The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints posted an official statement on Friday denouncing its previous theories that black skin color is a sign of a divine curse, or that black people are descended from the biblical figure Cain, and said that its past ban on black priests stemmed from an announcement from former church president Brigham Young in 1852.
"The Church disavows the theories advanced in the past that black skin is a sign of divine disfavor or curse, or that it reflects actions in a premortal life; that mixed-race marriages are a sin; or that blacks or people of any other race or ethnicity are inferior in any way to anyone else," the 2,000 word statement on the official church website read. "Church leaders today unequivocally condemn all racism, past and present, in any form."
While the ban on black priests was lifted in 1978, The Associated Press and other sources have pointed out that there had never been much in the way of explanation from the church for its past stance. more >>
Church leaders around the world have paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, with Pope Francis praying that people will follow the example of justice and common good set forth by South Africa's first-ever black president.
"In commending the soul of the deceased to the infinite mercy of Almighty God, I ask the Lord to console and strengthen all who mourn his loss," Francis wrote in a telegram on Friday, sending his condolences to Mandela's family and all the people in South Africa.
"Paying tribute to the steadfast commitment shown by Nelson Mandela in promoting the human dignity of all the nation's citizens and in forging a new South Africa built on the firm foundations of non-violence, reconciliation and truth, I pray that the late President's example will inspire generations of South Africans to put justice and the common good at the forefront of their political aspirations." more >>
Leaders from the Assemblies of God and Church of God in Christ participated in a historic meeting in Springfield, Mo., earlier this week, marking the first time two of America's largest Pentecostal movements gathered for dialogue.
"This is a wonderful day," said AG General Superintendent George O. Wood. "Meeting with our like-minded brothers from the Church of God in Christ is something we and the leadership of COGIC have longed to do for years, and now it has finally happened!"
During a chapel service, Wood reflected that the long-standing separation between the two groups occurred because of the racial culture in America almost a century ago, which shaped the church rather than the Bible. He added that the meeting represents a step toward healing that rift and moving forward. more >>
A Pew Research Center survey on end-of-life decisions has found big differences among Americans, with most white mainline Protestants indicating they would like all treatments stopped so they could die when faced of a terminal disease and great pain, while most black Protestants would want everything to be done to save their lives.
The poll, conducted between March 21 to April 8, 2013 among 1,994 adults with a margin of error plus or minus 2.9 percentage points, found that of all adults, 57 percent would want all treatments stopped in a hopeless situation in which they were in a lot of pain, with 35 percent preferring doctors do everything possible to keep fighting for their lives.
However, if the incurable disease simply made it hard for them to function in day-to-day life, respondents to the poll were split right down the middle – 46 percent said they would prefer treatments stopped, another 46 percent said they would want efforts to continue, while 9 percent were not sure. more >>
A former Roman Catholic priest who left the church and got married has described the celibacy requirement for priests as "self-destructive," an argument which Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights called "pure rubbish."
"Why Thomas Groome would enter the priesthood counting on the Catholic Church to change its teaching on celibacy suggests bad judgment: no one would join a vegetarian association hoping it would soon allow for the consumption of hot dogs," Donohue told The Christian Post on Tuesday.
"In any event, I am delighted he found happiness when he married, but his notions about celibacy causing self-destructive behavior are pure rubbish. Indeed, self-destructive behavior is what marks Hollywood, not exactly a bastion of celibacy." more >>
Pope Francis tackled a number of big theological issues in a sermon on Sunday at the Vatican, including the denial of the resurrection, and the question of whether people will be married in heaven.
Speaking about the Sadducees, a Jewish sect from the time of Jesus, Pope Francis noted that they attempted to ridicule the belief in resurrection when they asked Jesus who will a woman be married to in heaven if she has had seven husbands on earth who died one after the other.
"Jesus explains that life after death has different parameters from our life on earth: eternal life is a different life, in a different dimension where, among other things, matrimony will no longer exist," the Roman Catholic Church leader said, according to Vatican Radio. "The risen, Jesus says, will be like angels, and they will live in a different state of being, which we cannot achieve or even imagine right now." more >>