Category : Media

John Stackhouse-Getting the Facts Straight about Religion at the CBC

The CBC’s Neil Macdonald embarrassed himself this past week by letting loose on all things religious under the guise of a warning about new Conservative leader Andrew Scheer. “Andrew Scheer says he won’t impose his religious beliefs on Canadians. We’ll see,” says his headline.

In the meanwhile, however, we can worry about the likes of Neil Macdonald imposing his views on us instead.

Mr. Macdonald starts badly by claiming that he is rigorously committed to facts while “religion, though, is something else. It is by definition not fact-based. It is a pure belief system.”

As a scholar of religious studies, I am unaware of any reputable textbook or dictionary that would define religion in this peculiar way.

Read it all.

Posted in Canada, Media, Religion & Culture

(GR) Richard Ostling–After crucial ruling against a Bishop Married to her female partner, what now for United Methodists?

In recent years, the “Seven Sisters” of the old mainline Protestant world have not been making as much news as they have in the past, at least as evidenced in the annual “top stories” polls conducted by the Religion News Assocition.

However, it’s likely that 2017’s religion story of the year will be the April 28 United Methodist Church (UMC) ruling that the western region improperly consecrated Karen Oliveto as a bishop and she should be removed. Reason: as an openly married lesbian, she violated church law and her ordination vows.

That Judicial Council edict produced typically sure-footed stories by The Religion Guy’s former AP colleague Rachel Zoll (The San Francisco Chronicle ran wire copy even though Oliveto led a big local church!) and Laurie Goodstein of The New York Times (a rare treat that this fine, neglected scribe gets 34 inches atop A18!). United Methodist News’s Linda Bloom was a must-read (maxim: always check such official outlets plus independent caucuses left and right.)

Read it all.

Posted in Media, Methodist, Religion & Culture, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths)

How The Church Of England Is Extending Its Congregation

‘The Church’s structure is unique. We are, in effect, an umbrella organisation at a national level. The way I describe my role is that I shine a light on what is going on locally, whether that is registering Christmas services and bringing them together in a national directory, or creating a great set of videos for them to share. These are the things that our dioceses have neither the funds nor the time to create, and people associate with the Church of England so we can join it all up so that it doesn’t look too random.’

The social media work around Christmas ‘provided a real confidence boost regarding the opportunities there are with a relatively small budget’, adds [Adrian] Harris.

One popular initiative launched by the Church of England is to post a simple prayer on its social media accounts. ‘People write in their hundreds ‘Amen’ underneath,’ says Harris. On All Soul’s Day, when Christians remember deceased relatives and friends, many wrote their memories of lost ones under the prayer. He adds: ‘When awful things happen in the world, prayers tend to do well because it is about the Church showing relevance. It is about us being in that conversation with a Christian message.’

Prayer has proved particularly effective on Instagram. ‘We have got into a routine of posting at key points of the day, such as Sunday evening, and we are really strict about this schedule so that we can reach the biggest organic audience,’ says Harris. ‘We have 2,000 followers on Instagram, sharing prayers and nice pictures of the life of the Church. Every fortnight we are changing our focus, featuring a different church or a different tradition. We have an opportunity to tell our story, and our relevance stems from all the things that we do and the breadth and depth of the Church across the country.’

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Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Adrian Hilton–The Palm Sunday massacre targeted Pope Tawadros II – why the media silence?

If a suicide bomber had detonated himself in a pew at St Peter’s Basilica while the Pope of Rome was presiding over the liturgy, the world’s media would be talking about an assassination attempt on the life of Francis, which it surely would have been. When a bomb or a bullet gets within a whisker (that is to say, within a church compound) of a pope at prayer, it may reasonably be surmised that the target is that praying pope. Why else would a rather devout Muslim seek to outfox security to gain entry to an iconic church on that particular day? It’s not likely to be for inter-religious dialogue and ecumenical fellowship, is it?

