Saturday, December 14, 2013

LDS Women Suit Up For Second 'Wear Pants to Church Day'

Posted By on Sat, Dec 14, 2013 at 2:00 PM


A unusual protest will be repeated this weekend at some Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints houses of worship, as advocates of inclusion participate in what is being called the “The Second Annual Wear Pants to Church Day.”

“Our approach is not protesting any church doctrine or leadership. If anything it is a protest against the culture—against other members of the church—who have decided to create controversy over who is accepted in our church walls,” said Jerilyn Pool, who is the organizer of this year’s event, a member of the LDS church and a self-described Mormon feminist.

More than 1,000 LDS women participated in the inaugural Wear Pants to Church Day in 2012. The women who wore pants to church and the men who wore purple ties in solidarity received some pushback.

“Other LDS members see it as a feminist protest against the church, but that is not how we view to characterize it at all,” Pool told Boise Weekly. “I believe we are standing in solidarity with our leadership, who over and over had said the church is for everyone.”

Dieter Uchtdorf, second counselor in the First Presidency of the LDS church, made headlines in October, when he stated in an address to the LDS membership, that the church had “made mistakes” and “there is room” for everyone in the church, regardless of circumstances and beliefs.

Pool said Uchtdorf's remarks were precedent-setting for the church.

“The church I belong to is for everyone. So when I am wearing pants it is just a little way of bucking against the culture of the church and saying, ‘Let us recognize what is culture and what is doctrine,’ said Pool. "Our doctrine is such that everyone is welcome. But our culture is that not everyone is welcome.”

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Friday, December 13, 2013

U.S. Judge Orders Dismantling of Mountaintop Cross

Posted By on Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 9:48 AM

Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial, San Diego, CA
  • Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial, San Diego, CA

A familiar debate has erupted in Southern California where a U.S. judge has ordered a cross removed from a mountaintop because it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. The order came down Dec. 12 from U.S. district Judge Larry Burns, who has ordered the dismantling of the 43-foot cross atop Mount Soledad in San Diego. The judge has ordered the cross, which was erected in 1954 in honor of Korean War veterans, to be removed within 90 days.

A cross has stood atop Boise's Table Rock for almost as long. The six-story cross was erected in 1956. And in 1999, an Illinois atheist unsuccessfully sought its dismantling. But the suit triggered approximately 10,000 people to march on the Idaho Capitol in support of the cross.

The Table Rock Cross has been maintained and lit by 2,600 LED lamps for years by the Idaho Jaycees Inc. The land was originally owned by the Idaho State Department of Correction, but the 3,080-square-foot parcel became the property of the Jaycees in the 1970s.

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Sunday, December 1, 2013

Evangelii Gaudium: The Pope's 'Earthquake'

Posted By on Sun, Dec 1, 2013 at 9:59 AM


The Vatican estimates that there are 1.2 billion Roman Catholics in the world—approximately 85 million in North America. As many of them attended houses of worship today, they heard for the first time about something called "Evangelii Gaudium"—translation, "The Joy of the Gospel"—a new startling new document from Pope Francis that speaks to citizens' duty to the poor and homeless, the globalization of indifference and, in particular, the negative impacts of trickle-down economics.

In Francis' just-published white paper he asks, "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points?"

More pointedly, Francis writes that the trickle-down theory "has never been confirmed by the facts," and it "expresses a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power."

The Argentinian-born pope also has some choice words for those who wield such power, including public servants:

"It is vital that government leaders and financial leaders take heed and broaden their horizons, working to ensure that all citizens have dignified work, education and health care."

And the world is taking notice. In this morning's Malta Today, editors call the document "an earthquake" and the National Catholic Reporter called Evangelii Gaudium, Francis' "I have a dream speech."

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Ada County Commissioners Will Consider Proposed LDS Temple in Meridian

Posted By on Wed, Oct 23, 2013 at 10:41 AM

A proposed LDS temple is slated to go up on North Linder Road.
  • A proposed LDS temple is slated to go up on North Linder Road.

The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says,"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.." and while no one is disputing the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints' desire to build a new temple, at least one Ada County landowner is pushing back against where the LDS church wants to build its fifth Idaho temple. Boise, Twin Falls, Idaho Falls and Rexburg already are home to existing LDS temples.

Church leaders wants to build the temple on 12 acres along the Boise River near Linder Road, a few blocks north of Chinden Boulevard.

Ada County Planning and Zoning Commissioners have already held two sessions where the public was able to weigh in on the plans and ultimately approved the project Aug. 22. But an appeal to the decision was filed by a neighboring landowner. The appeal will be heard at this evening's public hearing before the Ada County Commissioners.

Ada County officials say they expect a large crowd at this evening's hearing. Testimony will begin at 6 p.m., and just in case the Ada County Courthouse Public Hearing Room reaches capacity, officials have already made accommodations for overflow space in the Courthouse lobby and the Jury commissioners assembly room on the fourth floor of the courthouse. While there won't be any seating in the lobby, seats will be available on the 4th floor, with both locations offering video and audio.

Ada County officials also stress that everyone who wishes to testify in person will be afforded the opportunity.

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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Federal Judge: Jesus Statue Can Remain Atop Ski Mountain

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 9:21 AM

The Jesus statue has been on Whitefish Mountain since 1953
  • The Jesus statue has been on Whitefish Mountain since 1953

A federal judge says a statue of Jesus, regularly outfitted with goggles and ski poles, can stay atop Montana's Whitefish Mountain.

