Danish minister suspended, but whether he'll be fired is up to government
In the last week, Weblog has read several crazy claims about Christianity. Two different authors are claiming that Jesus was gay, and the New Age Ulysses Press "would have us believe that Mary was a prostitute when she gave birth to Jesus, and that the grown-up Jesus committed unspeakable acts with his mother," according to the Associated Press.
Orthodoxy will face such nonsense until Christ's Kingdom is fully realized. But when a Christian minister starts spouting such guano, it's all the more troubling.
In a recent interview (the Associated Press doesn't say with whom), Lutheran minister Thorkild Grosboel of Taarbaek, Denmark, said, "There is no heavenly God, there is no eternal life, there is no resurrection." Hmm. Not much left in the Lutheran Book of Concord after that, is there?
Grosboel's bishop has demanded that he retract the statements and apologize. "There should be no doubt that priests have committed themselves to act within the church's confession of faith," said Lise-Lotte Rebel, adding that his remarks "caused confusion" in the church. She also suspended him from this duties as the town's pastor.
Suspended? Why not fire him? "In Denmark, Lutheran pastors are employed by the state, and bishops cannot fire them," the AP's Jan M. Olsen explains. Ah, the joys of a state church.
There's some indication that the government might sack him. Minister for Ecclesiastic Affairs Tove Fergo, for example, said it's not possible to be a pastor without believing in God and the resurrection.
In any case, Grosboel is a symptom of what's happening throughout the country. According to Operation World, 90 percent of the country belongs to the Danish National Church but most parishes only see 1 percent to 4 percent attendance. Less than 5 percent of the Danish population (about 252,000) are evangelicals—but it's dropping by 6 percent a year.
The World Christian Encyclopedia, however, has more encouraging news. Evangelicals are indeed lower than ever, it says, but a growing percentage of the population is Pentecostal/Charismatic (they make up about 4 percent of Denmark now). Operation World says only 1.5% is Charismatic and that the percentages are shrinking. In any case, the country needs prayer.
EU draft leaves out God:
- God and the E.U. | No room at Europe's inn (Time Europe)
- E.U.'s draft constitution sets up raucous debate | God is out, a European foreign policy czar is in, and some bare-knuckle brawling is almost guaranteed as citizens of 25 current and future EU nations begin digesting the first official draft of a continent-wide constitution (The Washington Times)
- Atheist premier attacks lack of Christianity in E.U. constitution | Poland's President Aleksander Kwasniewski, denounced the "Godless" tone of the European constitution yesterday, calling it shameful to highlight the pet ideologies of the Left but omit any mention of Europe's Christian heritage in the opening words (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Doubting north wins battle to leave God out of it | God has failed to make an appearance in the E.U.'s new constitution, which states that the continent's humanistic values are nourished by the civilizations of Greece and Rome (The Guardian, London)
- God has no place in 'elitist' Giscard Euro blueprint | Europe's heritage is leavened by "spiritual impulse", according to the long-awaited preamble to the European constitution, but God is nowhere to be found in the document (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Vatican irked by Christian omission | The Vatican has expressed its anger at the failure of those drafting a new constitution for the European Union to include a reference to Christianity in their working version of the document (BBC)
- God's place in Europe's future constitution | The debate on God and the E.U. constitution asks some basic questions on what it means to be European (Deutsche Welle, Germany)
Interfaith relations and other religions:
- Pushing the bias button | The Council on American-Islamic Relations and other lobbying groups are reporting a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry and a massive increase in anti-Arab crime in America. Obvious questions: What rising tide? What massive increase? (John Leo, U.S. News & World Report)
- Muslims—fellow believers | Here is a question as knotty as perhaps only a Yale divine can formulate it: How is a dialogue possible between "people to whom God became a book (meaning, the Koran which Muslims believe Allah dicated to Mohammed) and dwelt among them, and people who believe God became flesh and dwelt among them?" (Uwe Siemon-Netto, UPI)
- Anglican Church establishes Islamic center | Kaduna province of the Church of Nigeria establishes center with Barnabas Fund of the United Kingdom (This Day, Nigeria)
Sex and marriage:
- Blessed are the once married | The Catholic Church's position on denying remarried divorcees Holy Communion is anachronistic and inconsistent, Sydney's Catholic Archbishop, George Pell, has been told (The Sydney Morning Herald)
- Marriage means different things to different religions | Couples still seek the blessing of their minister, priest, rabbi or imam (The Fayetteville Observer, N.C.)
- Bishops eye pastors to fight gay marriage | Want Catholics to press legislators for amendment (The Boston Globe)
- Presbytery asked to discipline minister | Stephen Van Kuiken is being accused of blasphemy, heresy and not following the church order to stop performing the marriages (The Cincinnati Enquirer)
- Anglican heads 'at war' over gay marriages | In a development that will dismay the Archbishop of Canterbury, seven Anglican primates issued a "call to action" against the liberal Bishop of New Westminster, the Rt Rev Michael Ingham, who openly rebelled against the Church leadership last week by issuing a rite of same sex blessing (The Daily Telegraph, London)
- Worth the fight | Senator Santorum tells the story of a C-SPAN miracle (Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review Online)
- Abortion doctor still missing | More than a week after the Valdosta Police Department sought warrants against Dr. Charles Rossmann for criminal abortion, investigators have still been unable to locate him amid speculation that he has left the country. (The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.)
