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Belief Beat

Belief Beat

July 2010 Archives

Fun Friday: Vampire Author Anne Rice Quits Christianity (Again)

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Long before Team Edward and Team Jacob, before Sookie Stackhouse and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, there was Lestat, Louis and their fellow undead frenemies, creatures of the night cooked up by author Anne Rice. After quitting the vampire book biz and […]

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Arizona’s Controversial Immigration Law Takes Effect Today, With Some Parts Blocked — For Now

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated at 5:30 p.m. to add more links. Arizona’s controversial new law against illegal immigrants takes effect today, but at the last minute, a federal judge blocked the section of SB 1070 requiring police to check on someone’s immigration status while enforcing […]

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Conviction Overturned for Polygamist FLDS Leader Warren Jeffs

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Utah’s Supreme Court has reversed polygamous sect leader Warren Jeffs’ conviction on two counts of rape as an accomplice and sent the case back for a new trial, saying there were “serious errors” in instructions given to the jurors considering […]

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Are All Ground Zero Mosques Created Equal(ly Objectionable)?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(Updated to add the link to my Tim Brown interview and the Q&A with the Park51 developer of the Cordoba House plan.) Check out my Religion News Service story about Cordoba House, the proposed “Ground Zero mosque.” (A native New Yorker, I can’t […]

Fatwa Makes Exception for Muslim Women in Veil-Banning Countries

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As France, Belgium and Spain consider laws on against face-cloaking veils (often described as burqas, but also referring to niqabs), the Associated Press reports that a Saudi Arabian cleric has just given the OK for Muslim women to obey such laws. The […]

Fun Friday: Only 200 Rapture-Ready Christians Sign Up for Atheist Pet Service

posted by Nicole Neroulias

This week, Religion News Service revisited a Business Week story from February about Eternal Earth-Bound Pets USA, which aims to pair up responsible atheists with Christians concerned about the pets they will be leaving behind during the Rapture. The RNS update […]

Giant Cross Above Waterbury, Conn. Reverts to Torture Symbol

posted by Nicole Neroulias

My journalism career has included reporting for the Republican-American, a daily newspaper in northwest Connecticut. Though surrounded by sweet Gilmore Girls-inspiring towns, Waterbury is a somewhat gritty place — my car was keyed in the company parking lot on my first […]

Are Conservative Christians Losing or Forfeiting War on Gay Marriage?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

There’s been lots of good news for gay marriage supporters lately, in the United States and around the world. Some recent stories, including negative reactions from conservative Catholics, Protestants and Mormons: Defying church, Argentina legalizes gay marriage (Time) Spain to […]

Facts vs. Feelings In the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Debate

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’ll be visiting family in New York for the next few weeks, and I plan to check out the progress at Ground Zero while I’m there — and the proposed site of Cordoba House, a Muslim community center and mosque […]

Catholic Feminists Upset By Female Ordination Included in Vatican’s Clergy Abuse Rules

posted by Nicole Neroulias

In the days since the Vatican released its long-awaited revised canon law standards addressing how clergy abuse cases should be handled, the uproar has shifted from disappointed victims groups (who feel the revisions don’t go far enough) to outraged feminists and others offended […]

With Oil Spill Halted, Prayers Shift to Cleanup, Recovery Efforts

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Three months after the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion, BP seems to have gotten oil to stop gushing into the Gulf of Mexico. Assuming all those prayers have been answered and the cap holds, the faith-based focus seems to be shifting to the clean-up […]

Fun Friday: Holocaust Survivor Disco Dances at Auschwitz

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I’ve found a working YouTube link, so that’s fixed for now. (Please post in the Comments section if it stops working, and I’ll find another one again.) It’s a matter of global Jewish blogosphere debate whether this YouTube video of a Holocaust survivor […]

Missouri Synod Lutherans Choose Conservative Leader

posted by Nicole Neroulias

(My toddler somehow deleted my first post on this, minutes after it went live, but I’ve managed to resurrect most if it from my iPhone. Apologies if you’re reading this twice.) Members of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod have elected a new president — the […]

Vatican’s New Sex Abuse Rules: Step Forward, But Not Far Enough?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated at 3:30 p.m. EST to add reaction roundup links. The Vatican has issued its revised church guidelines, clarifying how clergy abuse should be handled (along with other forbidden acts, such as ordaining women). Based on the Associated Press, The New York Times, On Faith, and a […]

Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston, Together Again: Christian Forgiveness, or Teen Mom Reality?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Bristol Palin, the famous Alaskan teen-mom-turned-abstinence-advocate, and Levi Johnston, her baby’s father who has carved out his own niche in the spotlight (posing for Playgirl, giving salacious interviews about Sarah Palin, etc.) – those crazy kids are trying to make it work again. […]

