Archive: John Shelby Spong
I have no problem with Catholic practice being imposed on Catholic people. I have great problems with a public hospital under Catholic auspices imposing Catholic practice on all doctors and all patients.
By John Shelby Spong | January 27, 2011; 11:18 AM ET | Comments (2)
They reflect greed more than sound economic policy.
By John Shelby Spong | December 18, 2010; 05:43 PM ET | Comments (1)
When I speak to God, it is called prayer. When God speaks tro me, it is called paranoia. Mental illness is not absent when it is covered with religious words.
By John Shelby Spong | October 6, 2010; 10:24 AM ET | Comments (9)
I walk the Christ path faithfully because I know that it leads me beyond all human limits, even the limits of Christianity, into the experience of the divine. That has also been the experience of those who walk the Jewish path, the Islamic path, the Hindu path and the Buddhist path.
By John Shelby Spong | July 9, 2010; 10:39 AM ET | Comments (16)
The immigration issue is complicated because American business leaders maximize profits by using undocumented and illegal immigrants in their work force.
By John Shelby Spong | June 1, 2010; 03:31 PM ET | Comments (2)
The bias in the media is not against the Catholic Church. That is little more than face-saving defensiveness. The bias is against the abuse of children and young people by priests. The bias is against a systematic cover-up on every level of the Catholic hierarchy.
By John Shelby Spong | April 7, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (41)
Child abuse is a crime. Covering up a crime is also a crime. Ordination and a position in the Roman Catholic hierarchy does not make one immune to the consequences of criminal behavior.
By John Shelby Spong | March 30, 2010; 12:54 PM ET | Comments (5)
Pastors have a responsibility to pursue truth, not to enforce institutional propaganda. The pastor needs to help believers grow, not to affirm them in their Sunday school security systems.
By John Shelby Spong | March 17, 2010; 12:49 PM ET | Comments (20)
Truth is bigger than the Roman Catholic Church, so is the reality of a complex and religiously diverse nation.
By John Shelby Spong | March 11, 2010; 12:28 PM ET | Comments (9)
Homosexuality is a religious issue only in the sense that in this debate religious people reveal their deep prejudices and their abysmal ignorance about the nature of sexual orientation. Then to their ignorance they apply the perfume of illiterate biblical quotations.
By John Shelby Spong | February 11, 2010; 03:09 PM ET | Comments (30)
It is a pity that so many religious people are still so unaware of the dimensions of contemporary theology. This dated and traditional thinking relegates these people to the position of always trying to explain tragedy, so that God is neither malevolent for sending or allowing it, nor impotent for not being able to prevent or stop it.
By John Shelby Spong | January 21, 2010; 09:45 AM ET | Comments (5)
Their interpretation of people's negative responses to their uninformed and pious conclusions are not from an anti-Christian bias, but because their remarks reveal how uninformed both of them are about the Christian faith as well as the psychology of human behavior.
By John Shelby Spong | January 14, 2010; 12:26 PM ET | Comments (43)
If this anti-blasphemy law is not overturned Ireland can no longer claim to be a participant in the modern world. The existence of this law also reveals the low status now enjoyed by traditional forms of religion that needs to be examined and raised to consciousness.
By John Shelby Spong | January 11, 2010; 09:13 AM ET | Comments (6)
War always represents failure in foreign policy.
By John Shelby Spong | December 21, 2009; 01:15 PM ET | Comments (2)
To engage Sarah Palin's climate change mentality is to give public ignorance more credibility than it deserves.
By John Shelby Spong | December 21, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (4)
I believe the Christian Church should engage the real debate and not these periphery issues. Is the theistic God the only possible definition of the Holy? I do not think so, but I also do not want to spend my time trying to do artificial respiration on the corpse of yesterday's religious definitions, which is what the religious response to this humanist agenda really is.
By John Shelby Spong | November 24, 2009; 04:41 PM ET | Comments (23)
The United States Roman Catholic Bishops always have a hidden agenda, which is to impose their faith and value systems on the rest of the nation. They also operate out of a conviction that they possess the only true faith. I am not impressed by either of those principles.
By John Shelby Spong | November 17, 2009; 09:00 PM ET | Comments (10)
In this embarrassing conflict the Pope seeks to gain an advantage by making Roman Catholic Christianity more welcoming to those Anglican clergy and members who cannot adjust to new truth and new consciousness, while the Archbishop grieves over the results of his own inept leadership.
By John Shelby Spong | October 22, 2009; 12:41 PM ET | Comments (56)
The national interest of the United States is to place under pressure those who would destroy the United States. It is not to conquer and subdue the people of Afghanistan. Can one be accomplished without the other?
