Philip Berg, who died Monday at the age of either 82 or 84, became rich and famous for attracting Hollywood celebrities and a lot of other people, Gentiles and Jews, to his patented brand of pop Kabbalah. He disclosed something of his technique in a New York courtroom in 1996, testifying at a civil trial for plagiarizing the work of an orthodox kabbalist.
Late in the afternoon of Yom Kippur, Jews read the Book of Jonah, the story of the recalcitrant prophet who wanted his words of warning to go unheeded. There’s a lesson here for the current situation in the Middle East.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints never fails to instruct, and thus this week we have before us the case of Denver C. Snuffer, Jr., a lawyer and author who has upset LDS authorities sufficiently to invite an excommunication hearing for apostasy.
Yes, suggests Jody Bottum, in a Commonweal article that has roiled the right-wing Catholic intelligentsia. That the former editor of First Things should go wobbly on marriage was bad enough. That he would enlist the patron saint of Natural Law Catholicism in his betrayal was nothing less than outrageous.
Suppose, for the sake of argument, that you are an Arian, one of those 4th-century Christians who believed that Jesus Christ was of a similar substance as God the Father rather than, as held by Christians who follow the Nicene Creed, of the same substance. Do you worship the same God as the Nicene Christians?
On Monday, I argued that the State Department’s new office of religious engagement signifies a diplomatic turning away from exclusive preoccupation with other countries’ failure to guarantee religious liberty. On Wednesday, it became clear that the heads of the independent U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) see it this way too.
On its face, the decision of the Army to prosecute Major Nidal Hasan for workplace violence seems peculiar. By all accounts, including his own, Hasan undertook his killing rampage at Ft. Hood as a mujaheddin fighting for his Islamic faith. Wasn’t this an act of terror, or maybe war?
Michael Sean Winters put up a good post today critiquing conservative Catholics for downplaying the significance of Pope Francis’ “Who am I to judge” remark about gays. In particular he singled out San Francisco Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, who interprets the remark along the lines of “love the sinner, hate the sin.”
On yesterday’s Today show, Genialissimo Cardinal Timothy Dolan did everything in his power to persuade Matt Lauer that Pope Francis’ airborne comments on gays were nothing new under the Catholic sun. In the process, he asserted that the pope has no power to make church law. Say what?