Spokane’s Religion News Roundup: Feb. 24

By Tracy Simmons
SpokaneFAVS.com 

Rev. Marvin Harada speaks at Buddhist convention/Tracy Simmons - SpokaneFAVS

Since you’re a dedicated SpokaneFAVS reader you already know more than 300 Buddhists swarmed to the city last weekend for the 65th annual Northwest Buddhist Convention. But did you know that it was a convention for Shin Buddhists? Do you even know what a Shin Buddhist is? You can find out next week when the Spokane Buddhist Temple’s Introduction to Jodo Shinshu Buddhism class starts.

Last week Washington became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage. The story’s a week old, but it’s still a hot topic. Actually, it’s scorching. Bishop James E. Waggoner of the Episcopal Diocese of Spokane isn’t shying away from the contentious legislation and said he, “welcome[d] the decision and am grateful that it recognizes the reality of relationships already being lived out faithfully and lovingly. The validation of legal status and related rights, including benefits, is overdue.” You can read about how Waggoner and the state’s other Episcopal bishops getting involved here.

In Catholic news, Bishop Blase Cupich of the Catholic Diocese of Spokane has gotten national attention for his column in America: The National Catholic Weekly. While many bishops are not happy with Obama’s contraception coverage mandate accommodation, Cupich’s been praised for his optimistic outlook and call for civility:

“I believe that an even greater opportunity is before us, namely to have a deeper and on a more prolonged basis a fundamental dialogue about the role of religion in society in general and the nature of religious liberty, especially as it applies to faith-based charitable, health and social service ministries in the United States, in particular. I also believe that the president, relying on his personal experience with church, which he cited once again this week, has not only the potential but also the responsibility to make a significant contribution to this more sustained and expansive discussion.”

Speaking of Catholics, Gonzaga made big news last week when the university announced Archbishop Desmond Tutu (not a Catholic) would be the keynote speaker for the undergraduate commencement ceremony in May. But you better be attached to a graduate if you want to go — space is limited.

Local Lutherans are using this Lenten season as a reminder of the Eastern Washington-Idaho Synod’s commitment to an Anti-Malaria Campaign. You can read Bishop Martin Wells’ Lenten reflection here.

Finally, a shout-out to the Latter-day Sentinel for highlighting the Coeur d’Alene First Ward for their work in fighting homelessness.

Have something you think should be included in next week’s roundup? Email it to tracy.simmons@religionnews.com

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One response to “Spokane’s Religion News Roundup: Feb. 24

  1. My particular sreentit in these discussions is why so much airplay is given to extremists who espouse atheist beliefs? There certainly are significant differences between those with religious faith and those with atheistic faith but if the need for respectful and skillful dialog is imperative between people of difference to foster peace and understanding it seems remarkably destructive for atheists to position themselves as far too superior to enter into respectful dialog with people of difference. If I as a Christian described my Atheist or Jewish or Islamic neighbor as vermin I wonder how far I would get in building a constructive and peaceful community?i wonder if there is a more moderate atheistic voice out there certainly in Britain where the education system requires the teaching of spirituality in schools and accommodates even atheists in this program by classifying atheism as a belief system must have produced some more moderate voices on this topic. I wonder also if a person battling with the disease of alcoholism might offer an image of a person in need regardless of whether they believe or do not believe in God. Neediness is not monopolized only by those who believe in God and I suspect it is a part of the human condition I’ve yet to meet a person that on some level does not have needs, the beauty of humanity is in both the diversity in which people choose to satisfy their needs and the compassion with which many will attempt to satisfy the needs of others regardless of their belief backgrounds. As to why extreme atheists are nervous of moderates and liberal, I think it is in large part because they construct their arguments by starting with a description of a God that they do not believe in and then proceed to demolish their created God with ‘so called’ logic. The problem they have with moderates is that their description of God in no way describes the God which moderates and liberals know. In order to deal with this complication in their argument they must make moderates and their descriptions of God illegitimate. I have even heard Richard Dawkins describe the God of the non fundamentalists as not a proper God because it is not the God described in the Bible. Very surreal to hear an atheist talk about what God truly is given that he doesn’t believe in the concept in the first place.

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