Category archives: Religion & Culture

Barna on the “God Gap”

by Family Research Council

March 5, 2007

A new survey from The Barna Group explores the so-called “God gap” between Republicans and Democrats, examining 32 measures of religious commitment, belief and activity. The study shows that while Republicans continue to hold advantage in attracting born again Christian voters, Democrats are not as far behind on measures of Christian commitment as might be assumed.

The study finds that Republicans were more likely than Democrats to:

  • Strongly assert that the Bible is accurate in all of the principles it teaches (57% versus 40%)
  • Twice as likely to believe Satan is a real spiritual entity (33% versus 17%)
  • More likely to reject the idea that good works can earn salvation (35% versus 23%)
  • More commonly describe themselves as absolutely committed to Christianity (61% versus 48%)

The report also notes that 53% of Republicans say they attended church in the last seven days (compared with 41% of Democrats) and only 22% of Republicans qualified as unchurched (as opposed to 34% among Democrats).

ACLU Orders Mass Exodus Of Ten Commandments

by Tony Perkins

February 27, 2007

Here’s today’s Washington Watch Daily commentary from FRC Radio:

In Florida, the ACLU has issued its own commandment: Thou shalt remove thy biblical monument. The liberal group is referring to a granite sculpture of the Ten Commandments outside the Dixie County court. It was installed last November after a businessman donated it and the City Council approved it. Because the display invokes the name of God, the ACLU argues that it violates the Establishment Clause. But ironically, its the same God that kicks off the national motto, In God We Trust. Several states have passed bills to protect similar monuments. As one legislator said, I just think its a darn good moral code. And hes not alone. The public strongly supports posting the Ten Commandments on government property. Some polls have shown as much as 77 percent approve of the displays. Thats why its a little surprising that the ACLU resurrected their campaign. All of these lawsuits should have taught them that its hard to get a guilty verdict on the ten most wanted list.

To download this commentary as an MP3, follow this link. To subscribe to the Washington Watch Daily radio commentary, go here.

Jesus Costume Too Scary

by Family Research Council

February 22, 2007

A suit was filed on Tuesday in Pennsylvania by the Alliance Defense Fund on behalf of a 10 year old boy whose freedoms of religion and free speech were violated. During a Halloween celebration, officials at Willow Hill Elementary School in Glenside, Pennsylvania informed the boy that he could not wear a crown of thorns or tell others that he was Jesus.

Alternatively, school officials said that, because his garb included a robe, he could identify himself as a Roman emperor or some other religiously neutral figure. Since both the boy and his mother found the pagan elements of Halloween offensive, they did not want to celebrate Halloween in the typical manner; however, the mother of the boy also did not want her son to feel isolated from his schoolmates simply because he was not wearing a costume.

As I take stock of the situation, I cant help but chuckle in amazement at the brazenness of school officials. The purported reason for prohibiting the boys costume was that it was in violation of a school ordinance against the promotion of religion.

Apart from the fact that such a policy is no more than a facade for promoting virtually anything but Christianity, the school was not promoting religion by allowing the child to wear a costume. The school did not sanction the costume, obviously did not show support for the custom, and certainly did not give it undue preference over the myriad other costumes present among which were the typical devils and witches.

Upon closer examination, I think what you will see is that religion is defined very narrowly by many secularists: religion = Christianity. Toleration is all-inclusive, with one small exception Christians.

Why do I get the feeling that a Ghandi costume wouldnt have elicited the same response?

Merry Christmas 2006

by Family Research Council

December 21, 2006

As many of us get ready to leave to celebrate Christmas with our families, let us end on a high note with some inspirational Christmas stories from this year (For the three people who have missed it, This Day in History/Quote of the Day will return when I do next week.)

Merry ChristmasFirst off let us look at Santa’s helpers who work on his behalf in all the malls. A recent survey found that 90 percent say they get their beards pulled daily; About half nearly lose their glasses from clutchy kids every shift; Some 60 percent are sneezed or coughed on up to 10 times a day; About a third have been wet on and more than half say they get their boots stepped on as many as 10 times a day. Despite all this the survey, commissioned by Auntie Anne’s pretzel shops, revealed that Santa’s love their jobs.

