Circles: “A strain on my marriage”

posted by swaldman

Scott C.: “I have been out of work since December 2008. Please pray that I find a full time job again. Unemployment has been very difficult finianically and has place a strain on my marriage.” Add your prayers

Financial Prayer Circles: “so scared to be on the streets”

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Jananie begs for your prayers: “I am in a very bad situation without a “JOB” .I has applied for EVERY SINGLE job out there. But nothing!!! I started to stay with a friend but then she came into difficult times […]

Martha Williamson on Being Molested — And Healing

posted by swaldman

I missed this extraordinary video from Martha Williamson, creator of Touched by an Angel. She describes how she recovered from being molested — and offers sage advice to others dealing with this trauma.

Is Joel Osteen’s Message Recession Proof?

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Why Joel Osteen Avoided Being Called an “Evangelical”

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In our interview, Joel Osteen mostly steered clear of controversy. (My full take on his recession-proof message here; full transcript here). But given that he seems the very model of a modern major mega-church preacher, Osteen may raise some eyebrows […]

Interview with Pastor Joel Osteen (Full Transcript)

posted by swaldman

Rev. Joel Osteen, senior pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston on April 6, 2009 visited the offices of The Wall Street Journal for an interview with Steven Waldman, Editor-in-Chief of Beliefnet & WSJ.com columnist. Osteen is preaching in Yankee Stadium […]

Beliefnet’s Easter Offerings (Max Lucado, Anne Lamott & More)

posted by swaldman

Beliefnet has some wonderful offerings to help make your Easter season more meaningful. For the days preceding Easter, writer Kimberly Winston’s “Lent Prayers for the Light” focuses on the hope of Easter and offers tips on how to use a […]

Why Rick Warren’s Controversial Words on Gay Marriage Are Entirely My Fault

posted by swaldman

After Rick Warren was selected by Barack Obama to give a prayer at the inauguration, attention turned to comments he made to me during an interview for Beliefnet and WSJ.com in which he appeared to equate homosexual relationships with relationships […]

The Waldman Family Haggadah

posted by swaldman

Passover is by far our favorite Jewish holiday — not so much because I’m pleased the Hebrews escaped Egypt (though I am) but because it is associated with the most loving, quirky family traditions and memories. Like most traditions, they […]

What Muslim Nations Can Learn from America’s Founders

posted by swaldman

It was electrifying to hear an American President declare before the Turkish Parliament, “The United States has been enriched by Muslim Americans. Many other Americans have Muslims in their families or have lived in a Muslim-majority country — I know, […]

Giving Up Eyesight for Lent

posted by swaldman

the talented Canadian talk show host Drew Marshall has decided to give up his site for Lent by putting in special contact lenses that make him blind.

Obama’s “Christian Nation” Comments & the Myth of the Judeo-Christian Heritage

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In a press conference in Turkey, President Obama said, “One of the great strengths of the United States is … we have a very large Christian population — we do not consider ourselves a Christian nation or a Jewish nation […]

Financial Prayer Request of the Day: “Within a couple of days I may have to go to jail”

posted by swaldman

M Ranil writes: “A very devout christian who is loosing his will to fight a condition of jobloss Dear Believers – I too had been a very devout believer like all of you in the past. However, for the past […]

Should Sarah Palin Have Let Levi Johnston Stay Over in Bristol’s Room?

posted by swaldman

Levi Johnston told Tyra Banks that he stayed over at the Palin house, in the same room, and that he suspects the Governor knew the teens were having sex. As I recall, my parents had a “not under our roof” […]

Why Didn’t Ashcroft-the-Christian Stop The Torture?

posted by swaldman

When George W. Bush was running for President, Christians hoped that having a devout man in the White House would lead to more a more moral government.. But Bush wasn’t the most interesting test of the theory. Though his faith […]

“Yes We Can!” Welcome Back “the Messiah” (The One From Brooklyn)

posted by swaldman

For those collecting examples of amusing or interesting uses of the Obama-esque rhetoric, here’s one we saw in Manhattan this Sunday. This is a picture of Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, the Lubavitch leader who, according to some of his followers, is […]

Friday’s Prayer Circles: People in Need of Prayers

posted by swaldman

Pray for Richard Harvey 04/03/2009 “My husband needs prayer for a set back he is having with his health after having a Liver Transplant 4 years ago.” Pray for Bill D. 04/02/2009 “Please pray for my friend Bill. He is […]

Where Ann Coulter Is Viewed As Too Liberal

posted by swaldman

Conservative pro-life radio show hosts ambush Ann Coulter for supporting Mitt Romney. He is viewed by some religious conservatives as too pro-choice, to pro-gay and too, well, Mormon. She gets quite emotional about the “anti-Romney fanatics.”

Ultrasound: “A Key To Reducing Abortions”

posted by swaldman

From a pro-life blog called “Stand for Life: “For the last five years Focus on the Family has had the program Option Ultrasound, where they have provided over 400 grants for ultrasound machines and training at pregnancy clinics in 49 […]

How Sub-Prime Mortgages Kill People

posted by swaldman

From today’s Nick Kristof column: “According to World Bank estimates, the global economic crisis will cause an additional 22 children to die per hour, throughout all of 2009. And that’s the best-case scenario. The World Bank says it’s possible the […]

Smell the Healing Energy

posted by swaldman

I find this smelling meditation to be really helpful.

Trinity Expanded to Include Oprah

posted by swaldman

I had figured that with the whole Eckhart Tolle controversy, they would have backed off this plan. But the logic is pretty compelling: “Oprah Winfrey has been declared the fourth person of the Trinity, according to an astonishing new theological […]

The Facebook Haggadah (Hilarious)

posted by swaldman

Joseph is going to Egypt. Joseph and Pharaoh are now friends. Elijah is a bit tipsy, but off to a good start. 30,000 households down, and its only 6:30! Read the whole thing: Moses is Departing Egypt: A Facebook Haggadah

A Nun Describes Why She Practices Reiki

posted by swaldman

This post had earlier included excerpts from an article by Sister Mary Mebane, a Roman Catholic nun who practices Reiki in California. I had ppublished some of her writings, in which she described the compatibility of Reiki and Christian practice, […]

High Def Jerusalem: PBS’ Non-Controversial (But Pretty!) Look at the “Center of the World”

posted by swaldman

Is it possible to have a non-controversial two hour documentary about Jerusalem? PBS seems to have achieved that goal, without making it boring, with “Jerusalem: Center of the World.” Correspondent Ray Suarez and producer Andrew Goldberg raced through 4,000 years […]

