A Few Religion Reporting Questions

A couple basic religion questions I'd like to see someone ask John Kerry and Bishop Gene Robinson.

As Slate.com points out, Kerry's not supposed to take communion because of his pro-choice stance on abortion. Kerry's been told not to present himself for communion by Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston and Bishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis

But does Kerry care? I've not seen any reports on 1) whether he goes to mass or not; 2) what parish he attends if he does; and 3) if he takes communion. Simple questions that a reporter following Kerry could find out. The answers would help us decide if this is a real story, or just a case of Bishops O'Malley and Burke trying to get their names in the paper for something other than the sex scandal and to win favor with their conservative supporters.

Someone should also ask the bishops if they have ever denied communion to a politician or if their priest would deny communion to those who present themselves?

And someone should ask the honest Bishop Robinson what he's going to do when one of his priests leaves their spouse and set up house with a lover?
How is he going to find the moral authority to discipline a priest in that case, when thats exactly what Robinson did?

There was a hint of how difficult this will be when he accused five other bishops of violating their ordination vows for holding an unauthorized confirmation service.

No matter where you stand on the issue of homosexuality, someone has to ask these kind of questions. If a bishop is unmarried and living with a lover, a practice the church has seen as sinful, how can they have the moral authority to chastise or discipline their clergy, which is one of a bishops key role? And its a question that many stories on Robinson, like this long piece CBS did on him, have completely ignored.


Shark Took Her Arm, Not Her Faith

Saying losing her arm to a shark attack was "God's plan for her life," teen surfer Bethany Hamilton is riding a " Wave of Amazing Grace" says the USA Today.

I'm not sure I buy her theology, but in a week when a Nebraska teen was caught with a gun and 20 bombs at his school, the profile on Hamilton gives you some hope for today's teenagers.

And there is a sense that she and her family have their heads screwed on straight.

Hamiltons got a new surfing contract, and book and movie offers--which will give she and her family--described as "laid back, blue collar" by USA Today, a chance to basically hit the lottery and make millions off of her injury.

Here's what her dad, a waiter, had to say:

"We want to take care of Bethany. We want to buy her a piece of property on Kauai. We want her to have money if she decides to go to college or if she'd like to start a business.

"But honestly, her mother and I would just as soon this never happened and live paycheck to paycheck for the rest of our lives."


Good News and Bad News in England

Churches in England got some good news and bad news this week.

The good news?

The British government granted them 10 million pounds in tax reimbursments for funds spend on building repairs. According to The Independent , the Church of England spends "£130 million a year on repairs to its 16,000 buildings."

The bad new?

The Church of England's on its way out . At least that's what Bishop of Manchester Nigel McCulloch thinks.

Church membership (all denominations) has reportedly dropped to 5.5 million. McCulluch told the London Times that church fights over homosexuality and secular regulations are killing the church. You can also find a summary in the Guardian.

He told the Times that:

"We will, unless there is a turn in the tide, be a church that gradually disappears from this land . . . It is almost as if the Devil is in this. It distracts people from what they are meant to be doing. Far too many of us are being forced into managing an institution rather than engaging with souls."


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