faith

Whether it’s a Catholic priest, a Baptist minister, or one of the House members, each day of a legislative session, the House convenes with a Christian prayer. I asked House Clerk Albert “Butch” Speer when was the last time a prayer was something other than Christian?

“I don’t remember any time,” said the man who has served as House Clerk for 32 years.

Much of the reason is that invocations are done on a volunteer basis; members themselves or their pastors.

“The vast majority of the members of the House profess Christianity as their major religious belief, and so that’s what we’re going to end up with--because it’s purely voluntary,” Speer said.

There’s a battle going on in New Orleans-East and at the Louisiana Bond Commission, over acquisition of a 442-unit apartment complex known as Hidden Lakes. GMF -- Global Ministries Foundation, based in Memphis, Tennessee --is the buyer.

“We have almost 11-thousand units in eight states, as a faith-based housing development corporation,” GMF president Rev. Richard Hamlet told Louisiana’s Bond Commission last month.

Among those units are nearly 2500 apartments in Louisiana; in Lafayette, Lake Charles, and the greater New Orleans area. GMF is asking the bond commission to guarantee $24.5 million dollars so they can buy, renovate and run Hidden Lakes.  Area homeowner associations have been fighting it, because it’s Section 8 housing. State Sen. Edwin Murray has been facilitating meetings between homeowners’ associations and GMF property management, in an effort to resolve the impasse.

“Christians are now facing discrimination,” Governor Bobby Jindal said during a campaign stop in Iowa last weekend. “Why don’t we save some money and get rid of the Supreme Court?”

Some might view Jindal’s statements merely as presidential campaign rhetoric, but conversations with his inner circle indicate that remarks like, “Christianity is under assault today in America,” are coming from his sincerely-held religious beliefs.

One of Jindal’s closest spiritual advisors is Louisiana Family Forum president Gene Mills. He is an advocate of “dominionism”, sometimes referred to as the “seven mountains theory”.

Shreveport-Bossier City is home to more than 900 churches.

A new Shreveport nonprofit aims to unite as many of them as possible to deploy a more coordinated response to assist people who turn to them in crisis.

The FaithWorks board of directors, which formed two years ago, is set to open a call center Tuesday, May 26, that will coordinate resources among churches, according to Laura Vaughan director of discipleship for Broadmoor United Methodist Church and FaithWorks president.

Gov. Bobby Jindal is hosting a much anticipated and much talked about prayer rally Saturday. WRKF’s state government reporter, Sue Lincoln discusses what it’s all about.


The Archdiocese of New Orleans announced Wednesday that it will close three schools because of low enrollment.

Nola.com/the Times Picayune reports the schools that will shut at the end of the current school year are the Holy Ghost in New Orleans, St. Agnes in Jefferson and Our Lady of Grace in Reserve. 

The schools will continue with full staff for the rest of the academic year. 

Roman Catholic school enrollment dropped 25 percent in the greater New Orleans area from 2003 to 2013.

The archdiocese closed more than 20 of its 100-plus schools during that decade.

The Jewish Temple in Alexandria will celebrate two milestones Sunday, Sept. 21.

Congregation Gemiluth Chassodim is turning 155 years old. Sunday also will mark the unveiling of a bronze plaque. The Temple is now on the National Register of Historic Places as a notable example of the mid-century modern style of architecture.

Wally Gobetz / Flickr

Roman Catholic bishops from around the United States will meet Wednesday through Friday in New Orleans for their annual Spring General Assembly.

On the agenda is a discussion of the economy and its impact on marriage, helping typhoon victims and preparing for upcoming church-sponsored events on family life.

The bishops will also get an annual progress report on efforts to prevent the sexual abuse of children.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops holds the events twice a year.

The sponsor of a bill to make the Holy Bible the official book of Louisiana has withdrawn the measure ahead of a full vote in the state House of Representatives, saying the proposal has become a distraction.

As we reported last week, a mix of Republicans and Democrats had moved the largely symbolic bill, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Carmody of Shreveport, out of committee on an 8-5 vote.

  When legislators return from their four-day Easter recess this afternoon, the full House will take up a rather controversial bill—naming “the Holy Bible” as the official state book of Louisiana.

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