Fundamentalism

Franklin Graham: Another Trump? Yes and no, RNS profile says

Franklin Graham: Another Trump? Yes and no, RNS profile says

The Religion News Service takes a skeptical but fair-minded look at Franklin Graham -- his beliefs, his politics, his differences from his famed father, Billy Graham -- in a satisfyingly long profile rolled out for Super Tuesday week.

And no, that’s not a chance coincidence, as Godbeat veteran Cathy Lynn Grossman crafts the story:

While Donald Trump campaigns to "Make America great again," Franklin Graham, facing a nation where conservative believers are losing cultural clout, wants to make it Christian again. Week after week, he stands on winter-wind-swept statehouse steps and exhorts crowds like a biblical Nehemiah, warning people to repent to rebuild Jerusalem — with a gospel twist. He urges them to pray first and then vote for Bible-believing evangelical candidates.
But you can’t vote for him.
"No, no!" he is "absolutely not" running for office, said Graham, who tends to rat-a-tat-tat his points.
Instead, he exhorts his listeners to run themselves, starting with local city and county offices. Imagine, he says at every tour stop, the impact on society if "the majority of the school boards were controlled by evangelical Christians."

This sweeping, 2,200-word article is impressive, though not without a couple of issues. It tells of Franklin's rise in building the Samaritan's Purse charity, from a small medical mission into one of the largest disaster relief and development agencies in the U.S. And it adroitly parallels the presidential primary campaigns with Franklin's $10 million "Decision America" barnstorming tour, which often "takes him into town just ahead of a primary or caucus."

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The New Yorker does amazing profile of former Westboro Church rising star

The New Yorker does amazing profile of former Westboro Church rising star

It’s been three years ago this month that the bad girl of the Westboro Church crowd deserted the group with her sister. This month, the New Yorker came out with a huge piece on how and why she left. The lead photo shows Megan Phelps-Roper posed in something with black straps with a tiny nose ring in one nostril. Obviously something’s changed big time.

We've reported on Westboro before, sometimes in the context of whether to cover their bizarre antics. One doesn’t decide to leave such a famous group – and one’s own family -- lightly, especially when you’ve been picketing the funerals of AIDS victims since age 5 and giving interviews since age 11. And lo and behold, we find that it was Twitter, of all things, that eased Phelps-Roper out the door.

From the middle of the story:

Phelps-Roper first considered leaving the church on July 4, 2012. She and (her sister) Grace were in the basement of another Westboro family’s house, painting the walls. The song “Just One,” by the indie folk group Blind Pilot—a band that C.G. had recommended—played on the stereo. The lyrics seemed to reflect her dilemma perfectly: “And will I break and will I bow / if I cannot let it go?” Then came the chorus: “I can’t believe we get just one.” She suddenly thought, What if Westboro had been wrong about everything? What if she was spending her one life hurting people, picking fights with the entire world, for nothing? “It was, like, just the fact that I thought about it, I had to leave right then,” she said. “I felt like I was going to jump out of my skin.”  …

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BBC: Another generic, mysterious 'honor killing' (updated)

This time the bloody honor killing took place in a public place, for all to see — outside the Lahore High Court. The short BBC report noted: Police said 30-year old Farzana Bibi died on the spot after being attacked with bricks and sticks. Her father handed himself in, but police say her brothers and former fiance, who also took part in the attack, were still free. …

Farzana Bibi’s parents accused her husband, Muhammad Iqbal, of kidnapping her, and had filed a case against him at the High Court. However, she testified to police that she had married him of her own accord. Police said the couple had been engaged for a number of years.

Religion, apparently, had nothing to do with this event, which was said to be a mere cultural phenomenon. However, the report ended by noting:

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Fundamental misunderstandings of 'fundamentalism'

When it comes to religious terms, you would be hard pressed to find a word more misapplied by the media than “fundamentalist.”

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WWROD? Another stab at defining the word 'evangelical'

Long ago, I asked the Rev. Billy Graham a question that I really thought he, of all people, would be able to answer.

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Missing some fundamental facts on Obama and faith

A week or so ago, I wrote a Scripps Howard News Service column about the survey research indicating that secular and self-proclaimed liberal Americans are much more likely to be prejudiced against Mormon political candidates than are evangelical Protestants, the very folks that everyone has been worried about during the Mitt Romney campaign. That column opened like this:

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