Everybody comes in a good mood and that puts me in a good mood,” said Steve Macarus, 39, of Elgin, who was playing Santa at Navy Pier on Wednesday. “It’s the best job I’ve ever had,” said Johnson, a retired printer. “There’s no, ‘Aw, do I have to go to work today?’ I look forward to it.”

The only number from the survey I have a dispute with is:

Some 75 percent of kids say they’ve been good all year, the survey reported.

Now going to Vermont and a story that we hear a version of every year. A good hearted soul in Barre, VT put a coin from 1908 that is potentially worth up to $14,000 into one of the Salvation Army’s red kettles. You can donate any type of coin you want to the Red Cross here.

From Maine comes the story of how for “15 years, the Worcester Wreath Co. in Harrington has been taking Christmas wreaths to the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., to decorate the graves of fallen U.S. soldiers and sailors. A burst of publicity this year came with two developments. First, instead of just focusing on the Arlington cemetery, the company started what it calls “Wreaths Across America” and sent six wreaths each to 230 state and national cemeteries in the 50 states and Puerto Rico. The expansion was the bright idea of Karen Worcester, who with her husband, Merrill Worcester owns and runs the company.” The picture on the blog is from their current laying of the wreaths.

Finally for any last minute shoppers with $18,920.59 to spare might I suggest you pick up the Twelve Days of Christmas? Every year PNC tabulates the cost and this year saw it getting close to the $19 thousand mark:

 

PNC Advisors’ Christmas Price Index

 

 

2006

One Partridge in a Pear Tree

$                   144.99

Two Turtle Doves

$                      40.00

Three French Hen

$                      45.00

Four Calling Birds

$                   479.96

Five Gold Rings

$                   325.00

Six Geese-a-Laying

$                   300.00

Seven Swans-a-Swimming

$                4,200.00

Eight Maids-a-Milking

$                      41.20

Nine Ladies Dancing

$                4,759.19

10 Lords-a-Leaping

$                4,160.25

11 Pipers Piping

$                2,124.00

12 Drummers Drumming

$                2,301.00

Total Christmas Price Index

$                18,920.59

 

How Barry Lynn Stole Christmas

by Family Research Council

December 21, 2006

(With gruvvulous apologies to Dr. Seuss)

Every American

in America

Liked Christmas a lot…

But Barry Lynn,

Who worked against religion,

Did NOT!

Barry Lynn hated Christmas!

But especially the whole Christmas reason!

I’m not sure why. Perhaps he saw worshiping the Son of God akin to treason.

But he was not alone, not at all, in his ridiculous fight.

The ACLU and People for the (Un)American Way also saw Christmas as a terrible blight.If others can post rejected Update stories then so can I

Every December these groups would sue and sue, spending every red cent

On a misguided and twisted definition of the Constitution’s first Amendment!!

They didn’t like religious Christmas carols!!

Or a child distributing a candy cane!!

They hated Poinsettias and Christmas trees!!

They would find activist judges to cause all great pain!!

They hated a lot, for all of their days, mentioning Christ made them mean!!

And God forbid (yes they hated that phrase) you displayed a Nativity scene!!

One Christmas season they stole all the creches, the stockings and mistletoe

They stole all the carols, even the First Noel!!

They stole all the trees!! They stole all the presents!!

They laughed out in glee: “We will show these religious peasants!!”

So Christmas morning came and the liberals hoped it would just be like any other day

But, no, for you see America … they celebrated anyway!!

The Left was foiled once again - what could have gone wrong?

People were praying!! And worshiping with song!!

Joy to the World,” “Silent Night,” “Away in a Manger”!!

All sung in worship!! Was the Left’s assault on Christmas finally in danger??

The ACLU and Barry and Ralph - they just didn’t understand

It wasn’t the trappings that were important, but God being born to man

But the people, they knew, as did every Founding Father

Religion strengthens our nation, and is far from a bother.

