Religion Reporting as Therapy? Praying for Help with Budget Crisis…

In case you missed all of the witty headlines, Jesus was struck by lightning and burned to the ground this week. But despite the $700,000 in damages, the Solid Rock Church vows to rebuild “Touchdown Jesus.” Meanwhile, in the wake of his recent scandal, Tim Wilson at Killing the Buddha outlines how the Church of Tiger Woods is also burning to the ground.

Baptists are using their presences in the military to oppose the repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell. Fearing, as the Rev. David Mullis, the Southern Baptists’ military chaplaincy coordinator put it, “if there was a prohibition about certain kinds of literature that did not espouse homosexuality, I can see the Bible being banned in the military.” The Southern Baptist Convention has also turned its attention to the gulf oil spill. The SBC is urging churches to get involved in the clean up and to hold both government authorities and big oil responsible.

Questions of Christianity and feminism continue to haunt the Tea Party and the Republicans this week. Is South Carolina’s Nikkie Haley Christian enough for the evangelicals in her state? How can Sarah Palin claim to be a feminist? Or is she just another member of the Reproductive Right?

While our own Sarah Posner’s conversation with Mollie Ziegler Hemingway about religion and politics was featured on the NYTimes.com site, others argue that journalism has replaced religion as the source of public morality. Or does religion reporting serve as public therapy? Offering a pularistic balm to the wounds of religious difference. At the Guardian, they wonder if inmates should get religion in prison and the American Association for the Advancement of Science tries to help scientists get religion (or is it get scientists with religion?).

In California, the budget woes are bridging religious difference. Leaders from 10 different faiths joined together to ask for divine intervention in the budget crisis. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Dodgers are relying on ‘V energy’ to try and make a run at the MLB playoffs. They recently hired a spiritual healer and scientist to bring the team positive energy that will improve performance on the field and fill the stands. The Freedom From Religion Foundation is trying to keep churches empty, however, through their Chicago bus advertisements encouraging the Windy City’s faithful to sleep in on Sunday mornings. She wasn’t driving a bus, but a dispute over a traffic ticket involving a veiled woman in France has intensified controversy over French anti-veil legislation.

Regardless of whether or not you get the religion of soccer, seminarians in Rome are quite happy to put on a pair of cleats. Forget the U.S. tie with England, I’m more interested in the Redemptoris Mater win over the North American Martyrs. Back in Los Angeles, Cardinal Roger Mahoney defends his decision not to tell police about abuse within the Archdiocese. NPR examines the changing role of the Catholic Church in Cuban politics.

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