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Belief Beat

Belief Beat

January 2011 Archives

Religion’s Role in Ugandan Gay Activist’s Murder & Egyptian Riots

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The recent headlines out of Africa have a lot — if not everything — to do with religion, with ripple effects being felt around the world. Here are some links about the brutal murder of gay activist David Kato, an […]

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Fun Friday: Witches Curse Romania Over New Tax

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Perhaps it’s because I just caught the Harry Potter exhibit at Seattle’s Pacific Science Center, but here’s the religion news story that struck me as the most entertaining this week: Romania’s “Witch Tax:” Magic meets bureaucracy (Religion Dispatches) The thought of Romania’s […]

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Rabbis to Fox News: Step Away From the Holocaust

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As candle-lighting ceremonies and other symbolic gestures commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day, hundreds of American rabbis marked the Jan. 27 occasion with a forceful letter to media mogul Rupert Murdoch about the use of Nazi and Holocaust references by his […]

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Muslim, Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Population Boom = 2030 Powder Keg?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, so check back later for a round-up of how people around the world commemorated the observance. (Jan. 27 is the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest of the Nazi concentration camps.) In […]

Jews, Christians & Muslims Respond to Obama’s State of the Union Address

posted by Nicole Neroulias

As promised, here’s a round-up of faith-related responses to President Obama’s State of the Union address last night. (I thought there would be more coverage by now, but I’ll add to it as needed — check back for more links.) […]

Religion Notes On Obama’s State of the Union Address

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The theme of President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address was “winning the future,” which — much like “war on terror” and “defeating evil” — strikes me as one of those impossibly vague and overly simplistic turns of political phrase. […]

Southern Baptist Leader Reluctantly Resigns from Pro-Mosque Group

posted by Nicole Neroulias

First, the Anti-Defamation League took the odd position against Park51, the so-called “Ground Zero Mosque,” despite agreeing that it’s wrong to discriminate against Muslims, who have the same right as anyone to build a house of worship on private property. Now, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics […]

Billy Graham Admits 20th Century Regrets, Pope Benedict Issues 21st Century Warning

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Aside from the Roe v. Wade anniversary – featuring a huge anti-abortion crowd at the March for Life in Washington – the top two religion newsmakers today each concerns an elderly white male Christian leader with an unexpected message: Pope Benedict (age: 83) issued some […]

On Roe v. Wade Anniversary, Pro-Life Christians Gear Up For 2012

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, and predominantly Christian pro-life activists are gearing up for a March for Life in Washington D.C. and for political gains in 2012. Some […]

Fun Friday: Boy George, Ricky Gervais, Tiger Mom & Russian Strippers

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Time to lighten up and have a laugh — or at least a hearty eye-roll? I have four finalists for this week’s Fun Friday newsmaker. Boy George Returns Stolen Church Icon (AFP) Full disclosure: I wanted to go with this […]

Vatican’s 1997 Letter on Clergy Abuse: Smoking Gun or Soggy Match?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The blogosphere has erupted over whether this newly revealed 1997 letter from a senior Vatican official to Irish bishops constitutes a “smoking gun,” because it expresses concerns about a proposed mandatory reporting policy — now implemented — of abuse cases to secular authorities. […]

Civility, Schmivility? Ala. Governor & Congress Confuse Christians

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Remember how after 9/11, there was talk about the death of irony? Looks like the post-Tucson call for political civility has had an even shorter run, with a — can we call it ironic? — Christian twist: In addition to the Sarah […]

Anglican Clergy Defection to New Catholic Church Body Begins

posted by Nicole Neroulias

While former Catholic priest Alberto Cutie (aka “Father Oprah”) has been out promoting his book about his defection to the Episcopal Church and happy new life as a husband and father, three former Anglican bishops, apparently seeking more conservative pastures, were preparing […]

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day: Faith News Roundup

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Today is the U.S. federal holiday marking the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., which some people observe as a national day of service. (The civil rights icon would have been 82 this year.) Here are some faith-related links: […]

Fun Friday: Got Sin? There’s an App for That

posted by Nicole Neroulias

We’ve had a lot of somber religion news this week, so here’s something from Religion Dispatches to lighten the mood: Crowdsourced Catholicism: New iPhone App Lets Users Forgive Sins. Penance, an application released for the iPhone in early December, allows users […]

Thanks to French Nun, Pope John Paul II Gets Closer to Sainthood

posted by Nicole Neroulias

The Vatican has announced that the late Pope John Paul II will be beatified – bestowed with the “blessed” title that comes as the final step before sainthood — on May 1. Some critics are wary that this process is happening so […]

Obama: In Eulogizing Tucson Victims, Becomes Pastor-in-Chief?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

President Obama delivered a moving eulogy last night for the victims, families and survivors of the Tucson assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Somewhat surprisingly, given presidential precedent and Obama’s own efforts lately to reassert his Christian bona fides, the […]

Sarah Palin & ‘Blood Libel’ Statement: Refudiate or Celebrate?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I had to bang out a story for Religion News Service this morning about the fallout over Sarah Palin’s use of the loaded term “blood libel” in her Facebook response to critics who have made a connection between her kind of aggressive campaign […]

Haiti’s Earthquake Anniversary Marked With Prayers, Concerns

posted by Nicole Neroulias

It was a year ago today that a 7.0-magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti, and by all accounts, the country is still struggling to emerge from the rubble. (Puts our “snowpocalypse” into perspective, doesn’t it?) Here are some faith-related links on the […]

Prayers for Rep. Giffords & Ariz. Shooting Victims

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Here are some faith-related links about the Arizona shooting that claimed the lives of six people – including 63-year-old U.S. District Judge John Roll and 9-year-old Christina Green (in an oddly awful bookend, she had been born on 9/11) — and […]

Fun Friday: Doritos, the Super Bowl’s Sacramental Snack Food?

posted by Nicole Neroulias

I was going to blog about Ted Williams, the “golden voiced” homeless Ohio man and recovering addict who has credited God with for his newfound fame, but I’m a bit apprehensive about his sudden stardom — everyone loves a feel-good […]

New Congress Boasts Conservative Catholic Speaker & Highest Ranking Jew Ever

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Jews and conservative Catholics are excited about new House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (the most senior elected Jewish official in American history) and Speaker John Boehner (a Catholic like his predecessor Nancy Pelosi, but one who is staunchly pro-life). But aside […]

Christians in Egypt, Muslim World Fear For Their Lives

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Christian minorities in the Middle East and Muslim countries were already scared for their lives, but this “Christianophobia” crisis has become even more obvious in the wake of a bombing that killed at least 21 worshipers and injured about a hundred at a […]

Religion News Predictions for 2011: Muslims, Catholics & Mormons (Oh My)

posted by Nicole Neroulias

Happy New Year! I’m back from an exhausting trip to India, with more than 700 faith-related headlines waiting for me under the Christmas tree. (Incidentally, there were tons of Christmas carols and decorations in the airports and shopping areas in […]

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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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