The American Religious Right has been eager to tear down – or chip away – the wall that separates government from religion and thus declare the United States a “Christian nation.” But the principle of a secular state has served the country well, says retired Baptist Minister Howard Bess.
Despite originating in Jesus’s messages of peace, Christianity has been arguably the world’s most violent religion with its adherents committing genocide on all continents except unpopulated Antarctica. Again and again, Christian churches have blessed warfare, but a new generation is objecting, says Rev. Howard Bess.
Over the centuries, Christian churches and allied rulers have tortured and killed countless fellow Christians for deviating from doctrinal claims about Jesus’s divine identity. But the historical record that exists indicates that those doctrines were tragically wrong, writes Rev. Howard Bess.
For Christians, the search for the real Jesus can be a challenging pursuit, given the two millennia of doctrine, dogma and distortion that have built up around his teachings. For some followers, the key has been to strip away those traditions and find a purer historical understanding, says Rev. Howard Bess.
The failure of many mainstream Christian churches to embrace social movements of recent decades – from gay rights to women’s equality to peace activism – has alienated young people who see the contradictions with Jesus’s teachings of tolerance. Is it too late for established churches, asks Rev. Howard Bess.
Evangelicals remain one of the principal obstacles to the full acceptance of gay Americans as people deserving equal rights and equal respect. But even in those religious circles, pressure from more tolerant Evangelicals – especially the young – is breaking down the barriers, Rev. Howard Bess writes.
Christians celebrate Jesus’s birth and the immediate events around his crucifixion, but less attention is given to the clearest sign of his political activism, his overturning of the money-changing tables at the Temple in Jerusalem, the likeliest reason for his execution, as Mark Manolopoulos explains.
The year 2012 was an important one for the United States as it faced a presidential election, issues of war or peace, and the choice of extreme right-wing economic theories or greater political pragmatism. Here is a selection of stories from Consortiumnews.com.
Some of our special stories from November, assessing the meaning of Election 2012, reporting on the sudden fall of a fabled general, and exposing crucial history from the Kennedy-Nixon era.
Some Christian churches observe a near-month-long preparation for Christmas known as the Advent season, but its origins are not Bible-based and not well understood. Advent traces back to the Middle Ages when some Christians thought Jesus’s return was imminent, explains Rev. Howard Bess.