Belief Beat

While I continue to sift through all the coverage of Pope Benedict’s now-concluded visit to the United Kingdom, here are some links to other religion news stories that have made headlines in the last 24 hours:

1) Today is “Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day,” but ailing atheist Christopher Hitchens is ignoring the religious well-wishers, opting to continue fighting his esophageal cancer with “reason and science.”

2) President Obama and his family attended an Episcopal church service on Sunday, the first time in months that the First Family has attended a public worship service. (They have attended private services at Camp David, and Obama prays and talks to clergy every day, but who’s counting?) Presumably, this was in response to the persistent questions about the president’s faith, but I don’t think the folks spreading and believing those rumors will be convinced by anything short of a Fox News special report confirming Obama’s Christianity. At least it made for some nice family photos, though.

3) U.S. Muslim organizations have been meeting in New York City to address the outcry over Park51, the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near Ground Zero, and general Islamophobia (“Burn a Koran Day,” anyone?) and anti-Muslim sentiment going on around the country. Participants include members of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). Check back for updates on what comes out of this summit, aside from proclaiming that Muslim Americans have the same right to build houses of worship as other citizens.

What do you think? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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