A Reiki Practitioner Vs. The Catholic Church: Reiki Healing Uses God’s Love

posted by swaldman

A reader who says she’s a Reiki practitioner disputes the Catholic Bishops’ contention that, while Christian prayer calls on the divine, Reiki amounts to mere human manipulation of the body: “I will tell you, I have asked God for a […]

Catholic Bishops Say No to Reiki as “Superstition”

posted by swaldman

Religion News Service reports: The U.S. Catholic Bishops said Thursday (March 26) that Catholic chaplains, health care facilities and retreat centers should not promote or support Reiki therapy, a Japanese alternative healing practice. Reiki “finds no support either in the […]

The Real Story of How National Service Became Bi-Partisan

posted by swaldman

On my wall I have a copy of an old fashioned Senate roll call sheet – the handwritten tally from the clerk recording the passage of the original law creating AmeriCorps in 1993. There were hash marks next to just […]

Gay Christians

posted by swaldman

The main reason young evangelicals are much more supportive of gay rights than their parents: they know gays. And that will be ever more true as more Christian gays go public.

Sarah Palin: Couldn’t Find McCain Staffers to Pray With

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Sarah Palin told a group of Alaska Republicans last week about preparing to go on stage for the vice presidential debate. “So I’m looking around for somebody to pray with, I just need maybe a little help, maybe a little […]

Jailtime for Sexting & the Democratization of Soft-core Porn

posted by swaldman

A prosecutor in northeastern Pennsylvania has threatened students with jail time if they didn’t attend classes on the dangers of sexting (sending nude pictures of yourself or friends on your cell phones), The New York Times reports. A few students […]

Where Many Nones Live, Gay Marriage Gains Support

posted by swaldman

Cathy Grossman and Jack Gillum at USA Today have crunched the numbers and found that gay marriage is getting most traction in states where The Nones (i.e. people who have no religious affiliation) are strongest.

Confessions of an “Entrepreneurial Risk Taker”

posted by swaldman

I’m occasionally described as an “entrepreneurial risk taker” because I left my fancy job in journalism to start Beliefnet in 1999. Though I love the sound of it, I’ve never felt it was really accurate. The reason: I always knew […]

Mark Silk House Sitting While I’m on Vacation

posted by swaldman

I’m on vacation from March 19-24. I’m very fortunate to have Mark Silk as guest host. A former religion reporter, Mark has in recent years run the Leonard Greenberg Center for the Study of Religion and Public Life at Trinity […]

What If The Terrorists We’re Abusing Aren’t Terrorists?

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The debate over Guantanamo usually slides immediately into the moral dilemma of whether it’s permissible to abuse or “torture terrorists.” It’s an important debate but it obscures a basic flaw: many of them weren’t terrorists. The moral contours become a […]

Pope Says Condoms Make AIDS Problem Worse. Rick Warren Partially Disagrees.

posted by swaldman

AIDS, Pope Benedict XVI told reporters, “is a tragedy that cannot be overcome by money alone, and that cannot be overcome through the distribution of condoms, which even aggravates the problems.” It’s an interesting contrast with Rick Warren’s approach. The […]

My Modest Gay Marriage Proposal: Reactions from Gays and Conservatives

posted by swaldman

My modest proposal on gay marriage has elicited some fascinating reaction. (I suggested religious conservatives should endorse gay marriage if gays back an agenda to reduce the divorce rate) Religious conservatives have been uncharacteristically quiet. Crickets. Stay tuned. The reaction […]

Happy Madison’s Birthday! (Disney World: Take Notice)

posted by swaldman

Last year I visited the Hall of Presidents at Disney World, home of the walking, talking animatronic presidents. In the anteroom where they hold you before the show starts, they had paintings of all the important early presidents. There was […]

Irena’s Vow, Catholic Heroism, and God’s Winks

posted by swaldman

Earlier this week I watched Irena’s Vow, a powerful play based on the true story of a Polish woman, Irena Gut, who hid a dozen Jews during the war, including six in the basement of a high-level German officer. A […]

Afghanistan’s and Virginia’s Blasphemy Laws

posted by swaldman

Afghanistan sentenced a journalist to 20 years in prison for posting an article about women and Islam. In Virginia, the crime for blasphemy: plunging a hot iron through the tongue of the offender. (For more: Founding Faith) Of course the […]

Should Sarah Palin Have Forced Bristol and Levi Johnston into Marriage Counseling?

posted by swaldman

Again, I don’t mean to pick on poor Bristol but her breakup is one of those moments that catalyze important debates. In another post, I probed under what circumstances an unmarried, teen mother ought to consider putting a baby up […]

The Unemployed Journalists Corps

posted by swaldman

We have growing numbers of unemployed journalsits. We have zillions of dollars being spent by the federal government, a recipe for mismanagement. How about we employ some of these out of work journalists to evaluate and monitor the prorams to […]

Should Bristol Palin Have Put the Baby Up for Adoption?

posted by swaldman

In response to my post asking whether Bristol Palin should have considered putting the baby up for adoption, Gerard Nadal writes in the comment box: The Palins are an intact intergenerational family of some means who welcome their newest member. […]

Bristol Palin & Levi Johnston Break Up — “It Kind of Just Happened”

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“It kind of just happened,” a source close to the couple told PEOPLE. “I thought they would stick it out. But I think they can work together to raise Tripp.” When Sarah Palin announced the pregnancy of her daughter, she […]

The Surprising Moral Language of Obama’s Budget

posted by swaldman

Folks on the religious left have long argued that a budget is a “moral document.” It reflects powerful value judgments about priorities and national commitments. Given the massive changes in President Barack Obama’s spending plan — shifting resources from the […]

Ruh Roh (Michael Steele Appears to be Pro-Choice)

posted by swaldman

Oh dear. The head of the Republican Naitonal Committee, Michael Steele, appears to support a woman’s right to choose on abortion: In an interview witrh GQ, he says: Steele: The choice issue cuts two ways. You can choose life or […]

Ronald Reagan’s Attempts to Bring Gorbachev to God

posted by swaldman

The Wall Street Journal excerpts a new book revealing that, based on recently released White House records, Ronald Reagan tried to convert Soviety leader Michael Gorbachev. In a private meeting, Reagan praised Gorbachev for providing more religious freedom and urged […]

12% of Americans May Be Deists. Were the Founding Fathers?

posted by swaldman

The big American Religious Identification Survey that came out yesterday reported that 12% of the population believe in a higher power but not a personal God. So there are more Deists than Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists combined. Would the […]

Sexting, Jesse Logan’s Teen Suicide, and the Double Standard for Boys

posted by swaldman

An 18-year-old Cincinnatti teen named Jessica Logan committed suicide after her ex-boyfriend emailed around naked cell phone photos of her. The AOL teen site Lemondrop reports: Logan was harassed daily by other girls calling her “slut” and “whore” and throwing […]

Would the Founders Oppose or Support Prayer in School?

posted by swaldman

The paperback edition of my book, Founding Faith, comes out this week. It makes a perfect Ides of March present! Buy it here. I thought I’d use the anniversary to reflect a bit on the reaction the book has gotten. […]

Allen Stanford’s Use of Religion to Promote His Financial Scheme

posted by swaldman

Jews who feared that Bernard Madoff was making their tribe seem uniquely culpable for the financial immorality, can relax: Bloomberg today reports that Allen Stanford used his Baptist ties to promote his scam.

