Weekly religion rail, with items on Southern Methodist University, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan's endorsement of Barack Obama and more.
Dallas college will be home of presidential library
Southern Methodist University in Dallas will be home to George W. Bush's presidential library after a yearlong approval process that some faculty and religious opponents failed to derail.
The decision became official as SMU's board of trustees approved an agreement with the Bush Foundation, which will manage construction and raise money for the project, expected to cost more than $200 million.
Last spring semester the issue dominated many SMU Faculty Senate meetings as some members voiced their opposition. Some Methodist ministers also joined the fray, launching an online petition drive that garnered about 11,000 signatures from those opposed to SMU hosting the library, museum and institute. The group said some Bush administration policies conflict with church teachings. -- Reuters
Get to Know … Louis Farrakhan
Louis Farrakhan is the acting head of the Nation of Islam as the National Representative of Elijah Muhammad. He is also well-known as an advocate for African American interests and a critic of American society.
Farrakhan, a Chicago native, is backing Democratic White House contender Barack Obama but did not formally call on Nation of Islam followers to vote for Obama.
Farrakhan has been accused of anti-Semitism and homophobia, and Obama's spokesman Bill Burton said: "Senator Obama has been clear in his objections to Minister Farrakhan's past pronouncements and has not solicited the minister's support."
An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details the religious affiliation of the American public and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Over the next few weeks, we’ll feature some results of the poll.
More than one-quarter of American adults (28 percent) have left the faith in which they were raised in favor of another religion - or no religion at all. If change in affiliation from one type of Protestantism to another is included, 44 percent of adults have either switched religious affiliation, moved from being unaffiliated with any religion to being affiliated with a particular faith, or dropped any connection to a specific religious tradition altogether.
In “The Third Jesus,” spiritual leader Deepak Chopra provides a fresh perspective on what Jesus can teach us all, regardless of our religious background. There is not one Jesus, Chopra writes, but three.
First, there is the historical Jesus, the man who lived more than two thousand years ago and whose teachings are the foundation of Christian theology and thought. Next there is Jesus the Son of God, who has come to embody an institutional religion with specific dogma, a priesthood, and devout believers. And finally, there is the third Jesus, the cosmic Christ, the spiritual guide whose teaching embraces all humanity, not just the church built in his name. He speaks to the individual who wants to find God as a personal experience, to attain what some might call grace, or God-consciousness, or enlightenment. – amazon.com
Quote of Note
"Today, a trip to China is unthinkable, even if it's the desire of Pope Benedict. But today there are not the conditions for this to happen."
A Vatican official said that while Pope Benedict has made improving ties with Beijing a major goal of his pontificate, such a trip was impossible given current divisions among China's 8 to 12 million Catholics. -- Reuters
Mezuzah: Means a doorpost in Hebrew. It refers to a scroll with specific verses from the Torah placed inside a container and attached to a doorpost outside of the home of a devout Jew. The most common verses are Deuteronomy 6:4-9 and 11:13-21. – Religioustolerance.org
Religion Around the World
Religious makeup of Indonesia
Muslim 86.1 percent
Protestant 5.7 percent
Roman Catholic 3 percent
Hindu 1.8 percent
Other or unspecified 3.4 percent
- CIA Factbook
GateHouse News Service