Belief Beat

Belief Beat

May 2010 Archives

PopeWatch: Mistresses of Priests Write to Vatican, Urging End to Mandatory Celibacy

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Personally and professionally, I’m always up for discussing the Catholic Church’s insistence on mandatory celibacy for its clergy, particularly when most people still don’t know that this wasn’t an original requirement and that there are exceptions made for married converts and eastern […]

Fun Friday: Forget the Super Bowl — Faith Ads Hit the Street by Bus

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As a new mom, I often improvise new verses to make those upteen renditions of “The Wheels on the Bus” more entertaining. Just when I thought I’d sung it all, a bunch of stories popped up this week about controversial […]

PopeWatch: Benedict Prepares for Cyprus, As Orthodox Christian Leaders Meet

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Pope Benedict’s upcoming trip to Cyprus, a majority Greek Orthodox country, has church leaders on both sides hoping the island’s first papal visit helps continue to improve Catholic-Orthodox relations, about a thousand years after the Great Schism split the church into eastern and […]

Federal Sentencing of Kosher Slaughterhouse Chief Postponed, as State Trial Continues

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today’s scheduled federal sentencing on bank fraud charges of Sholom Rubashkin, head of the now-defunct Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, has been postponed until June 22 while his state trial on 83 counts of child labor violations continues. Many American […]

Religious Groups Weigh in on Pending Repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

This has turned into Gay Faith News Wednesday! Guess I’ll run with it: While American lawmakers appear poised to lift the ban on gays in the military, they’re getting an earful from religious groups on both sides of the debate. A […]

Documentary Explores U.S. Evangelical Influence on Uganda’s Anti-Gay Bill

posted by Nicole Neroulias

If you’re interested in learning more about the role that conservative religious leaders — including Pastor Lou Engle and other American evangelical Christians — have played in Uganda’s efforts to pass a harsh anti-gay law, check out tonight’s “Missionaries of Hate” […]

Georgia Becomes Latest State to Repeal Orthodox-based Kosher Law

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I wrote a story for Religion News Service yesterday about Georgia repealing a religious food labeling law specifying that kosher products must adhere to Orthodox Jewish standards. The law had been around for about 30 years, but was only challenged […]

Dalai Lama Promotes ‘Mutual Understanding’ With Islam, Other Faiths

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Dalai Lama recently completed a 10-day teaching tour of the United States (with guest appearance by Buddhist celebrity Richard Gere), and has shared some of idealism regarding the “common ground” between Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, and Islam in a New York […]

PopeWatch: Kagan Sides With Vatican on Abuse Lawsuit

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated at 4:30 p.m. to add attorney responses: Some good news for Pope Benedict: the Obama administration, in a brief filed by Solicitor General and Supreme Court nominee Elena Kagan, has sided with the Vatican in the 2002 Oregon lawsuit pending SCOTUS review over […]

Founder of Controversial ‘Jews for Jesus’ Movement Dies

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Jews for Jesus movement, a controversial Christian group focused on converting Jews — highly offensive to some, understandably — has confused and fascinated me for years. Doesn’t being a Jew who believes in Jesus basically make you a Christian? (Weren’t all the disciples “Jews for […]

‘Lost’ Finale References Purgatory, Nirvana, Forgiveness, and Other Spiritual Themes

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Like many “Lost” fans, I’m not sure what to think about last night’s series finale, but the show certainly continued to mine religious concepts — forgiveness, sacrifice, communion, purgatory, nirvana, etc. — until the very end, even literally gathering most of […]

PopeWatch: Cypriots Shrug at ‘Moral Influence’ of Papal Visit

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’ve been scaling back on PopeWatch posts, but here’s something I found personally interesting: Catholic News Agency reports that Cyprus’ ambassador to the Holy See asserts that Pope Benedict’s upcoming visit to my mother’s homeland will be a “massive moral influence” […]

Fun Friday: Dora the Explorer Targeted by Arizona Immigration Law?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Here’s a funny (though perhaps more of a tragic funny than a “ha-ha” funny) take on Arizona’s new immigration law: protesters have been using doctored photos of beloved bilingual children’s character “Dora the Explorer” as a way of driving home their […]

Happy (?) Everybody Draw Muhammad Day?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

