An interesting article at The Asahi Shimbun describes the story of a church’s cross that managed to survive — though significantly damaged — the US invasion of Okinawa during World War II:
In the closing days of World War II, a vast area of the Shuri district was reduced to ashes. But the cross of the Shuri church, which belongs to the United Church of Christ in Japan, barely withstood the destruction.
When the community built a new church tower in 2008, the congregation voted to rebuild a replica of the damaged cross, rather than a new Read more
Kevin Johnson is the pastor of Bloom in the Desert Ministries United Church of Christ, a small congregation that meets in the local community center in Palm Springs, CA. Johnson is an “out gay man” who, though admitting no connection with the military, took religious issue with President Trump’s tweeted ban on transgenders in the US military:
The trans ban rewards religious prejudice. It does not enhance military readiness. The skills and success of trans military personnel currently serving prove the ban will squander investments in training and cumulative years of service…
Arguably, a ban on a group of individuals does have the potential to “enhance military readiness” if, by Read more
Stephen Boyd, the ecclesiastical endorser for the United Church of Christ (UCC), recently revealed that the US Air Force is actively seeking chaplains that are more friendly to homosexuals. Referring to Chaplain Robert Ward, an Air Force chaplain recruiter, Boyd said:
Chaplain Ward shared that the Air Force has come to realize that the Air Force Chaplain Corps cannot minister to all the men and women who wear the uniform. In the post-Don’t Ask Don’t Tell world and in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act, chaplains who can openly serve the LGB community are scarce…
The Air Force has decided to intentionally recruit men and women from more progressive denominations to serve in the Air Force Chaplain Corps.
To that end, Boyd — who also supports the idea of atheist chaplains — said Ward had sent messages seeking recruiting opportunities to only 12 (of the “more than 200”) military chaplain endorsers: Those 12 had the correct “ecumenical/pluralistic spirit” and Read more
The United Church of Christ has joined a lawsuit in North Carolina claiming its religious freedom is being infringed by a law and the state constitution, which define marriage as one between a man and a woman.
North Carolina criminalizes the act of marrying someone without a valid license — and since no license will be issued to same-gender couples, multiple-partners, or anyone else who isn’t one man and one woman, clergy who performed services for such “marriages” could theoretically be subject to criminal penalties. Since the UCC wants to perform homosexual weddings, they assert their religious exercise is being restricted:
Attorney Jake Sussman, who is representing the plaintiffs, says this is the only existing marriage equality case to make a First Amendment claim. It’s also the first case for marriage Read more
In a fascinating case, the Conservative Baptist Association of America has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Veterans Affairs, essentially alleging that a VA chaplaincy training program is intentionally preventing them from sending chaplains to VA and military medical centers:
The actions of the Secretary within the San Diego VA-DOD CPE Center establishing a secular, humanist and holistic religion which excludes mainstream Judeo-Christian beliefs discriminates against CBAmerica Chaplains, prevents them from practicing their religious beliefs, have forced them out of the program and will, if not corrected, prevent future CBAMERICA Chaplains from completing the program and practicing their faith in the health care facilities serviced by the program.
The VA-DOD CPE Center is responsible for preparing chaplains to serve in military and VA medical facilites around San Diego.
The lawsuit (PDF) relies on the experiences of two CBAmerica chaplains, Read more