- Also: Doctor faces criminal abortion charge | But Rossmann appears to have abandoned his local medical practice, and the Georgia Medical Board suspended his license for allegedly attempting an illegal abortion (The Valdosta Daily Times, Ga.)
- A battle over the morning-after pill | Who should say whether a contraceptive can be made available at a state school? (Time)
- N.H. approves abortion consent bill | State was only in nation without any abortion regulations (The Washington Post)
Money and business:
- Baseball team makes pitch for faithful | Nashville Sounds score more fans by catering to Christians (Associated Press)
- Faith and fortune | Religious mutual funds pressure corporate America on cultural policies (ABCNews.com)
- Hark, Herald the angel | Justin Herald turned attitude, as in bad, into Attitude, as in brand, and made a fortune (The Age, Melbourne, Australia)
- Stoning death appeal postponed again | The Sharia'h appeals court in Nigeria's northern Katsina State said there were not enough judges to form a quorum (UN Integrated Regional Information Networks)
- Earlier: Shari'ah battle continues | Three Nigerians sentenced to be stoned to death for having sex outside marriage will appeal before Islamic courts this week, turning the spotlight back on a bitter battle over Shari'ah law (SAPA)
- Also: Mother begins Nigeria stoning appeal | Amina Lawal was convicted and sentenced by an Islamic sharia court in March last year after giving birth to a baby girl more than nine months after divorcing (CNN)
- Also: Don't forget Africa | We are doing the right thing in the Mideast. But we can't forget about the other Muslims (Paul Marshall, National Review Online)
- Pakistan's Shari'ah law criticized | Human rights groups have condemned moves by legislators in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province to introduce Islamic law (BBC, video)
- Also: Shari'ah law adopted in Pakistani province (The Guardian, London)
Missions and ministry:
- Preacher takes the pulpit at 16 | Chris Posley delivers his first official sermon (Associated Press)
- Holypalooza brings hundreds to church | The second-year event, with a giant water slide, musical acts and food, was an effort to gather people of different Christian denominations and show others how much fun being a Christian can be (Visalia Times-Delta, Calif.)
- Brits bring Bibles and balls to inmates | Team players, many of whom paid their own way, were on a mission of using soccer to preach (The Moscow Times)
- Christian unity in atheist bastion | Germany, where only one-third of its 3.5 million citizens belong to a church, is now the venue for a massive display of a deep yearning for Christian unity (UPI)
- Greek Orthodox patriarch sues cleric | The accusations alone are lurid: the loser of a bitter leadership contest allegedly hiring a death squad to eliminate his rival (Associated Press)
- Fire ravages Punxsutawney church | Investigators said yesterday that wiring in the towering steeple of a Punxsutawney church probably short-circuited and touched off a fire Sunday morning that ravaged the 115-year-old building. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
- Also: Faulty wiring blamed for fire that destroyed 115-year-old church (Associated Press)
- Like manna for Mount Bethel | Landmark status ensures funds for NW church (The Washington Post)
- Tough economic times taking toll | Many congregations forced to make do with less (The Dallas Morning News)
- Making money in God's house | "I advise church groups on the feasibility of using their church buildings for both worship and community use," says Susan Rowe (BBC)
- Being religiously polite | Manners count when customs collide (The Washington Post)
- Also: Do's and don'ts | Most congregations ask newcomers to respect their traditions but usually don't expect visitors to do anything that would compromise their own beliefs. Here are some common religious practices and restrictions (The Washington Post)
- Priest defies Pope to lead service at Lutheran church | A Roman Catholic priest led an open communion service at a packed Lutheran church in Berlin, defying a papal admonition against receiving communion in non-Catholic churches (Ireland Online)
- Secular musician turned gospel artist says she won't look back | Malawi's celebrated songbird says she has found everlasting solace in gospel music. (Malawi Standard, Blantyre)
- If you were God | In 'Bruce Almighty,' Jim Carrey takes advantage of being God for a few days. What would you do? (Jerry Jenkins, Phil Vischer, Ben Witherington, and others respond to Beliefnet)
- Much ado about smut-free DVDs | Three small companies that manufacture technologies that filter out the sex, gore and violence from DVD movies are hoping to avoid a protracted legal fight with Hollywood (Wired News)
- The Hammer struck by divine intervention | Greg "The Hammer" Valentine has walked the aisle many times during his 30-year wrestling career. Last August, though, he walked an entirely different type of aisle (Mike Mooneyham, The Post and Courier, Charleston, S.C.)
- Moviegoers are reaching out to try to touch God with calls | God alone knows his heavenly telephone number, but this much is certain: All those people trying to reach him in Missouri, and in North Carolina and Florida, are wasting their time with direct-dial (Michael Olesker, The Baltimore Sun)
- The leading men: Movin' & groovin' | Michael Cavanaugh, the "Piano Man" of Movin' Out, is a born again Christian (Playbill)
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