After Seattle artist Molly Norris jokingly suggested that May 20 become “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day,” in reponse to last month’s brouhaha over the South Park 200th episode poking fun at this ongoing cartoon controversy, she tried to backtrack by taking […]

Catholic Bishops: Excommunicate a Nun for Permitting Life-Saving Abortion, But Not An Abusive Priest?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’m no canon law expert, but this story certainly raises interesting questions about the disparity in the Catholic Church’s handling of clergy disciplinary issues: Sister Margaret McBride, an administrator at a Catholic hospital in Arizona, has been declared “automatically excommunicated” by a bishop […]

France Moves Closer to Law Against Full Face Veils, Angering Some Muslims, Women

posted by Nicole Neroulias

France’s cabinet has just approved a bill making it illegal for women to wear face-hiding veils in public, angering some people who believe this kind of legislation discriminates against devout Muslim women and prevents them from practicing their religion freely. According to […]

GOP’s Disgraced Rep. Mark Souder, Evangelical Christian, Had Promoted Abstinence in Video With Mistress

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Several commenters have been speculating on why I hadn’t yet blogged about Indiana Rep. Mark Souder adultery-resignation news, among other stories. Rest assured, there’s no editorial conspiracy here — I just don’t have time (especially having just returned from a major trip) […]

Jews Celebrate Shavuot as Jewish American Heritage Month Continues

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It’s still Jewish American Heritage Month, and today is also Shavuot, the holiday marking when the ancient Israelites, led by Moses from slavery in Egypt, received the Torah at Mount Sinai. Check out Beliefnet’s celebration ideas, and here are some links to […]

Ted Haggard, Disgraced Evangelical Pastor, Starting New Church?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated at 8 p.m. to reflect Haggard’s clarification about his new venture: St. James Church is apparently a “corporation,” not a church. Check out the Religion News Service story. Apologies to F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it seems there are indeed second […]

PopeWatch: Benedict Cheered By Fans, But Loses Same-Sex Marriage Battle After Portugal Visit

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Upon returning from his visit to Portugal, Pope Benedict was greeted by an estimated 150,000-plus supporters at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday. The gathering, which the Vatican’s defenders intended as a show of solidarity with the pontiff during his efforts to address the […]

Laura Silsby, Baptist Missionary Who Tried to Take Kids From Haiti, Is Freed

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Three weeks after charges were dropped against nine of the 10 Baptist missionaries who had tried to take 33 Haitian children (most or all of them not technically orphans) into the Dominican Republic after January’s earthquake, group leader Laura Silsby […]

What I’ve Missed: Top 5 Religion Headlines of the Past Week

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’m back from my family trip to London, Cyprus and Greece — narrowly missing volcanic ash and British Airways strike delays along the way — and I’ve learned three things that relate to the religion beat: the average Cypriot doesn’t know that […]

Kagan’s Rehnquist-like Establishment Clause

posted by mconsoli

Nicole Neroulias returns to Belief Beat next week, but while she’s away, we wanted to introduce you to another blogger who will be joining Beliefnet soon. Mark Silk, who blogs at Spiritual Politics, will start a new blog for Beliefnet […]

Away Message: Top 5 Recommended Religion News Sources

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Hope everyone had a good Mother’s Day! Belief Beat is on a break this week, while I’m visiting family overseas. (Unfortunately, I’m missing Pope Benedict’s visit to Cyprus by less than a month… Then again, between the volcanic ash still spreading […]

BREAKING NEWS: Obama Picks Kagan For Supreme Court

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The New York Times is reporting that President Obama will be announcing his nomination of Soliciter General Elena Kagan, who is Jewish, to the Supreme Court this morning, to fill the seat being vacated by Justice John Paul Stevens, who is Protestant. […]

Happy Mother’s Day 2010, Despite Disappointing Research Results

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Mother’s Day, which falls this Sunday, is technically a secular holiday, but a range of denominations incorporate it into their worship services each year. Check out Beliefnet’s Mother’s Day 2010 page for inspirational quotes, prayers and other links for the […]

Fun Friday: Marky Mark Wahlberg’s Career Steered by Family Priest

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The most entertaining religion story of the week was the speculation over the role that Mark Wahlberg’s religious mentor, the Rev. James Flavin, has had in helping him choose roles — steering him away from playing one of the gay cowboys in “Brokeback Mountain” […]

