When the Church Has Let You Down

A few steps forward for those who have been hurt by church leaders. Read More

After two weeks of meetings, Catholic bishops did not come to an agreement on a revised official stance on homosexuality. The church leaders also failed to come to a consensus on whether or not remarried Catholics—who had been divorced—could receive communion. The bishops were called to the historic synod by Pope Francis after new polls revealed that the Vatican’s views of family life were seen as dated. However, despite heated discussions that led some to believe that major shifts in how the church actively ministered in the LGBT community were coming, no significant new agreements were forged. Even a revised report on the meetings—which removed several statements from an earlier report that contained positive language concerning gays and lesbians—did not receive a two-thirds vote of support from the group of bishops.

The latest version of the report said that same-sex couples were not “"God's design of matrimony and the family," but cautioned, “Nonetheless, men and women with homosexual tendencies must be welcomed with respect and delicacy.” It’s unclear how close the bishops are to revising their position on allowing remarried divorced church members to receive Holy Communion, as the report only said that they will continue to examine the issue. Following the synod, Pope Francis gave a speech, saying, “The Church is called to waste no time in seeking to bind up open wounds and to rekindle hope in so many people who have lost hope.” The more than 200 bishops will meet again next fall to discuss similar issues ... Discuss

The latest movie from filmmaker Christopher Nolan—the director behind blockbusters including The Dark Knight trilogy and Inception—doesn’t even come out until next month, but the trailers for Interstellar have already made it one of the most highly anticipated movies in recent memory. Now, thanks to this trailer, we get to see what another beloved sci-fi adventure would look like if it was helmed by Nolan: Disney’s WALL.E. You know you’d totally watch this version ... Discuss

Following a firestorm of controversy, officials in Houston have revised a subpoena issued to several pastors seeking to find out if they made statements related to recently-passed legislation. However, the details of the revisions are still drawing some questions from critics of the move.

Here’s how it all started: A few months ago, Houston’s City Council passed “H.E.R.O.”, an anti-discrimination ordinance that contained specific protections for members of the LGBT community. A handful of local religious leaders objected to elements of the measure, and several groups sought to repeal H.E.R.O. More than 50,000 signatures were collected to have the repeal included on a ballot. After the city attorney determined that a portion of the signatures were invalid (even though only 17,000 were required), they were disregarded out, and the people who collected them sued the city. In response, Houston officials issued a subpoena to five pastors to see if they improperly instructed congregants to collect signatures. It sought, “All speeches, presentations, or sermons related to HERO, the Petition, Mayor Annise Parker, homosexuals, or gender identity prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.”

Critics of the subpoena called it an infringement on religious liberty and an attack on free speech. The city however, said that their intention was simply in response to the lawsuit, and was issued to determine if pastors had acted illegally by getting church members to collect signatures. On Friday, the subpoena was revised, nixing the word “sermon” and narrowing the overall scope to require, “All speeches or presentations related to HERO or the Petition prepared by, delivered by, revised by, or approved by you or in your possession.” Critics of the move, however, still appear to be unsatisfied with subpoena’s revision ... Discuss

New reports of violence by the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram have tragically raised doubts as to whether the militants will release the more than 200 schoolgirls they kidnapped back in April. Last week, the Nigerian government said that they had reached a ceasefire deal, and Boko Haram leaders had agreed to free the girls whose abduction gained international attention and started the #BringBackOurGirls campaign.

Over the course of the last four days—including the same day the ceasefire was announced—Boko Haram militants reportedly attacked several towns, sparking new rounds of fighting with the military. The violence casts doubts over the Islamists' initial promise to release the girls as part of a ceasefire agreement. For months Boko Haram has wage a brutal campaign of violence in northern Nigeria which has even spilled in to neighboring countries, killing hundreds. The Islamic terrorist group has raided villages, burned Christian churches, targeted fellow Muslims whom they disagree with, kidnapped children, car-bombed urban areas and indiscriminately murdered civilians. The kidnapping of the girls—and threats to sell them into sex slavery—sparked international outrage and military intelligence aid from several countries, including the United States. Despite the attention and international efforts, little has been done to stop Boko Haram’s on-going terrorism or to actually secure the release of the girls ... Discuss