American Family Association pushes for separation of church and state

The American Family Assocation, headed by Don Wildmon, usually pushes for more religion in the schools. They're big on the whole "freedom of religion, not freedom from religion" argument (not that it's a bad argument.) But not this time. Now they've brought legal action against the Lexington, Massachusetts, school system to keep it out of pro-homosexual Coming Out Week activities because—(ironic pause)—churches are cosponsoring several of the events. U.S. District Court Judge Joseph L. Tauro rejected the AFA's motion. (From what Weblog can tell, Tauro's decision isn't available online.)

Jars of Clay is back to being just a Christian band, says paper

An article in the Orange County Register, reprinted this week in the Chicago Tribune, recounts Jars of Clay's 1995 success. "At the time, they looked like they would be the first Christian rock band to obtain real stardom as crossover artists, akin to what Sixpence None the Richer is doing now," writes Matt Degen. "Don't think that Jars of Clay were a flash in the pan, though. Mainstream listeners may have tuned them out after their self-titled debut, but they have found remarkable success among contemporary Christian music fans, the audience they first played to when they started their career doing gigs at Greenville College in Illinois, where the members came together." For such a short article, it has some excellent insights into the nature of Christian music, fame, and other subjects. Anyone who read Christianity Today's November 15, 1999, cover story on the band will appreciate this follow-up.

Why are conservatives questioning the Clintons' marriage?

"The questioning of Mrs. Clinton for staying with Bill Clinton comes from people of all political persuasions, but it is especially odd coming from the right, where the conventional rhetoric so often touts the sanctity of marriage," writes Linda Waite, coauthor of The Case for Marriage, in yesterday's New York Times. She rattles off a list of Clinton critics, including Andrea Peyser, George Will, and The National Review, which have sniped at the Clinton marriage. "Our job as a society is to respect a spouse who forgives an erring mate and stays married. It makes no sense to say that we should support marriages while at the same time castigating one woman for deciding not to end hers."

Speaking of divorce …

It's becoming a bigger part of advertising campaigns, reports The New York Times. Volvo, Nissan Motor, Ikea, Volkswagen, and even Hallmark Cards have all launched ads focusing on splitting up. "The stigma has been off for a long time, and we as a society are more accepting of divorce," marketing consultant Jack Trout tells the paper. "But I do think you have to approach the subject with a high degree of delicacy, and it's probably better to give it a positive twist."

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Church names don't matter, says columnist

Charles Austin of The Bergen Record criticizes Wyckoff Baptist Church for changing its name to Cornerstone Christian Church. "Some contend that the sectarian appellations … make the church sound fusty and ancient, like something that should be in a museum," he writes. "Never mind that people once put their lives on the line for the sake of those religious movements." He joking suggests that if churches really want to appeal to the masses, they should name themselves "after puppies, comfort foods, or characters from Sesame Street." He concludes with dismissing all such handwringing over titles. "All does not lie in the name and sometimes the name lies. The church's real name is not chosen; it is earned by what goes on there and how people are treated when they come."

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