In 1953, the Knights of Columbus won permission from the U.S. Forest Service to erect the statue on a parcel of federal land along a ski run maintained by the Whitefish Mountain Resort. But an organization called Freedom from Religion sued the USFS and Flathead National Forest, saying that the statue violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

June 25, U.S. District Judge Dana Christensen granted the Knights of Columbus an 10-year permit for the statue to remain on the site.

"The statue's secular and irreverent uses far outweigh the few religious uses it has served," wrote Christensen. "Typical observers of the statue are more interested in giving it a high-five or adorning it in ski gear than sitting before it in prayer."

But a spokesperson for Freedom from Religion wasn't happy.

"Having an irreverent purpose is just as inappropriate as having a reverent purpose," Freedom from Religion's Annie Gaylor told the Associated Press. "I'm kind of indignant."

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Monday, April 29, 2013

Wife of Boise Pastor: Husband Moved To Iran Prison's Solitary Confinement

Posted By on Mon, Apr 29, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini
  • Courtesy ACLJ
  • Saeed and Naghmeh Abedini

The wife of an Idaho pastor, sentenced to prison in Iran after being accused to trying to convert someone to Christianity, says her husband has now been moved into solitary confinement. Naghmeh Abedini, wife of Saeed Abedini of Boise's Calvary Chapel Church, shared the update via Facebook the evening of April 28.

"Last night Saeed was taken with 10 other prisoners to solitary confinement," she wrote. "I heard from trusted sources inside of Iran that there was a silent protest by the prisoners of ward 350 protesting the harsh treatment and their own treatment and lack of medical attention inside of the prison."

Abedini also wrote that she has reason to believe that her husband's health "is worsening."

"He has internal bleeding and now issues with his kidneys because of the beatings," she wrote.

In January, Saeed was sentenced to eight years in prison after being put under house arrest in June 2012 and then jailed in September 2012. He had traveled to Iran to visit family and help build an orphanage.

“From the very beginning, Iranian authorities have lied about all aspects of this case, even releasing rumors of his expected release," said Jordan Sekulow, Executive Director of the American Center for Law and Justice. "Iran has not only abused its own laws, it has trampled on the fundamentals of human rights. We call on the citizens of the world to rise up in protest. We call on governments around the world to stand and defend Pastor Saeed.”

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Boise Bishop Celebrates New Pope

Posted By on Wed, Mar 13, 2013 at 3:06 PM

Pope Francis I is the first pontiff from the Americas.
  • Pope Francis I is the first pontiff from the Americas.

Bishop Michael Driscoll of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Boise said Wednesday afternoon that he joined Catholics around the world to "offer my support and prayers for our new pope, Pope Francis."

The 76-year-old Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected pope—the Catholic Church's first Jesuit pope and the first pontiff from the Americas—and took the name Pope Francis I.

"I have never personally met him, but it is clear he has the prayerful and spiritual gifts to lead the Catholic Church in the world today," said Driscoll. "I am confident Pope Francis will work to guide the church through the new evangelization and make us stronger witnesses of Christ to the world. I ask all Catholics in Idaho to pray for our new leader as 'the servant of the servants of God' and successor to St. Peter."

Bergoglio spent nearly his entire career in his homeland of Argentina. He reportedly received the second-most votes after Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI, in the 2005 papel election.

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Monday, February 11, 2013

Where There's Smoke: How a Pope is Elected

Posted By on Mon, Feb 11, 2013 at 9:03 AM


A papal resignation is a rare event. The last time a pope resigned, Christopher Columbus hadn't been born yet.

A Vatican spokesperson said this morning that a papal election is expected by mid-March.

So how exactly does the Vatican elect its leader?

It all begins with a meeting known as a papal conclave, where the College of Cardinals elects a pope by ballot. The college is a goup of cardinals—usually more than a hundred—that convenes at the Vatican to choose a successor after a pope's death or resignation.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Atheists Want Jesus Statue Removed From Ski Mountain

Posted By on Thu, Nov 29, 2012 at 9:17 AM

  • The Jesus statue has been on Whitefish Mountain since 1955.

Boiseans who remember the city's emotional tug-of-war over a public display of the Ten Commandments may take note of a Montana lawsuit from an organization called Freedom From Religion wanting to remove the statue of Jesus at Whitefish Mountain Resort.

Whitfeish skiiers are very familiar with the Jesus statue, which traditionally dons a skiier's helmet and holds a ski pole, compliments of recreationists.

But the atheist group doesn't find anything funny about the matter and has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Missoula, charging that the Jesus statue violates the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The suit names as defendants the U.S. Forest Service and Flathead National Forest, which allows the statue to remain.

This morning's Missoulian reports that Flathead National Forest officials "estimate they received more than 95,000 comments from the public, the bulk of which were in favor the statue."

The statue has occupied the space on Big Mountain since 1955.

The Missoulian reports that the trial is scheduled for March 2013.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Study: Fewer Protestants, More Americans With No Religious Affiliation

Posted By on Tue, Oct 9, 2012 at 8:51 AM

A new study indicates that Protestants are no longer in the majority in the United States, due in large part to the growing number of Americans who say they have no religious affiliation.

The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life issued a report this morning that said approximately 20 percent of Americans have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15 percent in the last five years. That number pushed down the number of Protestants to 48 percent, the first time in the study's history that Protestants fell below the 50 percent mark.

The Pew study found that the number of unaffiliated Americans included a broad range of groups: men and women, college graduates and those without a college degree, people earning less than $30,000 annually and those earning $75,000 or more.

Analysts said they expected more growth in the "none" category. One-third of adults under the age of 30 have no religious affiliation, compared to only 9 percent of people 65 and older.


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