Seven-in-Heaven Way, Hybrid Pope, & “Chrislam”

NBC apologized over the weekend for editing out “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance in a promotional video during golf’s U.S. Open. The apology was not enough for the Family Research Council—they want NBC to repeat the pledge with “under God” in it daily. A new street sign in Brooklyn, “Seven in Heaven Way,” named in honor of seven firefighters who died on 9/11, has local atheists upset. Meanwhile, the Latter-day Saints are launching a million-dollar ad campaign in New York City.

While the Crystal Cathedral has fallen on hard times, its Spanish language service is booming.

A Malaysian reality show searches for the best preaching Muslim woman. In Tajikistan, the parliament is considering a bill to keep kids out of churches and mosques. Secularism is on the way out in Bangladesh. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood has expelled a senior member for his plans to run for president.

Some Methodist clergy are saying they’ll officiate gay marriages whether the denomination’s leaders like it or not. This comes as the United Methodist Church found Rev. Amy DeLong guilty of marrying a lesbian couple in 2009. Progressive Christians are throwing a camp meeting with a big tent at the Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina this weekend.

Catholic leaders in Spain have lined up corporate sponsors for Benedict the XVI’s visit in August, much to the chagrin of some Spanish priests. The Pope’s plans for a solar-powered popemobile failed but he was able to get a hybrid. The Vatican isn’t giving up on technology, though, as they are lending out iPods to pilgrims at basilicas with an app that highlights the location’s history and architecture.

End-times broadcaster Jack Van Impe has parted ways with the Trinity Broadcasting Network in the wake of a broadcast where he claimed American pastors like Rick Warren and Robert H. Schuller were promoting a mix of Christianity and Islam he labeled “Chrislam.” A new survey from Pew finds that evangelicals in the northern hemisphere are pessimistic about their influence on life in their countries while those in the southern hemisphere see their influence growing. American evangelicals were some of the most glum about their ability to influence the country.At least one conservative Christian group would like to see Republican Senator David Vitter make an Anthony Weiner-style resignation for his sexual escapades with call girls.

So much for God helping those who help themselves. The mayor of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania is turning to three days of fasting and prayer in hopes God will help the city out of its deep debts. Last year, one-third of Americans’ $291 billion in charity donations went to religious groups.

From a surfboard-blessing service in New York: “Dear God, your son walked on water but we know it would have been a lot more fun if he had a surfboard or boogie board.”

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