Fastest Growing Religion = No Religion (New Religious Identification Survey)

posted by swaldman

The blockbuster new American Religious Identification Survey from Trinity College reports that the fastest growing “faith group” is the one claiming “no religion.” (Full study here.) Look at USA Today’s stunning visual depiction of the flight from Catholicism and “Other […]

A Modest Proposal: Religious Conservatives Back Gay Marriage; Gays Back Covenant Marriage

posted by swaldman

In a brief post the other day, I made a modest proposal: gay activists should offer a deal to opponents of gay marriage: if you support gay marriage, we’ll support efforts to reduce the divorce rate. I wanted to unpack […]

The 400,000 Who Didn’t Die from Traffic Fatalities This Year

posted by swaldman

It’s fair game to make fun of nervous nellies who protect their kids too much but I just got an email passalong from a relative that has me seething. The full email is after the jump but it’s basically a […]

Helping Your Child Deal with the Death of a Pet

posted by swaldman

Some tips for parents trying to help a child through the loss of a pet. Most interesting: don’t use euphemisms like “God took Buffy to heaven.” Experts Allen and Linda Anderson say “these ways of describing death can be confusing […]

Why Gays Should Propose Tightening the Divorce Laws

posted by swaldman

Gay marriage leads to polygamy which leads to man-on-dog marraige which leads to some very awkward sex with robots. The Washington Monthly mocks the latest slippery slope argument on gay marriage. Reminds me of an idea, though. If gay marriage […]

Kosher Salt vs. “Christian Salt”

posted by swaldman

Associated Press reports: Retired barber Joe Godlewski says he was inspired by television chefs who repeatedly recommended kosher salt in recipes. “I said, ‘What the heck’s the matter with Christian salt?’ More here

Welcome, Amy Welborn

posted by swaldman

I’m proud to announce that one of the best religion bloggers on the internet, Amy Welborn, has begun writing for Beliefnet. When Amy and I first started discussing her hanging her shingle here, she was full of ideas about politics […]

Obama’s Faith Based Initiative: Over-reactions from the Left and Right

posted by swaldman

Dan Gilgoff of US News suggests that Chuck Colson and Mike Huckabee are overreacting from the right Mark Silk suggests that author Susan Jacoby is overreacting from the left.

The Less Palin Is Attacked, the Less Conservatives Like Her?

posted by swaldman

I was struck that Sarah Palin did so poorly in the straw poll of conservatives (13%, tied with Ron Paul) at the big conservative confab this weekend. It may be that participants were just annoyed that she didn’t show up […]

The Non Profit Sector: More Jobs than Finance & Auto Combined…and Sinking Fast

posted by swaldman

Bruce Reed and John Bridgeland, the heads of Domestic Policy for Presidents Bill Clinton and Bush, respectively, issued a report today highlighting a looming crisis in the charitable sector: “More than 14 million Americans – 11 percent of American workers […]

Giving Up Technology & Carbon for Lent

posted by swaldman

Few religious rituals prompt more water cooler conversation than the idea of giving up something for Lent. Fasting for Lent originally was meant to profoundly connect Christians to Jesus’s struggle against temptation from the Devil. Some early church fathers specifically […]

Desmond Tutu vs. Franklin Graham, Justice vs. Peace

posted by swaldman

An interesting set of opeds in the New York Times from two important religious leaders, arguing opposite sides of the question: is it a good idea for the International Criminal Court to arrest Sudan’s president, Omar Hassan al-Bashir, on war […]

Are You Compelling Enough to Be Killed?

posted by swaldman

Cathy Grossman of USA Today writes about a new Washington state law gives doctors the option of providing life-ending medicines to terminally ill patients. One doctor who said he probably wouldn’t participate nonetheless added, “There’s possibly a story out there, […]

Kathleen Sebelius & Obama’s “Abortion Reduction” Challenge

posted by swaldman

In the fight over whether to confirm Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services, traditional pro-lifers will focus on Sebelius’s views on late term abortion and other legal restrictions. Interestingly, pro-life Democrats have continued with an […]

The Red States’ Porn Habit

posted by swaldman

The New Scientist reports on a new study on porn usage, which indicates high porn consumption in red states: “Eight of the top 10 pornography consuming states gave their electoral votes to John McCain in last year’s presidential election – […]

My Hero — Nick Kristoff

posted by swaldman

Nick Kristoff. The New York Times columnist has an incredible perch of influence, a job most journalists would do almost anything to get. Yet every time he writes a column about Darfur or Chad or Congo he puts his power […]

Fasting for Lent: Reduce Your Lustful “Seminal Matter”

posted by swaldman

I greatly respect the spiritual goals of Lent, but I was curious about the origins of the tradition of avoiding beef. Now, I usually am one who prefers the time-tested wisdom of the ancients to flash-in-the-pan modern experts. But I’m […]

Obama’s Amazing Improvement Among Traditional White Catholics

posted by swaldman

For years, pundits believed that the only Catholics a liberal Democrat could win en masse were theologically liberal, “Cafeteria Catholics” who don’t attend mass or listen to the Pope very often. While Obama did clean up with those lefty Catholics, […]

Joe Biden’s Historic Ash Wednesday Smudge

posted by swaldman

We’ve seen many historic Presidential “firsts” in this administration, what with the first African American President taking leadership. Yesterday we had another: the site of the Vice President of the United States leading a White House meeting with a smudge […]

The White House Vetting of Prayers

posted by swaldman

The White House is vetting prayers? A great scoop from Dan Gilgoff at US News. On this one I disagree with Obama and agree with Barry Lynn. This is a great illustration of why Madison said, when in doubt, err […]

The Separation of Church and Secular Charity

posted by swaldman

A recent survey from the Corporation for National Service found that 85% of non profits with secular missions have no partnerships with religious groups – even though houses of worship are the largest generators of volunteers.

