- - Tuesday, October 4, 2016

(1)Trump Tells Coach Fired for Praying, It Is ‘Outrageous’

(2)VP Candidate Kaine’s faith an influence, sometimes struggle (AP)

The morning after Tim Kaine was named the Democratic vice presidential nominee, his first stop wasn’t a rally or a swing state meet-and-greet - it was a church in Richmond, Virginia, where he and his wife have worshipped for 30 years.

He prayed, sang a solo and briefly avoided talk of politics.

Kaine has long balanced religion and politics, in his private life and his public one as Virginia’s governor and senator. At times, his Catholicism has run directly against his governing choices. Kaine is morally opposed to the death penalty but signed off on 11 executions during his four years as governor. After opposing gay marriage in his 2005 gubernatorial run, he later broke with the church to support it. He’s personally against abortion but has consistently voted in favor of abortion rights.

“How many of us are in the church and are deeply serious about our faith and agree with 100 percent of church doctrine?” Kaine told the National Catholic Reporter in August. “I would argue very few Catholics are in that position. We’re all working out our salvation with fear and trembling.”

…Some critics charge Kaine highlights his faith when it’s most politically helpful.

“We’d see a different Tim Kaine depending on what crowd he was with,” Kilgore, Kaine’s former Republican opponent, said.

And some conservative Catholic groups are openly skeptical about Kaine’s year in Honduras. There, he learned the teachings of “liberation theology,” which advocates the church’s political involvement to improve the lives of the poor. Critics charge the movement has Marxist and socialist underpinnings.

(3) The Battle For The Heart Of American Evangelicalism |Huffington Post

***Huffington Post analyzes how the 2016 election has revealed cracks in Evangelicalism, including the new “American Association for Evangelicals” group. An excerpt:

This election has revealed the existence of deep fissures throughout the fabric of our nation in a way that has shocked us all. While we have know for years that the political polarization in America has only continued to increase, few have realized just how tense the environment in many of America’s leading religious institutions have grown. And perhaps no religious demographic has faced more tension than evangelical Christians.

For evangelicals, this election is not only a battle for the future of our nation, but also for the future of our validity as a religious movement. And this week, the tension has reached it’s pinnacle and an “official” schism has occurred that will forever change the face of American Christianity.

On Tuesday, a newly formed organization called the “American Association of Evangelicals” released a scathing letter criticizing the “progressive evangelical” movement, calling those who identify as Christian and embrace so-called “progressive” values as “anti-Christian.” The letter critiques Hillary Clinton at length for her ties to George Soros, the liberal philanthropist whose Open Society Foundation funds many progressive, faith-based public policy organizations such as Sojourners, the New Evangelical Partnership, and Faith In Public Life. The letter uses ruthless language to condemn any and all evangelicals who do not identify as conservatives, heaping tired accusations of “murder,” defending “hate-speech,” and literally calling for American Christians to fight to “capture” our nation like the early Christians “captured the Roman empire for Christ.”

And though the letter refrains from officially endorsing Donald Trump (most likely to protect the fledgling new organizations pending tax exempt status), the letter unabashedly espouses values of the alt religious right, calling for the “Christianization” of America and warning about impending “persecution” from the anti-Christian progressives, all extreme language that many Trump surrogates have embraced to play upon the fears of many American evangelicals. The letter is signed by dozens of leading neo-fundamentalists such as Wayne Grudem, Jerry Boykin, Eric Metaxas, and Steve Strang.

But what’s more shocking is what’s not written in the actual text of the letter. What is clear only to those who are within the evangelical fold is that this new organization has been formed in opposition to many other prominent evangelical leaders and organizations. For instance, the leading conservative evangelical organization in America is the National Association of Evangelicals, a coalition formed in 1942 that has always maintained a fairly conservative social and theological bent, but has been open to working with the wide array of American evangelicals, including those whom the AAE’s letter explicitly condemns, such as Sojourners and The New Evangelical Partnership. This new group has covertly fired shots at the NAE, suggesting that this historic association of evangelicals is no longer the true steward of the evangelical faith.

Another group whom this letter stands as a direct affront to is the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and organization whose leader, Russell Moore, has been outspoken in his condemnation of Donald Trump’s candidacy for president. Over the past five years, the Southern Baptist Convention itself has been ground zero of the battle for the heart of evangelicalism. Many Southern Baptists (and former Southern Baptists) have grown increasingly convicted that much of what their denomination has come to represent is far too politically motivated than driven by Biblical conviction. In the midst of this, a group of intellectual power brokers within the denomination have clearly mapped out a plan to make the denomination more relevant to the so-called “progressive values” of our nation.  …

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