Texas Governor Rick Perry, whose recent weekend-long Pray for Rain declaration led to Texas’ drought WORSENING while the neighboring states were plagued by Biblical downpours and a spate of deadly tornadoes, is at it again. Now, he’s calling for “The Response,” a massive prayer rally set for August 6 in Houston. The rumor mill has it that Perry might be thinking of running for president. For more on Rick Perry, Fundamentalist Frankenstein, check out his Wiki entry.
Self proclaimed “Bishop” Eddie Long, outspoken anti-gay preacher and head of New Birth Missionary Baptist, Atlanta’s influential megachurch, has settled the civil suits against him out of court. Long was accused of sexual misconduct with teenaged boys enrolled in youth programs at New Birth. He had vowed to fight the accusations. And in what seems like an unlikely coincidence, Bernice King, daughter of the late MLK, Jr., is leaving her position as an elder at New Birth to start her own ministry. She claims it has nothing to do with the sex scandal. Meanwhile, there is no rest for the wicked—and apparently no negative consequences. All signs are that his congregation is standing behind him. No sooner were his civil suits resolved, “Bishop” Long announced that New Birth is EXPANDING, creating new megachurches in Denver, Colorado and Birmingham, Alabama.
Finally, freethinkers may be interested in the efforts of R. Kirby Godsey, former president of Mercer University, originally a Baptist college and now–thanks to Godsey–one of the most successful private universities in the Southeast. Godsey is also no stranger to controversy. His book When We Talk about God, Let’s Be Honest was declared heretical by the Georgia Baptist Convention because it dared to call into question Biblical inerrancy and the divinity of Jesus. As a result of this and other disputes, Godsey and Mercer parted ways with the GBC. Godsey’s new book, Is God a Christian?, continues his call to his fellow Christians to abandon fundamentalism, exclusivism and absolutism. He also offers positive summaries of all the major world religions, and suggests ways in which Christians can embrace people of other faiths in a respectful, nonjudgemental way. (Much of what Godsey writes will be very familiar to readers of Bishop John Shelby Spong.) John Snider attended a local lecture by Dr. Godsey and asked him about expanding his embrace to include atheists and agnostics. His answer may surprise you.
David Driscoll’s other project, Secular World podcast (formerly Secular Nation podcast) continues.
If you’re in Atlanta this weekend, June 11-12, check out Atlanta Skepticamp, at the Doraville Community Center in north metro Atlanta. John Snider will be presenting a skeptic-themed trivia challenge–a stack of goodies goes to the winner!
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