- - Thursday, February 4, 2016

(1) Mark Tooley, of the Institute on Religion and Democracy, writes about “Mainline Death or Revival?” He argues that the Mainline churches will die out if they do not “rediscover the core beliefs and practices that so long animated its unique, compelling presentation of Christ.”

(2) Latest Pew Forum research indicates that 40% of Americans Now Say Political Leaders Spend ‘Too Little’ Time Discussing Religion

(3) Indiana Culture War Over Gay Rights Worries Business Leaders (Washington Times)

But amid the obvious signs of economic prosperity, business leaders are deeply anxious that decades of retooling Indianapolis’ sleepy “Naptown” image could be swept away in a culture war that has divided Indiana’s dominant Republican Party.

Chamber of Commerce business Republicans say Indiana must join most of the nation in guaranteeing gay rights to show it is an open-minded place. The state’s numerous Christian conservatives just as fiercely believe that such a step would threaten their religious liberty.

The opposing sides fought to a stalemate this week in the Indiana Legislature and Republican lawmakers gave up trying to pass protections for gay, lesbian and bisexual people this year.

(4) Phoenix Council Replaces Prayer with Silence (Washington Times)

The Phoenix City Council has voted 5-4 to replace a longstanding tradition of praying before its meetings with a moment of silence. The move prevents a group with “Satan” in its name from offering a scheduled prayer at the Feb. 17 meeting. The moment of silence was offered as an alternate motion to one that would have allowed councilors to select who gives the invocation on a rotating basis. City attorney Brad Holm says the original measure would have subjected Phoenix to a lawsuit over constitutional rights.

(5) There are “tone police” running around today. Deacon Jim Russell writes about them in “The New Leaven of the Pharisees: Judging Another’s Love“ (Crisis Magazine)

But we’re not God. We’re terrible at interpreting “tone” online. We’re too quick to judge others’ interior dispositions. We’re too-often wrong about another’s heart when we do judge. The Golden Rule for us fallen creatures in the realm of public discourse should be simple: Don’t assume.

As in don’t assume anything. Don’t assume you can infer the right “tone” in a critique. Don’t assume you’re somehow the right person to sit in judgment over whether someone else is actually writing with enough compassion for others. Don’t assume you know another person’s feelings without asking him about his feelings; and avoid telling the person how he must feel. Don’t assume that public disagreements automatically mean those disagreeing really want to hurt each other personally.

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