Century Marks

Century Marks

Civil war

James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, warned that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality for gays, it could lead to civil war. He predicted that approval of gay marriage would lead to the collapse of the nation. “The country can be no stronger than its families. . . . So we need to do everything we can to try to hold [marriage equality] back and to preserve the institution of marriage,” Dobson said on a conference call with activists (Right Wing Watch, April 8).

Everyday hero

Feidin Santana feared for his life when he made a video recording of a policeman shooting Walter Scott in the back in North Charleston, South Carolina. After Santana took the video with his phone, he considered deleting the evidence and fleeing town. But because he turned the video over to the police, the officer, Michael Slager, was held accountable for the shooting. Scott, an unarmed black man, was shot after being stopped for a broken taillight. Santana encourages others to record bad things happening, even though he says he had doubts about what he was doing at the time (Washing­ton Post, April 9).

Believe it or not

Madison, Wisconsin, has become the first municipality to make atheists a protected class of persons, protecting their civil rights in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. The sponsor of the ordinance said that it is only fair to protect nonreligious belief since varieties of religious belief are protected. Five atheists spoke up in favor of the proposal, sharing stories of discrimination. No one spoke against the proposal (www.channel3000.com, April 1).

Local church

The Leadership Network/Generis Multisite Church Scorecard shows that 85 percent of multisite churches are growing. The study of 535 multisite churches released last fall shows that struggling churches’ chances of survival are best when they merge with a multisite church. Megachurches are taking note of the trend. Jeff Bogue, senior pastor of a megachurch in the Akron, Ohio, area, says that multisite churches are a way of taking the church to where the people are, rather than making them come to you. It is a way of relocating the local church (Akron Beacon Journal, April 4).

Presidential religion

A few of the current candidates for president have remained members of the faith in which they were raised: Hillary Clinton (Meth­odist), Ben Carson (Seventh-day Advent­ist), and Rick Santorum (Cath­olic). Numerous other candidates have made a switch: Jeb Bush switched from the Epis­copal to the Catholic Church. Rand Paul moved from the Episcopal Church to a Presbyterian church. Ted Cruz grew up in the home of lapsed Catholics until his father joined the Southern Baptists. Marco Rubio has migrated from the Catholic Church to Mormonism and back again to the Catholics, but sometimes goes with his Baptist spouse to her independent church. Bobby Jindal made the biggest switch: from the Hinduism of his youth to the Catholic faith (Newsweek, April 2).