Obama’s Gandhian, Christ-ian Hardball Bipartisanship

posted by swaldman

The coverage of Obama’s “failure” to achieve bipartisanship has been mostly naïve. The press has largely looked at it like a high school prom: if you ask out a girl and she says no, it’s the asker, not the askee, […]

“Taxes, How to Cheat Like a Pro”

posted by swaldman

The cover headline on Forbes struck me as a tad unethical. In truth, most of the article provided legal advice on how to avoid being audited. But there was the section in which they noted that the IRS looks for […]

The Love Shack

posted by swaldman

Pity the poor preacher trying to keep his flock theologically in line. He may be able to keep them from attending heretical churches or even from reading un-Christian material. But how can they keep Christians from reading inspiring Christian books? […]

Is TV Sapping Volunteerism?

posted by swaldman

According to a study described in the Stanford Social Innovation Review: “The primary difference between volunteers and non-volunteers, when measureing what they do with their time, is the amount of television they watch. People who do not volunteer watch undreds […]

And the Best Spiritual Film Is….

posted by swaldman

The winner of Beliefnet’s Best Spiritual Film award is….

How Religious Is Your State?

posted by swaldman

Polls have always shown that the vast majority of Americans believe religion is “an important part of their daily lives” — 65% in a recent Gallup poll versus just 34% who said it wasn’t. But that national average obscures a […]

Silly vs. Noble Bipartisanship: the Gerson-Wallis Example

posted by swaldman

If you spend too much time reading political blogs, you’d come to think that the word “bipartisanship” is has the same Q ratings as “pedophilia” or “octuplets.” In fact, the one thing that activists of left and right agree on […]

Funniest Hiccupping Baby Twins Video Ever

posted by swaldman

Bristol Palin: Teen Abstinence “Not Realistic”

posted by swaldman

Bristol Palin: “Everyone should be abstinent but it’s not realistic… [sex] is more and more accepted among kids my age…. It sounds naive. Life happens.” Can’t wait to hear the reaction from religious conservatives who HATE this way of thinking […]

Banning the Term “Religious Right”

posted by swaldman

Apparently some religious conservatives don’t want to be referred to as “religious right” because it has negative connotations. Some on the left have said, in effect: tough noogies. If you don’t want it to have negative connotations, then stop having […]

Funniest Laughing Baby Video Ever?

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God in a Box? (Obama’s Faith Based Office)

posted by swaldman

Some liberals have warned that Obama’s “new” White House “faith based” office violates separation of church and state. One progressive, Ed Kilgore, has a novel — and, to my mind, more persuasive — critique: Maintaning a White House “faith-based” group […]

Pro-God Bus Ad — More Entries

posted by swaldman

We’re making some progress on finding bus ads that were a bit more compelling than those devised by the clerical authorities in England. Thanks especially to the posters at Crunchy Con and Jesus Creed. A few possibilities from the early […]

13 Year Old Father (End of Civilization Episode 73)

posted by swaldman

In which a boy who looks like he’s 8 and doesn’t know the word “financial” becomes a father. Watch the video.

Why Aren’t Pro-Lifers On a Rampage Against the Fertility Industry?

posted by swaldman

We’ve been discussing for the past week a variety of ethical questions related to Nadya Suleman’s octuplets. Should a woman who can barely handle six, get another eight? Should the clinic have agreed? What rights did the father/sperm-donor have? What’s […]

Abraham Lincoln as Stuart Smalley

posted by swaldman

Ok, Lincoln’s much, much deeper than Smalley — but I’m surprised at how well the Great Emancipator works as an Inspirational Quote Machine. A few: “When I do good, I feel good; when I do bad, I feel bad. That’s […]

Is Obama’s Tax Cut the Biggest in History?

posted by swaldman

The Democrats have been so busy defending federal spending, and denigrating the stimulative power of tax cuts, that they apparently either forgot to — or felt they couldn’t — point out something rather dramatic: the tax cuts in this stimulus […]

Darwin’s Challenge Was Not to God, it Was to His Word

posted by swaldman

The Vatican embraces Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution as fully compatible with Christianity. The Church of England honors its former member. (His parish, in which he was active during his early life, pictured above) And we are thus reminded that […]

Amy Welborn, Gratitude & Fearlessness Amidst Unspeakable Grief

posted by swaldman

Amy Welborn, one of the most gifted religion bloggers on the internet, lost her husband, Michael Dubruiel last week. He died on the treadmill at the gym. Two little boys. They’d just moved to Alabama for his new job. The […]

Is the Stimulus Package “Anti-Religion”?

posted by swaldman

Mike Huckabee says the stimulus package is….anti-religion. Jay Sekulow provides the grist for the charge. Barry Lynn says it’s an entirely fabricated non-scandal. I look forward to Jay’s response over at Lynn v. Sekulow UPDATE: As I understand it, the […]

Pro-Lifers, It Turns Out, Were a Big Part of Obama’s Winning Coalition

posted by swaldman

I was recently telling a Democratic friend about Obama’s abortion balancing act. One day he repeals the Mexico City “gag rule” delighting pro-choice activists. The next week he seems intent on making it up to pro-life voters, announcing that one […]

Why Islamic Investment Funds Beat the Stock Market

posted by swaldman

I was half kidding a few months ago when I suggested Islamic sharia law to shape up the stock exchange. It turns out I wasn’t far off. Apparently, Islamic investment funds have beaten the market of late. The two Amana […]

What Rights Should the Octuplets’ Father Have?

posted by swaldman

I didn’t know this: the octuplets father apparently, wanted to get married: Angela Suleman said Nadya’s boyfriend was the biological father of all 14 children, but that she refused to marry him. “He was in love with her and wanted […]

Do You Trust Journalists Enough to Pay Them for Their Work?

posted by swaldman

In this week’s Time, Walter Isaacson argues that newspapers won’t survive unless people start paying something for the online versions. (He suggests a micro-payment system a la E-ZPass). I agree with Isaacson that the newspaper (and magazine) industry must think […]

Best Gay Marriage Ad: “Don’t Divorce Us”

posted by swaldman

“Fidelity”: Don’t Divorce… from Courage Campaign on Vimeo.This strikes me as the most effective of the gay marriage ads I’ve seen. Instead of emphasizing rights, it emphasizes the conservative values of marriage — and implicitly challenges the anti-gay-marriage argument that […]

