Press-Republican

Columns

December 31, 2012

Hot news on the religion news beat in 2012

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. — 'Twas the Sunday night before the election and the Rev. Robert Jeffress took to the pulpit to offer a message that, from his point of view, was both shocking and rather nuanced.

The bottom line: If Barack Obama won a second White House term, this would be yet another sign that the reign of the Antichrist is near.

Inquiring minds wanted to know if the leader of the highly symbolic First Baptist Church of Dallas was suggesting that the president was truly You Know Anti-who.

"I want you to hear me tonight: I am not saying that President Obama is the Antichrist. I am not saying that at all," said Jeffress, who previously made headlines during a national rally of conservative politicos by calling Mormonism a "theological cult."

"President Obama is not the Antichrist. But what I am saying is this: The course he is choosing to lead our nation is paving the way for the future reign of the Antichrist."

That's pretty strong rhetoric, until one considers how hot things got on the religion-and-politics beat in 2012. After all, one Gallup poll found that an amazing 44 percent of Americans surveyed responded "don't know" when asked to identify the president's faith. The good news was that a mere 11 percent in that poll said Obama is a Muslim down from 18 percent in a Pew Research Center poll in 2010. The president has, of course, repeatedly professed that he is a liberal, mainline Christian.

Could church-state affairs get any hotter?

Amazingly the answer was "yes," with a White House order requiring most religious institutions to offer health-care plans covering sterilizations and all FDA-approved forms of contraception, including so-called "morning-after pills." The key: The Health and Human Services mandate only recognizes the conscience rights of a nonprofit group if it has the "inculcation of religious values as its purpose," primarily employs "persons who share its religious tenets" and primarily "serves persons who share its religious tenets."

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg Easter with doubters and the 'nones'

    Should more pastors ask this blunt question: "Do you really believe Jesus was raised from the dead?" wonders religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Canadiens are Canada's team

    The National Hockey League playoffs are underway, and for Canadiens fans, many of whom likely reside in the Montreal "suburb" of Plattsburgh, it is a time of hope and joy.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • little_mug.jpg There's no saw like an old saw Kaye and I laughed ourselves silly the other day as we tried to top each other with our own sayings from childhood, columnist Gordie Little writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Denenberg_Stu1.jpg Privacy concerns make a comeback

    There's a growing concern amongst the millennials, columnist Stu Denenberg writes.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • paul_grasso.jpg Several options exist for downtown

    Pedestrian mall just one idea that could be good for city's economic future, according to columnist Paul Grasso.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • colin_read.jpg Government can't create success on its own

    It takes a grass-roots community effort of people working together to assure future accomplishment, according to columnist Colin Read.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hagar_mug1.jpg Farmers strive for sustainability

    Conserving the land and assuring long-term profitability are two of the key goals for farmers these days, according to columnist Peter Hagar.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Black_Peter_2014_cropped.jpg Big shift in Quebec vote

    Being a man of science, Philippe Couillard, premier-designate of Quebec, chose to use a geological term (though his field is actually medicine) to describe what happened in Monday's election, writes Canadian columnist Peter Black.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Terry_Mattingly.jpg A monastery in the Hebrides, after 1,000 years

    Before Father Seraphim Aldea can build a monastery on Scotland's Mull Island, he needs to have a working septic system, writes religion columnist Terry Mattingly.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tobias_Sue_012914.jpg Old movies offer more than entertaining TV

    Columnist Susan Tobias and her husband, Toby, are reminded of simple childhood memories while watching an old black-and-white movie.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo

Peter Black: Canadian Dispatch

Lois Clermont, Editor

Cornell Cooperative Extension
Richard Gast: Cornell Ag Extension

Bob Grady

Guest Columns
Peter Hagar: Cornell Ag Connection

Health Advice

Ray Johnson: Climate Science
Gordie Little: Small Talk

Terry Mattingly: On Religion

Steve Ouellette: You Had To Ask

Colin Read: Everybody's Business

Pinch of Time