Pope Watch: Swiss Guard, the Vatican’s Secret Service, Swear In New Recruits

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Pontifical Swiss Guard, the 500-year-old elite force (if a bit oddly dressed, by today’s standards) sworn to protect Pope Benedict, are swearing-in 30 new recruits today. Catholic News Agency reports the events were slated to begin with a Mass for the world’s […]

Happy National Day of Prayer, Unless You’re an Atheist… or a Millennial?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is National Day of Prayer, although the latest court ruling has declared the observance unconstitutional. (It’s still on the books, while the appeal process continues.)  There’s been plenty of religion news leading up to this occasion, based on the […]

Pope Watch: U.S. Catholics Weigh In On Vatican’s Handling of Clergy Sex Abuse

posted by Nicole Neroulias

A new CBS News/New York Times poll reports that U.S. Catholics think the Vatican has done a “poor job” handling the clergy sex abuse scandal, although Pope Benedict’s approval rating is up to 43 percent, compared to 27 percent in March. The […]

ELCA Starts Reinstating Gay Clergy, Thanks to New Rules

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, which has become the latest denomination to lift a ban on gay clergy, announced this week that it is reinstating two gay pastors — a same-sex couple — to its clergy roster. The Associated […]

Cinco de Mayo: Mexican Version of St. Patrick’s Day?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the commemoration of Mexico’s May 5, 1862 victory over France, but more commonly celebrated in America as a kind of Mexican St. Patrick’s Day – instead of honorary Irish partying with green beer and parading to bagpipes, honorary Mexicans drink tequila […]

Pope Watch: Benedict Condemns Violence Against Iraqi Christians, Urges Authorities to Protect Religious Minorities

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As a somber reminder that the global Catholic Church has more to worry about than just its clergy abuse scandal and divisive social issues, Pope Benedict has just sent a telegram (I find it unintentionally hilarious that the Vatican still uses […]

Muslim Suspect Arrested in Times Square Bomb Scare; U.S. Muslim Group Praises Law Enforcement

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Although U.S.officials have stood by their dismissal of the Pakistani Taliban’s efforts to claim credit for the Times Square bomb scare over the weekend, it appears that a Muslim man from Pakistan is the prime suspect. The New York Times […]

Happy Star Wars Day, Jedi Religion Followers and Fans

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Yoda fans around the world are observing today, May 4, as “Star Wars Day,” in a punny take on the Jedi Knight motto: “May the Force Be With You.” (May the Force, May the 4th… get it? Geddit?!) To learn […]

Pope Watch: Benedict Visits Shroud of Turin, Briefly Trading Current Problems for Historical Controversy

posted by Nicole Neroulias

While the jury is still out on the recent Noah’s Ark discovery on Mount Ararat in Turkey, Pope Benedict has just returned from his pilgrimage to the mother of disputed religious artifacts: the Shroud of Turin. The Associated Press reports that the pontiff “all […]

Pakistani Muslim Terrorist News: Suspect Convicted in Mumbai Attack, Group Claims Credit for NYC Bomb Scare

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Pakistan’s branch of the Taliban is trying to claim credit for the bomb scare that shut down Times Square on Saturday night, but U.S. officials and other experts say it’s highly unlikely the group had the ability to pull something […]

Obama Proclaims May as Jewish American Heritage Month 2010

posted by Nicole Neroulias

May is Jewish American Heritage Month, now in its fifth year. President Obama issued the proclamation Friday, noting that just as America has served as a haven for Jewish immigrants, their experience as “huddled masses yearning to breathe free” (famous words […]

BREAKING NEWS: Pope Will Appoint New Leader for Disgraced Legionaries of Christ

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Here’s a bonus Pope Watch, updating yesterday’s post: The Vatican has just announced that Pope Benedict will appoint a new leader and oversee restructuring of the Legionaries of Christ, the conservative Catholic order investigated recently due to revelations that its founder, […]

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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 how the architect will handle this kind of project. May

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 several times since moving to Seattle, but I confess that I'

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 enough votes.) It now appears that Washington's lawmakers wi

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 mandatory sentencing for drug crimes and non-violent offens

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


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