The Best Way to Deal with Rev. Fred Phelps

During sports broadcasts in the U.S., there are moments where the cameras abruptly stop showing the game, turning instead to show the crowd or the announcing booth. A telltale roar reveals the reason: an idiot has run onto the field and interrupted play. The drama of a field crasher would make excellent television. Most of the time, it's just a drunk, an attention-seeker or a drunken attention seeker, but sometimes things take a more newsworthy turn. A teen was tasered by cops at a Philadelphia ... (read more)

Visiting 30 Mosques in 30 Days

Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are spending Ramadan on a 12,000-mile road trip, visiting mosques across America and writing about their experiences on 30 Mosques in 30 Days. They were interviewed by NPR at the start of the trip: ... a lot of Muslims that live in small communities across the country, whether it be the Midwest, down South or even on the West Coast, they might feel, "I'm the only one going through this struggle. I'm the only kid in school that has a funny name. Or I wear a ... (read more)

Do We Believe in Freedom of Religion or Not?

I am one of the 52 percent of Americans who believe that Muslims should be able to build mosques wherever any other people can build houses of worship. That number should be 100 percent. When I first heard about the mosque two blocks away from Ground Zero, I thought it was a non-issue. Two city blocks is a long distance. It's not a "Ground Zero Mosque" -- no one called the former tenant the Ground Zero Burlington Coat Factory. The strip club around the corner is not the Ground Zero Strip ... (read more)

My Life as a Religious Parable

Rick Brown, a preacher for ChristBridge Fellowship in Tomball, Texas, used me as the subject of a sermon printed in the local newspaper this week: When Pope John Paul died Rogers Cadenhead quickly registered thinking this might be the name chosen by the new pope. When Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope he did choose the name Pope Benedict XVI, causing many to question what the Vatican would do to get the rights to that domain name. Cadenhead didn't ask the Vatican for ... (read more)

Looking for a Sign From God

The political blogger Andrew Sullivan has a weird practice of running emails from readers without naming or crediting the sender in any way, which to me makes him look like a spotlight hog. Here's a great one he received yesterday: I was backpacking about twenty five years ago through Portland, Oregon and stopped to ask directions from a woman putting up marquee letters on a Baptist church sign (some message about Jesus but it was just started so I don't know what she intended to write). I was ... (read more)

Today's Bible Lesson: Don't Barter with God

On the June 1 Back to the Bible radio show, which airs on 1,200 religious stations around the world, host Woodrow Kroll told listeners how I could seek forgiveness from God: Jesus wants to take the burden of your guilt away. I read this little story. I just thought I had to pass it on to you. The question was asked, "How much would the Vatican pay for the pope's name?" Now that's not a theoretical question. A fellow by the name of Rogers Cadenhead, who is an admitted domain hoarder, bought the ... (read more)