Religion in the News Editor
More bad news for the Episcopal Church
VERBATIM: Another year, another drop in attendance. New data released by the denomination reveals that about 60,000 Americans quit being Episcopalians in 2021, reducing the total number of members to a little less than 1.7 million. The church has been losing members are a great clip ever since the leadership decided to embrace same-sex marriage and homosexual ordination back in 2003. The parent church, in England, is suffering a similar decline. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
San Francisco unveils a controversial program
VERBATIM: It’s called the “Guaranteed Income for Transgender People” initiative and it will provide a monthly payment of 1200 dollars to poor people who are transgender. The application just came out and it has prompted some raised eyebrows. The document offers over 130 gender and sexual orientation options, encouraging applicants to “check all that apply.” Critics say if the city wants to make payments to low income residents, it should do so without favoring transgender people. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A victory for parental rights in Michigan
VERBATIM: Dearborn Public School officials will no longer make two books with pornographic content available to children. Several similar books will be limited to high school libraries only. The move comes after strong protests by parents in the region — especially those in Dearborn’s large Muslim community. All across the country moms and dads are beginning to investigate what kinds of books are being made available to their children, and are demanding changes. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
How do you feel about Drag Queen Story Hour?
VERBATIM: Rassmussen Reports has been asking that question to America’s parents as more and more public libraries invite men dressed as women to come and read picture books to small children. 60% of adults who have school-age kids say they do NOT feel Drag Queen Story Hour is appropriate for children. However, 29% of respondents — representing more than a quarter of the country’s parents, say they’re fine with the practice. 10% aren’t sure. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A same-sex marriage bill is in the works in Congress
VERBATIM: A group of Democratic AND Republican senators have worked up legislation that would enshrine homosexual unions in federal law as a means of protecting them from any re-thinking on the part of the Supreme Court. The GOP members of the group — Susan Collins of Maine, Rob Portman of Ohio and Tom Tillis of North Carolina claim the measure will NOT infringe on religious freedom. It’s unclear if there’s any chance that the it could pass the current Congress — or even the next one. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A man wins a beauty pageant in New HampshirBreean Nuyen is a 19-year-old male, who is living as a female. He’s also “Miss Greater Derry 2023”, becoming the first man to win a local Miss America Organization beauty pageant and winning money for college. According to its website, the Miss Greater Derry Scholarship Program, provides “scholarships to young women between the ages of 17 and 24.” A growing number of males are entering beauty shows and some are now winning. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
What is truth? SRN’s Michael Harrington reports.
VERBATIM: A lot of America’s young adults don’t seem to know. According to a new survey released by Summit Ministries, 39% of people under the age of 30 say each person determines what his or her version of truth is. Another 4% can’t even say WHAT truth might be. The poll also reveals that the YOUNGER a person is, the more likely it is that they reject the concept of any kind of objective, absolute, universal truth. Michael Harrington, SRN News.Listen Download
Anti-Semitism is increasing on America’s campuses. SRN’s Michael Harrington reports.
VERBATIM: The Anti-Defamation League says attacks on Jews and anti-Israel activities at colleges and universities are on the rise, with 350 recorded incidents during the 2021-22 school year alone. Jonathan Greenblat, who leads the ADL, says “The anti-Semitic vitriol directed at pro-Israel students is deeply unsettling and makes our colleges and universities feel less safe and secure for Jewish students. University leaders must respond.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.Listen Download
More controversy in the Church of England. SRN’s Michael Harrington reports.
VERBATIM: It has to do with same-sex marriage, as usual. Bishop of Oxford Steven Croft has published a 52-page essay arguing that priests should have the option to bless and marry two men or two women. Conservatives are dismayed that such a high-ranking clergyman would advocate a break with Biblical authority and the official position of the Church of England. Some fear the denomination will eventually split over issues of homosexuality. Michael Harrington, SRN News.Listen Download
Washington State expands sex-change operations for kids
VERBATIM: Under a law passed earlier this year with little fanfare, children as young as 13-years-old can decide for themselves to have a sex-change procedure without their parents’ consent or even AGAINST their parents’ wishes. Insurance companies are required to cover the cost and any deductible or other charges will be sent on to mom and dad with no explanation of what the procedure was. Washington is going in the opposite director of other states that are trying to reign-in sex-changes for kids. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
How do you know what’s right or wrong?