By John Shelby Spong | October 9, 2009; 09:34 AM ET | Comments (1)
What I believe attracts the skeptic is a willingness on the part of religious people to wrestle with truth and to follow it no matter where it leads.
By John Shelby Spong | October 9, 2009; 09:28 AM ET | Comments (11)
We are witnessing in our nation a dramatic shift in power. Such a shift always means that those who have in the past possessed power are seeing that power weakened and those who were formerly the powerless ones are becoming empowered. Rage always accompanies the transfer of power.
By John Shelby Spong | September 17, 2009; 01:43 PM ET | Comments (10)
The battle over homosexuality in the Episcopal Church is over. The vote at the last General Convention was overwhelming.
By John Shelby Spong | August 6, 2009; 07:26 PM ET | Comments (105)
The State should not tell religious institutions who they should welcome, but not to welcome all of God's people violates everything I know about God and I would have no desire to be part of a discriminating religious body.
By John Shelby Spong | July 28, 2009; 09:16 PM ET | Comments (60)
The Christian Church has for far too long attempted to perfume sexist discrimination against women under the name of "Bible-based, Sacred Tradition." I wonder what part of the male anatomy bears the divine image?
By John Shelby Spong | July 21, 2009; 12:19 PM ET | Comments (69)
Will Sotomayor's life experience bias her judgment? No more or less than the life experience of white, Anglo-Saxon males have biased their judgment over the years.
By John Shelby Spong | July 15, 2009; 08:34 PM ET | Comments (11)
In 25 years we will be embarrassed that we had to jump through these hoops to bring justice to our world for gay and lesbian couples.
By John Shelby Spong | June 24, 2009; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (3)
The peculiar abuse of withholding medical treatment on the part of pious but misinformed people, is simply one more tragic chapter in the dark side of religious history.
By John Shelby Spong | June 1, 2009; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (1)
A growing consciousness in the Western world will inevitably make openness to women clergy and homosexual clergy a part of the ministry of all churches in the future. I will rejoice in that.
By John Shelby Spong | May 14, 2009; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (7)
The National Day of Prayer has been little more than a right wing evangelical celebration of a single strand of America's rich and diverse religious heritage.
By John Shelby Spong | May 6, 2009; 10:05 AM ET | Comments (42)
Claims to possess an inerrant Bible, to be governed by an infallible pope or to possess the ultimate truth are all merely forms of religious idolatry that has caused great suffering in the world.
By John Shelby Spong | April 27, 2009; 08:02 PM ET | Comments (8)
The problem with religion is that each system claims it has captured ultimate truth in its own propositional creeds and organizational structures, so that when those things fade or die great anxiety is loosed.
By John Shelby Spong | March 20, 2009; 08:32 AM ET | Comments (78)
Thank God we now have a president who will remove both political ideology and religious bias from the pursuit of truth in the scientific arena.
By John Shelby Spong | March 16, 2009; 10:59 AM ET | Comments (3)
The attempt to aid the poor has been labeled "socialism." The result is that the greed of a few has come close to destroying the capitalist system that gives hope to so many.
By John Shelby Spong | March 9, 2009; 12:28 AM ET | Comments (1)
We Christians have much to repent of in the way women have been treated and unfortunately the abuse of women by various parts of the Christian Church still goes on today - to our great shame.
By John Shelby Spong | February 26, 2009; 03:05 PM ET | Comments (0)
Those who want to control the Bible's message express primarily their own fear and insecurity.
By John Shelby Spong | February 21, 2009; 03:54 PM ET | Comments (0)
The embrace by the Vatican of the anti-Semitic Bishop Richard Williamson is an embarrassment to Christians everywhere.
By John Shelby Spong | February 11, 2009; 04:22 PM ET | Comments (0)
The vocation of the church is not to convert the world, but to transform the world, so that every person in it has a better chance to live fully, to love wastefully and to be all that he or she can be.
By John Shelby Spong | February 10, 2009; 08:10 PM ET | Comments (0)
Every administration has a new opportunity. President Obama will try. Will he succeed? The mutual interests of the Jews, the Muslims and the world cry out for it. The odds of the situation may be against him, but hopes of the world are soaring.
By John Shelby Spong | February 3, 2009; 10:00 AM ET | Comments (11)
A prayer that is broad enough to include all Americans and that forces all into the recognition that each of us is but a small part of the world's population is certainly appropriate. To be appropriate to all, however, is to be compromising to no one.
By John Shelby Spong | January 16, 2009; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (16)
The idea that ultimate truth can or does reside in a single religious tradition is the primary place where religion in all its forms almost inevitably turns demonic. We understand it when confronted by the absurd Muslim claims, like those expressed by Hamas leaders. The time has come to recognize it when it comes perfumed with Christian vocabulary.
