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Belief Beat

Belief Beat

January 1970 Archives

Passover and Two Easters Collide, Interfaith Families Adapt

posted by Nicole Neroulias

With Passover and both Easters — for eastern and western Christians alike — coinciding this year, it’s a more hectic “Holy Week” than usual for religion reporters and interfaith families. Although it’s more historically accurate when Passover and Easter come together, given that […]

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Pope Watch: Clergy Abuse Victims Respond to Vatican Defense

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As I predicted yesterday, the clergy and commentators defending Pope Benedict’s response to the clergy sex abuse scandal — including a legal defense being planned in the U.S. — has fueled a backlash from victims and their supporters. After the American bishops affirmed […]

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Pope Watch: Clergy, Catholic Press Defend Pope Benedict

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Apologies to Tammy Wynette, but I’ve had “Stand By Your Man” stuck in my head for hours while sifting through the influx of Catholic bishops and commentators defending Pope Benedict’s response to the global clergy sex abuse scandal (as his U.S. approval […]

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Scientology Abuse Claims Investigated by CNN, AP

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Church of Scientology is getting more unwanted publicity this week, as reporters look into claims made by former members accusing high-ranking officials — including church leader David Miscavige, who also served as best man in Tom Cruise’s wedding to […]

U.S. Muslim Group Condemns Christian Terror Plot, Moscow Suicide Bombings

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Muslim Public Affairs Council condemned two terrorist incidents that made news yesterday: a Christian militia group’s alleged plot to kill police officers in the Midwest, and the suicide bombings in the Moscow subway, which Russian officials suspect were carried […]

BREAKING NEWS: Muslim Extremists Bombed Moscow Subway?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Russian officials suspect this morning’s suicide bombings of the Moscow subway, killing more than three dozen people, were a response to the crackdown on Islamic extremism in Chechnya and other parts of the Caucasus region in Southern Russia. The attacks […]

Pope Watch: Palm Sunday Edition

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Given the daily — sometimes hourly — influx of Catholic news lately, I’m introducing Pope Watch, my daily digest of the Vatican’s response to the global clergy sex abuse scandal, including the New York Times’ ongoing investigative coverage and commentary, and other headlines. Yesterday was […]

Obama White House Observes Black-Jewish Passover Seder

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The major Jewish holiday of Passover starts tonight, with families and friends gathered to tell the Exodus story over Seder meals. The New York Times reports that President Obama will again preside over a White House Seder, a new tradition, where his family […]

Did the Pope Approve Covering Up for Pedophile Priests?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

That’s the million — perhaps billion — dollar question for faithful Catholics, as the New York Times continues hammering away at its investigation of how Pope Benedict’s former office handled reports of clergy sex abuse in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere. The […]

Interfaith Groups Lobby for Immigration Reform

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The escalating interfaith call for immigration reform, including a rally that brought 200,000 people to Washington Sunday, would have been the top religion headline… in a week not dominated by the widening Catholic sex abuse scandal, the bitterly contested health care bill, the U.S.-Israel conflict […]

NYT: Pope’s Office Ignored Warnings about U.S. Pedophile Priest

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated at 3 p.m. EST to add links to Andrew Sullivan’s call for Pope Benedict’s resignation and to the Whispers in the Loggia blog.) After weeks of speculation over whether Pope Benedict could be linked to the Catholic Church’s coverup of clergy […]

Muslim Soldier Battles Discrimination in U.S. Army

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Check out this Washington Post story about Spec. Zachari Klawonn’s struggles as a Muslim soldier in the U.S. Army. (Funny how this story came out the same week as the news about the Army now welcoming Sikh men — whose traditional turbans […]

Irish Bishop Resigns Over Sex Abuse Scandal

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Less than a week after Pope Benedict sent an apologetic letter to Catholics reeling from a clergy sex abuse scandal in Ireland that spanned decades, Irish Bishop John Magee’s resignation has been accepted. According to the Associated Press, Magee apologized to victims […]

SCOTUS Declines to Hear Case of ‘Ave Maria’ School Censorship

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The U.S. Supreme Court has declined to take up a case charging that a superintendent in Everett (near Seattle, my neck of the woods) should not have banned an instrumental performance of “Ave Maria” at a 2006 high school graduation ceremony. According […]

Arrested by Saudi Religious Police, ‘Magician’ Gets Death Penalty

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated at 6:30 p.m. EST to clarify my last question.) Amnesty International has issued an “urgent appeal” calling on Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to stop the execution of a Lebanese TV personality sentenced to death for “sorcery.” Ali Hussain Sibat, […]