Does the Old Testament De-Value Fetuses?

posted by swaldman

Paging pro-life Bible scholars. What are we make of this passage of Exodus (21:22-25) (hat tip: Pagan blog): And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is […]

Write Your Own Pro-God Bus Ad

posted by swaldman

Atheists recently drew attention by putting ads on British buses declaring, “There is probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” Christian groups are responding with their own ads, which seem a bit lackluster to me: “There definitely […]

Best Spiritual Film — Who Would You Vote For?

posted by swaldman

Beliefnet has announced it’s nominees for Best Spiritual Film. The nominees are: Slumdog Millionaire Wall-E Gran Torino Doubt The Dark Knight Vote here. The nominees for Best Spiritual Performance are: Meryl Streep in “Doubt” Richard Jenkins in “The Visitor” Brad […]

A Botched Abortion, a Murder, & an Opportunity for Obama

posted by swaldman

if the facts in this article are accurate, this is murder plain and simple and should be prosecuted as such. According to AP: Eighteen and pregnant, Sycloria Williams went to an abortion clinic outside Miami and paid $1,200 for Dr. […]

A “pornography advocate” for the Justice Department?

posted by swaldman

Sounds like religious conservatives have found their juiciest target. Family Research Council says that David Ogden, President Obama’s nominee to be deputy attorney general, is a “pornography advocate” who has “profited from representing pornographers and in attacking legislation designed to […]

Obama’s New Faith Based Office — Substantive But Leaning Left

posted by swaldman

The main thing I was looking for in the creation of Obama’s faith-based office was whether it’s designed to mobilize the faith community to solve problems — or russle up votes. Is it substantive or political (as it was under […]

Obama’s Remarks at the National Prayer Breakfast About the Faith Based Council

posted by swaldman

Remarks of President Barack Obama National Prayer Breakfast Thursday, February 5th, 2009 Washington, DC Good morning. I want to thank the Co-Chairs of this breakfast, Representatives Heath Shuler and Vernon Ehlers. I’d also like to thank Tony Blair for coming […]

Millard Fuller — One of the Most Important Christians of the Last 100 Years

posted by swaldman

When we think of the most important religious figures in the last century, we tend to think of official denominational leaders (the Popes), famous evangelists or preachers (Billy Graham, Rick Warren, Norman Vincent Peale) and maybe some theologians (Reinhold Niebuhr, […]

The Fallibility of Papal Googling

posted by swaldman

The Vatican has changed course and declared today that Holocaust-denying Bishop Richard Williamson “must absolutely, unequivocally and publicly distance himself from his positions on the Shoah,” or Holocaust. Good for Pope Benedict XI, admitting error that way. Oh, wait — […]

“I Screwed Up” — An Act of Christian Strength

posted by swaldman

Obama in his first week said three words that the previous four presidents had avoided: “I screwed up.” Even though the Bushes, Clinton and Reagan had made massive errors — from adultery in the White House to launching a war […]

“Contraception is the gateway to abortion”

posted by swaldman

Senator Harry Reid recently re-introduced the “Prevention First Act” which, he said, would decrease abortions by improve family planning and increase the use of contraception. (Summary here, full text here) This prompted this response today from Dr. William E. May, […]

Pledge of Allegiance to Barack & Points of Light 2.0

posted by swaldman

I share Crunchy Con’s slight nausea over this video, and especially the line “I pledge to be a servant to our president and all mankind.” This is now tied with American Prayer for most insufferable Obama video.As for their pledges […]

The Strange Fate of the Under-fed National Service Strategy

posted by swaldman

During the campaign, Barack Obama proposed tripling AmeriCorps, the full-time community service program, at a cost of roughly $3 billion. John McCain, though less specific, also supported a large expansion in national service. That consensus had grown around national service […]

A Compassion Gap on Welfare?

posted by swaldman

The New York Times’ Jason DeParle has an important piece today documenting that among the states with highest unemployment increases, half chose to cut welfare benefits rather than boosting them. During the welfare reform debates of the 1990s, governors said, […]

Pro-Lifers Respond to My Post About Family Planning

posted by swaldman

Tom McClusky of Family Resaerch Council has a thoughtful post responding to my item on why many pro-life groups oppose family planning. First, he argues that I make a false assumption: that being opposed to federally-financed family planning is the […]

Humanae Vitae — Papal Encyclical on Sex, Marriage, Contraception and Other Issues

posted by swaldman

ENCYCLICAL LETTER HUMANAE VITAE OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF PAUL VI TO HIS VENERABLE BROTHERS THE PATRIARCHS, ARCHBISHOPS, BISHOPS AND OTHER LOCAL ORDINARIES IN PEACE AND COMMUNION WITH THE APOSTOLIC SEE, TO THE CLERGY AND FAITHFUL OF THE WHOLE CATHOLIC WORLD, […]

Charles Darwin, Believer in Intelligent Design

posted by swaldman

From today’s New York Times Book Review comes two interesting morsels about Charles Darwin that ought to slightly soften Christian antagonism to him as the destroyer of faith. One new book, “Darwin’s Sacred Cause: How a Hatred of Slavery Shaped […]

The Love Shack (Spoiler Version)

posted by swaldman

For those of you who have already read The Shack, I wanted to tease out a few other points beyond these. The most wrenching part is God’s demand that Mack forgive Missy’s killer. But there’s something unsatisfying to me about […]

Why Many Pro-Lifers Oppose Family Planning

posted by swaldman

If you dropped in to America from another planet and were told there was a group of people dedicated to reducing the number of abortions, and then were asked, “would that group be for or against family planning and contraception?” […]

Inspired Aging

posted by swaldman

My father-in-law, Austin Cunningham, passed away this week. He was 94 and an extroardinary man — named “senior citizen of the year” in South Carolina for his unceasing work on behalf various community groups (youth jobs, anti-drugs, minority education). In […]

The Truth About Contraceptives Stimulating the Economy

posted by swaldman

I’m depressed about this whole flap over contraceptives being in the stimulus package. It reflects much about what’s wrong with politics and policymaking in Washington. Here are my top three reasons to be depressed: 1) Democrats are still not committed […]

“Pray Obama Fails”

posted by swaldman

Rush Limbaugh hopes Obama fails. Joseph Farah at WND.com isn’t going to rely just on hope. He’s calling on people to pray to God that Obama fails: “I want Obama to fail because his agenda is 100 percent at odds […]

