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from FaithWorld:

“The Ledge” equals “God for Dummies” – film review

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(Actor Charlie Hunnam poses for a portrait while promoting the movie "The Ledge" during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 22, 2011/Mario Anzuoni )

Can't wait until Thanksgiving dinner to witness a pointless conversation between a pompous fundamentalist Christian and a sneering atheist? Then "The Ledge" is the movie for you.

This shrill and pedantic exercise in speechifying gives us "deep" conversations about religion and the afterlife that wouldn't pass muster in a freshman Philosophy 101 study group, delivered with all the earnestness and lack of subtlety of the old "Davey and Goliath" show. (If that Christian cartoon had featured Liv Tyler's breasts, that is.)

Tyler, fresh off playing a former drug addict who married Rainn Wilson as a way to get a grip on her life in "Super," broadens her range by playing a former drug addict who married Patrick Wilson to get a grip on her life in "The Ledge." When these two move in down the hall from committed atheist Charlie Hunnam, who becomes Tyler's boss when she gets a job working at the hotel he manages, things start spiraling out of control.

from FaithWorld:

Offending priest handled “by the book” by Episcopal Church leader

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The Episcopal Church's diocese of Nevada sought to calm an uproar over a former Benedictine monk who admitted sexual indiscretions with a parishioner before he was ordained an Episcopal priest by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, who is now leader of the 2.3 million member U.S. church.

"It looks to me like she handled the situation by the book," Bishop Dan Edwards said of Jefferts Schori's actions regarding Fr. Bede Parry, a church organist and former Episcopal priest.

from FaithWorld:

Americans gave $291 billion to charity in 2010, more than 1/3 to religious groups

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(A man dressed as Santa Claus from the Volunteers of America charity waits for donations near the Saks Fifth Avenue store in New York December 19, 2007/Ray Stubblebine)

U.S. donations to charity rose to $291 billion last year, but it was still more than 6 percent below a 2007 record as the nation struggles to recover from its worst recession in decades.  Americans gave nearly 4 percent more in 2010 compared to 2009, the Giving USA Foundation and the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University said,  perking up after the recession sparked the biggest giving slump in four decades.

from FaithWorld:

Will the Arab Spring bring U.S.-style “culture wars” to the Middle East?

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(From left: Olivier Roy, Cardinal Angelo Scola and Martino Diez of the Oasis Foundation at the conference on San Servolo island, Venice, June 20, 2011/Giorgia Dalle Ore/Oasis)

Where is the Arab Spring leading the Middle East? What will be the longer-term outcome of the popular protests that have shaken the region since the beginning of this year? Of course, it’s still too early to say with any certainty, even in countries such as Tunisia and Egypt that succeeded in toppling their authoritarian regimes. Some trends have emerged, however, and they’re on the agenda at a conference in Venice I’m attending entitled “Medio Oriente verso dove?” (Where is the Middle East heading?). The host is the Oasis Foundation, a group chaired by Cardinal Angelo Scola, the Roman Catholic patriarch of this historic city, and guests include Christian and Muslim religious leaders and academics from the Middle East and Europe.

from Good, Bad, and Ugly:

An angle that didn’t belong

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Pope's Berlin mass moved to Nazi Olympic site

BERLIN (Reuters) - Pope Benedict's mass in his homeland has been moved due to high demand, the Berlin archdiocese said on Wednesday, and will now take place in Berlin's Nazi-built Olympic Stadium.

I was really disappointed when I was reading this article.

What is the sense or the ulterior motive of the first part? That it will be a nazi-like event with red flags and torches and so on?

from FaithWorld:

“Mormon question” may again dog Mitt Romney’s U.S. presidential bid

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(U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney talks to supporters in Detroit, Michigan June 9, 2011/Rebecca Cook)

Republican Mitt Romney has remade himself in a second run for U.S. president, with a leaner campaign apparatus and a message focused with laser-like precision on the nation's economic problems. But the "Mormon question" still remains for the former Massachusetts governor: are Americans ready to put a Mormon in the White House?

from FaithWorld:

Pity the pandering U.S. candidate

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Politicians pandering for votes on conservative family values issues may want to think again.

A survey of 3,000 Americans by the Public Religion Research Institute found 42 percent said the terms "pro-choice" and "pro-life" both described them well, illustrating the complexity of the abortion issue in the minds of many.

from FaithWorld:

Prayers and religious terms removed from Texas public school graduation

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(High school graduates, 25 May 2007 /Chris Moncus)

A U.S. federal judge has ruled that a high school graduation in a suburb of San Antonio, Texas may not include an opening and closing prayer or the words "invocation" or "benediction." District Judge Fred Biery ruled on Tuesday that using those words would make it sound like Castroville's Medina Valley High School is "sponsoring a religion."

"We think that the district has been flouting the law for decades," said Ayesha Kahn, an attorney for Americans United for Church and State, which filed the lawsuit. "We're glad that the court is going to put an end to it."

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Why are you still yammering?

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Okay, I have a serious bone to pick with the news media.

It is being widely reported that the evangelical Christian broadcaster whose Judgment Day prophecy went embarrassingly unfulfilled on Saturday has explained that he miscalculated, and the actual Apocalypse will happen later.

So my question is, why are we even still quoting this man? Why are we spreading his hogwash?

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Six ways I know the world isn’t ending

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Okay, everybody I know has asked me about these nutjobs who say a huge earthquake will shake the world today, sweeping true believers to heaven and leaving others behind to be engulfed in the earth's destruction over a few months.

It isn't happening, trust me, and here are the six ways I know that for a fact:

6. My DVR is still letting me record "The Borgias" tomorrow evening.

5. That broadcaster who is predicting this rapture thing owes me money, and this is just his sneaky way of getting out of it. True believer, my big butt!

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