U.S. Army Makes Exception for Sikh’s Turban, Beard

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Associated Press reports that Capt. Tejdeep Singh Rattan has become the first Sikh in 25 years to join the U.S. Army, thanks to an exception that allows the Indian American to retain his religiously-mandated turban and beard. About 300,000 Sikhs live in America; until […]

UPDATED: Religious Groups React to Health Care Vote

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated at 8 p.m. EST to add Southern Baptist Convention and Church of Latter-day Saints, and more on Catholics.) After assuring pro-life Democrats that President Obama would sign an executive order affirming that federal money would not pay for abortions, […]

BREAKING NEWS: Clinton Says Israeli Settlements Undermine Peace Efforts

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Sen. Hillary Clinton just addressed the annaul meeting of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. JTA reports that she reiterated the U.S. commitment to Israel’s security, but also maintained the Obama administration’s position that building Jewish housing in Palestinian areas […]

Pope to Irish Catholics: ‘Healing, Renewal and Reparation’ Needed

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Over the weekend, the Vatican released Pope Benedict’s letter to Catholics traumatized and horrified by the clergy sex abuse scandal in Ireland. In it, the pontiff expressed his own “dismay and sense of betrayal,” while urging victims to find solace and […]

Trying ‘National Day of Unplugging,’ aka the Sabbath?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Several years ago, I failed to make it through Lent without visiting my favorite time-sucking Web site; I’ve never even considered giving up Facebook or going offline entirely (not a professional option, anyway). But, all this coverage of the Sabbath Manifesto’s call […]

Catholic Bishops, Nuns and Hospitals Take Sides as Health Care Debate Wraps Up

posted by Nicole Neroulias

With Congress expected to vote on the health care reform bill Sunday, the predictable debates among the Democrats (pro-life vs. pro-choice, naturally) and with the Republicans pale in comparison to the Catholic infighting: nuns and hospitals support the bill, bishops oppose […]

No Longer Banned, Muslim Scholar Is Coming to America

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Muslim scholar barred from entering the United States in 2004 will be in New York in a few weeks to discuss “Secularism, Islam and Democracy: Muslims in Europe and the West.” The U.S. travel ban was […]

BREAKING NEWS: ‘Jihad Jane’ Denies Role In Terror Plot

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Associated Press reports that Colleen LaRose, the Pennsylvania woman who allegedly used the Internet alias “JihadJane,” has denied in court that she sought to kill a Swedish artist targeted by radical Muslims or agreed to marry a terrorism suspect […]

UPDATE: Obama Postpones Trip to Indonesia, Again

posted by Nicole Neroulias

UPDATED: The New York Times just reported that President Obama has decided to push back his Indonesia trip for the second time. (The rest of my post remains accurate, with the strikethroughs added.) President Obama has had already postponed his […]

Jewish Aid Group Supports Refugee Bill

posted by Nicole Neroulias

This week marks the 30th anniversary of the Refugee Act, prompting the Episcopal Church to renew its “committment to remember and advocate on behalf of the uprooted, recognizing that situations of violence and war around the world will continue to […]

BREAKING NEWS: Episcopal Church approves 2nd gay bishop

posted by Nicole Neroulias

In a move that’s sure to deepen the rift between America’s Episcopalians and the global Anglican communion, the Rev. Mary Glasspool has been approved to become the Episcopal Church’s second openly gay bishop. She will be consecrated the new assistant bishop […]

Israel Approves Civil Weddings, For Some

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It’s more about St. Valentine than St. Patrick in Israel this week, as some couples finally got the right to get married there even if they don’t meet the country’s strict standards for a religious ceremony. In the past, Jews who wanted to […]

Pope Benedict, Irish cardinal, address sex abuse scandal

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Guess I spoke too soon about today being a happier news day for Irish Catholics. Then again, St. Patrick was celebrated for driving the snakes out of Ireland, so perhaps it’s fitting to report on the church’s need to do likewise with the snakes […]

Parades, prayers converge for St. Patrick’s Day today

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Catholics have gotten plenty of tough press lately, between coverage of their disagrements over health care reform, same-sex marriage and family issues in Washington, D.C. and Boulder, Colo., and the investigations of the clergy sex abuse scandals embroiling Europe and battering Pope Benedict. At least […]

Arizona town reconsiders zoning prohibition on at-home Bible studies

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Town Council in in Gilbert, Ariz., a Phoenix suburb of about 217,000 residents (and currently one of the fastest growing municipalities in America) is moving quickly to change a zoning code that technically prohibits Bible study groups and other “religious-assembly uses” […]