Obama Ditching Family Planning from the Stimulus

posted by swaldman

AP is reporting: President Barack Obama has told congressional Democrats to drop a proposal to spend money on family planning from the proposed $825 billion plan to stimulate the economy, a White House aide told McClatchy. Obama is likely to […]

Pope Benedict and the Pharisees

posted by swaldman

Some important points have come up in the boards that I want to address: IGNORE THE HOLOCAUST ISSUE Many in the comments area have argued that I erred in focusing on Bishop Williamson being a holocaust denier. They point out […]

Conservative Cafeteria Catholicism

posted by swaldman

Conservatives have long chided liberals for “cafeteria Catholicism,” choosing parts of Catholic doctrine they like while ignoring those they don’t. George Weigel (conservative) and David Gibson (liberal) explain how Benedict XVI’s overture to four “traditionalist” bishops smacks of Conservative Cafeteria […]

The Holocaust-Denying Catholic Bishop & the Church’s Battered Moral Authority

posted by swaldman

The astonishing decision of Pope Benedict XVI to revoke the excommunication of, Richard Williamson, a Bishop who denies the holocaust has been cast as a blow to interfaith relations. It surely is that; Jews appropriately believe that Holocaust deniers are […]

Obama’s Olive Branch to Non-Believers Rankles Non-non-believers

posted by swaldman

Apparently, Obama’s line reaching out to “non-believers” in his inaugural has unsettled some Non-non-believers. Obama “seems to be trying to redefine American culture, which is distinctively Christian,” Bishop E.W. Jackson of the Exodus Faith Ministries in Chesapeake, Va told Melinda […]

Is Repealing the Anti-Abortion “Gag Rule” Actually a Pro-Life Position?

posted by swaldman

I admit when I first saw the paper from Third Way arguing that repealing the Mexico City gag rule would reduce the number of abortions, I figured it was a clever bit of spin to assuage pro-life Obama supporters, irritated […]

Obama Had The Dalai Lama’s Scarf In His Pocket During His Swearing In

posted by swaldman

Lama Surya Das passed on this fascinating bit. Richard Blum, who is the husband of California Senator Diane Feinstein, also happens to be a major supporter of Buddhism. He was up on the platform during the swearing in. Beforehand, he […]

Obama’s Abortion Steps — Mexico City “Gag Rule” and Roe v. Wade statement — Bound to Disappoint Pro-Life Supporters

posted by swaldman

Obama’s pro-life supporters have got to be somewhat disappointed today. Today, as promised, he is expected to repeal the “Mexico City policy” a.k.a. the “gag rule” — the policy that prevented overseas family planning groups from mentioning abortion as an […]

Obama’s First Faith-Friendly Action? Banning Torture

posted by swaldman

The Catholic Church praised Obama’s executive order banning torture (full text here). Said Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, chairman of the Bishops’ Committee on International Justice and Peace: “Based upon the teachings of the Catholic Church, our Conference of […]

Best Pro Life States

posted by swaldman

Americans United for Life has issued a ranking of the best and worst states in terms of anti-abortion policies. For the most part, the “best” states also seem to be ones with low abortion rates, buttressing the pro-life argument that […]

What’s Obama Got Against Buddhism?

posted by swaldman

We hear at Beliefnet are accustomed to thinking of the world’s major religions as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism. In his inaugural address, Obama went four for five, mentioning Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus and (signficantly) “non believers.” No Buddhism. […]

Religious Left to Obama: Don’t Repeal Abortion Gag Rule Just Yet

posted by swaldman

Pro-life Obama activists fully expect Obama to repeal the Mexico City “gag rule” — which prevents American dollars from going to groups that offer abortion services or advice. But some of them are urging the Obama administration Obama to delay […]

What Makes The National Prayer Service National

posted by swaldman

Only in America Sitting in a balcony of the National Cathedral, I found myself most moved when the procession of clergy walked in, each in distinctive religious garb. A cardinal’s skull cap, a Muslim headress, a Yalmulke — and fifteen […]

Obama Touches the Untouchables: Non-Believers

posted by swaldman

Obama’s inaugural address was brimming with religious references. “We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things….” “This is the source of our confidence — the knowledge that God […]

Rick Warren’s Deft Invocation

posted by swaldman

In one of the most anticipated invocations ever, the controversial pastor managed to offer a prayer that was broadly inclusive yet true to his faith. There many other interesting bits worthy of detaild fisking * * * Let Us Pray:Almighty […]

Gene Robinson’s Offer and Challenge to Rick Warren: Beliefnet’s Interview

posted by swaldman

On Monday, I visited with Gene Robinson at St. Thomas Episcopal Church, the day after his historic prayer opening the inaugural ceremonies. We’ll have video later but I wanted to quickly get up some of the highlights of what I […]

Gene Robinson’s Historic Prayer

posted by swaldman

Gene Robinson, the first openly gay bishop of the Episcopal church, gave the opening prayer at the beginning of the inaugural festivities at the Lincoln Memorial. Below is the transcript and a YouTube video In the next day I’ll also […]

Why Did FDR Start Having Prayers at Inaugurals?

posted by swaldman

As I’ve been foraging through the history of inaugural prayers, one question has remained a mystery: why, in 1937, did Franklin Roosevelt start the tradition? Professor Mark Silk has come up with an interesting and plausible theory. Prior to 1937, […]

A Rabbi’s Prayer for the Children of Gaza

posted by swaldman

My rabbi, Serge Lippe, sent this prayer, written by Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman of Kol HaNeshama, Jerusalem. He suggests reading it churches, mosques, or synagogues: If there has ever been a place forsaken, Gaza is that place. Lord who is the […]

Why The Gene Robinson Pick Gets Less Media Uproar than Rick Warren

posted by swaldman

Tony Jones of New Christians ponders why the selection of Gene Robinson has gotten so much less press coverage than the pick of Rick Warren. He speculates that it’s because gay groups put pressure on the media. http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones/2009/01/rick-warren-vs-gene-robinson.html That’s probably […]

Why The Inaugural Prayers Have Become Less Inclusive Over Time

posted by swaldman

In 1949, the year of Harry S. Truman’s inauguration ceremony, America was a much less tolerant and diverse place. It would be another decade before Americans would be comfortable electing a Catholic president. Jews were still excluded from the upper […]

Inaugural Prayer Service — Did YOU Make the Cut?

posted by swaldman

This just in from the inaugural committee: The full lineup of clergy at Wednesday prayer service at the National Cathedral (which will stream it live, by the way.) Nineteen participants. They surely have covered all the bases now! Actually, the […]

