Two eye-raising events in the world of religion have been reported in London's leftish Guardian newspaper. In the U.K., the Guardian reports, Christian girls are banned from wearing chastity rings in school at a top state school -- even as Muslim and Sikh girls wear head garb that's not part of official school uniforms. Says the mother of one: "Here you have 12 girls who want to live an alternative lifestyle: we are not asking the school to subscribe to it, just respect it." The Guardian also ran a report from AP religion writer Richard Ostling on the latest decisions from the progressive faction of the Presbyterians -- although he never described them as liberal or progressive, even as their opponents were repeatedly described as conservative:
The divine Trinity - "Father, Son and Holy Spirit'' - could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb'' or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend'' at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly.
Delegates to the meeting voted to "receive'' a policy paper on gender-inclusive language for the Trinity, a step short of approving it. That means church officials can propose experimental liturgies with alternative phrasings for the Trinity, but congregations won't be required to use them...The assembly narrowly defeated a conservative bid to refer the paper back for further study.
A panel that worked on the issue since 2000 said the classical language for the Trinity should still be used, but added that Presbyterians also should seek "fresh ways to speak of the mystery of the triune God'' to "expand the church's vocabulary of praise and wonder.'' One reason is that language limited to the Father and Son "has been used to support the idea that God is male and that men are superior to women,'' the panel said.
Conservatives responded that the church should stick close to the way God is named in the Bible and noted that Jesus' most famous prayer was addressed to "Our Father.''
And in the end, another C-word:
On Tuesday, the assembly will vote on a proposal to give local congregations and regional "presbyteries'' some leeway on ordaining clergy and lay officers living in gay relationships. Ten conservative Presbyterian groups have warned jointly that approval of what they call "local option'' would "promote schism by permitting the disregard of clear standards of Scripture.''
As usual around these parts, there's nothing wrong with the conservative label, but there's something wrong with the lack of equivalent labels for the liberals and leftists, in this case in religious disputes.