Ernesto Cardenal obituary

Poet and priest who mixed religion and politics in his commitment to social justice in Nicaragua In 1983 ministers of the revolutionary Sandinista government lined up on the tarmac to welcome Pope John Paul II on his first visit to Nicaragua. Moments later, TV cameras showed the pontiff wagging a finger at the kneeling Ernesto Cardenal, priest and minister of culture, admonishing him for mixing religion and politics. But for Cardenal, who has died aged 95, there was no distinction between the two. His beliefs as a Roman Catholic growing up in Central America in the 1940s and 50s led him to seek social justice in a country that had for many years suffered under the dynastic rule of the …

‘Dead Sea Scrolls fragments’ at Museum of the Bible are all fakes, study says

Washington museum hired experts to examine purchases from controversial Post-2002 collection When Steve Green paid millions of dollars from his family fortune for 16 fragments of the ancient Dead Sea Scrolls, it seemed the perfect addition to their new Museum of the Bible in Washington DC. But now experts have confirmed what has long been suspected: the artefacts proudly displayed in the nations capital by the owners of the Hobby Lobby chain of stores are not part of one of the most significant archaeological finds of all time. They are worthless forgeries, probably made from old shoe leather. Confirmation of the hoax came in a was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The experts spent six months analyzing each fragment, …

The multimillion-dollar Christian group attacking LGBTQ+ rights

Alliance Defending Freedom reportedly got $55m in donations in 2018 and has lawyers worldwide working against LGBTQ+ people A group of about two dozen people, mostly women, stood on the steps of the Connecticut capitol on a New England winter day with signs reading Protect Womens Sports and #FairPlay. In front stood Christiana Holcomb, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, the conservative Christian legal group representing three cis teen girls in a lawsuit filed this month demanding two transgender teen girls be barred from competing in the female high school sports division. Girls deserve to compete on a level playing field and the Connecticut policy now allows males to compete in the girls category if they identify as female, Holcomb …

‘Satan, be gone!’: Bolivian Christians claim credit for ousting Evo Morales

The fast-growing religious right both Catholic and Protestant see the presidents exit as a first step, leaving many indigenous Bolivians horrified Some blame the defenestration of Evo Morales on a racist, rightwing coup. Others credit a popular revolt against a leader who had overstayed his welcome. Luis Aruquipa Carlo, a hardline pastor from the de facto capital, La Paz, has other ideas. The glory is Gods, proclaimed the evangelical leader who heads a conservative coalition of Bolivian churches called the National Christian Council. Aruquipa claimed that in the hours before Moraless flight to Mexico the leftist received a divine decree: Pharaoh, leave Bolivia in peace! And I believe that just as He freed Israel from the Pharaoh of Egypt, He …

Piety & Power review: how Mike Pence went all-in for Donald Trump

The VP brought the evangelicals to the table but not much else. As impeachment clouds gather, his position seems in peril Mike Pence, meet Dan Quayle. Like Pence, Quayle hailed from Indiana and feared being dumped by a president whose re-election seemed uncertain. In Quayles case, George HW Bush calculated that the cost of unloading his gaffe-prone and draft-avoiding veep outweighed any potential advantage. Quayle kept his spot. Bush lost to Bill Clinton. Pences prospects appear similarly shaky. With Trump trailing in the polls and facing impeachment the result is neither hit job nor hagiography. Rather, the veteran Pence-watcher portrays his subject as a committed Christian with sharp elbows and a sonorous voice, one who has struggled with the tugs …

Extreme abortion laws shine light on Trump’s courting of religious right

Evangelical backing for a thrice-married celebrity is not as odd as it seems: on abortion, the supreme court and more, the president has delivered win after win After bowing his head in prayer, King Cyrus, deeply flawed men who nevertheless carried out Gods will. David Barker, director of the Center for Congressional and Presidential Studies at American University, suggests Christian evangelicals start with an assumption of human depravity that sets expectations low, so Trumps lying and philandering and Twitter rage and can be overlooked. Speaking at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) in Washington, Barker also noted the parallel between Christian nationalism and white nationalism over Trumps 2016 election slogan, Make America great again. He said: While it is certainly true, …

The Guardian view on religious freedom: protect believers | Editorial

Editorial: Across much of the world, millions of people are persecuted for their beliefs The massacre in churches in Sri Lanka forms part of a global pattern of religious persecution and hostility. To target Christian churches on their holiest day of the year is not only an attempt to kill as many families as possible, but also to maximise the shock and demoralising effect of the attack, a tactic familiar from the sectarian wars in Iraq. If this atrocity was perpetrated by jihadis, as seems likely, it is also an attempt to bring about a clash of civilisations. This is not the pattern of most religiously inspired murder, not least because it is an assault by a minority on a …

Western powers using Christianity to ‘subvert’ China, says religious official

Head of state-sanctioned Protestant churches in China says anti-China forces in the west are trying to interfere with social stability The head of Chinas state-sanctioned Protestant church has claimed that western forces are trying to use Christianity to influence society and subvert the government, saying that Chinese Christians needed to follow a Chinese model of the religion. Chinas constitution guarantees religious freedom, but since President Xi Jinping took office six years ago, the government has tightened restrictions on religions seen as a challenge to the authority of the ruling Communist party. The government has deradicalisation programme in its restive far western region of Xinjiang has also caused widespread opprobrium in western capitals and amongst rights groups, who say authorities have …