Sign Here, The Declaration of Service

posted by swaldman

This search engine helps you find service projects for Martin Luther King Day Click here to sign a new Declaration of Service, and (if you want) pledge charitable or social action in the coming year: WE BELIEVE in the ideals […]

Newdow Wants to Block Inaugural Prayers. Does He Have a Case?

posted by swaldman

Jay Sekulow, one of the leading conservative constitutional laywers in the country (and a Beliefnet blogger) was back at the Supreme Court this week fighting Michael Newdow’s attempts to block prayers at the inauguration. Sekulow notes that George Washington in […]

The Protestant Inaugural Takeover

posted by swaldman

Including the two prayers at Barack Obama’s inaugural, 12 prayers will have been delivered at inaugurations since 1989. All of them have been delivered by Protestants. By contrast, in the previous 48 years, of the 41 prayers delivered, 16 — […]

Centrist Evangelicals Forge New Agenda on Abortion, Gays, Torture and Immigration

posted by swaldman

Rachel Laser of the advocacy group Third Way called it the “official beginning of the ending of the culture war.” Hmmm. This may not be quite “Mission Accomplished” territory but I suspect her prediction is a tad premature. Nonetheless, what […]

Franklin Graham: “The people on the far left hate God”

posted by swaldman

Just getting around to this remarkable Christianity Today interview with Franklin Graham, son of Billy. “The people on the far left hate God, they hate his standards, and hate the name of his son. The people on the left are […]

Spare Me Some Change

posted by swaldman

Have you noticed how marketers have appropriated Obama’s “change” and “yes we can!” rhetoric for less-than-lofty goals? Pepsi has added “Yes We Can” language to its already Obama-ish red-white-and-blue logo. My favorite so far is this Vogue cover. Change! it […]

Limp-wristed Jesus, Mark Driscoll and the Fall of Ted Haggard

posted by swaldman

From today’s New York Times article about popular young Christian leader Mark Driscoll: The mainstream church, Driscoll has written, has transformed Jesus into “a Richard Simmons, hippie, queer Christ,” a “neutered and limp-wristed popular Sky Fairy of pop culture that […]

“So Help Me God” Came from Chester Arthur — Not George Washington?!

posted by swaldman

Beth Hahn, historical editor for the U.S. Senate Historical Office, once made a video describing how George Washington began the tradition of saying “So help me God” during a presidential swearing in. Then she did some research — and changed […]

Beliefnet Pride in Obama’s FCC Pick, Julius Genachowski

posted by swaldman

At Beliefnet, we have a special pride in the reported appointment of Julius Genachowski to be chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, a hugely important government agency that oversees regulation of TV, radio and the internet. You see, Julius served […]

Gene Robinson, Rick Warren and The Inaugural Prayer Thicket

posted by swaldman

The inaugural commitee has now announced that the inaugural festivities will also feature prayers from Rev. Gene Robinson, the episcopal bishop of New Hampshire, who is openly gay — and whose selection prompted a worldwide global schism within the Anglican […]

Inaugural Prayers Through History — The Ultimate Archive

posted by swaldman

Here are the texts of invocations and benedictions at presidential inaugurals since 1937 when the practice began. I’m still searching for the full texts for some of the earlier ones, and will update this space as I get them. 2005 […]

The Case Against Huffington Post

posted by swaldman

Michael Wolfe writes on the Huffington Post that it is a “shibboleth” that The New York Times is important for the good of journalism and notes that an evolving piece of conventional wisdom is that “the Huffington Post is the […]

Flower Mandala — Daffodil

posted by swaldman

More from David Bookbinder

Are Ambivalent American Jews Anti-Israel?

posted by swaldman

Anshel Pfeffer, a correspondent for the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, explains that there are three schools of thought among American Jews: 1) “Pavolovian flag-wavers” — “There are large number of Pavlovian flag-wavers, good and innocent Zionists and Jews who see only […]

Obama, Service and MLK Day — Why It’s GREAT… and Not Enough

posted by swaldman

My post chiding the Obama administration for not including national service in their economic recovery plan (according to press reports) has stirred up quite a reaction over at Huffington Post. Most people agreed (in fact, I can’t recall getting this […]

The Death of Father Neuhaus & The Ailing Catholic-Evangelical Alliance

posted by swaldman

.Dan Gilgoff of U.S. News & World Report writes that Father Richard Neuhaus, who died this week, was the architect of the conservative Catholic-Evangelical political alliance. Provocatively, Gilgoff argues that Catholics have provided the brains and evangelicals the braun for […]

Why Is Teen Pregnancy Suddenly Rising Again?

posted by swaldman

With all the focus on the economy it was easy to miss the monumental news that teen pregnancy rates are back on the rise, according to a new study from the government’s Centers for Disease Control. Teen birth rates rose […]

Flower Mandala — Pink Peony

posted by swaldman

More from David Bookbinder.

Discarded Embryos

posted by swaldman

Given the heated discussion we’ve been having about whether pro-life people (or people in general) should oppose in vitro fertilization, I was intrigued by a note I got from a pro-life doctor/activist in England. Here’s his analysis of the data […]

Drive Carefully, Lest You End Up Dead in a Vat of Acid

posted by swaldman

No mobster-related story has haunted me more than the tale of John Gotti’s neighbor who was murdered after he accidentally ran over Gotti’s 12 year old son. Briefly blinded by the sunlight, John Favara, hit the boy who was riding […]

Will Israel Split America’s Religious Left?

posted by swaldman

The Protestant religious left has always had some anti-Israel tendencies. The governing bodies for Presbyterians, Methodists and United Church of Christ had all moved toward divesting from companies doing business in Israel, morally equating the Jewish state with South Africa. […]

Rick Warren and the great condom dilemma

posted by swaldman

Liberal writer Max Blumenthal has a provocative piece charging that Rick Warren’s anti-AIDS allies in Africa have actually made matters worse. (Hat tip: Progressive Revival) Specifically, he writes, Uganda had been a great success story as a result of their […]

Your #$%^!& Password

posted by swaldman

What’s most fascinating about this list of the 500 most commonly used passwords is how many are cuss words and descriptions of graphic sex acts — and how many seem just angry. Does it really make people feel better to […]

Lisa Marie Presley Defends Travolta — And Scientology

posted by swaldman

Lisa Marie Presley, a Scientologist, blogs against those who are blaming scientology for the death of John Travolta’s son, Jett: “It is not true that Scientologist’s ‘Don’t believe in’ medical care, medicine or medical Doctors and that may have something […]

Is Obama Missing the National Service Moment?

posted by swaldman

The Obama administration may be about to squander a historic opportunity. By all reports, the economic recovery plan doesn’t include a large-scale national service program. Franklin Roosevelt viewed the Civilian Conservation Corps as an essential part of the New Deal, […]

A Prayer To Keep Her Head Above Water

posted by swaldman

Another extraordinary prayer circle about financial hardship: To pray for all who just want to get thier heads above water. I am stuggling like alot of others to stay above water financilly. I dont want to be a millionair I […]

Pitying the Pro-Israel… and Anti-Israel Forces (Guest post by Michael Kress)

posted by swaldman

I told my wife the other day that I was having trouble supporting Israel’s war in Gaza as strongly as I felt I should. Jewish leaders in America, my own rabbis, and even friends make the case that Israel has […]

Prayers for the Economically “Redundant”

posted by swaldman

The Church of England has published this prayer, called “Prayer On Being Made Redundant”: “Hear me as I cry out in confusion, help me to think clearly, and calm my soul.”

