Sunday Roundup: Less Pope, more Feminism

An end to pope-news on the horizon, Methodists are cool, and no Kosher Coke for California.

Okay, so its still technically Saturday, but I’ll be on a plane tomorrow. Anyway, here’s the news:

I’m sad that the mainstream religion media has largely ignored the work of about half a dozen Christian feminist blogs in highlighting the problem of “spiritual abuse” this week. We got a dozen articles about Benedict, but nothing about this powerful and timely blog series? We covered it earlier this week, but there have been a half a dozen powerful and moving pieces since then. Check them out. (Obviously, many Trigger Warnings here)

Former Christian and atheist interfaith activist Chris Stedman has advice for Christians who want to communicate with non-Christians. I think Christians in America have a really interesting place in interfaith dialogue because they’re given something of a privileged position in mainstream society, but often in highly intellectual environments, their religion is often the most scrutinized. So I think Stedman’s advice is timely, fair, and necessary.

Speaking of interfaith: multifaith weight loss is a thing. And there’s an essay on Religion Dispatches about why multifaith weight loss is kind of problematic. Also, I think it’s a bit strange that these people think losing weight together is a good way to build friendships: have they ever been to a gym?

The media had just one message about Pope Francis in the twilight of pope media coverage: he’s great! He wants to talk to Muslims! He even likes atheists! He met with Benedict and they hugged! He’s secretly pro gay rights! He doesn’t even eat such fancy things as Zucchini (yes, zucchini is indeed extravagant), preferring instead chicken, salad, and fruit! So first off: is Zucchini really all that fancy? Secondly: the media needs to learn how to report on Popes in a way that doesn’t alternatively treat them as superhuman paragons of virtue (John Paul, Francis) or as creepy old men (Benedict). RNS’ David Gibson wonders how long Francis’ honeymoon will last.

Bill O’Reily is trying to get his ex-wife excommunicated because she’s continuing to take communion after getting divorced. It takes two to get divorced, yo. Or is Bill O’Reily not taking communion, either?

A North Carolina Methodist Church has refused to perform any more marriages until gay marriage is legal. Related: Hilary Clinton’s Methodism may have made her pro-gay-marriage. So Methodism is cool. Also, Rob Bell came out for marriage equality.

Jim and Tammy Faye Baaker’s King’s Castle, the center of the Christian theme park that led to the two of them being arrested for fraud, is finally being demolished after nearly 25 years of inactivity.

There’s a great article in the New York Times about how Christians have appropriated Jewish heritage: or rather, used Jews to stand in for something which they’re not, necessarily – namely, conservative Zionists. I’ve said the same about how Evangelicals treat Catholics – I wonder if there’s something about religion in American context that makes it necessary for a majority religion to appropriate and stereotype minority religions rather than treating them as equal partners.

The always interesting Haroon Moghul looks back at Iraq from a Muslim perspective. His article  is full of quotes like this one,

But the Romans would have conquered Iraq and then offered them citizenship. In an age of nationalism, there can be no empire, only play-acting at it. We make mistakes; countries are doomed. We are like a giant who does not realize the havoc he can wreak.

Meanwhile, Loonwatch highlighted how the media reacted to the ten-year anniversary of the war in Iraq. LoonWatch also wrote on how the uncanny similarities between the FBI’s current discrimination of Muslims and COINTELPRO, a 60’s FBI program that illegally spied on leftist radicals.

Sarah Posner expressed her frustration that nonprofits can still discriminate based on religion. Meanwhile, Irish atheists were kicked out of a Saint Patrick’s day parade. Is there no justice?

As it turns out, there is. In April, the LDS church will hold their general conference, and for the first time, women will be allowed to pray. Yet another sign the LDS church is moving away from its sexist/racist past at a surprising and encouraging rate.  Also, a group of monks in Louisiana have won the right to sell simple, hand-made caskets.

Because of changes to the Coke formula mandated by California, there still will not be a kosher Coca-Cola in California in time for Passover. But how many people really rely on Coca-Cola so much that they need it during passover? Actually, probably more than you’d think.

If you’ve ever wondered if hell is hot or cold, this is the article for you.

See you all next week!

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