The Oregon Faith Report - Faith News from Oregon


Of Ferguson, race & adoption?

December 31, 2014 --

holt-internationalBy Holt International
Eugene based adoption organization

It has been an emotionally exhausting couple of weeks for me.  My son, who is bi-racial, was home from college when the Ferguson decision was announced.  He was upset, confused, and after a while, filled with rage.  As his mom, I tried to do everything I could to show him that I cared about what was happening and how he was feeling about it.  But it was really hard and incredibly sad for me.

Then Wednesday’s decision came out from Staten Island, and while he has already gone back to college, I could still feel the same emotions coming all the way up the coast of California to Oregon through his Twitter feed.  Again, really hard. And then this morning, I came in to work to an email from one of our social workers asking if Holt was going to say something — that she has been providing counseling to one of our teen adoptees who was black, and he just sat with his head down and cried because he knows he is treated differently that his white parents because of his race.  And he is scared.  And what was Holt going to say about all of this?

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Thank God for the Dalai Lama

December 29, 2014 --

Metzger-RickDalai Lama
By Paul Louis Metzger

Multnomah University Professor
New Wine Skins Ministry

For all of orthodox Christianity’s differences in belief from the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism, we share many things in common. One of the things I admire most is his profound compassionate care for all of existence, most notably, his supreme regard for humanity. Such compassionate care is on full display in his volume, The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality (New York: Harmony Books, 2005). In his essay titled “Ethics and the New Genetics,” he addresses the need for a global ethic that attends to the discoveries in genetics.

By no means does the Dalai Lama come across as a reactionary in his engagement of genetic research. However, in the midst of his affirmation of scientific progress that furthers the well-being of our planet, he cautions scientists, business leaders and politicians, even society at large, not to play God. This is quite noteworthy, given that Tibetan Buddhism hails the Dalai Lama as the rebirth of a line of enlightened beings who are appearances of Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva of compassion. For the Dalai Lama’s own view of compassion, see his article “Compassion and the Individual.”

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After Noah, I’m skipping Exodus

December 24, 2014 --

exodusquoteAfter Noah, I’m skipping Exodus
By Guest Opinion,
Oregon Faith Report

After I walked out of the movie Noah, I have become much more discerning in my herd mentality to rush to see the next faith film. The problems of the movie Noah seemed to repeat themselves with the new movie “Exodus: gods and Kings”. Critics faulted “Exodus” for portraying God as distant, uncaring and foreign, which is exactly what Noah did.

This time I see the warning signs. The fact that the director, Ridley Scot, just commented three years ago that “biggest source of evil is of course religion” should be a hint of what is to come. If you have seen, Scot’s film “Kingdom of Heaven” about the Crusade’s, you can definitely feel a sense of religious bitterness and crowning humanism over spiritual things.

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NW store aims to be ‘Willy Wonka of Weed’

December 22, 2014 --

Sky High Gardens is a large Seattle marijuana business with 20 employees and 13,000-square-feet building. The business hopes to turn their large operation into a place that teh publci can do tours. See video below.

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College welcomes terrorists, bans Santa

December 19, 2014 --

By Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights

Bill Donohue comments on the way secular activists are reacting to Christmas:

It never ceases to amaze me how down-right scared some secularists are of Christmas. Here are a few recent examples.

The University of Maine was forced to come to its senses only because it was too embarrassed to explain its hypersensitivity; it now allows religious symbols on the campus. But initially it banned not merely religious symbols, but any “decoration that could be perceived as religious.” That included candy canes. Candy canes: their mere existence at an institution of higher learning is what pushed the free-speech enthusiasts over the edge. They also changed their policy with regard to trees. Initially they were allowed, but not presents. That’s because presents remind people of Christmas, and that is unacceptable at Christmastime.

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Rebranding Christmas

December 17, 2014 --

By Tom Krattenmaker

 Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
– Article Also featured on..
Ah, the perils and pitfalls of the Christmas … er … holiday season.

Like the stockings hung over the fireplace on Christmas morning, my newsfeeds and inbox have been full of holiday-related controversies and things to fret about in this most festive time of year.

One sign of the times was this news tidbit from Montgomery County, Md. In response to a request from Muslim community leaders, the education board voted this fall to change “Christmas break” to “winter break” — making Montgomery one of many educational systems and institutions to go with the generic seasonal moniker rather than the C word.

For the record, this is not quite the outcome the area’s Muslim leaders had in mind. They had asked for official school days off in recognition of one of their major holidays. But rather than accede to that, the school board decided to secularize all holiday breaks, Christian and Jewish alike, as if to wash its hands of the whole darn mess (while creating a new one in the process, judging from the criticism that has followed).

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Oregon ministers speak out on Torture Report

December 15, 2014 --

By Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon supports the release of the Senate Torture Report, which details the CIA’s use of so-called “enhanced interrogations.” The disturbing acts of torture described in the report clearly violate the ethical and moral values we hold as a nation. Torture is also antithetical to the fundamental values of our faith traditions. Subjecting detainees to waterboarding, medically unnecessary forced feeding, and physical and psychological trauma, bring dishonour to the reputation of the United States.

How we respond as a nation to the fact that we tortured is important. If we are to be a nation that values life and respects human dignity, we must not look away or remain silent. We must demand that we remove the stain of torture from our nation’s present and future. Only then will we as a nation be on the moral path toward justice, peace and reconciliation.

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Inclusion going too far on college campuses?

December 10, 2014 --

By Tom Krattenmaker

 Award-winning Portland-based writer
Recent book: The Evangelicals you Don’t Know
– Article Also featured on..
Nondiscrimination and student group leadership: Inclusion gone too far?

Is the pope Catholic? Is the president of the Christian student club Christian?

These questions might seem equal in their wry obviousness. They’re not. In the massive California State University system, as at some other universities, new anti-discrimination rules for student groups mean it can no longer be required that the president of the Christian student fellowship is Christian, or that the head of the Muslim association is Muslim, or that the officers of any group buy into the interests and commitments of that group.

Student clubs that refuse to accept the new rules will find themselves on the sidelines when it comes to meeting space, recruitment opportunities and other valuable perks that go with being an officially recognized group.

Such is the fate that has befallen InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, a national campus ministry that finds itself “derecognized” in the 450,000-student Cal State system for insisting that student leaders of its campus chapters affirm the basic tenets of evangelical belief.

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Disney censures “God” from blog comments

December 8, 2014 --

During Thanksgiving one 10-year old girl went to a Disney blog where it asked kids to write a comment on what they were thankful for. The girl was surprised at the response. See video below.

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Nativity scenes in 9 State Capitols

December 5, 2014 --

thomas-moore-scoetyThomas More Society

Nativity scenes will appear in nine State Capitols this Christmas – five of them due to the work of the Chicago-based Thomas More Society, a national public interest law firm.

As experts on public nativity displays, Thomas More Society attorneys have settled legal challenges for private groups sponsoring Christmas manger scenes for thirty years, since helping defend the original erection of a life size crèche on Chicago’s Daley Plaza.

Christmas 2014 marks the eighth year that statues of Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus have resided in a small stable at the Illinois State Capitol. Thomas More Society has also helped secure permits for nativity scenes to be displayed this year in the State Capitols of Florida, Georgia, Rhode Island, Texas, and on the Governor’s Mansion lawn in Oklahoma.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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