Prayer Circle: A Couple Whose Two Year Old Drowned

posted by swaldman

Please pray for Emma & Ole Kristian Paulsrud “A wonderful couple from Norway who were on holiday in Kenya, only to tragically loss their son Andres who was 2 years and 8 months old in the afternoon of 13th Dec […]

“Madoff + Israel = Nazis”

posted by swaldman

A user wrote on January 3 about Bernard Madoff: As a Jew, he shames me. He took advantage of his “jewishness” to make people feel comfortable,and then deceived them…. As a community activist, I was involved in a pro and […]

Did Israel’s Blockade of Gaza Prompt the Hamas Shelling?

posted by swaldman

The case for Israel’s actions is self-defense. They were responding to shelling from Hamas. The best rebuttal I’ve seen to this argument comes from David Reiff in a letter to Crunchy Con: I think you quite dramatically misstate one of […]

Why Don’t In Vitro Opponents Also Fight Smoking and Drinking Too?

posted by swaldman

A user named Mike, who describes himsefl as a fertility specialist who has kids of his own through in vitro fertilization, passionately attempts to rebut the IVF opponents commenting on my post about the Vatican statement. First, he notes that […]

Should Warren Pray In Jesus’s Name?

posted by swaldman

KirbyJon Caldwell, who delivered a prayer at one of President Bush’s inauguration, predicts that Rick Warren will have to pray “in Jesus’s name” when he gives the invocation in a few weeks. (Hat tip: GetReligion) “If Rick Warren does not […]

Top Ten Religion Stories of 2008

posted by swaldman

Based on a survey of religion reporters, the Religion Newswriters Association reports that the top ten faith-related stories of 2008: 1. Controversial sermons delivered in recent years by the Rev. Jeremiah Wright surface, resulting in pressure on Barack Obama, who […]

Flower Mandala — Pink Peony

posted by swaldman

More from David Bookbinder here.

Does In Vitro Fertilization = Abortion?

posted by swaldman

Roughly 127,977, babies are killed each year through the process of in vitro fertilization — at least if one accepts the definition that discarding a fertilized embryo amounts to abortion and murder. Pro-choice groups obviously don’t see it that way. […]

Bernie Madoff: A Gift for Anti-Semites?

posted by swaldman

Rabbi Marc Gellman writes in Newsweek an “open letter” to Bernard Madoff: You are responsible for reviving the “Jew game.” I heard of the Jew game from a boy who became a man last Saturday. I asked him once if […]

Best Spiritual Books of 2008

posted by swaldman

Beliefnet’s bloggers have been describing their favorite spiritual books of the year. Here are bottom line picks. Click through to read their explanations: Scot McKnight (a.k.a Jesus Creed) Klyne Snodgrass’ complete study of the parables: Stories With Intent: A Comprehensive […]

Prayer Circle of the Day: Kim Lost Her Job, Fears Eviction

posted by swaldman

Prayers for Kim: Please pray for Kim with all of your heart and ask God to help her in these extremely trying times. Kim is a truly generous and giving person who has fallen on hard times. She suffers from […]

Worst Religious Moments of 2008

posted by swaldman

Paul Raushenbush at Progressive Revival has put together an excelent list of the “worst religious stories” — meaning the ones that made us groan or roll our eyes. Two samples: 7. Prosperity Gospelers add to the foreclosure crisis by preaching […]

Does Religion Promote Self-Control?

posted by swaldman

A new study from Psychological Bulletin indicates that church attendance does promote self control. (Hat tip: New York Times) The traditional explanation might be that fear of divine retribution scares youngsters into behaving. But the scientists who did this study […]

Warith Deen Mohammed, The Most Important Muslim in America, RIP

posted by swaldman

Our gallery of spiritual leaders includes many great men and women. I wanted to ponder for a moment Warith Deen Mohammed, who did more than any other American to bring Islam into the mainstream here. He was the son of […]

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Thank you for visiting this page. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy: Top Religious News Most Recent Inspiration Post Happy Reading! ...

posted 6:00:22pm Apr. 20, 2012 | read full post »

Good Bye
Today is my last day at Beliefnet (which I co-founded in 1999). The swirling emotions: sadness, relief, love, humility, pride, anxiety. But mostly deep, deep gratitude. How many people get to come up with an idea and have rich people invest ...

posted 8:37:24am Nov. 20, 2009 | read full post »

"Steven Waldman Named To Lead Commission Effort on Future of Media In a Changing Technological Landscape" (FCC Press Release)
STEVEN WALDMAN NAMED TO LEAD COMMISSION EFFORT ON FUTURE OF MEDIA IN A CHANGING TECHNOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE FCC chairman Julius Genachowski announced today the appointment of Steven Waldman, a highly respected internet entrepreneur and journalist, ...

posted 11:46:42am Oct. 29, 2009 | read full post »

My Big News
Dear Readers, This is the most difficult (and surreal) post I've had to write. I'm leaving Beliefnet, the company I co-founded in 1999. In mid November, I'll be stepping down as President and Editor in Chief to lead a project on the future of ...

posted 1:10:11pm Oct. 28, 2009 | read full post »

"Beliefnet Co-Founder and Editor-in-Chief Steps Down to Lead FCC Future of the Media Initiative" (Beliefnet Press Release)
October 28, 2009 BELIEFNET CO-FOUNDER AND EDITOR-IN-CHIEF STEPS DOWN TO LEAD FCC FUTURE OF THE MEDIA INITIATIVE New York, NY - October 28, 2009 - Beliefnet, the leading online community for inspiration and faith, announced today that Steven ...

posted 1:05:43pm Oct. 28, 2009 | read full post »

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