Remember Haiti? Help Still Desperately Needed, Christians Report

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It’s been six months since the earthquake devastated Haiti, and as I had cynically predicted back in February, the story has all but disappeared from the headlines. (Though, to our credit, it did take the monumental Gulf of Mexico oil […]

Church of England Moves Forward on Women Bishops — and Schism?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Church of England, the home base of the global Anglican Communion, has moved closer to approving female bishops, more than 30 years after its U.S. Episcopal Church began ordaining women. (The CoE began ordaining women priests in 1994; Anglican […]

BREAKING: Roman Polanski Escapes Extradition, Upsetting Clergy Abuse Victims

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Swiss have just denied the U.S. government’s request to extradite Oscar-winning filmmaker and accused child rapist Roman Polanski, apparently on a legal technicality. The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) has weighed in, denouncing the decision: This […]

Presbyterian Assembly Approves Gay Clergy, Not Gay Marriage

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Presbyterian leaders voted to allow gay clergy, but not gay marriage, during the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) General Assembly last week. But PBS’s Religion & Ethics Newsweekly reports that the measure now goes to the presbyteries, or local juriscdictions, which have previously rejected […]

Fun Friday: Jon Stewart Riffs On Fox News (Again), This Time About NASA-Muslim Outreach, Mosque Protests

posted by Nicole Neroulias

There were a lot of quirky religion news stories with serious undertones this week, ranging from a cussing Catholic priest ministering to Mexican gangsters to the appointment of a Muslim mayor in a strongly Orthodox Jewish suburb of New York City. Iran […]

Newsweek Details the High Cost of Being Jewish, But Misses A Few Expenses

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Check out this Newsweek column by religion editor Lisa Miller, about the high cost of being Jewish. I’ve noticed this myself, through friends and in my reporting on Judaism: synagogue fees and Hebrew school tuition can be pretty pricey, that’s not […]

The New WWJD: Where Would Jesus Drill?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Last month, I wrote about how the disastrous oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico had prompted environmental soul-searching, particularly among Christians and adherents of nature-based religions (Native Americans, Pagans, etc.) who have been offering up prayers and rituals to […]

World Cup Worship: Paul the Octopus Sees, Archbishop Desmond Tutu Speaks

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It seems that Paul the Octopus might be omniscient after all — the eight-legged oracle correctly predicted Spain would beat Germany in today’s FIFA World Cup semifinal, to advance to Sunday’s final against the Netherlands. (No word yet on whether […]

PopeWatch: Before Going on Summer Vacation, Benedict Changes the Clergy Abuse Rules

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Pope Benedict is off to Castel Gondolfo, the papal summer residence 27 miles southeast of Vatican City, for the rest of the month. (The 136-acre estate is actually larger than Vatican’s own city-state.) Presumably, he will use this time to get some rest, after a […]

Happy Birthday, Dalai Lama

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Dalai Lama turned 75 today, celebrating with hundreds of cheering followers in Dharmsala, India, where they have lived in exile since fleeing Tibet after the failed 1959 uprising against China. His fans, Buddhist and otherwise, around the world are […]

Clergy Push for Immigration Reform in July 4 Sermons

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It’s been less than a week since President Obama took the podium at American University to make the case for comprehensive immigration reform – a speech that resonated with Catholics, Jews, evangelicals and mainline Protestants — and the clergy involved in the […]

Fourth of July Religion News Roundup

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Here’s my pick for the top five religion news links related to America’s Independence Day: Nation’s founders: How religious were they? (Salt Lake Tribune) If government picked who can worship here, what would your faith be ‘in’? (USA Today) Happy […]

PopeWatch: NYT Investigation Concludes Benedict Dragged Feet on Abuse Cases

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Updated at 2:45 p.m. EST with more links. The New York Times has a big story today that looks into how Pope Benedict, when he was still Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, handled clergy abuse claims as head of the Vatican’s Congregation for […]

Fun Friday: What Would Elena Kagan Say About Censoring Sexy Ads in Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Neighborhoods?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I got a chuckle out of the “bikini brouhaha in Brooklyn” this week, as JTA dubbed this sexy protest of New York City’s decision to pull revealing ads from ultra-Orthodox Jewish neighborhoods: To avoid upsetting some local Chasidic communities, New York […]

Supreme Court Nominee Elena Kagan Discusses Religious Freedom Rights

posted by Nicole Neroulias

While I work on rounding up more information about the faith-based response to President Obama’s immigration reform speech, here are some links about the other big religion news out of Washington: how Elena Kagan responded to questions about the constitutional protection for religious freedom during […]

As Obama Speaks on Immigration, Christian Leaders Step Up Campaign for Reform

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Christian leaders have their fingers crossed for a good speech from President Obama at American University this morning, making the case for comprehensive immigration reform. This is a highly relevant debate for Catholics and evangelical Protestant groups with growing Latino memberships. But beyond […]

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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 ...

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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