Worshipers pray at a 2005 memorial service for Pope John Paul II in Baghdad, Iraq. (Photo by Wathiq Khuzaie/Getty Images)

The days of inherited faith are waning. According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life, by 2008 44 percent of American adults had converted from the faith in which their parents raised them — but about 16 percent of those moves were from one Protestant church to another. The most popular reason Christians gave for changing Protestant churches was that they found another one they liked better.

People today enjoy many opportunities to explore faith. The expectation that children will keep the faith of their parents has eased, and tolerance toward other ways of believing has increased. More than ever, Christians have choices — and choices invite introspection. Why am I this kind of Christian, and not that kind of Christian? Or perhaps the question may be, why do I remain in the tradition I chose or was born into, despite the division and the madness?

At the Threshold we are exploring the “Why” question with readers and writers of different Christian traditions.  Read More…

Sister Simone Campbell

Airwaves are abuzz with sound bites and video clips from the speech of Sister Simone Campbell, executive director of the Roman Catholic social justice organization NETWORK and leader of Nuns on the Bus.  In expressing her support for the Obama-Biden presidential ticket, Campbell spoke in terms of universal human appeal, but did not shy away from calling Paul Ryan’s proposed budget immoral.  

From a religious perspective, Sister Simone Campbell’s message represents compliance as much as protest.  She introduced her appeal not as her own opinion, or even that of NETWORK or Nuns on the Bus, but as an expression of “our shared catholic faith.”  While news agencies quote her line that Ryan’s budget fails the moral test, Campbell actually attributed this determination to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).  This is more than a hat-tip.  NETWORK has been the target of an investigation and criticism by the Vatican and USCCB for failing to push the anti-abortion and anti-gay positions usually associated with the Republican Party.  So why the open show of submission? Read More…

A group of protesters demonstrate at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans on Aug. 12 to support nuns and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

From the Catholic News Agency

St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 14 – The Leadership Conference of Women Religious has begun talks with the archbishop tasked with its reform, but says it will not make fundamental changes to its expression of consecrated religious life.

During its recent national assembly, the group instructed its board members “to articulate its belief that religious life, as it is lived by the women religious who comprise LCWR, is an authentic expression of this life that must not be compromised,” the conference of sisters said in an Aug. 13 statement.

On Aug. 11, one day after the assembly’s close, the national board of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious met for the first time with Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle, who was assigned by the Vatican to address doctrinal concerns within the conference. Read the entire article here: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/lcwr-meets-archbishop-says-way-of-life-must-not-be-compromised/

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Roman Catholic Bishops and Evangelical Church leaders have declared that the Obama Administration has gone to war against religion – meaning their religion, or at least religion as they proclaim it from their leadership positions, which is not necessarily the same as what the vast majority of their members believe. The accusation of war is stretched to take the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom.

Is someone making a bad joke, or has the gradual union of conservative Christians and the Republican Party finally crossed the boundaries of traditional and theological church differences to form a conservative church party within the political party? Has the opposition of Roman Catholic bishops and evangelical leaders to Obama finally become the unapologetic involvement of those institutional churches in national elective politics? Read More…