I’m still pondering over the comments of Bishop Carlton Pearson and Deepak Chopra on last week’s Nightline Face-off – Does Satan Exist? (see an interesting excerpt below). By the way, neither believe Satan exists… Bishop Pearson isn’t new to sharing controversial thoughts as a Christian minister and is joined in the spotlight by Minister Ann Holmes Redding (her story is below). Ms. Redding was recently removed from ministry or defrocked because she has also become a Muslim, though she feels there is no conflict. It makes me question whether religious thoughts are finally merging because people are becoming more enlightened. However, I’m sure some would say that both Pearson and Redding are just blinded. What do you think?
SEATTLE, Washington (CNN)— Ann Holmes Redding has what could be called a crisis of faiths.
For nearly 30 years, Redding has been an ordained minister in the Episcopal Church. Her priesthood ended Wednesday when she was defrocked.
The reason? For the past three years Redding has been both a practicing Christian and a Muslim.
“Had anyone told me in February 2006 that I would be a Muslim before April rolled around, I would have shaken my head in concern for the person’s mental health,” Redding recently told a crowd at a signing for a book she co-authored on religion.
Redding said her conversion to Islam was sparked by an interfaith gathering she attended three years ago. During the meeting, an imam demonstrated Muslim chants and meditation to the group. Redding said the beauty of the moment and the imam’s humbleness before God stuck with her.
“It was much more this overwhelming conviction that I needed to surrender to God and this was the form that my surrender needed to take,” she recalled. “It wasn’t just an episode but …. was a step that I wasn’t going to step back from.”
Ten days later Redding was saying the shahada — the Muslim declaration of belief in the oneness of God and acceptance of Mohammad as his prophet.
But Redding said she felt her new Muslim faith did not pose a contradiction to her staying a Christian and minister.
“Both religions say there’s only one God,” Redding said, “and that God is the same God. It’s very clear we are talking about the same God! So I haven’t shifted my allegiance.”
The imam at the Islamic Center in Seattle, Washington, where Redding prays said she brings the best of both traditions to her beliefs. Continue reading
I’ve been on vacation since Obama won, but I’m now ready to be inserted back into the matrix. Below is one of my favorite videos for when I need a good laugh. I apologize in advance to those that might take offense. The first minute and a half is priceless…ashondo…
A study of more than 3,000 illustrations found in 29 of France’s most commonly used school books revealed that black people were frequently portrayed as jazz musicians, good sprinters or poor, while children with foreign backgrounds were shown to be inferior academically than their white French peers.
The report by Halde, the state anti-discrimination body, cites an example of a picture of a girl with a “nice French name” getting top marks while her foreign-sounding classmate, Samira, failed the exercise.
In geography and social history textbooks, Africans are consistently shown as “poor and sick” – with the exception of one photograph of a “smiling Maasai herdsman surrounded by his flock while talking on a mobile phone”.
The French education system wants to make it clear that discrimination is an offence. It conceded that improvement had been made in recent years but there was a lack of “counter-examples” – positive images to counter negative ones.
This is hardly news to me because I recall this kind of activity during other elections, most memorably, the 2004 election when people were urged to “vote your conscience”. This is, however, a blatant attempt to override the 54 year old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt entities. I’m assuming these 30+ plus pastors are endorsing McCain because of his views on abortion and homosexuality. There’s an interesting video on CNN. Let’s see how they fare with the IRS, because I also remember Bush going after the NAACP for criticizing the Bush Administration. Oh wait, I think the “vote your conscience” pastors got by just fine… I’m sure there are pastors endorsing Obama, but I’m sure they aren’t crazy enough to taunt the IRS. Chris Rock is right, Republicans just make up their own rules…
The Washington Post
CROWN POINT, Ind., Sept. 28 — Defying a federal law that prohibits U.S. clergy from endorsing political candidates from the pulpit, an evangelical Christian minister told his congregation Sunday that voting for Sen. Barack Obama would be evidence of “severe moral schizophrenia.”
