Before the American Unitarian Association merged with the Universalist Church of America in 1961, the former group ran an ad campaign suggesting, “I was a Unitarian all along and never knew it.” The Unitarian Universalist Association could revive such a slogan today in view of recent surveys.
When the U.S. declared war on global terrorism after September 11, Osama bin Laden “must have had a sense of relief when America came attacking” in Afghanistan a month later, says the author of a suddenly popular book on the rise of religious violence.
Garry Trudeau’s long-running Doonesbury comic strip rarely spares the rod—or sharp pen—when satirizing presidents, cigarette companies and hardened conservatives. But he showed a soft spot with stronger-than-usual religious touches in his first newspaper strips dealing with the September 11 atrocities and their aftermath.
Oklahoma-raised Bill Bright came to Los Angeles in 1944 and started a business selling candies, fruits and jams. He was drawn to the large First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood and there came under the considerable influence of Christian educator Henrietta Mears.
When Jesus played in theaters in 1979-80, the New York Times said it was “little more than an illustrated Gospel, with nothing in the way of historical and social context.” The portrayal of Jesus by actor Brian Deacon was along “conventional” lines, the newspaper said.
Last fall, mainline denomination lobbyists scored big in the game of Washington politics when Congress passed legislation to provide $435 million in debt relief for developing countries—part of the international Jubilee campaign endorsed by the pope, evangelical celebrities and rock stars, plus lawmakers right and left.
Callers to the California headquarters of an odds-defying denomination—one that worldwide has 300 churches made up largely of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered persons—are greeted by the recorded voice of the founder and chief executive: “This is Reverend Troy Perry.
Most New Testament scholars believe that besides following the Gospel of Mark's narrative of Jesus's ministry and passion, the authors of Matthew and Luke independently drew from a common collection of Jesus sayings in composing their Gospels.
When Rodney Woo became pastor of Wilcrest Baptist Church in Houston in 1992, the all-white congregation averaged 200 worshipers. Faced with a declining membership, and situated in a neigborhood that was changing its racial composition, the congregation set out to invite people of color to church.
The enormous popularity of The Simpsons, now in its 12th television season, suggests that religious people have a sense of humor—contrary to the usual wisdom in Hollywood. The program takes more satirical jabs at spiritual matters than any other TV show, yet the erratic cartoon family has an appreciative audience among many people of faith and among many analysts of religion.
When Robert Edgar of the National Council of Churches suddenly told the NCC’s General Assembly that he was removing his name from an evangelical-mainline-Catholic statement on marriage, it appeared he knocked a leg off the much-discussed wider ecumenical table he was in the process of building.
"Women are more religious than men.” That’s a longstanding generalization made by pastors surveying their pews and by social scientists surveying the public. Husbands and single guys with other weekend plans might even offer that truism as an excuse for skipping church.