Author Archive: Monte Sahlin

Why Do They Hate Us?

Hate and terrorism ends when I decide to quit hating those with whom I disagree on the most profound topics, the most cherished truths.


The End of the Community Action Program?

By Monte Sahlin – One of the items on the hit list of the new majority in the House of Representatives to "balance the budget" is the Community Action Program (CAP) or what is currently labeled Community Service Block Grants. This is a program begun in the 1960s in the Lyndon Johnson administration. It is a nearly unique program in […]


RLTV PODCAST: Monte Sahlin on How to Help Haiti

Monte Sahlin is the director of Research and Development of the Ohio Conference of Seventh-day Adventists and is an expert international humanitarian aid.  In this podcast he discusses the Haiti Earthquake and the response of a church group from Idaho that tried to help but got in trouble. He discussed Haiti  and other current issues on his blog at […]


OPINION: When Did "Conservative" Become Anarchist?

What planet am I living on? I have grown up with the idea that conservatives were those who value tradition and defendthe status quo ante; who support the institutions of our society. But now it seems that "conservatives" believe that it is wrong for the president of the United States to talk to the nation's school children despite the fact that Ronald Reagan did so; that it is OK to carry an automatic weapon to a public meeting with elected officials; that un-fact-checked statementscirculated by unknown bloggers and radio entertainers are to be believed over independent newspapers with long histories of factual reporting.


Faith in Context: President Obama & Faith-based Initiatives

As he said he would during the campaign last year, President Obama has retained the "faith-based initiatives" emphasis at the White House, but restructured the organization that he inherited from President Bush. The new unit consists of two parts, where Bush's White House had only one: An Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and a President's Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. The council is make its final recommendations in February next year (2010), so it appears that further changes may yet surface. At the same time it is clear that Obama is committed to some kind of working relationship with the nonprofit sector, including the large part of it that is related to religious constituencies.


New Religions: A Small Sect Makes it to the Supreme Court

By Monte Sahlin – The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted an appeal from a religion that you probably never heard of until it hit the news yesterday. Summum is rooted in gnostic Christianity (or, at least modern understandings of gnosticism) and ancient Egyptian religion (or, at least contemporary understandings of ancient Egyptian religion). It was founded in 1975 and has its headquarters in (of all places) Utah.

The case before the Supreme Court is based on the fact that the small town in Utah has a large, stone monument in the city park of the Ten Commandments. The believers in Summum petitioned the city council to add another monument with their seven principles of good behavior. The city council refused, thereby establishing the religions of the Ten Commandments (Judaism and Christianity) over the little sect of Summum. The small religion has raised enough funds to hire attorneys and appeal their case all the way to the top court in America.

There are serious constitutional issues about religious liberty in this case even if you have a hard time taking Summum seriously. But, I want to focus on something else: The way new religions are being invented and why so many people are moving away from the large, historic faiths.