But when a suicide bomber tried to gain access to St Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria on Palm Sunday while the Pope of Alexandria was presiding over the liturgy, the world’s media seemed to ignore the presence of Tawadros II, for some reason, as though he were a bit player in a fringe play. To around 18 million Coptic Christians worldwide, he isn’t ‘a pope’; he is His Holiness the Pope, Patriarch of the See of St Mark in the Province of Alexandria, Egypt, Pentapolis, Libya, Nubia, Sudan and all Africa, with an apostolic lineage going all the way back to 42 AD. A bomb going off in his historical seat is an attack on him.

Alexandria’s pontiff doesn’t get as many column inches as Rome’s; perhaps he isn’t supreme enough. But you’d think an assassination attempt on his life – however amateurish and botched – would merit a few headlines, wouldn’t you? The mainstream media have condemned the Palm Sunday outrage with an outpouring of sorrow and sadness, compassion and prayers, and column inches dedicated to political assurances that more will (or must) be done. But no mention at all that Pope Tawadros II was the likely target.

Make no mistake, this was an attempt on the life of the Pope – not that Pope, but this one.

Read it all.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Media, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

John Allen-Yesterday’s attack in Egypt is the latest strike in the war on Christians in the Middle East

…the world is witnessing the rise of an entire new generation of Christian martyrs. The carnage is occurring on such a vast scale that it represents not only the most dramatic Christian story of our time, but arguably the premier human rights challenge of this era as well.

To put flesh and blood on those statistics, all one has to do is look around. In Baghdad, Islamic militants stormed the Syriac Catholic cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation on 31 October 2010, killing the two priests celebrating Mass and leaving a total of 58 people dead. Though shocking, the assault was far from unprecedented; of the 65 Christian churches in Baghdad, 40 have been bombed at least once since the beginning of the 2003 US-led invasion.

The effect of this campaign of violence and intimidation has been devastating for Christianity in the country. At the time of the first Gulf War in 1991, Iraq boasted a flourishing Christian population of at least 1.5 million. Today the high-end estimate for the number of Christians left is around 500,000, and realistically many believe it could be as low as 150,000. Most of these Iraqi Christians have gone into exile, but a staggering number have been killed.

Read it all from The Spectator.

Posted in Coptic Church, Egypt, Media, Middle East, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Terrorism, Violence

(Christian Today) Sinners R Us? We do it God’s way? Help this clergyman find a new slogan for the Church of England

Does the Church of England need a corporate slogan?

Rev Richard Coles, the witty Church of England clergyman who is a former member of the Communards pop group and a BBC broadcaster, has shared on Facebook that he’s been asked to think up a corporate slogan for the Church.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

([London] Sunday Times) Church of England bashes BBC over canning of religion team

The Church of England has attacked the BBC after the broadcaster decided to shut down its in-house religious affairs television production department.

Graham James, the Bishop of Norwich, who speaks for the church on media matters, said: “It is a failure of the BBC as a public service broadcaster.”

He was commenting on a leaked email from a senior BBC executive which warned that the recent loss of the contract to make Songs of Praise in house had forced it to rethink its business model.

Lisa Opie, director of factual, BBC Studios, told staff that this “means we will no longer have a permanent religion and ethics department in Salford”.

Read it all (requires subscription).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

President Trump’s Interview w/ Washington Bureau Chief Michael Scherer on Truth+Falsehoods


Mitch McConnell has said he’d rather you stop tweeting, that he sees it as a distraction.
Mitch will speak for himself. Mitch is a wonderful man. Mitch should speak for himself.
But you don’t see any problems caused by these kinds of controversies. Does this, when we are talking in the press about whether the president was wiretapped or not, is this good for you or bad for you?
Probably neither. Probably neither. What I said, look I said, Donna Brazile had information, and she had information on Hillary’s debate questions. I said why didn’t Hillary apologize. Donna Brazile just admitted that that was right. I said the election was rigged against Bernie, a lot of people agree with that one, a lot of people hated the statement when I made it.

Read it all.

