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Belief Beat

Belief Beat

June 2010 Archives

Don’t Judge Stephen Prothero’s ‘God Is Not One’ By Its Cover

posted by Nicole Neroulias

My much-hyped (in certain circles) interview with Stephen Prothero, author of God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run the World — And Why Their Differences Matter, is now up at The Huffington Post. Check it out. Basically, I had […]

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PopeWatch: Boosting Catholicism in Vietnam, Europe; Setbacks in America

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated at 6:30 p.m. EST to link to my interview with U.S. Vatican attorney Jeffrey Lena.) While defending the Catholic Church as it deals with the clergy abuse investigations in Belgium, lawsuits and church closings in America and allegations elsewhere, Pope Benedict is going on offense to […]

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Jews Making News: Newsweek’s Most Influential Rabbis, SCOTUS Nominee Elena Kagan, Gay Jews and More

posted by Nicole Neroulias

This is shaping up to be one of those religion news weeks where I have trouble remembering that Jewish Americans make up less than 3 percent of the U.S. population… even less, if you’re only counting those who attend synagogue […]

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Jewish Group Joins Flotilla Efforts to Break Israel Blockade of Gaza

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It’s been a month since Israel’s raid on the Gaza-bound aid flotilla killed nine Turkish activists (including one with dual American citizenship), and this caught my eye: JTA reports that a group of Jews from the United States, the United […]

Supreme Court Rules Against Christian Law School Group That Bars Gays, Non-Christians

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated at 6 p.m. EST to add the RNS link.) It’s a busy news day for the Supreme Court, not even including Elena Kagan’s confirmation hearings – Reuters reports that SCOTUS has ruled in favor of the University of California’s […]

Supreme Court Denies Vatican Appeal in Clergy Abuse Lawsuit

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated at 1 p.m. EST with new AP link.) The Associated Press reports that the Supreme Court will allow a clergy abuse lawsuit against the Holy See to move forward, despite the Vatican’s claim of foreign sovereign immunity. The lawsuit, originally […]

Fun Friday: Jack Abramoff Goes from Prison to Pizzeria; China Holds ‘Religious Games’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I can’t decide which of these religion stories has more entertainment value: disgraced lobbyist (and Orthodox Jew) Jack Abramoff now serving his debt to society by working at a kosher pizzeria in Baltimore, or China holding its first “Religious Games,” in which Buddhist monks […]

Clergy Abuse Investigators Raid Church Headquarters, Cardinal’s Home in Belgium

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Just nine days after clergy abuse victim advocates held a protest in Belgium calling for more state and church action against pedophile priests and their protectors, police have raided the Belgian Catholic Church headquarters and the home of recently-retired Cardinal Godfried […]

Spain Joins France, Belgium in Considering Burqa Ban

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I wanted to post a round-up about Spain joining the list of European countries considering bans on identity-cloaking veils worn by a small percentage of devout Muslim women. Unfortunately, I’m having trouble finding articles that clearly explain the relevant angles: the current status […]

As ‘Twi-Hards’ Prepare for ‘Eclipse,’ Shedding Some Light on Mormon References

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’ve only skimmed part of the hugely popular “Twilight” series — I already took a bite out of the vampire genre back before Anne Rice was a Christian author, followed up by my “Buffy” years – but I may just have to check out the third film when “The […]

Today’s Headlines: McChrystal Ousted, Rubashkin Appealing, Anti-Gay Pastor Outed

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’m under the weather today, so here’s a trinity of faith-related news making traditional and blogosphere headlines in round-up form: 1. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, despite warnings from Muslim leaders in Afghanistan, has been removed from command (and replaced by Gen. David […]

Bad New York News for Muslims: Mosque Protests Continue, Times Square Bomb Plotter Still Defiant

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As a religion reporter who lived in Manhattan on Sept. 11, 2001, I’ve followed the Ground Zero mosque debate with interest. Given the city’s incredible diversity, not to mention the range of beliefs and cultures among America’s Muslims, it’s disappointing that so much of […]

The Reporter Becomes the Reported: Questions for Stephen Prothero, ‘God Is Not One’ Author?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

My post here last week about Boston University professor Stephen Prothero’s appearance on The Colbert Report to discuss his new book, God Is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions That Run The World — and Why Their Differences Matter, has […]

Jewish Supporters Decry 27-Year Fraud Sentence for Sholom Rubashkin

posted by Nicole Neroulias

A federal judge has sentenced Sholom Rubashkin, the former head of the Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa, to 27 years in prison on fraud charges stemming from a $27 million loss to his lenders. Rubashkin’s defense team and his […]

For Bono and Other Catholic-Protestant Irish, Some Peace From ‘Bloody Sunday’ Report

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Check out Bono’s op-ed piece in Sunday’s New York Times, about the “extraordinary” apology offered last week by British Prime Minister David Cameron for the 1972 “Bloody Sunday” shootings of 14 unarmed demonstrators in Northern Ireland. While the U2 frontman’s […]