By John Shelby Spong | January 13, 2009; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (1)
My hope is that the traditional forms of religion that have dominated the Bush Administration and that have found expression in the abuse of homosexuals, the denial of women's reproductive rights, the opposition to the insights of science, the negativity toward stem cell research and the suppression of competent and responsible end of life decisions will fade quietly from our public life.
By John Shelby Spong | January 2, 2009; 04:20 PM ET | Comments (29)
The attitude reflected by this tiny group of dissident Episcopalians is so out of touch with reality as to be laughable. If they cannot adjust to a church in which women and homosexual persons are treated equally and are ordained to be priests and bishops, perhaps they ought to find another tradition that will accept their prejudices as something other than an inability to adjust.
By John Shelby Spong | December 22, 2008; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (76)
I see no evidence that President Bush, our most overtly religious president, had an administration free of corruption, greed and even torture, so I do not think the religion of the candidate counts for much, except in negative directions. I fear zealots of any stripe.
By John Shelby Spong | October 2, 2008; 04:08 PM ET | Comments (17)
To impose religious ideology on a pluralistic society would destroy the very basis upon which this nation was founded. Will any politician be this dumb and actually play with this fire? I doubt it, but if they were to do so it would mean that sectarian religion could now dictate public policy
By John Shelby Spong | September 27, 2008; 05:41 AM ET | Comments (11)
Roman Catholics base their opposition to ordaining women on the antiquated idea that women cannot represent God before the altar. Is God male? Is there some part of the male anatomy that women do not possess that is somehow particularly Godlike?
By John Shelby Spong | September 4, 2008; 08:47 AM ET | Comments (45)
Evangelicals have a right to be involved in politics. They also have a responsibility to educate themselves on the issues. Thank God they are a minority of our population. If they were not, then America would be subjected to what John Stuart Mill called "the tyranny of the majority."
By John Shelby Spong | August 22, 2008; 10:34 AM ET | Comments (522)
The idea that being religious might make one less prejudiced is a fantasy. It appears to make people more prejudiced, or at the least, not to confront their prejudices.
By John Shelby Spong | August 4, 2008; 10:07 AM ET | Comments (27)
Saying prayers at meals that are mandatory is an imposition. This would be especially true if the prayers assume a particular view of God, which all prayers seem to do. The ACLU is absolutely correct to make this request.
By John Shelby Spong | July 28, 2008; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (13)
For any religious tradition to claim that it alone controls access to God is the height of idolatry.
By John Shelby Spong | July 16, 2008; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (0)
It is a pity that theological knowledge so seldom makes it down to the people in the pews. It seems from this Pew Survey, however, that it might be making it in the ranks of the atheists.
By John Shelby Spong | July 7, 2008; 07:57 AM ET | Comments (28)
Faith is something one lives, not something one says or something one does. If that distinction is not grasped then much of it is nonsense.
By John Shelby Spong | June 16, 2008; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (5)
Churches fought the suffrage movement that finally won for women the right to vote in presidential elections. Churches resisted desegregation until their opposition was dismissed for the racism it was. Churches are the last bastion of homophobia.
By John Shelby Spong | May 27, 2008; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (9)
My sense is that just as black men were given the vote before women, so racism will be expunged before sexism. The Christian Church will be an authentic community of God’s people when both have been confronted and exorcised.
By John Shelby Spong | March 28, 2008; 07:39 AM ET | Comments (22)
The Easter Jesus is the Jesus who can command the attention of a world that is not only weary of war, but weary of religion also, especially when it seems to be a cause of war.
By John Shelby Spong | March 21, 2008; 12:05 PM ET | Comments (147)
My first observation about the Eliot Spitzer affair is that compulsive sexual activity is a human disease like compulsive gambling or compulsive drinking. It should be treated psychologically, but human beings seem to enjoy making moral judgments.
By John Shelby Spong | March 13, 2008; 07:22 PM ET | Comments (5)
When knowledge collides with traditional faith change is inevitable. I welcome it and if the church cannot engage this intellectually driven change, then it probably should die.
By John Shelby Spong | March 3, 2008; 06:06 AM ET | Comments (54)
Billy Graham elicits fervor. So did Adolf Hitler. The issue is whether the fervor leads the candidate and the nation in the right direction.
By John Shelby Spong | February 23, 2008; 07:42 AM ET | Comments (14)
If a sexual relationship is life-giving, loving, committed and faithful, then it needs to be called good. If a sexual relationship is exploitative, dehumanizing of the partners, a violation of one’s word given to another, then it needs to be called evil.
By John Shelby Spong | December 14, 2007; 09:53 AM ET | Comments (7)
I found Governor Romney’s speech on religion to be little more than pandering to right-wing religious enthusiasts. It may help in the primary process with southern and mid-western evangelicals, but should he get the Republican nomination, it will not help...