Posted in Media, Office of the President, Politics in General, President Donald Trump

(WSJ) When the children crashed Dad’s BBC interview: The family speaks

Mr. Kelly describes his reaction as a mixture of surprise, embarrassment and amusement but also love and affection. The couple says they weren’t mad and didn’t scold the children. “I mean it was terribly cute,” Mr. Kelly said. “I saw the video like everybody else. My wife did a great job cleaning up a really unanticipated situation as best she possibly could… It was funny. If you watch the tape I was sort of struggling to keep my own laughs down. They’re little kids and that’s how things are.”

On Wednesday, Mr. Kelly and his family plan to hold a press conference at his university to answer questions from the Korean media, which have a strong interest in the video. Most important to them is that people can laugh at the video as unvarnished but normal family life.

“Yes I was mortified, but I also want my kids to feel comfortable coming to me,” Mr. Kelly said.

“I made this minor mistake that turned my family into YouTube stars. It’s pretty ridiculous.”

Read it all.

Posted in Children, Humor / Trivia, Marriage & Family, Media

Terry Mattingly–The quiet (in terms of news coverage) rise of a secular coalition in US politics

Digging into decades of elite news media coverage, Bolce and De Maio charted one dominant trend. Journalists and political scientists focused all of their attention on the political activities of religious conservatives in the Republican Party, while failing to note a corresponding pattern, especially among white voters, on the left.

Now, as researchers are focusing attention on the rising number of “religiously unaffiliated” Americans – a third of Millennial generation adults are “nones” – Bolce and De Maio have noted that atheists, agnostics, “nones” and religious liberals are merging into a powerful coalition in the Democratic Party base.

Journalists have all but ignored this development.

Read it all.

I will take comments on this submitted by email only to KSHarmon[at]mindspring[dot]com.

Posted in Media, Religion & Culture

Hilarious Moment BBC World News Guest Expert is Interrupted Live On Air By His KIDS

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Media

(Wa Post) Tony Reali–Acts of Faith Perspective I’ve worn ash on my head on ESPN for 16 years. This year was different.

I guess I’m giving up silence for Lent this year.

That’s an odd thing to say when you make a living yapping about sports on ESPN. And odder when the show I host, “Around the Horn,” makes a game out of LOUD NOISES. (That is to say, loud, perspicacious noises from the most insightful sportswriters in America!) I press a mute button to shut them down if (when!) our sports debate careens out of bounds (Fake News!). Silence is how I penalize. Silence works. But is silence good?

I’ve been on national television for 16 years and for all 16 I wore an ash on Ash Wednesday. I am grateful to ESPN and fortunate to work in an environment that allows me to be myself. But it’s shocking to me that I’m one of the few faces you see on TV wearing an ash. I did an interview where the reporter told me if you put “The Guy Who Wears Ashes on TV” into Google, I’m the first name that comes up. That’s surprising.

Read it all.

Posted in Lent, Media, Religion & Culture, Sports

(Archbp Cranmer) BBC questions whether it’s appropriate for Christian MP to display her faith

Read it all and compare the pictures.

Posted in England / UK, Media, Religion & Culture

NYT: From ‘The Envelope, Please’ to ‘Whoops!’ on Oscars Show

It’s one of Hollywood’s most secretive and unusual jobs: Brian Cullinan, a partner at the accounting firm PwC, and a colleague are tasked with making sure the statuettes at the annual Academy Awards are correctly distributed. He stands in the wings of the Dolby Theater here in a tuxedo and pulls sealed envelopes out of a briefcase, giving the correct one to presenters as they walk onto the stage.

This is the one night a year when the button-down PwC really gets to shine. The firm’s chief executive sits with stars in the audience. Mr. Cullinan walks the red carpet, where reporters often say he resembles Matt Damon. He told one TV crew that he had no nerves. “We’ve done this a few times,” he said before Sunday night’s show, “and we prepare a lot.” He was so at ease, he even found time to tweet from backstage about Emma Stone as the show neared its climax.

Whoops….

Read it all (the title above is from the print edition of the paper).

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Media, Movies & Television

The Latest Edition of the Diocese of South Carolina Enewsletter

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Evangelism and Church Growth, Media, Ministry of the Laity, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Theology