The Rev. Ron Johnson Jr. told worshipers that the Democratic presidential nominee’s positions on abortion and gay partnerships exist “in direct opposition to God’s truth as He has revealed it in the Scriptures.” Johnson showed slides contrasting the candidates’ views but stopped short of endorsing Obama’s Republican opponent, Sen. John McCain.
Johnson and 32 other pastors across the country set out Sunday to break the rules, hoping to generate a legal battle that will prompt federal courts to throw out a 54-year-old ban on political endorsements by tax-exempt houses of worship.
The ministers contend they have a constitutional right to advise their worshipers how to vote. As Johnson put it during a break between sermons, “The point that the IRS says you can’t do it, I’m saying you’re wrong.”
The campaign, organized by the Alliance Defense Fund, a socially conservative legal consortium based in Arizona, has gotten the attention of the Internal Revenue Service. The agency, alerted by opponents, pledged to “monitor the situation and take action as appropriate.”
Each campaign season brings allegations that a member of the clergy has crossed a line set out in a 1954 amendment to the tax code that says nonprofit, tax-exempt entities may not “participate in, or intervene in . . . any political campaign on behalf of any candidate for public office.”
This time, the church action is concerted. Yet while the ministers say the rules stifle religious expression, their opponents contend that the tax laws are essential to protect the separation of church and state. They say political speech should not be supported by a tax break for the churches or the worshipers who are contributing to a political cause. Continue reading
Sista can vouch for me that I predicted that Barack would be called the Antichrist. I just didn’t want to post it to give anybody any ideas… This video does not come out and say that he’s the Antichrist, but that’s the way that it’s being interpretted. I can see how it’s poking fun at people’s adoration of Barack, but if it’s viewed as a suggestion that he’s the Antichrist you know some cautious Christians will be compelled to “vote their conscience” once again in 2008. McCain can put us in another war or keep us in Iraq for 100 years, but at least he’s not the Antichrist, huh…This is a mess…
Friends and family, we are gathered here to day to discuss my message. That message…The Friday question! Can I get an AMEN up in here?!?!?!
Comment and let me know what you think! Money…5 minutes of fame…righteous indignation…educating the masses??
Though I don’t have a problem with what Rev. Wright said in his “controversial” sermons since he’s only one of MANY black preachers who tell the truth from the pulpit, I do think that an interview at this time is only going to be bad for Obama. Obama’s speech on race was bold and honest in dealing with the fact that, yes America, Barack knows he’s black and yes, he really relates to the rest of us black folks. The speech kind of smoothed things over so that he could go on with his campaign. The timing of the PBS interview is bad because it undercuts Barack’s speech and raises the issue again before another primary (which happens to be in the South). The interview will be aired tomorrow (4/25/08 ) at 9PM on PBS. As you’ll see from the clip below, Rev. Wright suggested that Barack didn’t tell the truth in his speech, but only said what he had to as a politician. As I respect those brave enough to be honest/real, that assertion alone will give great ammunition to Hillary Clinton and John McCain who seem to be tag-teaming Barack. Again, couldn’t this have waited until some time after Barack’s inaugural after-party???
Rev. Wright, in PBS Interview, Defends Sermons and Calls Coverage ‘Unfair’
As reported by The Washington Post – Sen. Barack Obama’s former pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, told PBS host Bill Moyers that inflammatory statements from his sermons were taken out of context, but he said he didn’t begrudge the Democratic candidate for denouncing them.
“He’s a politician, I’m a pastor. We speak to two different audiences. And he says what he has to say as a politician. I say what I have to say as a pastor. But they’re two different worlds,” said Wright, who recently retired from Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, where Obama has attended services for 20 years.
Wright’s interview with Moyers, excerpted today, is scheduled for broadcast Friday night on PBS and represents his first high-profile appearance after the firestorm broke. He will speak at the National Press Club on Monday, seeking to put his remarks in context of African American religious traditions.
Referring to Obama’s race speech in Philadelphia last month, delivered after Wright videos became an Internet and cable TV sensation, the former pastor told Moyers, “What happened in Philadelphia where he had to respond to the sound bytes, he responded as a politician.” Continue reading
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