By John Shelby Spong | December 14, 2007; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (0)
Governor Romney was a more appealing candidate to me before he made the “Faith in America” speech.
By John Shelby Spong | December 11, 2007; 07:05 AM ET | Comments (5)
Vengeance, revenge, the desire to get even – these are the responses of people who do not understand how fragile civilization is.
By John Shelby Spong | November 15, 2007; 09:01 AM ET | Comments (125)
It is time for us all to begin to recognize that there are varieties in the human family that are not evil because they are different.
By John Shelby Spong | August 23, 2007; 07:33 AM ET | Comments (59)
The idea that anyone would suggest it is inappropriate to question human concepts of God lies between ridiculous and absurd.
By John Shelby Spong | June 18, 2007; 07:10 AM ET | Comments (25)
Americans do not want either party pretending that their policies and God’s policies are identical.
By John Shelby Spong | June 11, 2007; 06:29 PM ET | Comments (8)
Only worshipers of an idol of their own wish fulfillment could ask this particular question in the way it is posed.
By John Shelby Spong | June 4, 2007; 09:09 AM ET | Comments (27)
The God he rejects is the same God most thinking Christians reject.
By John Shelby Spong | May 24, 2007; 07:44 AM ET | Comments (35)
I believe my church has sufficient leadership to restore balance to the Anglican Communion.
By John Shelby Spong | May 20, 2007; 08:15 AM ET | Comments (41)
Pope Benedict XVI and his predecessor John Paul II have consistently put themselves on the side of the aristocracy, the landowners and the well-to-do in Latin America.
By John Shelby Spong | May 13, 2007; 04:59 PM ET | Comments (272)
It will be publicly lived out values of his life that will finally put an end to the residual cultural fears that still attend the concept of Mormon Religion.
By John Shelby Spong | May 7, 2007; 06:47 AM ET | Comments (26)
This question seems designed to elicit hostility under the cover of religion. Anyone who would answer that question with a “yes” would reveal only abysmal ignorance of Islam.
By John Shelby Spong | April 23, 2007; 07:05 AM ET | Comments (26)
There is no single pathway into the Holy.
By John Shelby Spong | April 13, 2007; 07:06 AM ET | Comments (76)
If one does not understand resurrection as physical resuscitation then what happened to the body of Jesus is of no importance.
By John Shelby Spong | April 6, 2007; 07:07 AM ET | Comments (59)
Fundamentalists are given vast media exposure where no one challenges their distortions for the absolute ignorance that they reveal.
By John Shelby Spong | April 2, 2007; 07:33 AM ET | Comments (56)
Roman Catholics have the right to define their faith and practice for Roman Catholics. They do not have the right to define the faith and practice of the non-Roman Catholic population.
By John Shelby Spong | March 16, 2007; 09:41 AM ET | Comments (41)
If religion is lifted out of its context as one element in every social and cultural system, it almost inevitably turns sectarian.
By John Shelby Spong | March 11, 2007; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (44)
The repentance that is needed must come from religious leaders and religious people whose ignorance on this subject has led the Christian Church to act toward gay and lesbian people in a way that violates everything that Christianity has ever taught.
By John Shelby Spong | March 1, 2007; 08:20 AM ET | Comments (98)
The State and the Church, human life and all human institutions must stand under the judgment of the God of Life, Love and Being.
By John Shelby Spong | February 23, 2007; 02:19 PM ET | Comments (4)
Christianity has turned sex into something evil that must be repressed.
By John Shelby Spong | February 16, 2007; 07:05 AM ET | Comments (215)
Living in harmony with all life is a virtue for Christians, one that it is high time we took seriously.
By John Shelby Spong | February 12, 2007; 08:05 AM ET | Comments (7)
Most of the prayers I hear people talking about sounds to me like adult letters to Santa Claus.
By John Shelby Spong | February 5, 2007; 05:30 PM ET | Comments (14)
President Bush's decline in popularity began when he tried to make a political cause of conservative Christian end-of-life issues in the Terri Schiavo case.
By John Shelby Spong | January 25, 2007; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (11)
It will take another major reformation to turn Christianity's ecclesiastical sexism around.
By John Shelby Spong | January 16, 2007; 01:49 PM ET | Comments (8)
Religious voices that support this war on the basis of some obscure prediction from the first century in the book of Revelation are frankly in need of psychiatric intervention and should be treated at once.
By John Shelby Spong | January 15, 2007; 09:25 AM ET | Comments (23)
My formative religious experience was confronting each of these prejudices and overcoming them.
By John Shelby Spong | January 3, 2007; 12:00 PM ET | Comments (46)