Summer Solstice Rituals Include Prayers for Oil Spill Cleanup

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is the 2010 Summer Solstice, the northern hemisphere’s longest day of sunlight, spiritually significant for practitioners of nature-based religions — Wiccans, contemporary Pagans, Druids, Native American/First Nations cultures, etc. (The timing of this ancient observance, sometimes called Midsummer, also factors […]

What Happens When American Jews Criticize Israel?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about conflicts within religious groups, here’s the most heated intrafaith debate making news these days: is criticism of Israel tantamount to anti-Semitism, and if so, what does that make Jews who criticize Israel? The first part […]

Fun Friday: Lightning Strike Turns ‘Touchdown Jesus’ Into ‘Terminator Jesus’ (He’ll Be Back)

posted by Nicole Neroulias

No contest this time — the most entertaining religion news this week has been the saga of the Ohio church’s giant “King of Kings” statue, nicknamed “Touchdown Jesus.” The 62-foot structure was completely destroyed by a lightning strike Monday (an “act of […]

Intrafaith Conflicts: Ultra-Orthodox Protests in Israel, Epicopal-Anglican ‘Mitregate’ in the United Kingdom

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Among all the usual religion reporting on interfaith conflicts or cooperation, two intrafaith disputes are making headlines from their respective “base” countries: an ultra-Orthodox Jewish protest in Israel over the religious integration of a school for girls in a West Bank settlement, and […]

Southern Baptists Address Oil Spill, Gays in Military, Baptism Decline

posted by Nicole Neroulias

At the annual meeting of the Southern Baptist Convention, America’s largest Protestant denomination, representatives passed a resolution expressing — as expected, based on Southern Baptist Theological Seminary dean Russell D. Moore’s previous statements – dismay over BP’s Gulf of Mexico oil spill. They also affirmed […]

White House Picks Baptist Pastor for International Religious Freedom Ambassadorship

posted by Nicole Neroulias

President Obama has picked the Rev. Suzan Johnson Cook, a Baptist pastor from the Bronx — she’s previously been described by The New York Times as “Billy Graham and Oprah rolled into one” — as his nominee to fill the position […]

Oil Spill Prompts Obama to Push for ‘Clean Energy,’ Faith Leaders to Urge ‘Personal Responsibility’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

In President Obama’s first speech from the Oval Office last night, which On Faith considers to be his most religious speech as president so far, he called on Americans to rally behind energy reform legislation in the wake of the […]

Under Oath, L.A. Cardinal Mahony Admitted Protecting Abusive Priest

posted by Nicole Neroulias

While the Los Angeles headlines have been dominated by the Kobe Bryant and the Lakers’ “desperate” quest for an NBA title win against the Celtics, the region’s religion news is considerably more grim: newly released court documents confirm that L.A. Cardinal Mahony […]

Critics Blast Religion News Covers: Time’s Pope Piece, Newsweek’s ‘Saint’ Sarah Palin Story

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The religion beat has suffered more than its share of budget cuts and turnover in recent years, so I was pleasantly surprised to see both major American weekly news magazines feature faith-based cover stories recently. Unfortunately, religion and journalism experts have found plenty of […]

Stephen Prothero to Stephen Colbert: ‘Christianity is Losing Market Share’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

A few years after giving readers a crash course in Religious Literacy, Boston University professor Stephen Prothero’s new lesson plan focuses on debunking the theory that all religions are just different paths to the same goal (heaven, enlightenment, salvation, etc.). […]

Happy Flag Day, Still ‘Under God’

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is America’s Flag Day, part of the presidentially proclaimed Flag Week. I wasn’t sure whether to post about this. For starters, isn’t every day basically Flag Day – especially at a time of war and when a big sporting event, like […]

Rush Limbaugh’s Fourth Wedding, Featuring Elton John, Raises Questions About His Faith

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Here’s a belated story that has stirred up debate over the fluidity of political and religious labels: Rush Limbaugh, 59, an entertainer with a strong conservative Christian fan base, is now on his fourth marriage. To top that off, the wedding singer at last […]

PopeWatch: More Papal Apologies for Abuse, But No Budging on Celibacy

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Pope Benedict has marked the end of this unfortunately-timed (thanks to Satan?) “Year for Priests” with more apologies for the clergy abuse scandal, asking for forgiveness and vowing during a huge rally of clergy in St. Peter’s Square to do “everything possible” to prevent […]

Fun Friday: Lady Gaga Makes Like Madonna, But Is MTV ‘Blasphemy’ Still News?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Lady Gaga’s new music video for “Alejandro,” a catchy tune that strikes me as the lovechild of Madonna’s “La Isla Bonita” and Ace of Base’s “Don’t Turn Around,” has made headlines for its “blasphemous” images, including the singer dressed as a latex-clad nun […]

Anglican, Episcopalian Rift Widens Over Gay Clergy (But Not LGBT Rights?)