The Founders recognized this, from when they first landed on America’s shore

That Christ … perhaps … means a little bit more!

It is OK to have “Christmas trees” and a nativity scene

Judges can not stop it, nor could even Howard Dean.

So I say to you, without trepidation or fear

May you have a Merry CHRISTMAS and a blessed New Year!!

Wise Men Still Seek Him

by Suzanne Bowdey

December 21, 2006

In Baghdad, the blackened cars outside churches and abandoned houses where people once worshiped point to an even greater emptiness in Iraq. Since the war, Christians have faced great persecution and hardship, all signaling a new era in a country that was once the cradle of their faith. While it may be home to the ancient cities of Ninevah and Babylon, Ur and the Garden of Eden, families of God are fleeing Iraq—afraid for their lives and the daily threat of terrorism. Frightened by a future where they would be hunted or outcast, thousands of Christians have fled for safe havens.

In the past few years, the fragile peace between the country’s Christians and Muslims has been shattered. God-fearing Iraqis have watched helplessly as their brothers and sisters in Christ fall victim to bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and intimidation. In the face of great suffering, the shrinking population still searches for asylum. By record numbers, nearly half of what was once considered the world’s oldest Christian body has disappeared. As one religious leader said, “The situation that is in the country will not allow us to practice our services freely. It is not safe to go [out] from home. We are meeting every Sabbath, but it is very difficult. We expect an explosion at any time during the day.” Like every Iraqi, he prays for a better tomorrow. “We hope that things will change,” he said. “But no one knows except God.”

Two thousand years ago, the fate of the world hung by a similar thread. A virgin birth. The innocent manger. A promise of salvation. All were endangered by a Middle Eastern tyrant who slaughtered millions in hopes of killing the rightful King, Jesus Christ.

…After Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we have observed his star and have come to pay him homage.’ When King Herod heard this, he was frightened… Then Herod secretly called for the wise men… and sent them to Bethlehem, saying, ‘Go and search diligently for the child; and when you have found him, bring me word so that I may also go and pay him homage… When they had heard the king, they set out; and there, ahead of them, went the star that they had seen at its rising… When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. They saw the child with Mary his mother; and they knelt down and paid him homage… And having been warned by a dream… they left for their country by another road… Now after they had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, ‘Get up and take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt… for Herod is about to search for the child and destroy him.’ (Matthew 2:2-3, 9-13)

Just as the Savior is born every year within the hearts and minds of His people, so too are the modern Herods, armed with angry troops and deadly weapons. But I am grateful for this side of the nativity story, because we learn that in the face of evil and corruption, the Messiah still finds His way.

Though suicide bombers threaten and war tears many apart, the faithful have clung to the Light in a world that seeks to destroy it. While the course is difficult, and fear and darkness often cover our path, history tells us that somewhere behind these horrors are the stirrings of peace and goodwill. On the other side of this manger is the Kingdom of Heaven. We celebrate with the poet T.S. Eliot, who wrote of the Magi, We returned to our places / But no longer at ease here / in the old dispensation / with an alien people clutching their gods / I should be glad of another death. This season, may the world be grateful “of another death” that brings new life in Christ.

From everyone at FRC, Merry Christmas and best wishes for a restful New Year!

Santa’s Naughty List: Howell High School

by Family Research Council

December 14, 2006

What exactly does 33% of a song sound like?

Howell rule limits choirs’ sacred tunes

I can't tell you how many Christmas I got coalDistrict’s 10-year-old policy stirs debate before the high school’s annual holiday concert.

The “Hallelujah Chorus” from “The Messiah,” “Glory, Glory” and “Weep O Mine Eyes” are among the repertoire of musical selections to be sung by the nearly 300 members of Howell High School choirs at 7 tonight and Thursday.

But, for every religious song performed by the nine choral groups, 3.33 others have to be secular yuletide offerings as required under a school district’s policy.

We’re falling within the guidelines. I comply with (the rules) although I don’t agree. I just find the whole thing disturbing that we’re not able to do all the literature I’d like to do,” said Rod Bushey, choral director at Howell High.

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