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Religion

The Progressive Pope? Francis Demotes Conservative Cardinal

pope francis throneJust last month, Pope Francis determined that now was the time to shake things up in the Vatican.

ICYMI: He claimed that all the “in the beginning” malarkey about how God created the world made the Creator sound more like Harry Potter and less like an omnipotent being. At that time, we knew people would start crying “progressivism!” and murmuring about a dark influence on the Holy See.

While the latter is still brooding, the Pontiff has made another bold decision that could empower his critics: he demoted an “outspoken, American conservative” Cardinal.

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Pope Francis: God Is Not a Wizard and Evolution Is Cool

POPE(BV)

Wrong book, sir.

Ever since Jorge Mario Bergoglio stepped down as Archbishop of Buenos Aires and the smoke cleared (literally) to proclaim him Bishop of Rome, the man now known as Pope Francis has become something of a legend.

There are many, many reasons for that mantle he carries, including becoming someone the PRNewserverse has dubbed “The Patron Saint of PR.” He has single-handedly forced the hand of the entire Catholic Church on issues his predecessors refused to consider — like shacking up, gay priests, the Internet, excommunication, and even working on the Sabbath.

Every time, he has been applauded. This week, however, he sided with Charles Darwin and the Catholic Church lost consciousness.

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Majority of Americans Believe Religion Losing Influence

empty-church

…open the door and where’s all the people?

Pew Research Center’s most recent poll includes some bad news for the Good News: nearly three-quarters of Americans think religion is losing its influence. The qualifier in this poll is that while most of the nation thinks religion is no longer as important as it once was, just as many think that’s a bad thing for this nation on the whole.

More than half of my PR career has revolved around the Church. From megachurch pastors to non-profit start-ups, most of the people I have personally represented are morally sound, ethically together, and personally vested in helping their community.

Unfortunately, there are a few sour apples in that gaggle of clients, which makes me think this poll reflects more disappointment and apathy than anything else.

What will the numbers say to you?

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White House Hosts Dinner for Indian Prime Minister…While He’s Fasting

obama dinner

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting the United States this week. In fact, he’s stopping by the White House, and as is customary when a foreign leader or head-of-state stops by 1600 Pennsylvania, the president will pull out the Red Carpet treatment.

Pomp. Circumstance. Dignitaries. And of course, a White House dinner.

While the chef is shopping at the Farmer’s Market in Georgetown preparing a seven-course meal fit for a prime minister, someone may want to inform the White House about one big dilemma. Prime Minister Modi is in the middle of a fast. You know, he’s not eating. At all.

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Air Force Stops ‘Aiming High,’ Omits ‘So Help Me God’ from Oath

080528-F-2319R-005Prayer and the American military have gone together like bread and butter for as long as we can remember, but the United States Air Force has now apparently decided to count its blessings — because it doesn’t really need them anymore.

According to the Washington Post, the Air Force will now allow airmen to omit “so help me God” from enlistment oaths. 

The catalyst for this decision was an airman stationed in Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nev., who was denied re-enlistment because he purposely omitted that sacrosanct phrase when taking said oath.

He (along with the American Humanist Association) chose to raise a stink, and two weeks later we have this:

“We take any instance in which Airmen report concerns regarding religious freedom seriously,” Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James said in the statement. “We are making the appropriate adjustments to ensure our Airmen’s rights are protected.

“The Air Force will be updating the instructions for both enlisted and commissioned Airmen to reflect these changes in the coming weeks, but the policy change is effective now. Airmen who choose to omit the words ‘So help me God’ from enlistment and officer appointment oaths may do so.”

This isn’t much of a surprise, but the Air Force should certainly prepare for blowback.

Sure, it’s haughty at the very least to think there are only Christians in this world or that everyone must profess faith in a Christian God (or any god, really) to serve his or her country. But will this decision lead to a slippery slope on which other airmen seek a pass from swearing to protect other things that go against their personal beliefs?

Time will tell — and so will more than a few Christian bloggers.

Pope Francis Marries 20 Couples So They Won’t Be Shacking Any Longer

pope-vatican

In the past, our fearless leader at PR Newser suggested that Pope Francis has solidified his position as the Patron Saint of PR (though he has not ascended). And with all due respect to the now canonized Saint John Paul II, the Catholic Church desperately needed some good mojo.

And then the white smoke appeared introducing the world to Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, who later changed his name to Francis.

He has embraced the Twitter, left the grandiose Popemobile for a leisurely walk, proclaimed the Internet to be  a gift from God, scored his own weekly magazine, stated that no one should work on the Sabbath (yeah right), and excommunicated the Mafia.

But what he did over the weekend may have the Catholic Church looking as progressive as a non-denominational community picnic.

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APOCALYPSE WATCH: Westboro Baptist Church Found a Way to Make Us All Happy

wbc-protest-islam

THINK FAST: Who do you hate more? The terrorist group ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or the Westboro Baptist “Church”? Hard to choose, but to help make the decision, I believe we would all love to see a no-disqualification cage match.

Whelp, you may get your chance soon enough. Yes, seriously. 

An Australian comic named Adam Hills heard about Westboro’s plans to picket the funeral of Robin Williams. Speaking on behalf of the rest of us, he wondered how far those idiots would take their God-loathing, humanity-hating bravado. So, he offered to pay for them to fly to Iraq and picket ISIS.

And Westboro accepted. See? You’re smiling, aren’t you? Happiness achieved.

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With the US Muslim Population Growing, Marketers Are Missing a Consumer Opportunity

muslim familyUnless you were celebrating Ramadan or know someone who was, you may have missed the fact that the month-long religious fast ended on Monday. Unlike other times of year, Ramadan doesn’t have a national day of recognition. That includes a day or days that shoppers can score a deal as a means of acknowledgement.

The Atlantic argues that should change.

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What Would Madea Do? Sue Someone in Jesus’ Name.

madea jesusJanie Tinklenberg, 47, a youth pastor from Holland, Mich., wanted to make Jesus a central part of her student’s lives by asking one salient question in Bible study. Another idea would be to brand that query somehow — pencils, pens, notepads — and then it hit her: beaded bracelets.

So, in 1989 she approached a local marketing firm about developing a brand and “W.W.J.D.” was born. However, not protected. By the time Tinklenberg decided to call the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), it was determined that the logo was already so popular, it would remain public domain. (Source: Salon.)

Fast forward to 2014: two people decided to earn some extra dough and sued for the trademark of the ecumenical acronym. And this guy won because that’s what Jesus would do, right?

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Pope Francis: ‘No One Should Work on the Sabbath. Now, Which Day is That?’

pope francis throne

Because I love it when you call me ‘Il Papa!’

Your humble servants at PRNewser kinda’ dig Pope Francis. And what he said over the weekend gave us another reason to consider this man to be a righteous dude. (And pun seriously intended. Shout out to Jesus!)

Recently he visited an agricultural region of southern Italy called Molise. Unemployment is grossly out of whack, poverty is widespread, yet faith is still a priority. It was there, according to this story in Yahoo! News (via AP), that he indicated that opening stores and other businesses on Sundays as a way to create jobs wasn’t beneficial for society.

In fact, he believes if church folk won’t work on Sundays, then no one should work on Sundays.

And the Church said, “AMEN!”

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