Daily briefs of the top news stories impacting Christians around the world.
In today's edition:
- Rob Bell Affirmed Gay Christians in 2012 as 'Passionate Disciples of Jesus'
- California Schools to Now Include LGBT-Themed Books
- Justin Welby Installed as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury
- UK Graphic Designer Refused Job Because of Christian Faith
Rob Bell Affirmed Gay Christians in 2012 as 'Passionate Disciples of Jesus'
While some Christians have expressed disappointment over Rob Bell's recent announcement that he supports same-sex marriage, the former Mars Hill Bible Church pastor had made comments in the past that were indicative of a gay-affirming view, the Christian Post reports. During a Q&A session at The Viper Room in Los Angeles last July, Bell told the audience, "Some people are gay, and you're our brothers, and you're our sisters, and we love you. It's really, really, really important that we're clear," he added, as he described a past gay friend as "holy, loving and generous." He continued: "At an early age, I was like 'Some people are gay. God loves them just like God loves me. They're passionate disciples of Jesus just like I'm trying to be.' So let's all get together and try to do something about the truly big problems in our world, that I believe Jesus would have us ban together and tackle together."
California Schools to Now Include LGBT-Themed Books
The California Department of Education's newest reading list for students K-12 includes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender literature, prompting complaints from critics who say a leftist agenda is being pushed on kids, Fox News reports. Controversial topics have been introduced to California students in the past, but this is the first time the state has put forth works celebrated by the Stonewall Book Awards, which since 1971 has recognized LGBT literature. The reading list has been met with controversy by those who say it promotes the LGBT lifestyle to children at such a young age. "It's a frightening trend," said American Family Radio talk show host Sandy Rios. "The reading lists are very overtly propagating a point of view that is at odds with most American parents. Leftist educators are advocates of everything from socialism to sexual anarchy. It's very base; it's raping the innocence of our children."
Justin Welby Installed as 105th Archbishop of Canterbury
Justin Welby, the 57-year old former oil executive who quit the world of high finance in 1992 to become a priest, was enthroned March 21 as the 105th archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the world's 77 million Anglicans, the Religion News Service reports. Welby, a married father of five, had been a bishop in Durham for only a year when he was tapped to succeed Rowan Williams as Britain's top churchman. He inherits a church wracked by internal divisions over the ordination of women bishops and continuing strains within the larger Anglican Communion over divisive issues of sexuality. Welby made no specific mention in his sermon of the challenges that await him, but spoke in his sermon of not being afraid of new things and fresh challenges. While he remains opposed to a new British law that would sanction same-sex marriage, Welby surprised the church's pro-gay lobby by telling a reporter from the BBC that some gay couples have loving, stable and monogamous relationships of "stunning" quality. Despite his closeness to the British establishment and his considerable personal wealth, he is regarded as a "man of the people." Soon after being appointed, Welby annoyed senior politicians by speaking out against enormous salaries and bonuses paid to bankers. He has also condemned proposed cuts to the government's welfare program. While some observers see him trying to position the church as a kind of "unofficial opposition" to the center-right government led by Prime Minister David Cameron, Welby said he only seeks to "be clear about what Christian values are. Being political is necessary. Being party political is something you avoid."
UK Graphic Designer Refused Job Because of Christian Faith
A graphic designer in the United Kingdom is suing a hotel after claiming he was turned down for a job there because he is a Christian, WORLD News Service reports. Jamie Haxby said he felt "victimized and persecuted" when Celie Parker, manager of Prested Hall Hotel, "apologized for inviting him to the interview after discovering he was a committed Christian," according to the British newspaper The Daily Mail. Haxby said Parker told him his presence might upset atheists working in the hotel. The Daily Mail says this case "is unprecedented because Mr. Haxby apparently faced discrimination merely on the basis of his beliefs rather than his actions, such as wearing a cross." Haxby said his portfolio contained designs for flyers he had done for his church, as well as a T-shirt for a Christian charity. Until then, he said, "everything was going well, and I felt happy with how the interview was progressing. Celie made several comments about the high standard of my work and how talented I was."
Publication date: March 25, 2013