VERBATIM: A new study out of Arizona Christian University finds that when confronted with questions of right and wrong, 42% of Americans say they “do what they feel in their heart.” Another 29% say majority rule is what determines what’s right. The other 29% of the population thinks God has something to say about right and wrong — many citing the Bible as the best guide. Christians who attend church regularly make up most of the latter group. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
The Tennessee Attorney General weighs-in on abortion
VERBATIM: Jonathan Skrmetti has issued an opinion saying that the state’s abortion ban does NOT apply to the disposal of fertilized human embryos that haven’t been transferred to a uterus. The determination is among the first issued by an attorney general that provides insight on how new pro-life laws should affect seeking In Vitro Fertilization procedures. It remains unclear if the Tennessee law applies to the selective reduction process sometimes used in IVF. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
National Public Radio shocks the nation
VERBATIM: In what’s believed to be a ghastly first in the history of radio in this country, NPR aired a segment on Thursday that included audio of a woman in Michigan undergoing a suction abortion. Reporter Kate Wells had been interviewing women at a suburban Detroit clinic and convinced one of them to let her record the abortion while it happened. The story has sparked a storm of outrage on social media, including criticism by some pro-choice advocates who say it was thoroughly inappropriate. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A lot of Christians want their church to match their politics
VERBATIM: The latest poll from Life Way Research indicates that 50% of Protestants prefer to belong to a congregation where people share my political views. 41% do NOT feel that way and 9% are undecided. But how strongly do they really feel? Another Life Way study found only 9% of Protestants said they would consider changing churches over political views. People who attend Methodist churches are MOST likely to want political uniformity. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Is America a Christian nation?
VERBATIM: A new poll from the Pew Research Center asks several questions around that issue which seems to be on the minds of a lot of people these days. According to Pew, 64% of adults say they do NOT believe that this is a Christian nation AT THE MOMENT. But SHOULD it be? 51% of respondents say NO, versus 45% who think America SHOULD be a Christian nation. Separately, 60% of the general population believes the Founding Fathers DID want America to be Christian. Michael Harrington, SRN News.Listen Download
People of faith don’t like where America is going
VERBATIM: A survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute finds 74% of the general population says things in this country are going in the wrong direction — and amongst the religious the numbers are even stronger. 93% of White Evangelicals think America has gone off the rails, as do 81% of White Catholics, 76% of White Mainline Protestants, 60% of Hispanic Catholics, and 59% of Black Protestants. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A high school football coach is back on the job
VERBATIM: In 2015, Joe Kennedy of Washington State’s Bremerton High, was fired for praying on the field after games. THIS year he won a victory at the Supreme Court, which ruled that the school violated his rights. Now, seven years later, Kennedy is getting his old job back as an assistant at Bremerton. In the intervening years he moved to Florida, but his attorney says he will move BACK to Washington to take his old job — starting in the spring. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
What are the big issues heading into the mid-term elections?
VERBATIM: According to a new poll out of the Cultural Research Center at Arizona Christian University: General inflation is number one, followed by food prices and shortages, then the cost of gasoline. The next three are crime, health care and terrorism. The first social issue that appears on the ranking is abortion at number eight overall. Religious freedom comes in at the very bottom of the ACU’s list of top issues for voters. Michael Harrington, SRN News.Listen Download
American taxpayers are paying for drag shows in Ecuador
VERBATIM: Fox News reports that the State Department has awarded 20,000 dollars for a cultural center in that South American to host what the department calls “drag theater performances”. The non-profit organization getting the cash is supported by the U.S. Embassy in Ecuador under its mandate to “promote diversity and inclusion”. The project being funded by American taxpayers will include three workshops and 12 drag performances. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A congresswoman introduces a parental rights amendment
VERBATIM: Arizona Republican Debbie Lesko’s measure would enshrine the traditional liberty of parents to direct a child’s upbringing, education, and care. Will Estrada of the Parental Rights Foundation says “This Amendment will enshrine these traditional rights in the black-and-white of the Constitution, preserving that parental role for generations to come.” Parents across the country are becoming increasingly concerned about things like what their kids are being taught in school. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Controversy at the University of Notre Dame
VERBATIM: A cadre of professors at the Catholic school are letting students know that they will help them get abortions. According to a report in the Irish Rover, the professors have placed a capital letter “J” on their office doors as a secret symbol of their willingness to facilitate abortions for female students. Notre Dame, of course, is officially opposed to abortion in line with Catholic teaching and the state of Indiana recently passed an abortion ban. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
A Virginia lawmaker has a proposal
VERBATIM: Democratic delegate Elizabeth Guzman is working on legislation that would hold parents criminally liable if they refuse to allow their children to undergo sex change operations. The measure, which Guzman plans to introduce in the next session, would expand the definition of child abuse to include barring kids from swapping their gender. Guzman dismisses concerns about parents religious freedom saying “The Bible says to accept everyone for who they are.” Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Abortion will be on the ballot in several states next month
VERBATIM: Voters in California, Michigan and Vermont will all have an opportunity to hammer abortion into the state constitution, out of the reach of lawmakers for the forseeable future. In one state, Kentucky, residents will decide on a referendum that would make it clear that the IS no right to abortion in the state constitution. And in Montana, a ballot measure would state that infants born alive are legal persons and require medical care to be provided. Michael Harrington, SRN News.
Evangelicals are blasting a court ruling out of New York
VERBATIM: Judge Karen May Bacdayan has decided that a polygamous relationship is on par with traditional marriage, saying “the door for consideration of other relational constructs has arrived.” Ed Vitagliano of the American Family Association is not surprised: “We have warned for decades that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead directly to the legalization of polygamy.” He says this is another blow to the foundations of Western Civilization. Michael Harrington, SRN News.