Mark Tooley

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Out With the Old

The 1.67 million member Presbyterian Church (USA) has voted to redefine marriage from “between a woman and a man” to “between two people, traditionally a man and a woman.”  Last year’s General Assembly approved the change, which was confirmed by

Fighting for Orthodoxy Among the Methodists
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Fighting for Orthodoxy Among the Methodists

The Episcopal Church, with two million members, drove off the cliff in 2003 by electing its first openly homosexual bishop.  In 2005, the United Church of Christ (1.1 million members) officially endorsed same-sex “marriage,” though the UCC had already long

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The Bishops’ Tale

Last December, Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams was roundly criticized for publicly denying the Christmas story.  “Archbishop Says Nativity a Legend,” the Daily Telegraph headline screamed, igniting a transatlantic controversy over the ostensibly Grinch-like prelate.

In fact, the archbishop of Canterbury

The Bombast and Glory of William Jennings Bryan
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The Bombast and Glory of William Jennings Bryan

For three decades, William Jennings Bryan streaked across the sky of American politics, his brightness never fading despite countless failures.  Renowned for his zealous Christian faith, he appropriately expired immediately after his final and most glorious defeat, at the Scopes

Mysteries of the Mockingbird
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Mysteries of the Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s novel To Kill a Mockingbird has sold over 30 million copies since its publication in 1960.  Hardly a high-school student in America over the last 40 years has graduated without having read the 1930’s-era drama of a small-town

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Methodists and Sex

The United Methodist Church, having declined from 11 to 8 million members in the United States, spent millions on a television and newspaper ad campaign called “Open Hearts, Open Minds, Open Doors.” Those millions were probably wasted, however. The ad

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Episcopalians Go Interfaith

An interfaith education conference in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Episcopal Church warned that evangelicals and evangelism are potential obstacles to positive relations between Christianity and other religions.

Among the featured speakers at the Interfaith Education Initiative was Methodist

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SpongeBob and a Transgendered Sock Puppet

Cultural debate over sex roles has reached such a fever pitch that even the sexual preference of the children’s cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants has become a topic of great concern.

Conservative religious broadcaster Dr. James Dobson expressed alarm that a

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Omnigendered Christianity

By some measures, the influence of feminist theology peaked in the 1990’s.  It is still around, however, acting as a supporting pillar for liberal religion’s latest preoccupation: the elimination of “gender.”

Feminist theologians and clergy convened in March 2004 for

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Mushy Ecclesial Thinking

National headlines greeted the recent acquittal of a lesbian United Methodist minister by a church court in Washington state.  Is America’s third-largest religious denomination going the way of the “gay”-friendly Episcopal Church, secular reporters wondered?

The answer is: probably not

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The End of the NCC?

The declining National Council of Churches, once the mouthpiece of America’s mainline Protestant denominations, is struggling to find a new purpose.  At its May 2002 board meeting, the NCC discussed its latest ecumenical outreach, an attempt to incorporate Roman Catholics

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Gods of Inclusion

Although America remains overwhelmingly Christian in affiliation (if not necessarily in practice), the connoisseurs of multiculturalism like to pretend otherwise—often rather insistently. Public events involving religion must acknowledge Zoroaster and Zeus as much as Moses and Jesus. Multiculturalists find claims

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Duke Chapel, Then and Now

In December, the dean of the chapel at Duke University in North Carolina, along with the school’s president, announced that same-sex “weddings” could be celebrated at Duke’s imposing Gothic chapel. The announcement came as somewhat of a surprise: Duke is

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Church Arsons: The Real Story?

It was one of the biggest stories of 1996: Black churches were burning all across the South, the seeming victims of a nationwide upsurge in racial hatred. Tens of thousands of horrified Americans rushed to contribute money toward the reconstruction

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Debating the “Gentile Vice”

At its annual “Ministers Week” lectures last year, the theological school of Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas provided a revealing window into the contemporary debate within mainline church circles over homosexuality. Taking a pro-homosexuality approach was Victor Furnish, a

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A Methodist Revival

Methodism, America’s third-largest religious denomination, eagerly embraced the Social Gospel nearly a hundred years ago. It supported labor unions, civil rights, and a moderate welfare state. By the 1960’s, the church was supporting Third World revolutions and abortion rights, while

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The Growing Irrelevance of the NCC

The National Council of Churches (NCC) is the Hugh Hefner of the religious world: aging and not dealing well with it, trapped in the fashions of the 1960’s and 1970’s, financially troubled, still offensive but no longer shocking, blissfully unaware

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Fueling Culture Wars

“Discrimination” is one of today’s buzzwords, and laws and regulations prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation are fueling some of the sharpest skirmishes within America’s culture wars. A New Jersey Supreme Court ruling against the Boy Scouts’ ban on homosexual

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Out of the Closet and Into the Schools

Relying upon federal legislation intended to allow Bible clubs equal access in high schools, a student homosexual group is demanding not only meeting space but official approval at a Salt Lake City high school.

The Gay/Straight Alliance of East High

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A Postmodern Yahweh for Episcopalians

I had expected to find a small gathering of eccentric Episcopalians in a basement lecture hall. Instead, the National Cathedral was overflowing with a Christmas Eve-sized crowd. The draw was not a holiday but a debate between “Jesus scholars” Prof

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Clinton and the Clergy

“We ought to string up Clinton and Monica by their feet, just like the Italians did to Mussolini and his mistress at the end of World War II.” This comment came from a caller to Wisconsin Public Radio, on which

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The Chastity Amendment

The appearance of an article about American church life on the front page of the Washington Post is a rare occurrence. But the approval by the Presbyterian Church (United States) of a church law requiring celibacy of its non-married clergy

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Church Arson Mania

A recent report by the federally appointed National Church Arson Task Force has confirmed that there never was any evidence of an upsurge in racist, fiery attacks upon black churches, despite the media spotlight of last year. The report told

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Burn, Baby, Burn

For several months, the nation has been wracked by the widespread perception that black churches across the South were under widescale attack by racist arsonists. President Clinton dutifully visited a victimized South Carolina congregation, and Congress speedily voted increased prison