¢ While many people will look to the new "The Simpsons Movie" for laughs, Mark Pinsky watched it for religious overtones.
Pinsky, a religion reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, is author of "The Gospel According to the Simpsons." The 2001 book - and a second edition that came out in June - examines the animated family's on-again, off-again relationship to God.
They pray at meals and tend to turn to God when they're in trouble.
"They reflect the faith practices of most Americans," Pinsky says.
Pinsky says "The Simpsons" has changed the way TV shows deal with religion.
"What (the writers) found was in the '50s, '60s and '70s, network television stayed away from religion for fear of offending or diluting or homogenizing," Pinsky says. "Religion had not already been done to death by every other long-running sitcom."
¢ The Rev. Joseph F. Naumann, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas, used his church's regional newsletter, The Leaven, to attempt to clarify "misinformation" that has been distributed following a document released by the pope.
Many people have interpreted that document to mean that Protestant denominations are not true churches.
"Catholics are to have the most profound respect for people of other faiths," Naumann says. "The document actually quotes the Second Vatican Council about the importance of Protestant communities and how Christ uses them as instruments of salvation."
¢ Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback says evangelical leaders in Iowa are signing on to his presidential campaign.
The Associated Press reports: "Brownback's meeting with 15 to 20 evangelical pastors came as the Kansas senator maps out his strategy for the Aug. 11 straw poll in Ames.
"It's typical in an election that people hold back and want to get a good feel for the candidate," said Brownback. "Now we're getting within eyeshot of Aug. 11 and they're breaking, and a lot of them are breaking our way."
¢ Is there a trickle-down effect when celebrities get arrested for various improprieties, such as Lindsay Lohan's arrest this week?
Vicki Courtney, who founded Virtuous Reality Ministries based in Austin, Texas, thinks there is.
"She surrounds herself with enablers who continue to perpetuate her wild lifestyle," Courtney says in a press release. "I worry not just about Lohan, but also about the millions of young girls who look up to her. I fear that these girls will see Lohan, the same cute, freckly kid from 'The Parent Trap,' getting arrested and using drugs and think it's cool for them to do the same thing."
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