The United Methodists face another church trial, this time against Rev. Irene Elizabeth (Beth) Stroud, a pastor in Pennsylvania. Why? Because she is a lesbian who is open about it. The last nat'l convention of the United Methodists closed off any legal possibility for people like Stroud, who has received support and committment from her congregation, from serving in the denomination in an ordained capacity simply because of sexual orientation.
Here's is an interesting piece on why the GOP effort to attract more Jewish voters, even conservative ones, is likely to fall flat, as long as Bush is opposed to expanding federal funding into stem cell research.
The existential threat to the Jewish people — the thing especially older ones fear most — is that they or their loved ones contract a devastating disease for which medical research has slowed, or stopped, due to Bush-supported federal limits on embryonic stem cell research.
I've noticed that the mainstream media, not just the right, seems to take religion, in it's conservative expression, as the norm. As long as this is the case, I'm not sure how progressive religious voices will be heard or part of the national conversation.
An example has been the campaign against Rev. Bartella-Peterson, Disciples of Christ minister and the religious outreach person for the Democratic Nat'l Committee. Apparently she was supportive of the efforts to remove "under God" from the pledge. In that work she was in agreement with every mainline Protestant and Jewish body in this country.
But such agreement is not enough. My fear is that that the right and the media which has bought their line when it comes to religion, will work to have Bartella-Peterson removed or silenced from the campaign, as they successfuly did to Mara Vanderslice whose crime was a history of left activism.
And in a heart breaking vote, 70% of Missourians agreed to ban gay marriage in the state constitution. Does this signal a trend, a direction of how other discriminatory state iniatives will work out in other states? Maybe Newt Gingrich's advice for the GOP to run with issues which divide Americans has some efficacy in today's political climate.