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated on 6/11 to reflect GetReligion’s correction that Senyonjo is a former, not current, Anglican bishop. The Anglican Communion’s objection to the ordination of openly gay bishops by America’s Episcopalian branch has made headlines again this week, as the Episcopal Church in the United […]

Stephen Colbert Tackles Flotilla Raid, Helen Thomas Remarks With Israeli Ambassador Michael Oren

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(I was going to save this for Fun Friday, but decided to save that for something more funny ha-ha, less funny tragic.) Last night’s episode of The Colbert Report featured a surprise interview with Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the […]

U.S. Catholic, Orthodox Scholars Working on a Reunification Statement

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Catholic News Agency reports that a group of U.S. Catholic and Eastern Orthodox clergy and scholars are working on a statement regarding the prospects for reunification, nearly a thousand years after the Great Schism split the church into eastern and […]

Rubashkin, of Agriprocessors Kosher Plant, Found Not Guilty in Child Labor Trial; Fraud Sentence Awaits

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Sholom Rubashkin, a prominent ultra-Orthodox Jewish businessman, has been aquitted of knowingly employing minors in his family’s now-defunct Agriprocessors kosher meat plant in Postville, Iowa. These were state misdemeanor charges, dwarfed by the possibility of a 25-year prison term for Rubashkin’s federal fraud […]

U.S. Muslims Disappointed by Washington, Frustrated by Hollywood

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As I hinted at in my blog posts on the anniversary of President Obama’s Cairo speech to the Muslim world, I’ve been working on a Religion News Service story about the impact that America’s political efforts and cultural exports — including “Sex and the City 2,” “South Park” and the Miss […]

Helen Thomas: Anti-Semitic, Anti-Israel, Anti-Zionist or Pro-Palestinian?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated at 10 p.m.: CNN reports that Helen Thomas has retired. For additional information about her long career in the White House press corps, including some context about the remarks that prompted her resignation, check out  The Washington Post and New […]

PopeWatch: Benedict Prays for Peace in the Middle East During Cyprus Visit

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Given that this weekend’s first papal trip to Cyprus coincided with renewed outcry over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict (prompted by the recent Gaza-bound flotilla violence), and the murder of a Turkish Catholic bishop, Pope Benedict understandably focused on delivering a Christian message […]

One Year After Obama’s Cairo Speech, U.S. Muslims Disappointed But Still Hopeful

posted by Nicole Neroulias

A year has passed since President Obama addressed the Muslim world in his Cairo speech, viewed at the time as a potential turning point in U.S.-Muslim relations. Consistent with a Gallup survey of several majority-Muslim countries, in my recent reporting, American […]

Fun Friday: Carrie Bradshaw’s SATC Column, After Visiting Abu Dhabi With the Girls

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I checked out “Sex and the City 2″ this week, and found it pleasant enough for a girls’ night out. My husband, who has been to Abu Dhabi recently, couldn’t make it to the movie, so I’ll have to assume the critics are correct […]

Religious Rage in Turkey: Catholic Bishop Murdered, Anti-Israel Chants at Flotilla Funerals

posted by Nicole Neroulias

More bad religion news out of Turkey today, less than a week since several Turkish activists — including a teenager with dual American citizenship — were among the nine civilians killed during Israel’s raid of the flotilla of ships carrying […]

ACLJ Fights for Public School Graduations in Churches, Students to Wear Rosaries

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It’s been a busy week for the American Center for Law and Justice, the conservative civil liberties law firm founded by prominent evangelical Pat Robertson. The ACLJ, something of a counterweight to the ACLU, is involved in two high-profile cases […]

BREAKING NEWS: Disgraced Pastor Ted Haggard’s Big Announcement: Starting a New Church

posted by Nicole Neroulias

June is Gay and Lesbian Pride Month, so it would have been a convenient bit of headline synergy if disgraced megachurch pastor Ted Haggard’s big announcement this morning were that he and his loyal wife Gayle would no longer be fighting his […]

PopeWatch: U.S. Cardinal, Bishop Among Vatican Team Appointed to Investigate Irish Church Abuse

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Following up on his apologetic letter to Irish Catholics earlier this year, Pope Benedict has appointed a team of high-ranking clergy to conduct an Apostolic Visitation to Ireland, which has been hit hard by the clergy abuse scandal. The team, a kind […]

Six Weeks Into Oil Spill, Gulf Coast Residents Pray for Help

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Six weeks into the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and BP’s failed efforts to plug its gushing well, many Louisiana residents are searching for comfort through faith.  They and others should check out Beliefnet’s suggested prayer, appropriately titled […]

United Nations, Muslim World, Some Jewish Groups Condemn Israel Flotilla Violence

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Israel’s raid on a flotilla of ships carrying aid for blockaded Gaza, resulting in the deaths of nine pro-Palestinian activists and injuries to seven Israeli soldiers, has prompted outcry and statements of concern from religious and political leaders around the world. […]

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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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