Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013
Baby Prince George, the son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge–as well as the future king of England–was christened Wednesday in an unusually private ceremony at St. James’ Palace. In attendance were his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, grandfather Prince Charles, uncle Prince Harry, and Catherine’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, plus her siblings, James and Pippa. More from CNN.com:
George was dressed in an elaborate lace and satin christening gown that’s a replica of one made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.
Being baptized into the church is more significant for George than for most people, since he is in line to become king, which would also make him the supreme governor of the Church of England.
The occasion was kept uncharacteristically small, in a shift away from the larger ceremonies that his father and grandfather enjoyed at Buckingham Palace….
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, greeted the guests as they arrived at the chapel.
The royal baby, who was born in July, has seven godparents, among them Prince William’s cousin Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, and close friends of the couple.
They include Oliver Baker, who got to know William and Catherine at St. Andrew’s University, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, who went to school with Catherine, and William van Cutsem, a childhood friend of William.
The other godparents are Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry; Julia Samuel, who was a good friend of William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales; and Earl Grosvenor, son of the Duke of Westminster.
The replica christening gown was brought into use in 2008 to help preserve the 170-year-old original, used until then for every royal christening, including those of Prince William and his father, Charles.
The venue for the christening also has a special significance for Prince William. The body of his mother, Diana, rested in the Chapel Royal for five days before her funeral in 1997.
After the service, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, held a private tea at Clarence House. The guests were served slices of christening cake, which is a tier taken from William and Catherine’s 2011 wedding cake.
Image: Christening gown and cross, via Shutterstock
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Monday, June 3rd, 2013
Boy Scout units hosted by Southern Baptist churches may soon dwindle in number, in response to the Boy Scouts of America’s recent vote to allow openly gay boys to be Scouts. Baptist leaders say the move is counter to their religious beliefs, and they may leave the organization “en masse.” More from CNN’s Belief Blog:
Baptist churches sponsor nearly 4,000 Scout units representing more than 100,000 youths, according to the Boy Scouts of America.
That number could drop precipitously.
The Southern Baptist Convention, the country’s largest Protestant denomination, will soon urge its 45,000 congregations and 16 million members to cut ties with the Scouts, according to church leaders.
The denomination will vote on nonbinding but influential resolutions during a convention June 11-12 in Houston.
“There’s a 100% chance that there will be a resolution about disaffiliation at the convention,” said Richard Land, the longtime head of the Southern Baptists’ Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, “and a 100% chance that 99% of people will vote for it.”
“Southern Baptists are going to be leaving the Boy Scouts en masse,” Land continued.
Roger “Sing” Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, emphasized that local congregations make their own decision on the Scouts.
But he, too, said he expects Baptist delegates, which the church calls “messengers,” to voice their disagreement with the BSA’s decision to allow gay youths.
“With this policy change, the Boy Scouts’ values are contradictory to the basic values of our local churches,” Oldham said.
Image: Church, via Shutterstock
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Friday, May 24th, 2013
On the witness stand at the trial concerning whether yoga classes at the public schools in the Encinitas Union School District in Southern California are legal, Indiana University religious studies professor Candy Brown testified that the program is, essentially, religious in nature and therefore inappropriately defined as a purely physical education program. The San Diego Union-Tribune has more:
The district introduced yoga as a pilot program in 2011 and expanded it to all nine of its schools in January. Funding comes from the KP Jois Foundation, which champions a style of yoga called Ashtanga.
Yoga is part of the campuses’ physical-education offerings, and district officials said students are simply doing stretching exercises with no religious connections. Families uncomfortable with the exercises can have their students opt out.
Some parents said the district should not offer yoga at all because its religious roots can never be eliminated. Stephen and Jennifer Sedlock are suing the district in San Diego Superior Court; they’re being represented by attorney Dean Broyles, president of the Escondido-based National Center for Law & Policy.
Brown, a professor at Indiana University, began her second day on the witness stand Tuesday morning by recalling the origins of Ashtanga yoga and how they have been modified in Encinitas schools. Quoting from the KP Jois Foundation’s literature and referring to her own research, Brown said the very act of performing yoga moves can be considered religious.
“The purpose of Ashtanga yoga is to become one with Brahma,” she said, referring to a Hindu deity.
Brown also said there is no distinction between the physical and spiritual aspects of yoga. Children in the district’s program do not chant or use terms associated with Hinduism, but Brown said that does not make the yoga secular.
“Jois is very, very clear that the practice may appear physical, but that is very, very wrong,” she said. “It produces spiritual transformation.”
Citing written statements from teachers in the district, Brown said there is evidence that some children have chanted while performing poses. Judge John Meyer suggested that those students may have learned the chants outside of school, but Brown said it still demonstrates that they have an understanding of yoga’s spiritual ties.
Image: Girl doing yoga, via Shutterstock
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Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
A Pennsylvania couple who believes in the power of prayer to heal all illnesses–and refuses all forms of modern medical treatment–may be facing charges after their 8-month-old son died last week. In 2009, Herbert and Catherine Schaible’s 2-year-old son died, an incident that resulted in the couple being sentenced to 10 years probation. More from NBC News:
Authorities have yet to file criminal charges in the death of the child last week, after he suffered with diarrhea and breathing problems for days. But charges could be filed once authorities pinpoint how the boy died. An official cause of death is pending an autopsy, according to police.
The child was taken to a funeral home by an as yet unknown individual and the undertaker alerted police, Russell said.
In 2010, a jury convicted the Schaibles, who have seven other children, of involuntary manslaughter and child endangerment in Kent’s death from pneumonia. The Schaibles were sentenced to probation over prison time.
As part of their sentence, the Schaibles were required to arrange medical examinations for each of their children, to immediately consult with a doctor when a child became sick and to follow the doctor’s treatment recommendations.
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Friday, March 1st, 2013
San Diego Christian College fired Teri James last fall after it was discovered that James, who was not married, was pregnant. The school cited its policy against premarital sex in the firing, but James has nevertheless filed a lawsuit in San Diego County superior court, as Today.com reports:
She says she was fired because, as the termination letter included in the suit stated: “Teri engaged in activity outside the scope of the Handbook and Community Covenant that does not build up the college’s mission.”
Speaking by phone with her lawyer, Gloria Allred, James said she felt humiliated.
“I had to leave right after the meeting. I had to go into the office with all of my co-workers and say I’m leaving,” James said. “I never came back so I don’t know what my co-workers thought, but for me, it was humiliating. I felt like I was in trouble.”
Also insulting, James said, was that after firing her, the school offered a job to her then-fiancé – they are now married – even though it was known that he, too, engaged in premarital sex. He did not accept the job, she said.
In filing the suit, James joins a group of women who in recent years have sued the religious schools that fired them for getting pregnant out of wedlock. In each case, the school pointed to moral codes, “community covenants” and handbooks that employees must sign, typically every year, promising to abide by school rules.
Image: Pregnant woman, via Shutterstock
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