Catholic hospitals, bishops split over health care reform

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The health care reform package nearing a vote in Congress has officially divided America’s Catholics: their hospitals endorse the plan, their bishops “regretfully” oppose it. The president of the Catholic Health Association, which represents more than 600 hospitals, calls the […]

U.S.-Israeli Relations In Crisis Mode

posted by Nicole Neroulias

America’s friendship with Israel is at risk, mainstream and Jewish media outlets are reporting, due to Israel’s announcement (made during Vice President Joe Biden’s visit, of all times) that it will build 1,600 more housing units for Jews in East […]

Panel: NYC was wrong to fire Muslim principal

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has concluded that New York City’s Department of Education wrongly fired Debbie Almontaser, a Muslim American from Yemen, discriminating on the basis of her race, religion and national origin. Almontaser was the founding principal of the […]

Christians Object to Glenn Beck’s Warnings About ‘Social Justice’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Coverage has snowballed in the week since conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck called on Christians to “run as fast as you can” if their churches preach about social or economic justice, which he defines as code words for Communism and Nazism. Summarized […]

Texans clash over religion, race in history textbooks

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Texas textbook wars are underway: the State Board of Education spent hours yesterday clashing over its public school social studies standards, including how to teach students about religious freedom and separation of church and state. Republicans rejected a Democrat-backed motion […]

Catholic sex abuse: fueled by celibacy, male leadership, or Satan?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The growing Catholic sex abuse scandals in Germany – Pope Benedict’s homeland – and the Netherlands are making headlines all over the world, just as the Vatican had started to emerge from the furor over abuse of children in Ireland, […]

Faith leaders offer Obama personal, political guidance

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The concept of separation of church and state may polarize politicians, but when it comes to access to the White House, it seems a range of religious leaders have President Obama’s ear — whether it’s to help shape policy or […]

Freedom of Religion, Speech… and Hate?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on whether the Westboro Baptist Church had the right to picket a military funeral with signs like “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” and “Fag Troops.” As Religion News Service reports, the justices will decide whether […]

Rabbis give yellow light to interfaith marriage

posted by Nicole Neroulias

If you can’t beat ’em, bless ’em? Not quite, but intermarriage rates have prompted more dialogue, less debate, among Jewish leaders lately. As I reported for Religion News Service yesterday, Reform Judaism’s clergy organization has formally adopted a more accepting attitude towards […]

Scientologists get the non-Hollywood treatment

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Scientology has suddenly made lots of news lately — without the usual focus on Tom Cruise, John Travolta, and the religion’s other celebrity adherents. Last month, newsrooms were buzzing about the church hiring three investigative reporters, including a Pulitzer Prize winner, to […]

Religion news you can use

posted by Nicole Neroulias

From the home office in Seattle, WA: Welcome to Belief Beat, a blog that will highlight important and intriguing faith-related stories making headlines every day. I aim to make this a lively mix of breaking news, ongoing issues and upbeat odds-and-ends, […]

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Thank you for visiting Belief Beat. This blog is no longer being updated. Please enjoy the archives. Here are some other blogs you may also enjoy:   Beliefnet News   Good News Happy Reading!   ...

posted 4:57:28pm Feb. 14, 2012 | read full post »

Fun Friday: Atheist Temple Planned for UK's Nonbelievers
Author Alain de Botton has announced plans to build an Atheist temple in the United Kingdom, presumably so nonbelievers have a place to gather and share their philosophies. Um... isn't that what Starbucks is for? Also, I can't wait to see ...

posted 2:53:42pm Jan. 27, 2012 | read full post »

Alaska Airlines: High Payers No Longer Offered Sky Prayers
Alaska Airlines, now the country's seventh-largest airline, has announced it will stop offering prayer cards with its in-flight meals. (It's just raining religion news in the great unchurched Pacific Northwest lately.) I've flown Alaska ...

posted 11:07:56am Jan. 26, 2012 | read full post »

Washington's Gay Marriage Debate: Clergy vs. Clergy
I reported for Reuters at the Washington state Capitol yesterday, covering the public hearings on a gay marriage bill -- and in between, the breaking news that the state Senate now has enough votes to pass the bill. (The House already had ...

posted 11:24:39am Jan. 24, 2012 | read full post »

What Israel's Domestic Policy & Santorum Supporters Have in Common
Hope everyone had an introspective Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, whether observed as a faith-related holiday, a nice break from the work week or something else entirely. Check out this story from Religion & Ethics Newsweekly about how ...

posted 1:32:44pm Jan. 18, 2012 | read full post »

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